It was 1989. The end of one decade and the start of something new. Carlton share house with beers in hand and harmonies in head. "There were no gigs to hustle and no recordings to make," Greg says. "We sang and drank for the fun of it."
Not long after that, Tony Floyd joined the party with more harmonies (and some incredible drumming too) and from that inauspicious beginning emerged one of Australia's most beloved bands.
More than 30 years on, Things of Stone and Wood have had two Top 10 albums in Australia, a Top 10 single and five Top 50 hits, plus a chart hit in Germany. The band has also won an ARIA Award, and singer Greg Arnold was proclaimed Songwriter of the Year at the APRA Awards.
And the Things of Stone and Wood story continues, with 2020 bringing a brand-new album, The Final Forest – the band's first studio album in 17 years.
Coinciding with the 30th Anniversary tour is 'If You Go Down the River', the first single from the new album. It's a delightfully dark surprise for Things of Stone and Wood fans. Sure, there are still the stellar harmonies and melodies that we've come to expect from "Melbourne's most inspired and inspiring folk-rock group" (Michael Dwyer), and they still play with the energy of a band 30 years their junior, but the surprise lurks, just beneath the surface, in the form of a dark metaphor that forms the backbone of the song. More reminiscent of Weddings Parties Anything's 'A Tale They Won't Believe' or a Nick Cave murder ballad, 'If You Go Down the River' is a cautionary tale set in an uncertain time and place, warning of the unavoidable perils of a journey and the stifling limitations of staying still.
Set for release March 6th through MGM, 'If You Go Down the River' was produced by the band's long-time producer James Black (The Black Sorrows, RocKwiz Orkestra), who also delivers some sweeping slide and stomping piano, and mixed by another long-time collaborator Michael Letho. It has all of the band's traditional, rootsy instrumental charm, but the sinister undertone reveals a band that is still prepared to take a risk and jump on that boat to find whatever is waiting around the corner.
See Things of Stone and Wood on their 30th Anniversary Tour this March, playing all of their hits, plus brand new material from their forthcoming album. Tickets on sale now at www.thingsofstoneandwood.com.
Friday March 6: Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Saturday March 7: Port Fairy Folk Festival, Port Fairy, VIC
Sunday March 8: Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude Valley, QLD - with special guest Loren
Tuesday March 10: Spiegeltent, Hobart, TAS
Thursday March 12: Lizotte's Restaurant, Lambton, NSW - with special guest Glenn Watson
Friday March 13: The Vanguard, Newtown, NSW - with special guest Penny Lanagan
Saturday March 14: The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide, SA
Sunday March 15: Clancy's Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA - Donna & The Devils Johnson (Donna from The Waifs new band)
Monday 16 March: Bar 1, Hillarys, Perth, WA - with special guests Donna & The Devils Johnson (Donna from The Waifs new band)
Friday March 20: The Corner Hotel, Richmond, VIC - with special guests Rebecca Barnard & Leah Senior