The launch of his new album at the Promethean was something of a welcome back to the SA music scene for Ian Coats.
After returning to Australia in 1990 from a period as a graduate psychology student and mainstay of the local folk music scene around Princeton, New Jersey, Coats settled into a new direction as a psychology practitioner in Adelaide. But he admits he missed his musical outlet, and the time came for a long overdue return.
Coats dipped his toes into the water by opening his recording studio Karisma, then with a successful Fringe show setting the words of Henry Lawson to his own original music. Satisfied with the results, but craving more, he recorded the album Tales of Love in Time, a fine collection of songs of love and loss including tracks he wrote back in the ’80s.
The album was produced by Coats’ American collaborator, John McVey, using American session players from the Denver area, and performed at Friday night’s Promethean launch by the cream of Adelaide’s musicians and a couple of promising youngsters.
The style is West Coast and naturally has something of an ’80s feel to it, as Coats explores the themes of love and time and how they inter-relate for better or worse. You could certainly see this band opening for The Eagles, and Bruce Hornsby and The Range leapt out at me a couple of times.
Coats is a singer with a very appealing voice and style, backed by his skilful piano and acoustic guitar playing. The songs are enjoyable, feel-good and drew out the audience’s emotional response on more than one occasion.
The band is a beauty, led by Sam Leske on guitars; Julian Fererretto on violin, mandolin and bowed saw; Enrico Mick Morena on drums and James Stewart-Rattray on bass. They were supported by Coasts’ daughter, Lily Coats, on harmony vocals, and Emile Ryjoch on alto sax.
Most songs were prefaced by the back-story of how they were written and what drove their theme, all eloquently presented by the author.
The standout tracks on the album are Coats’ own “About the Interplay”, “Love is Like a Storm” and “Ballad in Blue”; Henry Lawson’s “The Old Jimmy Woodser” and Banjo Patterson’s “As Long As Your Eyes Are Blue”.
Tales of Love in Time is the first of a series of planned releases by Coats drawing from an extensive backlog of songs that need to see the light of day.
The album, with 24-page booklet, will be available soon on iTunes or can be ordered via Ian Coats’ official website.
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