True North Album Review. 4 stars. By Mike Alexander Sunday Star Times
Listening to Bryce Wastney’s third studio album True North is like catching up with a dear old friend. It’s warm, intimate, honest and a lovely reminder of the shared bond you have. He’s a master craftsman — perhaps something he perfected as a boatbuilder — when it comes to writing articulate and poignant songs such as World Gone Mad and Too Late, both of which are reflectively wistful and rich in imaginary. Other highlights include Hearts On Fire and The Hurricane, but this is an album that you need to listen to throughout with your favorite tipple and simply enjoy.
True North – album review by Graham Reid www.elsewhere.co.nz
“Nelson-born Wastney popped up at Elsewhere three years ago when he answered a Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire (about whom we asked, “Bryce who?”) and we here acknowledge his third independently produced album of acoustic-driven folk-rock with a smattering of contemporary country influences. Or in the case of the uplifting Does Your Heart Belong To Me an understated Celtic reference.
First, we should put him in a frame for you: He’s toured with Jordie Lane, Paul Ubana Jones, Anna Coddington and Marlon Williams among others, wrote a book about his life and struggles so far (Running Against the Wind), opened for the Mockers in Christchurch, is a World Vision ambassador and toured a Cat Stevens show Wild World.
So he’s a smart, thoughtful singer-songwriter with something to say (life’s journey, faith in the face of adversity, love and the joy and doubt that comes with it), has a strong and expressive voice and one who carefully wraps his lyrics in memorable melodies. Fellow musician, the multi-instrumentalist Ryan Beehre who mixed this also deserves special mention.
Here are 10 discreet songs which are well crafted and reward the effort made to locate at his website.”
Running Against The Wind – Book review
“I picked through the stories and then went back and filled in the gaps. I love how each story is so captivating and humorous.”
Review by Israel Best, Melbourne school teacher
Running Against The Wind – Book review
“Running Against the Wind by Bryce Wastney: this is a very inspiring tale of a young mans life despite all that life threw at him. From life threatening illnesses, to becoming a rising Rock musician, Bryce takes you with him throughout the book. You are a college student pulling pranks. You are struggling through late night gigs and crazy people on a 1.5 hour train ride. You are frightened by a strange supernatural experience, unexplainable to this day. Despite all this, Bryce has managed to care for 2 children through World Vision and learned that strength comes from within – and a higher power. Excellent read! I highly recommend it.”
Review by Kerry hall, Creative Director, It Matters Radio USA
Songbook & Six String with Paul Ubana Jones, Theatre Royal, Nelson, May 1 2015
“There is something very satisfying about watching two musicians on stage who so obviously enjoy each other’s company and share the stage with an absence of ego and great musical generosity.”
Live in The Lounge with Luke Shaw and World Vision at Yazza Cafe, Nelson, July 5 2014
“The first ‘Live in the Lounge’ show at Yaza Cafe was extremely well attended and well received by all present and I enjoyed it immensely. Luke Shaw’s thought provoking and heartfelt set was followed by the very talented Bryce Wastney, singing and playing some of his expertly crafted songs with great passion and skill. The amiable, chatty interludes between Bryce’s songs were highly entertaining and informative, especially as he touched on his association with World Vision and the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Africa. Bryce’s genial demeanour, warmth, and sense of humour combined with his obvious skill on guitar and harmonica made for a very enjoyable and purposeful night. The ‘Live in the Lounge’ concept works well in an intimate setting and I’m sure will be a major blessing and privilege for all those who avail themselves of the opportunity to participate in it.”
Germein Sisters, Bryce Wastney, Luke Inglis at The Toff In Town, Melbourne, April 9 2014
“Even though the gig was bookended with covers All Along The Watchtower from Luke Inglis and a spirited rendition of Avicii’s “Hey Brother” as an encore from the Germein Sisters, this was primarily an evening of fresh original material from three very different acts.
Inglis’ acoustic version of the Dylan classic set the tone for his set, a collection of songs themed with issues of hope and justice. The Melbourne-based performer was easy on the ear and his relaxed performance was well received.
Launching his album “Hope Mountain”, New Zealander Bryce Wastney continued to explore the themes initiated by Inglis, but his songs were lyrically more complex and more hard-hitting musically. Wastney’s laidback patter and confident stage presence allowed him to easily connect with the somewhat sedate, but attentive audience. The highlight of this Kiwi’s set was, for me, “The Brightest Star”, a duet with Georgia Germein on keys. Other standout tracks amongst his well-crafted offerings were the catchy country-tinged “Dead Man Walking” and the poignant “Bretania”.
The energy level in the room rose considerably when the Germein Sisters took the stage. Playing instruments adorned with fairy lights and with bass player/cellist Ella crowned by a garland of flowers, the Adelaide girls delivered a seamless set of high energy pop and rock originals. Georgia Germein led her siblings, drummer Clara and the effervescent Ella, from the front, delivering haunting vocals underscored with confident lead guitar and keyboard parts.
The Germein Sisters look great on stage, but they are no glammed-up Barbie dolls. These girls can play and they can rock! Like their fellow performers, many of their songs dealt with positive themes of hope and light and overcoming adversity.
At times, the similarity between the sounds created by these girls and Irish group “The Corrs” was uncanny. Even so, this trio of sisters is not a carbon copy of any other outfit. The Germein Sisters are creating their own music and much of it is infused with an infectious joy. They deserve a much bigger audience in Australia and beyond.”
Vic Campbell (VC Media Record Label)
Central School, New Plymouth NZ 2013
“An offer of an afternoon music session with Bryce was too good to miss and it left our primary school children in awe. Obviously dedicated to sharing his love of music with various ages, Bryce was happy to answer the children’s’ questions no matter what direction they took. He encouraged the children to join in with the beat and even us teachers were tapping along. Thanks for showing our kids that putting 100% of your heart and soul into something really does pay off! We’d have him back any time!”
Katie Fraser (Teacher)
Music in the courtyard, Cooranbong NSW, Dec 8 2013
“In a small intimate courtyard in Cooranbong, a small rural town 1 hour north of Sydney, there was a magic performance by NZ artist Bryce Wastney. From Nelson NZ, Bryce is a natural entertainer who endeared himself easily to the audience though both his humorous stories he told between numbers and the warm original songs he sang.
From the moment Bryce started to sing his hit song, Dead Man Walking, you could hear people singing along with the chorus and taping their feet in time with the song. Each song he sang had its story that touched the heart. A standout song was “The Brightest Star” which was the story of a diver on an oil rig who lived 10 days at a time under the water all by himself completely cut off from the outside world. That would be enough to depress anyone, but this diver had mastered the way of staying upbeat by to looking up through the water and waves to see the stars above. Nice advice for anyone who needs a little healthy perspective on things; look up and see the stars.
Today’s performance took him back to the birth of his musical career with the purchase of his first guitar from Avondale Music and then lessons from fellow singer songwriter Peter Dixon. In a fitting tribute to his former teacher, Bryce finished off his concert with an impromptu invitation for Peter Dixon and a local Drummer Chris Morgan to join him in his last song for the day.
If you ever get the chance to experience Bryce live in concert just do it, you won’t be disappointed. His music will take you on a journey you won’t want to forget. I have a distinct feeling you will be seeing lots more of Bryce around with his unique sound already climbing the charts of NZ, Finland and Australia. Rock on Bryce your music is awesome.”
Neil Thompson, Director of La Vida Centre Life Coach, NNSW Conference SDA
Songbook & Six String Tour 2013 – Live gig review
“What a truly delightful evening we had when Bryce Wastney and Paul Ubana Jones performed in Waimate on 27 September 2013 as part of their Six String and Songbook Tour. It was easy to see the passion these two have for their music and the pleasure they get from performing”.
Judy White – Waimate Theatre, Waimate September 2013
Songbook & Six String Tour 2013 – Live gig review
“These two troubadours delighted our local crowd here at The Vic, regaling us with an intimate show of warm, soulful folk, book-ended by humorous yet sincere storytelling. Warming up for what should be an interesting national tour, Jones and Wastney, like true musicians, have melded their respective solo acts into an interesting collaboration sparking both compositional interpretation and musical repertoires. Throughout the show, old and new songs were traded, restyled and freshly examined in a way that ultimately made it an authentic and enjoyable performance for all concerned. We wish them luck on the road and hope to see them again next time.”
Patrick Kilmartin – The Vic Cinema, Auckland, September 2013
Songbook & Six String Tour 2013 – Live gig review
“I had the pleasure in attending a magical performance at the Okurukuru Winery in New Plymouth on their Songbook & Six String Tour at which Bryce Wastney & Paul Ubana Jones gave an amazing performance singing and playing music from the heart (on their acoustic guitars) and shared some entertaining stories of their experiences throughout their travels as muso’s on the road incl stories they shared of their lives.
Bryce & Paul captivated the audience to the point where all were spellbound by their incredible talents, and we all felt the warmth and love for the music we all so hungered to hear. Indeed this pair of humble musician’s complimented each other’s songs. They played together as if they had harmonised on many occasions! Paul’s rendition of John Lennon’s, “Norwegian Wood” blew me away and with his song called Rest In My Arms. I look forward to supporting these talented musicians again on another journey.”
Janet Le Breton – Okurukuru Winery, New Plymouth September 2013
Album Review: A Perfect Day For Travel.
“If we were talking a film synopsis, journeyman Bryce Wastney would be your engaging, sympathetic everyman protagonist – you feel you like the guy just from his musical personality. There’s a wide-open Australian outback feel to the compositions (the album was tracked in NSW by guitarist Dale Willis).
Most appealing are the layered acoustic guitar beds and tasteful leads. Wastney has a husky low vocal register and power in reserve when he opens up. He could be an Antipodean Jack Johnson, and that’s not meant to be derogatory. I am also reminded of Andrew White.
Lyrically, you can spot a rhyming couplet a mile off, but this reinforces the straight-up, relatable style.
My Music Thing describes a conversation where the artist defends his urge to create in the face of pressing pragmatism. Supporting musicians colour the tracks with tightly coiled, sprightly playing: Willis (guitars), Tim Burcham (drums) and Leighton Heise on bass.
Closing track Light My Way boasts a soaring string arrangement. Wastney is aiming for beauty and is often on target. While not earth-moving, this album is a nice place to park and take in the sunset.”
Written by Jacob Connor – NZ Musician Magazine
“If you enjoy natural from the heart type of music, then you must go an see Bryce Wastney performs live. I got Bryce’s CD and I thoroughly enjoy it, but when I went to the live performance in Melbourne, the raw emotion and heart throbbing background story that Bryce brings just multiplies the aural experience elevating it into another level. A must see performance.”
Edwin Tejoz, CEO of www.starfishmusic.net
“The crown jewel of the album though is the title track “A perfect day for travel”. On this slow masterpiece Bryce gives you a performance that makes you shiver – in a good way. It’s the kind of song you find yourself humming to when you wake up in the morning.”
Henrik Kiviluoto, music reviewer www.amplifier.co.nz
”I have known Bryce since he made his first ‘demo’ CD. I would often attend his live gigs which always inspired me to simply play my guitar. His music has progressed through the years but I simply love all of his music. I listen to it regularly while I work my woodworking magic in my workshop & absolutely recommend his easy listening acoustic style to anyone. I rank Bryce Wastney right up there with singer/songwriter Jon Foreman of Switchfoot.”
”I had the pleasure of an amazing evening listening to Bryce Wastney performing at the Playhouse theatre near Nelson 26th Feb.
Beautiful acoustics easy listening particularly loved the connection with the music and life experiences. I could feel the emotion as Bryce sang a song in memory of a lady called Robyn. Bryce thank you for sharing your talents with us . ‘A Perfect Day For Travel ‘ makes me feel so good and my clients love it!
”I thoroughly enjoyed your set last night at Ruby’s Lounge. You are a talented & inspiring performer, you had me drawn in from the moment I walked in. I am now enjoying your CD’s! 🙂 I feel privileged to come across such great talent, beats the rubbish we have to endure on radio!”
“The crowd was big, and energy high; primarily there was a huge crowd of 200 Melbournian schoolies, but also a large bucks party and birthday celebrations…all in all a crowd ready to party and party they did! Bryce Wastney quickly read the crowd and put together a set list of crowd favourites..mostly covers, but some originals thrown in. The crowd lapped it up. Singing along..to each other, to Bryce and dancing up a storm. They loved Bryce’s cool, laid back vibe and his interaction with the crowd. I’ve spent many nights at “Lefties” as a Torquay local, and have rarely seen such a reaction or vibe in the room, particularly to a live act. I, for one, would love to see Bryce back on the Surf Coast. I’m sure he made many new fans that night…I’m now one of them!”
Natalie van Dongen
“Bryce Wastney treated Ruby’s Lounge to an outstanding performance last night for Ruby’s Loungapalooza Variety showcase. His on stage presence and interaction with the crowd was a treat. His was the only act of the night to draw people to the dance floor, his charismatic ways had the place buzzing. The Humble musician chatted to the crowd between songs, thanked all the acts before him, and even entertained us during his sound check! Bryce is a one in a million performer & we would love to have him back again and again.”
Lachlan Case, Ruby’s Lounge www.rubyslounge.com.au Melbourne Australia.
“Bryce Wastney & his smooth acoustic style rocked the connection lounge! The Lounge was packed! An engaging storyteller, Bryce mixed humour with heart-felt examples from his own life’s journey. He left each performance with the crowd wanting more! Can’t wait to have him back!“
Chris Morgan (Director – Connection Lounge NSW)
“Windsor Park cafe was fortunate to have Bryce come and entertain us with an acoustic set that showcased his talent. A mix of covers and original songs highlighted his songwriting and excellent musical ability. Thanks so much for playing, spending time with the fans, and being an all round nice guy! You’re welcome back anytime.”
Brendon Smith – Windsor Park Baptist Church. Akld NZ.
“Bryce Wastney’s performance in Christchurch in early January 2011, for a conservative Christian audience of some 600 people, was warmly received & enjoyed by all, young and old alike. Bryce and his beautiful accompaniment Aly, were able to create a very relaxed, entertaining and enjoyable atmosphere as they performed some well known songs of worship, along with many of Bryce’s own pieces of music that reflected his own life journey. I highly recommend this talented young musician.”
Craig Gilles (President of SDA church conference)
“We had the opportunity of hosting Bryce in our cafe in Melbourne. It was an amazing experience! While not just a top bloke, he is a genuine & authentic musician who writes, sings and plays from the heart. The journey with him is inspirational, captivating and one that leaves you wanting more.”
Greg Pratt – Church gig review Melbourne
“This is some of the most beautiful music I have ever listened to. I play it just about every day!!! Still !! It’s uplifting, inspiring, joyful, thoughtful, heartfelt, real…. his guitar is stunning….bright, clear, easy and rich. The songs speak of a life lived authentically and feelings considered deeply, and they help me recognise my own journey more clearly.”
Jude Waters. Album Review