When Louise Clancey grew up in New Zealand she was exposed to the country music of her mentors on the radio.

Louise was raised in Huntly and learned country music from her parents vast record collection.

"She was so desperate to sing that she would sing to people in cars as they drove past just to get an audience!" reports fellow Jon Clegg from her Warrnambool band The Rustlers.

"She would get her brother to tell her when a car was coming so she'd be prepared. She met with New Zealand country singer Joy Adams and sang with her at a local Country Music club. She was invited to join a tour but she was a bit too young at the time. The family moved to Perth and Louie followed in her early twenties. She continued singing in musicals with theatre companies."

Louise embarked on a solo singing career when she teamed up with local musicians on the Shipwreck Coast at Port Fairy prior to Louie And The Rustlers.

The Port Fairy princess of the prairie is such in big demand she has two bands - the Rustlers in Warrnambool and The Flies in Melbourne.


Louise swapped her career as a restaurateur in the historic seaside village - known for former singing publican and VFL star Ronnie Wearmouth - for the stage.

Louie & The Rustlers spread their fame beyond the Great Southern Ocean when they performed at the famed Tamworth country music festival in 2003 and 2004.

They won an enthusiastic following at venues diverse as the famed Longyard hotel and Southgate.

Louise released a solo indie CD Be Kind - featuring her original tunes - and wowed audiences on the Guinness stage at the annual Port Fairy folk festival.

One of the originals Sad Love Song won her a nomination in the finals of the 2004 Victorian Country Music Awards at Whittlesea.

"Louise's recent song writing has taken on a mixture of bluegrass and country blues influences," says fellow Rustler Jon Clegg - a veteran Shipwreck Coast musician.


Dead Livers bassist Michael Schack, a South West TAFE librarian and talent spotter, alerted Livers guitarist Rodger Delfos.

Delfos caught Louie performing with the Rustlers on trips to Warrnambool and Port Fairy with the Dead Livers and Broken Spoke.

The singing Nu Country audio technician has formed a Melbourne band to back her on trips to the big smoke.

On a recent weekend Delfos, Schack, drummer Ron Mahney and fellow guitarist Don Farrell of Monique Brumby fame performed at the Criterion Hotel, Warrnambool, as Louie & The Flies.

But unlike the night Old Spice - one of Schack's six Warrnambool bands played the pub when former ATSIC boss Geoff Clarke paid his respects after an afternoon at the May races - the show wasn't closed down by police.

Instead Louie strutted her stuff with the Flies who back her at the Nu Country 10th Christmas party at Bush Inn, West Toorak, on Saturday December 11.

Also on the bill are bluegrass band Barnlaid, Suzie Dickinson and Nipper Mack & The Very Handsome Men.

Louie then fronted the Rustlers for a Sabbath gig at the nearby Caledonian Hotel on a recent weekend.

"Louie was singing with Roger, Don, Ron and myself at the Criterion," Clegg reported.

"Then on Sunday night we played as Louie And The Rustlers at the Caledonian. But we had some special guests arrive to watch the show (Roger and Don) and I invited them up to play. The audience reaction was fantastic. I was personally in awe of Roger and Don because they had had a late night on Saturday finishing their last whiskey at 9 am Sunday morning! A good effort given they had a Sunday arvo gig at the Stump."


Among one of many country bands fuelled by Schack - the Count of Yartpturk (a satellite suburb of Koroit) - is the Little Liver Band.

The band, featuring Schack, Delfos, Mahney and Dead Livers singer Marty Atchison, is a popular pub band.

"Rodger, Don and Ron Mahony are joining Russell and myself for a Rusty Buckets gig at the over 40s club," Schack reported.

"The Little Liver Band has been booked Sunday at the Caledonian. Unfortunately advertising has gone out in yesterday's Warrnambool Standard as Little River Band. Hold the lawsuit.

You're confused? No more so than the musicians and punters!"

It's unlikely the foreign outfit that owns the Little River Band name will sue the lads from the deepest south on the Shipwreck Coast.

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