Dave Graney

I’ve been reading the writings of Dave Graney, an entertaining Australian musician, dandy and stylist that I first came across around the time of his Night of the Wolverine album.

His recently published book is called 1001 Australian Nights, and as well as being a tour diary, is also an autobiography, a series of reviews, and musings on his musical and sartorial influences. Of which there are many.

Dave Graney has spent his career avoiding the cliches of Oz-rock. He’s keen on exploring the sort of country music albums you find in the Op-shops of outback towns. He’s more likely to be listening to (and absorbing) George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Les Baxter, Serge Gainsbourg, Lionel Rose or Jimmy Webb, than he is the Mojo/Uncut dieties – Dylan, Young, Lennon etc.

Musically, he’s working with his partner Clare Moore to create songs that drift around the edges of country, exotica, urban storytelling and film soundtrack. Instrumentation is often free of drums and cymbals, and he employs six-string bass and vibes.

Sartorially, I’ve always been wowed by Graney. In the early nineties, he was sporting a sort of Buffalo Bill look, the kind of vibe you’d get on Deadwood. He was listening to Quicksilver Messenger Service and The (original US) Charlatans at the time. Then he reappeared in a gorgeous purple jumpsuit and pimp-style homburg. He’s worn leather waistcoats and a Cruising cap with a peak.

He goes against the grain and comes up trumps every time. He’s single-handedly reintroduced the cravat to Australia. And the safari suit. And the blazer.

He’s had a series of classic moustaches, and has never attempted to hide his baldness with a comb-over OR a crop. One day I dream of seeing Dave revitalise the classic Aussie civil servant/teacher look: Blundstones, long socks, stubbies, short-sleeved shirt with a tie.

In his book he talks about trawling the Op-shops of Country NSW on the hunt for vintage suede and leather clothing.  I can only recommend you take some time and spend it on Dave’s website, with his music, or with his book. You can only benefit from the influence of his originality.

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~ by Lord Leigh Park on May 24, 2011.

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