28 January 2009

Who Played at Colbo?

Maurice the poet wrote "
I love that old and young thing, and un-affected local music, which is modern but (specially the range of instruments and styles) harks back to earlier times. ……. (the food was) simple but, the snags and hamburgers, coleslaw and white bread, organised by the cricket club, cheap, local, good. Because the meat was great! The butcher from Rushworth bought a booklet (of poetry) from me, talked very seriously, so probably I'm biased. Or, synchronicity. Plus that other local/sporting product, the Hopping Mad red you gave me, that very nicely helped out my evening.’

The day started off with young local Harley Hayes singing Advance Australia Fair and Brendan Frawley (mc for the day) welcomed everyone and got the show started. It was pretty warm (not so unexpected as it is Summer) but everyone who wanted to was able to find some shade, a cool drink and a snag or hamburger.

There was music on the main stage (thanks Gerard Stewart for the truck fitted with tarp) from 2.30 till midnight, and there was another pa in the bar for the more intimate acts. In no particular order there was
Pauline Wilson (Possum) – lovely Singer /Guitarist who was backed by Brendan Frawley did a set of lovely folk tunes.
Julie Price, joined by sister Pauline and niece Jess Hayes created beautiful harmonies to songs they had written in the front bar
Sarah and Liz Taylor and the Taylor Project, a country / folk rock outfit based part-time in the Elmore RSL, sang their own songs written about places they have been to and things they have done (Don’t Cry for Me Wangaratta was my favourity). A very solid group, interesting sound (suitcase as a drum!) and they sold lots of their latest cd which you can find at myspace.com/taylorproject
Jeff Noble and Casual gave the show a change of pace with a set of Blues in the Bar – laid back, and seemed to hit the spot mid afternoon as the punters were just beginning to realise the depth of talent on show (and that you had to keep moving if you wanted to check it all out).
The poets Maurice McNamarra and Anna then followed up with a session of poetry – original material that connected with their audience, who are probably on a generally limited diet of modern poetry. Great stuff – the festival vibe was happening!
Peter and Polly Russo played a set in the bar and then came out on the main stage – again, they played original material, and Peter’s Gibson and Polly’s harmonies sounded beautiful.
Paul Stewart got out his Martin guitar and harmonica for a set of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and topped it off in the spirit of the festival with his own 'Ballad of Ned Kelly'. Paul has been an Australia Day regular at COlbo - since 2004 - so helped create the tradition that lead to the festival. Well done Paul.
The Newport Convention then got out on the main stage – full sun so they were cookin’ in more than one sense of the word. They played Scottish Fiddle tunes, American Folk songs, an original tune (House Hop) an old favourite (You Belong to Me), a comic version of Galway Bay (Brian ‘Jungles’ Scanlon), and then were joined by the elder statesman of the show, Derm Stewart, for Paddy McGHinty’s Goat and Danny Boy. Great stuff.

Gareth Baker – singer / songwriter / and guitarist from Rochy did a set in the heat of the day. Gareth had been sound man and stage manager for both stages so it fantastic that he still had the energy to get up for a set of his own material – very nice melodies with some lots of good riffs amongst it all.
A total change of pace was The Palmer Boys doing an AC/DC set – they are still in school (one of them in primary school) but they brought the spirit of Bon Scott to Colbo and gave the pa a good workout. They livened things up, esp for those who thought it might have been a ‘Kum By Ya’ affair, and rocked out the songs that we all know.
While this was going on the Newport Bush Orchestra set up down the hall for a bush dance – and while not everyone was up for the long walk (200m) there was a good crowd of keen dancers who took to their feet for the Heel and Toe, Circassian Circle, the Troika and the Chicken Dance. By that time they were hot enough to go back to the main stage and possibly have a cool drink!
Danny Walsh and the Litchfield Hallstars www.myspace.com/litchfieldhallstars , an old timey, Aussie folk with a bit of jug band, played the next set – The Bangles ‘Walk Like an Eygptian’ got their unique treatment and got the folks up doing the thing. Lots of fun plus an encore says it all.
The impromptu part of the day (night) was a song by Peter Gastin – Peter is an old rocker (sang with Normie Rowe back a few years) and his song was a show piece of stage craft and professionalism. Can’t remember the song but he grabbed the audience and held them till the final note. He was backed by Brendan Frawley and friends who then did a couple of bluesy tunes with Fred on Harmonica. This was Colbo meets Byron Bay Blues and beautifully matched the mood of the still strong crowd.
Next up (by now about 10.30) was a solo set by Jim Williams - Jimmy played electric guitar and sang with such feeling that it was a delight to watch and listen to him. For me this was the highlight of the evening.

The Tony Spizzica Ensemble then played a set of pieces that Tony had written and arranged for the day. With 2 violinists and 3 other instruments it was almost a classical sound – just beautiful for the stillness of the late evening. www.myspace.com/tonyspizzica
To finish off the night Georgina Stewart got up and did two of her favourites (the Rickie Lee Jones song ‘Stewart’s Coat’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘It Ain’t Me”) and then was joined by Brendan, Bernie and friends to sing ‘The Circle Will be Unbroken’ a very appropriate finish to the Festival. Of course there was some talking and a few drinks to be had (Marion and Bernie both finished the night with a song about 2.30).

But all in all, a top festival. The festival catchphrase was ‘Its on for Young and Old’ there was no doubt that Colbo delivered. Many thanks to Bernie Burke and Brendan Frawley for all their hard work in taking the idea and making it work - terrific!!
As Maurice the poet wrote ‘I love that old and young thing, and un-affected local music, which is modern but (specially the range of instruments and styles) harks back to earlier times. …….’
See you next year!

26 January 2009

Colbinabbin 2009

From a small gathering at the pub a few years ago, the Colbinabbin Singers and Songwriters Festival has grown. There was a real stage outside and lots of local musicians to fill it, and a smaller more intimate venue in the front bar. In the evening a few of us strolled up the road to the hall for a Bush Dance and then back again to the pub for more music late into the night. Judging by the crowd that turned up to listen, and the long list of great local singers, musicians and songwriters, Colbinabbin and district is well and truly on the musical map. Bands, solo singers, duos, children and teenagers performing and of course Uncle Derm still singing and playing strong at 96 years of age! It was a great day and night of music. More details and lots of photos to follow.

Uncle Derm at Colbo 2009 from Alan Davies on Vimeo.

Reports from 2008

Reports and photos from 2008 are available here.

Reports from 2007

Reports and photos from 2007 are available here.

Reports from 2006

Reports and photos from 2006 are available here.

Reports from 2005

Reports and photos from 2005 are available here.

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