Happy Here with You
Happy Here With You CD Review Written by Drum Media, David Beniuk Wednesday, 25 August 2004 Rob Hirst knew Paul Greene was some kind of musical freak when he walked into the studio to record a song for the Sydney Olympics compilation that Hirst was producing. Greene had run the 400 metres in Atlanta. Hirst, of course, was Midnight Oil's drummer. Since then, they've worked together in Hirst's side-project The Ghostwriters, and as Hirst and Greene on a recent national tour with Ani DiFranco. At the same time, Greene has independently released an EP (The Miles) and album (This Way). Inspired by the likes of the Waifs, he's also packed his life into a van and driven it to all corners of the country. Out of that volume of gigging comes a live release, Happy Here With You. Now, when we say 'freak', we really mean vocal freak. Greene has a stunning voice that can range through quiet naivety to a falsetto that is sheer excitement. Does he use his tricks too often? Maybe, but this is a live set after all and he's in sparkling form - if his vocal chords where hamstrings, he's be breaking world records. The Happy set kicks off with Greene's strong band at Sydney's Vanguard, settles onto a stool for a lengthy and introspective acoustic bracket, before the band are recalled for various bits and pieces. Greene shows that he's accomplished on the acoustic guitar and pretty fluid on the harmonica too, while the band feature nice touches of piano and some endearing wobbly bits of brass. Stylistically he ranges from new folk (Jervis Bay) to big FM pop (Because of You) to the Randy Newman-meets-the-Stones of Good For A Joke. Greene is a very good songwriter with a knack for making his audience think he's singing about their lives, but also for occasionally lapsing into sports psychology. On the evidence of his recent live shows, he's keeping some good songs up his sleeve for the next 'real' album. Which means you probably should grab a copy of this - it'll be worth something one day.