So who do they sound like?
A rocky, folky, acoustic-lead, sometimes Beatlesesque mix of folky pop-rock. Think bands like Hothouse Flowers, Crowded House and James.
Things of Stone And Wood (TOSAW for short) are an Australian band lead by Greg Arnold. They were formed in 1989 and have not officially split up, but Greg (who is the main songwriter) is currently doing solo work. Greg won awards for his songwriting.
I was introduced to them many years ago by a friend who had been travelling around Australia. Although he wasn't a fan of their kind of music (he liked dance music) he liked the song 'Happy Birthday Helen' and it reminded him of his trip. He played it me one day and I was blown away!
I personally love his lyrics, they regularly have flashes of humour but cover all manner of social and personal topics. They are the best band you have never heard of. Though I believe they are well known in Australia!
My favourite Things Of Stone And Wood / Greg Arnold songs:
Happy Birthday Helen - The perfect happy song - races along in an acoustic frenzy of pure joy. (The Yearning) 1993
Share This Wine - "Though we all fear the loss of life, Our leaders fear the rise in global petrol price" (The Yearning)
Single Perfect Raindrop - "We will laugh at how I am scared of everything that moves lest it crash into me or with me in it" (The Yearning)
She Will Survive "She smoked three while I smoked one" - B side from various Yearning era singles & later TMWTPH album. I prefer the original B Side version.
Call Out My Name - B side of Happy Birthday Helen and almost as life-affirming.
Churchill's Black Dog - Not since the Cure have I heard such sad lyrics put to such happy music. This is a song about living with depression. Churchill referred to his depression as a "black dog". From Junk Theatre 1994.
Wildflowers - "We're all just earings to the left of our parents, they're all just haircuts to the left of theirs" - Junk Theatre
Beautiful Wonderful - A beautiful acoustic lovesong, a snapshot of a long distance relationship. Recorded live around a single microphone, on The Man With The Perfect Hair album 1995.
Incredible Things - A little acoustic contemplation on religion - with some great lines, some funny, some sensual. From the Greg Arnold's Tricycle album 'Super'.1999.
Lost And Found - "In 1985 I assumed that look was arty, Looking back I see I had a mullet". A return to form in 2003 from the excellent Rollercoatser.
Tumbling Down - "I know this feeling another cold dawn, wake up on some strangers floor, well they don't have the same records or take the same drugs anymore, Well it's not like I'm losing faith with the plan, but I feel it's time you understand, I'm not Wendy to your Springsteen, I'm Wendy to your Peter Pan". The Swamp Dandies - Fall 2011
Greg Arnold's other bands:
As well as Things Of Stone And Wood, Greg Arnold has released other albums under different names. ALL are highly recommended. The lyrics are always top notch as are the melodies and songwriting quality.
Under the name Greg Arnold's Tricycle, releasing the album 'Super' in 1999. As well as 'Incredible Things' I would recommend you seek out the song 'X Will Mark the Spot' - a fantasticly bitter description of a lost relationship.
He also released the solo album 'Lost Marie' in 2006.
After TOSAW, an acoustic based album.
The title track has great lyrics and is possibly his 'Brown Eyed Girl'?
While 'The Whisky Tango' is the sort of left field step that singers like Chris de Burgh would make on his early albums - embracing a new musical style and telling a story integral to the sound of the tune.
There are TWO unlisted secret tracks AT THE END OF THE cd!
His latest project is The Swamp Dandies
and it is the best of the 3 non-TOSAW albums so far.
'Olivia' is one of those beautiful little Beatles-esque simplistic 3 and a half minute songs Greg seems to throw out so easily. All of these songs would have graced any TOSAW release. Songs such as 'Tomorrow', 'Fall Into My Hands' and 'Tumbling Down' stand out on early plays. In 'Tumbling Down' we have another upbeat,optimistic song with beautifully poignant lyrics. It is hard to find and costly to import - but it is worth it because where else can you get this quality?
More Info here:
25th Anniversary of Things Of Stone And Wood - OFFICIAL WEBSITE: