Al Parkinson is a Melbourne singer, but Adelaide has adopted her easily into our musical family. She first played here at The Reading Room, then again at The Café Series shows curated by Alice Fraser. She has played Porch Sessions before and even a Porch Sessions wedding, so she is no stranger to most keen Porchlandians.
However, for those of you that have not heard her sweet voice before, I asked Al to describe her music as place—a landscape that someone would imagine if they shut their eyes while listening to her sing. “I feel like it would be in a water cave, because the reverb would be awesome, but it would be a warm cave... I reckon it would be kind of dark but you could still see the light coming from outside the cave, so it would be kind of a little lagoon.” Talking it through a little further we came to the decision that the cave would lie behind a waterfall. If you can visualise that, then you will know what Al’s music feels like to hear.
This Adelaide visit Al Parkinson will be joined by the babes, Emilee South, Clare Hendry, and Claire Ewing. Talking to Al it was clear how much she loves to sing with these ladies. “I love them… these girls are amazing because they’re hilarious too, we’re just onstage being ourselves”. They are both beautiful friends and beautiful singers—all with their own projects—but who love singing together. “I’m a huge fan of harmonies more than anything in the world… if I hear a nice harmony in a song I’ll feel physically ill because I love it so much”.
One of the great achievements of The Porch Sessions is that it has drawn together a welcoming community and breaks down the pressure and barriers of performing to an audience. Al puts much of this down to creator Sharni Honor; “Sharni just has this really amazing ability of bringing amazing people together… she is just so beautiful and happy and relaxed, and she has a thousand things going on, but she’s got all the time in the world for everybody”. The Porch Sessions make lifelong friends, “You can connect with the audience... I’ve become such good friends with so many people because of these gigs”. Speaking of Sharni’s amazing ability to bring people together Al was listening to The Teskey Brothers during the interview—another band on the bill for Porchland, “I can’t wait for the Porchlandians to be introduced to these boys because they’re just incredible”.
Al loves her babes, but I asked who else she would most like to sing with—alive or dead. “I think it is probably Afie, who goes under Bahamas”. Of everybody, Al named him her biggest influence on her music in the last few years, “He definitely inspired me to focus a lot more on harmonies and arrangements… it would be a bloody dream to do anything with that guy.”
That inspiration has been channelled into new music over the last six months for her second EP that Porchlanders will get a taste of this Sunday at Porchland. Al is hoping to have a single out around June this year, but until then you will have to see her live to catch all the beautiful new tunes. Cuddled up on a rug beside all your friends—new and old—you can shut your eyes and imagine yourself seated in a cave by a lagoon, listening to Al Parkinson and her babes.