HE’S been described as Australia’s “premier poet of song ... a musical marvel” and Tamworth is fortunate indeed to have Eric Bogle’s fine company at the Capitol Theatre next Thursday night.
He’s bringing musical companions John Munro, Pete Titchener and Emma Luker to the city on the second concert of his 20-date SMS (Save My Superannuation) tour.
Its purpose is to showcase – and hopefully flog several hundreds of copies of – his magnificent new album, Toss Of The Coin.
And had it not been for a couple of fateful events, this gem of a disc may never have existed.
It was the album he hadn’t planned to record, but the unexpected loss of a much-loved pet prompted an outpouring of emotion.
“It was engendered by my wee doggie getting knocked over and killed by a car,” Eric said.
“(Wife) Carmel and I had two miniature schnauzers and I was more upset than I thought I’d be at the loss of one of them, my wee pal, Ranger … we’ve since lost our other little mutt, Radar, to illness as well.
“Anyway, it got me thinking about the nature of love, and loss, and how love can come from many different sources.
“You’ve got to accept it when and where it happens, don’t question it; just take it where and when it’s offered, and from any source, be it a dog, a cat, a budgie another human being, whatever ...
“So I wrote A Toss Of The Coin about that and it unlocked something. I hadn’t written a song for about a year and before I knew it I had almost an album’s worth.
“Radar was a nice, wee fella. We had him for 12 years so, not for the first time in my life, music helped me cope with some heavy emotional burdens. It’s better than drugs and a whole lot cheaper.”
He talked it over with musical mates John Munro and Pete Titchener and decided to go ahead with the album, recording it at Pete’s Folk House Studio in Adelaide.
Bogle fans will find plenty to love on this new disc, including two songs not written by Eric, and another two songs where John Munro takes the lead vocal on his own compositions, Absolution and Glory Days.
When An Angel Appears, the Mike O’Callaghan song, sounds as if it could almost have come from Bogle’s pen.
It was the nice, melancholy, reflective tone of Pete Titchener’s song, Don’t Throw Away Your Dreams, that made Eric want to put it down on this record.
There are plenty of gems from Eric as well, including Ashes, Song For James, Reg Evans’ Cradle, Home Is The Hero, Roll Call, A Toss Of The Coin, By The Arafura Sea and his own moving version of In Flanders Fields.
It’s a no-brainer. When Eric Bogle is in town, do anything you can to get there. His music will make your heart sing.
Besides that, he needs the money for his next renovation project!
ANY excuse to get along to The DAG Sheep Station will do, but this long weekend there’s an excellent reason to head for the hills of gold.
John and Belinda Krsulja are going back to the venue’s roots with the staging of On The Sheep’s Back Shearers’ Festival.
From 10am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday you can take part in, or simply be a spectator at the Hills of Gold Shearing Competition, the Utility Speed Dog Trials, Nundle Woollen Mill fashion parade and more.
There’s live entertainment by singing shearer Jeff “Gibbo” Gibson, Den Hanrahan, Deanna Rose, Col Finley and many more.
With activities for every member of the family to enjoy, such as The DAG tug o’ war competition, antique shearing demonstrations, a jumping castle, billy tea, damper and camp oven cooking, why would you stay home?
Staying true to the theme of the event, lamb is the choice of meat on the menu, with camp-oven lamb stews, lamb steaks, lamb sausages, lamb roast rolls and lamb shanks.
To wash it down, there will be local wine and beer available provided by Uralla’s New England Brewing Company and Armidale’s Savannah Estate.
What are you waiting for? Jump on The DAG’s website www.thedag.com.au and get the full program of events and pricing details.
I WAS very fortunate in Nashville last year to have met a great lady, Denise Fussell, who just happens to be a very fine graphic artist and photographer.
When we caught up in August-September, Denise mentioned she was the official photographer at the Americana Muisc Festival, which we missed by a week or so, as it was held mid-September.
As there was a large contingent of Aussies taking part in the annual festival, Denise offered to send me some photos. She took so many good ones, I can’t put them all in this column, but the lovely Haley Sheridan will create a photo gallery on The Leader website for you to enjoy them all.