I was talking up This Way North a few evenings ago, but stalled when asked to categorise their sound.

“They’re a bit rocky,” I said, “and there are elements of dance in there. A bit funky. Soul. And even a kind of a hint of world music in parts.”

However you might want to categorise their sound, or not, This Way North are deservedly building a solid fan base with their lively shows.

After a couple of well-received Bendigo gigs late last year at the Newmarket, and The Exchange during the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival, This Way North are heading this way again, to the Golden Vine on Friday, January, 20.

Despite their big sound, there’s just the two of them – Leisha Jungalwalla on guitar, slide guitar and vocals, and Cat Leahy on drums and vocals.

Jungalwalla told me about how This Way North evolved, and what they’re up to.

“We met touring in Canada with different bands at a festival in British Colombia. We hung out and realised we lived just 500 metres from each other. When we returned to Melbourne we had some post-tour blues jams, and started writing songs just for fun.”

Their self-titled six-track EP was released last year. It’s an accomplished and captivating debut – from rocky opener Don’t You Fly through the eminently danceable Foreign Bombs and I Hold to the soulful closing track Lie To Me.

More material is scheduled for release soon.

“We recorded a few new tracks over in Toronto last year and they are set for release in February and April. We’re really excited about sharing them. It’s a slightly different direction.”

Jungalwalla and Leahy have been active on the live music scene in Victoria for some years now.

“My parents come from musical backgrounds,” says Jungalwalla, “my mum was our primary school music teacher so she got me and my sisters playing music from a young age. My older sister Jessie got me into a lot of music when I was a teenager and we started playing in a band together when I was 13. We played together for the next 10 years or so in Jungal.”

Leahy also plays with Sal Kimber & the Rollin’ Wheel and has been in bands with Miss Quincy, Lisa Miller and Benny Walker.

They currently lead an almost nomadic existence across Victoria, based largely around their gigging schedule.

“We are both from regional Victoria. Cat is from Kyabram and I’m from Alexandra. We are both now loosely based around several parts of Victoria mainly Beechworth for Cat and me in Breamlea. But we don’t really have homes at the moment as we are going to be touring a lot this year!”

This Way North once had the unusual experience of playing at a festival at 9am on a Sunday morning. “Our music isn’t exactly the time slot most suited to us but it was so fun.  I mean, really, what a way to start the day!”

This will be This Way North’s fifth Bendigo gig. They enjoy the vibe here. “We love the relaxed atmosphere and the real honest music lovers who live there.”
This Way North play at the Golden Vine on Friday, January, 20. Bill Barber supports.