February 2014

Hi Folks
February was notable for two reasons. One being the release of our second duo album and the other being our trip to Australia to once again perform at the Barham Country Music Stampede. We collected our new cd “Try a Little Kindness” on the Friday before we flew out to Aussie. We had our fingers crossed that all would be correct on the cd cover. We had approved the draft copy but you are still a little nervous. Stebbings had done a great job though thanks to the good management of Hazel Lamb throughout the project. The photos Jackie and Helen had taken for the cover were great and Joanna had done an awesome job on the graphic design. The whole thing looked and sounded absolutely fabulous if I can use that term. Thanks to Mike at Manuka Studios and the excellent work done by all the musicians on the album. We are really happy with the final result. On Saturday morning we flew out to Australia.

We were met at Melbourne airport by our friends Rod and Margaret McCarthy who had kindly offered to pick us up and take us back to their place for the night before heading up to Barham. We first met Rod and Margaret in 2011 when we first went to Barham. Rod and his friend Peter make wooden toys as a hobby to sell at the markets. They are known as “The Toy Boys”. Peter and his wife Robyn would also be in Barham for the festival. Rod and Margaret took us on a walking tour of, Kyneton, the town where they live and where Rod grew up. Kyneton is an old gold mining town about an hour north of Melbourne and has a population of approx. 2500 people. It has many old buildings some made of the original blue stone that many buildings were made of back in the day.

Rod and Margaret put us up for the night and on Sunday morning we all headed up to Barham with the caravan in tow.

Barham 2014 029We arrived in Barham at about 11:00am and as we were ahead of schedule we decided to go to the caravan park and help set up the caravan and annex. The whole gang had arrived and set up. Peter and Robyn and Helen and Graeme, Margaret’s sister and her husband, were all ready for a week of dancing and country music.

Sunday afternoon, after catching up with our Aussie mum and dad, Barb and Dale Goldsmith who had travelled over from Adelaide to join us for the week and to be our transport back to Melbourne, we met up with Ruth Morpeth the festival organizer and settled into our accommodation at Christina Cottage, the same beautiful house we stayed in during our 2012 visit, and organized ourselves for the week ahead. We performed over 25 forty minute shows from Monday through until the following Sunday in the auditorium and in the coffee shop. We met a lot of artists that had not been at previous festivals. These included; The Battlers, Michael and Shaun an Uncle and nephew duo, Terry Leonard and Rick Charles both Elvis impersonators, Jono Nicholson Terry’s protégé, Matt Burke a singer/songwriter from Bendigo,Graham Hugo, Rod Williams, Justin Standley a previous Norfolk Is contestant in the Trans-Tasman and X Factor finalist and Cindy Doherty. We also caught up with some familiar faces as well; George Farnham, Kim Ritchie and husband John, Sandi Dodds, Geoff Evans, Anthony Tenace also the sound man in the auditorium again this year and Kerran and Karan from the backing band Denva who with Peter on drums did a great job of backing the artists from Friday until Sunday’s finale which was a real hoot. There were some interesting impersonations Graham Hugo as Kenny Rogers only had to take his hat off, George Farnham as himself, he got that spot on, Joyce Yates as a heavy metaler from back in the day certainly a sight to see, Joyce never fails to surprise, Sandi Dodd and Justin Standley with an awesome rendition of a collection of songs from the movie “Grease” and Annette and Kim as the legendary June Carter and Johnny Cash.We also managed to catch two great concerts during the week. On Monday night Dwayne Elix performed his one man show with tributes to Buddy Holly and Hank Williams. Dwayne is also a multi-instrumentalist and performed a banjo set but also plays guitar, mandolin, dobro and accordion. On Tuesday night our good friend Wayne Horsburgh  performed his show singing a variety of songs from Frank Ifield, Slim Whitman and Marty Robbins. This was a very polished show and very enjoyable. Wayne has spent more than 20 years performing in America including his own shows at Branson. It was great to catch up with Wayne again both he and Dwayne stayed with us at Christina Cottage.Then, before we knew it the week was over and we had to think about heading home. It was a fantastic week of singing and watching everyone enjoy themselves on the dance floor. Thank you all for your support we had a great time and look forward to seeing you all again next year.

On Monday morning we tiki toured back to Melbourne with Dale and Barb down through Maldon where we stopped for lunch. Maldon is another gold mining town from back in the day which has retained the original shop frontages. Then it was down through Castlemaine and Daylesford stopping off at Geelong beach where Annette had her first ride on a ferris wheel, check out the photos of that ride. We also stopped in to see Dale’s brother Grant and his wife Sherril before heading back to the beach for dinner and then into Melbourne to find a motel and prepare for the flight home.

We were at the airport early on Tuesday to check in, said our goodbyes with not too many tears, and headed through the gate to find our plane arriving in Auckland at about 4:00 o’clock and that was that. We were home.

Keep it Country

Annette & Kim