DIARY - 25 OCTOBER 2011 - BECCY COLE INTERVIEW
COLE - BUSHFIRE TATTOO TRIBUTE
woman look at you now/putting the pieces together, surviving somehow/
Australian woman, you could have let go/ no-one could blame you surrender
to the undertow." - Australian Woman - Beccy Cole-Luke Austen.
was a tattoo tribute to two young children and their uncle on a grieving
mother's arm that caught the eye of Beccy Cole.
The amazing artwork didn't just bring the singer to tears it drove
her to write a song about the strength of Bec Buchanan who lost a
son, daughter and brother in the 2009 Kinglake bushfires.
And Cole, mother of a 12-year old son Rikki, helped Buchanan deal
with grieving by taking her on three tours as a merchandising manager.
Bec and singer-songwriter husband Ross reciprocated by heading north
from their Victorian bush home to help Grantham flood victims.
met Bec before the fires at Whittlesea country music festival but we were
not close friends," Cole, 38, told Nu Country TV as she toured to
promote seventh album Songs & Pictures.
Bec, a volunteer
organiser, and pump mechanic singer husband Ross have been active in the
festival for more than a decade.
"Bec was the major inspiration for Australian Woman", Cole revealed.
"But this year at the festival I was sparked up by the lovely art
work she has on her arm - the tattoo goes right up her arm. I worked out
she had an amazing loss and started talking about it and became very close.
She has come out now three times on tour with us doing our merchandising
and getting away. I think she's amazing - a very strong woman with the
crisis she has had to go through. I admired both her and Ross greatly
because of the work they did up there in Queensland with Grantham flood
victims. They wanted to help. I thought wow, that's a pretty amazing human
to go through that yourself and still have a lot of love to give, firstly
for your family and others who have gone through another crisis. She's
a pretty special woman."
The Buchanans lost son Macca, 15, daughter Neeve, 9, and Bec's brother
Danny when they retreated to her mother's home - perceived as a safer
shelter from the fire that killed 177 on Saturday February 7, 2009.
But in a cruel twist of fate fire destroyed the shelter but spared the
marital home in the bush.
will not stop you believing, courage of 10,000 men/ and you don't need
this pity we're feeling/ you want life to mean living again." - Australian
Woman - Beccy Cole-Luke Austen.
so moved by the tragedy she asked fellow singer and writer Luke Austen
to finish the song.
son Aiden was able to get out - he's now 15 - the age Macca was but
now has this terrible survivor guilt, the poor little fellow,"
Cole said of the promising cricketer aided by the Shane Warne Foundation.
"Aiden is now learning a lot about getting on with life himself.
Bec knew I had written the song - she knew the title. A couple of
times I went to play it for her but she wasn't ready. Other times
I wasn't sure - I had already recorded the song but I didn't want
her to hear it off the record.
<Ross & Bec Buchanan
to play it for her. On the final night of the latest tour I made her sit
near the front of the stage at the Commercial Club in Albury and I sang
and played it for her. It was a very emotional moment for both of us -
she was very complimentary. She loved it. She's a very unassuming woman
- she didn't think she deserved such a sentiment but it was my observation
of her. And she writes to me every now and then saying things like when
she doesn't feel strong she pops the song on to remind her that she's
got an inner strength - someone else has seen it. I think this is lovely
if this song is helping her."
Cole confessed the song was a wider tribute to strong women in crisis.
"I wanted to write it in a way that's not too specific to Bec - not
every word is about her," said Cole whose tribute also embraced the
mother of a young murder victim.
"I have met some amazing women. Denise Morcombe is one of them. I'm
an ambassador for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. She lost her son. There's
obviously been movement in that whole case recently. I've met some other
amazing women who that applies to also but it is Bec's song."
Cole has also soaked up solace of Ross Buchanan song Salty Tears
that appeared on the Vinnie's After The Fire benefit CD with Kevin
Welch's Marysville and Shane Howard's Carry On.
"Ross sat and played Salty Tears to me at Whittlesea and when
he came back to Grantham to help out we had a little jam session and he
played it again," Cole added.
"It's pretty amazing - he has also written a play Paydirt."
if nothing else I'll always be/ the favourite daughter of a lady/ and
the grandchild of God's best perfection yet/ and I could light the world
with the power that they gave me/ I've got it all, I guess sometimes I
forget/ there's a garden gate that never really closes on Gloria's roses."
- Gloria's Roses - Beccy Cole.
women illustrate the Songs & Pictures tableau - Cole's first
solo studio album since Feel This Free in 2005.
released a Live @ Lizotte's disc in 2007, a 2010 compilation
Pre-Loved and Songbirds trio DVD with Gina Jeffreys
and Sara Storer.
There's her nonagenarian grandmother in Gloria's Roses, mother
Carol Sturtzel in The Singer Sees It All, a Nashville cocktail
chanteuse in Waitress and near neighbour and duet partner Kasey
Chambers in Here I Go Again and Millionaires.
"I've had many break-ups and all sorts of things happened in
life," says Cole who split from fiddler husband Mick Albeck after
two years but remains friends and utilises his talents on her records.
hustle and bustle of life - you've forgotten you have got this way to
navigate through because of where you come from. My grandmother is very
strong - she taught me a lot. I'm lucky to have her - I'm 38 and she's
92 and spritely and funny. She and my mother were so instrumental in making
me who I am. They are both very musical as well. I want to pay tribute
to her but it's also a philosophical song about what I want to do next
time I fall in love with someone - how to handle something like that.
She's still living in the Thebarton house she's been living in for 80
years - it's about five minutes from the city. I grew up at Blackwood
in the hills."
AND DRINKING - NO KNICKERS
I don't want to seem old fashioned/ and I'm not saying I don't want a
drink/ but you should curb your dance floor passion/ and the lack of underwear
needs a rethink." - The Singer Sees It All - Beccy Cole.
where Beccy joined her mother's band Wild Oats at 14 and watched audiences
reap what they sowed.
It was an eye opener for the schoolgirl who watched carousels of carnal
conduit from her stage side platform.
"I was doing three four hour shows a week with my mum," says
"I'm still witness to a lot of crazy stuff from up there - it's a
way to get entertained by them. I wanted to have an element of humour
on the record - that's part of the show I do.
The song has strange humour and comedy. Without that song the album would
have been very serious. Ironically the band was called Wild Oats. That's
so true. Mom is fairly conservative but funnily it's one of her favourite
songs because she thinks it's so true.
From up there you see them having a fight and he won't get her a drink.
There's some sort of crisis going on - someone with too much to drink.
It can be very humorous."
MADE AND MASTER
it all comes down to the end of the line/ I'll keep your secrets if you
keep mine/ and if we lost it all we would not care/ cause if friendship
was money/ we'd be millionaires." - Millionaires - Beccy Cole-Kasey
years were also the era when she met fellow South Australian Kasey Chambers
when she joined Chambers family Dead Ringer Band.
The band played the same circuit as Wild Oats and triggered a two decade
long friendship - a fertile font for collaborative songs.
Millionaires and Here I Go Again appear on the CD produced
by Kasey's singing spouse Shane Nicholson on the NSW Central Coast.
"I always wanted to do a duet with Kasey so we tweaked and rewrote
the version she put on one of her CDs as a bonus track," Cole explained.
"We recorded it again with different lyrics - it was great. That
song is just our friendship completely. It's a great time for an anniversary
of 20 years ago in Tamworth. We all busked together in the street as members
of the Dead Ringer Band. We're having a big concert in Tamworth in January
to commemorate that. We did most of the vocals at her home nearby where
Shane has a studio."
The session serfs include road band drummer-manager Mal Lancaster, bassist
Sean Rudd, guitarist-video maker Duncan Toombs, guest guitarist Mark Punch,
fiddler Albeck, accordionist Tim Wedde and Scott Bird on harmonica.
Nicholson's 12-instrument arsenal includes slide and lap steel, mandolin,
banjo, piano and organ.
I was a kid in school, maybe 9 or 10 I guess/ l only had a friend or two,
I was never teacher's pet." - Shiny Things- Beccy Cole-Lynn Bowtell.
the time travel parallel of her adolescent school days with that of her
son Rikki in Shiny Things and sibling song Purple Hills.
Lynn Bowtell adds her vocals to Shiny Things, illustrated by
a video filmed by Tombs at Gosford.
"Duncan invented all the guitar parts in the video," says
Cole, "he's an incredible talent.
The whole concept of the video was his idea. The little girl was the
daughter of two local doctors. She loved acting - she was just beautiful.
I wanted to make it look all pretty - it's the first film clip I've
had out for a while of one of my own songs. We filmed it in Duncan's
warehouse in Gosford."
Fast-forward three decades from Cole's primary school days to today
for the impetus for Purple Hills.
"I started fiddling around with a guitar riff and liked it,"
Cole says of the song about son Rikki.
evoked the sentiment. I always wanted to write something about my son.
He wanted to go to a particular party he hadn't been invited to. It brought
back so many memories of when I was a kid. I was a little bit different
- didn't fit in. When you're a kid you want to be like everyone else -
when you are an adult you realise they are the differences that make you
quite cool, I guess. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree is what
I'm saying. Rikki is such a great kid - he has taught me a lot. He has
also taught me to remember and get in touch with my childhood. He's not
a huge fan of country music but he does like that song. He was 10 then
- now he is 12. He's a kid and he loves that he has made it into a song.
I think it certainly helped. I knew these stories and parts of my childhood
from bedtime chats. I used to tell him about the purple hills - that was
where I grew up. Those purple hills are now covered in houses. That's
how they got rid of Paterson's Curse. In South Australia we called it
Salvation Jane. I looked it up when I was writing the song. It was really
interesting thing she was a farmer's wife and it was introduced to save
livestock in drought. Sheep can survive on it but horses and cows die
- it ended up a noxious weed."
But, like rabbits, royalty and punk rock, it was imported from England
and can't be eradicated with 1080.
a bar on the eastside for wayfaring lonely girls/ I took a table solo
and I scanned the other world/ I sat there drinking bourbon and trying
to belong/ when somebody at the bar yelled let the waitress sing a song."
- The Waitress - Beccy Cole.
When Cole was on one of many Nashville search and destroy missions she
sourced a song in the fine tradition of Thom Schuyler penned Lacy J Dalton
hit 16th Avenue.
Beccy was having a drink when she struck up a friendship with a North
Carolina born singer-songwriter who has already spent 18 years toiling
as a waitress chasing her unfulfilled dreams.
Not an uncommon
tale in Guitar Town where competition and the school of hard knocks leaves
major talents withering on the vine of fashion and passion.
went to the Lipstick Lounge - a bar for human beings," Cole recalled.
"Wendy works as a waitress in several bars but that was the one
where I met her and stumbled across her when I was near the big stadium.
I was at a concert and thought Dierks Bentley was singing out of tune
so I went to find a bar."
It was there that Wendy sang on demand for patrons in between slinging
drinks and food.
"Only three nights ago I told her she was the reason my album
came out early," Cole added.
"It was 3 in the morning and I couldn't sleep. I popped on Facebook
and saw her name there and told her. The CD is in the air to her now
as we speak - a package on a plane to her.
Obviously the song is very real. I hope it doesn't arrive and she
thinks it's pointing at her as someone who didn't get their dream
- I hope it's more of a compliment than something that puts her down."
singing and multi-instrumental prowess has won her seven Golden Guitars
and praise for her charity support.
But the singer has no plans to emulate South Australian born peers Jedd
Hughes and Kym Warner of The Greencards and Jay O'Shea and chase her dreams
"I have no plans to tour overseas," Cole says.
"I do travel company trips to Nashville and cruises. I just love
what I do here."
Cole is not actively pushing her songs to major stars and peers but a
new collaborator has revamped a tune from her new album.
"I wrote Woman In Me with Travis Collins," Cole confessed.
"He's recorded another completely different version of the song called
It Wouldn't Be Me - his is a ballad with a completely different
chorus. I pulled it apart - I did a new version."
She also teamed with unsung Dandenongs foothills raised and latter day
Pascoe Vale songbird Cyndi Boste to pen Only Music in Brisbane
and Lynn Bowtell for Leave The Light On.
Ironically Cole's best known song Poster Girl - inspired by performing
for our troops in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan - wasn't designed to be
a big earner.
"It was used in a lot of documentaries," Cole admitted.
"I couldn't keep up with it but I heard from a lot of people when
it was on TV. It was used a lot in a Legacy campaign but I didn't charge
Legacy as it was an admirable cause."
Yes, a little like going in to bat for the Bec and Ross Buchanan when
they needed a long handle to deal with their grief.
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