We’ll Keep On Going – Remembering Tony Cohen

Back in the dim, dark reaches of the last millennium, I was making music with a great bunch of folks here in Hobart. Together with Michael Turner, Dan Tuffy and Mel Fazackerley we made up Wild Pumpkins at Midnight.

Through Michael and Jo Volta (Stevens back then), we managed to get in Tony Cohen’s ear and he agreed to work with us on our first recording. It was a frantic, funny, at times frustrating but overall, an incredibly rewarding experience. Tony was insane, shambolic, intense – but literally amazing to work with. And for a new band, we knew how lucky we were to have him for the project. Working with him also led to meeting Chris Thompson, his great friend and the other very prominent engineer/producer in my time with WPAM.

These first sessions with Tony though, became the self-titled, bright yellow EP, with the little dancing figures in the bottom corner. People still talk to me about that first recording and even after 30 or so years, I’m proud of it. Looking (and listening) back, I can see how good Tony made us sound, and for that fact alone I will always be grateful.

We worked with Tony again over the years, hung out, made some questionable choices but always ended up falling about laughing courtesy of that razor-sharp Cohen wit. But, like so many people from those days, I lost touch with Tone over the years as other relationships, kids, physical distance and different lives got in the way. Occasionally Jo Volta would let me know what he was up to and I was always thinking I must catch up next time I’m in Melbourne.

And of course, now it’s too late and that makes me very sad.

It was only a brief moment in Tony’s stellar career, but I’ll leave you with my favourite track from that first EP.

 

Vale Tony, and thank you ❤

Friendship, Food and Music

Hello friends,

It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve posted anything. Yes, I think I’m slack too, but I’ve been fairly snowed under with work, a nasty stomach bug and (as always) constant study and assignment deadlines!

A la Game of Thrones, winter isn’t coming – it’s well and truly here! At least winter had the good grace to wait until Dark Mofo had finished before settling in properly. And the colder weather’s brought some very icy mornings and plenty of work to do around my little urban farm. I’ve been weeding beds, transplanting lots of volunteer greens that that have sprung up and covering as much as possible with spent straw from the rabbit hutches. It looks like it’s going to be a really good crop of garlic this coming summer and I can’t wait to see how the later varieties fare in my microclimate. We’ve enjoyed the first few lemons off my tiny tree and the Blood Orange, Lime and Valencia are both surviving the cold weather so far *crosses fingers*

I’m waiting on another order of fruit trees on dwarfing rootstock that I’ll be putting up into wicking tubs like the apples last winter and trying to clean up the last of the chestnuts’ spiky husks and collect all the leaves for compost. I confess I’ve been putting off stripping out the greenhouse in preparation for spring. It’s such a big job and something of a domino effect – once I start, I can’t stop!

I was thinking about tackling it this morning but a visit from some friends saved me 😀 Matt was interested in trying one of my farmed rabbits to eat and arranged to call around with Robyn (another musician friend). Being winter, I had no fresh kits but had one in the freezer from the last litter for him. Robyn and I found about 500g of good chestnuts from two large buckets of spiky husks and I gave her and Matt fresh eggs, herbs and a jar of crabapple jelly for Matt’s elderly mother. We drank coffee on the balcony in the winter sunshine, discussed music, books and life in general.

Matt and I have known one another for many years and today was a delightful catch up. (We recorded “Clementine”, a song of his last year but I’m not sure when it’s going to be released!) He’s in the process of recording again and wanted to borrow my electric 12 string guitar (affectionately known as Dean), which I was happy to do. Meanwhile, I’ve been toying with buying a flat-back mandolin for playing in live sets and was utterly blown away when he gave me this today, saying it was just lying around, not getting played….

I’ve been tinkering around with it most of the afternoon and I think it’s going to be a fabulous addition. And I’m sure every time I play it I’ll think of my dear friend – I might even have to write him a song ❤

A Star is Born! (And a Sunday Gig)

Back in August (before life got seriously weird) I told you all about my friend Callum, who I’ve had the privilege of working with the last few months. Well, I’m extremely proud to say that his debut was the most fun I’ve had in ages and a resounding success!

Meraki Management runs a beautiful gig each Thursday called UNLOCKED at a The Waratah Hotel here in Hobart. It’s designed to nurture new music and let emerging artists rub shoulders with more experienced performers. And it was the perfect forum for Callum to strut his stuff.

The lounge was packed with Callum’s wonderful family, most of the staff from OAK Tasmania and his extensive network of friends. And he didn’t disappoint! Sadly, I haven’t been able to get any good footage to share with you all – it was one of those “you had to be there” moments.

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At the end of his set, he thanked his family and friends, turned to me and said “oh yeah, thanks to my assistant”. In a true Wayne’s World moment, I bowed down – not worthy!

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It was a night to remember! After we played, Callum worked the room like a real pro, making sure he thanked and talked to everyone who came to support him. Something many performers neglect, but it gives an idea of the sort of person he is, polite, kind-hearted but with a wicked sense of humour. He even got hold of a marker pen and signed people’s wrists. Like most folks there, I was the proud bearer of an autograph. It was sad when I finally washed it off ❤

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In the meanwhile Callum’s back at rehearsal. We’re getting more songs together, looking for gigs and planning a recording in the near future. This is incredibly exciting news and I’m really proud to be involved in bringing this young man to a wider audience.

And for those of you in southern Tasmania, I’m playing at another Meraki Management show tomorrow, Noteworthy at Customs House Hotel, down on Hobart’s beautiful waterfront. Also on the bill are two friends, Matt Dean and Ian Murtagh and it’ll be great to catch up with them too. It’s the first time I’ve played a full set in quite a while and I’m looking forward to it. Playing music is like gardening for me – great therapy 😀

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The Lucky Six – Preview Time!

So, after much ruminating, listening and re-listening, I went back down to The Belfry Studios at Murdunna to remaster some tracks. There was a lot of hanging out in the sunshine with my friend and co-producer Malcolm Battersby too – it was a stunning spring day!

Between Murdunna and Dunalley

The results are pretty fine (if I say so myself) and I think The Woman on the Edge of the World is almost ready to head off for pressing. The Lucky Six is a collection of six songs by other artists that I love and have influenced me in some way. This is about ready for release as a digital download and I’ll be putting it up on SoundCloud in the coming week and putting a link here 😀

So, to celebrate this momentous occasion, I’m putting up a track from The Lucky Six for your listening pleasure. I first heard “Little Fishes” in the early 80’s, on an album called Grubby Stories by an incredible English poet and songwriter, Patrik Fitzgerald. It’s a great song and (like much of Fitzgerald’s work) had a profound effect on me. I hope you enjoy my take on it ❤

New Playlist

And because it’s Friday – the best reason for everything – I’ve updated the playlist in the sidebar.

For your listening pleasure, I’ve uploaded three tracks from the digital download version of my solo album, “The Woman on The Edge of The World”.

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

TWOTEOTW Front Cover

It’s recently been remastered for a limited, numbered and signed CD release. More news on that soon – including ordering directly from here.

Meanwhile, have a listen and let me know what you think. I always value your comments.

Debra ❤

ASA Update

ASA July 2015 Poster

ASA July 2015 Poster

Hello friends,
I’m pleased to announce the Australian Songwriters Association Tasmania are returning at a new venue – The Homestead in Elizabeth Street on Tuesday July 21st.
I’m incredibly honored to be the feature artist that night – which also means I’ll be under examination by MC Matt Dean prior to my set. If you want to hear me rabbit on about my craft, performing and mentoring please come along. As with all ASA Wax Lyrical nights, this is a free show.
At the moment, I’m trying to find out if we can film the interview so those of you who are interested but don’t live here can get an opportunity to see and hear what I’m about.
Meanwhile, there’s more gigs to talk about soon!
Take care,
Debra ❤

Projects – Concluding and Beginning

As the snow piles up on the mountain and the days are getting noticeably shorter, it’s really good to have lots of projects on the go.

The Woman on the Edge of the World is foremost in my mind now, the art is kinda sorta in place and the liner notes are written. However, knowing me I’ll find something to edit in the next few days. Interestingly, I’ve maintained the original art work I produced to tag the digital download version, including my cover, featuring the Currie lighthouse on King Island.

Inner sleeve, ready for liner notes!

Inner sleeve, ready for liner notes!

It’s going to be a very limited run, 150 copies only (numbered and signed), so please contact me here or via the comments if you want to go on the pre-order list.

And today, I’ve just had a lovely lunch and meeting with friends, discussing a game project I’m writing narrative/screenplay for. It’s all in it’s very earliest stages, but really exciting, working with some very talented men and women who are equally passionate about games, art and storytelling.

Looking forward to a busy winter here in Tasmania!

Take care wherever you are,

Debra ❤

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