by Jemma Rowlands

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Jemma and The Clifton Hillbillies - name and address. The band formed in an old renovated pub in Clifton Hill where love bloomed, friendships formed, songs were written and their highly acclaimed debut album was recorded. But now, with construction next door and rapid jem-trification (couldn’t help it), things are a changin’ in Clifton Hill. The final blow came when Network Video Clifton Hill closed down. Jemma now feels no reason to live on, ah, we in Clifton Hill.

To close their Clifton Hill chapter, the band has recorded one last song while still in the hood of their namesake. At Some Velvet Morning, the Cheers-like local bar just downstairs from Hillbillies HQ, Jemma and co have recorded their new single Maybelle.

Maybelle is a song of pure, unshakeable romance. Told to Jemma by the owner of a local dress shop, this is the love story of two people from Clifton Hill of the early 1980s – Nick and Maybelle. Nick grew up in a boarding house. Always small, he was picked on by the other boys at this school. The only person to stand up for him was the cleaner Maybelle. She was cross-eyed, never wore underwear and used to drape herself in scarves. She was beautiful; there was no one like her. They fell in love and moved to Clifton Hill. Maybelle would sing to Nick from their bed each day and although she was tone-deaf Nick would tell her she was going to be a star. Maybelle passed away tragically in the first trials of IVF. Nick has never been the same without his Maybelle.

This song is for Nick, and for Maybelle. Backed by her trusty band of Hillbillies, Jemma's distinctive voice brings a tender beauty to this tale. The story is sad, but the power of their romance, is stronger than the sadness of their loss. This is a tribute not a tragedy.

Thank you Nick for letting me tell your story.

The B-Side to this single is 'Fighting Mad - Twin Peaks-esque Synth Remix'.
A home demo done while experimenting with a 1970s string synthesiser made it on an early demo of their first single. They weren't yet ready for the aerobic club mix version in their career, so this demo is taking it's holding place.


Maybelle, I knew you so true
You caught me when I fell
And everyone could tell
Couldn't keep my mind off you

Maybe, you were everything you seemed
And I'll never love again
For losing a best friend
Stops a heart from beating true

In a boarding house
When I was slipping
Now you're gone
And I'm just stopping
On memories
and a love not lost, of you

Maybelle, I knew you so true
You caught me when I fell
And anyone can tell
Now I csn't keep my mind off you

Maybelle, my cross-eyed beauty queen
You sang me from your bed
What a voice I always said
But girl, you couldn't hold a tune
And I'll never love again
For losing a best friend
Stops a heart from beating true
And I'll never love again
For I lost my best friend
My Maybelle


released July 29, 2016
The song was written by Jemma Rowlands, with help from Sean McMahon and Mick Thomas.
Arranged by Jemma & The Clifton Hillbillies
Recorded at Some Velvet Morning
Produced by Sean McMahon with Mick Thomas
Mastered by Colin Wynne

Jemma Rowlands - Vocals
Sean McMahon - Guitar, Piano, Backing Vocals
Ben Mastwyk - Banjo
Ben Franz - Pedal Steel
Jason Bunn- Fiddle
Josh Duiker - Drums
Cal Walker - Bass
Mick Thomas - Mandolin



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Jemma Rowlands Melbourne, Australia

Jemma Rowlands
Sean McMahon
Ben Mastwyk
Cal Walker
Josh Duike
Ben Franz
Jason Bunn

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