Dusk was setting on the famed Noise Bar at the historic Railway Hotel in Brunswick when early birds caught the sound check worm by headliners Kacey Jones and Becky Hobbs.

And, of course, support act Snowy Townsend's Bona Fide Travellers fresh from their debut at the Nu Country Christmas party at the Hotel Kew.

Nothing precious about either the international stars or local world-weary travellers - if you paid your modest $10 admission you were free to sup on the entrée.

Snowy Townsend's Bona Fide Travellers - Noise Bar

Snowy's quartet, with Dead Livers multi-instrumentalist Rodger Delfos replacing Ken Hatton, didn't need any introduction.

So, with the MC distracted by matters of state, they didn't get one.

Instead the quartet remained seated between sound check, exit and entrée - the Danny O'Keefe classic Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues.

"We're going to feature Mr Ray Chaber here on the fiddle," Snowy announced as the lads teamed for instrumental Elk River Blues - from the pens of David Schnaufer and Stephen Seifert.

It was then a short two-step into Eddy Howard's Adobe Hacienda, popularised by the Browns, Roy Rogers and Hank Snow.

Townsend jump started his mood modifier as he sang "In my adobe hacienda there's a touch of Mexico/ cactus lovelier than orchids blooming in the patio/ soft desert stars and the strum of guitars/ makes every evening seem so sweet/ in my adobe hacienda life and love are more complete."

It was a slice of life from old and New Mexico with drummer Shane Fitchet picking up the tempo.

"A bit of Roy Rogers", was the brief back announcement by Townsend before he led his charges into former Chicago postie John Prine's Please Don't Bury Me.

Like a breath of fresh Appalachian air the lads breezed through oft-recorded Willis Allan Ramsey tune North East Texas Women.

By now the audience was connecting with the familiarity of Dylan outlaw tune John Wesley Harding, Randy Newman's Rider In The Rain and Hank Williams' food fetish Jambalaya.

It seemed like the lads were just warming up but an hour had passed and the big hand was on 6 and the little hand on 9 - show time for Jones and Hobbs.


Becky Hobbs & Kacey Jones - Noise Bar
Photo by Kip Karpik

There was no drum roll or drummer for the artists - just a spotlight that zoomed in on the snakeskin boots hand-stitched with the Beckaroo name Becky Hobbs.

Hobbs was perched on a stool within striking distance of her borrowed Kurzweil and Jones clutched her trusty acoustic guitar with aplomb.

This was a surreal experience with the artists alternating on their original honky tonk and comedy classics.

"I became a Shameless Hussie back in 1988 with Ethel & The Shameless Hussies," Jones proffered by introduction.

"My real name is Kacey Jones but if you prefer y'all can call me by Muslim name Seldom Bin Laid."

It was a salient signpost to the flavour of the soiree.

"I recently wrote the music for this new play Nipples To The Wind that is touring the U.S. and heading for Broadway," Jones said as she introduced her breast enlargement spoof parody How Do You Like These Babies Now?

Hobbs thanked a Scandinavian writer for her honky tonk fuelled tune Bible On The Dash Board And Six Pack On The Floor.

Jones revealed that she first met Hobbs 25 years ago at the famous but now defunct Palomino cowboy bar in Los Angeles as their entrée to Down At The Piggly Wiggly - their nocturnal supermarket search for romance mission statement.

< Becky Hobbs - photo by Kip Karpik

"I wrote this song back in the days when I worked Texas dance halls," Hobbs said as she introduced I Don't Dance With Strangers.

"It's now getting airplay in the good old U.S.A. and on XM satellite radio."

Hobbs also explained a little nature study from their local travels.

"I got to pet a Joey," Becky recalled.

Kacey scored the trifecta - "I got to pet a Tom, Dick and Harry,"

Jones introduced San Francisco Mabel Joy - the focal point and first single from her Mickey Newbury tribute disc.

"Nu Country TV has been playing the video - so out of respect for Mickey Newbury I'm gonna play it in tune.

"Kris Kristofferson explained the magic of Mickey Newbury and difference between the poet and songwriter. He said melody is the weapon the poet doesn't have."

Hobbs proved that she also played a dab hand in humour.

"I was born and raised in Bartlesville Oklahoma and like a fool I went out to Los Angeles in California to be a rock singer,' Hobbs said.

"I lived in an all gay neighborhood - all gay males except me - they used to roller skate up and down the sidewalk in these little bikini things so I wrote this song."

Mid-way through Are There Any More Like You Where You Came From she quipped "this is where the twin fiddles play - they didn't turn up tonight."

Jones introduced Oh Holy Smoke from her disc Sweet Potato Queen's Big Ass Box Of Music - inspired by Jill Connor Browne's best selling book.

"This song was inspired by a blind date. I've been on so many blind dates I should have a dog," she explained.

'I got this song out of it - this song I'm gonna try to play slightly out of tune so I can sound like a band."


Hobbs had a brief but poignant intro for her Johnny Cash tribute.

"I had the pleasure of opening shows for Johnny and June Carter Cash in Europe in the eighties, we got to kiss the blarney stone together," Hobbs revealed.

"The Sunday morning after Johnny Cash passed away Dene Anton and I wrote this song over the telephone."

It was the entree for her Cash tribute There Will Be Never Be Another Man In Black from her Songs From The Road Of Life.

"He told the good ol' boys where they could go/ sitting at their desks on Music Row/ and I bet ol' Waylon's been so lonesome for his pal/ and I bet they're raising hell by now."

Kacey proved a kindred spirit.

"I can play a country song too. I do country songs too but not enough artists record them," Jones joked.

"I pitch my country songs to Leann Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Leon Russell without any success so I cut if myself."

Jones then performed I Could Over Him If I Could Get Under You - a sibling of sorts to Earl Thomas Conley tune When I'm Under The Table I'll Be Over You.

Hobbs then changed gear from Cash to Jones.

"I wrote this song with Don Goodman and the late great wild man Mack Vickery for all those Possum fans," Hobbs said she introduced her piano driven classic Jones On The Juke Box.

Jones recounted that Hobbs was rewarded with a chocolate rush on her 58th birthday in Tamworth on January 24.

"When we had the Beckaroo birthday in Tamworth at the Family Hotel we had three chocolate cakes brought to her," she added before previewing another comedy gem from her Curb Records album Every Man I Love Is Either Married, Gay Or Dead.

"This song saved me $2,000 in psychotherapy," Jones said.

"I went to the shrink for two years in Los Angeles then I went back to songwriting. This is the result."

Jones performed But I'm Not Bitter - the tale of a spurned woman talking revenge on a cheating Lothario who bonked their babysitter.


Then it was show time for guest Hussy - Leslie Avril.

"The coolest thing about traveling the world is the power of the song - meeting artists who have recorded your songs," Hobbs explained as they joined forces for Cowgirl's Heart.

This was indeed an energised highlight with artists trading verses and harmonies on the Hobbs tune, cut by Avril on her debut disc Champagne & Desolation.

"I want this girl to loosen up a bit," Avril said, "she's too straight tonight."

This was Jones cue to compliment Avril.

"Leslie Avril is probably the best kept secret in Australia," Jones added.

"I said to Becky the other night Leslie Avril is like Bette Midler of Australia - only with a better voice."

Avril looked downwards and introduced Jones tune Never Wear Panties To A Party, replete with new Australian lyrics.

Hobbs then completed the mood swing with her maternal eulogy inspired by her father's dying wishes - She Broke Her Promise.

"That's a beautiful song, Beckaroo," Jones commented - "I hope Carrie Underwood cuts it and you make a gazillion dollars so we can return to Australia."


Jones completed the melancholic double shot with her version of Mickey Newbury's Lie To Me Darlin'.

"This is one of the last songs Mickey Newbury wrote towards the end of his life and I'm maybe the second artist to record it," Jones explained.

"I recorded it with Waylon Payne - the son of late Sammy Smith who had a huge hit with Kris Kristofferson's Help Me Make It Through The Night. Waylon is a brilliant young actor and I'm very lucky to have him star in the video for this song and also as the Waycross farm boy in San Francisco Joy."

Kacey Jones & Leslie Avril
Photo by Kip Karpik

It was a hard act to follow but Hobbs easily energised the mood swing with Why Do They Always Look Better When They're Leaving.

"I wrote this next song when I was dating," Hobbs said.

"It was before I married my husband Duane. He played guitar for Paul McCartney, then Glen Frey of The Eagles for 16 years. He now plays with Rodney Atkins and they're in Memphis tonight. I've only been married for 11 years - it's my first and his last. It's his first too. I'm a lucky girl - I met him in a bar when he was paging himself on a payphone. I walked up to him and thought he's mine but he don't know it yet. This was written way before that about very some very bad love affairs."

Jones then previewed her evocative ode to a 95-year-old lover - Waiting For The Guy To Die.

"We're doing one more and then taking a break," Hobbs announced as she ripped into her barn burning family tune My Mama's Green Eyes And My Daddy's Wild Hair.

Stay tuned for highlights of the concert on Nu Country TV on C 31 - Saturday March 1 - and Series #10 from June-August.

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