EIGHT days ago powerhouse country performer Texas Rose got a rude awakening.
About 5am on Wednesday, August 29, a loud explosion jolted her awake, and the first thing she thought was that something had fallen on her house.
It turns out her uninsured 2001 Ford Fairmont, parked under a streetlight outside her William St, Narrandera home, had been torched.
Startled neighbours called the fire brigade and the popular entertainer raced outside to discover her car engulfed in flames – and no sign of the offenders.
“They threw a Molotov cocktail at the car,” Texas told The Narrandera Argus.
“The fire brigade and police were there very quickly and they were fantastic.”
The contents of the car, copies of Texas’s just-published novel, To Catch A Spider (written by Louise Hoare – her real name) – were lost as well, or so smoke-damaged they could not be sold.
“I had the books in the car to distribute to Chris’s Corner Store and an outlet in Wagga,” Texas said.
“This has effectively stopped me in my tracks.”
The car was a total write-off with her loss estimated at $10,000.
Reeling from the shock, Texas said as far as she knew she had no enemies, but admitted her “say-it-like-it-is” attitude might have put someone’s nose out of joint.
She said if the offenders were cheeky enough to attack the car under a street light, they’d probably been “sitting back watching too much Underbelly”.
Narrandera is a close-knit community and they don’t sit by and do nothing when one of their own is in trouble.
Community radio announcer Rustty Lake Connelly launched an appeal with a $200 donation which was immediately matched by Narrandera mayor Jenny Clarke.
The appeal was cancelled almost as quickly when Big Dave’s IGA supermarket owner Dave Letele came up with a speedier plan to get the entertainer back on the road again.
He bought her a car as a gift and drove to Griffith after work last Thursday to collect it.
“I twigged something was wrong when Satynn (Texas’s daughter) phoned me on Wednesday night to ask for more shifts at work as she needed to buy her mother a car,” Dave told The Narrandera Argus.
“I knew it would take time to raise funds and Lou needed the vehicle now, so I thought, ‘well, I’ll just go and buy her a car’.”
Dave approached Dom’s Motors in Griffith and the dealership came up with a vehicle in good condition that fitted the bill – a Mitsubishi Lancer.
Rustty and Dave sprung the best surprise they could on Texas, inviting her to the IGA store at 4pm last Friday on the pretext of discussions to get the appeal rolling.
When she was presented with her “gift”, the normally outspoken entertainer was lost for words.
When she finally found her voice, Texas said she was stunned by Dave’s generosity.
She listened as Dave told her about the Lancer’s great fuel economy and other attributes as he handed her the keys.
“I drove it back from Griffith and it travelled well. It runs on the smell of an oily rag and it’s got a year’s registration,” he told her.
Overcome by the moment, Texas said she couldn’t believe the car was for her or that someone would do something so generous.
“What goes around comes around” was Dave’s response, endorsed by the small gathering, which included the mayor and other loyal supporters.
She was also given an envelope containing $450, the proceeds of the would-be appeal, to put towards insurance costs.
She drove out of the car park with the biggest smile on her face, testing out her new set of wheels around the streets of the town she’s proud to call home.
“It runs like a dream,” Texas said.
ABOUT the same time as Texas Rose was driving out of that car park in Narrandera, Lee Kernaghan’s band members were coming to terms with their new status of “unemployed”.
Jake Lardot, Lee’s lead guitarist of the past 14 years, had tendered his resignation leading up to the Gympie Muster.
When the announcement was made to the crowd that it was Jake’s last gig with the band, it was a real celebration. Little did the other players know they were also playing their own swan song.
Lawrie Minson, Mitch Farmer, James Gillard and Markus Meier were all phoned by Lee, who explained he’d been “doing some numbers” and he was going to make some changes.
“He told us he had been offered a good deal from Sony Music, who had signed Tasmania’s Wolfe Brothers, and that our services were no longer required,” Lawrie said.
“We haven’t done too many gigs this year so I’ve learnt how to get by without that much work (from Lee), but it was still a shock.
“As we were booked to do the Deni Ute Muster with him, he’s going to pay us for that gig.”
Lawrie is kept busy doing recording session work, playing in Jasmine Rae’s band and he runs the musicians’ jam each Thursday at The Albert in Tamworth, as well as his monthly songwriters’ gig at the Hogs Breath Café.
Lawrie started playing in Lee’s band 18 years ago and the other players had all notched up 14 years each.
Drummer Mitch Farmer won’t be sitting idle either, as he’s about to embark on A Long Way To The Top tour for Chugg Entertainment.
James Gillard, always in demand for session work, has just completed Kasey Chambers’ and Shane Nicholson’s new album, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on stage at their live shows.
Markus Meier has been touring with McAlister Kemp and is bound to find another outlet for his talents.
In an ironic twist, Lawrie is flying to Perth this weekend to do a gig with James Blundell on Saturday.
“When Outback Club first came out, I got Lee his break in James’s band,” Lawrie said.
THE next Big T Jamboree will be Enrec Studio, in Egret Place, Calala, at 6pm on Sunday.
This month’s lineup of live acts is a beauty, with Matt O’Leary, Errol Gray and Wanita all singing their original tunes.
If you’d like to reserve your spot, phone Enrec on 6762 8072. as seating is limited to 40.
ANOTHER date for your calendar is the CCMA’s monthly jam and workshop at The Family Hotel.It’s on tonight from 7 o’clock.
This month’s workshop is an open one, and as such, it’s pretty much anything goes.
If you play an instrument of any kind, or you just love to sing, come along and learn from the professional musician members of Tamworth’s oldest country music organisation.
After the workshop comes the fun part – you get to showcase what you’ve learnt in an all-in jam!