Soul from the Earth

Red Earth & Rust’s new double album is set for release in March 2010 and promises to be a compelling new voice in the singer/songwriter genre, with powerful storytelling and soulful lyrics. ‘Dark Mercy’ / ‘Wrestling the Angel’ follows on the 2008 album ‘Look For Me’.

The Cape Town-based band is comprised of well-known and accomplished South African musicians. The album features the talents of Jacques Coetzee (piano and vocals), Dave Ferguson (harmonica), Jonny Blundell (acoustic and electric guitar), Brydon Bolton (double bas) Ross Campbell (drums and percussion), and Gustavo Fasani (bandoneon) and Natalie Mason (viola). Lyrics are by Barbara Fairhead.

The project is produced by Aron Turest-Swartz, who started Freshlyground in 2002. This is his first project since leaving that band in early 2009.

The album is a soulful, introspective journey anchored by the powerful singing of Jacques Coetzee and lyrics by Barbara Fairhead. Coetzee has the range to handle anything from folk to theatrical, from soul to a blue grass saloon sound.

Coetzee’s popularity as a live singer is itself a journey, not least because he is blind.

He distills influences ranging from Leonard Cohen to Tom Waits, Nick Cave to Solomon Burke. The result is a strong collection of songs that has the complexity and variety to hold your attention and take you on a deeper journey.

The album release kicks off with two evening performances in Cape Town on 20th and 21st of March at the Theatre in the District, District Six.

Bookings at Computicket or tickets at the door.


“Red Earth sits in a category along with Jim Neversink, Ian Henderson, Joshua Grierson and The Black Hotels. It’s going to fly.” – Jon Monsoon

“The result is an interesting blend of lyricism with folk, blues and adult contemporary rock fusing into something that is, at its core, very elemental and almost primal,” - Bronwen Dyke


Jacques Coetzee is a classically trained singer, a poet and a lapsed academic who captivates audiences with his live performances. He honed his voice as a tenor before performing a series of Bob Dylan and Cole Porter tribute concerts at venues around Cape Town in his early career. For two years he was a busker at the Waterfront along with former Flying Ants band member Roy MacGregor. In 2008 he was one of the featured poets at the Spier International Poetry Festival, where Red Earth & Rust also performed. In June 2008 he performed as a voice artist with Tossie van Tonder at the Grahamstown Arts Festival in a piece combining voice and movement entitled “intiem Et Cetera.”

Growing up blind has taught Jacques to find his own way into the world of music. His closest collaborator is poet and artist Barbara Fairhead, the band’s lyricist and musical director since its formation in 2006.

“Barbara writes the lyrics and I transfer them into Braille. Six dots. That is what Braille is made up of. Then I learn them by heart, play snatches on the piano, hum, and just live with them. It is as if they have a presence and an identity and I am trying to find the right space for them to live in,” says Coetzee.

“I have always been drawn to folk and rock – songs that told tales that are just true, songs where technique isn’t the most important thing. It’s not about hitting the high note, but about the way it resonates,” - Jacques Coetzee.

“I was intrigued by the combination of Jacques’ unique voice and the soulful lyricism of the music. When you bring together so many musicians of this quality, the result is alchemy,” - Aron Turest-Swartz.