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Rosewood musician tops charts

A Rosewood musician is hitting all the right notes, rocketing to top spot on the Australian Blues and Roots Airplay Charts.

Paul Renton’s album Lies, Damn Lies, and The Blues was the most played blues and roots album in January across a network of more than 80 stations that contribute to the charts.

Renton, 53, said he was proud of the achievement.

“The charts have been running for a few years now and I’ve been in the top 10 before but this is my first number one, so I’m pretty proud,” he said.

A guitar teacher and independent blues and roots artist now, Renton’s love of music began with the punk scene.

“I’ve been doing music for a very long time. I actually came out of the punk scene, one day I saw a guy playing guitar on TV and I thought he looked very cool and so I had to find out who he was. It turned out to be Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones,” he said.

From here, Renton discovered most 1960s and 70s rock music was influenced by Chicago blues music of the 50s, and so began a lifelong passion for blues and roots.

“Something I liked about punk music was that it had a lot of energy and a real humanness about it, and I think that is also there with blues and roots because it has a real honesty and earnestness about it, it’s very raw,” he said.

The drive for authenticity carried through to Renton’s latest album which was recorded using a 1960s tape machine in a studio at Plainland.

“There is no overdubbing and when you’re using tape you only get two or three run throughs before you run out of tape so you can’t spend all day getting it perfect,” he said.

“I purposefully didn’t teach the band three of the songs until the day because I wanted it to have that real sense of spontaneity about it.”

By far the most popular song on the album is one recounting the goings on at a barbecue on the banks of the mighty Bremer River.

“It wasn’t long after we had moved to the area and because we were new and wanted to make friends we went along to a barbecue,” he said.

“The barbecue was because a cow had died and we were down by the banks of the river cooking it in a camp oven and one of the kids grabs a handful of meat, puts it on some rope and throws it into the river.

“They drag in this big eel, gut it and skin it and cook it – that’s when I knew we weren’t in Brisbane anymore.”

Renton said the song had taken on a life of its own.

“I actually get quite a lot of requests for it and I’m not a big showman but now when I play a show I have to do a spiel about the song,” he said.

On stage, Renton goes by the name Morningside Fats – a name he claimed about 2008.

“I attended a blues jam once and the host was a bit of a character and was trying to make fun of everybody with a bit of an insulting intro,” he said.

“I’m overweight and for some reason he thought I lived at Morningside so he called me Morningside Fats, but I liked it so I thought ‘I’m going to take that and use it from now on’.

“One of my idols is actually Hollywood Fats who has passed away now but was a major player on the West Coast (or America) in the 80s and he was an overweight white guy. I’m an overweight white guy, so it works.”

Paul Renton’s music is available on iTunes and Spotify. Follow him on Facebook here.

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