The Bush Music Club was founded in 1954 to collect, publish and popularise Australia’s traditional songs, dances, music, yarns, recitations and folklore and to encourage the composition of a new kind of song - one that was traditional in style but contemporary in theme.
Jim Low is a singer/songwriter and author who lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. He was born and raised in North Sydney, leaving the district in 1970 to begin a teaching career in the country.
It is said that he creates and sings songs that get to the heart of the story, entertain and beg to be listened to again. He has a deep interest in Australian history having written books, articles, and school learning materials on Australian themes. Jim has performed his songs in clubs, restaurants, concerts and festivals. He has released a number of CDs and his music has been played throughout Australia and used in documentaries.
Jim’s songs deserve to be heard, folklorist and performer Warren Fahey OAM says. They are genuine story songs that have a direct link to this land and this precious culture of ours. In many ways the songs link us to our history in the same way traditional songs served us in allowing us to record our emotional history.
11th April - Chloe & Jason Roweth
Chloë & Jason Roweth (vocals, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, mandola) have been researching and reinventing Australian bush music / entertainment for over twenty years. The Roweths’ broad repertoire of bush songs allows both the humour and surprising depth of traditional Australian bush ballads, poetry and dance tunes to shine through. They’ve gathered a bulging swag of new material for 2014 - songs of the kitchen, the verandah, the shearers’ huts, the front bar of the local, and the campfire.
Visiting UK/Canadian shanty singer Tom Lewis 2nd from left at the session
9th May - Paul Spencer
Paul Spencer writes quirky comic political folk songs to entertain the activist in you or re-energise the jaded cynic (and sometimes to indulge the cynic, for a bit of fun). Using some folk tunes and some original tunes, Paul’s songs come from the human experience of the social change movement and of living in a world that’s so beautiful, so alarming and so inspiring all at the same time.
Paul was brought up in the folk scene and also sings the old songs. Because he has the folk tradition as his musical background, re-using old tunes and parodying anything and everything is nothing unusual for him. He also composes original tunes to get just the right musical expression for his lyrics. He lists his early songwriting influences as Judy Small, John Dengate, Eric Bogle and Bernard Bolan, and he later looked to Leon Rosselson, Martin Pearson and Phil Ochs for benchmarks to aspire to.
David energetically presents a swag of rollicking bush songs and tunes with guitar, banjo or concertina and drives a mean fiddle for dance tunes.
A life member of The Bush Music Club, David acknowledges the debt we owe the collectors who have shared the fruits of their labour. Strongly influenced in the song, dance and poetry traditions by the likes of Jamie Carlin, Barry Collerson, Frank Maher, John Dengate, Ralph Pride and Bob Bolton, David worked with a number of bush bands including The Sydney Coves, The Rouseabouts, The Reedy River Bushmen and Pinchgut. He established and then led Southern Cross Bush Band for many years until the tree change to the Southern Highlands where he started his family band Paddy’s River Band. Recently he has formed FolkLines to focus on collected dance music.
Helen and Tony were drawn into the Bush Music Club in the late 70's and early 80's.
Starting off in the BMC Concert Party, they both made the progression into working bush bands and eventually wound up in the re-vamped Southern Cross in 1982.
Over the past 30 years they have contributed their talents to many of Sydney's bush bands, ensembles, dance groups and organised regular poetry workshops and dinners through the 90's and are well known for their percussion workshops for bush bands. After a recent relocation to the South Coast they are also now proud members of No Such Thing.
Both Helen and Tony have a strong passion and affinity for Australian bush songs, music, dance and poetry and performing as a duo gives them the opportunity to present some of the favourite material they have gathered over the years.
session - Sam O'Brien, Don Brien, Chloe & Jason Roweth
8th August - Coolfin Mac
Pam & Norm have been playing folk & bush music since the 70s when they were involved with Newcastle Folk Club. They were foundation members of the band Rum Culls and later members of Bush Bandicoots. They regularly play for Bush Music Club dances.The Merrigans are renowned for Irish, Australian & Celtic music, but tonight will concentrate on Australian songs.
Early members Ann & Frank Maher
12th Sept - Launch of Keith McKenry's biography of John Meredith
notice of launch
Margaret is one of that small but select band of members who were here before the membership list was re-written in the early 80s!
For several years she ran the Friday night Folkus singing sessions at the Hut and tonight will share some of her large repertoire of Australian songs, both traditional and contemporary.
Margaret has been described as "a consummate singer of good songs of all pedigrees & persuasions". She has been involved in the Australian folk scene for over thirty years, as a soloist, a collaborator with songwriter John Warner (Walters & Warner), a member of the Roaring Forties and in a duo with Don Brian (Southern Cross Trawlers). But at this concert – she’ll be performing as a soloist in her preferred style – unaccompanied. There will be a big variety of songs and lots of opportunity to join in. Margaret has recorded several albums, her latest titled Steadfast.
Great night at The Bush Music Club tonight, featuring the legendary Margaret Walters, stalwart of the Australian folk scene and long-time sensitive interpreter of songs. The stories accompanying the songs were just as interesting, and the chorus sheet provided reflected Marg's orderly (librarian) mind: the songs were in alphabetical order! And a wonderful variety from her solo repertoire as well as reprising some of her many musical collaborations: The Roaring Forties, Walters and Warner, The Tolpuddle Martyrs, Yarri of Wiradjuri Sue Gee facebook
28th November - Alex Hood (4th Friday)
In 1954 Alex joined the cast of the musical Reedy River and he subsequently performed with The Bushwhackers, (founders of the Bush Music Club) and when they broke up in 1957, with the Rambleers. From the late 1950s onwards he became a travelling musician, singing and playing a variety of instruments at clubs, pubs and theatres, and later at schools and on radio and television. Alex & his wife Annette have have taken their Australian Folk Theatre to thousands of schools over the decades.
Album of photos from the concert
Ralph Pride & Doug Richardson at the session
Tea break - Margaret Walters
session - Brian, Jason Roweth
Lynne Poleson, Stephanie Poleson, Sandra Nixon (John Poleson photo)