Coun­try icon to bring clas­sics

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Louise Alling­ham

Aus­tralian coun­try mu­sic icon John Wil­liamson is ex­cited to get back up to Kar­ratha for this week­end’s Beats in the Heat fes­ti­val.

Wil­liamson is no stranger to the Pil­bara, hav­ing played gigs in Kar­ratha, Port Hed­land and Ku­nunurra over the years.

“I took a mil­lion pho­tos when I first went — I was so blown away by the fem­i­nine hills with their snappy gums and the spinifex,” he said.

“I think it must be a great place for artists be­cause I just couldn’t stop tak­ing pho­tos.”

Hav­ing a big re­gional fan base, Wil­liamson fre­quently gets out to the coun­try to put on gigs or draw in­spi­ra­tion for his mu­sic.

“I’m not un­fa­mil­iar with the cities but it’s the coun­try that in­spires me ... I gen­er­ally don’t write good songs about the city” he said.

“I’m in­spired by the ef­fect that the di­verse coun­try has on the peo­ple.

“Peo­ple that live there be­come char­ac­ters of their own.”

Wil­liamson has been mak­ing mu­sic for 46 years and re­leased his 50th al­bum, Look­ing for a

Story, in April. “Some of them are com­pi­la­tions — it’s prob­a­bly in the mid-30s of orig­i­nal stuff,” he said.

“I haven’t promised any more at this stage be­cause I’ve got too many songs.”

With such a huge reper­toire of songs, fans may be won­der­ing whether Kar­ratha au­di­ences will be hear­ing his iconic tunes such as Old Man Emu, which turns 46 years old this month, and True Blue.

“Of course ... is the pope a Catholic?” Wil­liamson said.

“They still go off more than any­thing else, to be hon­est.”

“(Old Man Emu is) a crazy song that never dies.”

Wil­liamson is keen to play a few newer songs in­clud­ing Aussie Girls, which he has ded­i­cated to Aus­tralia’s “fan­tas­tic” fe­male ath­letes.

“I think they de­serve a song, so it’s like a girl’s True Blue,” he said.

Wil­liamson hopes he will be able to fit as many crowd favourites into his Beats in the Heat set as pos­si­ble.

“When I do my own show, I do well over two hours but at a fes­ti­val they usu­ally... only want you to do 45 (min­utes) or an hour and a quar­ter … be­cause they’ve got a lot of artists,” he said.

“I hope they give me a rea­son­able time be­cause we’ve come a long way.”

Beats in the Heat event or­gan­is­ers re­leased artist set times last Thurs­day with Wil­liamson al­lo­cated a 90-minute set this Fri­day.

Join­ing Wil­liamson on the bill will be the Cat Em­pire, Bri­tish In­dia, Art vs Sci­ence, Drapht, Pot­belleez and many more.

There will be camp­ing avail­able as well as a silent disco, beer and wine tents, food ven­dors and mar­ket stalls.

For more in­for­ma­tion, head to beat­sinthe­heat.com.

Pic­ture: Anna Warr

John Wil­liamson will be per­form­ing at Beats in the Heat this week­end.

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