A lit­tle Wil­lie and gui­tar

‘Sounds more like Wil­lie than Wil­lie does’

Stanthorpe Border Post - - NEWS - Matthew Pur­cell Matthew.Pur­cell@bor­der­post.com.au

HE’S played for the Queen, spent time with his like­ness and, for the bet­ter part of 15 years, toured the coun­try to ac­claim.

Bruce McCum­stie is well-known around

Aus­tralia for his per­for­mances over many years, pay­ing trib­ute to the life and mu­sic of Wil­lie Nel­son.

His lat­est out­ing will come on Satur­day night when he hits the stage in Stan­thorpe for the Leg­ends of the Opre show­case as part of the Johnny Cash Coun­try Fes­ti­val.

For­merly of Tam­worth but now re­sid­ing in Kal­bar, McCum­stie said it was an hon­our to be in­cluded on the fes­ti­val bill.

“A great hon­our. I’m a singer song­writer but for many years I’ve been do­ing trib­utes to Wil­lie Nel­son.

“This par­tic­u­lar show has re­ally sort of been thrown to­gether for the fes­ti­val.

“It’s a one off re­ally. “We’ve all been do­ing trib­ute stuff on and off, my­self I’ve been do­ing it for sort of 15 years,” he said.

Other per­form­ers will do ren­di­tions of Merle Hag­gard, Carl Perkins and oth­ers – all backed by the Ten­nessee Drifters Show Band.

McCum­stie said his love for Wil­lie dated back a long time.

“I was a fan from many, many, may years back... half cen­tury. I’ve al­ways just been a fan of his writ­ing. “It’s a bit weird in a way.

“I was at­tracted to a lot of early songs that he wrote with­out know­ing he’d writ­ten them.

“I thought that Patsy Cline wrote Crazy, Faron Young wrote Four Walls and Roy Or­bi­son wrote Pretty Pa­per.

“It wasn’t for a num­ber of years that it dawned on me like a load of bricks that so many of th­ese songs I loved were writ­ten by Wil­lie.

“I was lis­ten­ing to an in­ter­view with him (Wil­lie) not that long ago, be­cause my big­gest in­flu­ence from way back was Frank Si­na­tra.

“The in­ter­viewer asked Wil­lie who his big­gest mu­si­cal in­flu­ence was and he said Si­na­tra.

“I thought okay, it’s start­ing to piece to­gether.”

Dubbed fondly as “the man Wil­lie Nel­son sings like”, McCum­stie has had op­por­tu­ni­ties to spend time with the mu­sic icon.

“I’ve been for­tu­nate to spend a bit of time with him, but mainly I spent quite a bit of time with his band at dif­fer­ent times and they’ve told me a lot about him.”

Look­ing ahead to Satur­day’s 6.30pm gig, McCum­stie can’t wait to don the head­band and hit the stage.

“I al­ways get ex­cited about play­ing with good mu­si­cians.

“The great thing about fes­ti­vals is some­times you only get to see some of th­ese peo­ple ev­ery 12 months and catch up and share a stage with them. There’s a lovely brother­hood among mu­si­cians, es­pe­cially in coun­try mu­sic.

“I think it’s great what they’re do­ing with this fes­ti­val be­cause Cash was iconic and unique and just a won­der­ful man,” he said.

“He was the real deal.”

There’s a lovely brother­hood among mu­si­cians, es­pe­cially in coun­try mu­sic.

— Bruce McCum­stie

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

HIGHWAYMAN: Bruce McCum­stie will take the stage as Wil­lie Nel­son at this Satur­day’s Cash fes­ti­val.

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