The Garden is the debut full-length album from Melbourne alt-country duo Zinnia Blue. Recorded and produced by Chris Ellis and the band in Lorne, Victoria, with mixing and mastering by Johnny 'Hooves' Clayton in Brunswick, the independent production was crafted piece by piece over four years.
A genuine labour of love, the eleven track long player features an eclectic set of original songs and two haunting cover songs from Melbourne's own Jordie Lane and Tracy McNeil, as well as famed American singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.
Showcasing lush but subtle layers of instrumentation, each song has been arranged to accentuate its particular mood and style. The album moves through diverse genres of country, bluegrass, folk, blues, and pop, but plants its feet firmly in Americana soil, with an organic Melbournian twist.
The heart of Zinnia Blue is married couple Kate Tucker and Matt Ellis who write and arrange the music together, creating a sound that is delicate, earthy, and emotional. The Garden is a reference to the place where the pair met and began playing music together, as well as an analogy for treading lightly on this Earth, and sharing its riches with those we love. The production of the album itself reflects this meaning, with no less than ten instrumentalists and half a dozen choir members contributing to the bountiful and evolving arrangements throughout the journey that is The Garden.
"Ellis and Tucker have made an album of their musical family album, and done it lovingly over time, choosing their lyrics and songs with care. It preserves the original work of Zinnia Blue, paying homage to the influences that (couple) Kate Tucker and Matt Ellis have collected along the way, including the Melbourne independent music scene (hence the cover from Fireside Bellows). The beauty of a recording that takes its time is the product of a band who have taken their time to build it. The gentle, broody and intimately honest – uncompressed – sound of the record conveys the love of family, community and landscape which has been so instrumental in creating this work."
– Mandy Connell
"Zinnia Blue features gorgeous voices and intelligent songs"
– Kavisha Mazzella
"Gorgeous two part harmonies which pair beautifully with the instrumentation"
– The Music Below
released January 10, 2020
Zinnia Blue are:
Kate Tucker - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Matt Ellis - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar
Chris Ellis - Dobro (New England Highway), Lapsteel (Night Train, Cover Me Up, Lost Along the Way)
Narada Ellis - Double Bass (New England Highway, Night Train), Electric Bass (Truth & Lies)
Quinn Ellis - Piano (Truth & Lies, Grow Your Dreams), Mandolin (Sarah Boden)
Sam Ellis - Organ (Louisa Lawson)
Mark Wardle - Banjo (New England Highway, Won’t Cry, Night Train)
Leo Kahans - Violin (New England Highway, Won't Cry, Lost Along the Way)
Rachel Samuel - Cello (The Garden, Sarah Boden)
James Eccles - Viola (The Garden)
Peter Anderson - Accordion (Scent of the Sea)
John Clayton - Drums (Truth & Lies)
Erica Pringle & The Septemberists - Choir (Louisa Lawson)
Recorded and Produced by Chris Ellis and Zinnia Blue in Lorne and Melbourne, Victoria
Mixed and Mastered by John ‘Hooves’ Clayton at Increase Audio in Brunswick, Victoria
Artwork by Jack Kirby Crosby
All songs written and performed by Zinnia Blue, except:
Cover Me Up (Jason Isbell) and
Lost Along the Way (Jordie Lane and Tracy McNeil)
Eternal thanks to everyone who helped make this labour of love a reality.
- Folk & Singer-Songwriter