The Showman’s Daughter
THEREâ€™S not too many better-named concerts getting around than the Anne Kirkpatrick 2016 Family and Friends show.
When the troupe came through Mackay on Thursday, September 1, like most places, it was a surprise to see which family members and friends would drop in.
For the last three shows of the tour, Anneâ€™s daughter Kate Arneman flew in to join her mum, herÂ brother Jim Arneman, his fiancÃ©e Flora Smith and longtime family friend and former Travelling Country Band musical director/Anne Kirkpatrick Band member Rod Coe.
Kate and Jimâ€™s dad, Greg Arneman, was at the door to greet patrons as they came through and sell any CDs people fancied.
I quickly parted with $20 for my copy of the new Small Town Romance CD and immediately sat down in the front row and read through the cover notes.
By the time Jim and Flora took the stage I was quite familiar with a number of their songs â€“ Halfway Up The Hume, Rambler and Rookie.
But they didnâ€™t come out on stage pushing hard on the new album, instead finding songs the audience related to among their refreshingly surprising repertoire.
By A Fire of Gidgee Coal was a standout, along with the McKean Sisters classic, Morning Mail.
They certainly picked their audience as the songs all went down very well, interspersed with Jim and Flora originals.
Anne stood proudly and delivered in the second half of the show, introducing her lovely daughter Kate, who took lead vocals in Anneâ€™s cover of the song Johnny Cash made famous, Long Black Veil.
A few times during the night I noticed a look on the face of Rod Coe. It was pure joy.
How many times must he have looked across stage at Anne, and Slim, and Joy, over the years? Always with that big, broad smile and totally enjoying the moment.
Rod is one of my very favourite bass players and it was so good to see and hear him play.
He’s been travelling with Jim and Flora, and teaching them all kinds of things about the music business. Who better to instill a musical education?
Itâ€™s not only a family-and-friends reunion on stage, either. After the show I noticed lots of reunions happening with members of the audience and Anne.Â People whoâ€™d been coming along to Slim Dusty shows for the past 50 years were there that night, and, Iâ€™d imagine, at lots of other dates along the way. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
I never get tired of hearing Anne Kirkpatrick sing. Anne admits to being a little non-plussed in the 1980s when she was named the â€œgodmother of new country music in Australiaâ€.
These days, she wears the title comfortably, even though she reckons it now sounds awfully like â€œgrandmotherâ€.
Lost days with Troy well worth it
Iâ€™VE just lost two days of my life with my head stuck in Troy Cassar-Daleyâ€™s biography, Things I Carry Around.
Mind you, I did smile a lot, had a few belly laughs, cried a little and had the loveliest trip down memory lane.
Iâ€™ve yet to savour the album, but Iâ€™ll save that for next weekâ€™s column.
As I didnâ€™t know all of Troyâ€™s story before, it was really good to gain an insight into his world, which started out pretty shaky with the breakdown of his parentsâ€™ marriage when he only a little tacker.
Troy was torn between two worlds â€“ his Maltese fatherâ€™s multicultural world in Sydney and his Indigenous motherâ€™s simple life back in Grafton.
I loved the way he wrote about his grandparents; the high esteem in which they were held shone through in every line.
Due to his mother having to work on the railways to provide a living for her and her son, Troy spent much of his early childhood in the care of his loving grandparents â€“ hardworking, upstanding people â€“ who instilled in him the strongest moral values.
Even so, itâ€™s a real wild west adventure at times, with guns blazing â€¦ and he has the obligatory joint with Willie and Merle â€¦ as you do if youâ€™re offered.
He pays tribute to his childhood music teacher and to those who gave a young, aspiring musician a hand on his rise to the top.
You might lose a couple of days in the reading, but itâ€™s well worth it.
Iâ€™m pleased Joy McKean encouraged Troy to put his life on the line in this up-to-the-minute account of the road heâ€™s travelled so far. Itâ€™s published by Hachette and is available at all good book stores.
Sisters on the go again
COUNTRY siblings the Sunny Cowgirls (Sophie and Celeste Clabburn) are back with their eighth studio album, Here We Go, which debuts on the ABC Music label.
The singing sisters have created 12 fresh new yarns dedicated to the working men and women who keep the wheels turning and Australia fed.
The disc is overflowing with fired-up anthems and hymns to mateship, hard work and the incomparable Aussie summer.
â€œWe really wanted to get back to our roots and make this album sound like classic Sunny Cowgirls,â€ Sophie said.
The first single, Cowboy, is a warm slab of country fun and a sly wink to country bachelorettes everywhere.
With lyrics like â€¦ â€œA Hemsworth kinda cowboy, thatâ€™s who Iâ€™m gonna meet, Iâ€™ll keep lookinâ€™ through those paddocks till I wind up on my feetâ€ â€“ you get the picture.
The album was produced by Golden Guitar winner Matt Fell and features Pete Drummond on drums, Glen Hannah on guitar, Shane Nicholson on guitar and banjo, Michel Rose on pedal steel and Matt playing bass, guitar, banjo and the old kitchen sink.
Sophie reckons Matt played â€œeverything from gumnuts to tambourine; you name it, he played it.â€
In true Sunny Cowgirls style, Sophie and Celeste have dozens of live dates lined up Australia-wide to support the album; kicking off with the Deni Ute Muster 2016 on Saturday, October 1.
The girls will play up a storm between Deni and Tamworth, where theyâ€™ve got two big shows lined up at the Longyard Hotel on January 25 and 26.
Check out their full list of tour dates here: Sunny Cowgirls tour dates
While youâ€™re there check out the cheeky clip for Cowboy or seek it out on YouTube.
Vale Hoot Hester
I WAS saddened to hear of the passing of two Nashville identities within a few days of each other â€“ multi-instrmentalist Hubert Dwane â€œHootâ€ Hester â€“ and sublime singer, songwriter and comedienne Kacey Jones.
Iâ€™d been fortunate to see Hoot Hester play with Chris Scruggs in a band that took its name from the venue where they worked most Sunday nights â€“ the Stone Fox Five.
Chris, the grandson of Earl Scruggs, told one reporter he couldnâ€™t think of a kinder, gentler soul on this Earth than Hoot.
â€œHe had the best one-liners for any occasion, and they were always funny, no matter how many times you heard them. He wasnâ€™t a man of many words and that showed in his playing. They say musicians show their personality on their instruments, and he was a master of taste, touch and tone.â€
That same week I was at the Grand Ole Opry and here was Hoot Hester taking his place on stage in the Opry band, a role he carried out with skill and style for more than a decade.
The Time Jumpersâ€™ bandleader Kenny Sears said he and Hoot met in 1977 while playing fiddles for Mel Tillis and their friendship lasted almost 40 years.
â€œWe played twin fiddles together on the Opry for many years. We even missed spots because of jamming in the dressing room,â€ Kenny said in tribute to his late friend.
â€œWhen he asked me to come play with this swing band that he and Dennis Crouch had started, I had no idea the band would become The Time Jumpers and that I would be carrying on his legacy for all these years.â€
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Lola; their children Becca McBride, Rachael Kingery and Jonathan Hester, and grandchildren Keegan and McKenna McBride and Rosie Kingery.
Shameless Hussy meets her Maker
Iâ€™D BEEN extremely fortunate to meet Kacey Jones when she came out to Australia with Becky Hobbs â€“ Iâ€™m pretty sure it was January 2008.
At the time I was working for Joan Douglas at The Pub Group and she had booked these American artists for a couple of shows through the festival.
I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever laughed so much in a concert in my life before. Kacey was simply hilarious â€“ and Becky could play that piano like nobodyâ€™s business.
Talking with them later, I quickly discovered they were the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet.
It was heartbreaking to hear Kacey reveal her battle with colorectal cancer last year. Sheâ€™d been facing it in private, but when she became too ill to constantly tour, she launched a crowd-funding campaign to assist with her expenses as she battled the disease in a holistic, alternate way.
When she passed away on September 1, Kacey was just 66 years old. Way too young and beautiful to die.
Kacey is possibly best known for her role in Ethel and the Shameless Hussies, a trio she formed with Becki Fogle (â€œBunny Oâ€™Hareâ€) and Valerie Hunt (â€œBlanche Hickeyâ€). Kaceyâ€™s character was â€œEthel Beavertonâ€ â€“ a character she borrowed from Ray Stevensâ€™ hit, The Streak.
A huge hit for Kacey was her comedy album, Every Man I Love Is Either Married, Gay or Dead which spawned hits such as Waitinâ€™ For the Guy To Die, Iâ€™m Down To My Christmas Underwear, I Could Get Over Him and 1-900 Bubba.
She was born and raised in Gilroy, California as Gayle Zeller.
Kacey was also a gifted record producer with her salute to Texan singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman, Pearls in the Snow, an absolute gem which topped the Americana charts in 1999.
Some of the names featured on the multi-artist disc include Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel, Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam.
In recent years she performed as A Cowgirl, A Diva and A Shameless Hussy, with fellow tunesmiths Becky Hobbs and Benita Hill. One of their final gigs was only a few months ago.
In chronic pain from the cancer, Kacey summed up the courage to compete on Americaâ€™s Got Talent.
Keen to perform her hit, Donald Trumpâ€™s Hair, it was vetoed by the network, which had a close association with the presidential candidate.
Check it out:
She battled the cancer bravely, continuing to perform and enjoy life as much as possible. She entered hospice in August and went to meet her Maker on September 1.