December 2011

Stack Magazine
Reviewed by Denise Hylands

Snooks La Vie (yeah, that is a cool name) hails from Adelaide, and has fronted soul/RnB band The Hiptones for ten years. On this, his solo debut album, he'll take you on a journey through '70s American sound of blues, soul, alt-country and a little rockabilly.
Stripped back to a basic band sound of drums, bass, guitar and harmonica and recorded in four days using vintage amps. Produced by singer/songwriter Charles Jenkins, who also plays.
La Vie delivers this bag of self-penned  tunes with loads of soul and killer harmonica.

November 9, 2011

Inpress Magazine
Reviewed by Nick Argyriou

A one-time signing to Sony BMG’s global release roster, Snooks La Vie’s former band The Hiptones, turned out an enormous brand of soul, surf and blues and toured ceaselessly across Australia from 1999 through to 2009. “I left The Hiptones on good terms and on quite a high after ten years and had been writing more and wanted to be in control of my own destiny,” explains La Vie from his home town of Croydon Park, Adelaide. “It was an emotional time and a lot of this is reflected in the song writing on the record”.
The album La Vie refers to is his debut solo release, Another Place In Time, recorded at Loud Tie Studios (Port Noarlunga, South Australia) in August 2010 with Charles Jenkins (producer) and Jim Redgate (engineer).

Originally slated to record with long time associate, James Black in 2010, La Vie explains that the artist’s swelling Rockwiz commitments ruled him out. So, when Snooks La Vie met Charles Jenkins at a Port Noarlunga house party soon after, mutual interests were piqued. “We were playing together on this bill with Suzannah Espie and others and we got talking, and a few days later I gave him [Jenkins] a cold call to see if he wanted to do it,” he explains.
Working alongside and learning from Jenkins, whom La Vie believes should be mentioned in the same breath as the great Australian songwriters Paul Kelly and Don Walker, opened his eyes to another stately string in the Jenkins musical bow.

“He was just an awesome facilitator,” says La Vie. “You get some producers who are good at getting sounds by telling you to ‘do this and that’ but Charles just facilitates the whole thing; like the mood  and the simplicity that he draws from songs is spot on.”

The big chops, oversized beret wearing La Vie has shaved up a little and now dons vintage western wear and a cowboy hat to play the new role. You can find him channelling the classic early ‘70s sounds of America throughout Another Place In Time, yet he still retains the trademark soul in his vocal armoury. From the ‘tremology’ feel the record captures and twang guitars, La Vie’s intent was to unashamedly meld a Buddy Miller-era Band of Joy sound together with a faithful alt-country aesthetic.

“I was really looking for that sparkle between the tremolo bar guitar and acoustic feel and on the track that Charles plays on [Sometimes Life Gets In The Way] we were heading for that kind of Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood style, so the acoustic really freshened it up a bit.”
Nikko Kipridis, La Vie’s old Hiptones mate is integral  throughout the album with his playing of a Gretsch and Redgate’s ‘50s and ‘60s  Guild and telecaster guitars, ‘Bringing the shit’ as Henry Wagons would say. “Yeah Nik is schooled on The Allman Brothers Band and in his other band, The Streamliners he has a little BB King blues style and jam band feel, too” says La Vie.
“He’s just not stuck in a genre, like he loves the band Low, to Merle Haggard, to Al Green, and I’m the just opens up your ears more when you have varied influences.”

Looking to be more considered songwriter and craving to learn the simplicity of the craft, La Vie was also put onto the works of US country hero Townes Van Zandt. “Guys like Guy Clark and Toiwnes were really good at that style of keeping it simple and I wrote a tribute to Van Zandt on the record [Aeroplane Glue] after watching the documentary, Be Here To Love Me that referenced parts of his life and the way he wrote,” he says. “Song writing doesn’t always have to be so intellectual as long as the narrative is real and it creates a mood.” Amen to that.

November 4, 2011

Reviewed by Dave Griffiths

A while ago country music was a really dirty word, but due to the class of artists that have been releasing albums recently that is something that has changed… the new Footloose soundtrack has even managed to find its way into the charts. And while Adelaide is far away from the Nashville it has just produced one of the finest country artists I have heard in a while.

With Troy Cassar-Daley, Renee Geyer and Ross Wilson as fans Snooks La Vie sounds like someone you should be listening to and after just one listen to his debut album Another Place In Time you also realise that he has the talent to downright demand respect.

This is a gem of an album and you certainly don’t have to be a country fan to be thinking that way. The melody of opening track ‘Lonely Day’ is enough to win over any music fan while Snooks La Vie’s eerie vocals on ‘One I Love’ is enough to separate him from the wannabes.
Tracks like ‘Sometimes Life Gets In The Way’, ‘Time Will Heal’ and ‘Steppin’ Out’ show that he has the smooth country sound downbeat, but it is his willingness to take chances that is really downright impressive.

‘Aeroplane Glue’ sees Snooks La Vie go real country but you certainly couldn’t call it cheesy while the more upbeat ‘No Need To Worry’ really jazzes up the album and lifts it to a new level. The highlight of Another Place In Time however is ‘Darkest Hour’, a heartfelt track that sounds like something that Don Walker would pen for Cold Chisel. ‘Terraced House’ yet again shows that Snooks La Vie has song-writing talent to burn.

‘Six Foot Skinny’ is screaming out to be used at a bush dance while the short and sweet ‘It Don’t Matter’ is simply another reason why you should be adding Another Place In Time to your CD collection sometime really soon.

Watch out Australia I think we have just discovered one of best finds of 2011.

October 14, 2011

Have you heard any of Snooks' new album on radio yet?

Adelaide residents, turn in to 3D radio, 93.7 FM to catch one of his latest tracks. 
Another Place in Time has been at the top 2 spot for 'album of the week' for two weeks running, so you're bound to catch a song or two at some stage.

Check out 3D radio here for more details

October 11, 2011

Upstream Whispers
Reviewed by Jenny O’Keefe
On first listen to this new independent offering out of Adelaide, I got that itchy brain feeling. Where have I heard this dude before?
Turns out in another life a decade ago, Snooks La Vie headed up a rootsy soul band The Hiptones, as well as The Deliverymen. Heaps of gongs, awards and success have enriched La Vie’s sound and placed him on a slightly different folky alt-country path. He’s even sporting a grouse flannie and straw hat on the cover. Authentico!

Rhythmically sweet and vocally compelling, “Another Place In Time” is a worthy addition to lovers of the genre. The album was produced by Northside music royalty Charles Jenkins, who also guests on a few tracks, adding some flavour to a well-balanced solo effort.

Included in this lovely collection of eleven tunes is a tribute to the storytelling prowess of Townes Van Zandt, with all tunes penned by La Vie. The labour of love feeling oozes from every note, and pleasingly so.