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The latest offering from Kevin Bennett & The Flood deals with family, roots, country and the ties that bind. It speaks to, and is informed by, the Australian landscape and the people of this wide, brown land.

Blood Red Ties is not just a solid mainstream country record, it’s also a reminder that alt-country has a longer history than a revival in checked shirts and questionable beards. It has a lot of good songs, a lot of very good playing, and does it all without fuss. It’s also a humanist statement, with Bennett posing questions about casual xenophobia, grasping what a connection to the land means beyond owning it for a couple of generations, and escaping abuse that goes beyond family to a wider, uglier society. And these themes sit alongside songs which address “easier” fare, such as parenthood, missed chances for love and day to day despair. Even when he’s judging, though – and you better believe in ‘The One’, when he sings “and we’ll go on building monuments to every wicked we’ve done”, that he is judging – Bennett still puts his faith in the women and men around him, not a myth or a higher power.

Tracks were recorded with Steve Newton at Enrec Studios Tamworth, and finished by Glen Hannah at StudioGoonga, with mixing by Ted Howard and mastering by Jeff McCormack. A wonderful statement piece.