Quintessential Australian entertainer Peter Combe, the Kenneth Grahame [Wind In The Willows] of children’s music, is set to delight audiences of all ages with his new album, Live It Up. The acclaimed ARIA award-winning songwriter, who celebrates an illustrious career spanning 35 years and a legion of fans, will release Live It Up – his 15th album since his 1987 Toffee Apple release – in May coinciding with a national run of tour dates.
The new album Live It Up features a huge variety of songs among its 22 tracks – everything from modern folk acoustic songs, worthy of Simon and Garfunkel, which see Peter return to his folk roots; to pop ditty’s, poetry, play on words, nonsense words and soaring chorus songs. There is something for everyone, for school aged children querying about life, to pre-schoolers working out their day.
The album’s themes range from the lyrical birdsong of the magpie, to the bigger educational topics such as the dinosaurs and global warming. Don’t worry, it’s not as dire as that sounds, Peter insists Sun Goes Up, Sun Goes Down is more of an introduction to the issue of global warming and as always, in the way that only he can, Peter turns education into fun for all involved.
“The song is a combination of the awe we feel for the beauty of the planet, but also a very gentle introduction to children to the idea of climate change,” says Peter. “I didn’t want to do a big, heavy song about climate change and scare people away, just a small introduction to it where it comes in on the second verse. It’s so children are aware this is happening, because in the end we’re going to pass the planet on to them, and at the moment things aren’t looking all that good. I felt almost a sense of responsibility to talk about it so that as children get older and they hear this song they’ll be quite curious about what’s going on with the planet.”
This is the third album Peter has made with engineer Brett Sody at Sodypop Studios in Adelaide. He has enlisted leading youth choir Young Adelaide Voices (he’s a patron) for several of the tracks, along with the voices of his family who were the inspiration behind several songs such as Mr Spool and Just A Little Boy – even Peter’s studio-shy wife got on board for this album.
“I’ve never used my family or grandchildren just because they’re related to me, but because they can do it, they can sing,” says Peter. “I’ve always thought it was a bit nepotistic to use your kids just because they’re your kids and a bit cute. I’ve used them because they cut the mustard, as we say in showbiz!”
The quality and variety of tracks on Live It Up demonstrate Peter’s commitment for almost three years, from songwriting through to final production, to create a perfect mix of fun, education, nonsense and as Peter calls it ‘good taste’. “I’m a great believer in surprising the listener with each track,” he says.
Finding inspiration everywhere including his grandchildren (Mr Spool), and his personal childhood memories (Talk About The Cat), Peter even sifted through some older songs from up to 30 years ago – the heartbreaking Just A Little Boy he wrote about his son’s birth, and Wishes written almost 10 years ago for a musical production based on Pinocchio that his daughter was arranging at her performing arts school.
“Every album for me is quite different to the previous ones because I’m always exploring new styles, new moods, new key signatures, new everything really,” says Peter. “The guiding light for me is always good taste. I think everything you produce for children needs to be in good taste. I try and maintain a very high standard, I’ve very hard on myself in the sense that I don’t put anything on an album that I’m not truly happy with. If it’s not good enough it’s not going to make the final record.”
An album for children and adults alike, Live It Up will certainly become a stereo favourite for all.
Peter Combe’s 15th album Live It Up is released through MGM on Friday 5th May 2017. For more information, please visit www.petercombe.com.au