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Pic by Rena Tan

Former Powderfinger lead guitarist and songwriter Darren Middleton releases his 4th solo recording on Friday January 15. It’s an exceptional 8 track mini-album called Home, recorded at his home studio, a lot of it during pandemic lockdowns.

It’s a fascinating exercise to dissect the solo music output of the individual members of a hit-making band once that band has broken up. It gives you an insight into who contributed what to the band’s overall sound. At one extreme, take The Beatles for instance. As a band, they gave us hit after hit in the form of perfectly constructed ballads, pop songs and rock songs. Individually, McCartney provided beautiful melodies, Lennon gave a more raw, rockier edge to his output, Harrison offered a trippier side and Ringo gave us the fun. Together all of those elements emerged at some point in the Beatles catalogue.

Not that I am in any way comparing Powderfinger to The Beatles but the premise remains the same. Powderfinger had an amazingly successful career with 5 number 1 albums, 18 ARIA awards, 3 APRA awards and sales of more than 2.5 million albums. At the risk of over-simplifying their solo careers, Powderfinger singer Bernard Fanning’s approach in general has been organic, rootsy, and self-assertive as you’d expect a frontman to be, while Ian Haug and John Collins in their side project The Predators, have been more guitar-focussed in their modus operandi. Darren Middleton on the other hand, comes from a more studio-considered, softer angle, featuring lush, multi-layered vocals and orchestrations in a lot of his music. Again, place all of those individual elements into the mix and you can better understand the collective Powderfinger sound.

Middleton’s new release ‘Home’ is yet another example of his fine studio craft. Given the time afforded by the pandemic, Darren has worked thoughtfully on these 8 tracks, collaborating remotely with other artists such as Suzi Quatro, Suze DeMarchi, and Ash Mannix from Little Georgia to deliver a high quality, contemplative, set of beautifully pieced together tunes.

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Darren Middleton over a zoom call to discuss the creation of his new mini album ‘Home’.

Home is released digitally on all the regular platforms on Friday January 15

Check out Darren’s latest single ’The Stars Where You Dwell’, featuring Ash Mannix (Little Georgia)

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