While sitting in the media centre, writing in the last post about how Overheard Productions got its name, Bill Quinn overheard David Cyrus MacDonald drop in to talk with the office staff.
About 3.6 minutes later, David and Bill were outside the donga by the Spirit of Woodford office, standing variously on the wooden palets or in the mud, dodging dangerous ants the size of small cats, and speaking over the sound spill creeping up the hill from Bluestown, chatting about Paper Lions, music advocacy, and the wondrous, wonderful Woodford.
To tell the story of Harry Manx would take several lifetimes, and hopefully a progression of life-form hierarchies 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…
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 if it can go close to kicking the Clarendon into a cocked hat. Or any poultry millinery for that matter.
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.
Ann Vriend is always a popular visitor to Australia at about this time every year.
The contrasts between frozen Alberta, Canada and sizzling Australia are rarely more stark than in January/February. So Ann can hopefully leave the tissues and cough syrup behind, and look forward to sandy beaches, dazzling coral reefs, and the inside of a string of popular Australian venues on her ‘For The People In The Mean Time’ tour.
On an afternoon when frying eggs on the pavement in rural Queensland was definitely an option, Bill Quinn spoke with Ann from her sick bed in Edmonton, as she was putting the final touches on her tour, and readying to hop on a plane the following week.
It was a baking hot day in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland, and the only place to get a half-decent phone signal was from the front deck at Maleny Hotel, battling the sound spill from rumbling trucks and other traffic on the main road through town.
*** Audio file will be removed be the end of March 2020 ***
*** Audio file will be removed be the end of March 2020 ***
Ann Vriend’s Tour Mishaps #3663 or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love BBC News In The Airport Hotel
Ann Vriend is at it again: touring relentlessly and sharing her sweet music, sumptuous lyrics and those wonderful ivories and keys in far flung locales. And she’s also up to her other signature move: having wonderfully Tati-like, British 70s comedy slapstick challenges, and farcical misadventures.
The ones that you can laugh about and blog about afterwards or during, but at the time they can be massively distressing and painful and expensive and inducing of tears of pain, tears of rage.
But with the crunchy comes the smooth. And Ann found that a rather stormy set of clouds did indeed have a silver lining.
Not too many summers go by in Australia these days without a tour by Canadian singer-songwriter-keyboardian Ann Vriend.
2014 continues that rich tradition.
Ann has already started this year’s tour on the Gold Coast and she’s heading south to Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales before winding things up in Brisbane later this month.
In between dips in the pool on a Saturday afternoon (and no doubt a stack of photos on social media back home to envious and shivering Albertans), Ann talked to Bill Quinn about this year’s Australian tour.
Bill Quinn: Ann, from memory this is your ninth tour of Australia. Does it get easier, or harder or different?
Ann Vriend: I definitely think it’s getting easier. I have more and more people coming on board to help me out, and the fan base is slowly growing. And also different because I’m getting more and more used to being here!
Every tour I have different shows and different itineraries, so it doesn’t get boring.
Ann Vriend (Canada) is a very regular and very welcome visitor to Australia and this week she’s touched down in Sydney to kick off a month of shows that will take her south to Tasmania and north to Queensland — with appropriate stops along the way.
Ann’s first shows are in Sydney at The Basement where she’s received some great support from David Hand and Newport Consulting; the tour opener was fairly bursting with staff thereof.
In between set-list writing, sound-checking and dress-up* for the show, Ann took some time out to talk with me about weather, Aus-stray-lee-an pronunciation, more weather and suburb names. And music.
* When Ann came back in for the show, I dead-set wondered who was this elegant woman who looked like she was off to the races. And why was she waving at me from across the room?
I’m blaming it on jet lag.
*** Audio file will be removed at end February 2020 ***
Bill Quinn: When we have people who tour here from overseas, we have some who come here once and then we never see them again. And then we have others who tour here and they keep coming back, and back, and back again.
As a pundit and a punter, I’m totally OK with that. I’m sitting here with one who keeps doing that, and we’re very happy for that: Ann Vriend from Canada, hello and welcome?
Ann Vriend: Helloooo, and thanks for having me.
BQ: So, this would be something like trip number six, or something like that?
AV: No, it’s… well, I have to do math… but it would be eight, because my first was 2005 and I’ve come every year.
BQ: Every single year?
AV: Yeah. In your summer – that’s not by accident!
BQ: I tend to talk about weather, but what have you left behind you in Edmonton?
AV: Just before I left, we got about a foot of snow in one night. By the time it’s March, I’m a little bit over snow. So, if you go to my Facebook page, you can see the ‘before I left’ snow pictures, and the ‘after I left’ view of Sydney Harbour with palm trees.
BQ: So for the next few weeks, there’s going to be lots of pictures you’re sending back home in strapless numbers…
AV: Oh, I already posted a picture at the beach, like “Ha ha! I might not be rich, but there’s some perks to my job!”
At the Cobargo Folk Festival in February 2013, Kim Churchill was the recipient of my vicarious joy at this news, and we spontaneously had a chat, leaning on someone’s trailer, outside a venue, out in the open — which was a bit of a mistake because as I now know: don’t try to do these things in a flukey, swirling breeze.
I’m sure you’ll cope. Muggins here did the best he could with the sound balance. [Audio file will be removed by end February 2020.] Interview text:
Bill Quinn: I’m standing here with Kim Churchill. Hello, Kim.
Kim Churchill: Hello, Bill.
BQ: Kim, You’re about to go to America and tour with someone and I’m just a little bit excited about that. Tell me what you’re going to do in America.
KC: I’m going to do the opening slots for a guy named Billy Bragg.
Without waxing too lyrical, I was rather taken by a little gig in Sydney last Friday night at The Basement featuring Folk Uke (Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie), supported by Jodi Martin.
That line-up would have been a worthy night out on its own, however, Folk Uke had met two Canadians at Woodford Folk Festival — Andy Brown and Dave Gunning, invited them to come and play at their gig on Friday night, and mercifully the word had gone out over the jungle drums (i.e. social media) alerting the punters to get there early.
We walked in a little ways into Andy Brown’s set, but what we saw was awesome. Then Dave Gunning came on and totally blew us away — and the main part of the night was still to come.
Ever the compulsive interviewer, I managed to catch a couple of minutes of Andy Brown’s time as he manned the merch desk for the others, and he spoke a little of the East Coast Canadian showcases coming up in Sydney and Melbourne. You’ll have to be like a seagull onto a chip with these, as the first one is Tuesday 8 January at Notes Live in Newtown, and the second and last is Friday 11 January at Caravan Music Club in Melbourne.
As Harry Manx continues his way around Australia on an exhaustive (and possibly exhausting) tour, I caught up with Harry by phone one evening as he was taking a few days off in Darwin.
Rather than copy and paste the details here, I’ll direct your attention to the very fine Timber and Steel web-site where you can read all the details and hear the audio from my April interview as well.
Harry will be playing in Canberra on Wednesday 20 June, so I’ll see you there if I’m looking at you!