That name­less trusty steed in Amer­ica’s clas­sic of the ’70s still has plenty of get up and go, as coun­try mu­sic fans in Broadbeach will dis­cover

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - NEWS - SALLY COATES

Wher­ever you are in the world, if you ut­ter the words “I been rid­ing through the desert ...” there’s a strong chance some­one will fin­ish with “on a horse with no name”. For hours af­ter, the im­pos­si­bly catchy “na nas” will echo through your head.

The man be­hind that song, lead singer of Amer­ica Gerry Beck­ley, will touch down in Broadbeach for this week­end’s Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, but un­for­tu­nately not on horse.

“No, I won’t be rid­ing a horse there,” he laughs.

While Aus­tralia is not un­fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory for Beck­ley, he’s ex­cited to head­line the fes­ti­val.

“My wife is Aus­tralian so I split my time be­tween Syd­ney and LA, but this time it’s for work. We’ve en­joyed the GC for years. The last time was at Jupiters, which I be­lieve goes by The Star now, so I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing you all again.

“I’m told the Gold Coast has quite a rich his­tory with coun­try mu­sic, which is great, and I’ve heard great things about the fes­ti­val it­self.”

Amer­ica’s songs might not scream coun­try mu­sic, but as Gerry says, their style of mu­sic tran­scends any sin­gle genre.

“Now we’re called clas­sic rock, of course, back in the day it couldn’t be clas­sic rock be­cause it hadn’t had time to be­come clas­sic,” he says.

“But rock is al­ways di­vided into cer­tain sub­groups and coun­try rock is one of those that we fall into.

“I think we cross gen­res a lit­tle bit, but we cer­tainly have coun­try-es­que ma­te­rial. A lot of coun­try you hear now is based on bands like the Ea­gles and our­selves from the ’70s.

“Kind of meld­ing easy lis­ten­ing and main­stream with a strong dose of coun­try.”

There’s a solid back­log of mu­sic to choose from, so if you’ve got an ob­scure Amer­ica favourite you might miss out on hear­ing it live, but there’ll be plenty more to sing along to.

“One thing about do­ing mu­sic for 47 years is you’re never short of va­ri­ety,” Gerry says. “What we’ve got will fit nicely in the coun­try mu­sic cat­e­gory.

“Our show is ba­si­cally the same from night to night – our own songs, a few cov­ers, our big­gest hits – but we’re good at go­ing with the flow by now.

“I guar­an­tee peo­ple can’t re­mem­ber all of our songs but as we go through the list and there’s quite a few that peo­ple for­got about. The cov­ers are a se­cret, we’ve gotta have some se­crets.”

What isn’t a se­cret is the no­tion that some older mu­sos hit the road purely to pay off a tax bill or fund a new ven­ture, but not Gerry and his band­mate Dewey Bun­nell.

“That is the case some­times,” he says. “But the peo­ple I know, we do it be­cause we love it. It doesn’t mean we don’t have fam­i­lies to sup­port and bills to pay, but we’re not look­ing at how quickly we can re­tire.

“We’re for­tu­nate to be the ones who do what we love.” Amer­ica, Broadbeach Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, Surf Pa­rade Stage, Sun­day at 5.40pm

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