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 ❤

ASA – A Farewell to Irish

Photo courtesy of Kevin Gleeson

Photo courtesy of Kevin Gleeson

Well, last night saw the Australian Songwriters Association – Tasmania‘s final gig at Irish Murphy’s in Salamanca Place. It was a raw night to be out and about – the weather here in Hobart has been typically Winter (with a capital W) since last month’s plunge into single digit temperatures. However, kudos to all the brave folks who came out on such a night to support and perform – you are all diamonds!

It bears noting that the opening act was emerging songwriter, Cassie O’Keefe, who has really improved as a performer – so much so that I let her use my Seagull guitar last night!

Cassie ASA 1 June 2015

Cassie has really come into her own in the last year or so, thanks in part to the amazing support of her wonderful family and friends – and shows like the ASA, which provide a wonderful avenue for new writer/performers to share the stage with proven hands like Tony Brennan, myself and the consummate professional, Ian Paulin.

I’m therefore very pleased to tell you all that I’m taking Cassie down to Belfry Studio next month, where she’ll be recording with my favourite engineer in all the planet, Malcolm Battersby. It’s an incredibly gratifying experience to see someone grow from an uncertain child into a powerful young woman, who can turn a pub crowd on a Monday night into a listening audience, and hold them in the palm of her hand. It’s every teacher/mentor’s dream and inspires me to keep doing what I do 😀

Also, I must mention the fine work by the ASA Tasmania coordinator, Matt Sertori. His job has been so difficult over the last few months, with people pulling out at the last minute or turning up late for their set. Seriously, organising musicians is like herding cats, and not for the faint hearted – we are a difficult mob! Matt has kept his temper and his outrageous sense of humour well intact and I thank him for all his support and unwavering friendship over more than ten years of ASA shows.

I’m not sure where the ASA will be heading next, there isn’t a venue lined up at the time of writing – but that in itself is kind of exciting and makes me wonder what we can do next!

Watch this space and stay safe and well, wherever you are on this beautiful planet ❤

 

Family-friendly Shows

Me as a junior performer....

Me as a junior performer….

Being a jobbing musician usually conjures up images of late nights in clubs and hotels, in seedy areas of cities – something straight out of film noir. In truth, there’s been probably too many late nights and the nature of the work has put me in some fantastic situations, often with really wonderful people, affording me many wonderful (and a few not so wonderful) experiences – and I wouldn’t change a minute of it!

However, one of the biggest issues I see is the lack of accessibility for younger people to live music. This became particularly noticeable with the Australian Songwriters Association gigs that I’ve supported here in Hobart for over a decade. Being a music teacher, I often have teenage students who are ready to go out and play but are under age, presenting problems for venue operators, parents and organisers alike.  We get around it with the ASA, having younger performers on earlier and ensuring there are parents/guardians with them.

So, it’s really refreshing to play two shows in quick succession that are really family-friendly. Last weekend I played a very fun unplugged gig for World Record Store Day at R & R Records in central Hobart. A friend from uni brought her two young daughters along and it was really novel for them to see someone making real music right in front of them.

This Friday evening I’m playing at Cafe 54, which is not only a family space but also out of the city, at Northgate Shopping Centre in Glenorchy. Every Friday night for the past few months the proprietor, John Robb, puts on a music night, featuring various players from all over, but mostly local talent. John is passionate about music and providing good food as well as a lovely space to play.

Music Night #14 at Cafe 54 features Ben Dunk (from Denmark), local duo Zac Henderson & Rueben Reeves as well as me. The show starts at 5:30pm and as well as being licensed for BYO, there are $10 mains and $5 desserts – and kids are welcome!

I’m really looking forward to it – and hopefully seeing some of my younger friends and their parents 🙂

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 ❤

Straddlepuss + The Roobs + Billy Longo

Roobs posterI’m incredibly excited about this upcoming gig! The Roobs are a kind of Hobart institution, renowned for great fun as well as fabulous music. We’re playing at the very popular Homestead, 304 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart and I believe kick-off is 9pm. (It’s worth noting The Homestead have some very yummy and reasonably priced food available if you come down earlier).

And just to make it all the sweeter, we’ve decided to giveaway copies of our demo CD we recently recorded down at Belfry Studios. Numbers are very limited, so make sure you’re there to snaffle your piece of Straddlepuss 😉

Gas-Mask Girl by Sara Stevens

Gas-Mask Girl by Sara Stevens

All at Sea

I’ve been busy this year.

I feel like I’ve lost a couple of months somewhere, it’s been so hectic and now I realise that spring is here and I haven’t done half the things I meant to this calendar year. But I have managed a few that I wasn’t expecting!

The university experience has been wonderful so far although I won’t pretend I’ve enjoyed every unit. At the moment, I’m preparing papers on two of my favourite things – Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and the personal still camera. And I’ve had to watch classic films such as Rear Window and Citizen Kane. Yes, I’m loving my units this semester!

But today I’ve been distracted from study. Tomorrow night I’m playing at a House Concert in Hobart with wonderful Queensland singer/songwriter Francesca de Valence and Hobart duo Butterscotch Pony in one of their all-too-rare live shows. However, instead of doing a solo set or playing with the wonderful girls in Straddlepuss (more on that next time!) I’m doing a special set with dear friend (and half of Butterscotch Pony), Matt Sertori.

We’ve been friends for a long time and decided early in the year that we wanted to do a music project together that included a documentary about our personal process and the creative world that we inhabit. We’ve done some filming already but will be adding to it at this gig. Meanwhile, our trusty doco guru, Josh Troy put this little gem together to promote this event. I hope it makes you laugh as much as it did all of us!

Please note, there’s some bad language at the end 😉

And we really did decide to call it ‘All at Sea’. The moral of the story is Matt has the attention span of a flea…………  ❤

Pleasure and Pride – 3-track Demo Release

Hey everyone,

I realised today I haven’t posted anything here for such a long time! My life is incredibly busy with study, teaching and creating, but today I really want to stop and share a moment to take a whole heap of pleasure – and a lot of pride – in Straddlepuss‘ latest achievement.

Sara (Drums) Kirsty (Guitar/Vocals) & me (Bass)

Sara (Drums) Kirsty (Guitar/Vocals) & me (Bass)

Today we lauched our three-track demo on SoundCloud and so far, people seem to like it 😀 We recorded it down at The Belfry Studio, with the amazing Malcolm Battersby and we’re so pleased with the results.

On a personal note, I have to share how proud I am of my fellow band members, Sara Stevens on drums and Kirsty Leaf on guitar and lead vocals. About a year ago, Kirsty came to me for some singing lessons and she was just about to give up. I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone come to me who was so unsure of themselves. Then she played me this incredible song that she’d written and I was completely sold on her, her voice and above all, her songwriting. She is an truly unique talent in the making and I feel incredibly privileged to be on this mad ride with her and Sara ❤

Have a listen and see what you think, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Meanwhile, it’s back to study for me, stay well everyone!

Debra ❤

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries