James Frostick, Weirdo Wasteland
“great shimmy pop with a trippy sprinkle”
Steph Hughes, triple j
“Rhea's got a bottomless bag of hits”
Dave Ruby Howe, triple j
“60s surf rock pushed through the modern gaze of quirky pop-star.”
Dave McCarthy, Laundry Echo
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Baby Blue have been around for longer than two years given their prolificacy in the Melbourne music scene. Having quickly become a staple of the local scene through their relentless gigging, the band, centered around Rhea Caldwell, have been turning heads with their infectious melodies and live show which is a joy to behold.
Lead singer and songwriter Rhea Caldwell performs with an ease few can claim to possess, tapping into sounds of 60s surf rock with a sprinkling of Americana and indie pop. The result is charming and considered concoction from an exciting new talent to watch.
Inspired to purchase an old parlour guitar while in the States, a determined Caldwell decided to write her own songs after years of never fully committing. These first attempts at songs would form the basis of Baby Blue and establish Caldwell’s trademark candid and relatable lyrics, which once she got started, flowed from her effortlessly. After an eye opening time at The Seed Fund, an extensive workshop wherein successful applicants received grants to enhance their industry knowledge and self-sustainability, Caldwell became more clear of her goals for Baby Blue. The band’s first EP In My Mind is a result of Caldwell finding not just a voice, but important peers in music.
Baby Blue features an evolving lineup of Dave Mudie (Courtney Barnett, L.A. Mood, Gumboot), Nathanael Riley (19th Century Strongmen, Captain Apples), Cordelia Crosby (Gena Rose Bruce), Andrew Campbell (Jim Lawrie, Lipsync Chicks), Perrin Date (New Band), Liam ‘Snowy’ Halliwell (Jade Imagine, No Local, The Ocean Party), Jesse Williams (Girlatones, Leah Senior) and Josh Coleman (Gumboot); an in arguably high calibre cast of some of Melbourne’s most in-demand musicians. The band’s contribution have allowed Caldwell’s songs to truly shine and has transformed Baby Blue into a powerful and compelling live act. Caldwell has also been cutting her teeth as the lead guitarist of Michael Beach and bassist for Gena Rose Bruce.
In the band’s short existence they’ve been invited to open up 2017’s Boogie Festival and play at Bello Winter Music, and have supported the likes of international bands Chastity Belt, Benjamin Booker, Shakey Graves and The Courtneys, as well as fellow Australian luminaries G Flip, Husky, Jordie Lane, Ella Hooper and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.
Topics dissected in a Baby Blue song range from non-committal romances to self improvement, all delivered through Caldwell’s refreshing sincerity. Alleviated from the project’s humble folk beginnings, the force of the band is evidenced through sparkling backing vocals, flourishes of guitar and Caldwell’s breezy yet impactful vocals. Each song takes the listener on a journey, striking the perfect balance between satisfaction and wanting to hear more.
Baby Blue is ultimately a marker for Caldwell’s progress as both a songwriter and human, the trials and triumphs she faces finding their place in songs that appeal instantly. There’s zero pretension at play here, just a desire to connect with others and make sense of the world through music. Baby Blue release Do What You Like, their second EP on Melbourne-based label Neat Lawn. The collection of five songs produced by Paul Maybury (King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Augie March, Cable Ties) serves as a significant leap forward for Caldwell in terms of establishing her now idiosyncratic style of writing.