TWO powerhouse entertainers have joined forces and ignited something quite dynamic for the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Pixie Jenkins and Ryan Sampson have formed a duo called Campfire and will deliver the goods most days throughout the festival at the North Tamworth Bowlo from 2pm.
A multiple Golden Guitar winner, it seems that Pixie Jenkins has been around forever.
He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by his peers at the Golden Fiddle Awards and if you believe what he tells you, he’s been in show business for more than 45 years.
All I can say is he must have been an infant at his first gig. Surely he can’t be that old!
But, when you consider what he’s achieved through the years, he might be right ... he’s supported, toured and recorded with artists as diverse as Jimmy Barnes and Cher to Bob Dylan.
His solo shows have always been a must-see at the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival – and who could forget his pioneering Pixieland presentations at the old St Paul’s church hall?
You might be lucky to catch a clip or two of Pix in action on YouTube if you’re doing a little surfing.
At just 27 years young, Ryan Sampson has been working solidly as a solo singer and guitarist since the age of 15.
Sitting back at a Ryan Sampson gig and hearing his amazing vocal talents and his accomplished guitar-playing, you can’t help but be entertained and amazed by his fearless performance style.
Consistent hard work has been the cornerstone of Ryan’s game plan to date, which brought him to Pixie’s attention – one human dynamo to the other, I suppose.
As a duo, I can only imagine these shows will be entertainment plus. So what can we expect?
“It’s like that great old Aussie tradition of sitting round the campfire and singing songs, playing tunes and telling tall yarns,” Pixie said.
“It’s been a part of the Aussie bush landscape for … thousands of years.”
He’s not giving away too much, but I daresay the element of surprise is always there at a Pixie gig.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see two of the best in the business from Friday, January 16 through to Sunday, January 25.
Tickets, at just $20, are available from the club. Phone 6766 1987.
Australiana in song and pictures
TAMWORTH isn’t the only festival being held in January. A little place down the road called Sydney has a bit of a do – in fact, quite a big do – all throughout the month.
There are all kinds of music and special events, but one that caught my eye is at 5pm on January 25 at Hyde Park North, near the Archibald fountain.
“Black Elvis” – or as he’s sometimes known, The Koori King of Country – Roger Knox will stand and deliver as only he can.
This honey-voiced performer will revisit songs from his impressive career, along with rare gems written by Aboriginal artists.
It was the stories of Slim Dusty and Aboriginal country artists Col Hardy, Jimmy Little and Harry Williams that lured a teenage Roger Knox into the field of music.
He and his Euraba band toured extensively from their Tamworth base, singing uplifting songs of struggle, heartbreak and hope.
On his glowingly reviewed 2013 album, Stranger in My Land, Roger gives new life to a collection of largely overlooked songs written by his peers and predecessors that trace the history of Aboriginal country music.
Guest contributors include the likes of Bonnie “Prince” Billy and a real treasure of American country music, the late Charlie Louvin.
For his Sydney Festival debut, Roger will be joined by a full band including the album’s producer, Jon Langford, of the Mekons.
You can book your tickets online for this concert by phoning 1300 856 876 or through Ticket-master on 1300 723 038.
To check out the full itinerary of events, visit www.sydneyfestival.org.au
WHILE we’re on the subject of other festivals, Wendy Gordon’s Clarence Valley Country Muster in November was a beauty, from all reports.
Planning is already well under way for next year’s event and it’s taking on a decidedly artistic bent.
Internationally acclaimed artist Peter J Hill, whose Australiana oil paintings grace boardrooms, hotels, clubs and private collections around the globe, has chosen the Clarence Valley as his new canvas.
He’s relocating from his gallery at Mount Tamborine in south eastern Queensland to Wendy’s property at Calliope in the Ulmarra district.
“I've known Peter for years and I’m honoured that he’s chosen my property at Calliope as the base to continue his outstanding work,” Wendy said.
“The 2015 muster – at which I’m expecting a record crowd to roll up in late October and early November – will have a sideshow featuring an exhibition of Peter’s Clarence Valley work.
“It will be part of a new heritage theme at the muster.”
He will use the property as a base from which to paint horses, wildlife and landscapes across the valley.
Hill is perhaps best known for his exquisite equine art, including Clydesdales and thoroughbreds.
“I’m really looking forward to capturing the Clarence Valley on canvas,” Hill told reporter Ian Thompson.
“It is a remarkable area and I’m keen to paint scenes for posterity.”
When asked on a television show a couple years ago how best to describe his art, Hill said: “When I paint a horse, it looks like a horse, when I paint cattle, they look like cattle. So I guess you would call me a traditional artist. I paint my paintings the way I see them, which is why so many people can relate to the places and scenes that I paint.”
Dirty Pierre’s festival swan song?
I HEARD from one of the real characters of the Tamworth Country Music Festival I’ve known since the early 1980s.
Dirty Pierre, who designs differently-themed Pub Crawl T-shirts each year, says the 2015 event will probably be his last.
You might recall last January Pierre’s departure from Tamworth was delayed as he ended up in hospital for several weeks after the festival. Since then he said he’s had ongoing health issues, so this could be his swan song, but then, you never say die, I suppose.
After selling T-shirts all over town, from venue to venue, he holds court at the Oasis Hotel beer garden on Saturday, January 24 at 1pm for a charity wet T-shirt
auction which starts at 2pm.
Then the following day, Dirty Pierre can be found at the Locomotive Hotel from 1pm, with a 2pm auction.
It’s funny, he originated the wet T-shirt competitions at the Loco and then moved on to the Courthouse and Joe Maguire’s, then back to the Courthouse and now it’s in its original home at the Loco. I think he even ran a few at the old Town Talk Hotel before it became the Tamworth – but that’s going way back.
The Tamworth festival is full of characters – and Dirty Pierre, the creative artist, comedian and intrepid world traveller – certainly fits that description.