Roxy May Redding’s got music in her soul and songs in her blood. She lives in a hot dusty town and is dreaming big. She survives run-ins with the mean girls at high school, sings in her dad’s band and babysits for her wayward aunt. But Roxy wants a new start. When she gets the chance to study music in the big city, she takes it. Roxy’s new life, her new friends and her music collide in a way she could never have imagined. Being a poor student sucks… navigating her way through the pressure of a national music competition has knobs on it… singing for her dinner is soul destroying… but nothing prepares Roxy for her biggest challenge. Her crush on Ana, the local music journo, forces her to steer her way through a complex maze of emotions alien to this small town girl. Family and friends watch closely as Roxy takes a confronting journey to find out who the hell she is.
Songs that sound like blood is a beautiful coming of age tale about a young aboriginal girl coming out and discovering herself. This story is filled with courage, love and music. It is a heartfelt yarn that I highly recommend you read.
This wonderful story features a same-sex-attracted aboriginal protagonist – Roxy. We follow Roxy as she finishes up high school in her small town and heads to the big smoke (Adelaide) to study music and follow her dreams of making it as a singer.
Throughout the pages of this book there are fantastic examples of loving and supportive relationships, which I found delightful and heart warming.
This story also serves to highlight some of the many issues affecting Indigenous Australians. The writing is so good and the issues so intertwined and connected to the character Roxy’s life that you never feel like the author is trying to educate you, you just feel as if you are Roxy and you are living her truth with her.
Music plays a big part in Roxy life, so obviously it plays a big role in this story. I love music that you feel deep down in your soul and this book was full of it, with the likes of Bob Marley, Courtney Barnett, Yothu Yindi, Midnight Oil, The Pixies, Frank Yamma, Kev Carmondy, Paul Kelly, Coloured Stones, Warumpi Band, Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and Johnny Cash’s names gracing the pages.
Below I’ve listed and included a link to an apple music playlist I made of the songs performed in the book.
Songs Roxy performs on Starbright:
1) My Island Home by Neil Murray and performed by the Warumpi Band.
2) We Have Survived by No Fixed Address.
Songs “Soul Band” performs:
1) Soul Man by Sam and Dave.
2) I’m Coming by Sam and Dave.
3) Valerie by The Zutons (the book doesn’t state who Valerie is by, so I’m assuming that it is Valerie by The Zutons, later covered by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson).
4) Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett.
Song Roxy sings at the protest rally:
From Little Things Big Things Grow by Kev Carmondy and Paul Kelly.
Song Roxy sings at the Survival Day concert:
Dancing in the Moonlight by Coloured Stones
“When the applause died down Justin and I started playing Coloured Stones’s Dancing in the Moonlight – the blackest of black songs I knew.”
Songs of note: She Cried by Frank Yamma (the song Roxy mentions Frank signing while watching him perform to write her article for Stage).