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Branching away from his classical piano and violin training in 1997, Luke Plumb began teaching himself the mandolin and swiftly became one of Australia’s most sought after session musicians. His albums Isfahan and Senan’s Haggart were comprised of bold music from right across Europe and demonstrated his keen awareness of both tradition and the possibilities for experimentation within it.

This quality was recognised by acid croft pioneers Shooglenifty after a chance meeting during a tour of Australia and in 2002 Luke Plumb was recruited to join the band in Scotland. For eleven years Luke’s compositions drove the band’s music into new territory which can be heard across three studio albums where his music dominates the repertoire.

During this time he also recorded and toured three albums with his own band the Funky String Band, spearheaded a Scottish Arts funded project examining the music collected by the Scottish National poet Robert Burns, released his innovative and critically acclaimed solo albumA Splendid Notion, and travelled to southern Greece to record a suite of his own compositions,Ten Titles, for the pan European, Eumelia Ensemble.

Due to ill health and a desire to be back in Australia, he returned home and began honing his skills as a record producer. His productions include the National Film and Sound Archive award winning Housewarming for the Mae Trio and the Timber and Steel album of the year Declaration for Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton.  Other albums of note include the much lauded posthumous album Hearth for Michael Kennedy and most recently Precious Heroes, his duo album with traditional Irish folk legend Andy Irvine.

Luke has now released Turn & ReTurn with his new band The Circuit, his first major piece of work since returning to Australia. In typical fashion from Plumb, this is a bold new statement from this world renowned mandolin virtuoso. He describes the music as traditional form melodies arranged in the context of groove based songs with a rhythm section that is grounded in the drive of Cretan music and the fluidity of Terry Riley organ improvisations. Comprising of a twin frontline from Plumb’s searing mandolin and Eamon McNelis’ sinuous trumpet, driving twin acoustic guitars from KateBurke and Jem Dunlop and locked together by Shannon Birchall’s double bass and Rory McDougal’s drums, this is a band made for live performances.

Turn & ReTurn was produced by Luke Plumb and his long-time collaborator and engineering maestro, the legendary Calum Malcolm

Australian Musician’s Greg Phillips recently sat down for a chat with Luke Plumb to discuss his career and the new album Turn & ReTurn

Check out more information on Luke Plumb here, as well as upcoming gigs:

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