Little Flame

by Max Savage

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Recorded to tape with a single microphone over the space of a day, Little Flame tracks the evolution of Max Savage’s song writing over the course of six months of intense touring and performance.

The music is much more stripped back than the brash country rock that has become the hallmark of the South Australian troubadour. Gone are the dueling telecasters, soaring vocal harmonies and Hammond organ. The record is mostly Savage by himself with occasional accompaniment from long-time collaborator, Lachlan Ridge.

The lyrics are deeply rooted in country and place. They conjure images of an Australian underbelly; of forgotten places; towns, highways and backstreets. A haunting cover of the Go-Between’s “Cattle and Cane,” sits easily alongside ‘Smelter,’ a song about sickness and unemployment in an industrial town while the blues driven ‘voices,’ references the Franklin Dam, Billy Graham and the Dismissal.


released February 1, 2015

All songs written by Max McHenry except for Cattle and Cane written by Forster and McLennan.

Produced by Ross McHenry

Electric and Baritone Guitar by Lachlan Ridge

Recorded and mixed at Mixmasters by Tom Barnes at Hawthorndene, SA.
Mastered at Topfloor Music by Pete Maher at Brighton, UK.

Photography by Andre Castellucci, Design by Jason Koen.



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Max Savage and the False Idols Adelaide, Australia

Max Savage plays songs of heartache, loneliness and redemption with a polished brutality forged from years of touring the loneliest corners of the country. With almost three hundred shows under his belt from the last eighteen months; his is a sound of bitter regret and rock and roll swagger that belies his youth, talent and magnetic stage presence. ... more


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Track Name: Caroline
She won’t be here for long
As if she never left at all
She spreads out on the floor
And Caroline’s been here before

I found here there on the doorstep
A cigarette in her hand

Well she’s more afraid of asking
Than hunger shame or cold
And she’s masking all the bruises and the lines

She left four months ago
She didn’t write she didn’t call
I think about her now and then
But Caroline fell down again

She said she wrote me a postcard
Said it was lost in the mail

Last night I found her weeping
To a country music station
She said I’m not used to feeling anymore

To the lord of all things broken down
Won’t you leave this one alone
Its a burden borne on slender shoulders
And I can’t walk alone

She’s got bad taste in men
The ones she always tries defending
I see them all before they leave
But Caroline’s been sleeping in

This morning I lost my temper
She says she can’t face the day

Sometimes she’s so elated
But she always takes the blame
She’s down and out and desperately ashamed

She hates to say goodbye
She hates to let me see her cry
I close my eyes and count to ten
And Caroline’s not here again
I found a note pinned on the wall
And Caroline’s here anymore
Track Name: R.M. Williams Boots
Strung up high and painted red
Your lips are dry and open
Whiskey, wine and cigarettes
You’re tender, warm and here
With your jet black jeans
And your crooked smile
Your dishwater hair
And your laughing eyes
And your battered pair of RM Williams Boots

When I called you up I wasn’t looking for much
I don’t like to change my routine
But I was feeling lonely and I knew you’d be up
Restless angry and mean - just like me
With your single room
And the girls next door
And that guitar I tune
though I can’t see the use
And your battered pair of RM Williams Boots

You hit this city dreaming babe I know how it feels
When you’re fighting to be overlooked
But I've lost my faith babe and you've got it still
And I'm wondering just what it took
With your six Day Week
And your part time smile
And your home cooked truths
Babe it does you no good
Track Name: We Broke Each Other's Hearts
We broke each other’s hearts
You know we broke each other’s hearts
Oh yes we broke each other’s hearts
Like it was destined from the start
Too bold and too familiar
Too young and too afraid
And now its done

We broke each other’s hearts
And we left it all unsaid
We were looking for a past
And now it haunts us every day
And babe if you remember
I’ll remember too
I’ll remember

I was standing in the doorway
Staring at the kitchen floor
You were playing with your hands and sobbing softly
I'd hold you - but I'm not sure
And it's a shame you didn't mean it
When I meant every word and more
When its a game babe it seems tame to try redemption
We made the rules we made the law

We broke each other’s hearts
You know we broke each other’s hearts
Yes we broke each other’s hearts
oh just to see it could be done
And if you dared me babe I’d kiss you
If you let me get that close
Oh would you dare me

So raise your glass up to the ceiling
Let it smash down on the floor
Keep your head above the water
Its still so close, its still so raw

And we broke each other’s hearts
Oh when we broke each other’s hearts
And we were trying to grow up faster
But we cut each other down
And its the trying that defeats me
When the memory’s just a sound
I hear it now

And we broke each other’s hearts
Like it was easy being free
And I left you to your anger
And you left me to my greed
This love was meant to last forever
So the ache will never fade
Will never fade
Track Name: Little Flame
Little flame, little flame
So bewildered and tame
In the still in the calm
When rain’s coming down
And the curtains are drawn
And the afternoon’s gone
And I’m holding you close
But you don’t seem to notice

Little flame, little flame
Well you’re tender and vain
And you’re beautiful still
And you’re stronger than steel
And your love was ordained
From the start to the shame
I could help but I stayed
Now it can’t be unmade

Little flame, little flame
Hear me calling your name
You could buy what we owned
But its worthless alone
You can try but you won’t
You could lie but you can’t
I could hide, I could hide
But you’re always in sight
Track Name: Smelter
She won’t believe a word
If I told her I was down
Its as if she never heard
As if I never slammed the doors

Sometimes I’m shakey in the morning
Sometimes I rest a little late
Sometimes I feel surrounded
But I’m lonelier than all that empty praise

And the trains go past my head
One at six and one at ten
I smell the coal I smell the lead
I never did get used to it

My daddy worked his hands to dust
And even now I see him aching
I see the vinyl and the flowers
We lost our uncles and our pride

I never wrote so well
I never could obey the rules
And I can count the ones I lost
On all my fingers and my toes

We spent our summers drifting
Between the shipyards and the bay
We spent our money like we were desperate
We and then we worked a little more

She won’t believe a word
If I told her I was dying
And this town and I were cursed
Long before they shut the factory down
Track Name: Voices
Last week I sold my wristwatch
Last night I pawned my rings
And I sold my soul to cigarettes when I was seventeen
And I spent my last ten dollars on a cardboard box of wine
Can’t nobody spare a dollar, shake my hand or give the time
When you’re broke you can’t seem to feel
And they tell me that these voices ain’t real

A got a set of keys in my pocket
For someone elses car
I got a cut along my forehead
gonna be an ugly scar
Well my head and heart are pounding and I’m feeling out of breath
I’m in an unfamiliar suburb at an unfamiliar address
When you’re walking in a stranger’s cuban heels
Try to tell you that these voices ain’t real

I got voices in the morning
I got voices late at night
I got Don Dunstan in my left ear ear
And B. A. Santamaria in the right
I ain’t got the voice of reason but I got the voice of god
My mind is a radio station with an audience of one
I’d try to stop them but I’d have to cut a deal
And they tell me that these voices ain’t real

Well I’d get myself together
And I’d get right off these ropes
But the voice of Albert Field
Keeps on calling for a vote
And the voice of Billy Snedden says I didn’t win but I didn’t lose
Lionel Murphy says I got nothing if not the right to choose
I got Harold Holt wheezing, explaining just how drowning feels
And they tell me that these voices aren’t real

Dombrovskis save the Franklin
Well Jack Mundey save my street
And Billy Graham’s travelling road show
Gonna wash my weary feet
Well god will save Govenor General and God’s gonna save the queen
And the voice of sir Garfield Barwick says that nothings gonna save me
Well I got no right of appeal
And they tell me that these voices ain’t real
Track Name: When I Needed You
I was guilty as a schoolboy
With his pockets turned out and his head bowed down
And my eyes were filled with dirty little secrets
All the pieces, all the niggling doubts
And my heart was beating faster
And the blood was rushing past just to know your name
Won't you hold me close now baby
Won't you comfort all the fear and all the pride

Because I needed you, Babe

My innocence is fading
With the years and all the promises we made
And I can just recall the good times
Or maybe I just dreamed them all away
I'm as gentle as a victim and I was comforted by names
And I was satisfied with silence when you played your little games
Would you hold me close now baby
Would you hold me close
And would you need me now

Because I needed you

I've got four walls and a window
But the shouting and the noise won't let me dream
And I'm ashamed of all the drinking
And I'm ashamed of all the tears that I can't cry
You should have been a fortune
Babe you were diamonds, you were pearls and like a fool I didn't care for them
And I let you down,
When I let you down

And I needed you
Track Name: You'll Find Me
Well you'll find me
In the places that you know from your dreams
Come and find me
When you remember all the things we did – last night
Oh you'll find me
I'll be lost til you take my hand
Come and find me
And we'll take it to the end of time

Well you'll find me
Drinking whisky on the rocks in Siam
And you'll find me
And I'll be lost amongst a crowd of the young
If you find me
I'll be as lost as when you found me before
When you find me
Come and find me when you're ready to love

Come and find me
Won’t you find me, I’ll be lost til you do
When you find me
Won’t be love it won’t be tears we’ll be new
Come and find me
Because I’m waiting with the patience of sin
Won’t you find me
Because I’m yearning for the feel of your skin