MARCH 19 - 2022
POWERCORP AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
CASEY BARNES AND IMOGEN CLARK
KEVIN FROM HEAVEN PIED PIPER IN THE PARK
It was the perfect post pandemic panacea that countered the pernicious Putin pedantry brutalising the free world across the oceans.
Former veteran Essendon coach and benefactor Kevin Sheedy united the agrarian food providers in Yarra Park outside the colosseum.
“I'm Kevin from Heaven,” Sheeds told the enthusiastic audiences as Launceston born singer-songwriter Casey Barnes band tuned up after Blue Mountains belle Imogen Clark opened the show on the outdoor stage.
“My parents are from the country and I was born in 1947,” revealed the former champion who toiled as a plumber by day while playing for Prahran in the VFA and 251 games for Richmond including three premierships and was team captain in 1978.
Sheedy AM also coached Essendon in the VFL and AFL for nearly three decades from 1981 until 2007 and won four premierships.
He created the first Anzac Day game in 1995 between Collingwood and Essendon and in 2009 was inaugural Greater Western Sydney AFL coach in 2012-2013.
OK that's enough on then - what about now?
Well, the former Nasho and indigenous players champion fed his food for thought by leading another cause.
“We show children how food doesn't just come out of the cupboard or fridge,” he reminded music fans as sheep, calves and a hefty heifer, being rounded up by crafty canines, sought shelter from the 30 degrees noon day sun due south of the stage.
He used Cats champions Polly Farmer and Gary Malarkey and Essendon greats as examples of his promotion of his annual indigenous players round.
And, of course, today's bush born stars Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, Zach Merrett, Darcy Parish and Devon Smith who would enter the field of battle in the cavernous colosseum.
“If we get it right we might even have line dancing after the game,” he quipped.
Sheedy's altruism was a vast contrast to the venom of Putin, Palmer, Trump and their puppets.
CASEY BARNES FROM COAST TO RIVER PARK
“I just flew in from the Gold Coast in Queensland,” Launceston born warrior Casey Barnes told his sun-drenched fans.
It was a far cry from where Barnes and his septuagenarian manager and record company boss Michael Chugg spent their teenage years.
Chugg and latter day Van Diemen's Land police minister and dual Logie winning TV host Jim Cox ran Launceston music venues while Chugg worked in menswear stores and Cox as a DJ on 7EX.
In the pre-mobile phone era to book local bands one needed to call extension 20 at the fire station where Chugg's dad Victor was a senior fire fighter.
But that was then when this reviewer was a cadet journalist on the Launceston Examiner and music and racing writer.
Today, Casey, 43, proved why his ascendancy from finalist in the 2009 American Idol contest to international tourist and performer of Seven Network footy theme song Sparks Fly was an incendiary ignition.
The singer and his hot band opened with country rock anthems Light It Up and Give Me Your Love.
Barnes added guitar to his armament for Sparks Fly then praised his guitarist for Good Together.
“I also have some brand-new stuff, my latest single,” Barnes announced as an addition to his seven-album catalogue.
“It's been a shitty couple of years so this is a positive love song Want To Get To Know You.
Barnes broke up his rocking country with a beatific ballad God Took His Time On You.
He introduced Good Together by praising his wife and kids as his two favourite people - “except for his drummer” - his stick man joked from behind him.
Casey announced his eighth song Gone, Gone, Gone - also on his new album - as his finale before heading inside the colosseum with his band to open the big game with Waltzing Matilda.
IMOGEN CLARK FORGETS ABOUT LONDON
When Imogen Clark toured Victoria in 2019 she was accompanied by prolific North Carolina Presbyterian Minister's son Jim Lauderdale at gigs including the Caravan Club in South Oakleigh.
This time she and her four-piece band were front and centre in the park while her manager and video director Jeremy Dylan watched from the wings.
Jeremy and Barnes manager Michael Chugg joined touring and managerial forces after Jeremy's beloved late dad Rob Potts died in a tragic motorcycle accident in their home state Tasmania.
Imogen hit the stage with rocking country tunes Left Behind and Never This Time penned with Taylor Goldsmith from US band Dawes and drummer Jason Boesel.
The latter song was inspired by family anxiety and alcoholism of acquaintances.
Imogen then welcomed fans as she introduced Nonchalant and the equally vibrant tunes Casualty and Push Me Down.
She also introduced Forget About London - the saga about being led on by a man she met while stranded in London in 2019 during lockdown.
Imogen, now 27, wrote the song with Melbourne singer-songwriter-producer Eilish Gilligan for her six song EP Bastards that followed three albums.
She followed with When Can I Touch You Again before introducing Stopover and her Bastards title track.
Her Boys In Town preceded her vitriolic finale and new single Enemy with lyrics including ‘when you're talking bullshit I'm your worst enemy.”
Clark thanked her turbo charged band including guitarist Travis New and bassist Rich Bradbury and acknowledged another peer Lindsay McDougall in her Yarra Park audience.
She also implored fans to hang in for Casey Barnes performance.
Fans also raised a cheer for the CFA, SES, Food Bank, Case, VFF, Deni Ute Muster, Royal Agricultural Show and nearby myriad of organic country produce stalls who were welcome islands in the mainstream of inner suburbia.
CASEY BARNES photos by dairy farmer's daughter Carol Taylor.
Review by fellow Dairy Farming denizen David Dawson.