To Sydney audiences, Bernie Hayes is a local hero, cause celebre, a trusted translator of human experience. He is the master of the domestic miniature that says everything that need be said about who we are, why and how we succeed and fail, who we love and why. With an acoustic guitar and a seductive voice that can whisper confidentially or soar to emotional precipices, and the judicious use of a supple rhythm section, Bernie Hayes is here to break your heart. If he's a local hero, a name shared between inner-westies with a knowing nod or sigh, his fourth album (his first in eight years!) Slow Fix reaffirms his stature as a treasure of Australian songwriting, in the same league as Paul Kelly or his mate Perry Keyes. His songs provide an irresistible combination of contemporary perspectives with Brill building classicism (Carole King, Laura Nyro) and the height of 70s singer-songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and John Martyn. It's doubtful you will think of any of these artists when you hear this record though - Brendan Gallagher's production is immediate and transparent, allowing the illusion of an old friend sharing stories over a few brews.