• 1  /  4 "One Eye Open" | Roscoe James Irwin (2013)
  • 2  /  4 "So Many Nights" (The Cat Empire) - Roscoe James Irwin : Trumpet, Piccolo, Flugel and Horn Arrangements
  • 3  /  4 "Step It Up" (The Bamboos) - Roscoe James Irwin: Trumpet and Horn Arrangements
  • 4  /  4 "Four Seasons In One Day" (Paul Kelly & Angus Stone) - Roscoe James Irwin: Trumpet and Horn Arrangement

Roscoe James Irwin

An artist like Roscoe James Irwin could only ever have come from the city of Melbourne. In a place that is crammed full of musicians working across all kinds of genres, Irwin has cemented his place as a kind of musical mastermind. 

Since his debut release in 2011, Roscoe James Irwin has been a busy man touring internationally and locally with The Cat Empire, The Bamboos and Julia Stone’s band. Add to this Vance Joy supports, and working on arrangements with Josh Pyke, Gossling and Vance. You wonder how Roscoe ever found the time to write and record his own works.

Challenging the acoustic sensibilities established in his debut LP the ‘Hunting Road', Roscoe’s latest work is his 'Wasted EP' where creates a complex blend of folk pop melodies, ambient electronic sounds and orchestral layering. Roscoe returned to The Shed Studios in Melbourne to record in stages with producer John Castle (Vance Joy, Josh Pyke, Sweet Jean) who produced his debut release. 

His engaging personality has charmed audiences Australia-wide, surrounded by instruments, looping up a multitude of complex sounds.
‘Irwin demonstrates strong, beautiful vocals…..a stunning layering of sounds which show his impressive compositional skill.’ – Faster Louder.

‘A multi-instrumentalist whose voice is at times reminiscent of Jeff Buckley’ – Tone Deaf

His skills of performing horns and arrangement were recently lent to Josh Pyke on his The Beginning and The End of Everything album (Warm In Winter, Order Has Abandoned Us and Stories That Get Told), Vance Joy’s God Loves You EP (Play With Fire) and Gossling’s debut album.

Considering his iconic status as a bandleader and large-scale composer, Irwin’s debut solo record, The Hunting Road,  come as something of a shock. There is no stabbing brass, there are no sweeping strings, no jungle percussion breaks. It seems that Irwin, whose musical palette is colourful and wide ranging, has surprised us all with a record that is simple, thoughtful, and beautiful.

Irwin’s lyrical storytelling is also strikingly original. Equal parts Sundance Kid and Heartbreak Kid, he is as likely to take us on a darkly surreal journey through densely wooded hills as he is to leave us misty-eyed and sighing at the end of the pier. At its core this record seems to be about the conflict between our need to be loved and our need to be alone, the tension between the loving friend and the wild vagabond.

What was unique about his debut was the way that Irwin was able to focus his extremely colourful musical imagination into a bunch of deceptively simple folksy pop songs. The music appeared at first familiar to us, warm and well-worn sounds – the tapping of feet on wooden floorboards, tasteful country fingerpicking and lo-fi drums – but it soon became clear that this music had a deeper layer to it, a harmonic complexity and dynamic scope that lies half-hidden behind its whisky-and-dust façade. Occasionally Irwin’s full, unrestrained extravagance shined through brightly, whipping the music into joyful hurricanes, but it was always a well-controlled process.

Roscoe James Irwin, whose bio on his Facebook page describes him as “Indie Pop’s suscpiciously energetic Mr. Nice Guy”, does not seem like he wants to leave us in a pensive mood for very long. More often than not, his songs reach a point of combustion, exploding into soaring, joyful harmonies. It’s almost as if he’s saying: ‘Well, I’ve told you my story, now I just want to wail.’  And wail he does, shifting gears beautifully into a powerful upper register. It is in these moments that we realise we are not just listening to another folksy troubadour or broken-hearted warbler.

This is one of Melbourne’s most gifted and diverse artists baring his soul, and, more importantly, his imagination.


Recording Credits

Roscoe James Irwin The Hunting Road (2011) - Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Harmonica, Trumpet, Organ, Harmonium, Producer

The Ross Irwin Soul Special – Little Soul Circus (2006)Roscoe James Irwin – The Hunting Road (2011) - Songwriter, Vocals, Piano, Harmonica, Trumpet, Organ, Harmonium, Producer

The Cat Empire – The Sun (2002) - Trumpet and Horn Arrangements

The Cat Empire – Tapes, Breaks and Outtakes (2003) - Horns and misc. arrangements

The Cat Empire – The Cat Empire (2003) - Horns

The Cat Empire – On The Attack DVD (2004) - Misc.

The Cat Empire – Two Shoes (2005) - Horns

The Cat Empire – Cities (2006) - Trumpet, Flugel, Backing Vox, Co-writes, Horn and String Arrangements.

The Cat Empire – So Many Nights (2007) - Trumpet, Piccolo, Flugel and Horn Arrangements.

The Cat Empire – Cinema (2010) - Trumpet, Flugel, Backing Vocals and Horn Arrangements.

The Cat Empire – Live on Earth (2009) - Horns, backing vocals, string arrangements

The Cat Empire – Live On Earth DVD (2009) - Misc.

Felix Riebl – Into The Rain (2011) - Producer

The Bamboos – Tighten Up 7” (2004) - Horns

The Bamboos – Step It Up (2006) - Trumpet and Horn Arrangements.

The Bamboos – Rawville (2007) - Trumpet and Horn Arrangements

The Bamboos Live at No Standing (Cassette) (2007) - Horns

The Bamboos – Sidestepper (2008) - Trumpet and Horn Arrangements

The Bamboos – Listen! Hear! The Bamboos Live! (2008) - Horns/Tambourine

The Bamboos – 4 (2010) - Trumpet, Flugel, Co-writes, Horn and String Arrangements.

Kylie Auldist – Just Say (2008) - Trumpet, Flugel and Horn Arrangements.

Kylie Auldist – Made of Stone (2009) - Trumpet, Flugel, Horn and String Arrangements.

Various Artists – Black Feeling (2008) - Horns

Various Artists – Black Feeling 2 (2011) - Trumpet, Horn Arrangements

Lanu – This Is My Home (2007) - Trumpet and Flugelhorn

Lanu – Her 12 Faces (2011) - String Arrangements

Cookin’ On 3 Burners – Baked Broiled and Fried (2007) - Horns

Cookin’ On 3 Burners – Soul Messin’ (2009) - Horns

Jackson Jackson – The Fire is on the Bird (2007) - Backing Vocals on “Eliza”

Regurgitator – Mish Mash (2004) - Horns

Paul Kelly – Stolen Apples (2007) - Trumpet on “Queenie and Rover”

Paul Kelly and Angus Stone – He Will Have His Way (2010) - Trumpet and Horn Arrangement on “Four Seasons in One Day”

Tex Perkins – The Man In Black DVD (2010) - Horns

Angus and Julia Stone – Misc (2011) - Horns

Miami Horror – Illumination (2010) - Trumpet on “Holidays”

The Paper Kites – Woodland (2011) - Horns and arrangement on “Featherstone”

The Wolfgramm Sisters – Self titled (2010) - Trumpet, Horn Arrangements

Electric Empire – Self titled (2010) - Trumpet, Horn Arrangements

Carl Cox – Misc. (2010) - Horns

NAB Dream Festival – Soundtrack (2009) - Producer, Co-Writer

Hating Alison Ashley – Film Soundtrack - Horns

Strange Bedfellows – Film Soundtrack - Horns


Live Performance Credits

(Spanning over 150 Cities across 24 countries)

The Cat Empire - Band member (The Empire Horns) - trumpet, backing vocals

The Bamboos - Band member – trumpet, tambourine, backing vocals

Washington - Touring band – organ, vocals, trumpet, glock, harmonica, tambourine

Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2006 - Special event – Arranger, trumpet, harmonica

Brooke Fraser - Touring band – keys, vocals, trumpet, glock, percussion

Belle and Sebastian - Touring Band (Aus) - trumpet

Tinpan Orange - Touring band – piano, backing vocals, trumpet.

Felix Riebl - Touring Band – electric and acoustic guitar

The Soul Special - Band leader – vocals, trumpet, synths, songwriter

Magonolia - Band member – flugelhorn, glock, co-writer

FGHR - Extended band member – keys, flugelhorn, vocals, percussion

Los Delincuente All-Stars - Band leader – composer/arranger, trumpet

Paul Kelly - Guest musician – trumpet

Brian May and Roger Taylor (Queen) - Special event – arranger, trumpet

Karnivool - Guest musician - trumpet

Axis of Awesome - Special event - trumpet

Leroy Jones - Concert – musical director

Regurgitator - Guest musician - trumpet

Gin Wigmore - TV Performance – trumpet

Dan Sultan - TV Performance – trumpet

James Morrison - Misc. – trumpet, arranger

David Bridie - TV performance - trumpet

Chuck Findley - Concert – musical director

Nic Cester (JET) - Special Event - trumpet

Human Nature - TV Performance - trumpet

Eagle and the Worm - Guest musician – trumpet

Hey Ocean! - Guest musician – trumpet

King Curly - Guest musician - trumpet

Ross Wilson - Special Event - trumpet

Michael Feinstein - Tour show - trumpet

Brian Cadd - Guest musician – trumpet

Joe Camilleri/The Black Sorrows - Session member - trumpet

Diesel - Special event - trumpet

Marci Hines - Touring band – trumpet

Deni Hines - TV performance - trumpet

The Resin Dogs - Touring Band - trumpet

Jimmy Barnes - Special event - trumpet

Harry Connick Jr.- TV performance – trumpet

John Butler Trio - Guest musician – trumpet

Custom Kings - Guest musician - trumpet

Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) - TV performance – trumpet

Thirsty Merc - TV performance – trumpet

End Of Fashion - TV performance - trumpet

Hugh Jackman - Special event – trumpet

Ella Hooper - TV Performance - trumpet

The Red Ball - Special event – musical director/orchestra contractor

Eddie Floyd - Touring Band (Aus) – trumpet, arranger

Leah Flanagan - TV performance – trumpet

Black Joe Lewis - TV performance – trumpet, arranger

Betty Harris - Touring Band (Aus) – trumpet, arranger

Syl Johnson - Touring Band (Aus) - trumpet

Festival Credits:


Big Day Out - (National)
Falls Festival - (VIC/TAS)
Byron Bay Blues and Roots - (NSW)
West Coast Blues and Roots - (WA)
Meredith - (VIC)
Golden Plains - (VIC)
Bass in the Grass - (NT)
Homebake - (NSW)
Park Life – (National)
Sydney Festival – (NSW)
Ripe Festival – (QLD)
Sunset Sounds – (QLD)
Southbound – (WA)
Woodford Folk Festival – (QLD)
Chill Island – (VIC)
Chill City – (VIC)
Livid – (NSW)
Days Like These – (NSW)
Melbourne Jazz Festival – (VIC)
Manly Jazz Festival – (NSW)
Noosa Jazz Festival – (QLD)
Adelaide Cabaret Festival – (SA)
Sydney Soul and Funk – (NSW)
Splendor in the Grass – (QLD)
Caloundra Music Festival – (QLD)
St. Kilda Festival – (VIC)
Margaret River Masters – (WA)
A Day on the Baseline – (VIC)


Glastonbury – (UK)
O2 Wireless – (UK)
Edinburgh Festival – (UK)
Summer Sonic – (Japan)
Blues Balls – (Switzerland)
Nuke Festival – (Austria)
Osheaga – (Canada)
Winnipeg Folk Festival – (Canada)
Ottawa Blues Festival – (Canada)
Big Day Up – (Canada)
Calgary Folk Festival – (Canada)
Rock am Ring – (Germany)
Rock am Park – (Germany)
Festival D’ete Quebec – (Canada)
Festival Mundial – (Netherlands)
Oerol Festival – (Netherlands)
KulturArena Festival – (Germany)
JRF Festival Vercelli – (Italy)
WOMAD – (New Zealand)
Queenstown Festival – (New Zealand)
Oshkosh Waterfest – (USA)

TV Credits:

The Arias
Music Max
The Panel
Rove Live
Live at The Chapel
Australian Idol
The Sideshow
Hey Hey It’s Saturday
The X Factor
The Today Show
Good Morning Australia
Breakfast Toronto


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