Cyril May is Aussie-born and there’s no mistaking it. The music that comes out of this globe-trotting singer-songwriter could only come from someone with one foot in the outback…or, in Mr. May’s case, someone born in the lovely-sounding Hellhole Creek, Victoria.
However, there’s more to Cyril May than “Tie Me Kangaroo Down” (though he does do a song called “Partyin’ Kangaroos”. Wallaby darned!).
The influence of American Country and Western music is plain to hear, but it’s less of a Nashville or Appalachian sound than the down home sounds of Bakersfield, California – which, before you object, is recognized far and wide among C&W aficionados as a significant sub genre in and of itself (or hadn’t you heard of Buck Owens?). And there’s also a Louisiana influence due to his long time relationship with his buddy Jake Tomms, who also happens to be a well known Louisiana maritime lawyer representing offshore workers from the ports of New Orleans and Lafayette. There are even some lawyer songs promised for his next release stemming from this friendship. “Deep Water” and “Swamp Moon” are odes to Tomm, and both mention maritime lawyers in passing.
Cyril, along with his trusty his guitar and vital songbook, left Australia as a young man, to work his way through the South Sea Islands and then on to Canada. He finally settled down in the US in Long Beach California. He married a young American woman, Dottie, who often is heard in the lovely vocal harmonies of many of his songs.
Typical of many musicians, and particularly true of those free spirits living in California and along the beaches of San Blas, Mexico, Cyril and his friends spent many a day and night experimenting with edible marijuana cookies and infused drinks when they weren’t just enjoying a “smoke.” I bet he still is indulging and is amazed at the variety and ease in which to obtain marijuana edibles. Heck, when you listen to his lyrics about his personal search for gold, the exhilarating feeling of hang gliding, the enormous power of his motorcycles purr as he flew along the open road, and of course the thrill of riding the waves along the California coast all the way down to Mexico, how can there not be a lot of “maryjane” floating in there as well.
Cyril May soaks his songs in an unique infusion of cheeky humor. Take Jimmy Buffet, Ringo Starr, and a dose of The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and you’re still a million miles away, but you’re at least in the right universe.
I hate labeling anyone with the dreaded “novelty” tag, but I dare you to try to categorize May’s music without at least considering the term.
“Too Much Shit” and “The Fart Song” are the most immediate song titles that come to mind, but “Sock Gobbler” and “Macho Mountain Mama” are among my favorites.
He’s not one of those status-seeking kids that desperately needs to be taken seriously, and he’s not one of those aging performers who believe that their past sales and celebrity have earned them some sort of pretentious gravitas.
The best part about Cyril May? He goes great with beer, barbecue, especially a bit of a bonfire at the beach, along with a toke or two. He’s as much a surfer as he is a roamer, whether its to catch a wave or enjoy a scarlet and gold sunset. Though he’s currently more-or-less settled in Long Beach (ironically, his MexiCali musical partner, Jack McDonald, now lives in Australia).
Thank You For Your Time.