Mia Dyson plays 5 Church St

By Anna Dowd

Mia Dyson is still looking for the ultimate genre-less song, but in the meantime, she’s okay with accolades of having redefined blues and roots with her ARIA award winning album Parking Lots.

Just 24 year old, Dyson burst onto the Australian music scene taking out the 2005 ‘Best Blues and Roots Album.’ At the time she says she didn’t even think of herself as a blues and roots artist.

“It was so interesting, I was honestly baffled as to why I kept getting put in that genre.

“I’d always just wanted to be a songwriter, like a genre-less songwriter, whatever that really means, but it’s so funny because now I look back and I go ‘oh! I totally can see why people put me in that bag!’”

With six albums, and a two-decade long career that’s seen her support the likes of Stevie Nicks, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and Joe Cocker – Dyson was raised on a hearty diet of delta blues, 70’s singer-songwriters and guitar bands.

“I grew up listening to my dad’s record collection, really serious blues players from the American south like BB King and Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, and the guitar bands like Little Feet, Cream and Jimi  Hendrix were a big influence too. “And then my mum was into Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, the poets.”

When Dyson’s luthier father built her first electric guitar at the age of 14, the creative fire was further stoked.

After the obligatory grunge phase of every kid coming of age in the early 90’s, Dyson says she came back around to those early vinyl-led influences, at the same time as discovering artists on her own.

“Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welsh and Niko Case, artists my parents heard of who I fell in love with and who maybe for me are a little less genre-less.”

Especially poignant then that Dyson has chosen to celebrate the 15th anniversary of her beloved blues infused album Parking Lots by rerecording five songs from the album and rereleasing them on vinyl.

“Yeah, the pressing of the vinyl is pretty special, vinyl just wasn’t a thing back in 2005.

This EP and the tour we’re doing with it is for all the fans that have been calling for these songs, but I hadn’t really been playing them for the last few tours with the new material.”

Rerecording the songs was an experience she says was also strangely and very unexpectedly cathartic.

“I had all sorts of feelings about my old work, what I would’ve done differently, so redoing these songs kind of put some of those old regrets to bed.

“I picked the five songs off the album that I really still connected with lyrically, the meaning of the songs. And then the unexpected lucky part for me was finding I could now sing them the way I tried to sing them back then but wasn’t able to given where my voice was when I was 24.

“Basically, I was trying too hard back then, and the age I am now and the experience I’ve had since then, I just feel like my voice is just so much more authentically me.”

It’s an amazing place to arrive for the artist, rewriting a little bit of history, seeing how far she’s come – and with a 7th album in the mastering phase, Dyson says she’s enjoying it all more than ever.

“It’s still true that I’m looking for the ultimate song that stands alone, that has no genre, that’s just like, anyone could sing it in any style, and it would be a classic. You know that’s my dream, to be that kind of songwriter.”

WHAT Mia Dyson

WHERE 5 Church St, Bellingen

WHEN Sat 21 May | 7pm

TIX Ph: 6655 0873

Photo: Anita Cotes