DIARY - 13 AUGUST 2003
WATERS IN NU COUNTRY TV TRAILER
If you're watching the sneak previews for Nu Country TV on C 31 you may
recognise the ravishing redhead and her guitar.
If you don't here's the inside info on the artist who appears on Nu Country
TV which premieres at 8 p m on Saturday October 4.
We can reveal it's Barb Waters who has just released her acclaimed new
CD, 'Rosa Duets' with a brace of Melbourne peers.
Ms Waters launched her CD for a capacity crowd at the 'Cherry Bar' in
The crowd was so dense we won't reveal the identity of the DJ who left
his copy on the bar for an ablutions break and returned empty handed,
so to speak. It's enough to drain the acid from your Wimmera country roots.
HIGH COUNTRY TO HIGH RISE
Barb Waters grew up in the high country at Myrtleford in north eastern
Victoria she was destined to play country music.
Her first stage was a stockyard on a railway siding in the town
best known for cattle, sheep and crops such as tobacco, turnips
That was when she fronted 'The Water Babies' - an all girl micro-bopper
band she set up in primary school.
of course, been a torrent of water under the bridge since then for the
singer who worked as a maths and media studies teacher after moving to
Melbourne in 1985.
Ms Waters, latter day mother, has performed throughout Australia, Europe
& the U.S. as an acclaimed solo artist with widespread praise for
her skill on acoustic and electric guitar and slide.
She is also a prolific songwriter and passionate singer.
Barb initially worked as a solo folk artist before playing guitar and
singing in eighties bands diverse as 'The Broken Hearts' in 1985, Billy
Baxter's 'Hollowmen' and latter day solo act Chris Wilson's 'Crown Of
It was while with Crown Of Thorns that Ms Waters had a chance to support
one of her heroines - Louisiana born singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams.
One Waters tune, 'The Great Divide', was first performed by The Hollowmen
before she released it as a single with her band 'The Rough Diamonds'
whom she formed in the winter of 1989.
'The Rough Diamonds' included Great Divide on their seven track CD 'Not
Until The Next Time Anyway' on her label Blue Dog through MDS Records.
The singer named the label after her blue heeler dogs.
Waters tune, about the loneliness of a long distance truck driver was
spawned from a three hour truck trip from Melbourne to Myrtleford. "I
remember I got a lift back from Myrtleford in a truck," Barb revealed
at the time, "that's where I got the idea. Also the great divide
between people happens a lot."
BARB WATERS ROSA DUET (Laughing Outlaw) Growing up in the high country
instead of the high rise has enabled Barb Waters to empathise with the
roots of country music. The Myrtleford born minstrel re-created that rustic
feel when she wrote the bulk of her duets disc in the kitchen of her inner
Waters flows from the high tide with Cyndi Boste on entrée 'Thinking
A Lot About You' to her harmonious homage to the future with Git on 'Further
Down The Line.'
The latter song, featuring Rusty Rich on banjo and Nicola Hayes on fiddle,
has a radio friendly feel.
That's where this album succeeds best - duets with women (especially Boste).
Lisa Miller and Rebecca Barnard milk the pathos of 'Wipe Away The Tears'
but this is surpassed by the narcotic nostalgia of 'Jessie (Me & You)'
with Anna Burley.
Finding male vocalists of the calibre of George Jones, John Anderson,
Merle, Willie or recently deceased Waylon is not an easy task in Melbourne.
Geelong born Adam Harvey, arguably Australia's best male vocalist, is
not part of the well from which Waters has drawn her partners.
That's a shame - because contrast between the vocals of George and Tammy,
Conway and Loretta and Porter and Dolly were a winner in the U.S.
But the strength of the songs mitigates the vocal frailties of some male
The collaboration with Dan Warner on evocative 'Vacancy Signs' - a lyrical
peak - is a powerful paean.
And producer Craig Pilkington sweetens vocally challenged Kym Salmon on
'Make It Count' with his delicious Tex-Mex trumpet and Waters' guitar,
castanets and bells.
Waters and Rob Snarski succeed on 'When Will You Come My Way' but there's
no escape from the dreary 'I Won't See You Again' with Matt Walker.
That's saved by the sequencing of the uplifting 'Jessie' and the inspired
rendition of 'Split You Open' with Nick Barker.
'Make Some Decision' shares bleakness with 'I Won't See You Again' but
the artist's slide guitar and duet partner Ashley Davies's dynamic drumming
make this a feverish finale that works.
Minor male vocal blips on the radio radar don't detract from the artistic
pinnacle that Waters reaches on her second album.
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