Wash my Blues Away ~ Thredbo, Australia
Rocking the Blues in the Fresh Air
This is the music of my youth: it would be at home in a dark, smoky bar. But we are all older and wiser now, and can enjoy our festival sounds in the crisp fresh air of Thredbo, in Australia’s Snowy Mountains. The Sydney-based Finn Blues Band centres around drummer, singer, and song-writer Jim Finn, and has been performing internationally since 1999. Looking at the members, I have a feeling they had ‘other lives’ before becoming rocking-blues stars!
“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
I count my many blessings daily –
But, some days are still harder than others.
I always experience post-holiday (Christmas-New Year-Birthday) blues: a greater-than-usual melancholy that is at least in part the consequence of too much food and alcohol and too many late nights.
This was more the case than ever this year. My husband and I had a wonderful – but exhausting – holiday season hosting children and grand-children, and then, before they had all even left to return to their respective homes, he went into hospital for a major operation, and stayed for ten days. The hospital was quite a distance, so I “lived” in a hotel room for the duration. We finally returned, injured and enervated, in mid-January to our home and our Christmas decorations, which were looking forlorn and out of place in the record-breaking heat-wave that was washing over Australia.
Under the circumstances, we very nearly forfeited our pre-paid Thredbo Bluesfest tickets.
I’m so glad we didn’t!
We might have both been exhausted, but after a mere three days on the coast, we packed a bag, crawled back into the car, and drove into the mountains. There, thanks to a weekend of good food and great music, we started smiling again.
Thredbo Bluesfest utilises many of the restaurants and bars in the tiny village as venues. This presents unique challenges for the the performers – and the audience – as the venues are not all particularly well-configured for sound. Lighting is also extremely challenging – with over-lit walls and under-lit performers. Sri Lankan-born Australian-raised singer-musician-songwriter Roshani met the challenge, and kept us well entertained over dinner.
Roshani and Tim
Partners in music – and in life – Roshani and Tim check sound levels before moving on to the next song.
Billed as “a harmonica wielding songstress”, Roshani grew up immersed in music.
The multi-talented Roshani was an X-Factor participant and a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. She also has a killer smile.
We didn’t stay for all the late-night bands, but we did manage to enjoy Hammond Organ and Whammy Clavinet maestro, Lachlan Doley, as he put his modified Hohner Clavinet through its paces.
Dubbed the Jimi Hendrix of the Hammond Organ, Lachy has released his own albums and played with some of the country’s greats.
Mary Jane Guiney
We started our next day with fresh air, sunshine, and Irish-born, Sydney-based, New Orleans-rooted singer-songwriter Mary Jane Guiney.
Rory Ellis with Andrew Toner
We rode to the top of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift to have lunch at Eagle’s Nest Restaurant where one of our favourites, Rory Ellis, was performing. We enjoyed him at Thredbo Bluesfest several years ago (see: Cool Blues, Hot Jazz) and were thrilled when we heard he was back – and especially excited when he replayed one of my favourites: The Woodstore. It is so melancholy in live performance: I cry every time! The recording is less poignant, so I’ve uploaded a title track instead: Twisted Willow.
Guitarist Andrew Toner has great skills – frontwards and backwards.
This is the blues-rock I grew up on! Even Jim’s original tracks felt like old friends.
More of the music of my youth: Vdelli ROCKED!
Of course, the performers don’t do it alone.
Michael Vdelli – Guitar
Michael Vdelli – Voice
Killer combo! We saw Hussy Hicks at Byron Bluesfest in 2016 (Back to the Roots) – not once, but twice! They were as good as I remembered. Another audio file is attached below – if you are ready for it:
It’s the quiet achievers in the background that let the stars shine.
… he was fantastic – …
Abstract (Mike Elrington)
… – but the acoustics weren’t! Between the people talking behind me and the bounce off the walls, I had to go outside, where both the view and the temperature were cooler.
Mike is a wild man on the guitar – …
Mike Elrington from the Outside
… and on the tables!
Sunday morning saw us back at House of Ullr, on the lawn, with Miss Whiskey, a Melbourne duo …
… who represented the city in 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee at the International Blues Challenge.
Tats and Hats
Marji Curran Band
Sound Mixing for Blues Preachers
“Did I Hear you Say you Love Me?”
Back poolside, we found the keyboard and vocal stylings of the Soul Roots Revival Band.
Kerrie Sweeney with Jim Finn
We finished as we started: with the Finn Blues Band, this time with vocalist Kerrie Sweeney helping them out, and rounding out our long weekend.
It was a lovely time out, a temporary refuge from everyday realities.
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
― Maya Angelou
To the Music!