The music of Guy Pearce is raw, honest and deeply personal. Considering Pearce’s stature as an actor, there is no way stories this level of personal introspective would ever surface in a one on one interview.
That is why ‘The Nomad’ is special.
In ‘The Nomad’ Pearce tells all about the end of his 18-year marriage and his new life with Game of Thrones star Carice van Houten and the birth of their first child.
Singer-songwriter and musician Joe Henry produced The Nomad, rendering Pearce’s words and music to the same raw level had previously applied to Bonnie Raitt, Allen Toussaint and Billy Bragg. Pearce isn’t the only actor / musician Henry has produced. He also produced Hugh Laurie’s two jazz albums.
As a testament to Henry’s abilities in the studio, his most recent work was producing Joan Baez’s first album in a decade ‘Whistle Down The Wind’. Pearce’s choice of Henry as producer was perfectly calculated. He knew these songs had to stay real.
Guy Pearce chose his hometown of Melbourne to deliver his one and only show for the release of The Nomad. While the album is dark and often revealing the show itself was extremely entertaining.
Guy knows how to entertain. The banter between the songs and the rapport with the audience (many of which were his family and friends) made this show feel more like a gathering in his lounge room instead of a theatre. That Hollywood touch came in handy too. The set was done up like home, with the comfy chair and bedside lighting, the conversations between songs felt like an old mate catching up with his pals (which in some ways it really was).
Guy’s sister Tracy was in the audience and got a shout out. “Name this band Tracy,” Guy yelled. “We are Geelong” came a response back.
There was the occasional off-dad joke, one literally about his dad’s unfortunate finale in a plane accident at Avalon outside Melbourne when Guy was 7. The title ‘The Nomad’ is equally about the name of the plane Mr Pearce died in and his son’s current lifestyle. You got a sense of how Guy Pearce deals with disaster in this show. Indeed, read the lyrics for a widen view. Guy is a realist. What happens, happens … and then we move on. It’s a recurring theme in a Guy Pearce song. What’s that old line about “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. I got a sense that that is now Guy Pearce lives his life.
‘The Nomad’ is a snapshot of his life and he shares his most personal moments in this music. Forget those tragic rags like Woahman’s Weekly or No Idea, Guy Pearce has nothing left to hide after The Nomad.
The music world does not apply a head start for Hollywood success. Music is music and Guy’s music has to stand up with other music artists. It cannot be compared to his movie successes. Guy Pearce approaches his music as a musician. His lyrics are genuine. His songs are organic. Think Bowie around ‘Space Oddity’, Joel before ‘Piano Man’, Elton at ‘Empty Sky’ entry point. Pearce has more in common with Neil Finn than Russell Crowe. At 50 he is a newbie.
It was an absolute pleasure to witness this 50-year old musician delivering only his second album. Time has a funny habit of not happening in the order we would all prefer. For Guy, his musical calling came around the same time as Ed Sheeran’s. Musically, they are the same beast in different stages of life. Who knows, Sheeran did his Game of Thrones thing, maybe he’ll end up being an actor at 50 and Pearce a classic rocker at 80. It’s not as funny as it sounds, Guy Pearce played Dr Alexander Hartdegen in the remake of The Time Machine in 2002. Maybe ‘The Nomad’ is the start of his musical Hartdegen.
Guy Pearce setlist, Arts Centre Melbourne, 8 July 2018
Truth (from The Nomad, 2018)
Say Goodbye (from The Nomad, 2018)
His Body (from The Nomad, 2018)
Cannon Ball (from The Nomad, 2018)
Leaving Home (from The Nomad, 2018)
What Makes You Think (from The Nomad, 2018)
Washed Up On The Shore (from The Nomad, 2018)
The Nomad (from The Nomad, 2018)
What It Takes (from The Nomad, 2018)
Overflow (from Broken Bones, 2014)
Taste (from Broken Bones, 2014)