Unpaved is dedicated to covering all of the exciting and inspiring things that are happening in Melbourne folk country. The term alt country has never worked for me. To my ears, it seems too artificial for such sincere and real music, not that I can’t understand the desire to avoid getting lumped in with Toby Keith.

All that aside, we have so many talented people and bands playing in this area — Jordie Lane, Liz Stringer, Van Walker, Jen Cloher, Sal Kimber and the Rolling Wheel, Henry Wagons, Cash Savage, Graveyard Train, Little John and Tracy McNeil to name some of the more recognised ones — a site like this is well overdue to help bring the good stuff to people who may not have had the pleasure yet.

Unpaved will feature reviews, interviews, videos, information on events, occasional freebies and ultimately an annual music event, with a strong emphasis on new and emerging artists. Music is universal, so those outside of Melbourne are also most welcome and we may look at occasional overseas people of interest, but realistically there’s more than enough to talk about here.

As a musician myself, I’m constantly inspired by the people I hear and see and I have no hesitation in singing their praises when it’s deserved. If this can play a role in strengthening the incredible community of musicians, I’ll be pleased. If it can elevate the profile of artists and band and give a way of sharing knowledge and experiences, that’s even better.

Melbourne is well served by community radio with shows like Twang on RRR and Acid Country and Five Feet High and Rising on 3PBS. In print, Rhythms do a great job, but they can’t cover everything of interest here. At Unpaved we’ll have a greater chance to put thoughts down in words, sounds and images and maintain a constant, growing presence.

My own credentials involve playing music for more than twenty years, writing about music and other subjects for over a decade, working in magazine and book publishing, as well as teaching editing and design subjects at universities and TAFEs. I started a fundraising project earlier this year called These Machines Cut Razor Wire to support the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

The name Unpaved is taken from one of my songs, but it’s intended to suggest things that are less explored, smoothed over and homogenised.

Content on the site will be free. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of sponsorship or advertising, so potential sugar mummies and daddies, please take note. If you feel like your business can support a music web site run on green energy that respects and acknowledges the traditional owners of the land we walk on, we welcome your interest.

If you feel like you’d like to be a part of the project as a contributor, have CDs or shows to review, photos and videos to share, events you’d like to promote or amazing people you’d like to interview, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve got so much good stuff to do. Let’s give the good stuff the love and attention it deserves.

Best regards,

Les Thomas

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