The audio from this interview was originally linked to a Timber and Steel article on 26 September 2013. This article is being added over six years down the track as part of a project to move most of Overheard Productions’ audio files to text.
Liz Frencham starts her Joy Spring tour in Newtown tonight, Thursday 26 September, and continues through September along the Eastern Coast and hinterland, stopping in at Newcastle, Canberra, Wollongong, Newtown, Glebe, Allambie Heights and Katoomba and then continues into Queensland with more dates to be announced.
*** Audio file will be removed by end of February 2020 ***
Bill Quinn: On a very, very muggy afternoon in spring, it’s time for a spring tour, and who better to bring us that than the lovely Liz Frencham. Hello, Liz Frencham.
Liz Frencham: Hey, Bill. Nice to talk to you again.
BQ: Tell me about the tour.
LF: I’m a big spring fan; I’m such a fan of spring I moved to a very cold area in the central highlands of Victoria because the spring is so dramatic. You go from very, very misty, cold, no-sun type winters into this beautiful time where basically the whole town first of all gets peppered in snow drops, and then an explosion of colour as all the daffodils come up. And the little hyacinths with a red/purple colour.
You know it’s all happening; I like that. I feel like I can come to life at the same time too.
BQ: In the past, you’ve been one to hibernate over winter. Was that the case in 2013?
LF: I generally don’t tour during winter. I know some people do and that works for them, but I think because I’ve always been a festival-based performer, I tend to organise my touring around the festivals, which tend to be in the autumn and in the spring.
It’s one of those things where I tend to wear myself out during the autumn, and then absolutely need to be at home. And hang out, and write and play, and do some work at home. All those nice things.
BQ: And watch the development of a recording studio, no doubt.
LF: Well, we don’t do that every year!
Actually, it’s taken about three years from the time the slab went down to the finished product. But it is indeed a finished product, and it’s the biggest reason why I haven’t put out a new album for a long time. Just knowing that was coming.
I’ve got too many new songs I’m sitting on and now I can make great recordings of them. But yeah, when you know you’re going to get this great facility to work with, it’s almost like there’s part of you that won’t get up and going until it’s ready. It’s been amazing to finally call it ‘done’.
BQ: And Steve Vella’s Dog and Bear Studio would have to be christened by a Liz Frencham album, surely.
LF: Well, it’s sort of already been christened already by a couple of projects. I didn’t get in first! Oh no, I did sneak in there first. The first live recording in there was George Jackson and me doing a duet for my new duet album which should be released in the spring: Me and You Volume 2. That was really lovely. You know George, don’t you?
BQ: Oh yes, yeah.
LF: A wonderful fiddle player. We did a great version of a Radiohead song: Scatterbrain from Hail To The Thief. That was really fun. But it’s actually, I think, Ian Dearden is making an album. I think I promised him the first track, so I think I recorded one bass track on his album before I did anything else, just because I promised.
BQ: Now, back to the tour. It kicks off on Thursday, September twenty-sixth at the Sydney Fringe Festival and then carries on from there.
LF: Yeah, it’s going to be great. There’s something special about every single gig, for me. It’s incredible the way it’s worked out; I feel I can rave about the possibilities of all of those venues. Eliza’s Juke Joint at Sydney Fringe Festival is a venue that’s just been built for that, and apparently it looks like at 30s Prohibition juke joint. And then to be able to do that gig with Mic Conway, I mean that’s really amazing.
But I’ll have Damien Neil at that gig and in fact on all of the gigs – he’s going to be one my one constant companion on all of those gigs. But then I’ve got a whole bunch of different people who are going to be guests or accompanists or part of the deal.
The Royal Exchange in Newcastle and Yours And Owls in Wollongong, those two gigs and then at Colbourne Avenue, I’ve got Paul Greene – he’s my special guest on all of those shows, opening for me.
We’re actually going to be recording a duet on this new album as well, so we may even get brave enough to try it out live at one of those gigs, so that’s an exciting possibility.
And then the Canberra Southern Cross Club gig, the Merry Muse gig, I’ve got the awesome O’Niell and Rogers opening for me, and I’ve got a beautiful string section on some songs: Pandora Holliday and Gemma Clare, on violin and cello. So I’ve been writing a few arrangements especially for those girls, and that’s going to be really lovely.
And then Humph Hall in Allambie Heights is going to be very different again, because that’s the only gig where it’s going to be just me and Damien, and completely acoustic. That’s the only gig that’s going to be fully acoustic and that intimate, and that present, I guess. And then at the Clarendon, I’ve got the awesome Ryan Morrison opening for me, who you might recognise from the Spooky Men[‘s Chorale] but is also playing gigs with the gorgeous Kate Rowe.
You’ll know what a sweetie he is, and such an amazing singer and songwriter, and he’s also offered to come up and sing a few harmonies with me, so being that Damien’s also a lovely singer, and I’ll have Tim Bradley on drums, and Nick Southcott on that night as well, so it’ll be a full band affair.
BQ: That’ll be really special. Ryan Morrison came into the radio studio in Canberra once, and told me about his background in choirs, so that would fit just beautifully.
LF: Yeah, and he’s got amazing ability to blend with anybody so I’m expecting some nice, sweet vocal harmonies.
Every single gig has got one thing about it that won’t be the same as any other gig, so how often do you get that chance on a tour?
BQ: Liz, it sounds like it’s going to be absolutely fantastic. I’ll look forward to catching up with you in Canberra, and good luck on the tour.
LF: Yes, and there’s going to be a surprise special guest at the Canberra gig, but I’m not telling you. It’ll be a fun little surprise!
BQ: All the details at lizfrencham.com, and good luck on the road.
LF: Thanks so much, Bill. See you later.
*** Audio file will be removed by end of February 2020 ***
Thursday 26th September 2013 – Eliza’s Juke Joint, Sydney, NSW (with Mic Conway)
Friday 27th September 2013 – The Royal Exchange, Newcastle, NSW (with Paul Greene)
Saturday 28th September 2013 – Canberra Southern Cross Club, Canberra, ACT (with O’Neill & Rodgers)
Sunday 29th September 2013 – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW (with Paul Greene)
Thursday 3rd October 2013 – Colbourne Ave, Glebe, NSW (with Paul Greene)
Friday 4th October 2013 – Humph Hall, Nth Sydney, NSW
Sunday 6th October 2013 – The Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW (with Ryan Morrison)