It's a long journey from the wild mountains of Virginia and North Carolina where Robbie Fulks was raised but the Cassowary Coast of far north Queensland frightens him more today.

It's not the gigantic crocodile that emulated the gator in Tony Joe White hit Polk Salad Annie by chomping to death an Octogenarian Vinnies aged care home resident on her daily walk alongside Port Douglas water-ways on Pennsylvania born Robbie's arrival here for his first Australian tour.

No, no, it's the Cassowary that alarmed the singer-songwriter-satirist and drove him to perform a song about the magnificent bird.

“I can handle the giant bats, rats and other rodents but it was the Cassowary with the blue plumage and feathers that drove me over the line,” Fulks, resident of Chicago's mean streets for 34 years, told fans as he and fiddler Shad Cobb reached the climax of their Outside stage set at the Out On The Weekend Festival.

“At 54 my life has lasted a long time but that Cassowary really drove me over the line.”

Not surprisingly the red-hot guitar picking of Fulks and fiddler Shad's energy enabled them to drive their nemesis way beyond the back of the truck that was their stage.

Fulks didn't need to perform his famed Nashville parody Fuck This Town - he lampooned two time Australian tourists Brooks & Dunn in his lyrics for entrée Sometime The Grass Is Always Greener .

He also revived older songs The Buck Starts Here, Rock Bottom Population 1 and Cigarette State about Carolina where also lobbed a verbal grenade at “ Alabama - the band - not the state.”

Unlike some artists, whose music drowned the lyrical subtleties, there was no danger of that here.

I'll Trade You Money For Wine was self-explanatory but his expansive introduction to I Just Want To Meet The Man added to the depth of the song about the eternal love triangle.

Fulks also credited Whispering Bill Anderson, who turns 80 on November 1, as the writer of his 1965 morose cheating song Cocktails - viewed from the opposite perspective.

“Cocktails tore up my family, cocktails tore down my home/ one to wake me up every morning, one with a buddy at noon/ I started runnin round with a woman, turned my back on my wife and my kid/ wonder how Momma's gonna tell them, the awful thing that Daddy did.”

Fulks also revealed promoter BT - Brian Taranto - described his banjo playing sidekick Shad as a superhero the previous night.

So BT arrived on stage and adorned Cobb with a brand new red Shad's Cocktails superhero cloak before the fiddler reprised his new song Banjo In The Holler from the night before at Thornbury Theatre .

It was indeed a family show as Fulks recalled why he gave up playing banjo at eight for guitar after meeting his 90 year-old banjo playing great aunt - a recent widow.

Fulks said on his arrival at her home she hurried vacated the adjacent bedroom with her new husband and inspired his next song Aunt Peggy's New Old Man .

“She was 90 years-old and just got married,” Fulks explained.

It may have been an edited version of his previous night's show but was definitely the catch of the day on the dock of the bay at Seaworks .


Ballarat export Freya Josephine Hollick added a full band to flesh out her sound on her return and festival entrée on the main stage.

Freya was promoting new EP Don't Mess With The Doyenne released in June, with accompanying video Tough As A Dead Man's Sundried Skin, filmed in buildings and motels similar to those featured in the historic Dr Blake TV series.

I'm colour blind but it didn't appear Freya had resurrected her green pantsuit today.

Gippsland born and bred Davidson Brothers kicked off the truck stage with apt tune Back Where I Started before an instrumental and cover of bluegrass ace Larry Sparks These Old Blues.

“Our parents met playing the bagpipes in Yinnar and other nearby small towns in Gippsland,” latter day Melbourne resident and mandolinist Lachie Davidson revealed as he introduced Travelling Bluebird before the title track of eighth album All You Need Is Music.

Lachie revealed that he and his award winning banjo and fiddle playing brother Hamish had met many other of the festival acts in Nashville on their frequent overseas sojourns.

He added he skipped school to buy the original version of Man Of Constant Sorrow that they performed here with guest guitarist Sam Lemann and double bass player Isaac Barter.


The quartet performed late mentor Bill Monroe's classic My Little Girl In Tennessee as a prelude to their nocturnal gig later at the Foggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival at Kinglake.

It's not clear if the duo will be mistaken for Nashville quartet The Davisson Brothers Band who debut in Australia in March at CMC Rocks Queensland in Ipswich .

They hail from the hills and hollers of rural West Virginia and have been signed to CMC promoter Rob Potts new Australian label Fan Gate .


Melbourne quartet Raised By Eagles added two female harmony singers to their set that featured songs from their self-titled 2013 debut disc, 2015 album Diamonds In The Bloodstream and this year's I Must Be Somewhere.

Sadly, lead singer Luke Sinclair's repartee was lost early in the vocal mix.

But the sound quality improved as lap steel virtuoso Nick O'Mara fired up his gospel tinged tale of deliverance and corruption in Every Night.

I Must Be Somewhere preceded Sinclair penned Sugar Cane that was set near the Daintree where Fulks' feared Cassowaries rule the roadsides for world weary travellers.

A fitting finale was his crime narrative Jackie where the domestic violence victim revisits the sins of her mother and younger partner in rhyme.

Sinclair casts his victim as a tough school kid suffering summary justice at the end of her mother's fists for two minor sins - stealing cigarettes and hanging out with a male co-offender

It was a tough act to follow but Illinois born Lillie Mae Rische did it twice - on the outdoor stage and the Pirate's Tavern.

Lillie's band performed energised sets with accessible tunes including Mama, Forever and Then Some, Wash Me Clean, Over the Hill and Through the Woods, Honky Tonks and Taverns, The Last Time and To Go Wrong .

The Rische family quintet, previously known as Jypsi , were discovered by the late Cowboy Jack Clement in 2000 when Lillie Mae was just nine.

Sisters Amber-Dawn, Scarlett, and McKenna Grace, and brother Frank, later honed their craft at Layla's Bluegrass Inn on Lower Broadway in Nashville.

Their patriarch Forrest Carter Rische, was a traveling song-man who taught all five of his children to play and sing and drafted them all into the Forrest Carter Family Band .

They travelled the lost highway from Galena , Illinois , in their motor home, busking from Branson , Missouri to the Texas Rio Grande Valley to Nashville , parking in campgrounds and trailer parks.

Jypsi released its self-titled 2008 album with Top 20 country hit I Don't Love You Like That.

The family debuted on Nu Country TV on January 2, 2010, with their humorous video Mr Officer.

Lille Mae then met Jack White in 2012 who produced her Third Man singles and her 2017 album Forever and Then Some.


Snowy Mountains chanteuse Fanny Lumsden fronted her Thrill Seekers septet, replete with double bass and pedal steel on the main stage.

She performed a selection of original songs from her ARIA nominated debut album Small Town Big Shot that won 2017 Golden Guitar and CMC Awards for Best New Talent.

They included Hold On Me, Totem Tennis, Bravest of Hearts, Firing Line, You And Me And Junee and Soapbox .

She told her audience of her mode of travel - a 1978 pop-top Millard Caravan - that features in her video clips.

And, of course, her costumier.

“We got these shirts for $6 each from a Bundaberg disposal store,” she quipped.

Fanny, now 30, finished with a cover of Love Is In The Air and Roll On - first single from her second album A Real Class Act, released on September 22.

The crowd funded album is on Red Dirt Road Records - the label Fanny and husband Dan Stanley Freeman operate and promote on her sixth annual Country Halls Tour.

New Orleans based quintet Deslondes performed a highly accessible slab of folk, rock, bluegrass, country, R&B, roots, blues, gospel and zydeco from their self-titled 2015 disc and Hurry Home released this year.

The band formed in the Holy Cross neighborhood in New Orleans ' Lower Ninth Ward, and took their name from a street in that neighborhood after surrendering their original name.

That was after performing as The Tumbleweeds until a Scandinavian band that had owned that name since the '70s intervened.

Dan Cutler (vocals/stand-up bass), Sam Doores (vocals/guitar), Riley Downing (vocals/guitar), Cameron Snyder (vocals/percussion), and John James Tourville (fiddle/pedal steel) share writing credits.

Their set included One of These Lonesome Mornings, This Ain't A Sad Song, Who Really Loses, Louise, The Real Deal, Less Honkin' More Tonkin' , Wrong Time To Be Right and Heavenly Home.

Sydney folk quartet All Our Exes Live In Texas, formed in 2014 with a self-titled EP, added drummer Paul and bassist Brett Hirst for its set that included new tunes from 2017 debut album When We Fall.

Accordionist Elana Stone set the tone for pithy patter before a brace of ruptured romance requiems Tell Me, What If I Want To Be The One, Our Love Won't Die, When The Sun Comes Up, I'm Giving Up My Heart For Now, I'm Gonna Get My Heart Cut Out, Candle and Sailboat .

Mandolinist Georgia Mooney, guitarist Katie Wighton and Hannah Crofts on ukulele shared vocals and patter.

The quartet revealed they toured Texas but did not enjoy or endure suffice romance to leave any exes in the Lone Star state but anchored their set with a call to arms on domestic violence in The Devil's Part.

Luckily, Satan steered clear of Seaworks and ensured Out On The Weekend will boomerang with more seagulls than Cassowaries.

Review by David Dawson with photos by CAROL TAYLOR.

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