Folk On The Road
A highly irregular series reflecting on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage
Back to Cobargo
Cobargo Folk Festival (CFF) in early March 2019 was a breath of fresh air for many who made their way to the beautiful green valleys and rolling hills just north of Bega, not too far south of Narooma, and within a five iron of a heaven.
For this peripatetic scribe, it was a homecoming of sorts. (Albeit what now looks like a temporary one.)
CFF came towards the end of a week or so in the Eurobodalla/Sapphire Coast region, just after the last member of my immediate family had left their home of almost twenty years in Bodalla, on an estate overlooking the quite stunning ranges of the Deua National Park.
But it was also my proper return to folk festivals after roughly five and a half years of continually wandering up and down the Australian east coast, from the deep south of New South Wales to the middling far north of Queensland.
(I can’t really count a handful of hours at Slacky Flat, Bulli in 2016 and 2019.)
In those intervening years, the closest I’d come to our festival culture was random assorted gigs, and attendances, media, and volunteering/MC-ing at regional Queensland festivals in Cleveland, Stones Corner, and Boyne Island.
Though all events had minor folk elements, it was wonderful to be back among the campers, revellers, singers, musos, and so, so many familiar faces in a dedicated folk festival.
On Saturday morning, 16 February 2019 AEDT, I rang in to the ABC Weekend Mornings show on ABC Sydney radio.
To say I had some communication challenges is to grossly understate the case. Three devices, radio on the TV, a landline – but I couldn’t find my hands-free to use my main mobile phone whose receiver speaker thingumy doover is a bit stuffed.
So, Simon Marnie finally threw to Bill from Fassifern, and what he got in return was a bloke with a fascinating tail, I mean tale of a cat who used one paw to mask the sound of his jingling balls, I mean, bells as he stalked prey in the backyard.
(I know some people who pray in the backyard. Takes all sorts.)
But that tail, I mean, tale was delivered with all the sonic clarity and crispness of MHz that you’d expect were I speaking down the line from Mawson’s Hut, Antarctica. The story got through, but barely.
So there’s this:
There must be a song to go with this.
There is! Brb…
This is what’s known in some circles as a slow burn.
Hopefully, the Optus Australia mob will tip a sizeable bucket of cold water on it before it burns too brightly and widespread-ly.
I’m not holding my breath. I’ve had 20 years and almost six months of bitter experience to water down my expectations on matters mobile, tech, billing, customer service.
There’s been good times too. I received such good service from V. the CSR and trainer when Optus was subsuming Virgin Mobile that I wrote her a two-page reference.
But the good times and all the Optus Sports under the English and European suns don’t make up for all the gluggy, smelly, runny brown stuff.
Let’s go to the tape, Rex.
Toby Kon Tin-Ewed…
Back in early February 2018, I interviewed Jenny Thomas from Melbourne-based folk band Bush Gothic, at a time when both of us were looking forward to attending the National Folk Festival in Canberra at Easter.
One of us got there!
It wasn’t me. 😥
It was to have been my first National since 2013 when I barely felt like I was there. Some nights I was tucked up in my tent by 10.30pm. It happens some time. But of course, your worst day at a festival beats your best day doing many other things, so…
Events transpired that instead of running around with various recording devices, filing copy for a small coterie of publications, I was roughly 400kms north on Lake Macquarie, providing various gardening and handyman services for a friend.
If you want to give your or any god a good laugh, make some plans!
Back to the subject at hand.
It’s been my absolute delight and pleasure to not only see Jenny Thomas and Jenny M. Thomas and Jenny Thomas and the System and the current incarnation: Bush Gothic perform, but also to interview Jenny several times, both here on the blog and also on community radio.
I’m looking forward to seeing Bush Gothic perform again in the not too distant, down one of many dusty roads, but for now, here’s the interview we did in February. You’ll just have to put your headspace into some sort of cerebral TARDIS and pretend you and we are looking forward to another five or six days of magic at an upcoming National Folk Festival!
Follow Bush Gothic on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bushgothic/
When opportunity and access to the appropriate hardware of the trade allows, I like to go on a whim and speak with random bands and artists.
On one memorable occasion, I was connecting with an Icelandic MOR band (Dikta) and within the week their interview with me was on radio in Canberra. I had some lovely chats with their management in LA as well.
Here we are in May, and apart from one hour of power in the Belmont Public Library, New South Wales, this is the first time I’ve sat using a computer and keyboard in more months than I can rightly remember. #peripatetic
Enough about my technological challenges.
Big Tobacco Company come from Cincinnati, Ohio and their sound has the sort of raw, rough edge that you might expect coming from people who live on the southern edge of the cold and forbidding waters of Lake Erie. Or it would be if I got the name of the city right, because that’s Cleveland that’s on Lake Erie.
Ok, I have no idea about American geography. I have Google Maps. I’m just guessing that if you’re that far up the country, it’s going to be colder than balls – except for maybe a week or two in July and August.
As is my wont, I did minimal research before our interview. Some might call this ‘laziness’; I prefer ‘living in the moment, all spontaneous and shit’.
No, seriously, it’s served me well in the past to not know too much about the interviewee before diving into a stack of questions, guided more by their responses than any predetermined views about the music, the genre, and the band’s ethos.
And so it was with Bobby. My surprised responses are genuine.
Big Tobacco Company have a new self-titled album out now, and you can listen to tracks and buy them individually or en masse via their website.
On a stunning, clear, late summer lunchtime in St Marys in far, far western Sydney, Australia I pulled up a pew in the rugby league club and had a great chat with Bobby. Here ’tis:
You can follow Big Tobacco Company on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bIgtoBacCocoMpaNY/
Fun fact: WordPress informs me this is Overheard Productions’s 200th post on this website. Well, break out the creaming soda and vegemite Jatz crackers! 🙂
Listen to rec_20180411-1036 Overheard FM Introduction and Plans.wav by Overheard Productions #np on #SoundCloud