Album of the Week: By Special Arrangement takes the Bamboos to orchestral ascension

This is a Bamboo album for the Bamboo fans, the Bambams, the Bamboozled, the Bambabes. Whatever you subscribe to, this is a short, sharp detour into devilish guitars, rolling drums and orchestral feats.

Arriving to your ears no sooner than the 2nd August. This is the album of orchestral reinventions as prescribed by The Bamboos themselves. Featuring multiple vocalists including Washington, Tim Rogers, Dan Sultan and long-time Bamboos singer Kylie Auldist.

Each track is from a moment in time, if not one of the many great albums in the Bamboo archives or a meticulously selected cover. Going as far back as Rawville back in 2007 to their most recent success, Night Time People. Band founder Lance Ferguson felt that he must do something that would place a selection of their most loved songs in a totally new context, giving them new life. The result is an album that reinvents Bamboos songs within the setting of lush, sweeping strings, woodwind and brass, coaxing both the epic and intimate from classics taken from their eight studio albums.

The real unsung hero of the album, however, is Ross Irwin, long-time trumpeter for The Bamboos, and famously known for the arrangement of artists like Angus and Julia Stone, Passenger, Vance Joy, and The Kite String Tangle.

“Ross Irwin first joined The Bamboos when he was just out of university”, recalls Ferguson. “Since then he has built a reputation as a top-level trumpet player, singer-songwriter, educator, arranger and producer. This guy truly does it all and makes me feel like a proud big brother! Ross has arranged strings for all of our albums, but I feel like he has completely outdone himself on this one.” Ferguson says.

Determined that this concept album not end up just another Greatest Hits special with a side of orchestral strings, the band alongside Irwin’s talent were determined to truly reinvent the songs they love.

Take this album’s new evolution of “The Truth” originally on the album Fever In The Road. Bringing the same pulsating rhythm of the original to the new, softer pianos and trilling violins to bring a moment of high ascension and celebration to this song. “Keep Me In Mind” from 4 is transformed from a jazzy, dark basement, stiff drinks room to a soothing water of jazz flutes and dulcet vocals of the great Kylie Auldist. Pulled straight from The Medicine Man days, “I Got Burned feat. Tim Rogers” is a set of rolling orchestral drums that picks you up on the waves of its beat.


The album will be available from August 2nd And for those lucky Melbourne residents who are around that day, there will be a special album launch event on the 15th, at the Melbourne Recital Centre – ‘The Bamboos Present By Special Arrangement: Symphonic Soul’ – with a ten-piece string section and special guests.

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