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1) Nick quietly dazzles the purists with his picking 2) Geoff assumes the pose and delivers
gig report
Wed. 21.12.16 Lomond Acoustica The Lomond Hotel East Brunswick
Biggish crowd spoils the gig
22.12.16 -
Of course, it's churlish to suggest that the extra bodies dragged into the room last night by the presence of Geoff Achison on the bill spoilt the night, but I mean it only in a very narrow sense. Consider that it's all about ME and you might get the picture.
Anyway, I was first up, which I don't usually mind as it means I get home at a reasonable hour, but on this occasion I'd been advised that it would be 'nice' if I were to hang around till the end of play and join in a few numbers with Nick Charles (pic 1) and the night's headliner, Geoff Achison. (pic 2)
Re' any jamming, I certainly wasn't going to mix it with a couple of consummate guiitar players like Nick and Geoff, so I offered to fill in with any key blues harp.they could conjure up and stay in the background, if indeed I was required at all.
But, back to my set. I had actually done some practise that afternoon so I shouldn't be too rusty, but I hadn't counted on the extra adrenaline that a) a bit of a crowd provides and b) recently going off my beta-blocker medication provides.
I'll work on that, but it made for a brittle performance with a bundle of dropped notes as well as a botched couple of verses, so I was quite relieved when Geoff told me he'd missed my entire set.
Being dissatisfied with my own performance didn't get in the way of my appreciation of the work of my two paisley-shirted companions. Nick's a seasoned Wednesday night acoustic sessions performer with whom I've worked before and was his usual quietly accomplished self, but Geoff Achison was a revelation.
I've seen him in the band context previously, but from what he told me he does even more solo work these days - and it shows. He had quite a group of followers in the room who obviously adore what he does and he didn't (as I'm sure he never does) let them down. Completely self-assured and with a bag of technique show stoppers for every song, plus some surprisingly nuanced chordal combinations that belie the one-dimesional ace blues guitarist tag, and all of this augmented with a cheeky stage presence and sense of humour.
The Paisley Brothers' jam at the end of the night was well appreciated and quite a bit of fun, even for me. However, when it came to playing in Nick's 'people's friend' key of F, I had to pull out my Bb harp, which hasn't been used in this century and most of the last. I'm pretty sure it was full of some funghus or other and I could barely get a note out of it. I shan't make such rash claims in future without giving all my harps a damn good wash first.


Helen Jennings fiddles in an unfamiliar studio at PBS FM
PBS interview with Geoff Achison happens
14.12.16 -
Apart from the solo Lomond Acoustica gig next week, there's nothing on the horizon for me or my bands (!) until the New Year. The first gig off the rank is the Mornington Peninsula Blues Sessions Summer Showcase at the Peninsula Community Theatre on Saturday the 4th of February with Lloyd Spiegel, Geoff Achison and Cass Eager.
Geoff and I appeared on the Helen Jennings' Roots of Rhythm show on PBS this morning to help promote the gig. I'd been asked to maybe play a song live to air with Geoff, but in the event he arrived empty handed so my harps were redundant. We had a nice chat anyway..

1) Last DCs standing 2) Mallard spotted on George's wine glass
gig report
Thurs.. 8.12.16 Dunks' funeral & 1st BASE at the Mallard
1st BASE gig seems to impress
9.12.16 - Thursdays are usually pretty predictable affairs, but yesterday's version was an exception. M and I began the day at a funeral/celebration for the nicest of the Nice Guys, Wayne 'Dunks' Duncan, a congenial affair held at The Caravan Club. Another bass player gone, and one with whom I've recently been on stage in Champs' Cool Rockin' Daddies - as recently as the 11th of this month in Ocean Grove, in fact.
The rain was persistent all day and it was both wet and cool when I arrived at the Spotted

Mallard to find George next to the stage chatting with his old friend and our host, Second Line's Peter Leman.
The space was much larger than I was expecting and full of character, from the parquet floor to the coloured leadlight dome over the middle of the room. We were allowed the luxury of an extended soundcheck with the sound engineer, Joe Ferguson, who clearly knows his stuff.
In the grand rock and roll tradition there was a bit of hanging around, but the next thing I knew I was bolting down a very tasty serve of 'caps' (I'd not heard that description before) while Skyscraper Stan plied his droll fare (I liked it) before i mounted the sensible Mallard stage in company with my new-ish musical buddies, George and Jeremy.
It wasn't until we were well into our 75 minute set that it dawned on me something was happening that hadn't been apparent in the rehearsals - for one, there were actual dynamics happening! Not that we were ever going to be loud, with a nylon-string guitar, piano accordion and double bass, but the quiet bits were really quiet!
As much as we were enjoying ourselves, you never know how things have actually gone until that straight-from-the-heart critique from Maria and your best friends. Speaking of which, and in a touching gesture of solidarity, the Spectrum chaps, Broc, Robbo (and Keaton), Daryl (and Deb) were all present, as were my good friends Martyn Sullivan, Alana Gee and Natasha Marich.
Thankfully I gather it did go very well, given the uniformly glowing reports, which is very good news for we three musical adventurers. Now for some more gigs!


Colin Hay was a surprise guest and sang Downunder
gig report
Sun. 4.12.16 Spectrum at the Bones' benefit The Memo St Kilda
Bones' concert goes through the roof
5.12.16 - It was getting oppressively hot as I drove round in ever-widening circles trying to find a parking spot somewhere near the Memo. It was a good five minute's walk away, but at least I didn't have to pay.
We were on at 2.00 and it wasn't until near the end of the set I realised I'd left my G harp at home - and we were never going to get away without playing I'll Be Gone.
Fortunately, Justin Brady, one of the show's organisers and a harp player himself, came to my rescue and provided me with one of his harps. Unforgivable of me - the mouth-organ is such personal instrument.
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