I’m pleased to have been invited to perform at Newstead Live in late January 2019, an Australian folk-roots music festival in the historic country town of Newstead, near Castlemaine, Central Victoria.

After many years of travelling up the dry and dusty Newell Highway in the heat of summer to perform my own brand of country music at Tamworth, I decided I’d had enough of cowboy hats, Gold Guitars and chips. I felt that it was time for me to seek out my own Victorian folk roots and get back to playing acoustic, heartfelt  songs and tunes – just me and my fiddle and my guitar. I feel close to  country Victoria with my dad’s family coming from a Ballarat/Bendigo Goldfields background and settling in towns in the region including Blackwood and Woodend.

In this era of questioning and reappraisal of the past, many of us may wonder who we really are, where we came from and how we fit into this place. Did we just, as it were, wake up in the wrong country or do we belong here?  I’ve always looked for answers to such questions. It’s my curious nature and part of my job as a musician. Ever since I can remember I’ve been on a musical journey trying to find meaning and voice in this country. Musical style is  (along with food) the most fluid and accessible part of cultural inheritance. Music crosses borders, facilitates understanding and enhances wisdom and offers a backdrop for socialising, getting along and just having fun.

Over the years  I’ve learned about  music from  wherever I could :- the church choir,  the music teacher, recordings, famous visiting musicians , obscure local musicians, Gunditjimara storytellers , Cajun fiddlers, Appalachian folklorists, Nashville string- pickers, blues musicians,  jazz musicians and old Irish singers.  Part of being Australian is, I reckon, being open- open to everything. Not born to a single tradition, I have learned to appreciate and listen to many.

These days, I feel strength and get inspiration from what I do. I feel as though I have distilled the essence of song and whether it be a Creole blues learned in Lafayette, a country swing fiddle tune from my days in the Dancehall Racketeers or a Tin Pan Alley gem from  the Melbourne  jazz bars, I try to  be tell it like it. I’ll be looking forward to sharing what I have learned on my musical journey at Newstead Live in January 2019.