The near capacity cow-cocky-rural rump regiment were not the only folks to frock up as they invaded the buckle of the Shipwreck Coast Bible Belt on the Sabbath.

Two of the headliners also revelled in a role reversal at the climax of a show kicked off by expatriate Kiwi chanteuse Camile Te Nahu and guitarist Stu French.

Ms Tahu showcased a short set, highlighted by a cover of Audrey Auld tune 'Love You Like The Earth,' 'Nobody's Baby' and 'Storms Never Last' - a tune penned by the late Waylon Jennings widow and fourth wife Jessi Colter.

The singer's pitch perfect voice was complimented by a sound mixer who had no trouble finding it again as she sang harmony for Ms Cole.

Geelong born former Terang truckie Adam Harvey zeroed in on the boys and girls from the coast as he whipped through Cutis Wayne-Wayne Kemp tune 'Love Bug' and 'Sugar Talk' from the Red Rivers songbook.

He introduced his composition 'The Shake Of A Hand' with an anecdote about a gig at Langi Kal Kal gaol where other vital parts shook.

Harvey tailored his jokes when he introduced his Johnny Cash tribute 'Ring Of Fire' and self penned single 'Call It Love.'

But it was open season on ocker singalong - Chuck Wagon & The Wheel's 'Beauty's In The Eye Of The Beer Holder' before subdued treatment of his paternal pride paean 'Little Cowboy Dreams.'

Adam Harvey
But the highlights were swing fuelled faux peer parody 'Cowboy For A Day,' cheating song 'The House That Jack Built' and his finale - Tim Nicholls-Bob DiPiero tune 'When Lonely Met Love.'

Harvey's hard-core country, illustrated by family video clips including granny, was laced by Huey Curtis on fiddle, bassist Geoff Simpson, guitarist French and subtle drumming.

Cole, who hails from way across the South Australian border at Blackwood Hill, proved she was a seasoned performer from entree - new single 'Men Don't Dance No More' and 'Big Girls.'

It was a brave move opening with her new single - one of many co-writes with Tamara Stewart in her set.

But it enabled her to set a raunchy mood akin to a younger protégé of fellow energised egret, Leslie Avril.

Cole then kicked back with the eulogy to her grandfather, 'Blackwood Hill,' and equally evocative album title track 'Little Victories.'

The singer, like many peers, suffers a low profile in fad driven cities but not in the bush or on the coast where scores exposure on Pay TV and community radio.

So there was immediate rapport when she exorcised divorce demons from long departed fiddler Mick Albeck in 'Single Girl Blues.'

"We girls celebrate divorce for the rest of her lives," Cole quipped before revving up the band she shared with Harvey.

The singer stayed upbeat with her own 'Lazy Bones,' Al Anderson-Craig Wiseman tune 'Keep On Rockin' and 'Good Old Boys.

Harvey joined Cole for their Slim Dusty tribute 'Leave Him In The Long Yard' and their collaboration 'How Wrong Is It.'

There was a small dose of Cole corn in crowd pleasing geriatric comedy tune 'Sorry I Asked' but not in a spirited rendition of 'Wild Turkey' - a hit for kindred spirit Lacy J Dalton.

Cole proved her musical dexterity by playing fiddle, drums, guitar and bass in a fiery pre- encore finale.

But it was the encore, with copious cross dressing and role reversal, that was the visual highlight (see picture).

I don't remember the name of the duet but it was a crowd pleaser.
Especially with many early rising audience members, obviously keen to ensure there was no cross-dressing among their herds in herringbone and rotaries at dawn the next day.

The frocking had obviously been work shopped in the NSW club scene but unlikely to be a staple on the anal alt-country scene in the smoky suburbs of Fitzroy, Collingwood and environs.

It's refreshing to see that denizens of cities such as Warrnambool and surrounding dairy belt do not differentiate between rock and country.

If it's good music they patronise it - irrespective of radio treating country like a leper.

Adam Harvey in drag



"I'm a single woman, what you get is what you see/ I've built a life where I'm answering only to me/ but you still ask about me, with sympathy in mind." - 'Single Girl Blues' - Beccy Cole-Tamara Stewart.

When Blackwood born belle Beccy Cole split with fiddler husband Mick Albeck after a short marriage she tore from five times wed songwriter Harlan Howard's divorce kit.

She didn't hide behind the sheets of shattered chagrin - she exorcised divorce demons in public.

Cole wrote ruptured romance requiems and eulogies to mother Carole and son Rikky on her treble award winning second album 'Wild At Heart.'

Now, with the healing rendering royalties, the South Australian reared singer has been able to complete the circle without drowning in the triangle.

Cole, 32, doesn't want sympathy - she revels in her persona as a liberated single mother.
Her co-write with Tamara Stewart on rollicking 'Single Girl Blues' may be the most overt freedom celebration on her third album 'Little Victories.'

But it's not the only riveting reflection of love in the recovery lane - 'Life Goes On' and 'Under The New Moon' (with Rod McCormack, Graeme Connors and Stewart) among the collaborators) delve into that subject.

That's the beauty of country - it's not fad driven or pre-fabricated but draws from a well so deep it frequently repeats.

The multi-instrumentalist, performing on our bumpy black tops since she joined her mother's band Wild Oats at 14, didn't need to search cyber space to re-invent herself. Cole kicks off her album with 'Blackwood Hill' - a nostalgic narrative about the start of her career by a deceased grandfather - and 'Little Victories' (eulogy to unsung heroes.)

Cynics might find similar themes in recent award winning discs by Melinda Schneider and Lee Kernaghan but art oft imitates life.

Beccy Cole

But there are no September 11 songs on her disc featuring 12 Cole co-writes out of 14 songs.

Cole is a radio friendly femme fatale in a corporate wireless jungle.

Beccy and co-writers reflect a variety of heart swings from the tinge of regret in 'That's The Sound,' desire to love again with no need of a partner's CV in 'This Time' and a coy cupid in 'Just Shoot Me' (ideal Valentine Day song in a level playing field.)

The singer covers filial and maternal bases in 'Big Brother' - for brother Matthew - and 'What Matters Most' to son Rikky.

Hang on, there is a triangle song - the damsel in the duet with co-writer Adam Harvey on 'How Wrong Is It' takes the ring off her finger and asserts herself in a way that would please recently deceased, old Harlan.

So are there any major faults on a disc where the song sequencing is superb?
'Men Don't Dance Anymore' punctuates ballads on a disc tailed by 'Wild Turkey' (made famous by Lacy J Dalton and penned by Hugh Moffatt and first ex-wife Pebe Sebert.)
Well, the singer has one shocker - 'Sorry I Asked' (crass cornball).


top / back to diary