With a new album and new label under his belt, Dan Sultan is ready to take his mesmerising rock ‘n’ roll across the country.
Sultan is a man in demand following the release of his third album Blackbird, which has received widespread praise, and he’s got a long way to go before he can rest.
In a departure from his previous albums, Homemade Biscuits (2006) and Get Out While You Can (2009), Sultan reveals he’s returning to an old school rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
“Blackbird is more rock ‘n’ roll than blues and roots. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be able to play – it’s definitely my favourite record so far,” states Sultan.
“We’ve still got a lot of soul in our performance, but at the end of the day, it’s all just rock and roll.”
Blackbird emerged from a Nashville studio where Sultan worked alongside producer Jacquire King, who’s responsible for the sounds of Kings of Leon, Tom Waits and Modest Mouse.
“(King) has won quite a few Grammys and we’ve always been fans of his,” continues Sultan.
“We’ve made a record that we’re really proud of and it’s been received well so far.”
Blackbird has been a long time coming for the Melbourne artist, who already has two ARIAs under his belt — one for Best Male Artist and one for Best Blues and Roots Album, which he won over artists such as John Butler and Paul Dempsey.
“You don’t do this whole thing for ARIA or AIR awards but we picked up a lot that year,” says Sultan.
“John and Paul are both friends of mine and I’m a big of fan of theirs. I’ve got a lot of respect for them, but yeah, it was pretty amazing.”
Sultan has also been the golden boy of Triple J of late, receiving the fleeting title of Feature Album and taking to the stage in Mildura for the One Night Stand.
“Triple J have really got behind me and shown me a lot of support throughout the years. I feel very fortunate because there’s a lot of acts that don’t get the same support from radio.”
While Sultan was happy to endlessly wax lyrical about his music, there was one line of questioning that threw up a road block. The musician wasn’t willing to elaborate on how his Aboriginal heritage has influenced his music or his involvement in The Black Arm Band, a collection of Aboriginal musicians, but he has his reasons.
“There are some great artists in The Black Arm Band and we’re like a family,” he says.
“I know where I’m from and I’m proud of that, but I think a lot of the time as an Aboriginal musician you have to explain yourself. I’ve fought a lot over the years just to be recognised for myself and my music.”
It’s a fight that has certainly paid off with the attention Blackbird is receiving, and now Sultan is set to take flight with Blackbird across both metropolitan and regional Australia.
“There’s a lot of places I haven’t been before. We’re going to a lot of regional centres which usually can be hard to get out to or budget in, so we’re really fortunate this time.”
“We’ve got Stonefield supporting, a great rock ‘n’ roll band, and a producer from Melbourne, Way Of The Eagle. It’ll be a triple bill and we all get along really well. Hopefully some people can make it down!”
Catch the rock ‘n’ roll Sultan at the following venues across the country:
BLACKBIRD ALBUM TOUR
With support from Stonefield and Way Of The Eagle (DJ set)
Thursday 26 June The Venue, Townsville, QLD **
Friday 27 June Tank Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD **
Saturday 28 June River Sessions Festival, Mackay, QLD ***
Wednesday 2 July Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD **
Thursday 3 July Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
Friday 4 July Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 5 July Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane. Buy tickets
Tuesday 8 July The Northern, Byron Bay NSW
Wednesday 9 July Port Panthers, Port Macquarie NSW
Thursday 10 July Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Friday 11 July Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
Saturday 12 July Waves, Wollongong NSW
Thursday 17 July The Forum, Melbourne VIC
Friday 18 July The Wool Exchange, Geelong VIC
Saturday 19 July Westernport Hotel, San Remo VIC
Friday 1 August Settlers Tavern, Margaret River WA
Saturday 2 August Astor Theatre, Perth WA
Friday 8 August Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart TAS
Saturday 9 August Country Club Showroom, Launceston TAS
Thursday 14 August The Gov, Adelaide SA
Saturday 16 August Roebuck Bay Hotel, Broome WA ***