Folk On The Road – 2019 Cobargo Folk Festival

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Folk On The Road

A highly irregular series reflecting on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

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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.

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Bush Gothic – Looking Forward To A Festival In The Past

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Image courtesy of Bush Gothic

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.

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Image courtesy of Bush Gothic

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/

Big Tobacco Company – Alternative Progressive Metal from Ohio

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Image courtesy of Big Tobacco Company

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.

So it was that in March, I connected with Bobby Ullmann from Big Tobacco Company on Twitter. My intention then was to do it almost guerrilla interview style and have it up and available within days.

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.

High tech interview setup at St Marys Rugby League Club, NSW, Australia

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! 🙂

Coming To Blues On Broadbeach: Blues Arcadia

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Image courtesy of Blues Arcadia

Blink twice, and in a two shakes of a lamb’s tail, it’ll be time for Blues On Broadbeach, that annual four day free festival of meaty and felafelly good blues music in the heart of Queensland’s Gold Coast at (wait for it) Broadbeach.

About a dozen years ago or so it seems, Chris Harvey of Blues Arcadia sat down with Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions at Stones Corner Hotel to have a chat about the then way distant festival.

I can remember it vividly for several reasons, but mostly because it was the day that, after giving Bowen and Ayr and surrounding areas a drenching and blow-wet, Cyclone Debbie finally arrived in Brisbane.

We got our chat in just before the heavens opened.

That was a goodly time ago, and this interview was due to see the light of day a little earlier than this.

I’ll spare you the sordid details of the intervening weeks, but suffice to say that as you’re all swanning around the mall area of Broadbeach, flipping between venues but making extra sure you get to the Blues Arcadia gigs, this interviewer will be somewhere in central or far northern Queensland.

The jury’s still out.

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Enough of that. We were talking about Blues Arcadia.

Herewith our chat.

Please excuse the references to the upcoming Stones Corner Festival. That’s in the rear vision mirror now, and my intern Ashley will be presenting her review in an upcoming edition of Trad and Now magazine.

I’d say see you at Blues on Broadbeach, but you’ll just have to have my fun for me, and flood social media with pictures, videos (if allowed) and reviews.

Rock on!

Bill Quinn in a Central Queensland caravan park camp kitchen typing with one finger!

[Audio Interview] David M McLean, Skinny Devil Music Lab and Lexington Music Awards

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

David M McLean is yet another of those prolific musical entities that are the engine room of independent music. You know the sort of person who slogs away in the foreground and background, tirelessly making things happen and ensuring the world is a music-filled and art-filled place to live, breathe, and hear.

A writer, composer, guitarist, producer, teacher, and possibly most front-brain right now, the brains* behind the Lexifest music awards for Lexington, Kentucky.

* Refer to the audio for how the brains and brawn of this event are distributed and attributed.

Late last year, I spoke with David as he sat in his truck with his cell phone somewhere on a cool Lexington KY evening. We spoke so long that my intention was to break the interview into two parts. However, after a series of technical gremlins and many edits later, I’ve whittled this down into the one sound file.

Part of the editing leaves the back end of our chat slamming like a door in a stiff breeze, so apologies for my abruptness!

I’m looking forward to hearing about Lexifest 2017, and here’s hoping the blizzards stay away from town in the run-up this year!

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

[Audio Interview] Fred Smith Launches ‘Dust of Uruzgan’ Book

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Image courtesy of Fred Smith

The first lesson of communication is that everyone digests information in different ways, and the savvy communicator has their content in multiple formats for multiple audiences.

Fred Smith certainly has a few bases covered with his ‘Dust of Uruzgan’ project.

“It started as a war then turned into an album and then into a theatre show then into a musical and now into a book. It’s a pretty straightforward sort of setup, really.”

Fred Smith spoke just before his Brisbane book launch and a house concert in Maleny, however, unfortunately we weren’t able to get this out of the post-production mill prior to those events.

So if you ignore the tense issue of the direction we’re facing in terms of those dates (i.e. it’s behind you), herewith the interview:

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And yes, there is an award in a supporting role for Fred’s daughter Olympia, though we’ve cut out and saved some of the higher high C notes she regaled us with for the extended 12″ remix.

Fred next takes the book on the road to Melbourne, Victorian regional centres, Canberra, Sydney, then back to Queensland for some regional appearances.

All tour details are at: https://www.reverbnation.com/fredsmith/shows

Details of the book are at the Allen & Unwin site:

https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/general-books/biography-autobiography/The-Dust-of-Uruzgan-Fred-Smith-9781760292218

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Image courtesy of Fred Smith

[Audio Interview] Harry Manx – 2016 Australian Tour

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Image courtesy of Harry Manx

This is the audio file wrapped up in a bit of Overheard FM nonsense. The full written version will be here on Monday 17 October 2016 at midday AEST, 10pm Sunday Kentucky, US and 3am Monday UK time.

To tell the story of Harry Manx would take several lifetimes, and hopefully a progression of life-forms over those lives to tell the story, because the story is so mesmerising and complex that we would not be very present and in the moment of most of those lives and that could put the telling of the tale at risk as we would not be making gradual and continuous improvement as…

I believe the expression you’re looking for is, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

Harry Manx performs at the 2012 National Folk Festival
Harry Manx performs at the 2012 National Folk Festival

Harry Manx has already begun his 2016 Australian tour which will take him from Sydney down to Victoria (where he is on stage tonight, Friday 23 September in Frankston) then around to Queensland, South Australia, Perth and up to Broome and Darwin, ending in the beautiful, lovely, gorgeous, I-may-be-a-little-hereditarily-biased New South Wales locales of Katoomba.

Ah, Katoomba. If there’s a more intimate, special venue than Clarendon Guest House, I want it stuffed, mounted, and hung above my fireplace – or I at least want an invite to your venue that can safely kick the Clarendon into a cocked hat. Or any poultry millinery for that matter.

And finally wrapping it all up at Club Saffire in Merimbula.

So it’s a very eclectic path Harry treads, and look, I’d draw you a picture if I had a free hand, but imagine a much-twisted paper clip that’s been sitting on your desk all day on a slow Friday when you’ve been watching the clock since 9:36am – now you’re in the ballpark.

OR picture a moose that somehow wandered into your yard, found your sippin’ liquor in the shed, and is now making a bedraggled, loquacious and somewhat winding stagger back to the forest by a circuitous route, two-thirds of it sideways. You got it! Continue reading