Taken from Sunshine Coast Daily (Dec 22, 2017)
Welcome back to Woodford Folk Festival, Mr Butler
by Seanna Cronin
SOLO MAN: John Butler will perform two special solo shows at the Woodford Folk Festival. He last played there in 2012.
JOHN Butler will treat fans to two rare solo shows at the Woodford Folk Festival next week.
The singer-songwriter, who is best known as the frontman of The John Butler Trio, will travel straight from the recording studio where he is working on his new album to headline "the best festival on the planet”.
"I don't play solo often,” he said.
"It's a rare thing I do every couple years.
"It's a lot more raw. In a strange way, the dynamic range is wider. I can get a lot quieter and more intimate, and then because I'm by myself, s--- can get pretty intense and really wild. I can just turn and take things anywhere I want to go.”
Butler promises to play at least one song from the yet-to-be-titled album at Woodfordia.
"It's definitely an album that has the trio on it, but whether I call it The John Butler Trio or not I don't know,” he said.
"This time it's such an insular project for me. Most of the time I've had to be alone and get out all the stuff I hear in my head as purely as possible.
"It's a very cathartic process. It can be really fun, but it can be a lot of hard work ... I'm an employee of the song.”
Three years on from the release of Flesh & Blood, Butler has been experimenting with programming beats and synthesisers. The new album is likely to be a departure, at least in some ways, from his busking roots.
"I'm very wary of throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” he said.
"I like what I do, so I don't want to throw those things away but you're always trying to bring the best of what you do - all killer, no filler.
"Hopefully it's not sounding like I'm some heady fusion band.”
Butler, who will also appear on the festival's Speakers Program, said he was creating an album full of love after a dramatic year.
"It's been a big year for me personally - an almost exfoliating kind of year: a bit rough and raw,” he said.
"Music for me has always been a journal entry.”
In August Butler released a stand-alone single, Bully. For an artist who put out his first cassette tape as a busker two decades ago when AOL Instant Messenger was the hottest thing on the internet - long before the creation of Facebook, MySpace or iTunes - streaming is a brave new world.
"It was something I didn't see on my next album but it seemed to fit into the context of where the world was at the time,” he said.
"Some songs just say 'Hey, you know, I'm written for this time. Don't worry about your time lines. Let me be free'. Apart from a technological and industrial change, the digital world is such an ideological change for the industry.
"People said 'Hey this is how I want it'. It's a really powerful time.
"You want my music? Cool, how do you want it? Just the fact that you want it is cool.”
Woodford will be a family affair, with Butler's wife Danielle Caruana also performing as Mama Kin and their daughter Banjo coming along for the ride.
"Our daughter's just turned 15, so she's ripe for the whole Woodford experience, you know: be free range and hopefully not get into too much trouble,” Butler said. "I have a teenager - what happened? When I look at her, I go 'Man, you are a cool young lady' and then I give myself a little pat on the back.”
John Butler plays the Woodford Folk Festival next Wednesday, December 27, and Thursday, December 28. For more information and tickets, go to woodfordfolkfestival.com