C.W. Stoneking is an artist for whom ‘unexpected’ is probably the default setting. How else to describe such a fine purveyor of American roots music who also happens to be a towering, youthful-faced white Australian man? He surprises first-time listeners, throws curveballs at long-time fans, and everything he does contains at least some background level of bafflement for all involved.
He draws influences from old calypso, early rock ’n’ roll, ’60s girl groups, late-’50s R’n’B and gospel, among many others. His lyrics, are colourful and sometimes fanciful, but they’re underpinned by personal experience. Stoneking likes to cloak his personal insights in larger-than-life stories: “I work better with something to hang it on,” he told me. “I can run free with the metaphors in there and it doesn’t come out sounding preachy.”