Marisa Yeaman is a young Australian singer/songwriter, and after three EPs, this is her first full-length venture. With less than half of the disc's content employing her band, Pure Motive is a showcase of the artist as she initially earned her chops: a girl, her guitar, and her songs, hitting the festivals, clubs, and pubs across the expanse of Oz. Somewhere along the way she tagged up with guitarist and sometime co-writer, Andrew Pendlebury, who also lends occasional vocal enhancement to complement a voice that is predominantly gentle and melodious, at times almost torchy, as in 'Lonely Puppet'. The duo generates a sound that is unique and complex in its apparent simplicity, but there's more depth here than initially meets the ear. Yeaman's not a rocker by any means, but, when she decides to cut it a bit loose, there's an edge surfacing that has the hallmark of, say, a Joni Mitchell, or, more precisely, Mary Chapin Carpenter, in her Shooting Straight in the Dark days; for that matter, 'Vacant Sign' would fit right into that CD's groove in every sense. With lyrics the likes of reading: "Some things in life can be easily defined; but love and danger draw a thin line", she has that essential ability to present a concept or feeling in the most precise package possible, saying, to paraphrase an old quote, 'the mostest, with the leastest'. Now that's the hallmark of good songwriting.
Don Grant




It does not happen too often that we receive a new female songwriter from Australia. Nevertheless, they are very interesting songs on this CD. I can only remember Kasey Chambers, Audrey Auld and Penelope Swales. Now the pleasant surprise of Marisa Yeaman turns up.
'Pure Motive' is her first full length album after the local exposure of three previous EP's, that I suspect are no longer available. Marisa has been brought up with great influences like Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Simon & Garfunkle. But I also suspect female songwriters like Carole King, Carly Simon, Ricki Lee Jones and Joni Mitchell, as some influence can be heard in her music.
Marisa's family house was sold when she was four years old, and they travelled around Australia in a caravan. Those circumstances can be found in her songs, there are quite a few road/travel songs on 'Pure Motive'.
Very important for her musical career was a meeting with Andrew Pendlebury who is co-writer of five of the thirteen songs on this CD and co-producer also. He is described by Marisa, as 'my second voice'. Part of the songs are only presented with piano and acoustic guitar, such as Lonely Puppet, King Tide, Little Girl Lost and the delightful finisher Gasoline & Fire. Four very clever songs.
Other high points are No Fences which is already featured on an Australian sampler, the bluesy Nightskin with Dobro guitar and Harmonica played by Dave Steel, and also Holy Water. In addition to guitar Marisa also plays accordion on some of the songs, Ed Bates playing the great country instrument Pedal Steel is evident. Despite these sounds, we cannot speak of country music in this case. No, this is a very beautiful pure songwriters CD with a spread of acoustic songs. The beauty is in it's simplicity. I hope the good word spreads and that she becomes better known, it is rumoured that she will tour the Netherlands next year. We hope she does not forget to bring Andrew Pendlebury with her.
Ben van Hoegaerden

Sensational Artist from the Southern Hemisphere

When the first notes of 'Pure Motive' come from the speakers it sends me back to 1989. This independent debut album of Australian Artist Marisa Yeaman makes me think a lot of 'Southside' the debut of the Scottish band 'Texas'. Marisa's voice reminds quite a lot of Texas-singer Sharlene Spiteri and also the guitar work resembles that of early Texas. That is no unpleasant association, as 'Pure Motive' is also a great album. An album with nicely melodic yet strong songs, with pop accessiblity, whilst firmly maintaining a considerable amount of roots sound (especially folk and blues). Songs that captivate immediately, yet hold their appeal. 'Pure Motive' is a CD which in fact grows with more listening. A powerful voice, and completely tasteful acoustic orchestration (with special mention for the guitar work and contributions of the pedal steel and the dobro) and songs that do not bore, being the strongest weapons of a CD which deserves every chance in The Netherlands. A chance we intend to give Marisa Yeaman. CD now in stock.


Eccentric touches bring this self-produced Australian to life. Intriguing, this somehow seems immediately Australian and has the same feel as the work of Ed Kuepper or The Triffids, the same sound that seems to exist on the edge of a great nothingness, suggestive of wide-open spaces. The mainstream is the twinkling lights in the distance, though she seems to avoid the easy track at every turn. The guitar break in 'Vacant Sign' is more like the sputtering sparkly mess of leaky neon than aspiring to five star comforts.
The songs themselves, like the novels of Tim Winton, seem to be hewn from a specific sense of place, one that is universal but nonetheless rooted - 'No Fences' suggests miles of red dust rather than just being a trite metaphor. Her guitar style is one that always avoids the commonplace - why play chords in the same old ways when you can find new constellations? It helps to keep things interesting. Her voice isn't something that will seduce you - you won't want fall in love with it and the record positions you to admire it rather than embrace it. She brings out the piano for the powerful 'My Funny Valentine' alike 'Lonely Puppet' and here she tickles as many of the black keys as the white.
Her appeal is quite difficult to dissect: I think it is mainly in her stubbornness to make the songs sound like she wants them to - a producer or record company would shave off these rough edges. 'Another Day' has all the elements of a Nashville blockbuster, a lovely melody, elegant washes of pedal steel and a guitar break that is slightly off-key: the elements stack up precariously, you expect the whole thing to crumble but what the songs lack in elegance of construction they make up for with rugged charm.
David Cowling


Marisa Yeaman has a big advantage over peers who manufacture imagery for urban street cred; the singer soaked up the outback, bush and coast in her childhood when her family hit the road in a caravan. It wasn't exactly rabbit and fox hunting on the Nullabor but it was a world where family love and radio ruled, and TV was an opiate for less fortunate city dwellers. So it's no surprise that on her debut album, after a brace of EPs, she creates organic bliss untainted by fads, fashions and synthetics. Marisa's voice is a vibrant vehicle that steams her speeding train from the evocative entree Watching Fire Burn to her finale, a live cut of Gasoline & Fire.
With sweet serendipity she co-wrote the former with guitarist and co-producer Andrew Pendlebury and cut the latter, replete with her accordion, as a live demo. But rather than spoil the spontaneity, they left it virgo intacta, akin to other live tracks Holy Water and Lonely Puppet. The singer's creative freedom is a rich withdrawal from her paternal memory bank in No Fences; her long deceased sire encouraged creativity, not conformity. Yeaman exploits the flip side of travel in Another Day, with morose melancholia and loneliness, daubed by Pendlebury's Sports sidekick Ed Bates on pedal steel. And she skates on the jagged edge of broken hearts in Vacant Sign and the steel drenched Damned if you love me. But the pervading passion of triumph prevails here. Yeaman doesn't drown in bleak metaphors; she is proud to unleash unbridled love in the confessional clout of Nightskin, featuring Dave Steel on harmonica and dobro, as well as on Little Girl Lost and King Tide. And there could be an even higher goal here - a biblical peak climbed in the imagery of Solid Ground.
Like so much of the purest music created in this radio backwater it's another worthy contender for sleeper of the year. So who does Yeaman sound like? Well, listen to original cuts of so many folk and country hits before the studio doctors drain their lifeblood for the droogish demands of the industry. Nail a heathen to the cross and indulge in Yeaman's 'Pure Motive'.
Dave Dawson


Singer, guitarist and songwriter of talent, Marisa has put her name to 13 songs, some with Andrew Pendlebury who accompanies her with some other musicians. Her very bluesy acoustic music touched with traces of folk or, she sings with a warm voice, beautifully suited to these very poetic lyrics. Lyrics about passionate love, sometimes fulfilled sometimes not, with real feeling, lyrics from someone who, without doubt, has been blessed by life. To discover.
Roland Lanzarone (
Translation kindly by Sharon Betson)


"Marisa Yeaman is a singer/songwriter/musician from Downunder, with travel as her favorite subject. Her parents sold their house when Marisa was four and the family travelled through Australia by caravan. This was still possible in the seventies...The song 'No Fences' was written about that time and is a classic from 'Pure Motive', her debut album after a few EPs. Marisa's beautiful voice reminds us of Rosanne Cash. The songs are sometimes recorded with guitars only, accompanied by piano and accordion and sometimes with a full band, but always good!"

In December Johanna also listed 'Pure Motive' as Number Two in the Top 5 Albums.

MAVERICK - UK 3 and a Half stars.

Australian Marisa Yeaman made her first visit to Europe this past summer to play a series of gigs in Holland, where she has built a sizeable following for her rootsy, backwoods music. Her first full-length album PURE MOTIVE is a very organic record made for the sheer enjoyment of making music. She is accompanied by some talented pickers with a musical line-up that includes acoustic and electric guitars, Dobro, pedal steel, Hammond organ, piano, and Marisa's own guitar and accordion. She ranges from intimate confessionals (Little Girl Lost) to compelling folky-type tales (Solid Ground) but to each she brings a universality that makes for compelling listening.


As an option to working with the hurdles and constraints imposed by record companies across the world, this artist seizes the chance to work from her own initiative. With 3 EP's behind her and now her first solo album, the blonde Australian Marisa Yeaman took the option to finance and produce her longplay debut 'Pure Motive' herself. This is a tidy and versatile record, and orients itself within a wide range of categorization between Singer/Songwriter, Folk, easy Blues feels and prize pop, and fortunately never loses the thread.
'Pure Motive' surprises with a healthy mixture of acoustic and electric proportions, with the delightful variant of some songs, reduced to acoustic guitar and voice. Here, Marisa's voice unfolds the necessary charisma to express these personal 'road movies'.
The tracks in singular context do not convince, as they leave their impression in parts, and the musicians are not always brought in completely. There the ultimate kick is missing, the band is not so tight as one would like, although the songs themselves actually sound ripe. Impressive in their simple treatments, are songs written with guitarist Andrew Pendlebury such as Watching Fire Burn, Nightskin, Gasoline and Fire and Little Girl which appeal for their intangable atmosphere which constantly gives the impression of a spontaneous 'live take' which naturally comes. These two people sit before the microphone and make music. Aptly 'Pure Motive' meets the core of the feeling.
The complete album is pure and unpretentious, with a convincing long run sound. The songs offer good beginnings, because Marisa has mastered her songwriting lessons until here well. It is recognisable that Yeaman's way does not seem still for a long time to end.
Frank Ipach


An essential element of the Equilibrium Radio Show is bringing to the litening public the music of the wonderful singer-songwriters here in Australia...this review addresses the music of one of Australia's finest. This high quality Australian album contains emotive songs which stem from Marisa Yeaman's life very different to that experienced by many of us...yet I found myself experiencing a high degree of association with her heartfelt lyrics when I first played the release.
In the Seventies, aged four, the now Melbourne-based singer-songwriter began a lifestyle of travelling around Australia with her parents after they sold their home and took to the road with a huge caravan. She experienced the enormity of the Australian outback and took in the diversity of countryside and the characters she met along the way. A lot of radio was listened to during the long hours on the road and these influences have now come through in her writings and performance style. Acoustic music was especially absorbed and it did not take long for Marisa to pick up her first guitar and begin putting her words into her playing and singing. Although always finding time to be composing songs, Marisa journeyed down a private path with her songwriting until in 1996 friends convinced her to take up live performance and share her writings...and guess what happened? her third ever public performance she was awarded Runner Up Australian Female Roots Artist...and now Marisa is being recognised for her "confessional songwriter" approach and the earthy way her music is presented to the listener.
I certainly experienced this last year when Marisa played live-to-air on Equilibrium...her songs were so open, yet so personal if you know what I mean...I had really strong listener response to her performance and so during 2006 Marisa Yeaman's music will open all 12 "Equilibrium Home Grown" shows broadcast on the last Monday night each month. Marisa'a continual songwriting has culminated in the recording of "Pure Motive"...13 great tracks co-produced by Andrew Pendlebury (one of Australia's best guitar proponents in Classical /Jazz /Blues /Country and Rock with ARIA-nominated releases in his own right), together with in-studio assistance from such well respected musicians as Ed Bates, Ron Tabuteau, Matthew Vehl, Bon Krunic, Dean Addison, Colin Wynn, Marcus Goodwin and the legendary Dave Steel. The tracks are diverse in structure and content, yet all reflect aspects of life as experienced by Marisa during those formative years on the road and later in a more typical home-based environment...three tracks are live recordings and one song "Another Day" even explores the loneliness she now feels when on the road and the strong desire to be "back home"...I guess those early years on the road were home to her with family close by and now home is the more usual situation most of us call home. As part of ensuring that her feel of her music came through on the album the original demos for the recording sessions were recorded by Marisa in her home studio where she played all the instruments including harmonica, piano and slide guitar. Over thirty songs were under consideration for final selection.
"Pure Motive" is an album well worth exploring because of the diversity of content, the uncluttered warmth of the actual recording style and the honesty and emotion of the lyrical can check out all about Marisa and her music on her Website and hear plenty of her music this year on Equilibrium...including another live-to-air performance later in the year (after a proposed overseas tour).
Marisa Yeaman performs regularly at The Bodhi Tree Cafe, 317 Maroondah Highway, Healesville...that's for those living around Melbourne...what a great name for a place to be enlightened!
Laurie West


Marisa Yeaman has slogged it out for the last ten years, not only building a loyal audience and a reputation as a skilled writer and proficient performer, but she's also collected a few heavy weight musical accomplices along the way.
On her 2005 released debut album, "Pure Motive", local legends Dave Steel, Andrew Pendlebury and Ed Bates contribute some intriguing instrumental moments. However without Yeaman's heartfelt and personal tales of life, those musical contributions wouldn't mean nearly as much. While many of the artists covered in this column are developing their craft, for Yeaman, all the components seem to be in place. All that needs to occur now, is for a larger audience to find her.
Greg Phillips