By Kaz Johnson
G’day folks !
I am going to have a bumper weekend this weekend! Friday night, I am going to my 47th Beccy Cole gig, featuring her fabulously talented wife, Libby O’Donovan as well! Beccy is Australia’s finest entertainer in any genre. She just puts on the best shows. You walk away from one of her gigs and you just feel so happy and you want more. She plays just about every instrument on stage, she has a great sense of humour and always a hot band. She writes and co-writes her songs, plus she throws in a few covers. I am also going to Take Me To Town, a gig featuring various alt. country/Americana artists from Australia, backing up their 3 cd release. I am not sure how many of the acts featured on the albums are going to be there, but they are only scratching the surface of all of the marvellous entertainers that we have in this country. On Sunday, it is down home trad. Country with Marie Hodson, whose latest album is deemed as her last. I hope that is not so.
So that variety of artists and gigs, poses a couple of questions. I asked my country music friends on Facebook today, what they think is a noteworthy subject to discuss on here to the world. In America, country music in all its forms is very well respected and part of lots of charts. In Australia, it is misconstrued. We have 79 types of country music in Australia. This is official. Tamworth Country Music Festival sent me a survey a few years ago, asking me to tick any of the 79 boxes that I experienced at Tamworth. I think that I ticked about 20, which stunned some others as they didn’t know that there were 79 types. When I was a kid growing up in Australia’s Country Music Cap, I was often compelled to lock myself in my room at Country Music time, because it often sounded like a cat being hit by a truck music. These days, country music has evolved and it is quite a different kettle of fish. We have some of the best singer/songwriters (important article coming up in future weeks about that) and we are not just copying American artists anymore, we are coming up with some great original sounds and songs. I have a lot of friends and family who say that they don’t like country music and stereotype it. When I tell them that there are 79 types and play in a subtle way some great current country music in the background at a dinner party, and they say, “Wow, that is great!”, I say, “Can’t be, that’s country music” they rethink things.
A lot of young people in this country are turning to country music now in Australia, I think because it is more meaningful and less threatening than a lot of mainstream music.
Country Music was not always my bag, though my Dad played it constantly and so did my uncles. I was more of a folkie and 60’s and 70’s rocker….I guess that a lot of that music is not very different to some country music styles.
Food for thought.