Loene Carmen

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Lo Carmen, aka Loene Carmen
Born Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Genres Alternative country, Country rock, Folk, Outlaw country, Singer Songwriter, Rock'n'Roll, Torch Singer
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, Actress
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1987–present
Website www.locarmenmusic.com

Loene Carmen, also known as Lo Carmen, is an Australian singer, songwriter, musician and actress.[1] Carmen has independently released five albums, most recently Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) in 2015.

Early life and career[edit]

Carmen was born in Adelaide, Australia and raised amongst its 1970s music and art community.[2] She is the daughter of rock/jazz/blues pianist Peter Head, founder of The Mount Lofty Rangers,[3] and has a brother Josh Beagley, a guitarist, most notably with funk band Swoop.[4] She began performing while accompanying her father and formed a country band the Honky Tonk Angels.[5] Carmen began focusing on a career as a solo singer-songwriter in 2002.


Carmen was discovered at sixteen working in a Kings Cross pizza bar and cast as the "wild and haunted"[6] Freya Olson in John Duigan's The Year My Voice Broke (1987). Her performance, and that of her co-stars Noah Taylor and Ben Mendelsohn, was described as "deeply memorable, central characters [that] are played by a trio of fine actors in the formative stages of their careers".[7] She was nominated for an Australian Film Institute Best Actress award.[8][9] Other notable roles followed including Australian prostitute/whistleblower Sallie-Anne Huckstepp in the docudrama Blue Murder and Christine in Alkinos Tsilimidos' gritty drama Tom White, for which she also received nominations for Australian Film Institute Best Supporting Actress, Film Critics Circle Best Actor - Female 2004 and IF Awards Best Actress 2004.[10] In 2011, director Kriv Stenders brought Carmen and Noah Taylor together again in Australian film Red Dog,[11] which was described in the Australian as a "warm-hearted and thoroughly entertaining movie".[12]


Carmen's debut solo album Born Funky Born Free was released in 2001, and featured contributions from Simon Day and James Cruickshank.[13][14] In 2004, her second album, Slight Delay was released on Reverberation Records.[15] Carmen also recorded a mini-album Leave It at the Door in 2003 together with Kristyna Higgins under the moniker T: Lo, it would eventually be released digitally in 2010.[16]

In 2007 she released Rock'n'Roll Tears, co-written and recorded with Jed Kurzel and Sam Worrad.[17] Tracks "Nashville High" and "Rock n Roll Tears" were featured in the Australian series Love My Way.[18] It was described as "impeccably well orchestrated collection of moody, classic rock and roll pieces that highlights Loene's vocal strength and range".[19]

Carmen's fourth album It Walks Like Love was released in December 2009.[20] The album was produced by Burke Reid and recorded with musicians from teenage punk band The Scare and long time collaborator Sam Worrad from The Holy Soul on bass.[21] Special guests include Jed Kurzel (Mess Hall) on duet "Oh Apollo!", her father Peter Head on piano with Tex Perkins and daughter Holiday Sidewinder also making an appearance on backing vocals.[22] An EP Hard Candy Christmas (2010) under the name Sweet Carmo featured country classics by artists such as Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.[23]

After relocating to Georgia while her partner Aden Young shot Sundance television series Rectify, Carmen recorded and released The Peach State (2012), a suite of solo country songs, recorded in Nashville with long time Johnny Cash engineer David Ferguson.[24] No Depression called it "...stark country-soul and shimmering blues ...a direct line to the heart that showcases her glorious voice."[25] This release also marked a professional name change from Loene Carmen to Lo Carmen.

In 2013, Carmen released the album The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree, a collaboration with her father. It was described as "an album high on smoky atmosphere and the ghosts of many a raised glass"[26] and "an endearing mix of country soul and late night jazz".[27][28] During the subsequent tour, the duo opened for Kinky Friedman and The Handsome Family.[29][30]

In 2015 she released the album Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) that featured the title track as a single.[31] The album was self-produced and recorded in Sydney over one day by Wade Keighran with musicians Ken Gormly from The Cruel Sea, Cec Condon from The Mess Hall on drums and Sam Worrad on guitar.[32] Global Texan Chronicles called it "shadowy and palpable Lou Reed-esque honky tonk realism with so much rare and raw individuality that it takes you aback at first listen",[33] and described Carmen as "a true storyteller". The album includes a song written about mysterious Blue Note jazz pianist Jutta Hipp. Aden Young filmed, directed and edited the videoclip for the single on a farm in Griffin, Georgia.[34]

Carmen performs solo or with a rotating line-up of musicians and has opened for Gareth Liddiard (The Drones), Renee Geyer and The Secret Sisters in Australia as well as Mick Harvey in Europe.[35] She showcased solo at SxSW in 2009 and 2016.[36][37] In band mode she has opened for Beasts Of Bourbon, Magnolia Electric Company, Mess Hall, The Drones, Paul Kelly and the Dirty Three.[38] In an interview she explained "I prefer to have a core band that I can play with but I’m not a machine playing all the time so when I need people I just have to hope they are available. Plus, I like the idea of being like Chuck Berry, just picking up bands in every town or for different gigs. And that way the songs sound different each time too".[39] She records more than performing live, stating "Making albums is the absolute joy of being a musician for me, especially the joy of recording with other people and the surprises of what they bring."[40]


Carmen has published two essays, one in the anthologies Meanjin on Rock 'n' Roll: All Yesterday's Parties,[41] and in Your Mother Would be Proud: True Tales of Mayhem and Misadventure (edited by Jenny Valentish & Tamara Sheward),[42] and contributed to two of the Women of Letters collections (edited by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire)'.[43]


  • Lo Carmen: "The Peach State" EP (2012)
Other Releases
  • Sweet Carmo: Hard Candy Christmas EP (2011; digital release/limited edition of 25)
  • T: Lo: Leave It at the Door EP (2010; digital release)
  • The Charismatics: Fateful Gaze EP (1998)
  • Automatic Cherry: Slow Burner LP (1996)
Guest artist


Music videos[edit]

  • "Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)" (2015)
  • "Mimic the Rain" (2009)
  • "Nashville High" (2006)
  • "My Friends Call Me Foxy" (2002)

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1987: Australian Film Institute Awards nomination for Best Actress (The Year My Voice Broke)[8]
  • 2004: Film Critic's Circle nomination for Best Actor - Female (Tom White)[44]
  • 2004: Inside Film Award nomination for Best Actress (Tom White)[44]
  • 2004: Australian Film Institute Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Tom White)[10]

Personal life[edit]

Carmen was in a relationship with Jeremy Sparks with whom she has daughter, Holiday Sidewinder (b. 1990), who is also a singer-songwriter.[45][46] Carmen married actor Aden Young in Zebulon, Georgia, in 2014, after a 10-year relationship.[47] They have two sons, Chester Van (b. 2011) and Dutch Bon (b. 2007).[48] Young directed the music videos for "Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)", "Nashville High" and edited Carmen's "Mimic the Rain" clip.[49] Carmen co-composed the score for Young's short film The Rose of Ba Ziz (2007) as well as appeared in it.[50]

Sidewinder's godfather is actor Noah Taylor.[51]

Carmen cites close family friend, Australian soul singer Wendy Saddington, as a major influence,[52] after watching hundreds of performances she gave accompanied by Peter Head since the 1980s.[53] Carmen's mother, a film seamstress, made Chrissie Amphlett's iconic schoolgirl tunics.[45]


  1. ^ "Lo Carmen (aka Loene Carmen) is an Australian singer songwriter". www.locarmenmusic.com. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  2. ^ Kelton, Sam (19 December 2013). "Unseen footage, photographs of legendary AC/DC rocker Bon Scott with The Mt Lofty Rangers in the Adelaide Hills emerges". The Advertiser (Adelaide). Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  3. ^ Hadland, Nick (13 September 2013). "Lo Carmen and Peter Head - The Apple don't fall far from the tree". www.altmedia.net.au. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  4. ^ "Bio 2: Deep History". 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  5. ^ Steph, Phillips (14 February 2010). "Conversational | Loene Carmen". The Girls Are... Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  6. ^ Hinson, Hal (12 September 1988). "The Year My Voice Broke (PG-13)". Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Buckmaster, Luke (2015-02-12). "The Year My Voice Broke rewatched – coming of age in the backwoods". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  8. ^ a b "1987 Winners & Nominees". aacta.org. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Gelder, Lawrence Van (1988-09-02). "At the Movies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  10. ^ a b "2004 Winners & Nominees". aacta.org. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Stratton, David (6 August 2011). "Kriv Stenders's Red Dog is an Aussie winner from nose to tail". The Australian. 
  12. ^ "Kriv Stenders's Red Dog is an Aussie winner from nose to tail". TheAustralian. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  13. ^ "Born Funky Born Free - Loene Carmen | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  14. ^ "Loene Carmen - Born Funky Born Free". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  15. ^ "Slight Delay - Loene Carmen | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  16. ^ "Leave It At The Door, by T:Lo". Lo Carmen. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  17. ^ Cleghorn, Justine (23 September 2007). "Rock 'n Roll tour for Loene Carmen". fasterlouder.com. Retrieved 2016-09-22. 
  18. ^ "Australian Television: Love My Way: Music Credits". australiantelevision.net.au. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  19. ^ Hitch, Gabrielle (16 October 2007). "Loene Carmen - No More Tears". thedwarf.com. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  20. ^ Ryan, Andy (20 Dec 2009). "Loene Carmen - It Walks Like Love Review". fasterlouder.com.au. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "It Walks Like Love - Loene Carmen | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  22. ^ Peken, Chris. "Loene Carmen - it Walks Like Love Review". altmedia.net.au. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Hard Candy Christmas, by Sweet Carmo". Bandcamp. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  24. ^ Collis, Andrew (4 March 2013). "Red Wine MusicArtist Profile: Loene Carmen". South Sydney Herald. 
  25. ^ Familton, Chris (9 November 2012). "Loene Carmen Releases New EP - The Peach State". nodepression.com. 
  26. ^ Sounds, Doubtful (2013-10-02). "ALBUM REVIEW: Lo Carmen & Peter Head ~ The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  27. ^ Colwell, Jack (4 September 2013). "Album Review: Lo Carmen & Peter Head". somethingyousaid.com. 
  28. ^ Familton, Chris (2 October 2013). "Lo Carmen & Peter Head ~ The Apple Don't Fall Far From The Tree". posttowire.com. 
  29. ^ "The Handsome Family USA Loene Carmen & Peter Head". the basement. 13 October 2013. 
  30. ^ Shedden, Iain (7 September 2013). "The Apple Don't Fall Far From the Tree (Lo Carmen and Peter Head)". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  31. ^ Townsen, Bobby (2015-10-03). "Getting to know Lo Carmen – interview & video premiere!". Something You Said. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  32. ^ Sounds, Doubtful (2015-11-20). "ALBUM REVIEW: Lo Carmen ~ Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  33. ^ "Lo Carmen Goes Track x Track Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You)". Global Texan Chronicles. 2015-11-04. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  34. ^ "Hear This - Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) by Lo Carmen". PAN magazine. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  35. ^ "Italian tour for Mick Harvey". Freak Out Magazine (in Italian). 11 May 2006. 
  36. ^ "Lo Carmen | SXSW 2016 Event Schedule". SXSW Schedule 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  37. ^ "2009 SXSW supplement" (PDF). austinchronicle.com. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  38. ^ Cleghorn, Justine (23 September 2007). "Rock'n'roll Tour For Loene Carmen". fasterlouder.com.au. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  39. ^ Block, Trevor (19 February 2010). "Loene Carmen: ?Soft Chaos". messandnoise.com. 
  40. ^ "The Lo Down". Living in the Land of Oz / Howzat! Archive. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  41. ^ Carmen, Loene (2006-01-01). "Down on Devil Gate Drive". Meanjin. 65 (3). 
  42. ^ Valentish, Jenny; Sheward, Tamara. "Your mother would be proud : true tales of mayhem and misadventure". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  43. ^ Kenwood, Nina (26 October 2012). "Sincerely by Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy by Nina Kenwood". reading.com.au. 
  44. ^ a b "IMDbPro". pro.imdb.com. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  45. ^ a b "Holiday Sidewinder". Oyster Magazine (105). 
  46. ^ Dunn, Emily (22 November 2007). "Next generation in the musical family tree". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  47. ^ "Aden Young, star of US series Rectify, on the dark role that sometimes haunts him". news.com.au. 
  48. ^ "Wedding Bliss For Aden Young". Courier Mail. Australia. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  49. ^ Sargeant, Jack (February 2010). "Keeping It Reel,". Film Ink. 
  50. ^ "The Rose of Ba Ziz (2007)". IMDb. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  51. ^ "Noah Taylor and Goddaughter". The Guardian. 30 March 2014. 
  52. ^ True, Everett (24 February 2015). "Looking through a Window by Wendy Saddington, Australia's First Lady of Soul". The Guardian. 
  53. ^ "Live Reviews: Wendy Saddington and Peter Head, Camelot Lounge". collapseboard.com. Marrickville, Sydney. 29 April 2012. 

External links[edit]