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I’ve got everything I want,” Ian Moss sings on his first solo album in nine years. “I’ve got women, I got whiskey, I’ve got wine, I’ve got song.”

Indeed, he has.

This self-titled set is Mossy’s finest collection of songs since his multi-platinum, ARIA Award-winning solo debut, 1989’s Matchbook.

It’s also Mossy’s most personal record yet. He co-wrote every song, aside from ‘My Suffering’, which was written by his Cold Chisel bandmate and dear friend Steve Prestwich, who died in 2011.

One of the many standout songs is the stunning soul ballad ‘Broadway’, which Mossy wrote for his son, Julian. “It’s a song about missing my son when I’m on the road,” he explains. “I love doing gigs and being on tour, but as soon as the plane was about to take off, down would come the blues.”

The years fall away so quickly now,” Mossy sings. I’ve all the fortune and the fame. Oh, but I’d leave it all to yesterday just to be with you again’Cause I need a little something that feels like home.”

This is an Ian Moss solo record, but along with Steve’s song, there are other little nods to Cold Chisel. Charley Drayton – who joined Chisel after Steve’s passing – plays on 10 tracks. And Don Walker’s piano punctuates ‘A Girl Like You’, which name-checks one of Chisel’s favourite haunts when they moved to Sydney in the ’70s. “I remember when we first met, 5am at the Manzil Room/ Everybody turned their head, and every eye was set on you.”

The album was produced by one of Mossy’s first guitar heroes, Peter Walker, who also produced Cold Chisel’s self-titled debut in 1978 and co-produced Mossy’s second solo album, 1991’s Worlds Away. “I first saw Peter on GTK on the ABC in 1972 when he was playing in a band called Bakery,” Mossy recalls. “One of the things I liked about him, from a nerdy guitar outlook, was he was playing something different. Everyone at that time was playing a Les Paul, but he was playing a [Gibson] 335. Peter’s a great feel player. He’s an encyclopedia of chords, and he’s a genius at arrangements.”

Mossy co-wrote eight of the songs with Sydney singer-songwriter Sam Hawksley, who’s now based in the US, where he’s a member of the BoDeans. They met at Sydney’s Love Hz studios in 2011 when Mossy was demoing ‘Too Late’ for Cold Chisel’s No Plans album. They struck up an instant songwriting rapport, coming up with ideas for several songs. Three years later, Sam called and asked how the ideas were progressing. “Still sitting, as I like to say, lying moribund,” Mossy replied.

Sam convinced Mossy to join him in Nashville, where a six-week songwriting stint with some of that city’s finest writers brought those moribund ideas to life. “It was very productive and inspiring,” Mossy says. “An amazing time.”

Aside from a few factory jobs in his teenage years, music has been everything in Mossy’s life, and he has no plans to do anything else. “Gonna ride this train to the end of the line,” he declares in ‘Down Along The Track’.

Despite his undeniable charisma, Mossy is not your typical rock star. “I could tell that he was gentle and sensitive,” Jimmy Barnes writes in his bestselling autobiography Working Class Man. “But when he did look at you, his eyes seemed to look deep inside you, searching, looking for something; something he hoped would make it easier to reach out and connect with … Mossy was always on another planet, but we loved him.”

Mossy has never been in a rush to release music. It comes from within. The time has to be right. “You’re a fast car, I’m a slow crawl,” starts one of his new songs, ‘Fist Full Of Money’. Mossy’s chart-topping solo debut, which won five ARIA Awards, came nearly six years after Cold Chisel’s Last Stand. And he released just five studio albums in the ensuing two decades. His most recent album was the acclaimed collection of soul covers, Soul On West 53rd, released in 2009. His last collection of original recordings was 1996’s Petrolhead.

But as Mossy sings in the new album’s opening track and first single, ‘If Another Day (Love Rewards Its Own)’, “Out of sight, but never out of mind.” Put simply, Ian Moss – known as Mossy to his legion of fans – is part of Australian music’s soul. Originally from Alice Springs, he became one of the voices of Cold Chisel and a revered guitar hero. In 2014, Mossy’s fellow musicians ranked him Australia’s greatest guitarist in a News Corp poll. Alex Laska, guitarist in Kingswood, said: “His musical capabilities are simply fantastic. Moss can deliver subtlety with intensity, intensity with subtlety.”

And Mossy’s playing remains intuitive and inventive. “Another thing about Mossy,” notes legendary producer Mark Opitz, who produced East and Circus Animals, “he never plays the same thing twice.”

As Cold Chisel’s biographer Anthony O’Grady observed, “When Moss goes into guitar dreamworld he pulls out chords and notes and sounds that do not fit the plot as such but which create new dimensions – astounding stuff that can never be reached through intellectual process, only through a quantum leap of intuition and imagination.”

Mossy’s sublime playing – on his Fender electric and Maton acoustic – is as expressive as ever. “Sometimes the words are useless for what it is I’m trying to get across,” he confides in ‘Hold On (To What We Got)’.

Of course, that underplays Mossy’s vocal – a superb instrument in its own right – as well as the powerful personal stories on this record. But Mossy’s finest work is all about feel. And it’s that feel that tells you everything you need to know.

It’s no accident that the album is self-titled. This is the pure stuff. Classic Mossy.

IAN MOSS IS OUT MARCH 9 2018

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