It was fitting that the posse of Canadian musicians that rode into Torquay fresh from a gig at Rockhampton Queensland the night before would end their journey at what used to be known by locals as Boot Hill. This was well before Jan Juc was a gleam in the eye of property developer Sir Bruce Small and his cohorts.

Not so long ago the mail man delivered the mail via horse and buggy so it was apt that the Corb Lund Band were visiting to promote new album Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier. A concept album of sorts that pays homage to the steed of speed that man has relied on in the past and even the present to wage war.

But like any good western story there is a counterpoint needed to the rough and ready masculinity of the male heroes.

Ginja Roe - photo by Anne Sydenham

The beauty to the beasts was provided in the form of the support act Ginja Roe a trio of lasses hailing from the eastern Victorian country music heartland of South Gippsland.

Lead by vocalists Pamela Wouters and Megan Doherty, Ginja Roe showcased all original songs from their 8 track CD EP Homemade and a forthcoming CD. With a big full sound and playing their own compositions it was all a breath of fresh air to this listener and well received by the audience.

There was gospel and joy in the harmonies on songs Otherside, Heart of It and Sweet. Irony in OK a cheating song adding to the pantheon of such songs in country music. Wry perfection in the word play of Reflection.

Ginja Roe were a pleasant surprise on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Keep on eye out for them on the Lost Highway as they step up performances to support their pending CD release.

Corb Lund & Band at the Rose Torquay

Despite the hour of day and report of a run in by a band member with the Queensland constabulary resulting in a lock up the Cannuks stepped up to the plate like true troopers.

Putting everyone in the mood with the kicker song Shine up My Boots which any respecting cowboy would do prior to heading out they launched in $5 Bill.

Then it was into a trucking song, stamping Corb and his men as a real cowboy band featuring lots of B Bender on the tele from guitarist Grant Siemens who interchanged on resonator banjo and lap steel.

On the back of the new CD on the Stoney Plain label, recorded in Nashville and produced by Dead Reckoner Harry Stinson there was a brace of songs. I Wanna Be in The Cavalry, Horse Soldier, The Horse I Rode in On.

It no one trick pony though as they also featured the wry humour of Lament for Lester Cousins, Hard on Equipment (Tool for the Job) and Family Reunion. The latter maybe be a bit close to home when performed in the vicinity of the Apple Isle.

Corb Lund at the Rose Torquay

It was all quite a performance from the Corb and the Hurtin Albertans without a sound check yet they managed to pull out all the stops with a tribute to Johnny Horton, a nod to the rockabilly crowd, waltzes and two steps for the kickers and dancers.

There were old favourites the Auctioneers Song, Bucking Horse Rider and Mammas Don't let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys which segued into a request Seven Spanish Angels.

Finishing off with originals the Truck Got Stuck, Rye Whiskey and Time to Switch to Whiskey. It was revealed that the plug was being pulled due to the venues commitments to other events happening on the Surf Coast that Easter weekend.

While not feeling short changed the audience were more than happy with the show all we needed were cut lunches and compasses to find our way to the next venue the boys were playing in the wilds of the eastern outskirts of Melbourne, the Hallam Hotel.

Review and photos by Peter O'Keefe

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