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About Me

 

I am a musician with an eclectic style that blends modern acoustic music with its roots in blues, country, jazz and folk.  I am as at home singing traditional music as I am with a full rock lineup.  Although often an interpretive artist, I now conside rmyself a singer song writer.  Although I won the Lawson Patterson Award at Port Fairy Folk Festival in 1992 for “Stand Up” an anthem style song honoring the men and women of the Eureka Stockade and celebrating the Australian fighting spirit, it has taken some time for me to take my self seriously as a song writer.  I am pretty self critical and some songs have been lying around for a while before I have considered them preformance worthy.

 

Musical Influences

My father was a jazz (stride) pianist who played in dance bands through the 50s and early sixties before knuckling down to his real job.  My mother was a classically taught pianist and it was her mother who taught Dad to play.  Both Dad's father and uncle were professional musicians but we didn't find that out until much later.  I grew up listening to jazz, blues and country and when my brothers got older discovered Joplin, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I love strong female vocalists like Janis, Aretha, and Tina Turner.  I think I have almost every album that Ry Cooder and Leon Redbone have ever done.  Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, BB King and Keb Mo are some of my blues favourites.  I also like the Honky Tonk gals from the 50s; Kitty Wells and Jean Shephard.  The list is too long to mention really.  Calypso, jug, cajun, old time bluegrass, all of them are great styles and I plunder the lot in my song writing.

 

 

BackGround

I first began performing in bars and folk clubs around the Geelong area in the late 1970s.  My first 'public' appearance being at the Geelong Folk Club in 1979 at an open stage at the start of the Geelong Folk Festival after being talked into it by my uni mates.  That was the start.  I moved to Melbourne in 1981 and performed regularly at the Dan O’Connell and Rainbow folk clubs, The Green Man, Heart & Soul Café and many other bars and coffee shops and clubs around Victoria.

 

In 1982 I joined the Vengeance Dance Band with Rick E. Vengeance and Peter Anderson and with this line up played at Port Fairy Folk Festival, in 1983 at the National Folk Festival, Barossa Valley Wine Festival and the Kapunda Celtic Music Festival where the band took the award for the best Dance Band.

 

After this, with Peter Anderson and Geoff Lambourne we formed the Snowband which had various lineups including, Di McNicol, Peter Howell, and Ian Clarke.  This band performed twice at Port Fairy and Newcastle Festivals touring in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.  Our final performance was at the 1985 National Folk Festival in Melbourne. 

 

I then worked for three years with John Rasmussen, Maggie Duncan, Charlie Dowley and Leanne Matheson in Eucalypso, a bush/jug/ol’ time dance band that were regulars at Montsalvat artists community in Victoria and numerous community festivals.

 

Twankydillo

 

Then came Twankydillo with Meg MacDonald and the Late Lis Johnston.  1989/90 was a very busy time for Twankydillo with performances in Adelaide, the Turramurra and Brucknall music camps, Ballarat Begonia Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, and the Port Fairy Folk Festival.  Twankydillo were a special combination of close harmony with a laid back, often comedic presentation.  We launched our successful self-titled cassette to correspond with Port Fairy of that year.  The band ended with our last performance at the Frankston Folk Club just weeks before Lis’ tragic death late in 1990.  I worked with Jamie Johnston and a host of other people to produce the Lis Johnston memorial tribute album, the sales from which funded the Lis Johnston Award at the National Folk Festival.

 

I then formed two bands in 1991, Hy Breasil with John Rasmussen and Greg O’Leary and Three Bags Full with Meg MacDonald, Helen Wright and Kelley Johnston.  Both bands featured in the 1992 National Folk Festival. 

 

Later Years

 

Since these bands broke up, I have continued to perform as a soloist and in various trios including a 12 month stint in a 9 piece R&B band performing numbers from Aretha Franklin,James Brown and Wilson Pickett.  With Peter Howell and Tony Hargreaves I supported Vin Garbutt in 1998 and with Peter Howell, Ian Clarke and Phil Manning appeared at the Campaspe Downs blues weekend in the same year.

 

I have worked with many musicians over the years.  My vocal contributions can be found not only on the Twankydillo, Three Bags Full and Lis Johnston Memorial albums but also with Rob Bartlett, Meg MacDonald, John Caldwell, Peter Anderson and may others.

 

These days I mostly performs for fun rather than profit.  I enjoy playing, writing and performing with different musicians and have a standing invitation to play at the Supper Club at Tamworth, yet to be taken advantage of.  Mostly I can be found at smaller festivals where playing rather than concerts is the order of the day.  I still love performing and will actually be doing more of it I hope.  I also want to get some traction with the performance workshops to assist new performers to gain confidence to get out there and connect with their audience. 

 

 

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