In 1980, Sime Nugent found an old cassette recording of his Irish parent's last party with family in Dublin before immigrating to Australia in 1969.On the tape his father's five siblings all sang immaculate harmonies around the family piano.
The cassette answered a lot of questions. In 2000, Sime Nugent began playing and releasing music under his own name.
He'd spent the decade previous to this learning about singing and harmony singing with the much loved trio, Acapelicans, who had travelled extensively off the back of their four albums and a hefty international touring schedule. Sime had also spent the 90's learning about song writing via his Melbourne band ,Sedan , who's constant gigging and two albums had already shown Nugent the ropes and the way to becoming a formidable band leader and front man.
In 2000, with six albums already published, Sime Nugent was starting again. With release of 'More About the Benefits of Hindsight' and working under his own name for the first time, Sime Nugent was settling into his own voice as a musician and writer for the decade to come. The release of 'Ten Years at the Table' marks a decade since that first release under Sime's own name. There is a lot of water under the bridge, tens of thousands of kilometres, thousands of gigs, hundreds of songs and still Sime laughs, 'Maybe this album marks the end of my apprenticeship.' With four highly regarded albums to draw from, Sime Nugent has embarked on his first truly solo release.
'Songs have always been a kind of map for me. It's only with time that the enduring songs present themselves. You can never be sure where they are destined to end up when you are writing them. So it's an ongoing inquiry and it's really encouraging that people have drawn something from that journey.' The journey for Sime has been as wide as it has been enduring. He has performed solo in remote East Timor, Sung to thousands at Vienna Jazz Festival, Co-Founded the Castlemaine Music Festival, and more recently joined the Aria nominated bluegrass party band, The Wilson Pickers. 'A lot of my musical output in the last couple of years has been with The Wilson Pickers which has been a delight. There's plenty more to come from them, but in the interim I began talking to ABC Music who basically dared me to make this solo album a retrospective of sorts.
The truth is it could have been any one of about four albums just because of the weight of numbers of songs. I'd been thinking about making a solo album for a long time and after making 'Happy Hour' which was a very large and lengthy production, now seemed like time.' From the rambling opener,'Somewhere by Now' to contemplative closer, ‘Any Day’, Ten Years at the Table is as bare bones as it gets.' Only an x-ray would have less artifice than this album. I do a lot of solo shows. This album is that solo show.' 'It was more than just re-recording in the solo guise' Nugent explains of tracks like 'Gentle as She Goes', 'Only One water' and 'The Funeral'.'The arrangements have to be adjusted and the delivery you can get away with in a band situation is very different to what you can get away with when it's just you and a guitar. So some of them have been pulled back, some have been attacked a bit more, and so on.' As befits a songwriter of Nugent's proclivity and prowess there are a couple of new tracks on 'Ten Years at the Table' too - the very country, 'Slow Road' and the sublime 'The Company We Keep' along with live favourite, Irving Berlin’s,'My Walking Stick'.
The album is indicative not only of where Sime Nugent has been, but where he's likely to head next. 'I'm really looking forward to getting out on the road again with this album and enjoying the people and the travel and the playing. I remember my old man said 'don't get good at anything you don't enjoy. Thankfully I really love playing music.'