A Happy Christmas and New year to everyone. Thanks for all the cards. Carol and I feel quite guilty about our Christmas mail. It's not that it's behind... it just plain didn't happen! The mass of touring; the new albums and their attendant publicity; the demands inherent in graphic arts firms this year and Josephine, as she enters the 'terrible twos'; were all just a bit much. Still we were very grateful for all the cards that came our way and dutifully hung those blessings across the cotton strings which criss-cross our house and are so much a part of the Aussie Christmas tradition.
Well, what a year 1996 was. To quote Dickens "It was the best of times... It was the worst of times'. Starting with 75,000 'alternate lifestylers' dancing under the moon in a tropical setting with a 70 ft. wicker man burning wildly at midnight at The Maleny Folk Festival; the year only hotted up from there.
A Tasmanian Coach Tour. with 40 of our fan/friends organised by Steve Dobbie occupied the early part of January in the run up to what was an equally frenetic Tamworth Festival. Pete, who received his first final nomination last year and with The Bushwackers, is grand finalist in two categories again this year. The Bushwackers have a new album and Pete was officially signed by ABC Records in May.
Katoomba ran it's Inaugural Folk Festival in February which was a big success with international and local acts contibuting. I hope to see a few of you in my hometown again this February. It's a great event and a welcome addition to the Festival calendar.
Early in February I went in to do some Video 'voice overs' in at eldest son, Matthew's, multi media firm BIG Media. I answered some phone calls by mistake and accidentally sold some major work for them. Like most things that I seem to blunder into; it grew like topsy. Suddenly I seemed to be working there full time. One of the projects we did together was for Workcover Australia, an eighteen language, twenty occupation, multi media extravaganza finished up winning the Silver Seraph Award, a major government award for technical innovation in industry. In the middle of all of that, The Canowindra Project; which resulted in a CD and huge balloon Festival complete with a 14 storey Kookaburra hot air balloon; landed on my desk at home, so it was July before I could extricate myself from BIG Media and begin the long awaited new Album.
Despite meeting tight delivery schedules for other people all year, my own project overshot it's deadlines with such a breathtaking time lag it missed it's own launch and was only delivered to me in Tamworth three weeks into it's national promotional tour... almost too late for the the close of nominations for Tamworth.
Perhaps it was delivered too late to develop any profile for this year's awards; or perhaps it's a bit of comment on the current trends in Country Music; but despite strong sales and good reviews, 'Of Wheels and Wires' failed to secure even a single final nomination. We were devastated. It wasn't a good way to finish the year.
Still we battle on. In December we celebrated twenty years in entertainment. "20 years without a real Job" was how we termed the event, and it was a pretty unusual day; a tour through that history, it's disappointments and euphoria, by way of the songs I had written along the way. Thanks to all who shared it.
On the Home Front Meghan's saxophone continues to dominate our existence . At least we could always lock Peter and his drums in a room and close the door, confident that he couldn't follow us around with them, but the sax is portable!!! Matthew and Naomi are coming up on their second wedding anniversary and, on May 13th, Carol and I will have been married for 25 years; a measure, I assure you, more of her tolerance than of any virtue of my own. Yamaha Drums has launched Peter onto the Clinic circuit as their 'young Gun' and he will be touring both Canada and the US this coming year.
I have been booked both for Port fairy andMildura this year so more time in Victoria than Queensland looks likely and the year ahead seems to be full of promise. The Kids album that I have wanted to do for some time is a step closer; due to the hard disc recording technology that the 'kids' have been 'fine tuning' this holidays.
There is at least some good camping to be squeezed in among the tours and, like last year, tandem gigs with Dead Ringers, The Bushwackers, Allan Caswell and Felicity Urquhart are all things to be looked forward too.
God Bless you all. I hope to see you in the New Year.
Pat Carol and Family