'If I get three musical discoveries of this calibre out of the hundreds of new musical experiences that come my way annually, I count myself blessed.' (JAZZWISE UK). 'Imagining life without her music and its surprises is too bleak to even think about. Jenny M. Thomas is that transformative an artist.' (fRoots UK)
With airplay on Triple J and ABC Radio this post-modern bush band play gothic tales of Australia's dark history retold with beats, bass and a fair bit of folk. Their new album, Bush Gothic, has created a genre unto itself with songs of criminal women and convict men, treachery and transportation: 'Bold, inspired and beautiful in its intensity, Thomas, plus two, have taken the foundations of a folk library and built a new architecture. Bush Gothic takes your breath away.' (The National Times)
Finding a cult following amongst those who like their folk, but are pretty keen on intelligent pop and jazz as well, their recent Adelaide Fringe performance was reviewed as 'An evolution in traditional folk music. Outstanding.'
"The birth of folk rock in the '70's made the purists cringe. But that was nothing compared to what Jenny (fiddle, piano, spoons), Chris Lewis (drums, percussion, piano) and Dan Witton (double bass) had done to traditional Oz fold music. And they have done it brilliantly! They sang about convicts, bushrangers and life in a younger Oz. They each worked tenaciously to perform their own unique arrangements to well known songs such as "True Blue", "Moreton Bay" and "Bound For South Australia". Jenny's voice was stunning. Their three-part harmonies were tight and passionate; you could sometimes imagine you were listening to Irish band Clannad. All fine musicians and their interpretation of songs may be just what's needed to bring younger musicians back to folk music. They're not alternative folk but an evolution in traditional folk music. The corwd should have been bigger but they were enthusiastic, resulting in a well deserved encore. Final Word: Outstanding!" - Rip It Up Magazine
"Who do I have to thank for this interregnum? A Melbourne trio, and their supporting cast. The trio are Jenny M. Thomas and the System. Frankly, wars could have exploded, governements imploded, revolutions sparked and faded, Shane Warne could have proposed, the trains could have run on time. I have been deaf to it all." - National Times: feature review of Bush Gothic - full review here
read more from the Age here
"An outstanding singer"
.....Laurence Donahue -Green (All about Jazz, New York)
Vocalist, improviser and songwriter, Julie O'Hara has been active in jazz for almost twenty years, growing up in Melbourne, Australia, performing with Big Bands, gypsy swing, traditional jazz, R&B swing, bebop and vocalese. Julie has earned a reputation for her prodigious activity in Melbourne's jazz and music clubs, national and international music and jazz festivals as a versatile and committed vocalist and songwriter. You will find her on recordings as wide as The Cat Empire and as close as her own "Use the Force".
"O'Hara's vocals are imbued with a strong jazz feel with eloquent phrasing, melodic variations and rhythmic expression "
John McBeath (The Australian)
"With her perfect pitch, skillful improvising and ego-free style, O'Hara has carved out a reputation on the Australian and international music scene for high-quality performances that are accessible to everyone".
Ken Turnball (Castlemaine State Festival review - vocalese project).
Julie's band features the talents of Carlo Barbaro - sax (Vada), Eamon McNelis - trumpet (Flap!), Darrin Archer - piano, Leigh Barker - bass, Ed York - drums