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Portrait of Karl Farren

Karl Farren

About Karl Farren

Mullumbimby, Australia

The debut album by Karl Farren

If Tom Waits went bail for Johnny Cash, and together they broke parole, drove all night through the Carolinas, PJ Harvey behind the wheel, Townes Van Zandt and Son House on the radio; ran the border and holed up in a cabin in the Wicklow hills where Elvis Costello helped Nick Drake finally find his sense of humour....this might come close....

This is UnAmericana; - backwoods soul music: melodic, lyrical and contemporary, yet rooted in an older, mythic soil; a rich and ancient sediment of storytelling and folk memory. Karl threads his bruised tenor voice, alternately warm and honeyed or scuffed and worn as a favourite old leather jacket, through acoustic and resonator guitars, drums, double bass, Hammond, Wurlitzer, fiddle and mandolin. Whether testifying like a revival tent preacher or intimating in a tender falsetto, his finely-crafted songs take you on a journey from the grit of working-class Dublin, through the peat bogs of an Irish glen to the red earth of the Australian bush; from the cool of a back porch in the Appalachians to the funky heat of the Mississippi delta.

To read what critics are saying about 'Repentance Creek', click on the myspace link below, and go to the blog.

'Repentance Creek' is available online from Indie-CDs. Click on the link below to order.


Raised in Dublin, Ireland on a cultural stew of Irish ballads, his elder sister’s Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash records and sixties and seventies pop music on the radio, Karl’s influences have always been diverse. Having cut his musical teeth in countless informal sessions in Dublin, Karl later played guitar and sang with bands in Dublin and London, playing music ranging from Steely Dan covers to self-styled ‘Pimp Rock’ (this latter occupying a strange netherworld triangulated by Isaac Hayes, The Pixies and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion).

Since moving to Australia in 1998, Karl has continued to be involved in music, and he has found a new voice in writing and performing his own material. In 2003 his song, ‘Firstborn’, featured on the ‘Fatherhood’ compilation , alongside songs by Paul Kelly, John Butler, Archie Roach and Tex Perkins (

Having been nominated for a Dolphin Award (NCEIA) for ‘Saddle Road’ in 2004 and ‘The Fixer’ in 2005, Karl took the Folk category award in 2006 for ‘Pilgrim Song’. ‘The Fixer’ also earned Karl a nomination as a finalist in the Folk category of the 2006 National MusicOz Awards. ‘Betty On The Wireless’, inspired by a story heard on the ABC’s Life Matters, received airplay and Karl was interviewed live on the program in October 2005. In the 2007 Dolphin Awards, Karl received no fewer than four nominations, including one for the prestigious ‘Album Of The Year Award’. ‘Repentance Creek’ was also nominated in the ‘Production/Engineering’ category and Karl had two songs nominated: ‘No-One Ever’ in the ‘Country’ category, and ‘The Fixer’ in ‘Folk’

A charismatic and unashamedly emotional live performer, he has been steadily building a loyal local following. Highlights include appearances at the inaugural Fatherhood Festival, where he was invited onstage to sing with Jimmy Little and Archie Roach, and the inaugural Bangalow Pacific Songwriters Festival. He programmed and stage-managed the music performances for the 2007 Fatherhood Festival. Karl is co-founder of the Mullumbimby Folk Club, a monthly non-profit event set up in February 2005 to provide an intimate showcase for original songwriting (

Karl is proud to announce the independent release of his debut album, ‘Repentance Creek’. Featuring ten original compositions, the album draws on Karl’s diverse influences, unified by his songwriting craft, his melodic gift and his deep roots in a lyrical tradition

The album has been gaining generous local airplay on Bay FM 99.9 FM, and was recently the featured album on the ‘Mostly Folk’ show on Hobart’s 7THE 92.1 FM.

What audience members are saying about Karl:

"..a very accomplished and magical performer. I've seen people swoon at his love songs"
- Alison Pearl, concert promoter, director Summersong Music Camp

"...I don't know anyone else that can make a whole audience hold their breath with emotion and sheer joy..."
- J.H., Brisbane

"...a saviour to the hungry soul..."
- L.N., Mullumbimby

“...a truly great performer, charming, witty, and poignantly beautiful, you will be laughing out loud one minute and choking back tears the next...a true master craftsman when it comes to songwriting...”
- M.N., Ocean Shores

More About The Artist

Portrait of Karl Farren
Karl Farren