sep 9


Gaslight Gardens

From the band: From Australia to Lawrence, Kansas comes Fruit, three women whose music spans acoustic pop, folk, blues and jazz, all with a deep groove. "If Norah Jones had us daydreaming . . . Fruit had an afternoon audience singing, clapping and whistling for more" -- Wall Street Journal "An explosion of jazz, a splash of funk and a spritz of harmonies" -- Daily Herald, Salt Lake City "The spirit of the travelling Waifs" -- Sydney Morning Herald Fruit are singing, strumming proof that you don't need a hit TV series or serious multi-national dollars to succeed. Like fellow troubadours The Waifs, John Butler and Ani DiFranco, Adelaide-born Fruit have taken the road less traveled, covering millions of miles and playing thousands of shows since 1996, raising roofs and winning converts from Shepherd's Bush to Sao Paulo, Womadelaide to Alaska. They won the Best Live Album trophy at the 2002 Australian Live Music Awards, while they've claimed too many South Australia Music Industry Awards (aka SAMIS) to list. Fronted by a trio of strong-voiced, strong-willed, singing/ songwriting multi-instrumentalists -- Mel Watson, Susie Keynes and Sam Lohs -- Fruit's formation was an accident. They came together only when the three future frontwomen learned that they'd been booked to play a show at the same venue on the same night. Jamming ensued, sparks flew. The idea of forming a band with three lead singers was unique and appealing. As Sam Lohs remembers the night, it "was kind of a fluke; we just fell together." "It started off as a project," figured Mel Watson, "and it ended up being a lifestyle." Fruit, who have been described more than once as a band who's never met a gig they didn't like, knew there were only so many pub shows to play in their Australian homeland. Operating outside the mainstream radar, they targeted festivals of all styles and persuasions -- folk, world music, blues, whatever -- and started to work incredibly hard, travelling ceaselessly, racking up the Frequent Flyer points. They've shared stages with Jewel, Chris Isaak and Savage Garden, and have won over punters in more than 30 US states. In fact, they so bewitched the masses at the California World Music Festival that an 11-year-old burst out of the crowd and declared: "You guys are better than Metallica!" It was living proof that Fruit's music is truly inclusive, irrespective of age, gender or musical persuasion. Spanning acoustic pop, folk, blues, jazz and deep, rump-shaking groove, and hinting at a musical bloodline that embraces everyone from Dave Matthews to Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco to George Harrison, Prince and Stevie Wonder, Fruit's music has been described as "sensitive . . . embracing and disarming". Sam says that it's all about "harmonies, energy, truth". Susie agrees, admitting that harmonies are "the strongest characteristic of our band. It draws in people of all sorts of musical tastes." Fruit sing about love and loss and libido; they also possess a darkly comic wit. When Mel decided to write a tune about the experience of witnessing the cremation of her father, she called the tune "Burnt And Crispy". Her fans understood. Bandmate Susie smiled and admitted that "Mel is a quirky girl".For the band, playing in Fruit is a life-changing experience, the chance to truly connect with an audience -- and learn and grow from the experience. "We do it because we know what we do is of a very high standard musically," says Susie. "It's evolving, it's changing us and it changes those who experience it. It brings so much enjoyment to people, it makes them think, it allows them to sit back and soak up harmony, it lets them dance, it lets them feel. This is a pleasure to give and be a part of ourselves."There have been so many extraordinary moments," Susie adds, looking back over the past eight years. "I am very proud of who we are and what we have done and the music we have made." Yet you can't help but feel that the best Fruit is still to come.


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