I’m home and dry now but it wasn’t that way on the East Coast a few weeks ago. I arrived in Sydney on the receiving end of cyclone Debbie that hit the northern NSW coast and there was plenty of rain to make Newcastle, Sydney and beyond very wet and a bit on the chilly side at times. Weather aside it didn’t dampen my spirits and once I arrived at the airport and picked up the hire car I was on my way. I headed straight over to Drummoyne where I stayed with some very good friends for a couple of nights before I headed up to Newcastle with the help of the very lovely lady behind the voice of google maps. We became good friends and she took me everywhere I needed to go as well as a few places that I didn’t need to go too. I started my tour at the Sunset Studio where Gleny Rae was there to greet me for my performance. I had trouble finding the venue because my friend at google maps didn’t know where it was and I guess I could understand her making that mistake when I eventually got there with only 1 hour to spare. The studio was behind a little coffee shop and one person pizza bar in the most unassuming of places, however, it was a lovely room with beautiful wooden floorboards and a grand piano and curtains all round. Gleny is one of the movers and shakers of all things musical in Newcastle and she teaches piano at the studio and holds intimate concerts. A bunch of lovely people showed up and I had a great first gig and I even had a local guitarist come and join me on a song and everyone had a bit of fun singing along too. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get any photos and the very next morning after leaving my air BnB I headed off down the coast to Shell Harbour where I had organised to stay with Mairi Peterson again for my Illawarra Folk Club gig. Mairi is the wonderful lady that I talked about last time and she’s a delight to stay with and very interesting to chat to so it was really good to catch up with her again and talk about all things political and not so political. I got caught up in a huge rain storm on my way to Shell Harbour and I had to pull over for some time to let it pass with a lot of other cars, it was quite dangerous and I didn’t want to take the risk. Once I got close the Wollongong the sun was shining and I could see the countryside again and I was familiar with the territory.
I had a fantastic night at the Illawarra Folk Club and I got to catch up with some folks that were there last September and a lot of new folks too. I was the support act for a fantastic Canadian folk band called Les Poules a Colin. I actually managed to get a photo just to prove that I was there and once again the audience were awesome! It was lovely to see Russell Hannah again and catch a bit of his wit on stage. The next morning Mairi and I went for coffee in Shell Harbour and Russell and his wife were there with a couple of friends too so we had a chinwag about all of our favourite things political and musical and the like.
Then I headed up the Thirroul to Kathryn White’s home where she very kindly allowed me to stay in her lovely Self Contained cabin in their garden and the next day I got myself organised for a house concert in the main room of the cottage which was lovely. Once again it was a very intimate all acoustic concert with family and a few friends of Kathryn and Andrew. Thirroul is a lovely spot and I would definitely recommend a drive along that coastline there’s so many lovely spots to check out. But I had no time for that because I had to get back to Sydney to get myself organised for the next gig which wasn’t until Wednesday but I just wanted to get back to my friends so that I could have a few days rest. It was lovely to see Scott and Nicole again and have a few laughs and tell them about my travels and about the funny and not so funny things that happened especially when the google lady took me to a steel recycling centre in the middle of an industrial estate 1 hour before my gig. There was another surprise when I got to Sydney and that was that I got to meet my 2nd cousin for the first time since we were kids and I had no idea he had been living in Australia for the past 17 years. So it was lovely to catch up with him and his partner Anne and they both came to my gig at Sappho Books, Cafe & Bar. That was a really lovely spot to play, it’s a beautiful bookshop/bar in Glebe and I had very appreciative audience. Paul is a great photographer and he also has a really good camera that could do video’s so he took some videos of me playing which you can see on his youtube page.
Humph Hall was one of the highlights of the tour. The venue is owned by Wayne and Gial Richmond and it’s an old church that they bought to create a music venue. Wayne had a dream to do it many years before and when the place became available he went ahead and it is now a music venue and their home. The church hall is where the music happens and it’s a fully professional set up where Wayne has stage lights, condenser mics (to record the performance) and video cameras set up throughout the performance. I played a set of songs and a lovely couple by the names of Greg and Lesley played a set and we then did an encore together where we got the whole audience to join in. It was a magic evening and I met a lot of lovely people. I forgot to mention the most important part of it was that I showed up a whole day early and didn’t realise that the concert was on Saturday night and Wayne was totally ok with me staying 2 nights after much laughter about me showing up early. I felt that I did my best performance at Humph Hall and to my surprise I have found that I perform at my best to a fully attentive listening audience which I never expected. I thought I would be more nervous but I find that the pressure makes me concentrate more and I can be really focused and I can really engage with the listeners.
Here’s some of the video’s that Wayne took: Women of War:
It was you
Then on Sunday I had to get my act together pretty quick to get to the Petersham Bowling Club for my next gig at 4pm. I was really excited about playing here because I was in the same lineup as Moondog and Monuelle Monuelle who are Eamon Dilworth and Henry Manuel. Moondog is my favourite man of blues and I just love what he does and I was so excited when he said he would come from Canberra to play at the Petersham. Eamon is a lovely young man I met early this year when some friends came to stay and he was in town too. He’s a fantastic trumpet player and he plays for an awesome band by the name of Tijuana Cartel. It was a great night and some friends from Sydney showed up which made it even more special. All in all I had a fantastic time and lots of adventures and I learnt heaps about how I would do it next time. I know I said that there were highlight gigs but they all were very special in their very own way and trying to pick a favourite is like trying to choose your favourite kid…impossible….well not for me because I only have one son but I kinda think I know what it would feel like. On the subject of family it was so lovely to get back home a couple of days later after a flight, air bnb in Perth and then a long coach trip back down to Denmark to be greeted by my husband, Warren and well my son found a bit of time to greet me between games.