Monday, December 5, 2011

Musically Yours and Happy Christmas

Whew, what a year it's been and the load isn't quite lifted yet.  One more show to do this week, a last Supper Club to organise next week and then....only then....can I think about Christmas shopping, a tree, and catching up on some sleep!  Have you checked out the other pages on this blog lately?  There's been some updates that you might want to read about...and there'll be more in January.

Sorry, no artwork to share for UnderCovered yet ....fingers crossed it'll be in the next posting here.  For a recording project that got completed in record time, [no pun intended!] the finished product is taking more than its fair share of time....quite the reverse of previous projects I might add.  But there you go,  sometimes things just take the time they take to get their wings.

December will see a few 'closing doors' for me as I extricate myself from a number of engagements but I'm excited about what might eventuate next year.  I'm disinclined to seek commercial gig opportunities and much prefer to concentrate on fewer, quality, intimate performances for audiences that appreciate my music and the music I like to share.  Next month, I'll tell you about some of those that I've got in mind for 2012.

I've also really enjoyed helping so many people find their voices this year - or re-connect with their voices and want to do more of that next year.  Music is such a beautiful thing to share with someone else. It can form the basis and memories of lasting friendships .....{big hugs to you Jules!}....and connects people in ways that nothing else can.

My wish for YOU that you find the song in your heart this Christmas and that you share it with those around you throughout 2012.

PS.......give the gift of music this Christmas - it lasts a lot longer than a box of chokkies and there's no calories.   Buy Luminous with Ebb&Flow and Many Shades of Blue for just $50 and get a free copy of Breaking the Habit.....[that's $80 value]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Created vs Discovered

OOPS!  Running a bit late and we're ALREADY in November! Anyone else scrambling to catch up on all the things they'd planned to do in 2011?

If you're really efficient and have started your Christmas shopping, can I remind you that the gift of music lasts a heckova lot longer than a box of chocolates!  And you can get 5 albums here for $50 - cheap as chips!  Put your order in today.

I heard the tail end of an interview on ABC radio this morning [Conversations] with past prime minister Paul Keating and I just loved his philosophy on the Arts.  I know I'm not going to remember his exact words so forgive me if I paraphrase him ......" is the greatest of the Arts because music is not representational.....and  unlike science which is waiting to be discovered, music comes from being created....". He spoke of the importance of creativity in thinking and a direct quote: "A government which has no premium on the Arts is going nowhere".  That's great Big Picture thinking.

For those of us engaged  in Community Arts, we know - and we see - the value of the Arts in our micro-society, our community.  We see how music for example, connects people from all walks of life.  We see how music reaches out to the lonely and uplifts the spirit of the depressed.  We see how music motivates and inspires individuals around us. We see how integral music is to the community for any celebration.  It's not rocket science - but it's invaluable to our society.  Be nice if there was greater understanding of this at government and business level.

May your coming Christmas season be filled to the brim with the blessing of music.

  • NEW ALBUM   it's kinda in limbo at the moment - cos I ran out of dough to get it cut!! [ahh, the challenges of being a full time muso]  But it's already got a title ....."UnderCovered"...and the artwork is done [just being reshaped by a buddy to fit the boxes].  I know I promised last month to share more information about it in this Posting ....but I want to wait til I have some of the artwork ready to show you at the same time.  Have patience - it'll be worth the wait, I promise!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paint my world Pink!

Golly gosh!  There's so many musical initiatives happening round here lately that it's hard even for ME to keep up with it all.  Some of the highlights though, over the last month have been;

  • Finished recording the new album and decided on a title.  Dollars are so tight though that I've had to opt for doing my own album artwork rather than hire the person I wanted to do it for me.  I've also had to defer getting the first run done until I've got a few more shekels in the bank!  sigh!  the life of an impoverished muso - always new challenges!
  • the Women Upfront concert last Saturday night - which was also a fundraiser for Heart Magazine Heart Magazine - was a winner!  It was just great to see so many women performers up there putting their work forward.  It was a great turnout ...and wonder of wonders, I had so many helpers that everything just ran like clockwork.  No stress for me!!  Did a few songs of the new album and got great response [and that's always satisfying]
  • and the new chorus group that I'm coaching - Found - also found their voices on Saturday night and put in a "pearler" of a performance.  There's so much work that goes into pulling such a group together but it is SO satisfying.  And they're a great bunch of people - weekly rehearsals are always a hoot.
So in the next issue, I want to share more with you about the new album ....some of the songs and the stories .... and test out the cover piccie!  So stand by - you might win a copy of the new recording.

In the meantime, it's head down tail up working on the next projects - the Multifaith Concert which I'm organising in Newcastle for Mattara next week;  the Folk In Broke festival is only a matter of weeks away - see more at Folk in Broke festival; the next Savoy Supper Club is going to be just a top night - check the blog in the next few days for new info on that -  Savoy Supper Club ;  as well as 2 new shows coming up at the Royal Exchange theatre in December "Krackers"  - check it out at Royal Exchange Salon Theatre Newcastle  .  Gee I might even catch up on some sleep after Christmas!

ciao bella!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The HIghs and Lows of playing LIVE

OMG know, you go along your merry way thinking that all's well, then - when you least expect it -  the Universe pulls the rug out from under you .....and that's what happened at the Savoy Supper Club last week when I absolutely crucified my mini-set of 4 songs!!  Played 'em hundreds of times over half a dozen years then all of a sudden, out of the blue, my brain gets stuck in the logistics of the night and there was no room left to concentrate on my own music!!

It was a good shake-up wake-up call to remind me that she who tries to juggle too many balls at the one time without sufficient preparation is doomed to disaster!   So I just have to accept that when I'm in the drivers seat, I can't be navigator and chauffeured princess all at the same time.  Damn.  Guess performing is going to have to take a back seat for the next couple of months.  So is songwriting.

Now,  I just have to make note to myself .....2012 New Year's Resolution.......
dear Moz,  in 2012 let's get back to focusing on what YOU love to do best.  Instead of creating lots of opportunities for other musicians, let's concentrate on making and sharing YOUR music first.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Holy Smoke!  So much is happening that I forgot all about my own personal blog!   rhagataggach!!  So I'm just going to share the scorecard in this post....and reflect a little on human nature and the music industry while I'm here.

  • The new album made brilliant and rapid progress to start but has now stalled - waiting for another studio date.  Hopefully Rob can fit me in before the end of July.  About 75% of the tracks are done but I had to find a young woman's voice to sing "Gemma's Song" and it looks like Kate Lightening McLean-Hamilton is going to do the job.  She has a lovely distinctive sound which should fit the song well.  Some additional instrument tracks need to go down and Rob Long will do most of those.  And there's another couple of vocal lines to go down including Mike Gray's voice on a Spiritual Round.
  • The morning Seniors Shows at the RX Theatre in Newcastle haven't sold which is disappointing but we're hoping that we'll at least fill the last Tuesday in July.  
  • The fundraiser for Folk in Broke was a great night that everyone enjoyed ....however it was poorly supported by the local community and raised less than half of the hoped-for $s
  • The Savoy Supper Club opens in just over a week and fingers crossed that it gets the support it deserves.  I'm thrilled with the artist response and the acts coming in to perform.  You can find out more  at Savoy Supper Club   It's on trial for just 6 months on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and I'll review it at the end of the trial.
  • I've just formed a chorus group to give new singers an opportunity to build their skills and showcase their talent at some upcoming concerts.  Their first performance will be at the SOUP! concert in August.
  • I'm beavering away on the 5th Folk in Broke music festival and the program is shaping up beautifully.  Got lots of new faces appearing this year and some great activities lined up to fit the theme.  You can read more about this on the blog at     
  • The annual SOUP! Concert will be a hoot this year ...I'm really excited by the range of performers joining us at this one....expect surprises as always!! {more at }
  • And finally, the other major project {not enough room to fit in all the minor ones!} is a fundraiser for Heart Magazine and will be a Women Upfront Concert on 24th September.  Again, the lineup of women performers is wonderful.....musicians, dancers, storytellers, poets, songwriters, singers.  Wow, there's so much talent around.
  • The older I get the more surprised I am by the quirks of human nature.  And I'm grateful everyday for the energy and the enthusiasm which drives me forward. 
  • why are there more 'devils advocate/s' around than there are enthusiastic people willing to celebrate the journey more than the results?  Some people immediately put their hand up and say Good Idea - can I play too?!  While others want to give you at least 10 reasons why what you're proposing won't work - you're wasting your time.   Such negativity is soooooo hard work!!  Life is SO much more enjoyable when you meet it with positivity and enthusiasm.  
  • I've long divided the music industry into Street Musicians and Elite Musicians  {and if you're a muso you'll understand the difference} .... but there are some interesting facets of the industry that falls into both or neither categories;   all musicians complain there's not enough work, not enough good quality venue's, not enough recognition and value for the skills and the contribution of musicians;  most musicians complain because audiences won't come out and support their shows.  Yet the number of musicians who simply can't be bothered supporting other musicians is staggering.  "what's wrong with this picture?!?!?!"
  • I've come to the conclusion that musicians generally are driven by either:  money;  ego; or passion.   In my experience - 1. independent musicians are the most passionate - they're ALL about the music, the money comes second  2, there is no direct correlation between talent and ego!  3. the majority of musicians I've ever met are the most generous, compassionate, and caring individuals you could wish to meet  {there are exceptions to this rule!!!#!!%!*!!!!}
  • I've come to the realisation that the Industry 1. doesn't care about the music or musicians  2 does care about how much money they can make and how far they can exploit musicians  3 has absolutely no comprehension of the role musicians and music play in community and society well-being  4 has absolutely no understanding of the hours and years of work and study a musician puts in to develop their craft   5 truly believes that a musician should be grateful for the privilege of entertaining their paying patrons in return for a meal  [!?#  and who pays the musicians rent, fuel, heating, et al?!??]
That's it......BIG BLOG!!......and now - - - back to the music room!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mojo Matters

Well, since I got back from Queensland that mojo I found has been working overtime!  A number of projects are already underway while 2 have been put on the backburner until the second half of the year.

Today I completed the first studio session for a brand new album and it's just sooo delightful to be working with the excellent skills of Robbie Long once again.   Not only a multi-award-winning fabulous musician, Rob's also a master behind the desk in his sound studio here in Newcastle.  I reckon he could make a duck with laryngitis sound good!  I'm over the moon that in just 1 x 5hr session, we've actually got the bedding tracks for a whole album locked down.  12 tracks in one session - down to my satisfaction....that's outstanding!  {and if Hachabel is reading this....the renovated studio is very comfortable boys hehehe!]

I'm opting to keep this album simple and uncluttered.  Not too many instruments, not overproduced.  As others have commented to me previously,  "the songwriting is the artwork - the songs can stand up proudly in their own right.  They don't need to have masses of instruments or sounds to enhance them".   I've finally come to believe in that principle.

The songs on this album are an eclectic mix ranging from Jazz/Blues, Comedy, Soft Rock, Urban Folk, and even a touch of Mozart would you believe it?!?!  I'll tell you more about them later when the album is ready for release.  In the meantime, if you have any ideas for a title I'd love to hear them.  Tell you what - there'll be a free copy of the new album for the best - selected - suggestion!  Put your thinking caps on, eh?

On other Mojo Matters,  
  • I'm trialling a new initiative at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Newcastle.  For the month of July I'll be doing a series of morning shows - every Tuesday in July.  The format will be a morning tea followed by a show loosely based around the theme of *Gravity *Grandchildren  and *Ageing Disgracefully.  I'll have a guest artist at each show.  If you'd like more information on this one - like to come along, or tell a friend - check the theatre's website:
  • I'm also organising some fundraisers in the next few months - for Heart Magazine [a not-for-profit publication that recognises and celebrates the achievements of Australian Indigenous Women]  - and for Folk in Broke [a not-for-profit community festival in the Hunter which showcases the music, talents, art and produce of the Hunter region and welcomes Australian talent from across the country].  If you'd like to jump on board and help or support either [or both] of these worthwhile projects, please check out their websites and contact me for details.  and

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to Find Y' Mojo!

It was only a short tour but Holy Smoke! was just what I needed to get my mojo working again.

Here's what I learned I need to locate my zing, get my inspiration back, get excited again:
I stayed with muso's.  I played with muso's. I hung out with muso's. I met new audiences....and new audiences met and loved my music. Oh yes - I LOVE BRISBANE!  Some 22 hours of solo travel time - to and from, with just me and my thoughts. Hearing new bands and other songwriters. Just goes to show it's not quantity [or length of tour] that counts but quality [richness of the experience] That's my recipe and you're welcome to share it!

Here are just a few of the highlights of this little tour:
  • Making Magic at Redland Folk  - Sunday afternoon could only be described as magic when I invited a whole bunch of musicians I didn't know to play on various songs in the set.  Chrissy and Julie on single then duelling harmonica, Chuck on stunning guitar, Richard on Trombone, and of course those gorgeous harmonies from Mary and Anne.  Didn't the audience just love it?!   And didn't we?!! Just an extraordinary experience, sharing the passion of music
  • Discovering the gold nugget of Foco Nuevo - totally unexpected, totally different from what I'd anticipated.  Having Steele Chabeau turn up to play de-lovely Bass on my set with me - no charts, unknown songs, just cold play ....and he did he rock!!!!  Delightful audience.  Stunning music from Jumping Fences who were just soooo tight and polished.  A great set from the Toni Pollard Band [although just a tad long - and how the heck does she keep up that pace for so long?! impressive]
  • Staying with friends Chris and Peter - Pete is a songwriter and lovely guitarist who used to live in Newcastle.  Yakking our heads off about music music music....and then lending a hand to write a great set of lyrics to a brilliant melody of Peter's and turning out an excellent song!   My first successful collaboration. 
    Plus many more little joys and delights to add to the memory bank [and subsequently flavour some new songs with in the future].....and a couple of experiences that I plan to forget once I reach the point where I can laugh about 'em [like a crap last gig, getting lost driving to Ballina via Ipswich].

I returned home with my head absolutely stuffed full and buzzing with new ideas, new projects, and new enthusiasm.   Doesn't take much, does it?!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Green 'n Clean

What a lovely Irish night at the RX theatre on Wednesday evening - St Pat's Eve!  And thanks to all the people who trooped out for it ....including some genuine Irish folk in town.

The feedback on Borderless was most gratifying with audience members commenting that they just loved the stories and appreciated that somebody was bringing this information to light.  For some, it was a real insight into just how influential Irish womens settlement was on Australian family and society today.  And with @ one-third of Australians claiming Irish ancestry, that's a whole lot of influence!

The audience also enjoyed some cracking Irish yarns from Clark Gormley and Catherine Knight - such accomplished storytellers! - as well as some sweet Irish songs from Bilbo.  And everyone - performers and audience alike - expressed appreciation of being able to celebrate St Pat's day [albeit in advance] in such an authentic way.

Those comments contrasted glaringly with some anecdotes related to me only last night...... "we went to 3 local pubs after work at it was ghastly!  They were all full of ugly drunks and there was NO music!!  We couldn't believe it!  What's St Paddy's day without Irish music?!" ... and this  "we found music at lunchtime in one pub but it wasn't REAL Irish music.  We were hoping to hear some traditional Irish but what we got served up was plastic paddy crap which just sooooo bad and then it deteriorated into stupid rock music sung in this ugly false accent"

I reckon it's a pretty poor indictment of local venues disrespect for their patrons.  And maybe that presents some good opportunities for alternative initiatives NEXT year.   If patrons can't get what they're looking for from their local pubs, they'll find it somewhere else.

Oh well, you know what they say's an ill wind.......

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Oh Dearie Me!!
What a start to 2011......trapped in the Queensland flood, a traumatic escape, devastation for my son, and we're all still trying to come to terms with the experience and the fall out.

Is it any wonder that I'm lacking inspiration right now?

Funny, but everyone says "oh, there'll be a great song out of this, won't there?" Yet that's the last thing I feel like doing.
Fortunately, I'd finished a couple of songs during December - when I took a much needed break after a very heavy 2010 - planning to be back in the studio for recording in January.   Well, with the studio dates set for late January, the floods put a stop to that too!  So those new songs will have to remain as live-performance-only for the time being.

I'm back in SE Queensland in late March for a short tour and a series of small gigs so if you're around the Brisbane area and want to come along to one or two, just let me know.   Here's a brief look at a couple of the newies that I'll be sharing - and eventually recording:
  • Cover Your Load - purely for laughs....about getting caught short on a road trip - we've all done it!
  • Day is Done - a ballsy blues with guts
  • Wasting Time - a funky little number
  • All Dressed Up - a quirky tale of love's revenge
  • Granny Hell- yeh, I said I'd never record it but I will - shhhh, don't tell!
Hope to see you at a gig soon. the way....for those of you in the Newcastle area who have been wondering when I'm going to get around to delivering the Borderless project here - it's coming to the Royal Exchange Theatre in Bolton Street on Wednesday Night March 16 (that's St Pat's Eve - appropriate for a show about Irish female settlement in Australia, eh?)