South Coast multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Joe Mungovan has just released his debut album, the gorgeous A Flower In The Weeds. Joe has been releasing quality singles and EP’s for a number of years now, so it’s an absolute treat to listen to his debut long-play record.
Joe writes infectious indie/roots-pop, with strong melodies, acoustic guitars conveying heartwarming stories. Over the last twelve months, we’ve enjoyed listening to some of the tracks on A Flower In The Weeds, including “Soaking Up The Sunshine”, “Lemon + Lime” and “You+Me”. These are tracks that touch the soul and linger. He has a knack for delivering a tune that joyfully and gently resonates.
Joe produced the album himself, and it was mixed by Aria Award-winning producer/engineer Tim Carr (Matt Corby, Julia Stone) and mastered by long term collaborator Joe Carra (Courtney Barnett, The Teskey Brothers).
The album was recorded at his home in Kangaroo Valley, in NSW. Joe stated: “I moved out to the bush and turned a small house into my studio. I would go weeks without seeing any other humans. It provided me with the time and space to reflect on the past years of touring and life. My mate Tim Carr helped me put the final touches on the song and we mixed the album in his bedroom closet.”
Joe is about to undergo an extensive tour of NSW – including the South Coast, Hunter Valley and North Coast, and seemingly everywhere in-between. It’s a ‘Breakfast with Joe’ tour – so largely in cafe’s. Dates are shown below but do check his website for further details.
To mark the release of A Flower In The Weeds, Joe has put together a track-by-track breakdown of the album for the AU. So do get yourself a drink, crank up the stereo, get comfortable, and have a read of the background to this beautiful debut album.
A Flower in the Weeds from Joe Mungovan – Track by Track
Give Me Your Love
I’d just flown to Berlin for the first show of my 2019 European tour. After the show that night I met a girl and we stayed up drinking wine all night. It was about 4 am when I mentioned that I needed a haircut, and it just so happened to be that she was a hairdresser. She invited me back to her place and cut my hair just before the sun came up. ‘Give Me Your Love’ is the soundtrack to that night and the tour that followed.
You + Me
I came up with the chord progression along with the recurring guitar motif back in 2017. It was just a little idea I had played around with for a while but when it came to recording the song I couldn’t seem to find the right vibe for it, so I let it stew. Fast forward to 2018 I was playing around with the song while visiting the beautiful Greek islands. I tried playing it a little more laid back with an off-beat sort of rhythm through the chorus and it all seemed to fall together and make sense. I finally wrote lyrics to the melody I had and recorded it in 2019. This was the first track from the album to be recorded and released, and it took me almost 3 years. That’s the magic power of tzatziki.
Lonely is a song about spending the night by an open fire with a homecooked meal and delicious wine. The wine is flowing and the night carries you somewhere magical. This song started out on a little loop station, a guitar and a drum kit. When I first started recording this one, I thought it sounded a bit like something you’d hear on a toilet paper commercial (with a cute puppy in the ad of course).
Lemon + Lime
This song was recorded down in my home studio I had set up in Kangaroo Valley. My mate Tim Carr came down from Sydney to help me record it. I remember it being so hot and we couldn’t escape the heat as the house I was living in only had a shitty roof fan. The cicadas were going crazy at this time of the year and it was such a piercing noise at a frequency that we couldn’t seem to get away from. To record the vocals and guitars for this song we had to make a small sound-proof booth out of all the blankets and pillows we could find. I remember recording vocals in there and sweating my ass off. Haha.
Little did I know that after the early morning haircut in Berlin, the girl I met would end up coming on most of the remaining European tour, and eventually fly out to Australia the next year to see me. This song came together so easily. Sometimes it just happens that way. From Germany to Spain and all the way back to the valley again, this song is about the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship.
Soaking Up The Sunshine
It was just before Covid hit that she had planned to fly to Australia to see me. She managed to get over the border one day before they stopped international flights coming through. We spent our days travelling up and down the coastline, soaking up the rays during the day and drinking wine around a fire at night.
Unfortunately, the trip was put to an end early due to the Covid situation getting quite serious half-way through. She had to fly back to Germany before the borders were closed.
While writing this track I was reminiscing on the good times that we spent together before our plans were turned upside down. It was Autumn at the time, and that is my favourite season. I especially love the sunsets at that time of year.
This is another track reminiscing on the pre-covid times. This song features my mate Tommy Gun on trumpet.
We ended up putting the loose ends together on this one in a random Air Bnb in Berkeley. Everything in the Airbnb had been labelled with stickers, from the fridge to the garbage bin.
Swimming In The River
This song was written at a time when I was listening to a lot of The War On Drugs. I wrote the whole song on my Dads old nylon string guitar that I had borrowed. That guitar features on the final recording of the song.
Taste Of You
Thom Yorke’s Anima had just been released and I love that album. I was playing around with some synth sounds attempting to channel Thom Yorke for the day. I feel as though “Taste Of You” is the segue between my last EP Another Night, A Distance From Here and this album.
In the valley it would get so cold over winter that I had to keep the fire running all day. The old house that I had turned into my studio was not the easiest place to heat up. I would often move my bed out next to the fire and sleep there to stay warm. This song was recorded late one winter night. You can hear the fireplace crackling in the background. I recorded this in one take.
What Should I Do What All This Love
This song was also written on my Dads old nylon string. I would go weeks without seeing anyone when I recorded the album. Although I loved spending that time by myself, some days it could get a little lonely, and I guess that’s when this track found its feet.
There were so many beautiful animals around the home studio. From echidnas and lizards to eagles and king parrots. If you listen closely you can hear some of the birds chirping at the end of the track.
‘Breakfast With Joe’ Cafe Tour (Free Entry) – check his website HERE for the latest updates of the tour
Saturday, November 13 – Little Earth, Kiama *
Sunday, November 14 – Bulli Beach Cafe, Bulli *
Tuesday, November 16 – Sandbox, Port Macquarie
Wednesday, November 17 – Beach Bums, Forster
Thursday, November 18 – Surf Cafe, Terrigal *
Friday, November 19 – Coquun, Maitland *
Saturday, November 20 – The Kiosk, Newcastle
Sunday, November 21 – Harvest Deli, Newrybar
Thursday, November 25 – Yum Cha Cafe, New Brighton
Saturday, November 27 – Frankies, Culburra *
Sunday, November 28 – The Hungry Monkey, Berry *
Friday, December 02 – The Hungry Monkey, Bowral *
Sunday, December 04 – Cookoo Callay, Surry Hills, Sydney *
Monday, December 05 – Frankly My Dear, Katoomba *
* Special Guest Mark Crotti