How The West Was (Probably Not) Won (This time… but may well be one day) - Part 4

What a journey (for us all, I suspect!) - here is Part 4

Gig #4 – Coonamble 

Outback Arts did so much work in putting this tour together and have been especially encouraging of my ideas of bringing original music to their slice of NSW it seemed fitting that we’d finish our run at their Outback Archies Awards Night. I was fortunate enough to have played the same night last year and have a lot of fun doing it. 

Between Lightning Ridge and Coonamble we made a stop in Walgett so Dale could run a percussion workshop with his trusty Djembe. These workshops were the daytime activities between and at each stop and not being a basically capable percussionist, gave me a chance to play audience member. And I was impressed. When you know people for 86% of your life surprises rarely present themselves but I got a (another?) lesson from D.R. Freeman here. You can know how to play an instrument and be entertaining but knowing its story, where it comes from, how it was woven into the fabric of peoples’ existence and how you can translate that into a new story – that’s what makes you a musician. Our workshop attendees could see that, every day, and they were enthralled. I am taking notes. 

Background music as it may have been, playing in an art gallery is its own test. Most of my vocals were performed an octave lower (some felt inaudible!) and you get to play with your own arrangements a little more, I enjoyed the challenge and the crowd mentioned a few nice things – some even remembered me from last year. Or remembered the Cole Clark more precisely. The funniest conversation was with a bloke who was at his first art exhibition and wasn’t sure if it was the correct etiquette to stand and watch the band rather than walk around. I assured him we were fine being the centre of attention. 

Lesson #4 

I often run short of words trying to explain how much I live making music. It pumps blood through my veins and air through my lungs. It can be hard work and if you’re not prepared for that you’re cheating your audience, be it the mirror in your bathroom, your family & friends or a packed venue full of strangers. Many of my songs are the stories of my life and I love telling those stories but I’m also starting to realise the power of you connected my songs with your stories too… and that’s incredible. 

Thanks to Outback Arts for supporting the tour. Thanks to the publicans who gave original music a place in the west and to Mr Dale Freeman for his lessons (musical and life), insight and talent. 

Most of all thanks to everyone who gave me their time listening to songs they’ve never heard, to the people who shared their stories. I’ll be back real soon – if you’ll have me?

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