Hillbillys head south
ON THE back of their successful tour of the Far North with Bill Chambers, Julatten’s Hillbilly Goats are taking their kneeslapping shows of roots and ole time blues to Tamworth.
Currently on the road touring from Cairns to Townsville, with a few small and “one-horse towns” in-between, the Hillbillys are warming up for their debut at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
And with 10,000 musicians and 200,000 people expected to attend the festival, from January 14 to 23, Hillbilly Goats’ Mahney Wearne said they are excited at the exposure and opportunity.
“We have got 14 gigs in Tamworth playing in an air-conditioned venue, when people first go to Tamworth they end up busking on the street and hope to be recognised and booked somewhere for next year,” Hillbilly’s Mahney Wearne said.
“We are lucky enough with our shows, we’re doing a couple of shows with Bill Chambers at a venue called The Pub and the rest of our shows are as part of a North Queensland showcase.”
The other half of the Goats, Bryce Wearne, has played in Tamworth for around 20 years with his old band, Better Than A Chook Raffle, but this will be the first time for the rest of the Goats, who have received a helping hand.
“TEMPO ( Top End Music Production Organisation) has been raising funds for the Goats, Leanne Tennant and Derek Rosendale to head to Tamworth to perform in the North Queensland Showcase and they’ve raised a total of $870 each,” Mahney said.
’We have also been approached by other managers with big negotiations taking place for other big artists to come up and tour with The Hillbilly Goats.
“I think there’s a movement towards hillbilly and the country scene in Tamworth is really quite country rock so we’re going to stand out like a sore thumb.”
Touring with Bill Chambers has really helped the Hillbilly Goats and there have been talks of touring Texas.
“We found leading up to the Bill Chambers gigs a lot of doors opened for us and are continuing to do so, the road is unfolding in front of us and it’s really exciting,” Mahney said.
“When we played at the Clink Theatre we had people come up to us in the interval asking where we are from, how long have we been touring with Bill and do we like FNQ.
“We told them we were locals, they saw us a big professional act and were surprised, asking where we had been hiding, it was really awesome.”
The Hillbilly Goats will be returning in February and are organising a couple of welcome home gigs, including the Court House Hotel on March 2 as a five-piece band.
Hillbilly Goats spread their wings: Bill Chambers with Mahney and Bryce Wearne