Home… four letters that mean pretty much the same thing to everybody. Security… contentment…
For Pete Stone, “home” means a weatherboard house not far from the Swan River in Perth. That’s where he lives with partner Kate Kelly and their three-year-old son, Dylan. That’s where Pete plays guitar, writes songs and barracks for the Fremantle Dockers.
And now ‘Home’ means album number three. After the sparkling success of ‘My Great Plan’ (1998) and ‘Inside Upstairs’ (1999), Pete is back with the most confident, accomplished release of his career. You can still hear echoes of Leonard Cohen, the Cowboy Junkies and Nick Cave, but now the spirit of Johnny Cash makes an appearance too. Better yet, it’s an album of highlights: from the opening chord of ‘The Lullaby Angel’, to Kate’s soaring vocals in ‘The River Song’, to the acoustic pop of ‘Aeroplane’, to the spaghetti western strains of ‘Pale Moon’. It’s still acoustic-based and folk-infused, but it’s the sound of a man who’s found his way, well, home.
The story starts in 1998, when My Great Plan became the inaugural release for shhh records, a Sydney-based label. While Triple J’s Richard Kingsmill praised Pete’s “rich voice” and “amazing songs”, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph gave it 8/10 and called Pete “a man ahead of his time” .
Then, in 1999, Pete released Inside Upstairs on shhh records. “Echoes of Leonard Cohen and The Triffids,” wrote The Fremantle Herald. “The most impressive local release I’ve encountered in a long time”, and Juice Magazine “…sure to be one of the best Australian albums of 2000”. The song ‘Melt Away’ was promptly awarded Country Song Of The Year by the West Australian Music Industry Association.
Three years on, Home is both a continuation and a departure. While the previous CDs were recorded in Melbourne, Home was recorded in Perth, after Pete and Kate returned to their WA hometown in 1999.
Accordingly, Home is sunnier, more ambitious, more sweeping. But that isn’t only because it was recorded in the west. The birth of Dylan in January 2000 influenced Pete’s songwriting and outlook, as did his muscular new band, The Assistance. Then there’s the input of veteran producer Tom Thorpe (WA Producer of the Year 1985/1992), who worked his magic at Bonsai Recording Studios in north Perth, and of Don Bartley (Powderfinger, Alex Lloyd, Paul Kelly), who mastered Home at Sydney’s Studios 301.
At the end of the day, it’s just a beautiful album. Come on in and make yourself comfortable. This is home.