WHEN Dave Wells stepped into 1233 ABC Newcastle's studio last year to perform a handful of songs on Kia Handley's morning show he never expected where the opportunity would lead.
It turns out that big-name American rock producer Nick DiDia was listening in his car and was intrigued by the music from the Maitland singer-songwriter.
Wells soon received an email asking to meet DiDia over coffee in Byron Bay.
"It just said, 'Hey Dave heard you on the radio today and you said you were working on some new songs, I was really impressed, let's have some coffee some time, Nick DiDia'," Wells said.
"I was familiar with the name, but it didn't jump at me. It wasn't until I sat down and Googled his name and his discography came up and I was like, 'Wow, this guy has done some stuff'."
DiDia is one of the preeminent sound engineers of the past three decades. His production credits feature a who's who of rock'n'roll, including Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Temple Pilots and The Offspring.
DiDia also produced Powderfinger's albums Internationalist, Odyssey #5,Vulture Street and Golden Rule.
Since 2010 DiDia has been based in Byron Bay and in 2015 he opened a custom-built studio, LaCueva Recording, with Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning.
On Wednesday Wells travelled to Byron Bay to begin work on an EP with DiDia at LaCueva.
Fans will have the opportunity to hear some of the tracks likely to appear on the EP when Wells performs at Lizotte's on Saturday, September 19.
ZOE K SET FREE
LOOK out Maitland. Soul singer Zoe K is out of quarantine and headed home. On Wednesday Klemenczuk completed her mandatory 14 days in quarantine at a Sydney hotel after returning from New Orleans.
There was no Dannii Minogue-style special treatment afforded to Maitland's soul diva, but she accepted the isolation and passed the time with humour.
Klemenczuk kept her social media followers updated with a series of entertaining posts and plans to get back on the gig scene, starting with the Grand Junction Hotel on July 26, after three years honing her craft in Louisiana playing events like the French Quarter Festival.
"Being in America for three years opened my eyes up to the comparisons with Australia and how lucky we are in terms of universal healthcare," Klemenczuk said from quarantine. "When they said we had to be in mandatory hotel quarantine I thought it was gonna be some little dingy Best Western.
"I'm like wow, I'm sleeping at a five-star hotel here. It sucks you can't open a window or go outside, but we get fed three times a day."
ALBUMS THAT MADE ME:Zoe K on Etta James' At Last!
NEWCASTLE'S Grace Turner will have the advice of two-time ARIA Award-winner Megan Washington to call on as she prepares to release her debut EP Half Truths on August 7.
The pair have been linked together through APRA AMCOS' Women In Music Mentorship initiative, which aims to help female artists navigate the music industry.
Besides having Washington as a mentor for three months, Turner will also receive financial support.
"I remember hearing Washington for the first time on triple j and being drawn to her songs and fierce delivery," Turner said.
"I read an interview with her and thought she was brave and honest with her words. I am looking forward to hearing her experience of the industry, and her journey with writing and artistic knowledge."
ALBUMS THAT MADE ME:Grace Turner on discovering Tracey Chapman
CAMBO LOCAL PUSH
THE Herald reported on Tuesday that the return of live music to the Cambridge Hotel had been met with overwhelming demand. Eight 100-people shows - six from Lime Cordiale and two from Phil Jamieson - sold out days after going on sale.
Cambridge licensee Dru Russell also said the venue plans to book Newcastle bands in the 100-seat room over the coming months.
"We're gonna do that rolling forward, whether it be local acts, whether it's a touring act," Russell said. "We'll just do it, the 100 cap in the room moving forward."
FRESH from another season on The Voice, Australian pop queen Delta Goodrem will return to touring in 2021. Goodrem's Bridge Over Troubled Dreams Tour will arrive at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on May 1.
It'll be her first Hunter show since the 2017 Newcastle 500 Supercars.
LIVE music will be reignited at Lower Belford in August with the return of Dashville Nights. Newcastle Americana songwriter Ben Leece and his band Left Of The Dial will kick-off the series of shows on August 1 with Johnston City.
On August 15 Magpie Diaries will headline alongside Palomino, before Maitland metal band Zombonimo play on August 29.