Good mates reunite on stage

THERE’S nothing quite like good mates and when you have to be on the road together for long stretches, you really appreciate each other.

That’s how it is for Warren H Williams and Pixie Jenkins, who will reunite on stage at the 2013 festival for a series of shows that tell the stories of their long friendship.

Both artists have carved their names into the history of country music with Golden Guitar awards, Hands of Fame entries and ARIA nominations but continue to pursue a love of music and playing to a great crowd.

Three cheeky concerts will give all the old favourites an airing, as well as show off some of the new work they have been creating over the past few years.

Spending nearly 15 years on the road together touring with John Williamson, the mates have a heap of stories and hilarious anecdotes to share.

Pixie Jenkins has fiddled his way into country music legend status and has won back-to-back Australian country music awards for his instrumental abilities.

The comedian, instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and storyteller has recorded with the biggest names in entertainment for the past 40 years, from Bob Dylan to Jimmy Barnes.

“Playing with Warren again is going to be a joy,” Pixie said.

“He is such a fantastic songwriter. His stories of the people and this country are just wonderful.

“Audiences are in for a lot of laughs, great music and some memorable stories. Warren and I have done hundreds of shows together and we always have a great time, and so do our audiences.”

Warren H Williams has had a very successful 12 months, releasing his country album, Urna Marra, and following that up with the ARIA-nominated language album, Winanjjara (which means “song man”).

He was also the recipient of the Red Ochre Award by the Australia Council for the Arts, which recognises excellence in the arts among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Warren, a traditional Western Arrernte man, said he sometimes had to pinch himself.

“Here I am, an initiated man from Central Australia and I have played on some of the biggest stages in the world and people know and sing along to my music,” Warren said.

“It gives me a big high to be up on stage. Pix and I have such a long history of working together that I’m really excited to be presenting these Mates shows with him in Tamworth.”

These three exclusive concerts will be held at Tamworth Community Centre at 6pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, January 23-25.

Tickets are $22 and are available through Destination Tamworth, phone 6767 5300 or online at www.tcmf.com.au

THERE’S a hot little combo doing the rounds this festival that could almost be called The Sons of the Pioneers.

Hank Green and Ezra Lee’s Rocking Country Blues is fronted by Johnny Green’s guitar-playing son Hank, and Ed Matzenik’s piano prodigy offspring Ezra Lee – and they have some pretty handy players in the line-up.

Hank Elwood Green was born on a turf farm in the NSW Hunter Valley and picked up the ukulele at age three. As a six-year-old, he taught himself guitar from Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Little Walter and T-Bone Walker records.

At the ripe old age of nine, Hank was playing guitar in his father’s legendary pub band, Johnny Green’s Blues Cowboys.

Six years later Hank fronted his own hand, with Johnny “Thunderbolt” Gray on drums and Ezra Lee on piano.

They cut their teeth playing the Bluesfest at Byron Bay, and then set off for parts unknown, taking their rockin’, bluesy style of country across the land.

Hank has since released his debut album, Swampturtle, and most recently his guitar playing featured on Ezra Lee’s album, Cashed Up ’n’ Crazy.

From that disc, four songs were included on a compilation album, Graveland Jamboree, in Germany.

One of those songs is Rosa Lee, a Hank Green original, which Ezra performs live, with some really rockin’ guitar-playing from Hank. 

Ezra was a relative late starter, not joining his first band until 13, backing country artists at a local club.

He became the session pianist at Angelwood Studios in Currabubula and hit the road, touring with Wanita and the Honky Tonk Bar Dwellers.

A year later, Ezra joined Johnny Green’s Blues Cowboys and toured with them for six years, performing at festivals across the country.

In 2009 Ezra released two albums on Melbourne’s rockabilly Preston Records – Out Of The Valley and You Can’t Stop A Freight Train.

In recent years, Ezra has been part of The Ultimate Rock ’n’ Roll Jam Session, featuring James Blundell, Nick Barker, Dave Larkin and Doug Parkinson, with the Sun Studio Trio.

On his last overseas venture Ezra completed a short tour of Europe, performing in London, Germany and Finland.

From Tamworth to Byron Bay, Viva Las Vegas to Barcelona, Spain, Ezra Lee is a star on the rise.

With spirited vocals, dark, broody looks straight out of a 1950s pin-up magazine and his modern take on rock ’n’ roll boogie woogie, country and blues, you’re going to love Ezra Lee. This much-anticipated combination of sons of the blues pioneers will be a standout act of this month’s festival.

In the line-up you’ll find Johnny Green sitting back playing bass and admiring his bandleader son; “Uncle” Grunter, the barefoot fisherman from The Blues Cowboys who contributes rhythm guitar; and Johnny Gray, who keeps the show moving along on drums.

You’ll find them performing at the Southgate Inn and Rockabillys, the new hot spot at The Family Hotel.

See you at a gig soon.

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