From the spotlights of operatic stages to slide guitars and roots rock, it doesn't seem like there could be much of a link. Travelling from the glorious world that belonged to Dame Nellie Melba, face of the $100 note, to country Victoria, you'll find DALLAS FRASCA, a descendant of the Australian great; the red-dreaded woman whose face has been fast tracking itself around the globe.
Growing up with "music always in the house," it's strange that Frasca's vocal chords only began to bloom at 18, when discovered at a friend's party. However her late start almost ended after she developed nodules and was forced to lay off, deciding to learn guitar instead. "Because I couldn't sing for so long and really had to start listening to things, it's made me a better musician," Frasca feels. This connection of the two has culminated beautifully on her debut album Not for Love or Money. "With the album there's a real emphasis on positive outcomes. I spent a lot of time on lyrics and listening to great songs and found elements we loved and pulled them apart. It was basically written to have an empowering impact on the listener. But they're songs about things we can all relate to."
The album also reflects closely on the truths and beliefs of Frasca's life. The song I Like You Better When You're Straight tells forthrightly her dislike for people who are something they're not. In Strong Man it's clear what Frasca is on about. "Yeah, I fell in love big time and that song is the product of meeting him," she admits. Then there are tracks like Loaded Silence that haunt your ears about tales of injustice that happen in this country. "You know, it's kind of something I've fallen into over the last 12 months. If I was a total activist every song would be about that. But it's really important things that we're talking about and if we all get together it can make a difference."
With recent tours in France and plans for a world tour later next year, you'd think Frasca would be starting to ease into her role of frontwoman, it perhaps running in her blood; but every time I ask questions about her, I'm met with responses of "we." It's clear that the woman from Wangaratta is not letting it go to her head, and is humbled by the experiences being thrown her way. "Music is a wonderful job to be in... you get to travel and meet all of these great people," she says. "In France I got to meet B. B. King! The guy's 83 and still does 200 shows a year! So I'm standing outside his door shaking and waiting; when I finally got to walk in it was just amazing. Oh, you should see the photo I got with him - I look like such an idiot!"
Dallas, supported by Kim Churchill and Marji Curran Trio, will play the ANU Bar on Friday September 11. Tickets through Ticketek.