Gippsland folk-rock singer Anne Simmons and her three-piece band are releasing their debut single, which is an indie rock track recorded and mixed by renowned sound engineer Nao Anzai. Anne Simmons & the Bitter Shush’s single ‘Do I Lift You Up’ showcases Anne’s delicate and dynamic vocals, combined with a powerful rhythm section from Gaetano Valenzisi on the drums and Anton Zalewski on the bass. Anne now lives north of the Latrobe Valley, but the song was written about four years ago from her Newborough home.

“With our band spread across Gippsland and Melbourne, the COVID lockdowns and ‘ring of steel’ put a brake on things, but we’re very excited to finally have something to show everyone,” she said.

“I really belt out the chorus of this song. It is a cry for reassurance from a time of a lot of change and uncertainty in my life.”

Anne wrote the song when she had Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain album on high rotation, and when she started to embrace a more soulful vocal style.

Discussing her other influences, Anne told the Gippsland Times she grew up listening to The Beatles and Crowded House, saying she was a big fan of their “simple but beautiful chord progressions”.

“More recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. I love Bob Dylan’s way of storytelling and how he creates an image in your mind with his lyrics,” she said.

Anne and her band will have more songs to release next year.

“We made the most of the studio time with Nao Anzai, who recorded ‘Do I Lift You Up’. We recorded a few tracks at once, so we’ll have more to release next year,” she said.

“Down the track, we’re hoping to release an EP or album, but we’re just taking it one step at a time currently. I’ll keep playing solo shows across Melbourne and Gippsland in the meantime.”

Anne has only lived in Gippsland for about five years – she previously lived in Melbourne and Adelaide – and her music often explores the loss and insight that come with moving to new places. Now living in the hills, the natural world is a bigger part of life and her music – a bushfire near town meant they missed their last rehearsal before recording ‘Do I Lift You Up’.

‘Do I Lift You Up’ is out on November 10. The launch will be at The Catfish in Fitzroy on Friday, November 17 with support from Dodda Rivka and The Koi Fish.

“At the launch show, we’ll play mostly originals, they’re songs I’ve written over the last four years or so,” Anne said.

“We’ll also have a few covers up our sleeve, I think they happen to be all songs from the (19)70s. I’ll play a combination of acoustic and electric guitar and you’ll hear a lot of different musical influences throughout the set, from country, to soul and folk.

“Anton Zalewski and Gaetano Valenzisi make a killer rhythm section, and you’ll hear some rockin’ dance beats and groovy basslines.”

Go to facebook.com/annesimmonsmusic to find out more and pre-purchase tickets.

Cover art for the single ‘Do I Lift You Up’.