After the last newsletter this one might seem a little tame. With the exception of a few brief weekends away, it has been a reasonably domestic quarter. The upcoming four months however are among the most formidable I have attempted and will probably test the new Ford Transit and I, to the fullest.
April kicked off with a teaming of the Craigs in Stereo (Craig Giles and Craig Byrne) Nicole Brophy and I at The Huskisson RSL. As usual Nicole sang like an angel. A big house and an appreciative one made for a great night. Congratulations to the Huskie Lions on the night.
Returning to Sydney for an appearance with the full band at The Guildford Leagues Club we greeted, however, with a somewhat disappointing turnout. Perhaps Southern Sydney fans might help us by letting us know your preferred South-western venue. It remains a difficult area for us in the face of such success elsewhere. We are returning to the club in the last week of September.
A lot of folks who attended the very wet National Folk Festival at Easter remarked on my absence,two years in row. I do apologise, but I had an offer from the Griffith Wine Festival and I thought to myself Folk? Wine? Folk? Wine? Wine ! Wine!! What can I say?
Griffith, in South West NSW has had some bad press in recent years, but it is actually a lovely town whose wine making skills are quite formidable. Enjoying great weather for the most part, it was more than worth the visit. The verdict? A very enjoyable event; despite some hiccups (and what else would you expect at a wine festival?) A big thanks to Maria Grahame for the event
May started very slowly and then ended with a deluge of last minute bookings which were far too late to gain a mention in the gig guide. The final week was a marathon which took me 2300kms to Narooma on the NSW South Coast then Northwest to The Moree Cotton Growers Agricultural Fair and finally back to Sydney for the Blacktown Festival and my favourite gig of the month... at St Anthony in the Fields Catholic Church in Terry Hills.
It had been twenty years since I had last visited and the community was as vibrant and active as I remembered it to be. Thanks to Sharon Gaffney, who did a great job on the organisational front and to Father Tom for letting us reorganise his church for the night!
The church had special memories for me. Last time I played there it was with my old friend, environmentalist and ABC Earthworm presenter, Dr. Peter Hunt. He was also a great flautist. He and I regularly descended on churches with a twenty-piece that included among others, Glen Barwick and a very young Ivor Davies, of Icehouse fame, on oboe.
The night was also special since it saw my brother Ron back on stage with me for the first time in a while. It was terrific to see some older 'Skooldaze' friends from the Northern beaches in the crowd... although some folks were not quite sure what to make of a concert in church!
June brought three major events. The Australian Bush Music festival at Kiama is one of only three specifically Australian Music Festivals in the country. As usual, the indefatigable Dave De Santi and the Wongawilli Group produced a wonderful and important gathering.
One of the many highlights for me was a duet set with Karen Lynne Frencham, whose new album 'Labour of Love' is one of the most charming folk/country albums I have heard.
Keith McHenry's workshop on the origins of the Australian Folk Music revival in the sixties was a classic. Brilliantly researched, it was greatly enhanced by the live performances of many of the festivals performers. Except for one bespectacled singer who had best remain nameless, and who completely forgot the lyric to 'The Ballad of the '91', they were all sober and 'compus mentus', an amazing feat after three days of Guinness.
The Pat Drummond 'justify your existence' songwriters circle brought some great surprises; including a young Wollongong writer, Simone Bartlett whose songs were immensely complex and lyrical; and dealt with some very sophisticated concepts for one so young. Dave Steel (ex-Weddings, Parties, Anything) and partner Kavisha were also very articulate in the 'hot seat', as was the Aboriginal writer and activist Bobby McCloud. Another highlight was Duncan Chalmers, whose unflagging idealism in the face of my somewhat cynical inquisition brought a burst of spontaneous applause from the audience.
Well.... it was my job to play devil's advocate...and I think that the circle really wrestled with 'the expressive' versus 'the communicative' dilemma that Art always faces. In the main the songwriter is never publicly challenged about such things and I think that it is good to be challenged by your peers from time to time. This event is certainly not one in which to be found with your rationale around your ankles.
The find of the Festival was, for me, Neil Adams,whose song 'Yellow Shoes' is an absolute current favourite. Quirky and passionate Neil's songs are a great addition to our ongoing development as writers.
The Wine Tour of the Hunter Valley was a relaxing finish to the month. Old fans and new joined Carol, Josie and I at The Traveller's Rest Motel at Cessnock for two days of wine and song. Both nights were very well attended with a strong local contingent.
It was, however, worlds away from the Drummond Disorderly Tour of the early nineties. Decidedly refined and civilised, none of the patrons were found stage diving from the second floor balcony at midnight. Chardonnay and Strawberries replaced The Berocca Jamming Championships of the former years. We all grow old, I suppose. Back in Sydney June finished with a combined Anne Kirkpatrick-Pat Drummond Double Bill at Blacktown Workers which saw Anne and I dueting on 'The Old Time Country Show' as well as trotting out some country classics from our childhood.
The next Quarter kicks off with some formidable touring. With my brother Ron, I travel west to Renmark to record and perform with SA Music Award winner Jeanette Wormald and my younger brother Geoff then after some gigs in Adelaide, we head North with old mate and ex-Redgum frontman, John Schumann for a concert and some bushwalking in Wilpena Pound. That's followed by a week through the Simpson Desert with the South Dubbo Rotary Group including three concerts under the Stars and a one at the infamous Birdsville Pub...and that's just the beginning. The stuff of dreams!
As you can see, the Internet Website is currently expanding with a series of Photos from the Road and an Editorial and Letters to Editors Column on issues of current concern. Wav. files for sound and new animations from Matthew will hit the WEB later this month. We are now negotiating with our publishers to be allowed to add music and lyrics. Drop in again soon.
On The Home Front,
Honourable No 1 daughter, took the 'hot tapping' lead role in the school musical. (Photos on the Web soon) A very professional production of 'Dames at Sea' which is a love story about a tap dancer and a sailor. One of those fluffy Broadway bits where the sailor gets the girl in the end....except this time he really did! The onstage kisses got longer over five nights of the performance. By the curtain on the final night, I was timing proceedings on my stopwatch; and Meghan had that vague daffiness about her that I always associate with her new relationships. Shades of Peter!
Number one son, Matthew, amazed us all with his Macintosh G3 computer generated animations in The ABC Inside Story's 'Rumble in the Jungle' Documentary which went to air nationally in June. The sequences re-created the travels of a giant meteor from it's appearance at the outer limits of the solar system to it's cataclysmic impact in the jungles of South America in the I930's. As a result of the industry reaction to those sequences he has now been invited to provide special effects for some scenes in the new Keanu Reeves movie "Network" which is currently being shot in Australia. Matthews wife Naomi is well and the birth our first grandchild is due at the end of September.
Bushwackers' drummer, Peter, our second son, has just finalised a new sponsorship deal with UFIP cymbals. DW (Drum Workshop), the large American Drum manufacturer, has also recently approached him with an international sponsorship which would see him as their No 1 Australian Clinician. Peter, who has been with Yamaha for nearly five years, has not ruled out the change.
Carol and I and our 'straggler', Josie, (she's 4 on August 3rd), are making the most of my last month at home for a little while. It is always with mixed emotions these days that I start these tours. The gig guide pretty much says it all. No matter where you live in SA. VIC. Qld. and NSW I'll probably be in your town somewhere between now and November. I look forward to seeing you at the shows.
Till then God Bless
Pat, Carol and The Drummond Family