Introducing Callum!

Hi everyone,

I’ve got some fabulous news! I’m proud to announce that one of my students is going to make his debut performance with me at Meraki Management‘s UNLOCKED gig Thursday 25th August at The Waratah Hotel in Hobart.

Callum is a really great guy who is working towards a Duke of Edinburgh award through OAK Tasmania. For those who aren’t familiar, the DofE is open to young people under 25 and comprises four areas the participant has to complete – service, physical recreation, skills and an adventurous journey. We identified that learning to play the guitar is a skill and performing in front of an audience in a public place would certainly be an adventurous journey. It takes a lot to get up in front of a group of strangers for the first time but this man loves music and is determined to do well. And it’s that level of passion and commitment that makes it all worthwhile from my perspective as a teacher.

Both Callum and I are indebted to the wonderful Amy Fogarty from Meraki Management who has been so supportive, everyone at OAK but especially Teena who has guided both of us through the process.

It’s been a lot of really hard work but Callum is a great student and a natural performer. I’m really looking forward to it 🙂 If you’re in Hobart Thursday 25th please come down and support us. We’re on at 7pm ❤

Rock star in the making!

Rock star in the making!

PS: The Superstars have been making a video! More about that next post 🙂

 

Introducing – The Superstars!

I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks but life got in the way as it tends to. Nevertheless, here it is!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends around the world,

Let me introduce you to The Superstars 😀

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The Superstars [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

From left to right: Megan, Kelli-Lee, Kathryn, Sally, me, Jacqui, Brendon and Tim.

A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to get a weekly gig, playing music every Monday at OAK Tasmania. OAK do a lot of things but where I work, they provide recreational services to people with disabilities. My job was basically to be a human jukebox for an hour and a half every week to a discerning and quite demanding audience!

As time progressed, I started to make some really strong friendships with some of the folks I was playing for and I eventually started doing a separate session, tutoring a group that performed at the in-house end of year parties.

Since the start of this year I’ve been working one morning a week with a smaller crew and we’re playing our first show later this month. I’m unbelievably proud of these people and how hard they work – and I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we have together!

We talked a lot about a name and Kathryn (our newest member) came up with The Superstars! We all agreed it was the best description of everyone in the group, who all bring something special to the songs we perform.

In particular, I’ve been working a lot with Jacqui, who was very uncertain about crowds, doesn’t like lots of noise and tends to be quite shy. Now, she joins in the general silliness, even dances sometimes and she sings – wow does she sing! We’ve become quite close and I treasure her kind, gentle, loving friendship.

The Superstars05resize

Jacqui and me [photo courtesy of Chris Rules]

I believe everyone has talents and abilities that you might not see at first glance and these wonderful people are no different. I’m privileged to work with them ❤

Hobart folks, The Superstars will be performing at the Ability to Create art exhibition opening at Waterside Pavilion Friday May 27th at 1 pm. Come down and celebrate with us 😀

UNLOCKED – Day 1 NaBloPoMo

So, here in the southern hemisphere it’s the evening of November 1st. Welcome to NaBloPoMo where the challenge is to write a blog post every day of this month.

I’ve just got home from an afternoon gig at The Yard at The Brunswick Hotel in central Hobart and it was really great fun. I caught up with old friends and met some new ones – and the music was great! UNLOCKED is run by Meraki Management and the brain-child of Amy Fogarty, who is something of a force of nature.

Cassie at UNLOCKEDMy friend and former student, Cassie O’Keefe (above) was also on the bill and really nailed it with her set! We had dinner after (the food is really good, by the way) and Cassie and I are looking forward to our next gig at The Homestead, Thursday 19th November.

From my point of view, it was really heartening to see so many young musicians at today’s gig who are just starting out. It invigorates those of us who’ve been around the traps for a while and enables musicians embarking on their careers to rub shoulders with folks who’ve got some experience. There’s always something new to learn – no matter how long you’ve been doing this!

See you all tomorrow, where I’ll probably talk about some gardening things – my other great passion 🙂

Now it’s your turn…. What are your great moments as a mentor or mentoree? Leave your stories in the comments! 

The Busy-ness of Spring – Upcoming Shows

Chestnut Tree Spring Oct 2015

Hello friends,

I love spring. The cycle of the seasons visibly turns and every day brings new things in the garden, the chickens are laying more eggs than we can keep up with, and here in Hobart we’re coming out of the hibernation of winter and starting to go out again.

Rhubarb Fool

Rhubarb Fool

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

Wee Beastie Sourdough

Wee Beastie Sourdough

 

And I’ve been busy! In the kitchen I’ve been making Vanilla Ice Cream and Baked Coffee Cheesecake with the excess eggs, brewing and bottling cider, making Rhubarb Fool from the mass of spring rhubarb and my weekly “Wee Beastie” Sourdough. It’s been absolutely wonderful to eat so well, with so much produce coming directly out of the garden.

The garden is always a work in progress but I’ve started planting out climbing beans this week, there’s basil in the Seeds and Basil Seedlings Oct 2015greenhouse and too many vegetable seedlings coming on to mention.

And there’s music happening too! I’m in the middle of a unit in Creative Writing for my second major through Griffith University. For my final assessment I’m planning to write a portfolio of new pieces that will become new songs. Depending how it goes, perhaps the core of another album.

Meanwhile, there’s gigs coming up too.

This Sunday at The Brunswick Hotel in Hobart, I’m playing a short set out in The Yard (the beer garden) with a bunch of other local musicians, including the incredibly talented Cassie O’Keefe and my friend Matt Dean. Very pleased also that this is a family friendly show, so feel free to bring your young music-lovers 🙂

Thursday 19th November, I’m sharing a night with Cassie at The Homestead in Elizabeth Street, one of my favourite places to go and hang out with friends. No idea what’s going to happen that one – we might even work out some songs to play together!

Friday 20th November, I’ll be doing the early spot at The Globe Hotel in Davey Street. If you haven’t caught this weekly event yet, I really recommend it. It’s organised by Kevin Gleeson who basically loves all kinds of music and is good friends with so many of us. It’s a great excuse to hang out and have a good time with mates.

And there’s more on the horizon! If you want to keep up to date with my shenanigans, hook up with me on Facebook here.

Yep, it’s spring and it’s busy – just how I like it.

Wherever you are, be well friends ❤

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 ❤

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 ❤

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