Last hurrah for Salvo’s band

IF YOU had the choice between a bout of chemotherapy and a gig at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which one would you choose?

It was a no-brainer for Phil Butler, who heads up the Salvo Country Band – the outfit that’s played out front of Target for the past 17 years on the final Friday and Saturday of each festival. 

Prior to his cancer diagnosis earlier this month, the band had decided to call it a day, as “age is starting to weary them” and they felt this was the right time to retire from the festival gracefully.

Many people stake a claim at their performance site in Peel St well in advance of the 6pm start time. 

The band was originally put together for the festival to give the Salvation Army a relevant presence on Peel St and to thank those who support the charity’s efforts year round. 

It comprises Phil Butler, acoustic guitar and vocals, Marilynn Butler, vocals, Lach McKay, acoustic guitar and vocals, Chris Townsend, bass and vocals, Lyndon Briggs, drums, David Spencer on keyboards and special guest Graeme Press. 

They play a mix of country, gospel and ’60s rock’n’roll. 

Over the years the band has released four albums containing all their crowd favourites. 

For your final taste of this great band, be in Peel St from 6pm tomorrow and Saturday.

They will also perform at the Salvation Army complex on Goonoo Goonoo Rd on Sunday morning where there is a free breakfast and concert.

The band wishes to thank the audiences that have received them so well on Peel St over the past two decades.

IF YOU’RE in need of a good belly laugh – and aren’t we all – you’ve got to catch Four Funny Buggers at the Tamworth Golf Club.

Murray Hartin, Marco Gliori, Alan Glover and Brad Maclean will have you in stitches. Wearing Depend is mandatory.

It’s a mixture of poems, yarns, comedy, improvised theatre sports, some crazy blues, on-the-spot limericks and a whole heap of fun. Laughter is guaranteed in the air-conditioned surrounds of the Mahony Ave club, where the food is great and the drinks are cold.

They offer daily shows at 11am at the club, with one evening show last night.

Muz is the last man standing and will present his one-man show on Saturday at 7pm.

It will be recorded and Muz will take the opportunity to do a lot of the poems he doesn’t normally do, along with some newer ones that aren’t on the Muz CD.

Book over the phone on 6765 9393 or turn up and take pot luck at the door.

WHEN there’s a fire, most people run in the opposite 

direction. 

On Friday night at the opening concert, when a whipcracker’s fireproof blanket caught fire on stage, three brave souls ran towards the flames and disaster was averted.

The whipcracker, together with Mez Mezera (husband of Audrey Auld) and an unnamed stagehand, doused the flames with a fire extinguisher, which engulfed performers waiting backstage with a cloud of powdery, choking fumes.

Needless to say, the show must go on – and it did – with most people out front in the audience unaware of the dramas backstage.

THERE are some fantastic performers on Peel St, but a market stallholder in Fitzroy St proved the most entertaining of all.

Eddie, the drill bit and nibbler salesman, uses glass, brick, metal, wood and even rasps to demonstrate the wonder of his products. 

Like a carnie of days gone by, Eddie cleverly draws you in and holds his audience, including the women.

Who needs music to entertain when you have a spiel like this bloke?

When one fascinated customer wanted his contact details, Eddie was quick to say: “No, mate, I’m a ghost.” 

DURING a late-night poster run along Peel St on Friday night, one couple was delighted to get up close and personal with visiting Nashville-based singer-songwriter and expat Aussie Audrey Auld.

Former Tamworthians Sue and Michael Shanahan, who now live in the South Coast paradise of Cambewarra, couldn’t believe their luck when they caught up with the performer they’d seen only hours before on stage at the opening concert.

Sue became quite emotional, getting the opportunity to stop and talk a while to one of her favourite acts, saying “it could only happen on Peel St”. 

They shared a quick Kodak moment before the poster run continued, promising to catch up again at Audrey’s concerts at the North Tamworth Bowling Club. Audrey’s tip for bill posters is to take along your tallest friend – and a good supply of sticky tape.

TOURING with Audrey is North Carolina guitarist and bass player Ross Sermons – and he’s a festival virgin. 

After many years living and working in Nashville, Ross met and married a Tasmanian woman two years ago and is now happily ensconced on the Apple Isle.

This talented and professional performer has had an absolute hoot at his first Tamworth festival, and, within a day of arriving, had been recruited for two additional gigs – one with the Hillbilly Killers and another as a special guest at Gina Timms’ Birthday Bash in Legends last Saturday night.

He’s chasing a lift to Sydney on Saturday to catch a plane home to Tassie at 5pm. If anyone can help out, please phone 0409 514 933 and I’ll put you in touch with him.

This won’t be the last we see of Ross.

 He’ll be back in 2015, as he’s been invited to sit in with several bands. Enjoy the rest of your festival, folks. I sure am!

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