Scared Weird Little Guy Rusty Rich has a chance to emulate one of his mentors Tim O'Brien by performing in an alter ego when he headlines the reborn Wandong festival on Sunday March 7.

Rich will front the internationally acclaimed Weird Little Guys as well as doubling up in his honky tonk band Hogbelly Morton Revue.

The jovial jester, who performed at a Minnesota state fair with a pre-fame Dixie Chicks, is one of the smartest bluegrass archivists in the unlucky radio country.

Scared Weird Little Guys

Rusty, singing spouse of RRR-FM Twang host Denise Hylands, also fronted a bluegrass show on Nu Country FM in its Beer Can Hill and Paris, Texas, end of Collins St eras.

The gregarious buff helped fertilise a nocturnal bluegrass belt with the late Peter Cresp-Gerrard - an embryonic heart transplant recipient.


Tamworth troubadour Felicity Urquhart makes another rare Victorian visit for the festival that has picked up the slack from the recently deceased Red Hill festival with its beaut ute contest and truck show.

Felicity and fellow NSW rural refugee Wayne Law are the best-known interstate artists ensuring the festival cashes in on its exposure last year on Nine Network show Postcards.


The singer, who opened for Willie Nelson, the late Waylon Jennings and The Pope on one of their Australian tours, is touring to promote her acclaimed swing album, New Shadow.
She will also showcase songs from her sixth album that she is road testing at the scenic festival in the shadows of Highway One.

CLICK HERE for an historic feature on FELICITY from the Diary on June 26.


When Wayne Law grew up in NSW town Oberon he followed in the slipstream of a vastly different Merle.

Law released his debut album on now defunct Sydney roots country label Massive - also the local stable for Dead Ringer Band, former Asleep At The Wheel singer Jann Browne, Mississippi minstrel Kate Campbell and Wylie & The Wild West Show.

Small Down Dreamer won Law ABC and community airplay on stations such as Nu Country.
One of the highlights was Riding The Wildman Plains - the saga of Northern Territory bushman Tom Cole.

Other tunes that won airplay included Spare Parts Man, Two Wrongs Made It Right and I Hear Thunder.
Others included I Wanna Be On Oprah, Love Happens That Way and Harry Chambers.

The former teacher, now 34 and father of two, who grew up in Lismore and Werris Creek near Tamworth released second album, Lessons, in 2002.
Wayne Law


Nattasha Crestani

Steve Doyle

Multi-talented troubadour Steve Doyle makes a triumphant return to his home state after making the Star Maker finals in Tamworth.

CLICK HERE for Steve Doyle Diary Story on January 10.

Also on the bill is Natasha Crestani, who has appeared on Nu Country TV, and Dalton Gang and Breakers who scored lavish Nu Country airplay.

The Breakers, featuring hotshot former James Freud guitarist Peter Cook and multi-instrumentalist Geoff Peterkin, also played the recent Whittlesea festival.

Leo Dalton's band, fronted by the former Hawking Bros veteran, also features the Wandong promoter Helen Stewart.

The house band backs solo artists Callum Gleeson and Wandong veteran Eureka Smith, and is headed by former Vibrants guitarist Mick Hamilton - also a solo artist with healthy Nu Country airplay.

Hamilton won plaudits from a small but captive Melbourne Blues festival audience when he performed with country veterans Terry Dean and Gary Caruthers.

Dean, who recorded albums with revered band Bluestone, also released a version of T G Sheppard hit Devil In A Bottle under his alter ego of Dean Stewart in a previous life.


The trio was thrown together after Mick's Alabama based partner was stuck outside of Mobile with the Green Card blues.

The older man didn't want to risk the drama of expatriate Adelaide instrumentalist Kym Warner who was deported from L A airport in January after playing in Tamworth with singing spouse - Coffs Harbour chanteuse Carol Young.

Ironically, they play in an Austin bluegrass trio with the apt name Greencards.

Warner, a mandolinist, and Young disembarked at Los Angeles airport to discover that, because Kym had filed for a change of status to his work visa, his passport was missing a necessary stamp from the American consulate.

Mick Hamilton

As Warner was handcuffed and led to a holding cell to await a 17-hour return flight to Sydney, bassist Young begged the Feds to let her collect her house keys and credit cards from him.

"They just can't break the rules for anyone nowadays," she sighed, adding that officials got "a bit of a laugh" from the group's name.

"I've got my fingers crossed, because he's got my guitar amp," she chuckled.
Warner was also producer of the riveting second stone country disc Mabelle by Henrietta born and latter day Austin singer Ben Atkins.


It's not known if Hamilton's other performing partner garrulous Gary Young will drum in the house band.

But the popular singer-songwriter and RRR Chicken Mary DJ wrote and recorded the epic Running Late For Wandong on his Mushroom solo album with the Rocking Emus.

Folks heading north from Melbourne should take the Wandong exit on Highway 31 and follow the signs, trucks and utes to the local footy oval.

There are no big city parking inspectors plaguing the festival but beware of booze buses and speed cameras.

It's been a long hot summer and revenue from smoking bans on gambling joints is down since smoking was banned.

The show kicks off at 10 am and admission is $15 for adults, $7 concession, $5 for kids over 15 and free for micro-boppers under 15.

Support this festival as it gives invaluable exposure to local talent and avoids the B grade acts at some festivals.


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