In 2017 Diesel will celebrate 30 years “off the bus” landing in Sydney in 1987 after a three day bus journey across Australia, launching into 9 shows per week, the rest is history. With over thirty five singles, sixteen albums, six ARIA awards and record sales edging one million, DIESEL is a journeyman of music.
Americana. It’s music that draws from America’s roots, from country, folk, bluegrass, R&B, the blues … But to Mark Lizotte, the musician known and loved as Diesel, Americana is the very core of his being. It’s the music of his childhood and, as an artist born in America and raised in Australia, a link back to the land he’d left behind.
On his new album Americana, Diesel pays tribute to the artists that inspired the musician he would become – one of our nation’s most lauded, accomplished and hard-working rock guitarists and singers – by putting his own unique stamp on a collection of classic songs.
In short, he re-traces the steps of his musical education paying respect to Tom Petty, CCR, The Band, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt and more.
The selection process was tortuous – “It’s such a deep well; how far back do you go? I literally went: OK, I’ve got five minutes, grab the most essential things out of your house before the house burns down!” His approach was to pluck a song from one artist, then throw it into another realm. “OK, you’re from Nashville? I’m gonna take you to New York.” Or in the case of Fire and Rain: “I’ve taken James Taylor and shoved him into a Memphis studio with Al Green.”
The doorway into Americana, however, is a creation all Diesel’s own. Hank’s Dream was a melody that circled his head during three sleepless nights in New York last year and its title refers to the spark that brought the Lizottes to Australia all those years ago: Dad Hank’s dream of a different life on the other side of the world.
Uncannily, around the same time, one of the Lizzotte boys stumbled upon a photo from Hank and Theresa’s wedding album. “It’s this incredible black and white photo of them in front of this in front of this ridiculously big old Buick that they borrowed – they got married on a shoestring and borrowed a car from the Navy,” Diesel says. “There they are, in front of it, all dressed up … that’s classic Americana to me. So when this album happened I was like, ‘There’s my cover’.
So now, 27 years after he busted out of the garage and into the Australian psyche with Don’t Need Love and Soul Revival, it’s time for fans to circle back and hear the songs that made the man. Americana.
To coincide with the release of Americana, Diesel will be embarking on a national Australian tour from September 2016. He’ll be playing in solo mode, giving fans the opportunity to see a more intimate and stripped back performance that features the distinct guitar playing and powerhouse vocals that Diesel has become renowned for. The set will feature tracks from Americana as well as singles and other gems spanning his 15-album career.
Mark Lizotte aka DIESEL will be returning to Adelaide for two shows in support of his album Americana:
Fri April 28 Port Lincoln Hotel
Sat April 29 Arkaba Hotel
Tickets available here