When members of the band Oleander Grove take to the stage at Picnic Hill in Redcliffe this month, it will be a momentous occasion for two reasons.
Firstly, their performance at the family-friendly event on Friday April 14 will be the first time the band has played together on stage; and secondly, they are performing songs from their debut album, which was recorded in late 2022.
The band is made up of vocalist Catherine Baxendine, guitarist Ayden Baxendine, drummer John Merigan, bass player Mike O’Brien and keyboardist Andrew L’almont, all of whom will take to the stage.
Speaking to Moreton Daily ahead of the event, Jon Merigan said the band was looking forward to performing in front of a hometown crowd.
“We are all from the local area – I live in Redcliffe, Mike is from Deception Bay, Andrew is at Margate and Catherine and Ayden are from Taigum,” Jon said.
“When I saw Picnic Hill was returning, timing wise it turned out pretty well with our album being completed, so I spoke to the band and we thought it would be a good opportunity to be part of the event and share our music with other locals.
“I have performed at Picnic Hill before and it’s always a great event.”
History of the band
Before Oleander Grove was established, Catherine and Ayden worked as a duo, writing their own lyrics and music.
After years of trying to find other musicians to add to and complement their sound, Ayden then met Jon purely by chance.
As soon as he heard their original heartfelt lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies, Jon said he couldn’t wait to put his own groove on the songs.
“They played me a song called Whispers and I thought ‘this has got something’,” Jon explained.
“After we had a little jam session it just went from there – we realised that we gelled really well, and the band just progressed from there.”
Pretty soon a bass player was needed and Jon called on his mate Mike, who he had worked with on many occasions.
After a few rehearsals and a fresh new sound, the band knew they had to get their songs recorded as soon as possible, which they did in November 2022.
Following their recording session, keyboardist Andrew joined the band.
Jamming out in the studio
The band travelled to Gosford late 2022 where they worked with Shane Nicholson – an award-winning country artist and producer who also used to call Moreton Bay home.
“We recorded the album at the amazing Damien Gerard Studio with Shane,” Jon said.
“And if that wasn’t enough, the album was to be mastered by an industry heavyweight Jeff McCormack.
“We were in Gosford for about two weeks at the beginning of November and after a few weeks of editing, mixing and mastering the album, we got the finished product back at the end of January.
“We really enjoyed the creative process – a few of the songs we went in with did not turn out the same on the album – they turned out even better after we bounced around some ideas and tweaked them. Shane also put his own touch on them and played on the keyboards.”
While most other bands play together for awhile first and then record an album, the same can’t be said for Oleander Grove.
“We have done things backwards in the sense that we recorded the album first without even having played together on stage before,” Jon said, laughing.
“We got together, we rehearsed on a whim and then did the album.
“So, our first performance at Picnic Hill is going to be really special.”
Following Picnic Hill, the band hopes to perform at a number of local venues and festivals.
As soon as the band wraps up their first performance at Picnic Hill, fans will be able to stream their music and watch a music clip they made to the song How Can This Be Wrong.
You can keep up to date with the band by following them on Facebook, Youtube, Spotify, Google Play and other streaming websites.
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