Go Dancing Into The Fray (Liam McKahey and the Bodies)

Earlier this month, on April 10th, a crowd funding campaign was launched by our friends Liam McKahey & the Bodies. The band have recorded 10 new tracks & are hoping to attract the patronage of the world’s music lovers to get the album produced, overdubbed & mixed. They were initially hoping to raise A$7,000, that’s US$6600, €4750 & , in real money, £3900. The campaign met this target just like that. There are people all over the world who have a connection with Liam’s music &  are eager to hear some more but it was always plain that finishing this new record, “Black Vinyl Heart”  properly would need more than this initial contribution.

At the time of writing almost A$12,000 has been pledged. I know that the Bodies are excited & affected by such generous support. There is mastering, artwork, printing & pressing of CDs & vinyl, then distribution to be considered & paid for. Just another A$3,000 & this killer LP can be finished just right.The group are using Pozible, the Australian platform for creative projects. There are incentives to pledge from T-shirts to the whole Bodies crew coming round your house & giving your street something to remember. The world will be a better place when this album is released. All the details, a video & a musical taster, can be found at


 I have written about the band here & there. Say something twice, why say it again. So, loosehandlebars is pleased to hand over to our new international correspondent Gigi Mac from Maryland in the US of A. Gigi’s money is absolutely on McKahey’s Mob coming up with the goods. After some music, some very good music, she is going to tell us why.

  To say I have eclectic musical tastes would be an understatement.  Coming from a large musical family, with culturally & ethnically diverse members & friends, my philosophy ever since I was a kid has been:  if it sounds good, stick with it. Many years & countless genres later, I think around 2000 or so, I had the privilege of running into a little ditty by a band unknown to me at the time — Cousteau — called “Jump in the River”.  It was so lush, so arresting, so moody, I had to hear more, and figure out who was singing all this loveliness.  Granted, I’ve always adored gypsy rumba & flamenco music, so at the time of their discovery, I wasn’t into digging deeper for this stuff—maybe because I knew it would completely take over… I liked it where I kept it– it was like my little secret, my retreat.  If I felt particularly dark or destructive, I would fall into it — this voice, especially– and something about it would ‘fix’ me.

Fast forward to around 2011 or so. Cousteau having been broken up for a while, and I, during a particularly bored Google search, wonder what had happened to this band… I was content enough to have what I considered the most exquisite collection of songs I’d ever hear in my collection… that baritone, going as deep as it wants to, or up in an incredibly vulnerable falsetto, the thoughtful poetry set to poignant melodies…  Could there be more? Then I find Liam McKahey and the Bodies.  A new sound, new vibe, new brilliance—“beautiful songs of love, loss, opiates, trains and outlaws…”  Liam on his own on this ‘Lonely Road’.  This time he really gets to shine as a writer as well as a performer – bold step, but I got a feeling it was long overdue.
What perplexes the idealist in me most of the time is why more people aren’t stampeding over each other to hear him & his band!  I suppose in a world of quick money making hacks, capitalizing on posturing and being a brand, instead of actual music, to an equally vapid audience, talent– real talent, recognized by a smaller segment of individuals with extraordinary taste, will always thrive, if only humbly; one may not have 10 Bentleys in one’s garage, but maybe a well-maintained Triumph motorcycle will do nicely 😉
 So now we, the privileged few, have a chance to partake once again in a new effort by Liam McKahey & the Bodies — ‘Black Vinyl Heart’… I contend that they are still too far away from us up on the Northern Hemisphere, and I am daily very jealous of the Aussies, as I pretend to hunt for cheap Qantas flights… nevertheless, the band as it is has really had a chance to gel and achieve a nice cohesion. They’ve shared stages with others and are falling into place in the growing music scene in Canberra, which I understand was previously almost nonexistent.  Every time I hear a smidgen of what will be released I bristle with excitement! almost like sympathetic nervous butterflies lol I am particularly ready to go on this continuing musical journey with the ever clone-worthy Mr. McKahey!

Absolutely ! It’s my own fault. I asked Gigi for a contribution but did she have to be that good ? We hope that she will stick around & share her other passions with us but we are all going to have to raise our game. OK… Liam McKahey & the Bodies need assistance & just a little bit of your money. Later in the year, when you have their shiny new music in your life you will be able to say that you helped to make it so. One last time, to do the right thing go to...http://www.pozible.com/project/180154


Liam McKahey and the Bodies In Living Colour March 2014

It is nothing but good news that someone with a good heart & a steady hand has finally managed to point a couple of cameras at a stage filled with Liam McKahey & the Bodies. The shout is out to Jarbo Productions for doing the right thing & furnishing a quality record of a quality band.

Liam & I go way back when we were painting parts of a city magnolia. Click here for that story & some solid music from his band Cousteau. Many of us hold fond memories of that band but, y’know, Cousteau was then & this…you get me. 2014 has to be all about Liam McKahey & the Bodies.The band play plenty of gigs around Canberra & the Australian Capital Territory. I know…just how many of us are likely to be in the correct hemisphere never mind on the right continent. All we see are the tempting, self-designed posters for gigs we can’t get to.

PhotoBoy Oh Boy, Mr McK is right on form here at this month’s Canberra Enlighten Festival. Let’s start with the deep, rich rumble of his voice. It really is a special & impressive instrument that, I think, is still improving & maturing. “Dirty Mind”, his own song, is a fine showcase for both the vocal & the band. There’s an assurance, a velvety strength which commands attention with no need for in-your-face dramatics. I’m loving the subtle horn section fills, smoother than honk & squawk of the “soulful” option. I’m loving “Dirty Mind”, it shakes you to your boots…cracking.

Here, I guess, is a loosehandlebars exclusive. “Long Black Train”, from the same set, is still unlisted on the Y-tube & is not yet around on social media. Liam was kind enough to send me this great clip &…well…get me yeah ! “Long Black Train” is another atmospheric belter with good work by guitarist Jenny Spear. I can hear the influences because I know what they are… Johnny Cash, Lee Hazlewood. What I do like is that the song, like “Dirty Mind” avoids the obvious murder ballad/train song thud & blunder in favour of a more melodic approach. (I am going to whisper “Jimmy Webb” because that really would be blowing smoke up his butt).

Photo: West Bank festival photo by PlingNew music comes at us so randomly nowadays, from any decade & many styles. It’s tough for a new band to find an audience even when, as in Liam’s case, your former group had an international reputation. There will, hopefully, be a new collection of songs by Liam McKahey & the Bodies in 2014. Fans will do what they can to spread the word but, seriously, this stylish music deserves as wide a hearing as possible. If you are a grown -up who likes music for grown-ups made by …you get me, then this group’s work will sit nicely in your collection. These two tracks are a fine start, more later.

So Mr McKahey has an outstanding voice, writes great songs, leads a cool band, designs good posters & is not a bad guy (hey we all have our faults). What actually makes him a Renaissance Man is none of that stuff, it is that he was born in 1514, is 499 years old & only comes out at night. I’m giving away the secrets here…I’m off.