DIARY - 30 OCTOBER 2005 - BILLY WYATT
WYATT - FROM APACHE JUNCTION TO AUSTRALIA
country singer Billy Wyatt has two good reasons for touring Australia.
He wed his mandolin and piano singing spouse Kathie here and he escapes
ghosts of Apache Junction who joined him on stage at the Superstition
Wyatt was born into a God fearing gospel singing family from the Carolinas
in the heart of Washington State at Cedro Woolley in the summer of
"All my mother's family were staunch southern Baptists and reformed
moonshiners and drug runners," Wyatt told Nu Country TV on return
for his To Australia tour.
up in a little settlement in Birdsview near Spokane about 200 miles east
of the Idaho border.
Young Billy sang around the campfire with kinfolk and developed a passion
for stone country that took him to Bakersfield and Nashville.
The singer threw a healthy hybrid of the west coast country pioneered
by Buck Owens and mentor Merle Haggard and Music City hurting songs into
a bucolic blender.
Now, at the tender age of 55, guitar slinger Wyatt, not to be Googled
by mistake for 1880s gunfighter Wyatt Earp, is on the run in Australia
for his first national tour.
Wyatt has moseyed on down under a time or two for sporadic gigs including
2004 Nu Country TV Christmas party but this is To-Australia tour to celebrate
a song he wrote in Tamworth early this year.
It was one of several songs that Billy has penned for Kathie who operates
the family trucking company in a town made famous by singing actor Billy
Bob Thornton in the Bad Santa movie.
Apache Junction has, well had a western town movie set, until a mystery
fire like the one that razed Nu Country FM Beer Can Hill studio on June
"The Apache Junction Movie Ranch burned to the ground for the third
time just eight months ago," Wyatt revealed.
"I was instrumental in rebuilding it a couple of times. We rebuilt
it especially for Kenny Rogers Gambler 2, parts of Back To The Future
and other movies and TV series."
So was the fire the work of arsonists of the ghosts lurking in the badlands?
bad wiring," Wyatt quipped, "a dear friend of mine had brought
a racoon from Indiana. It chewed up the wiring. It was kept in a cage
but was let loose on the roof of the saloon and got to chewing on
Thornton and buddies had long decamped the ranch that was built in
the shadows of the majestic Superstition Mountains that featured in
many movies as a backdrop.
Despite that, Apache Junction just down the road apiece from Phoenix,
has doubled its population to 30,000.
And it's not all because Billy moved there in 1980 before meeting
Miss Kathie in Avondale, Arizona.
"I was playing in a place called J R's Round-Up," Wyatt
revealed with refreshing candour.
"Back in those days I was pretty whorish. I had a lot to do with
women whom I didn't respect and didn't respect me. I was drinking
a lot of whiskey and doing a lot of crazy things. Then in walks this
blonde haired beauty I couldn't take my eyes off. It was Valentines
But the couple
didn't sprint to the altar for another three years.
BETROTHAL IN BOYUP BROOK
1989 we came to Australia on vacation to visit Murray Willis - an Adelaide
opal miner who had holdings in Cooper Pedy," Wyatt recalled.
"I met Harvey Dickson who has a rodeo ring and country music centre
where he has shows at Boyup Brook in Western Australia. We met up his
house and just as a whim said maybe we should be getting married. I was
told 'no, you can't do that. It takes 31 days for an Australian to get
a marriage licence. By the grace of God and a gal named Erica we got a
marriage licence next day and got married in Baptist Church in Boyup Brook.
The reception was at the country music centre. This serendipity helped
keep it together. We couldn't hold love together if didn't have this magic
That love inspired the Wyatt songs I Had Enough Of You and Working
Man's Girl and To Australia.
He recorded and turned six songs into video clips at the Superstition
Skies Restaurant in Apache Junction late one night.
Luckily the infamous ghost of a gold and silver miner had the night off.
& Billy Wyatt
have been reports of an Indian ghost with a lot of history,"
"There seems to be at least one apparition. It won't be unseen.
One night when I was playing I was almost shoved through my mike.
But there was no-one there. The kids in band thought I was falling
over. It dates back to the death of a silver or gold miner. I've felt
Wyatt can't say if it was a visage of wife Kathie that prevented the
ghost re-appearing during the sessions.
so proud of her I could bust," Wyatt says of his partner of almost
"She plays piano and mandolin in my band and sings harmony on all
my recordings and on a lot of local gigs. I Had Enough Of You was
written tongue in cheeks but she was the real deal for Working Man's
Girl. She's the solo act in running the trucking company. She cracks
the whip and runs three trucks hauling lots of dirt and decorative stone.
I wrote To Australia when I was missing her pretty drastically.
I started writing this song with a borrowed guitar. I have another bouncing
around in my head. I can't say enough about her."'
But the singer,
who also penned Ol Waylon about the legendary outlaw superstar
who died of diabetes at 64 in Scottsdale, Arizona, on February 13, 2002.
"We did emulate his ways," Wyatt recalled.
"We also cut our teeth in Bakersfield in the late seventies. On occasion
Merle and his brother came into town. I spent 18 months there and did
voiceovers at Buck Owens studio.
I was recording songs by Wayne Stafford from his North Carolina days with
the Evergreen Drifters. We cut his songs Trouble's My Middle Name
and Washington I Hear You're Calling Me.
Wyatt also recorded in Nashville.
"We got airplay and recognition with Another Cotton Field,"
Wyatt said of a song that was cut at Owens Bakersfield studio.
"It did pretty well and kept us in work but we did no more recording
till mid eighties in Phoenix. We recorded songs in Nashville that became
the When A Cowboy Dreams At Night CD in 1998."
But Wyatt has since recorded What I'm Doin' in 2004 at Lamont Studio
in Gilbert, Arizona.
The album features four of his originals and covers of artists diverse
as Haggard, Moe Bandy and Jim McBride.
TOUR AND NU COUNTRY CHRISTMAS PARTY
Delfos Country, fronted by Dead Livers multi-instrumentalist Rodger Delfos
and Monique Brumby guitarist Don Farrell, debut at Country Music Guild,
Pascoe Vale on Thursday November 4.
Other gigs include St Kilda Sports Club - Fitzroy St - November 25, Croatian
Club Geelong - November 26, Bass Hotel - November 27 and Southern Star
Saloon, Braybrook - on December 3.
Wyatt and Delfos Country, Six Foot Under and other special guests perform
at the Nu Country TV Christmas party at Hotel Kew - 99 High St, Kew Junction
from 1 p m on Sunday December 4.
Delfos Country, Suzie Dickinson, Louie& The Flies and Barnlaid played
with Wyatt at the 2004 Nu Country TV Christmas Party at the Bush Inn,
More dates added later.
Click Here for Nu Country Gig Guide.
Full dates and further info from Sheridan Entertainment Promotions
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