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Simone and The Soothsayers
Musician and songwriter, Simone Penkethman, was one day away from releasing her new CD when the Canberra firestorm swept into her home and turned every copy she had into molten plastic. The 11 tracks on Potion use metaphorical imagery to describe emotional journeys. Ironically smoke, fire and dead trees appear in 3 songs expressing feelings from life experience.

“Songs take on new meanings after they’re written and recorded. I have a new understanding and different responses to some of the songs on Potion since the fires. It’s really quite surreal.”

As a songwriter, Simone draws her influences from underground icons such as Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Nick Cave and PJ Harvey. However the sound of Potion is more often compared to Kate Bush or Tori Amos.

“Highly perceptive and intelligent lyrics delivered by an astonishing vocalist and a first class collection of musicians. An absolute gem of a record. Go buy it!” [Stuart Coupe, music journalist and historian, managing director, Laughing Outlaw Records March ‘03]

“It overflows with freshness and vitality, with a genuine Australianness…strong story lines, attractive and shapely sound pictures, the melodies that hold you, gentle yet direct; all in all, music that makes you feel good.” [David Ireland, triple Miles Franklin Award winning novelist April 03]

“If grace, charisma, style and substance is regarded as cool, then Simone Penkethman’s music is WAY COOL!!!” [Mick Blood, singer, songwriter Lime Spiders. Feb ‘03]

The album reflects Simone’s interest in creating flawed characters to explore human frailty. Her degree in Creative Arts from the University of Wollongong, included a major in Creative Writing. While studying she would often sing for her supper in pubs and cafes, at weddings and on the street. Since graduating she has focused on song writing, because she loves the way that music changes the meaning of words.

The musicians who are in the band have all been through the Canberra School of Music except for drummer Pete Olsen who is studying Composition and Ethnic Musicology at University of New England. Piano, cello, guitar, drums, bass and other instruments blend to produce a warm, earthy sound. Songs are edgy in their ideas and traditional in their structure. The Soothsayers’ own brand of gypsy rock haunts this moody pop album.

Producer/Engineer Pol O’Shea whose recording credits include The Cruel Sea as well as members of Things of Stone and Wood and Crowded House collaborated with Simone to capture the sound of the band and the mood of the songs. Don Bartley handled the final mastering of Potion at Studios 301 in Sydney.