KIM Finneran was always her son Sandy's biggest supporter.
She'd constantly encourage Sandy to release music under his moniker, Sanfred, understanding it was a therapeutic outlet for the Central Coast-based singer-songwriter.
Last July Sandy Finneran lost his best friend Patricia Kelly - another long-time advocate of his music - and his mother urged him to channel his anguish into music.
The result is Sanfred's second EP, Smoke Bombs, released this week. Sadly Kim never saw Smoke Bombs released as she died suddenly on June 8.
"My mum pushed me to have a break from work when Trish died because we knew this is my therapy and the way I get things out," Finneran said. "She was very supportive of me doing that, so it's bizarre it comes out a week after she passed."
Kim's influence on Sanfred will be sustained forever. His next four-track EP, due for release later this year, was recorded in Kim's garage.
"My mum was super involved with that and listened to the songs when I first wrote them and mum even sang backing vocals on one of the tracks," he said. "Even though my mum has passed, she's involved in this and is involved in the next thing I'll release."
Finneran is based on the Central Coast these days, but cut his teeth in the Newcastle punk and hardcore scenes as a guitarist from the age of 15.
In his late 20s Finneran began playing acoustic guitar and started performing at open mic nights at the FogHorn and Mayfield Hotel. That eventually led to his self-titled debut EP in 2018, featuring the songs Damnesia and When You Go.
Finneran, 32, also performed his acoustic folk-pop tunes on an east coast tour and even played dates in Thailand and the UK. It was during a three-month stint in the UK that he recorded his debut album My Escape.
Smoke Bombs signals a sonic shift for Sanfred towards a more pop-punk electric guitar sound, influenced by The Smith Street Band and Luca Brasi.
"With it being more guitar-orientated, it was because I was more comfortable as a singer this time around," he said.
BOO SEEKA SPLIT
BEN Gumbleton will carry on Boo Seeka as a solo project after he announced on Tuesday that Michael May had departed the Newcastle electro-soul duo.
"I wanted to let you know that after joining the band for the last three years, Michael and I have parted ways due to fundamental differences," Gumbleton posted on Boo Seeka's social media.
"I'm working really hard to bring you this next collection of music this year, which means so much to me."
Boo Seeka only performed at Maitland's Grand Junction Hotel on May 28 and released their most recent single Don't Waste Your Love in April.
May joined Boo Seeka as a percussionist in 2018, when he replaced the Sydney-based Sam Croft, who formed the duo in 2015 with Gumbleton. Croft left Boo Seeka to accept a pilot cadetship.
GIA IN TOP CLASS
THE apple doesn't fall far from the tree in the Henry family. Gia Henry, the daughter of alt-country artist Natalie Henry and her ex-husband and fellow musician, Brock Henry, is one of the youngest inductees into the Junior Academy of Country Music.
The 12-year-old from Mayfield will join 14 other budding musicians from around Australia aged between 12 to 17 in Tamworth on Saturday for a one-week course.
The academy is led by multi-Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell from Greta and Maitland-based leader of The Bushwackers, Roger Corbett.
Henry will also have the opportunity to learn songwriting and music business from Newcastle country queen Catherine Britt and Aleyce Simmonds.
INDIE-pop songstress Thelma Plum has promised to reschedule dates for her Newcastle shows, after the NSW and ACT leg of her Homecoming Queen tour was postponed on Wednesday due to the growing COVID-19 cluster in Sydney.
The Better In Blak star was to perform sold-out shows at Wests NEX on Wednesday and Thursday with support from Newcastle's Kira Puru.
Ali Barter's gig at the Stag and Hunter Hotel on Saturday is also cancelled.
THE pandemic has been tough on musicians, and it certainly has been for Newcastle's Amy Vee. The mother-of-two juggled parental responsibilities, a psychology masters and writing music and poured the confusion surrounding her multiple identities into her single Just Me.
"Being stuck in one place during the pandemic, I was suddenly forced to look inward and face the reality of my own dysphoria," Vee said. "I think this song was my attempt at being real about not knowing who I am."
Just Me isn't released until July 2, but Vee will perform the song on Saturday at The Gal in a double-header show with Anna Weatherup.