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Songs That Made Me

Last week, I went to a small gig at the Camelot Lounge in Sydenham to see a bunch of amazing women tell their stories and sing some tunes. Called 'Songs That Made Me', it was originally billed as a night presenting Katie Noonan, Abby Dobson and Ella Hooper, the lead singers of George, Leonardo's Bride and Killing Heidi respectively, but Ella had to pull out last minute and was replaced by 19 year old Martha Marlow. Also sharing the stage with them was Thelma Plum, who Lydia recognised as a Triple J darling and also apparently won best new talent for the National Indigenous Awards recently. The four singer songwriters were accompanied by two backing musicians on upright bass and drums (also women!).

Each of the artists took turns to perform a couple of songs that inspired them musically, along with two of original songs of their own with the support of the others. Katie Noonan opened with Joni Mitchell's A Case Of You on the keyboard, and later gushed about her experience seeing Jeff Buckley on his tour in Queensland back in the '90s before delving into a sublime cover of Last Goodbye. Katie's career as an artist has been quite diverse, spanning alt rock, jazz, opera and pop, and her ethereal vocal runs are as astounding as ever. Back in high school, I was obsessed with the album Polyserena and was ecstatic that she decided to sing The Special Ones at this show, which she described was about the deterioration of a platonic relationship. She also performed a song about female friendship called Sweet One which she co-wrote with Sia.

Abby Dobson told an anecdote about the time she had an argument with her husband and the next morning, he had left little notes around the house as she went about her routine. A note in the bathroom read "I love you even when you're washing", one on the cereal box said "I love you even when you're eating", and one on the door said "I love you even when you're leaving". 17 years after the release of Even When I'm Sleeping, it's so heartwarming to discover that Abby still feels joy from performing that song. And what a special rendition it was, as a duet with Katie Noonan! Their voices are worlds apart - Abby's is low and throaty and Katie's soars effortlessly - but together they blended so beautifully. Abby did an acoustic cover of Carole King's Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and together with the other women, they re-interpreted Kylie Minogue's Confide In Me into a sultry lounge version.

The two younger girls are virtual unknowns but they held their own and shone in the group collabs. Thelma Plum reminded me a lot of both Lisa Mitchell and Lily Allen, throwing F-bombs in sweet, folksy melodies. She was pretty hilarious in an awkward, Gen-Y sense, whereas Martha Marlow had a self-assured confidence. We were obviously there for Katie and Abby but by the end of the night, Martha stole the show and closed with Big Yellow Taxi. She hasn't got anything released yet, but here's a track off her upcoming EP.

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