Mustered Courage Offer Advice and Shredding Bluegrass

After forming in 2010, Mustered Courage has quickly provided a fresh breath of air into the bluegrass scene.

Picking their way across their home country of Australia and all over North America, Julian Abrahams (vocals/guitar), Nick Keeling (vocals/banjo), Josh Bridges (vocals/bass) and Paddy Montgomery (vocals/mandolin) have earned respect from critics and fans alike with their self-titled 2010 debut and 2013’s Power Lines.

During a recent run through the United States, caught up with the four guys to ask about their early concert experiences and what a band should do for food when they tour Australia. In addition, they played two songs for us, showcasing their fierce take on bluegrass.  What was the first concert you ever saw live?

Julian: The first international band I ever saw live was the Presidents of the United States of America.  That was rocking.  It was at the Royal Theatre of Canberra.  I was like 12, crowd-surfed my ass off.  It was pretty cool.

Nick:  I think one of the first concerts I saw was Alanis Morissette in Austin.  But more importantly, another concert I saw early on was Smashing Pumpkins – a band I knew nothing about. It was an excuse to meet up with this girl.  So I didn’t know what was going on.  I was just thinking about how loud it was.  But the girl and I went on a stroll around the botanical gardens at night and spent some time there. (laughs)  I came home and told my mom how great the show was.  I got the shirt and everything.

Josh: The first concert I was caught by surprise was at this theater in Melbourne, and Ry Cooder was playing there.  I only knew of one of his songs, and my friend had talked about him all the time.  I was working at the bar at the venue, and got off my shift.  Normally when you finish early, you just want to go home.  You don’t want to see the act that night, but I decided to listen to one song.  Oh man, after one song, it became two, and eventually I could absolutely not leave.

Paddy: When I was really young, my dad took me to see Bush.  Right when Sixteen Stone was released.  But the first proper show I went to as a teenager was my favorite Australian band Powderfinger.  That was in Adelaide, and it was awesome.

Julian: That’s one of the biggest Australian rock bands in the last 10-15 years.

Mustered Courage performs “Behind the Bullet.”  What food advice can you give to bands that might be headed to Australia in the near future?

Julian: We’re really addicted to Guzman and Gomez, which is the best Mexican food in Australia when riding around.  It’s really hard to get good Mexican food in Australia.  They opened up chains everywhere, so we always have one of those to rely on.

Paddy: There’s an iPhone app, too, so we can check when we’re driving.

Julian: There’s also an amazing Pakistani restaurant in Sydney called Fahim’s.  It’s cheap as hell and it’s the most amazing curry you can eat.

Josh: I get liver and kidney. (laughs)

Julian: There is lots of great Asian food in Melbourne.  There’s one that Nick and I go to called Dumpling House.  It’s pretty traditional with organic noodles, handmade dumplings.  It’s great.

Paddy: But when we drive up the coast, there’s literally nothing but KFC and McDonald’s on the road.

Julian: So we sometimes pack a cooler with carrots and hummus, wraps and stuff like that.  Chicken, leafy greens.  But me and Paddy could be a chip eating team, especially with salt and vinegar chips.

Mustered Courage performs “Go to Hell.” When you’re in the van, who has control of the radio?

Julian: Our van is a Japanese import, but you can put a CD in there and rip it to the stereo.  The previous owner had a ton of music in there, and it took us forever to figure out how to delete it. We have a back catalog of quite a lot of bad music, actually.

Paddy: There was Japanese techno music in there, and that was crazy.  It had titles like “Happy 1,” “Happy 2,” “Happy 3…”

Nick: They did have Queen’s greatest hits, though, so that was a nice find.

Julian: We do listen to a variety of music on the van.  Josh puts on a lot of Brazilian music.

Josh: But the stereo actually broke recently.  It was on a 10-hour drive to Sydney with no music.  That was a rough go.

Nick: We just punched it once and blew on it to fix it.  I couldn’t believe it worked, but it worked for my Super Nintendo, so why not here?

For more information, visit Mustered Courage’s official Facebook page.