Tom Petty-1950-2017 Gone….Into The Great Wide Open

Iconic songwriter Tom Petty has left the building…

Only saw him 3 times and each show was brilliant in it’s own special way.

13 Feb 1986-Sydney Entertainment Centre-Supporting Bob Dylan and playing as Bob’s backing band….it was a tad shambolic but memorable. A very high Stevie Nicks joined them for the finale of “Knockin’ On Heavens Door”.

27 August 2005-Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California-Read about it on the link below. With the flu in my body and this show only a BART ride away, I sucked it up and rocked out. It was pretty damn fine.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Black Crowes @ Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California, 27/08/05

27 July 2017-Forest Hills Tennis Stadium-The 40th Anniversary tour and my 60th…..and my lovely wife Julie’s first and only, Petty show.
Although the set-list was not to my liking and the same for every show on this tour… bizarre….Petty and The Heartbreakers delivered a great show.

Tom was a constant source of musical fun and a soundtrack from my teens to now…..really, how many times have I danced to American Girl and Refugee……??

I will miss his presence….I will miss his music….I will miss his humour.

RIP Thomas Earl Petty

20-10-1950  —  02-10-2017


The War On Drugs


“Lead me through the light
Pull me from the water
Hold my hand and something turns to me
Turns me into you
Just see it through my eyes
Love me like no other
Hold my hand and something turns to me
Turns me into you
Turn in me
Into you…”

Simply, digging this song as it hits my psychedelic heart….and the new album “Deeper Understanding” is a head phone masterpiece….

The Inaugural House Concert On The World’s Largest Balcony Starring Bill Jackson and Pete Fidler


This past Sunday, the 13th of August, Stuart Coupe and Sussan Lynch hosted a wonderful event on their HUGE balcony.

With friends and invitees in attendance, it was simply a sparkling day in the late winter sunshine eating food out of paper and drinking wine and beer. Most importantly, it was a chance to hear some fabulous folk music.

Bill Jackson is a wonderful troubadour. Bill on guitar and Pete on guitar and mandolin and dobro made for some sweet interplay. Jackson covered a selection of songs from his releases, The Wayside Ballads, that were engaging and played flawlessly. Throw in some covers of Steve Young and Guy Clark and that gives you an idea of how the afternoon flowed.

Here is hoping that this becomes a series of events. Music on a Sunday Afternoon is one of the most pleasurable  ways to end the weekend.



“Ghost On The Car Radio”- Slaid Cleaves Latest


Cleaves song writing captured me when I heard his song Horseshoe Lounge back at the start of the 21st Century. His lyricism is succinct and captures you quickly and you know the characters in a moment, even if you did not grow up somewhere where there is a small service station or a tavern like the Lounge mentioned above. You know these places…..

“So here’s to missed beginnings and things that never start

For these are the ghosts that run around in my heart

When I see that where I’m going isn’t where I want to be

I get the urge to look you up see if you would come and meet me”-Horseshoe Lounge Lyrics

So here we are in 2017 and this new record delivers a dozen gems that are based right here, right now. Cleaves talks about how people are doing it hard but moving on even though life is not as simple or easy as they seemed to be decades ago. “Primer Gray” is a beautiful folk song for 2017.

“Old Guard” is a gorgeous country tune that depicts the movement of the hands of time. It is one of those songs that seems you have heard before and warms your heart.

He is a well worn poet and if you have not tracked down his music before this is a perfect place to start. This may not be ground breaking music, but it is Cleaves at his best, working the soil of the working class and the lovers who are not always doing their best.

Give it a listen, you will not be disappointed and I am sure if it grabs you at all lyrically and musically, you will be digging deeper into his other releases.

Ghost On The Car Radio is out now on Candy House Media.


Joe Pug and Courtney Marie Andrews @ The Landsdowne Hotel ** 11 Jul 2017



Joe Pug is a fabulous storyteller with a sly sense of the absurd. Besides that, he is a wry and warm   folk singer/writer carrying on a tradition of singing his own songs and bringing others songs to life.

Another Tuesday evening at The Landsdowne in Sydney brought out some fans of Pug’s and of live music. Joining Joe tonight was Courtney Marie Andrews, originally hailing from Phoenix, but who has been a touring/recording musician for a good decade with Jimmy Eat World and Damien Jurado. Her voice is a mixture of folk and country and if you want to make a comparison to her style, throw Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris into the blender and you come up with a Courtney cocktail

Honest Life, her latest release on Fat Possum records, is worthy of a listen, so check it out.

Mr Joe Pug is a raconteur with a keen eye on the human condition, no matter how messed up it might be. Tonight while displaying an excellent set list of his own material, including “I Do My Fathers Drugs”, “Not So Sure” and “Veteran Fighter”, he touched on a couple of covers.

The first cover was “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal” written by the Texas born Billy Joe Shaver. The song itself is a diamond. Prefacing the song with the story of Billy Joe’s shooting of a man in Lorena, Texas, was hilarious and probably enlightening to most in the audience. I highly advise you google Billy Joe and check out his quote about shooting his harasser in the face. It is definitely worth a laugh.

Pug has rediscovered himself, moderated his touring schedule, and has found joy in eating healthy, being at home and connecting with life outside of the honky tonks and hotel rooms. He seems to be having a joyous time connecting with his fans and playing live and that is a boon for all of us who care for his music.

Pug has a melodic delivery that is reminiscent of John Hiatt, one of his influences and it came across as clear as a brightly lit room tonight. After stating that “Hymn 101” was the climax of the show, and someone yelled out “Play some old stuff”, to which Pug answered, “No, I am going to play Carole King’s Tapestry from start to finish”, he proceeded with a short encore.

Andrews came out for a song of her own and then Courtney and Joe became Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty with a cover of  “Insider”  from Petty’s Hard Promises record. It was a splendid end to a sweet evening of folk and for this listener, who is off to see Tom Petty in NYC in 2 weeks the joy of synchronicity was lovely.

Dashville State Of Mind

I don’t know how many times I have had conversations  around local Australian music during this decade where it begins: “So, have you heard any of the musicians who hail from the Dashville Community”? Or maybe I have to bring up the Gumball Festival and the 2 recent Dashville Skyline Cosmic Festivals to maybe see if they have any idea what I am about to ramble about.

What is Dashville? Is it a place? Is it a state of mind? Is it just a cover for the Johnston Family so they can build a solid local empire around music events like the aforementioned ones while playing music and enjoying the company of like-minded souls like William Crighton, James Thomson and Jason Walker to name a few.  Well, it is all of these things and more.

At The Bearded Tit in Redfern (an excellent bar just to hang in) Dashville On The Road was rolled out for a decent sized gathering of music fans and friends of the Dashville tribe.

Having been to the first two Dashville Skyline Festivals and watched a number of these artists play before I was not surprised to hear growth in their music and a certain confidence and relaxation in their delivery.

Arriving when we did, the gig was in full flight. Magpie Diaries were up and delivering a captivating set of rock and Americana. For the next couple of hours the other Johnston Brother and his outfit Baghead played; Lyle Dennis belted out a few numbers and Melody Pool sang her socks off. There were others on the close to 4 hour hoedown, but alas, there were other things on our plate earlier and apologies for missing out on some!

There always is a surprise when you hook up with the Dashville team. This time around there was a magical addition of a saxophone to the mix. It was an instant recognition of tone and style that caught my ear as I sipped my first Shark Lager. The warmth and ability to connect with whomever she played with was apparent throughout and Cassie Bofinger is someone I want to hear blow some more.

Considering that Cassie played with each and every act  it seems everyone in this little clan of musicians feels the same way about her talent.

What I admire and receive from watching these individuals create music is that they  truly enjoy their mission and the people that come along to share the journey are truly lovers of good, home made music. It is a rare experience….

If you missed this little event, keep your eyes plugged into Dashville on the intertubes, hook up with them on Facebook and don’t forget that Dashville Skyline is on the October Long Weekend.  It is the best little camping festival in Australia because of the music, the venue, the food and most of all, the people. (

See you there or somewhere down the trail.


Ben Ottewell-The Landsdowne Hotel-4th July 2017



Ben Ottewell-The Landsdowne Hotel-4th July 2017

The Landsdowne is back on the music map and it was an intimate group of under one hundred for this stop on Ottewell’s short spin around Australia. Ben joked during the set, as he drank from an iced glass of yellowish liquid, that he was fuelled by the urine of his support act. Whatever was keeping him going was perfect because his unique vocal style and excellent guitar work was splendid to hear.

With 3 solo albums to his name now, the lead guitarist still attached to the band Gomez (by name only of late), gave us a good selection of new songs and others from his solo catalogue and 4 from the Gomez ranks.

Ottewell is a fabulous guitarist and even he mentioned during one song, how he misses the electric guitar, but his acoustic performances of these numbers are arranged very well. His solo work continues to mature and with his latest record “A Man Apart” his lyricism and delivery rates highly.

You could tell by the reaction of the crowd during the four Gomez numbers that the audience was made up of fans of that band. Rhythm And Blues Alibi was a highlight and as with Gomez, you can lose yourself in the music. There were even some who stood, swayed, and danced a bit.

Tijuana Lady, quite possibly yelled out at every gig Ottewell plays, closed the show. If you do not know the song, have a listen on the clip below. If you do know it, well, listen again anyway as it is a classic piece of work. (move bottom)

The electric guitar may find its way into Ben’s hands next year with the 20th anniversary of his band Gomez coming up. They have been quiet for a while; let’s hope they bring it on next year.

Set list:

1-Steal Away

2-A Man Apart


4-Patience and Rosaries

5-Free To Run


7-Rhythm and Blues Alibi




11-Better Lie


12-Red Dress

13-Bring It On


15-Tijuana Lady         



Gomez may be on a very lengthy hiatus….some wonder if it is forever…at least there is time for one of their lead singers and lead guitarist to come down and grace our shores once again.

Ben will be showcasing songs from his latest release “A Man Apart” and his other 2 solo records…and from good sources, quite a few Gomez covers.

See you there…..supported by Buddy…and my buddy, Ben!
busch and ben