IF Lincoln le Fevre listed his relationship status with Newcastle on Facebook it would read “complicated.”
The heartland punk balladeer first played at Wickham’s iconic Lass O’Gowrie Hotel in 2004 and describes the unpretentious venue as being “like home.” Le Fevre proved his affection by completing a month-long solo residency at the Lass in June.
However, Newcastle has also been the scene of heartbreak. It’s vividly articulated in the track Newcastle off le Fevre & The Insiders’ latest album Come Undone.
“It was the end of a relationship a few years ago,” le Fevre said. “We both just happened to be in Newcastle when everything fell apart. There was a huge storm that day and I remember driving up the coast and there was all this lightning in the distance and when I reflected on it and pulled it all together it had this sense of foreboding and it wasn’t a great time.”
The Hobart-bred Melbourne-based le Fevre has become a father figure in the Victorian capital’s revitalised punk scene.
Bands like fellow Tasmanians Luca Brasi, The Smith Street Band and Camp Cope cite le Fevre as a major influence.
As their profiles have risen, so has interest in le Fevre & The Insiders, who released their first album 30-Watt Heart in 2008 and the alt-country follow-up Resonation in 2012.
Le Fevre’s authentic brand of story-telling and thick Australian accent, described as being the “voice of every man”, have been particularly embraced by Smith Street’s Wil Wagner and Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq.
“I just sing in my own voice and when people say that’s an every-man thing, all I think is why isn’t anyone else doing it?” he said.
“Why is 90 per cent of the music industry still singing in this international voice that’s not their own? Why would you tell stories about your place to an audience from your place in someone else’s voice? It makes no sense to me.”
Le Fevre, who works as an English teacher, wrote the bulk of Come Undone after moving to Melbourne from Hobart more than three years ago. He has described the record as being about falling apart and putting the pieces back together in a new city.
So has recording these songs exorcised his demons?
“Definitely putting it on paper is part of the process of life I suppose,” le Fevre said. “At the same time, the album isn’t strictly autobiographical.
“They’re not all things that have happened to me and I’ve put them on paper. I take what I know and what I’ve learnt and shift them into some new narrative or story for other people.
“It’s not just for me having a sook, but it’s definitely part of it, I’m not going to lie (laughs).”
Lincoln le Fevre & The Insiders play the Lass O’Gowrie Hotel on September 9.