There's an added poignancy to presenting suburban songs in their suburb of origin. You know that the people sitting in a lounge room in North Coburg or gathered around a breakfast bar in the living room of a West Brunswick house or sitting amongst the books at a Coburg library are going to understand the song about The Road to Sydney or West Brunswick Star more so than other audiences. They're going to understand the images in the song called West Brunswick and know the Number 55 tram ride intimately. They're going to understand exactly what it's like on Moonee Valley race nights and they'll get the eccentricity of trying to navigate a clipper along the Moonee Ponds Creek.
March brought me into the houses of Richard and Rachel in North Coburg, Andrea and Glen in West Brunswick and the Coburg library. Singing about home in the local lounge rooms of these newest "patrons of the arts" as Rachel observed, accompanied by the sweetest harmonies from my best mate Emily Hayes, and my gorgeous daughter, Ella Sidal, was just a bit special. The girls surprised and delighted everyone, including me, with their harmonic entries while they remain seated amongst the audience. Their inspired idea of singing from their seats created a warm, we're-all-in-this-together, atmosphere.
During the performances, I quipped that I looked forward to seeing some of the members of the audience down the street at the shops. Last week, I ran into someone from the Coburg library gig in the local supermarket and laughed at the coincidence. It's nice to be meeting new neighbours. I have promised a Big West Brunswick Neighbourhood Gig at the end of this concert series so that everyone can meet everyone and we can all singalong together.
March also brought my marching orders. I got the "you have 60 days to vacate" notice in the mail. For now, I give up. I'm tired of been moved on every time a landlord sells or their circumstances change. So, I'm taking a rest from the rental market and have chosen to house sit for a while and open myself to the generosity of friends and strangers who need their homes looked after and sung to while they're away.
Ironically, I will be technically homeless as I sing about home. Perversely, I kinda like that idea. There is a poeticism to it that may bring new songs and ideas for the next album.
I'm looking forward to April. It brings with it more house concerts in Moreland, including the extra special one in the West Brunswick street where it was recorded, designed and written and that I lived happily with my extraordinary neighbours for 6 years. My mates Allie and Adrian are the hosts for this concert. They even have a song written about them on the album. I'm really looking forward to singing it to them and their mates and the neighbours in their backyard. I hope the neighbour who plays steel drum turns up.
April also takes me to Fawkner, a little gem of a suburb that nobody much visits. But, it houses my mates Amanda and Matt who have dubbed their lovely home and garden, "The Fawkner Farm House". It has fruit trees, vegetables, sheds and chooks. I'm looking forward to singing in their kitchen accompanied by the delicious smells of whatever Amanda has been whipping up. The kitchen is my favourite room of the house!
Then Canberra beckons and the backyard of Lainey and Steve. Fine musicians in their own right. I hope to play some tunes with them, which reminds me, I better send them a CD and some chord charts. And the talented young thing, who plays brilliant guitar and writes great songs, Hayley Shone, is going to play as well. I hope that my Viking Warrior can come and play his harmonica with me as well.
Autumn leaves, music making, and that aching sunshine for "When love came to Yarrabin street, an April sun shone......."beckons in the new month.