LISTENING to Freya Josephine Hollick's voice is like jacking open a dusty time capsule that's been buried for decades.
You can hear Dolly Parton. You can hear Maybelle Carter. Your ears, out of habit, almost search for the crackle of an old vinyl record.
That's speaks to authentically of the alt-country, bluegrass and folk the Ballarat singer-songwriter has produced across her acclaimed albums; the Appalachian-flavoured The Unceremonious Junking Of Me (2015) and the more playful honky tonk of Don't Mess With The Doyenne (2017) and Feral Fusion (2018).
But if you expect Hollick to mine the same territory for the next album, you'd be mistaken. Over the past year Hollick has continued to explore her wilder side.
The first taste was the single Nobody's No Better Than No One, released last September, which featured the backing of US alt-country legend Lucinda Williams' band Buick 6.
The second single Impossible To Love will drop next month before the album The Real World later this year.
"My style has changed quite a lot," Hollick said. "It's obviously still based in a love of country and folk music.
"But probably, I'm more interested in playing shows that are a little bit wilder and playing music that's a little be louder and wilder.
"I think it's the same with anything. If you're a painter or a writer you don't want to be writing the same story over and over again."
Indeed Nobody's No Better Than No One carries a sense of danger in its desert rock groove that's absent from Hollick's earlier work. It's simply thrilling, served up in a big middle finger to all the fat cats.
The opportunity to work with Buick 6 - Butch Norton (drums), Stuart Mathis (guitar) and David Sutton (bass) - at the Rancho De La Luna studios in Joshua Tree, California in March 2019 was realised through a grant from Creative Victoria.
It was a life-changing experience for Hollick, who hadn't previously been overseas as an adult, little alone visited the home of one of her favourite artists, country-rock legend Gram Parsons.
"I was kind of nervous at first," she said. "You know when you're a kid and you haven't seen your cousins for a while and you don't know how to act around them and then within half an hour it's fine. It was like that.
"I didn't feel like I needed to prove myself necessarily. They're all really nice guys and were really supportive and easy going and just happy to play music."
When asked what did Buick 6 bring to the songs, Hollick said: "They brought their own energy to it.
"I sent them pretty raw demos of just me singing and playing guitar or playing piano and they formed the arrangements around that.
"I knew it would take on a whole different thing which was the whole point of it I suppose. It was to get their sound on my writing."
The prairie dresses of her The Unceremonious Junking Of Me phase have also been replaced from her live shows for a more hillbilly rock aesthetic.
Hollick's songwriting has also become more political.
The title track off her forthcoming album explores arguably the most polarising topic in Australian politics - climate change.
"It's more about the fact that the real things in the world are being covered up by concrete, choking on the pollution," she said.
It's clear down the phone line that advocating protection for the environment isn't a marketing pitch for Hollick. It's a clearly passionate subject for her.
She also fears discussion about climate change will be overwhelmed by concern surrounding the spread of coronavirus.
This interview was conducted before the Federal Government's edict against non-essential gathering of more than 500 people to minimise the spread of COVID-19, which has effectively shut down the live music industry for the immediate future.
"A few people have said whoever is doing publicity for the coronavirus should think about doing publicity for global warming, because it's going to kill more people than a virus will," Hollick said.
"The coronavirus is killing less people than the regular flu does each year. It's an interesting time in human history at the moment for sure."
In 2016 Hollick gave an interview with her local newspaper the Ballarat Courier where she expressed her growing anxiety about the "dystopian" political climate of the world where Donald Trump had just been elected US president.
While arguably the political climate has only deteriorated in the four years since, Hollick sees positives emerging.
"There's gonna be a shift in consciousness at some point among human kind," she said. "It may not happen in any generation while I'm still alive, but it's beginning to happen.
"People are beginning to wake up and starting to realise the way we've abused the resources of the planet is not sustainable.
"I look at it a little bit differently than I did then and I read a lot of books about new age philosophy and zen Buddhism which probably helps me cope with the themes of a dystopian reality."
Freya Josephine Hollick's scheduled show at Spiegeltent Newcastle on April 15 has been postponed.