Friday afternoon was a bit …um… interesting – we were due to play at Tumut in the evening, so a nice gentle drive in the van had some appeal – until the grinding noises came from the starter motor bearings.

Sharon and I looked at each other and shrugged in unison. If the 20 year old van won’t make it, let’s take the 28 year old motorbike. A quick phone call to our bass player showed he hadn’t left yet, and could take the fiddle in his car. The bike was running brilliantly after its service, and the handling had improved markedly with new suspension and new tyres – in fact it was in the best condition it’s had for years. So we both decided that the ride would be a good idea.

The ride to Tumut was very pleasant – with perfect weather and good road (via Yass and Gundagai), and we arrived safely in late afternoon. After finding our room (the ‘band room’) at the Oriental Hotel, we had an excellent feed and tuned up for the show.

fctumut1

There was a good responsive crowd and we had a great time – the sound system behaved well and it was fortunate we had also brought lights :-)

fctumut2

We played the first hour and had a short break, then by the time we were thinking of another break, it was too near the end so we did the second two hours straight through – time flies when you’re having fun.

We were quite exhausted by the end, so after the last encore we packed away the sound gear and headed off to bed.

Early next morning the sun shone golden over the town, and I took a couple of photos on our way out for breakfast at a nearby coffee shop.

tumut1

After a photo under the Tumut town sign, we headed off to Gundagai for coffee.

Sharon wasn’t quite quick enough to avoid the camera this time!

gundagaisharon

We stopped at the famous Niagara Cafe – where Prime ministers from years past used to stop on their way to Canberra. There is a great old art deco counter there.

gundcounter

And, no, we didn’t sing about the dog on the tuckerbox!

We had a smooth run home, with the bike running perfectly. But it was nice to be back in our own bed at the end of the day.

Cheers
Jerry

Our guitarist, Butch, had been to Tilba-Tilba on a number of occasions, and noted that some good name bands from Sydney had performed at the Dromedary Hotel there. In conversation with the publican, he had mentioned our Irish band and the rest fell into place.

Full Circle at Tilba-Tilba

Saturday promised a hot drive down – the place is about 300kms from Canberra, about an hour’s drive south of Bateman’s Bay, so I was quite pleased with the offer of a lift in Butch’s car – along with a cut-down version of our sound system.

We arrived mid-afternoon in time to get some excellent food from the cafe over the road and then we set up the venue – an open shed out the back – a former stable perhaps, which contained a functioning jukebox and a small stage. The whole side wall opened out onto the beer garden.

Full Circle at Tilba-Tilba

The other band members had a joke about my insistence on bringing some stage lights – but we were glad of them when it got dark – we would have been invisible to the audience without them!

As a pub show, we started with some up-tempo Irish and Australian songs and some lively reels and jigs – amazingly right from the first bracket people got up and danced – and continued throughout the show.

We were told that bands never shift the regulars from the front bar – but we did :-)

Full Circle at Tilba-Tilba

In fact the audience responded really well to the fact that (a) we weren’t the usual covers/blues band, and (b) we weren’t what most people’s concept of an Irish band was.

During the tunes we went out among the dancers and danced as we played – and on feedback afterwards, they loved the fact that we joined them, rather than staying aloof.

So all up it was a great night and well worth the drive down. We had a great welcome there and I’m sure we’ll be back there before long.

On the way back, we stopped briefly for a rest and stretch, and looked up at the most amazing clear night sky, with the Milky Way in a vivid streak right across it – simply breathtaking!

Cheers
Jerry

The cold and rainy weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of the 70 or so who came to a birthday party organised at Bungendore Showgrounds. For Full Circle Band, it was initially meant to be an outdoor show, however there was a contingency plan – two large sheds that opened onto each other – one for the banquet, and one for dancing.

But with no sign of people moving to the dance shed, we grabbed our instruments and moved into the banquet shed and played acoustically to the great delight of the audience. We got them singing sea shanties and played tunes and sang about rural life in Australia – we included several numbers from our forthcoming CD.

Full Circle Band

The atmosphere was great – a shearing-shed ambience with some coloured spotlights, great food, and big hearted people. The birthday lad is one of Bungendore’s top woodworkers/designers – and for those who know the Bungendore Wood Works Gallery – that’s saying something! The show demonstrated the country community spirit and family bonds, and everyone had a wonderful time – including ourselves!

Melody Lane Studios in Sydney have done an excellent job recording my fiddle and after a long day recording three tune sets we now have enough for a CD.

jerry recording

Of course, recording is only half the battle – the tunes and songs need to be professionally mastered – balanced with each other, and some post-production work to ensure that the instruments sound their best. And there are other things to do like design a cover, write track notes and so on, and after mastering the CD will need to be pressed professionally

I also discovered – courtesy of the super-sensitive studio mics that I need to replace my violin bridge. You see, after the last crack repair on the fiddle’s body the bridge is now a little low on one side – so I’ve had to bow more lightly on that side to eliminate string buzz on the fingerboard.

We’ve had a our lighter moments during recording too – at one point to relieve the tension, our guitarist started some 12-bar blues – so I joined in on fiddle – and the sound guys fell about – they’d never seen 12 bar played on a fiddle before :-)

Anyhow the hardest part is over and I can relax for now. We drive back to Canberra tomorrow.

Cheers
Jerry

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