Singer, songwriter Fiona Lee Maynard has been a long-time fixture of Melbourne’s colourful indie music scene, performing solo and with various bands around town. Most recently alt-country outfit Dalicados has been her focus, a 6-piece band featuring James Lomas (lead vocalist and guitarist), Cal McAlpine (drums) and Mark Carson (bass), with Tracey McAlpine and Fiona Lee Maynard on backing vocals and Jack Howard on trumpet. Fiona can also be seen occasionally performing with Jack Howard on projects such as Epic Brass.
In late January this year Fiona released a new solo album titled Junction. It’s a return to Fiona’s protest era folk roots, the music she grew up with and it came about under trying circumstances. Having endured the covid lockdowns like everyone else, Fiona was also faced with looking after her mother who was suffering from dementia in a care home. Added to the stress was her partner James Lomas being in hospital on dialysis, awaiting a kidney transplant … which was to be donated by Fiona herself.
The genesis of the songs appearing on the Junction album is interesting. In order to make a connection with her dementia suffering mum, Fiona took along her guitar to visits to the care home and played her the new music she’d been working on. Fiona recently told Triple R’s Neil Rogers and Jeff Jenkins from The Australian Mood a heartwarming tale of when she visited her mum and would play the songs to her in the communal area of the care home, that other residents, some who hadn’t spoken for a long time, came to life when they heard Fiona’s music. She’d unintentionally found herself a focus group to roadtest her music to!
With time on her hands while James was cared for in hospital and with a need to raise her own spirits, Fiona set about developing the songs further and decided that she’d put them all together on a new solo album. She enlisted the help of engineer Warwick Thomas who also performed backing vocals arrangements & singing, percussion, piano, and more. Dalicados members Cal McAlpine added cajon and congas and Tracey McAlpine delivered backing vocals. Kim Volkman stepped in with dobro and hurdy gurdy and when James was well enough, he laid down some guitar and mandolin. Jack Howard’s sublime, atmospheric trumpet and Flugelhorn appears in the background of many of the tracks too. Apart from lead vocals, Fiona also provided rhythm acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, and percussion.
Dedicated in memoriam to her mother, the album is a wonderfully constructed, acoustic-based album full of gorgeous melodies, inspiring instrumentation and stunning harmonies in a nostalgic journey through the life memories of Fiona Lee Maynard. Fiona hopes to be in a position to perform the album live at some point this year.
Currently Junction is available to purchase from Bandcamp https://fionaleemaynard.bandcamp.com/album/junction