Tamworth 2017 in Review

I am just back from the festival and the Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth, and drawing breath after all the activities during the past week.  I was honoured to be asked to receive the prestigious Songmaker Award from the Tamworth Songwriters’ Association on behalf of Tony Brooks.  Tony was a wonderful lyric writer, and we first met him in Mount Isa in Western Queensland in the ‘sixties.  Over the years, he wrote many lyrics for Slim to record, and the resulting songs varied from bush to trucks to fishing.  A plaque bearing his name and details of his work will now be mounted with other winners. The framed certificate is now on its way to W.A. to Tony’s son, Kim who is very proud to receive it on behalf of the family.
The Back to the Bush concert organised by Dianne Lindsay and husband Peter Simpson was a huge success with an even bigger crowd attending than last year, if possible.  I drew the winning ticket for the raffle of the beautiful D’Angelo guitar donated by Di and Peter with the support of the makers and the music importer Jack’s Music.
Anne’s Family and Friends concert at the Balladeers’ Homestead was a full house with our visiting Napa Valley USA friends clapping hard …like me, of course.  Rod Coe plus James and Flora (did I tell you Jim and Flora were married last October?) had a great time, with guest appearances of Anne’s cousins Dianne and Sandra Lindsay plus Pete, joining in to present a McKean Sisters spot of harmony singing and yodelling.
Anne, with Ami Williamson and Tania Kernaghan also presented a three girl show that same afternoon in a different venue, and once again, a full house with an audience standing up and calling “more, more” when the girls finished the show.  Don’t think they’d prepared an encore, though!
Jim and Flora, with their band ‘Small Town Romance’ had a great gig at the Longyard front stage on Saturday and finished off their festival with a closing appearance on Sunday.  I was particularly interested to see their bass player was a girl, Alex.   The blokes on lead guitar and drums were terrific too…but I must say, as a long retired bass player of indifferent ability, I loved seeing Alex really pounding it out up there. It’s an interesting line-up actually.  Flora plays terrific Tex-Mex style button accordion, so the ladies are well represented in the band.   By the way, if you didn’t get to see them at the festival, ‘Small Town Romance’ is appearing on February 26th at Marrickville Bowling Club. I will be lining up for that one, for sure.
Congratulations to all the winners of Golden Guitars on Saturday night, too many for me to list here. Such a display of talented writers, musicians and singers and such a great night of performances by so many different and contrasting styles of music and presentation.  The Roll of Renown presentation has now returned to its original position of being awarded during the Golden Guitar Awards night.  I was asked to be a co-presenter with Max Ellis, and it made my night to be able to make the announcement that Troy Cassar-Daly was the recipient for 2017.
I know this is becoming a newsletter, but I haven’t been able to keep contact as much as I would like, and there has been so much happening here and up at the Slim Dusty Centre.   Dick and Pip Smith landed in their helicopter on the front grassy paddock at the Centre on the 16th January, welcomed by a very excited crowd of visitors plus cameras and reporters everywhere.  I should have some photos to share with you.
Our new exhibition is opening on Friday 3rd February in the Nulla Gallery at the Centre.  Angus McNeil was the town photographer in Kempsey for many, many years in the days when negatives were made of glass.  After his death, no one thought for a long time to wonder what had become of all those photos he had taken over a lifetime.  Eventually, they were found in a backyard shed, and luckily they were found by someone who realised their historical value.  The Macleay Valley Historical Museum  helped rescue them and has catalogued and stored about 30,000 of them.  Many early photos of Slim were taken by Angus McNeil, as were photos of Slim’s grandmother, Nurse Kirkpatrick, who opened the very first maternity hospital in the Macleay Valley in Kempsey.
Have a look at the description of the exhibition, and put it on your visiting list when you call at the Centre. See you all soon….either online or at the Slim Dusty Centre!
Until next time,

Photos taken by Marg Wilson