Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

SPIN Doc­tor is just re­turned from the dust and delir­ium of an­other Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, armed with a few sto­ries, mem­o­ries of some great per­for­mances and only a few men­tal scars from walking down Peel Street when buskers were at their most feral. The an­nual coun­try jam­boree un­der­went a few changes this year, which saw buskers hav­ing to au­di­tion on­line to get a spot on the famed main street, but still the as­sort­ment of en­ter­tain­ment on of­fer ranged from the sub­lime to the ridicu­lous. The se­lec­tion process is to be re­viewed for next year, we hear. Sur­pris­ingly Kasey Cham­bers and Shane Ni­chol­son were the only act to get thrown off Peel Street dur­ing the 10 days, although that was be­cause it was de­cided at the last minute that their free con­cert there could be a health and safety is­sue. Judg­ing by the mas­sive crowd that turned up for their per­for­mance in Bi­cen­ten­nial Park, it was prob­a­bly a good call. As al­ways at Tam­worth, col­lab­o­ra­tion was a key com­po­nent and there were some sub­lime mo­ments, such as Cham­bers and Ni­chol­son join­ing their friend Cather­ine Britt to per­form her song dur­ing her show at The Pub (that’s a venue). Al­most as mov­ing was Britt and rocker Tim Rogers duet­ting on

one of the songs from Britt’s new al­bum, at the 2013 Bush­fires Ap­peal con­cert. Rockhampton’s Busby Marou did a splen­did at the same show and were also reg­u­lar guests at other peo­ple’s per­for­mances. The Hill­billy Killers, a new combo fea­tur­ing Rogers, Britt, and Bill Cham­bers rocked out at their de­but per­for­mances, with Britt show­ing her rock chops as much as Rogers who, in his new coun­try-ish guise, com­plete with cow­boy hat, ap­peared to be en­joy­ing him­self im­mensely. Tra­di­tional coun­try — that is to say what one would call main­stream — is still the big draw­card at Tam­worth, but it’s al­ways re­fresh­ing to find some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent, a lit­tle left-field, in among the tried and trusted favourites. One to watch is 21-year-old Melody Pool. The singer from Kurri Kurri, in the Hunter re­gion of NSW, was the win­ner of the song­writ­ing cat­e­gory in this year’s Tel­stra Road to Dis­cov­ery com­pe­ti­tion. Her sold-out show at the city’s Wests venue was a breath of fresh air, with more than a hint of Joni Mitchell about her songs and her de­liv­ery. She might want to drop from her set be­fore the com­par­isons get out of hand, ac­com­plished though it was. Quite a few in­dus­try fig­ures were in the au­di­ence to see Pool launch her de­but al­bum

which she recorded in Nashville last year. She’s re­leas­ing the al­bum in­de­pen­dently later this month. TEX Perkins, he of the Cruel Sea,

the Dark Horses and many other guises has just do­nated a new song,

to a project aimed at pro­tect­ing and pro­vid­ing sup­port to wildlife park rangers, who are un­der threat in var­i­ous parts of the world — par­tic­u­larly Africa — from poach­ers and mili­tia. More than 1000 rangers have been killed by poach­ers and mili­tia groups in the past 10 years, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Thin Green Line Foun­da­tion. That or­gan­i­sa­tion has put to­gether an al­bum, as a fundraiser for its cam­paign. Aside from Perkins there are tracks from Go­tye, Mia Dyson, Dan Sul­tan, Claire Bowditch, Archie Roach, the John But­ler Trio, Shane Howard, Ash Grun­wald and more. Pro­ceeds go to train­ing pro­grams and sup­port struc­tures for the rangers. You can find out more at www.thin­green­line.org.au

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