Emma Donovan is an acclaimed Australian singer and songwriter. Her father’s side of the family belongs to the Naaguja and Yamatji people of Western Australia, her mother was a Gumbaynggirr/Dhangatti woman from Nambucca Valley on the northern coast of NSW. Emma speaks to Gman on Big Brekkie. Emma Donovan and critically-acclaimed rhythm combo The Putbacks have released their much-anticipated album Crossover, defining a new flavour in the feast of Australian music, which features music powerfully performed and preserved in traditional language.
With nostalgic songwriting delving into Emma’s childhood, family and her late mother, Crossover is a beautifully honest soulful ride through the past, with relevance to the now. The personal and honest lyrics throughout Crossover are emphasised by The Putbacks sharp, dynamic and funky rhythms, delivering a swag of soul-defining songs with sentimental hints of Stax and classic Atlantic recordings the whole way through. Emma Donovan & The Putbacks first burst onto the scene together with 2014’s epic Dawn which won fans all over the world. Since then, Emma Donovan has toured and recorded with Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter, Paul Kelly and Spinifex Gum, while The Putbacks released their debut self-titled album in 2018.
Following on from the successful collaboration with Dawn, Crossover highlights the band’s shared love for classic American soul and the protest music of indigenous Australia, with a uniquely Australian accent. Growing up singing church songs with her grandparents on the North Coast of New South Wales, Emma’s grandmother is the focus of the first single off the album Pink Skirt, whilst her mother forms the yearning and heartfelt masterpiece of Crossover; a tribute to memories made, connection and ongoing spirit.
Five-piece combo The Putbacks are veterans of the recording studio, having performed across a variety of festivals and major events for over a decade, establishing themselves as Melbourne’s go-to instrumental funk ensemble. Crossover is produced by renowned keyboardist (Hiatus Kaiyote, The Putbacks) Simon Mavin and released through Melbourne’s very own Hopestreet Recordings. Emma Donovan & The Putbacks have come together again to create Crossover. Released through Hopestreet Recordings and available on vinyl, CD and all streaming platforms on 6 November 2020.