Interview: Eleanor McEvoy On Tour In Australia

Eleanor McEvoy
Image Courtesy of Eleanor McEvoy

Interview reprinted with permission from Overheard Productions

Eleanor McEvoy landed in Australia this week on tour from now until … well, until Ireland warms up again in roughly six weeks’ time.

On St Patrick’s night, Monday 17 March 2014, Eleanor was a very special guest of Riogh and the Illawarra Folk Club at what’s starting to look a lot like a Paddy tradition in this south coast of New South Wales town centre. Accessible from anywhere and a short walk from the train station ;-)

(Our correspondent Bill Quinn later that night ventured down the road to another raucous Irish venue, and couldn’t help but notice that, despite the number of prone young bodies decked out in over-sized corporate green Irish hats, the music on the tannoy was Canadian Scots.)

But before that, and after one or three very large jars of piping cold very special St Patrick’s Day tea, Bill spoke a little with Eleanor about the tour:

Eleanor McEvoy’s tour is in the country up to and including Fairbridge Folk Festival in late April. The full list of remaining tour dates are below:

Friday 21st March – Albert Park Yacht Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd March – Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Sunday 23rd March – St Cuthbert’s Chapel at Menzies Creek, Dandenong Ranges, VIC
Sunday 23rd March – Northcote Social Club, Northcote, VIC
Friday 28th March – Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 29th March – Petersham Bowling Club, Petersham, NSW
Sunday 30th March – St David’s Church, Dee Why, NSW
Thursday 3rd April – South Coast Folk Club, Port Noarlunga, SA
Friday 4th April – HATS-Courthouse Cultural Centre, Auburn, SA
Saturday 5th April – The Song Room, Tanunda, SA
Sunday 6th April – Singing Gallery, McLaren Vale, SA
Thursday 10th April – Carrington Bowling Club, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 13th April – Quarterdeck, Narooma, NSW
Thursday 17th to Monday 21st April – National Folk Festival, Canberra
Wednesday 23rd April – Rosie O’Grady’s, Perth, WA
Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th April – Fairbridge Folk Festival, Pinjarra, WA

Interview: Ann Vriend (Canada), 2014 Australian Tour

Ann Vriend
Image Courtesy of Ann Vriend

Interview originally published on Overheard Productions.

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.

BQ: Do you have someone who helps, like an agent here in Australia?

AV: I’ve had a couple of tries with a couple of different people. I’ve kind of gone back to doing it myself which is a lot of work. And I definitely don’t have the time to be a proper agent , of course.

BQ: So how difficult is it to line up dates from half a world away?

AV: Well, I do a lot on email, so it doesn’t really matter that it’s so far away. Agents that have a roster with a whole bunch of artists on their roster that are at different levels of fame can wheel and deal and trade, whereas I don’t have anything except, “Please give me a gig!”

There are certain festivals and certain venues that only take acts from certain agents they work with, otherwise it’s closed doors to others, or so I’ve been realising. You can get into small things, but not into anything that gives you some real money and lots of attendance in bigger places.

But I’m lucky I have a company helping me out down here now. They’re starting up their own production company where they want to sponsor artists to help them with their careers.

I’m the very first artist that they’re helping. The company’s called David Hand Productions. They’re basically helping me out with logistics and some promotion stuff.

And then next year we’re going to do a full-on tour that they’re helping me plan. So this year is basically laying the groundwork for the big one next year.

Ann VriendBQ: And for this year, have you got venues that want you back and have become regulars for you?

AV: Yeah. Sometimes — especially this one — I didn’t get around to booking it very much in advance, because I was so busy working on finishing my CD, and I was on tour in Europe, so I didn’t really get enough time to properly sit down and do the booking. So a lot of the places wanted to have me back, but it didn’t work with their schedules.

So I took what I could get for this tour, but people have been pretty good about helping me out where they can, for sure.

The big thing about this tour is promoting the single from my new album, and getting the new album [For The People In The Mean Time] out there, so that for next year it’s already been played and people know the songs.

For the People in the Mean Time
For the People in the Mean Time

BQ: And tell us about the album; it’s been a while in the pipeline, hasn’t it?

AV: Oh, that’s an understatement. Yes!

It’s kind of for a good reason. My producer (Tino Zolfo) just got busy with other artists because he started getting a lot of recognition. Suddenly his phone’s ringing and everybody wanted him to produce their record.

Some of those were artists who had big labels behind them who could pay more than Ann Vriend could!

But he says it’s one of the best records he’s ever made and he’s super-proud of it, He put 130% effort into it. He said, “I don’t want to rush to get it done and not do the best job that we can do”. He was committed to it, but he had to pay the bills as well!

BQ: When people listen to the new album, are they going to say, “This is what we expect from Ann Vriend”, or is it taking you in a new direction?

AV: I think both.

It’s a retro-soul record, in a sort of an indie way. It’s full of beats and loops and that kind of thing. Someone from Germany told me he got his copy in the mail and called it an ‘old/new soul record with a Motown feel’. And that’s pretty much what it is.

In that way, people who expect me just to be playing folkie songs, it’s going to be different than that. But if you’ve listened to my records from the beginning (like someone like you!) you know there’s always some soul and blues on every album, and I always sing in a bluesy way. And that’s been a big influence on my music.

So that’s coming through very loud and clear, and we try to be very consistent about the sound of this whole record, that they’re all in that kind of vein.

BQ: And on the tour is it just Ann plus keyboard or do you have support players as well?

AV: Some of the shows I’ll be doing solo, but more than half of them I’ll have a rhythm section, the same rhythm section that I had in Sydney last year. They’re guys from the band Peregrine that’s based in Sydney. So drums and bass and me. It should be fun.

This sort of music really needs a rhythm section; it’s all groove-oriented stuff. Old school soul.

BQ: And after you leave our shores, what does the rest of 2014 have in store for you?

AV: I’m going to be touring the hell out of this record. So I get home and then I have a week or two before we do a mini Canada tour to promote the album and release it. The official release date is March 11.

And then from there we go straight to Europe and do a five week tour of Europe. Then we come back and do some shows in Canada, festivals and more touring.

And then in 2015, I’ll be back in Australia! So I won’t be bored in 2014!

BQ: We’ll look forward to seeing you!

Ann Vriend’s remaining Australian tour dates:

Thursday 6th February — The Musicman Megastore, Bendigo, VIC
Friday 7th February — Albert Park Yacht Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 8th February — The Rumpus Room, Maribyrnong, VIC
Sunday 9th February — On The Green at Gumly Gumly, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Wednesday 12th February — Django Bar, Marrickville, NSW
Friday 14th February — The Homestead, North Hobart, TAS
Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th February — MONA, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 20th February — Sunset Studio, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 22nd February — Tree House, Byron Bay, NSW
Sunday 23rd February — Black Bear Lodge, Fortitude Valley, QLD

Glover and Sorensen: the (not so) Serious Side of Folk Festivals

Glover and Sorensen
Image Courtesy of Glover and Sorensen

WARNING: The following interview contains multiple gratuitous references to Morris Dancers.

Folk festivals are a serious business. Well, they can be.

Or not, if Alan Glover and S Sorensen are on the program. The comic duo turn up like bad pennies at festivals around the country, and they’re back this weekend at one of their regular haunts, the Illawarra Folk Festival.

Bill Quinn spoke with Alan and S last year about the blend of comedy and folk, after a momentarily passing fascination with the interviewer’s MP3 recorder.

S Sorensen: You’re pointing what looks like… it looks like an electric shaver, doesn’t it? And I’m a bit stubbly, being at the festival for a few days without shaving.

And I believe alcohol makes your beard grow faster.

Bill Quinn: Indeed. Now, we’re at a folk festival. How does it go with comedy at a folk festival?

Alan Glover: It goes pretty well, as long as there are things happening at the festival that are going to make us funny. Now we’ve had a lot of trouble with Morris Dancers this festival. First up, we wondered why they were called ‘daaaaahhncers’. We called them ‘dancers’ and they said, “No, we’re daaaaahhhncers”.

It turns out they’re waaaaahhhnkers.

And they’ve been dancing – or daaaaaahhncing – their way up and down the street. And I think they should be banned and I think something should be sprayed to get rid of them.

SS: Well, they really annoy me. We had a few jokes at their expense, and then we walked out of the show on Friday night and we came down here, and there was a whole bunch of Morris Dancers waiting for us, and they attacked us with their sticks and their hankies.

I got a really bad hanky burn on my neck.

AG: That’s really bad.

SS: I’ve had to rub stuff on it because of this hanky burn from those nasty, aggressive, unattractive jingle-janglers.

BQ: To borrow a phrase from musician John Thompson, is it artistic expression or a cry for help?

AG: I don’t think it’s either. I think these people are deluded. I think they’re pre-Alzheimer’s; I think that’s what’s going on. Someone’s dressed them up and said it will be fun. They don’t know what fun is. They’re just easily pushed-along people.

It’s just typical of the voters in this county. And I don’t want to make a tenuous segue from Morris Dancing to the [then] forthcoming federal election, but I’ve gotta say, if a Morris Daaaaahhncer stood for prime minister of this country, they’d probably get in – that’s how stupid things are at the moment!

SS: That’s right, and the thing about the Morris Dancers is that I, like any sensible person, don’t believe in evolution. I believe that God created the world on six working days and had Sunday off. And I believe that when he was creating stuff, he didn’t create the Morris Dancers. Somehow they were created by accident when he was having Sunday off, going to church. Because on Friday I think it was he created churches as well as planets and all living things.

But then somehow he created Morris Dancers, and they’re a deviant life-form that doesn’t even belong on the planet. So we just avoid them.

BQ: I feel like I’ve learnt so much in two minutes and fifty-six seconds. Getting back to you. I’ve only seen you at festivals from Woodford and south. What’s the life of S and Alan like when you’re not on the circuit?

AG: We basically go into stasis, don’t we?

SS: Yes, we rest a lot and read dictionaries, learn words that we can use to confuse our audience.

AG: And basically do everything we can to undermine ourselves, to white ant ourselves.

SS: Yeah, and when he’s in stasis, I’m usually in the next room reading the books, and I tell him later because he doesn’t like to read. I’m telling him later what Mickey did and what Donald did.

And after a couple of weeks it’s time to do another festival. Stasis isn’t allowed round because she’s a bit ugly.

But that’s generally what we do, and we don’t have any other life. We love coming to festivals because here people are real. They’re turning off the telly, they’re turning off the internet, and that’s what we want. We want people to realise that there’s a real life. There’s a reality. And it needs their help.

AG: It’s not real bad. You know I’ve come to the conclusion that the only people you can really trust to tell you the truth are comedians.

SS: That’s right. People reckon they talk the truth, like politicians, but it’s all bullshit. We talk bullshit but it’s all honest and it’s the truth.

BQ: So while you’re in stasis (or Stasis) and the rest of the world is turning, where can people go to find out more about Glover and Sorensen?

AG: Well, they can Google ‘Glover and Sorensen’ and they’ll get a Youtube clip of us pretending to be at a festival. Well, we are. It looks like we’re in someone’s back room but we’re not; we’re actually at a live festival, aren’t we?

SS: Yes, and you can go to our website which we went to once — it’s lovely — if you ever want to hire us for anything, like you’ve got a big empty space in your life and you want someone to really connect. Because we are against everything, except the stuff we’re not.

AG: And we’re easy to find on the internet. Just type in this: ‘shemuckaruckmuckbeugh dot glergflerk dot comgfhgjkjerr dot au’.

Or www.gloverandsorensen.com.au

BQ: Gentlemen, the last five minutes and twenty eight seconds has been…..something. I thank you.

SS: ‘Have’ been. Because it’s plural. ‘The last five minutes and twenty eight seconds HAVE been…’ But I don’t want to correct your bad English.

But it’s been rather pleasant for us too.

AG: Hey, I told you not to talk to him like that. Now you’re boiling your ‘Billy’! Now leave it alone!

BQ: I’ve just been ‘Quinned’! Thank you, gentlemen.

SS: Thanks, Billy!

Glover and Sorensen’s gigs at the Illawarra Folk Festival:

 Friday 17th January – Miners Camp, 8pm\
Saturday 18th January – La Petite Grande, 9.30pm
Sunday 19th January – Show Pavilion, 10.30am (Funny Concert)
Sunday 19th January – Grandstand Restaurant
Sunday 19th January – Slacky Flat Bar (Finale Concert)

Interview: Rough Red heading to Illawarra Folk Festival

Rough Red
Image Courtesy of Rough Red

Queensland/NSW-based folk-rock band Rough Red have been enjoying success with their album Not Here For A Haircut, and they’re making a very welcome return this weekend to the Illawarra Folk Festival.

Bill Quinn spoke with John Fegan from the band this week ahead of their trip south.

Bill Quinn: John, just for the uninitiated, give us a potted history of Rough Red.

John Fegan: There are five of us and we all used to play together in different bands. Well, they did. I joined these guys in my mid-thirties when I was working in an ad agency and bumped into them. And we ended up playing in this big blues and soul band together.

We got a bit bored with that and decided we wanted to do our own thing, and so we got all my poetry out of wardrobes, and Steve Tyson had some good stuff. And we started playing together once a week – it really started to come together well.

We got ourselves a manager who got us a few gigs, very uninspiring gigs in Brisbane. But the manager had had overseas experience and he knew some contacts and said, “Hey, I can take you guys to Europe!”

We said, “Wow! Really?!”

So he sorted that out and we did a little four/five track album which we took over to the Cannes Music Festival, and we were accepted. Then some people said, “We’d like to see those guys in Ireland”, etc etc.

And next thing you know, we’re heading off for Europe.

It was the early days of the internet – not everyone had it then – and Steve Tyson had gotten on the phone and internet and had been ringing people in Europe. These people in Skagen in the north of Denmark were pretty adept at that sort of thing, and they said to Steve, “Look, if you guys are crazy enough to come all the way from Australia, we’d love to have you play here.”

So we ended up in Skagen – the first Aussie band to play in Skagen – and we had to put together some other gigs, which we did from contacts here and there. We played in a football stadium in England, and all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

Out first tour was an economically dismal failure! But we learned a lot, so we started going back and each time we went back, it got better and better because we got a bit of a reputation. And now we’re old hands at it!

BQ: That’s a bit of a coup, because many bands and artists are knocking on the door of Europe and England for a long time before they establish themselves enough for a tour or repeat tours.

JF: The lucky thing for us was that when we were doing it, we were one of the first Aussie bands. We were the first Aussie band to play at Skagen, we were the first Aussie band to play in Vikedal in Norway, first one in Estonia at Paide. We just lucked in early and made the most of it.

We opened the doors for a lot of other Aussie bands to follow us.

The last time we were in Skagen (July 2013), there was about five Aussie bands there.

BQ: The composition of the band: you’ve got a lot of strong song-writing talent there…

JF: Really good.

BQ: What’s that like when you’ve got five people coming together? How does it influence the make-up of what you perform and record?

JF: In the early days, it was pretty much Steve Tyson, Peter Harvey and me – those two guys are fabulous songwriters. And then Johnny Barr started to put stuff in now Dave Parnell (or ‘Mashie’) our drummer – he’s a brilliant little bloke who can do everything – he’s now coming up with some great stuff too.

So it works really well. Five disparate souls have gotten together and it just works. It’s just amazing how it just works.

BQ: As well as disparate in talent you’re now geographically spread. How does that influence the collaboration?

JF: The latest album was a classic example because we recorded it in three separate studios. One in ByronBay and two down on MoretonBay. So we were sending stuff from one studio to another and I’d go and do vocals here, and someone would go and do guitar there.

So it was very different – I’d never done it before – but it seemed to work and we ended up with a really nice product.

BQ: Touring is your strong suit and the crowds really do love you, don’t they?

JF: Yeah, I think it’s the five-part harmonies and that kind of kick-arse Irish-y Australian thing, and the stories about bushrangers and haunted trains and bad women.

I think it’s just a combination of everything and it just works.

And they’re brilliant musicians these guys, and it’s just such a pleasure playing with them. Nothing ever goes wrong and it really is such a joy.

BQ: In the time that you’ve been around and touring and recording, have you noticed a discernible shift in what we loosely call ‘folk’? Are you finding different sorts of bands as you’re going around?

JF: Oh man, ‘folk’ is such a… I find it difficult to describe it as ‘folk’ because so much of it’s not folk. ‘Folk’ is just an easy thing for people to use. You couldn’t really say that what we play is folk.

I remember when we were playing in Ireland we played with Arlo Guthrie in a festival there, and the guy who ran the festival, he said to us: “Well, we t’ought you was an Oirish band. But you’re not an Oirish band. You’re a f—— rock ‘n roll band wid’ a bit of diddly doo!”

Folk is such a broad thing. I think the beauty of it is that when you go to a festival overseas like Skagen, you see dead-set, full-blown folk. And then you see all these other hybrid things that have come from it, and that’s what makes it such a fabulous sort of genre.

You can’t really pin it down to anything. That’s what I love about it. I’m quite happy to be called a folk band, but when they hear us, they go, “Whoa….. ok. A bit different.”

BQ: Speaking of touring, you’re heading to Illawarra Folk Festival, a favourite of yours.

JF: Yeah, mate, yeah, we love it down there. This is our third time and we enjoy it. It’s a lovely place to be. Good venues, nice people running it. It’s always good.

BQ: I remember vividly you being there when Brisbane was flooding and you couldn’t do much but get reports about your house going under.

JF: It was 2011 when we were there last. I was there when my house had been flooded. I was driving out to the airport and my wife rang and said, “Guess where I am? I’m on the steps of the house and it’s gone down.”

We were told it would take at least three days and she said, “Well, you might as well go and have some fun because you won’t be having much fun for the next three months!”

So anyway, I went down to Illawarra and we had a concert there on the Sunday where we raised money for the Queensland Flood Appeal, which was lovely. And I wrote a verse to one of our current songs, and I added it in about the flood. And when I did my latest solo album which I did last June, I wrote the song which was ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ about that horrible thing.

BQ: And finally, the story: the adventures of Rough Red which you’ve been meticulously chronicling over the years.

JF: Ever since we started, I kept a chronicle. I’ve written everywhere we went, every adventure. I’ve made my name on radio over the years as a funny guy and so I wrote it in my style, and everyone who’s read it just loves it and says it’s full of life and textures.

It’s the quintessential ‘Baby boomer living the rock and roll dream’ story, warts and all. I would love to get it published. People say, “Why don’t you put it on a blog?” but I want to see it in a book form. I’m an old fellow, I’m old school – I want to see a book!

BQ: Maybe there’s an opening for a publisher who’s reading to step forward and put it into print!

JF: Well, I don’t think he’d do himself any harm because it’s a fabulous story! I hope so, mate. I hope you’re right.

BQ: John, thanks for your time and see you at Illawarra.

Rough Red’s gigs at the 2014 Illawarra Folk Festival:

Friday 17th January – Grandstand Restaurant, 1045pm
Saturday 18th January – Slacky Flat Bar, 4.45pm
Sunday 19th January – Show Pavilion, 5.30pm

Interview: The Beez (Germany) 2014 Australian Tour

The Beez
Image Courtesy of The Beez

The Beez are one of many international folk bands who make Australia a regular part of their touring itinerary. In 2013, they toured as here as a duet with the Don’t Mention The Wall show, but are returning with the full band in January to bring their pop/folk/originals/parody repertoire down under again.

Bill Quinn spoke with Peter D’Elia from Berlin on the eve of the tour about what Australian audiences can expect.

Bill Quinn: You’re heading back to Australia; it’s been a regular visit for you over the years, hasn’t it?

Peter D’Elia: Yes, it’s my fifth time and it’s the sixth time for the band. Rob Rayner (guitar and vocals) is from North Sydney. He likes to get back home, and what’s a better way to visit your home than to mix it with your work? Which is hopefully your pleasure!

BQ: So it’s more than just trying to get away from a Berlin winter!

PD: Our work here does get slow in the winter. So yes, it’s great to get away from a Berlin winter and if work is slow, you might as well be able to visit your friends and family, be in good weather, and actually have some work to do.

BQ: Going back to 2013, it was an unusual year for The Beez in terms of line-up, wasn’t it?

PD: Yes, we had ‘Sweet Felicia’ [filling in on bass for new mother, Ulischka], originally from Queensland and now living in Victoria. It was a lot of fun, and very different to have a different member.

She had to learn a lot, different kinds of ways of singing and melodies. As a blues musician, she was definitely pointed in another direction with our intricate four-part harmonies.

And for us, it was great fun to do a lot of blues songs. I have another guitar now – a slide guitar – and I was doing a lot of slide playing on her songs, so that was fun for me and for everyone. Definitely for Rob, who loves a lot of rock and blues. For all of us, it was just a different experience, which is good to have sometimes.

BQ: You’ve got a loyal following in Germany. How did they react to having a new member of the band?

PD: It was always positive. Felicia’s a very strong performer; she wins a crowd over.

BQ: It was a temporary fill-in because of Jule/Julishka.

PD: Yeah, her son will already be a year old in February.

BQ: And you’ve been performing in Germany and Europe with the baby on tour?

PD: We’ve had two tours. He’s definitely not crazy about too many hours in the car. So you’ve got to take some breaks, and keep him moving around.

He loves music; he reacts very positively to music.

BQ: He’d have to with those parents [Beez bass player Jule plus sound man and musician Georg].

PD: Two bass player parents! I’m voting him to be more of a drummer, maybe. But some people think he’s going to follow in his parents’ bass-playing steps.

BQ: You’re out here for just short of four months. In the past, you haven’t always had the best experiences in terms of venues, have you?

PD: There was one tour that wasn’t what should have been the next stepping stone. Had it been our first tour we would have been fine with it, but on one tour we were promised some venues that did not happen. It was still enjoyable to be there, but as a band that wants to progress every tour, it was not the stepping stone that it should have been.

Every other tour’s been positive.

We’re doing about five festivals on this tour. Every weekend is busy except the Easter weekend, and I’m sure other things will creep up while we’re there.

BQ: Four months travelling with a very small child – are you all going to be friends at the end of it?

PD: We will! We will!

BQ: And you’re looking forward to going back to some favourite venues and towns?

PD: Yeah, our first show is at Camelot Lounge the night after we arrive and I’m really excited about that. I love that place. They have so many great bands there. My memory of it last time: all the staff there were really great people.

And of course Illawarra Folk Festival’s the next thing. We’ve been there so many times, it’s just like going back to see our friends on the other side of the hemisphere.

Full list of tour dates for The Beez:

Saturday 11th January – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Monday 20th to Saturday 25th January – Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW
Saturday 1st Febraury – Tilba Winery, NSW
Sunday 2nd February – The Artists Shed, Queanbeyan, NSW
Thursday 6th February – Braidwood Folk Club, NSW
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th February – National Multicultural Festival, ACT
Friday 14th February – Newcastle and Hunter Valley Folk Club, NSW
Saturday 15th February – Blackheath, NSW
Sunday 16th February – Bundanoon, NSW (house concert)
Wednesday 19th February – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, ACT
Saturday 22nd February – George Kerford Hotel, Beechworth, Vic
Sunday 23rd February – Gerogary, VIC
Friday 28th February – The Piping Hot Chicken Shop, Ocean Grove, Vic
Saturday 1st March – Bendigo Folk Club, Vic
Sunday 2nd March – Mildura Arts Festival, Vic
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th March – Burke and Wills Festival, Mia Mia, Vic
Friday 14th March – Old Mill Flour Gallery, Mildura, Vic
Saturday 15th March – Richmond, Vic
Sunday 16th March – Burrinja Café, Upwey, Vic
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March – Yackandandah Folk Festival, Vic
Friday 28th March – Taste Canowindra, NSW
Sunday 30th March – Tamworth, NSW (house concert)
Saturday 5th April – Wauchope Arts, NSW
Sunday 6th April – The Royal Exchange, Newcastle, NSW
Tuesday 8th April – Newcastle University, NSW
Friday 11th April – Candelo Arts Society, NSW
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th April – Mount Beauty Music Festival, Vic

Interview: Billy Bragg Previews Tooth and Nail Tour, March 2014

Billy Bragg
Image Courtesy of Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg is in Australia for a lightning visit to play at BIGSOUND in Brisbane and then a teaser of a show at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney on Friday 13 September 2013 (SOLD OUT).

Just announced, Billy Bragg will be bringing the full band to Australia in March 2014 for the ‘Tooth and Nail‘ tour to play a string of dates including WOMADelaide for the first time.

Billy took time out from his crucial domestics while in Brisbane to chat with Bill Quinn (Overheard Productions) in the studios of 2XX-FM 98.3 in Canberra. The two Bills talked about politics, newspapers, surviving elections and of course, spin cycles.

Be sure to hang around for the Director’s Cut addition at the end of the interview.

Tickets go on sale on Monday 16 September 2013 from 9am. The full list of dates is below:

Sunday 8th March – Perth Concert Hall, Perth, WA
Monday 10th March – WOMADelaide Festival, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 12th March – Hellenic Hal, Hobart, TAS
Tuesday 13th March – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 16th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 18th March – Manning Bar, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 19th October – Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 20th March – Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 21st March – The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW

Interview: The Go Set (Geelong) and The Real McKenzies (Canada)

The Go Set
Image Courtesy of The Go Set

Article originally published on Overheard Productions

Interview recorded in Geelong on Wednesday 28th August 2013.

My favourite The Go Set song:

An old chorus fave done Real McKenzies stylee:

Remaining tour dates:

Thursday 5th September – Manning Bar, Sydney NSW
Friday 6th September – Miami Tavern Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD
Saturday 7th September – Prince of Wales, Brisbane QLD

Interview: Tolka (Victoria)

Tolka
Image Courtesy of Tolka

This Article Orignially Published on Overheard Productions

I was initially attracted to the sound of Tolka as they reminded me strongly of possibly one of my favourite Australian folk bands. I won’t say which one, though it was mentioned in dispatches and a subject of some discussion when we spoke — press “Play” to find out.

When we spoke earlier in the year, on a sultry Saturday evening when the Illawarra Folk Festival was fairly humming, strumming, beating and dancing away, Tolka hadn’t put one dancing shoe inside the recording studio for their debut album.

However, last weekend, Tunes From The External Hard Drive was launched with appropriate fanfare in their hometown of Melbourne.

There are more chances for you to see Tolka for yourself via their gig listing. The album will be available soon at Bandcamp, or contact Tolka Directly about where to snaffle a copy.

Upcoming festival gigs for Tolka:

3rd to 4th June – Robert Burns Scottish Festival, Camperdown, VIC
20th to 22nd September – Turning Wave Festival, Yass, NSW

There’s also an exhibition of the album’s artwork at the Brunswick Arts Space from 13th to 28th July.

Dr Gilbert’s Set from the National Celtic Festival, Victoria, 2013:

Interview: Jeff Lang Talks About Sound and Instrumentation

Jeff Lang
Image Courtesy of Jeff Lang

Article Originally Published by Bill Quinn on Overheard Productions

Bill Quinn walked into a tent where Jeff Lang was playing at the Candelo Village Fair in 2011 and was promptly blown back out by a wall of sound that might have had Phil Spector raising an eye-brow.

Or possibly his whole head.

Ever since, he’s been intrigued (that’s Bill, not Phil — as far as most pundits are aware, Spector’s views on Candelo are yet to be canvassed) by the sound level created by Lang and band, and was reminded of this at the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival when one of Lang’s sets had the songs seemingly bouncing off the escarpment.

Finding an opportunity to bail Jeff up in the green room (ie the grass behind the tent), Bill whipped out the all-terrain microphone and quizzed Jeff on the sound matter, among others.

(Please excuse the seven second déja vu moment at the start of the audio; the post-producer still has his ‘L’ plates on for the use of Microsoft Movie Maker…)

Upcoming gigs: Jeff Lang will be appearing at the Snowy Mountains of Music Festival at Perisher on the June long weekend.

National Folk Festival Interview: Grimick

Grimick
Image Courtesy of Grimick

Article Originally Published by Bill Quinn on Overheard Productions

Chris “Griff” Griffiths is one third of the membership of Sydney band Grimick and one half of its name.

Confused? Never fear. (Small band member joke there; we move on.) Yes, never fear because Griff has a black belt in algebra, and is not afraid to use it.

Grimick are Griff, Mick (join the nomenclature dots there) and Dr Fear.

I first encountered them at Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival several years ago and was quite mesmerised by the songs and music. Later listening to their wonderful album ‘Dazzle’, I was even more enchanted. Firstly for the stunning production values and warm, rich sound, and secondly for the fact that Grimick have this tendency to give their music away.

Griff explains more about this ethos in the interview, and the fact that you can download the whole shooting match at their website.

I interviewed Griff at Punchbowl Boys’ High School in Sydney’s south-west earlier this week and we spent a bit of time talking about the benefits to be had from inter-meshing music and education.

And by and by we did discuss music, and Grimick’s first foray to the National Folk Festival this weekend.

Highly recommended. See them if you can.

Grimick’s performances at the National Folk Festival:

Friday 29 March – Scrumpy, 9pm
Saturday 30 March – Flute and Fiddle, 7pm
Sunday 31 March – Scrumpy, 6pm

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