Alt-country is no longer the new kid on the block. It’s been growing and evolving since those heady days and Heartworn Highways first traveled by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark in the 1970s, on through the genius of Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown, and more recently Jason Isbell, Deer Tick and many, many more.
As a musician, singer and songwriter, Nathan Seeckts has undertaken his own creative journey, across three formative EPs before arriving on his first mountaintop – the acclaimed debut album The Heart Of The City in 2019. That record cemented Seeckts as one of the most exciting new voices on the Australian Americana landscape and received a nomination for Country Album of The Year at the 2019 Music Victoria Awards, but it was a trip to the USA that sowed the seeds for Seeckts’ ability and inspiration to create the album. “I definitely saw a big change in my writing and approach to music when I came back from the States in 2016. My wife and I spent three months driving through the southern states of America, immersing ourselves in the music and culture and playing a bunch of solo shows along the way. Going to the source of country and blues was definitely a big inspiration for the sound of my music after that.”
Hailing from Geelong, VIC, Seeckts is steeped in the musical history of country and folk music but it was a more contemporary band that first drew him into the country orbit. “I think my gateway band, the one that really introduced me to country-ish music was Memphis act Lucero. Their fusing of country, soul and punk rock was something that just made sense to me and became the benchmark for my songwriting in those early years,” recalls Seeckts.
He can strip a song back to acoustic guitar and that show-stopping voice or lace it with ragged electric guitar and a rock-leaning rhythm section and find equal amounts of power and immediacy in the music. That range and duality is key to Seeckts’ world-class songwriting ability and the acclaim he’s received for The Heart Of The City.
Drop the needle on the album and beyond the opening chords it’s Seeckts’ rough and grainy voice that takes centre-stage, demanding your attention and immediate buy-in with the authenticity of his emotion and the poetic depth of his words. From Lucero’s Ben Nichols to Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood and solo artist Arlo McKinley, Seeckt’s shares that barrel-chested growl and raw soul that makes those singers so brilliant at conveying what lies at the heart of their songs.
The Heart of The City received widespread radio airplay on shows and stations including Double J, Twang on RRR, ABC Evenings, Acid Country and 5 Feet High & Rising on PBS. It was added to rotation on ABC Country where it remained one of the top 10 most played songs on the station for three months. The respected website Saving Country Music feature the single ‘Old Blood’ on its Top 25 Playlist and recognised Seeckts as an artist to watch in 2019.
Following an extensive run of Australian tour dates, Seeckts was selected by Sounds Australia to showcase at AmericanaFest in Nashville in September 2019, playing to a sold out crowd at the historic Bluebird Cafe. After that career highlight he was also awarded a Queenscliff Music Festival Emerging Artist Grant. He played that year’s festival, showcased at Australian Music Week held in NSW and performed at the inaugural B.I.G. Festival in Geelong, alongside Alex Lahey, Diddirri, British India and Alice Ivy.
Seeckts also played the 2020 Tamworth Country Music Festival and over the years has had the honour of supporting many fine Australian artists including The Teskey Brothers, CW Stoneking, Archie Roach, You Am I, Tex Perkins, Cash Savage and Raised By Eagles, and international luminaries such as Joe Pug, Big Country, Courtney Marie Andrews, Strand Of Oaks and Deer Tick.
Seeckts also plays a role in spreading the music of others with his radio show Last Night In Town which will reach its 200th episode later this year! Broadcast locally on 94.7 The Pulse FM, the show is also part of the global Blues and Roots Radio network.
A decade into his recording career, one of Australia’s most passionate and heartfelt songwriters is set to embark on the next chapter of his musical adventure – completing the writing of album number two and returning to the road with songs and guitar in hand.
The Heart Of The City (2019)
A Man Possessed (2016)
Oceans of Women and Wine (2013)
Deviation Road (2011)
“Seemingly hewn from Bellarine Peninsula basalt, Seeckts’ vocal is imbued with all the heartworn grit of Deer Tick’s John McCauley, grounding an album that’s alternately heaving, shivering and jangling with feeling. Whether punching out a heartland belter or immersed in a nostalgic reverie, Seeckts delivers songs of immense humanity, compassion, and catharsis.” - Gareth Hipwell COUNTRY UPDATE MAGAZINE
“It’s a remarkably mature track for an artist of Seeckts’s relatively tender years, and demonstrates a deep understanding of human nature and the pitfalls of life as a performing artist. A big voice with something to say; definitely one to watch.” - John Turnbull, review of single ‘Old Blood’. AUSTRALIAN INDEPENDENT
“Nathan Seeckts first album reminds me of Steve Earle’s debut from many years ago. Whereas Earle was singing about Guitar Town, Seeckts is singing about G-Town - Geelong. An important new voice in the country scene.” - Jeff Jenkins THE MUSIC
“Across these ten tracks, Seeckts consistently hits a fine marriage of high emotion, poetry and strong melodies.” - Chris Familton RHYTHMS
“With a voice that almost defines the word ‘gravel’ in musical terms his vocals will resonate with anyone familiar with the likes of Israel Nash and Otis Gibbs. Seeckts holds nothing back. He attacks each song full on and the fact that the majority of the album was recorded live in only 2 days is no surprise.” - Peter Churchill AMERICANA UK
“If the single is anything to go by, Nathan is about to take the Australian Country music scene by storm. Dripping with raw country truth, the production and composition of this song is flawless.” - Katherine Devaney, ABC Country Program Director TRIPLE J UNEARTHED