It has been some time since I did a catch up rave about this and that so here I am. As I type, it’s September 7, I’m on a flight between Perth and Adelaide after performing The Cowgirl and The Showgirl in Geraldton last night. I’m absolutely loving this tour, it showcases the amazing talents of my partner (on stage, in business and in life) Libby O’Donovan. Whilst staying true to our individual genres, we have the opportunity to swap – I get to try being a showgirl and a jazz singer and Libby, too makes a fabulous Country gal. This show is also very funny (I have to try my hardest to hold it together every night) and it’s quite a challenge musically. Our band consists of some of my favourites, Clare O’Meara on piano/keyboard, Andy Toombs on bass and my drummer for a number of years, Ali Foster – they are wonderful and make us sound great! The show is quite a challenge for them too, they work very hard!
The Cowgirl and The Showgirl has taken us to South Australia, Western Australia, a quick trip to the Alice and this coming week, we’ll hit 4 shows in Queensland before closing our tour in Sydney at Slide (one of my fabourite venues in the heart of the beautiful city).
Looking back on this year, we’ve certainly been able to fit a lot in. I hit the ground running after the Tamworth festival in January, a quick trip around the country to open the show, alongside Adam Harvey, for Kenny Rogers. This was such an honour, it wasn’t the first time I’ve toured with Kenny but if we’re to believe the tour’s title (Farewell Downunder), then it will be my last. Some wonderful memories and Kenny and his band and crew could not have been more welcoming and kind. I enjoyed touring with my old friend Adam again (it has been some time) and his very talented band of fellas, including Andy Toombs, Aaron Pye, Rod Motbey and Vaughan Jones were wonderful to make music with.
Before I had a chance to call in home, I put the finishing touches on my ‘Sweet Rebecca’ album before boarding a ship in Sydney for an all female cruise for Olivia. We LOVED it! Myself and my all-gal band consisting of Ali Foster, Robyn Habel and Libby spent 2 weeks cruising Tasmania followed by New Zealand and performed for the most responsive and gorgeous audience. We certainly met some kindred spirits on that boat, the other performers were amazing, it was a pleasure to share their stage. Great, too, to catch up with the Topp Twins, my absolute favourite NZ act. We so look forward to hopping onboard an Olivia Cruise in the future, we’ll let you know when it’s happening, you can join us!
The cruise ended the day before I joined Melinda Schneider to tour our album ‘Great Women Of Country.’ I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed playing those old songs again, most of them were taught to me by my mother as I was growing up. Some of them were already old when I was born! We played some wonderful venues and theatres in WA, Vic, Tas, SA and QLD, there is not a stage that Melinda takes without taking the collective breath of the audience away with her vocal ability, she is truly amazing! As ever, I provided to comic relief but loved, too, putting my stamp on those old tunes, ‘Ode To Billie Joe,’ ‘Coat Of Many Colours’ and ‘The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia’ were amongst them, such great songs to revive.
Great Women Of Country was over in a blink and before I knew it, I was faced with the release of my memoir, ‘Poster Girl,’ through Hachette publishing. My goodness, that was scary. For the best part of 2 years, I sat tapping away on my laptop attempting to tell my life’s story so far. I can’t tell you what a scary feeling it was to know that upon release, some of my deepest and most private memories were to be available to all who cared to read. I still feel my stomach flip when someone says they’ve read my book, they know way more about me than I ever expected to tell!
Fortunately, 5 months later, the feedback from those who have read my book has been positive and complimentary. I think people love truth, they appreciate honesty, it’s such a simple rule.
I didn’t want the grass to grow before releasing new music, it didn’t seem right to have my life’s story out there without a soundtrack! Sweet Rebecca was released through ABC music shortly after my book. I wrote the songs for the album in the couple of weeks following submitting my book’s draft, they were itching to be written!
I love performing the songs from this album, it’s such a personal bunch of memories and stories, it’s as if they’ve flown from the pages of my book. I’m thrilled to say that they first two singles; ‘Broken Soldiers’ and ‘Sweet Rebecca’ both got to the top position on the Country Music Channel chart , I loved making those film clips. We will continue the Sweet Rebecca tour as soon as the Cowgirl and The Showgirl finishes up in Sydney in a couple weeks.
Before we hit the road again, I’m thrilled to say that Libby and myself are taking a couple of weeks to fly to London and perform a couple of shows including one for the European Diversity Awards, and an opening spot for singer/songwriter; Horse, I LOVE her work! We’ll also be doing a little showcase at a venue called ‘Muse,’ we are very excited! Whenever you step out of your comfort zone and take a new path, even for a short time, you are always sure of making lasting memories. Singing my homegrown sons in London, England is a surreal thought at this point, watch this space for my detailed account in week to come!
On the day after our return from the UK, we’ll head back to the beautiful Barossa Valley to do an exclusive and intimate performance at Maggie Beer’s farm in Nuriootpa. I visited the farmhouse recently and it’s just such a wonderful experience for a foodie like me! There is nothing like the combination of fine wine, gourmet food and original music – it makes for a very memorable evening indeed.
On this same weekend, my dear (and only) brother, Matthew will marry the love of his life, Sharyn. I look forward to a rare Saturday night for such a precious family event. Interestingly, the last time my mother, father, their partners and my brother and me were in the same place was at my own wedding in 1997. A photograph of Dad, Carolyn, Mum, Greg, Matthew, Sharyn, Libby and me would mean the world, I’ll let you know if I achieve it!
Just a quick update on exciting things to come:
Sydney Country Music Festival – I’ll be performing on November 1.
Tamworth, 2016 – We are booked to do our usual two shows at Blazes Auditorium, West Leagues. Can’t wait, I have some surprises! Details on my ptour dates page.
Also, with fingers crossed, we’ll be delivering ‘The Cowgirl and The Showgirl’ during the festival as well, stay tuned for details.
In June next year, we have a very exciting trip to Nashville planned and you can come with us! There are still places available for this once in a lifetime trip, head to my news page for more details.
If safari is more your style, join us in South Africa for a very exclusive trip which will include breathtaking experiences AND campfire concerts with myself and Libby. I can’t WAIT for that one! By the way, there are only 16 spots and last I heard, more than ten were already taken, so hurry! Details of this trip are also on my news page.
Lots more dates are being released for next year, keep a look out on our tour dates page for updates… There’s no slowing me down yet!
I’ll end this by wishing my beautiful Grandmother, Gloria, a very happy 96th birthday (Sept 10). My Grandma has made her way into many of my songs including ‘Gloria’s Roses’ and ‘Tea For Three.’ I consider myself so very blessed to have had my Grandma in my life for all of these years. My move back to Adelaide 2 years ago has meant that we can enjoy a weekly cup of tea and catch up, I can’t tell you how precious that is to me.