Neville Anderson's 'Old Country's New Clothes' is out.
12th September 2019
Recording and mixing/mastering wrapped a couple of months back now, but the album is out now and ready for your consumption.
This is a collection of proper country ballads from the pen and voice of a true stalwart of the genre. The main difference here, some might find, was the backing track style which is undoubtedly beefier than most country releases.
Neville was keen to experiment a make a decisive move away from his previous albums and allow whatever we got up to in the studio take it's natural course. I must say it was a pleasure to tackle such a thing. I feel some original outcomes were gained along the way while staying true to the songs Neville wrote. The opening track 'Blues Come Down' and the title cut certainly demonstrate this approach. Others songs, such as the more progressive  sounding 'Charcoal Hearts' delved a tad deeper into production ideas and approaches whilst still remaining faithful to the concept of a 'bush ballad'.
The album features Ronny Rindo, as ever, on the drums, Paul Owen on bass, the legendary Peter 'Flash' Sheedy guesting on steel guitar and the equally infamous Tracey Coster dueting on one tune, and lending backing vocals on a couple of others. Ex-Celibate Rifle (ROCK AND ROLL!) bassist Mikey Couvret stepped out on banjo for the very first time in his career. I, (Leigh Ivin) did my usual tricks on guitars and steels, plus a few other minor touches on piano, uke and banjo in addition to twiddling the knobs and making my ears tired.
Also a first for the Vale will be the entry of this fine record in the golden guitar awards for 2020. We cannot quite decide if the album is "Alt" or "traditional".
Look out for it -
Neville Anderson's next album in the works
17 March 2019
It's been a threat for some time - Neville Anderson - true cowboy, country gent, landcruiser drivin' Martin guitar pickin', Golden Guitar winning, ten gallon hat wearin', honky-tonk human-jukebox - was gonna make an album with me. He said he wanted to go to the left-of-centre. I'm happy to say that all this has occurred and Vale Sound is now into the overdubbing stages of what will be a terrific, if not slightly different country music album.
Nev is fine songwriter. He has that rare ability - certainly elusive to me - in which he can tell an emotive and insightful tale whilst staying rooted in a traditional and stylish delivery. His songs are often funny, often romantic, a tad wistful and born out of experience. Neville is from the land, not some gated community on the Central Coast. He musters 10,000 head of cattle on 5000 square kilometres of central Australian desert.
Playing on the album is of course Vale landlord and drummer to the best, Ronny Rindo. Paul Owen is on bass and myself twiddling the knobs and strumming the electric guitars and steels. The mission is to keep it simple  - which can be tough. Fortunately we did end up with a swag of bed tracks that were perfectly digestible without adding another note. 
The album will also feature a few local luminaries, Tracy Coster, Dally Croft as well as old mates Shaun Butcher, Gleny Rae, Toni Swain and ex Celibate Rifle Mikey Couvret steppin out on banjo for the very first time on a recording. The album is also set to feature a truly inspirational album cover. A rarity in the genre and something I am looking forward to with glee.
Stay tuned.

Lilith Shrugs - almost upon us

11 April 2018

Seems a long while since an update... and so it is... but the new album from Jackie Marshall is almost in the can with the last mix underway right now. I found some photos the other day dated circa 2014 and also depicting the previous Soundcraft console incarnation of the studio with Mel Fraser nursing a J-basss - so it must be true that this album is nearly 4 years in the making. 

I remember going through the demo disc that Jackie sent me with some 20 or more songs on it. From memory I picked around half of them. 

There's been a lot of events transpire in that time - JM's third battle with the Big C being one of them - her ongoing battles with some real-life human demons being another. The studio itself was completely re-bored in 2015, not to mention an additional 5 albums were recorded or mixed in that time - (see older blog entries).

The big news for me, however, is that mastering with be done with Jon Astley in Twickenham on the 3rd of May. It's an option I've considered previously, but that would've required a special trip to the UK to pull it off. As luck would have it, I didn't need to plan anything.. it just happened. The stars aligned.

Jon's mastering CV is impressive. Have a look -

Being a triple black belt Who fan certainly guilds this particular lily for me, but I dare say I'll report more once the deed is dome. It is the first time in nearly a quarter of a century I wont have my friend and mastering wizard Michael Lynch on board at Shoehorse Sound. As an extra added bonus, the vinyl mastering is being carried out at the legendary Abbey Road, also in London... as I'm sure most of you would know.

I feel really good about this album. We did whatever we wanted to do. No particular concessions have been made to any commercial interest or other such leaning. We've always talked about the material as "art". Hopefully, the music has been rendered as such. I'm very proud of the work and very honoured to have been entrusted with it's production and rendering. I feel it contains some of the better ideas and playing I've come up with thus far. 

But of course, nothing would be being spoken of here had not Jackie used her customary cathartic know how with guitar, pen and pipes. I love you. Thanks be also to my dear friend Ronny Rindo who played amazingly on this album. Praise be to Mel Fraser, Adam Bodkinfor their steller work during the tracking sessions, legends also are Raychel Stone, Roz Papparlardo and Jeff Lovejoy during the Brisbane overdub sessions.

All Hail. Stay tuned.

22 Jun 2017

Later in 2016 I received a call from Angus who'd seen/heard the work I did on The Beautiful Lie. He wanted to make an acoustic album with a subtle focus, inventive sounds that stemmed from his acoustic playing and an overall brooding soundscape.

We kicked off in March 2017 and I have to say I felt so sorry for him as the studio was cursed with an unfindable dead rat and I was as sick as a dog with some evil road-borne flu I'd brought back from the Port Fairy Festival. I really can't remember much of the 1st session, but by the second session in early May, it was apparent we'd pulled it off.

Angus has a wonderful voice, reminiscent of Richard Hawley, all brought into deep focus with the Shure SM7 mic he'd stuffed into his guitar case. We tried all manner of ambient indulgences.

The album "Quiet is King" is out within the month on CD, Bandcamp and other downloadable guises. I'm well pleased with this work.

And thanks to Angus for taking a punt on a studio far from home and the bright lig...

30 Apr 2017

I met Mel when she stepped in on bass for Jackie Marshall. Like me she has a knack for things with compasses and rudders, her day job being a ferry pilot on the meandering Brisbane River. Mel is blessed with a fine pop sensibility, no doubt a grafting from her love of Fleetwood Mac and the Bangles.

We started her album mid 2016 with Phil Smith sitting quietly in the corner of the studio hunched over his Hummingbird, keeping things honest. Along with my ever-present cohort and landowner, Ronny Rindo, we made a really terrific album of country tinged, pop 'n' roll. Due for release in June 2017, it's a work I'm proud of, having let it guide me into areas I don't usually deal with, such as catchy, upbeat 12-string solos and banjo riffs that simply arrive out of thin air.

10 great songs are on it.... I just wish we could agree on the track order. You cant win them all. Well done Mel, Phil, Ronny and all who added overdubs to this project. And thanks to Jeff Lovejoy of Blackbox audio in Brisba...

1 Mar 2017

It's finally out the gate, nearly two years in the making and one of the freest album-making experiences I've yet had. Sarah is a great friend of mine - we met at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2004/5 and had an uproarious time - needless to say, we've been close ever since. This album is a sort of culmination of our friendship thus far, but in the language of sound and music.

Sarah sent me a bunch of demos to begin with and I picked all the ones I thought I could handle. She then proceed to throw in all the ones I didn't pick. I pretty much wanted to make a tight and concise record of 9 to 10 songs, but we ended up recording 15. But right from the start, it was to be anything goes, deliberately deciding to not limit the album by stylistic continuity or sound... and yet, almost in spite of itself, it's a cohesive and realised collection of what we ended up declaring to be "pastoral prog."

Sarah's songs are always from the heart and full of soulful observation, quirky chord changes and mem...

30 Sep 2016

During my 2016 stint at the Ilkurlka roadhouse, a trip to the community of Tjuntjuntjara landed me in the rehearsal hall of the Desert Stars. I was supposed to "have a jam", but here they were, unleashing torrents of rock n roll. This would be no jam session. Lead man J. Minning was putting the world's most remote rock band through their paces with passionate speeches and demonstrations. I just sat and took a few pics and marvelled at my crazily remote location being slammed into submission by this classic sounding rock combo - as if lifted straight from the suburban beer barns of eastern Australia throughout the 70s and 80s and dumped right there into the Spinifex Lands. As it is with these things, it transpired that I would make their next album in June that year.

As the June date approached, I was offered backstage tickets to see Radio Birdman support The Who at Spain's Azkena Rock Festival! Talk about being torn! I knew I'd have to go with the Desert Stars. And what an experience it...

23 Feb 2016



I've been thinking for the last year or so that rock n roll is consigned to history already. It's probably going to drift off and be replaced by something as yet unnamed. It's likely to go the way of classical and other period focused styles, to be performed nostalgically.


Perhaps it should all get transcribed so when media players such as turntables, bluray players and ipod and so forth no longer exist, at least there'll be proof it happened - just like Gregorian Chant was documented.


I feel to a certain extent, it's all been done. The last really big movement in popular music was grunge... well over two decades back. So many current styles are still clinging to that time.

I could go on, and of course it's only my opinion, but I feel this is the world I'm now operating in. I still love it though. Nothing can alter that now.


Today in West London, I saw something which brings it all home for me. I've been trainspotting my way around this incredible city, looking at significant places o...

2 Feb 2016



I don’t mind a bit of trainspotting. Anybody who knows me well enough knows that I am a black-belt Who fan. They are the greatest rock n roll band of all time, for so many reasons. A couple of these was their "do it the way we want it done" ethic, and their utter loyalty to Mother England. There was no French Riviera tax exile for the West London 'Oo. And they built their business into the London landscape.


I've been aware of Ramport Studios ever since pouring over the liner notes of "Quadrophenia", possibly one of the best prog-rock albums ever made... though the album itself wouldn’t agree - t's just a story about addled youth in Grimy old 1960s London. Ramport was an old church hall near Battersea power station along the Thames. Pink Floyd fans know this area from the cover art of "Animals." It is here that the band chose to put their money down.




Long story short, at more than five times the original set up budget, the studio began recording "Quadrophenia" before the control roo...

27 Jan 2016

Currently underway is a long planned collaborration with the Bellarine's Queen of ukulele and song and her outstandingly talented and diverse offspring. Having been in and out of each others pockets for well over a dozen years now, this project is already paying dividends of creativity plus enormous fun. The material ranges from simple folk, to epic laments, to all out St. Kilda style pub rock n roll.

George, not content with just reorganising the drum kit for every song, is playing bass, keys, singing and even telling me where editing is required or not. He's 16. Sarah of course is putting down her 5th studio album and has quite simply poured her her heart and soul in this work. As we are both cancerians, a lot of good natured but serious sparring is going on - what is right, what is wrong... is double tracking honest or not... when should we eat dinner... whether or not Paul Stanley is sporting a wig of late. All the crucial stuff.

We've tracked all the basics and now lo...

30 Sep 2015

Jackie Marshall is one of the most amazing talents I know. Her stock in trade musical catharsis is completely engaging. She can sing and write just about anything... and does. Our last colaborration, under the "Peppercorn Queen" moniker was an experiment that paid off. Starting from scratch with a new brace of songs, we've thrown the fences to the four winds and just let it unfold as the muse dictates.

Having come out of an extended period of trauma, newborn, breakup/downs and court orders, the Marshall canon has never been more loaded. Excellent. From adversity comes inspiration.

Back in the saddle are Ronny Rindo on drums and Constable Bodkin on uprights and electrical basses. I'll be up to the usual. Joining us for the first time is Melissa Frazer on bass and singing. She's terrific.

Much more to come.

31 Jul 2015

In this 2015 re-imagining of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, actual performing musicians were tracked live on set to provide documentary style realism to a fictional dramatic work. In all musical scenes Vale Sound provided the recordings and the studio set pieces, pieces that actually recorded the performances. While somewhat unconventional, critical acclaim was noted for this detail alone. Emerging NZ singer Marlon Williams was the main talent for these sequences with as many as six songs making the final cut for the series. In addition to this, Leigh Ivin played ethereal pedal steel, amplified through a custom built rotary speaker set-up with haunting effect, the sounds reverberating though the historic Villa Alba in Melbourne where the sequences were shot. Parts of these recording were adapted into the score as well.

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Leigh IVIN

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