There’s a hot wind blowing in 2016: the kind of gale that lays a field of cane down flat against the earth, whips the roadside paperbarks into a frenzy, and buffets the windows of a solitary Landcruiser sailing down a moonlit red dirt track. It’s the kind of wind that heralds the arrival of a ferocious summer storm. And at the eye of the storm is Hurricane Fall.
Tamworth-born-and-raised and now based in the coastal country hot-spot of Newcastle, Hurricane Fall is guitarist Jesse Vee, Pepper Deroy on bass, lead guitarist Jimmy Hick, and Lachlan ‘Dusty’ Coffey on skins and percussion. That Hurricane Fall is a band of mates as much as it is a well-oiled musical unit is clear: the band is one of the tightest live acts working in Australia today.
“We’re all so supportive of each other, and we just mesh,” says Jimmy. “If anything, we mesh together like brothers.”
Hurricane Fall confirmed their arrival on the scene with the release of a towering self-titled debut EP in January this year – which landed at the No. 2 spot on the iTunes Country Music Charts. It’s a testament to the band’s already devoted following: built in large part on the back of their formidable reputation as a live act.
“We’re all extroverts, and we all love to perform,” Jimmy explains. “If we could perform all day every day, we would. After our first show together, we just said, this works. We feel more comfortable in front of 10,000 people than we do just sitting in our loungeroom!”
Portentously, one of the band’s earliest support slots saw them backing Canadian country luminary Codie Prevost at 2015’s Tamworth Country Music Festival. They’ve since supported local star Troy Kemp, and thrilled some of the nation’s most devoted audiences everywhere from Tamworth to Ariah Park to Mount Cattleman Festival in Melbourne. So, when Jimmy says the band has had “quite a few defining shows,” it’s a massive understatement.
Driving home their rock edge country sound with musicianship that is unrivalled in Australian country, Hurricane Fall draw on timeless sounds to build something that is uniquely theirs: marrying the festival-ready goodtime vibes of Zac Brown Band with the effortless charm of Australia’s own Keith Urban and the swagger of acts like Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line – all underpinned by the band’s captivating style, which effortlessly recalls the heaving band-rooms, carpets wet with spilled beer, and exposed-brick walls plastered with peeling posters that are the hallmarks of Australia’s eternal pub- and- classic-rock tradition.
“It definitely has a lot of elements of country music in there – in the groove, in the strumming patterns, the solos, the songwriting style, the theme of the songs,” Jimmy says of the band’s sound. “It all has elements that relate to country in it. But it really is rock country. We all come from a background playing in rock bands, playing blues as well as country. It’s all of these elements syncing together. We just write the music we write!”
Just as a Landcruiser or Ford pickup needs a pair of working headlights to guide it onward as it thunders down a dark road while the needle nudges 100, Hurricane Fall’s unique sound is piloted by not one but two lead singers: Jesse and Pepper.
“You see it with blood brothers – when they’re singing together, whether they’re singing unison melodies or whether they’re singing in harmony with each other, the voices just marry up so perfectly, because they’re blood brothers,” Jimmy explains. “We kind of have the same thing in this band: the two vocals marry up so perfectly, it’s as if they were blood brothers!”
Hurricane Fall had a mammoth Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2016, closing out the festivities as one of the annual country meet’s most talked-about live acts – selling more than 300 CDs in the process. It’s a towering achievement in the context of a festival featuring hundreds of artists playing across dozens of venues around the clock.
“We played every day in Tamworth – and every night,” Jimmy recalls. “We had an absolute blast! We had a lot of friends coming to the gigs, and then the friends that they brought to the gigs told their friends. So, from about halfway through the festival until the end of the festival, it was just huge crowds! To play and sing for 12 days straight in Tamworth this year was something that made us realise that this is what we want to do – and we can do this every day.”
The Hurricane Fall EP is essential listening – both for country fans, and for fans of classic rock in general.
‘Levis’ – which was penned by Kelsea Ballerini collaborators Ryan Griffin, Jason Duke, and Jason Massey – is the irrepressible, feel-good anthem of the summer, with its driving riff and nostalgic, classic rock guitar flavours: ‘you’re wreckin’ me in them Levis / it’s hard to drive when you’re takin’ me for a ride.’
‘Break You’ is a storm in miniature, in which Jimmy and Jesse’s pulsing guitars arc like white lightning, drums thunder, and the band’s trademark vocal harmonies swirl like sheets of rain. ‘Divide’ is an earthy, carefree jam anchored by Pepper and Dusty’s floor-filling rhythm section and a soaring vocal hook, while ‘Other Side’ is a towering, freewheeling rock ballad. One thing is certain: it’s only the beginning of something huge.
Batten down the hatches, Australia: the storm is about to break.