In late 2007 a bunch of Wellington musicians got together in an old woolshed in Takaka Valley, New Zealand, to record some songs. From this summertime gathering at the top of the South Island, The Woolshed Sessions project was born: a critically acclaimed limited edition album and a live show that sold out by word of mouth alone.
The Woolshed Sessions is a fresh approach for New Zealand songwriting and performance, reflective of the woolshed’s idyllic Golden Bay surroundings, and distinguished by lashings of lap-steel guitar, lush vocal harmony sing-a-longs, taonga puoro – traditional Maori instruments – and banjo punctuations.
Starring in The Woolshed Sessions are some of New Zealand’s most respected independent musicians: Age Pryor, songs, guitar, production, sound engineering; Andy Hummel, songs, guitar; Jess Chambers, songs, guitar; Justin Firefly Clarke, songs, guitar, banjo, production; Al Fraser, taonga puoro, vocals, guitar; Lee Prebble, lap steel guitar, sound engineering and mixing; Peter Hill, bass; and Brett Skinner, drums.
The Woolshed Sessions comprises of an assortment of modern New Zealand songs. These were written by various members of the collective before and during the recording session, and echoes of folk, country, 1920s swing jazz and old time blues wash through the finely crafted tales of loves and lands lost and found, from beauty and light to irony and despair.
The woolshed recording session was captured on an improvised recording set-up and the musicians worked four days straight; morning, afternoon and night, jamming and recording ‘live’. Post-production took place back in hometown Wellington at The Surgery Studio where similarly iconic NZ albums by The Phoenix Foundation, The Black Seeds and TrinityRoots have recorded.
In October 2008 a hand numbered, limited edition of The Woolshed Sessions CD and booklet featuring documentary photographs by Andy Morley-Hall was released.