Road Trip Notes

Seagull July 2015

 

Hey everyone,

So, last week before the snow hit Hobart, I went on a jaunt up to Burnie and Launceston. I haven’t played in Northern Tasmania for a few years. Too long some friends up there told me – and I have to agree!

Although it was primarily to support Butterscotch Pony launch their single, I found an excellent venue in Cafe Jucobi in Upper Burnie, where the welcome is warm and the food is excellent. There was a very small audience but it made for an intimate gig and we all had fun, despite some pretty awful weather. My heartfelt thanks to Stacey Wing, who not only organised the gig but also gave us somewhere to stay, fed us and is generally something of a superstar in my book ❤

Launceston was great fun! We arrived early at Shots on Wax in St John St, which meant brunch before a lunchtime gig. The coffee was perfect and I can highly recommend the pastrami melts! This was to promote the Butterscotch Pony single launch later that night and the idea was we’d do a teaser of the evening show, each doing two songs from our sets. Also, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen for four years. Seeing Phil was worth the whole trip 🙂 I had such a great time and it must have been okay, as Andy wants me back to do a Launceston launch of my solo CD later in the year 😉

Matt Dean performing at Shots on Wax 1 Aug 2015

Then off to the Northern Club, a beautiful old building in Cameron Street. After dealing with all the usual issues of discovering there wasn’t the right sound gear there for the gig and managing to source that gear, we all managed to get a sound check and had time for a sumptuous feast before the silliness started.

Me being a loudmouth - image courtesy of Josh Troy

Me being a loudmouth – image courtesy of Josh Troy

It was a great crowd and I caught up with another dear friend I literally hadn’t seen for years – absolute bonus that Mareka had her now adult son and his partner with her. All the acts were great but headliners Butterscotch Pony were their usual brilliant and unique selves. If you haven’t had the BP experience, I highly recommend it!

While I really enjoyed playing, I did get accosted by a drunk towards the end of the night who was happy to tell me what I “have to do”. It was quite hilarious and a little sad when she put her hand up and said “I know what you’re thinking”. I somehow doubt she did…….

After a long few days, we discovered a stuff up in accommodation arrangements, we wouldn’t be able to get to our room until after 3am. *Sigh*

So, I found the all night petrol stop in the middle of Launceston (who make excellent coffee, by the way) I hit the highway with my trusty wing man, and under the light of the blue moon, made it safely into my own bed at 3:30am. Worth the drive ❤

What are your best/worst road trip experiences? Leave your thoughts in the comments – I want to hear your stories!

 

 

Northern Tasmania Gigs

Butterscotch Pony

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update, aimed especially at friends in northern Tasmania.

I’ll be playing at Cafe Jucobi, Mount St, Upper Burnie on Friday 31st July. I understand this is a newish venue and becoming pretty popular for good food and live music. Really looking forward to this, as I’ll get to hang out with local music lover and fellow gardener, Stacey Wing.

Stacey is a fantastic supporter and organiser of local live music and the following night is presenting her regular B.L.I.N.G Bash #8. One of these days I hope to get up and play one of these shows, they sound amazing fun!

Saturday 1st August, I’ll be at the Northern Club, 61 Cameron Street, Launceston. Here, I’ll be supporting my dear friends Matt and Michaela (aka as Butterscotch Pony) who are releasing a new double a-side single Bicycle/Planned Accidents Never Happen. I’ll be taking my trusty camera (Wayne) with me, so there’ll also be a photographic record of the ensuing mayhem!

So, if you live in or near Burnie or Launceston, I hope I’ll see you at one of these shows.

Meanwhile, I have to start packing for a happy/sad trip to say goodbye to a terminally ill friend this weekend. I know it’s going to be hard but I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

Take care of yourselves ❤

Itchy Feet – More Sidetracks

Winter Leaves

As I write, it’s early evening in Hobart, already dark and overcast. It’s been unseasonably warm the last couple of days, very welcome after days of frost. It’s currently about 12 degrees C (54 F for those of you in the US) and I’m fairly well rugged up for an evening of reading and writing.

 

 

Colosseum

However, tonight I’ve got an eye on other things. My beautiful son is by now on the other side of the world in sunny Rome. At the moment it’s about midday there and a balmy 25C (77F). Although he’s probably jet lagged and sleeping it off, I’m envious! He’s in his early 20’s and has gone off to explore places he discovered in history classes and catch up with friends in Europe and the UK. I won’t see him until late September but I’m sure I’ll hear plenty about the weather, the great food, the people, the amazing architecture and the history when he returns.

Apart from the prospect of better weather than a Tasmanian winter, I think I’m just getting itchy feet to go travelling again. I’m planning a couple of weeks in New Zealand at the end of the year, something I’ve wanted to do for many years but never got round to. At this stage it looks like I’ll be playing at least a few gigs while I’m away but I’m hoping to do some house concerts while I’m there. I love the intimacy of playing to a small listening audience and in my experience, you meet the nicest people at these kind of shows.

If you know of or run house concerts in New Zealand please contact me, I’m keen to learn more and ease these itchy feet!

Love to you all, wherever you are on this beautiful planet……

Debra ❤

The Bittersweet Nature of a Busy Life

Sometimes, things fall in your lap that are wonderful. And throughout my life, I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of these treasures come my way.

Meeting Kirsty, then Sara and playing in Straddlepuss with them has certainly been a treasure. Not only are these two great emerging musicians and songwriters but also amazing young women, who I’m really proud to call my friends. Saturday 21st March, we are incredibly pleased to be playing at GRRL Fest 2015 in Melbourne.

So, It’s more than a little bittersweet to announce that I’ve decided to leave Straddlepuss – but other exciting projects are starting to get very pressing!

I’m really pleased to announce that The Woman on the Edge of the World will be going ahead as a CD release later this year. Remastering is scheduled for mid-late April, artwork is in the final stages, and it will be limited to only 100 signed and numbered copies. Also, it will only be available through me. I’m happy to take pre-orders but holding off a little until I find out the retail price. Trying my best to keep this little collectable affordable! Plus, The Lucky Six covers EP which was first mooted as a recording project in 2013, looks like it will happen as (at least) a digital download later this year. At present, we’re considering mastering, release options and licensing, all the important – but often tedious – stuff that makes the music industry go round.

Meanwhile, the All At Sea project with documentary maker, Josh Troy and the inimitable Matt Sertori from Butterscotch Pony is still forging on. Lots of footage for me to look at now apparently! And we still have to look at recording options for this beastie too……. so much work to do!

And amongst all of this, my university studies continue. I’m doing second year Screen Studies units now through Griffith University and it’s really making me work. Nevertheless, I’m really enjoying the challenge. It’s so different to anything else in my life.

Honestly, I’ll really miss playing in Straddlepuss but I look forward to my other projects and new challenges. I’ll still be going to their gigs in the future and cheering on these truly fabulous women ❤

Northern Road Trip

Sheffield Spring

A couple of weeks ago I had a brilliant time doing the roadtrip thing up to Launceston and further to Sheffield. The weather was typical Tasmanian spring – balmy and warm to torrential rain, thunderstorms and snow in the space of three days!

Chris Ball

Had a great catch up with old friends at the ABC in Launceston and did a pre-record of an interview for their Drive program with Hilary Burton. I don’t care to think how many years it’s been since I last caught up with Andrea and Chris – of course we haven’t aged a day…… We talked about my current projects – the solo album “The Woman On The Edge Of The World” and The Fringe Dwellers’ debut outing “After Time” and I played a few songs from both.

Andrea O’Connor

Sadly, Hilary took ill the next day and the interview didn’t go to air as planned but they put it up on the ABC Northern Tasmania site in their blog section – along with some gorgeous words from Chris. I’m sure I’ll be heading back up north soon and will revisit the ABC studios! After a quick catch-up in town with my beautiful son I had a great night with Launceston friends Matt Sertori and Michaela Young (aka Butterscotch Pony). Matt’s latest venture is a new magazine “Spleen” which is about to hit Tasmanian streets but I’ll talk further about that in a future post.

Friday came around with unrelenting rain throughout the morning, so I trundled on up the extremely wet highway to Sheffield and the gig. It’s been years since I’ve been through this part of the state and I definitely recommend it to anyone – visitor or resident. Despite the rain, it’s a beautiful part of the planet and Sheffield in particular is really geared towards tourists and travelers.

After a beautiful lunch at the Blacksmith Gallery (the home of Skwiz) the rain stopped, the clouds parted and out came the sun again – just in time for me to take my new camera (Wayne) out for a stroll. Sheffield is billed as the town of murals, and they hold an annual festival that brings mural artists and tourists from all over.

One of the murals in the main street

The murals are interesting and varied and even though many weren’t to my taste I think it’s brilliant to find a town in rural Australia that has a park dedicated to such an artform. Also quite a few of the shops have embraced the form and it makes for a much more interesting streetscape. It’s also one of the friendliest towns I’ve visited. Locals were happy to help, provide directions – and bargains! There’s a fantastic op shop just off the main street, where everything is bargain price and the staff are lovely.  Only 23kms from Devonport on the north west coast, I highly recommend the detour if travelling on the ferry from Melbourne.

Meanwhile, it was time to get back and set up for the gig….. and of course,

Audience moving in and drying off!

weather closed in again. This time there was thunder, lightning and torrential rain, and still people braved the elements! I met some great folks that night and reacquainted myself with a few more! I ended up playing for over two hours, telling stories and having a really lovely time. I really wish I could have transported the venue and the audience down to Hobart. There really aren’t enough listening venues – and audiences to match – anymore.

Doing my thing. Photo by Greg Eyre

They are one of the things solo artists adore, people who want to hear the songs! Allen Stott who organises the gig on behalf of the Friday Night Folk mob does a great job. In fact, everyone involved was wonderful to me and I thank them all sincerely. I was billeted out to Dianne whose property is at the base of Mt Roland. She and her son were so hospitable….. there was even good coffee in the morning! And because it’s Tasmania and springtime, there was also snow on Mt Roland!

All in all, a really great weekend away – going to have to do it again soon!

Mt Roland