A little Willie and guitar
‘Sounds more like Willie than Willie does’
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
HIGHWAYMAN: Bruce McCumstie will take the stage as Willie Nelson at this Saturday’s Cash festival.