Rob Joass re­turns for city show

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

Dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on Na­tional Ra­dio’s Fri­day Live, host Jim Mora called Rob Joass the hard­est work­ing mu­si­cian in New Zealand. He writes, tours, teaches gui­tar, pro­duces al­bums, and can be found be­hind a mix­ing desk live and in the stu­dio when time al­lows.

Rob moved to New Zealand from his na­tive Syd­ney more than 25 years ago. Since then he has main­tained a high pro­file in folk mu­sic cir­cles, hav­ing re­leased 10 al­bums with his bands Hob­nail, Too Many Chiefs and The Shot Band, and tour­ing the coun­try reg­u­larly. He has been a fi­nal­ist at the NZ mu­sic awards three times (twice for best coun­try song, once for best folk al­bum) and has had songs cov­ered by bands in New Zealand and Canada.

Last year proved to be busy, with Too Many Chiefs re­leas­ing and tour­ing their de­but al­bum, and Hob­nail record­ing, re­leas­ing and em­bark­ing on a na­tional tour in sup­port of their sev­enth al­bum Blue Sky Songs.

Next year will be Hob­nail’s 25th an­niver­sary, with a na­tional tour and “Best Of” al­bum planned. This year was sup­posed to be one of plan­ning, prepa­ra­tion and re­cu­per­a­tion. But Rob had these songs that were de­mand­ing to see the light of day, so it was off to the stu­dio again.

This Fri­day Rob is in Wan­ganui, show­cas­ing songs from his new solo al­bum, Pen­car­row, plus play­ing high­lights from across his ca­reer.

He will be play­ing at Lucky Bar + Kitchen with Hamish Gra­ham and Mur­ray Costello.

Paul Brooks asked Rob some ques­tions:

■ You’re a busy man. Be­tween your solo work, Hob­nail and The Shot Band, you must be writ­ing, record­ing and per­form­ing like a mad man. Do you in­tend to keep it up with all three or do you see a solo ca­reer as your fu­ture?

Hob­nail is cel­e­brat­ing their 25th an­niver­sary next year with a tour and ‘Best Of’ al­bum, so that will be a big pri­or­ity in the sec­ond half of the year. The Shot Band is on hia­tus but I also work with fel­low song­writ­ers An­drew Lon­don, Laura Collins and Wayne Ma­son in a group called Too Many Chiefs and we’ll be do­ing some tour­ing (in­clud­ing Whanganui) next year as well. Oh, and peo­ple in Whanganui with long mem­o­ries might re­mem­ber The Boys of Bed­lam. That was the first band I joined when I moved to New Zealand from Oz in the early 90s. A few of us have got­ten to­gether with a cou­ple of mem­bers of Ban­shee Reel to re­visit the old days of hard out Celtic mu­sic in a band called County Hell. So I guess that an­swers your ques­tion, at least for the short term. Long term, who knows? I love solo work, but I love my bands as well, and the va­ri­ety keeps things fresh.

■ There seem to be di­verse in­flu­ences in your writ­ing as well as the ob­vi­ous strong orig­i­nal­ity. Is there a par­tic­u­lar style you like or a song writer you es­pe­cially favour?

I’m pri­mar­ily a singer/ song­writer, and I’m a fan of peo­ple like Paul Kelly, Steve Earle, Barry Saun­ders and Ryan Adams. But in Hob­nail we came out of play­ing Ir­ish bars and that gave me an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Celtic mu­sic, and in re­cent years Amer­i­cana mu­sic has been a big in­flu­ence, es­pe­cially song­writ­ers like Ja­son Is­bell and John More­land.

■ I love your song a great mix of good melody, strong lyrics and nice, driv­ing gui­tar work. What can we ex­pect from the rest of the tracks on the al­bum —

Well thank you. I’d like to think the whole al­bum is loaded with good melody and strong lyrics, as I do spend a lot of time on the songs in the writ­ing and ar­rang­ing process. The al­bum is split be­tween band songs and more acous­tic ar­range­ments, and I do love the sound of gui­tars (I’ve also been teach­ing gui­tar for many years) so most ar­range­ments are strong on gui­tar.

■ Any­thing you want to add be­fore your Whanganui gig?

The first gig I ever played in New Zealand was in Whanganui, and over the years I have prob­a­bly played there more than any other town out­side of Welling­ton. From the Upokon­garo Ho­tel to The Castle­cliff Club, The Celtic Arms, Bar­ris­ters, The Grand Ho­tel, Moose McGil­licuddy’s, The Red Lion, The Waito­tara Ho­tel, The Sav­age Club, many pri­vate func­tions, and Hob­nail even played in the square to about 8000 peo­ple for the mil­len­nium. So I love play­ing to Wan­ganui au­di­ences, and Lucky is a great ad­di­tion to that list. I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing there.


Rob Joass comes to Whanganui this week.

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