Hannah Gillespies folky credentials go back, way back, to her dads genetics that gave birth to a step-sister the Majors Creek Folk Festival, an ongoing concern that continued in the daily singalongs at the Gillespie family kitchen table.
With her formative musical years wisely misspent in the maelstrom of inner-city life, Hannah Gillespie managed to fine-tune her hedonistic credentials enough to study music business in Melbourne and gained some experience band, stage and tour-managing some of Melbournes up and coming acts of the late 90s.
In 2000 she completed formal studies in performance and composition and went on to form the band August with Jane Williams (Moruya/Melbourne singer/songwriter) and Tom Jones on bass (The Re-mains, Leah Flanagan Band). Various other players contributed to what was becoming The August Collective, who played many memorable gigs, including the National Folk Festival.
She finally poured all her yearnings into one fine album, Growing Up Stupid, under the watchful production eyes of Duncan Lowe and Kevin Nicol (Noiseworks). The album features Matt Nightingale - Bass (The Wedded Bliss, Fire On The Hill), Munro Melano Keys (Casual Projects), Kevin Nicol Drums (Noiseworks), Ben Gillespie Trombone (The Band Who Knew Too Much, The Snappers) and reflected a latent jazz aesthetic, but her folk and country gene pool could not be ignored.
Beseiged by her past, she began her second album in 2010, recruiting renowned musician/producer Ken Stringfellow (The Posies, R.E.M, Big Star) to Infidel in Queanbeyan, and re-enlisting Matt Nightingale on double bass, guitar, mandolin, Kevin Nicol on drums, cousin Ben Gillespie on Trombone, Hannah's sister Briohny with backup vocals, and Ken Stringfellow himself, contributing guitar, backing vocals, mandolin, wurlitzer and tambourine.
The new album, All The Dirt, has taken her folk and country lineage and run, deep into the territory haunted by the fragile, cracked hearts of Marianne Faithfull and Lucinda Williams.
Embedded in Stringfellows famous pop ambience, the deep country colours of Tony Hunter on banjo, Paris based Terry Lee Hale on dobro and the string arrangements of Phil Peterson (Owl City, Nada Surf) subtly frame Hannah's powerful songwriting and distinctive voice. Such is the quality of the songs that the track 'Just A Man' was sung by mainstream country star Felicity Urquhart in the 2010 Telstra Road to Tamworth Awards, for which Hannah was one of four songwriters in the country to be shortlisted.
A life of music has combined country, folk and jazz into a potent mix for Hannah Gillespie. With her band shaping up for tours in 2011, shes finally alchemised it into one sweet libation. Drink deep.