“Rhea's got a bottomless bag of hits. By now I'm fairly certain she's part of the Melbourne songwriting Illuminati (ft. other elites like Courtney Barnett, Caleb from Tiny Little Houses, Alex Lahey and more). 4 STARS”
- Dave Ruby Howe, triple j
“Melbourne has produced so many great new writers and I would add Rhea to that list”
- Kram, Spiderbait
- James Frostick, Weirdo Wasteland
“Such great shimmy pop with a trippy sprinkle. Melodies so big and true. Cheers BBs”
- Steph Hughes, triple j
“another dreamy 60s party with some deluxe melodies - 4 Stars”
- Declan Byrne, JJJ Home and Hosed
“60s surf rock pushed through the modern gaze of (a) quirky pop-star. I dig
this a lot. 4 stars”
- Dave McCarthy, Laundry Echo
“Rhea Caldwell comes off sounding a little like Kim Deal fronting Velvet Underground”
- Guido Farnell, The Music
Baby Blue are a prolific Melbourne band who after a two-year incubation have emerged with a refined sound, some fresh faces, and their first full-length album. Beginning as a solo project fronted by Rhea Caldwell, Baby Blue is now a fully-fledged five-piece bringing new depth and energy to the raw yet playful story-telling that first endeared them to fans.
Lead singer and songwriter Rhea Caldwell performs with an ease few can claim to possess. Having cut their teeth as the lead guitarist of Michael Beach and as bassist for Gena Rose Bruce, Caldwell’s songwriting taps into 60s surf rock with a sprinkling of Americana and a healthy serve of indie pop. The result is a charming and considered concoction that’s been likened to that of Kim Deal fronting the Velvet Underground.
Inspired to purchase an old parlor guitar whilst in the States, a determined Caldwell decided to write their own songs after years of sitting quietly on the sideline working within Music. These first attempts at songs would form the basis of Baby Blue, establish Caldwell’s trademark candid and relatable lyrics, and cement them as ‘one to watch’. 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 the goals for Baby Blue. The band’s first EP In My Mind and second EP Do What You Like are the results of Caldwell finding, not just a voice, but a community of peers in music.
Baby Blue consists of a high caliber cast of some of Melbourne’s most in-demand musicians. Nathanael Riley (drums) has been a pillar of the band since its beginning. Always the first to hear Rhea’s new songs, Nat brings an energy and optimism that elevates the frank, and sometimes heartbreaking, lyrics Caldwell is known for. Jesse Williams (guitar), another long-time friend, joins Baby Blue with a wealth of experience from playing alongside Leah Senior and Alexander Hamilton, and fronting Girlatones. Williams is a seasoned performer, recording engineer and producer whose skill as a guitarist breathes new life into the band’s infectious melodies. Perrin Date (bass), a familiar face in bandrooms across the inner-north, is another Baby Blue veteran who provides the band’s backbone through steady yet buoyant basslines. Marlee Dalton (keys) and Mitch McGregor (percussion) are the newest members, both contributing fresh texture and sophistication to the dynamic Baby Blue sound.
Baby Blue’s discography traverses themes of friendship, unrequited love, queer romance and the courage it takes to live an authentic life. Caldwell delivers lyrics with an easy sincerity. Completely devoid of pretense, they create space for the listener to explore difficult emotions, taking them on a journey that strikes the perfect balance between a satisfying conclusion, and the desire for more. Calwell’s songwriting ability has been praised by Australian music veterans such as Kram of Spiderbait, who mentored Rhea as part of the 2017 Australian Music Industry Network ‘One Eye on the Stranger’ program. Caldwell was selected by Kram to represent Victoria as part of the songwriting residency and performed alongside other state rep’s at the closing night of the Festival of Voices, Tasmania.
Baby Blue is ultimately a marker for Caldwell’s progress as both a songwriter and human, the trials and triumphs Rhea faces finding their place in the world. The band’s contributions have allowed Caldwell’s songs to truly shine and has transformed Baby Blue into a powerful and compelling live act.
Baby Blue have been invited to open up 2017’s Boogie Festival and play at Bello Winter Music, and have supported international acts such as Chastity Belt, Benjamin Booker, Shakey Graves and The Courtneys, as well as fellow Australian luminaries G Flip, Husky, Holy Holy, Ella Hooper and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever among others. Baby Blue also played MTV Unplugged in 2018, supporting Aus’ Music heavyweights DMA’s.
The bands 2015 single ‘New Girlfriend’ was released alongside Hollie Joyce’s ‘Poster Girl’ by Cobra Snake Necktie records in a sell out split single. ‘New Girlfriend’ also featured as the track for a Yamaha ad’ campaign. Baby Blues 2017 single ‘I Like You’ was added to Apra Amcos’ Staff Picks by Matt Barber and made it onto PBS’ Feature Records top ten.’I Like You’ reached No. 4 on the Amrap Regional Chart and No.8 on the Metro Chart. Both ‘I Like You’ and ‘New Girlfriend’ also featured on award winning documentary ‘I Used To Be Normal, A Boyband Fangirl Story’ which premiered as part of Miff in 2018; and the 2020 single, ‘Fire and Ice’ featured on web series ‘Deebrief’.
Baby Blue released Do What You Like, their second EP on Will Evans’ Melbourne-based label Neat Lawn in 2018. The collection of five songs produced by Paul Maybury (King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Augie March, Cable Ties) served as a significant leap forward for Caldwell in terms of establishing her now idiosyncratic style of writing. Do What You Like sold out its first and second run of vinyl pressings and landed the band countless plays on RRR, PBS, 4ZZZ, Sydney Radio, Edge Radio Hobart and JJJ Unearthed Radio among others. Singles from the record also premiered on JJJ, RRR and PBS. A handful were played on JJJ Home and Hosed and added to JJJ host Bridget Hurstwaite’s ‘What’s Good’ playlist. Baby Blue were also featured as the Artist Spotlight on the JJJ Unearthed website. All of the Baby Blue music videos (except for the home video compilation of dogs that Rhea made) have scored multiple plays on Rage TV, and a few were chosen as Rages’ ‘Wild One’ feature of the week upon release.
Baby Blue’s highly anticipated full-length album, "What Will We Do When We Get There?" represents the next step in songwriting and production for Caldwell and Baby Blue. Recorded and mixed by guitarist Jesse Williams, the band recorded over several weekends at Jesse and Leah Senior’s home in Anglesea. "What Will We Do When We Get There?" explores the ebbs and flows of striving for self-improvement, the joys and pitfalls of casual romance, and trying to stay positive in an increasingly challenging world. It’s a polished and well-rounded debut record from a band that’s ready to claim the audience they deserve.
"What Will We Do When We Get There?" swims through the calamitous throes of loving and losing in all its dimensions. Runaway fantasies run straight into reality on tracks like Daisy Chains - a crush in full swing, pining and opining about all the cutest things to do with someone made just for you - and I Think I Love You, evoking the knife’s edge balance of new love, all shimmying sugar rush before giving way to a more reflective mood. Do You Self Reflect bears a sharper bite, Caldwell breaking into spiteful spoken word, delivering a wickedly understated “I’m not so sure about him any more” to stamp someone’s status as persona non grata. Hills Hoist is a spritelier take, all about the idle wondering about what someone’s doing when you’re not talking any more. No Walls or Colour Schemes goes existential, pushing desperately against the human condition, churning instrumentation carrying Caldwell who sounds frustrated and resigned by turns, while So Close But So Far is full of regret. Elsewhere, We Could Walk This Line, But We Deny It paints a somber portrait of something tempting but doomed. It’s a record that has Baby Blue looking for an anchor point in others, jubilant in love and tortured by life.