- To email Champs
To keep your finger on the pulse
21 Aust. Masters Games Concert, Geelong,
27 SS&A Club Albury
1 Craigieburn Sports Club, Melb.
6-9 Pt Fairy Folk Festival, Vic
12 Briagalong Folk Club, Briag. Hotel, Vic
14 Brunswick T. Hall, Bruns. Music Festival,
20 Yackandandah Folk Festival, Vic
17 Wellers Rstnt, Kangaroo Ground, Melb.
24 Mt Beauty Music Muster, Vic
29 Sunshine Sports Club, Melb.
- Dearly gathered and beloved, welcome to our first 2009
newsletter, courtesy of our esteemed
editors/compilers, Andrew & Del, of Perth.
Well, it’s hard to think any news is important compared to the
toll from the bushfires,
which got to within about 15km of us here on Melbourne’s edge.
A lot of people here know someone who’s lost a home – if not
The towns of Strathewen and Kinglake are only 30-40 minutes
A close mate up the road was missed by two streets – due to the
wind change coming at
the critical moment. My daughter and I had holidayed at
Marysville two weeks before the
fires, as we have done a dozen times, ‘cos we just love that
This area is half bush, half suburb – it’s semi-rural. It’s
hilly and still very forested. At the speed the
fire was moving, it may have been here in under ten minutes, if
not for the wind change.
There are two fast-tracked fundraising concerts that I’m on:
Eltham Park on March 22, and Whittlesea
Football Club on March 27.
Feb 21 offers a different kind of gig for us: we’re putting
together the old rock band for
the Opening Ceremony of the Australasian Masters Games in
Geelong, playing to all the
competitors on Geelong FC Oval.
This band contains two Daddy Cool blokes, Wayne Duncan & Ross
Hannaford, plus rock legend
Wayne Burt, & Tony Thornton.
Port Fairy Folk Festival is one of the year’s top highlights,
and we kick off there
on March 6. Then it’s off to the other end of Victoria for a
folk club gig at Briagalong
Pub on March 12. At Brunswick Festival in Melbourne I’m opening
for an international
act on March 14.
I’ve never been to Yackandandah Folk Festival before, near
I’ll be there this time, from March 20.
My new CD STRAYANA, which I reckon could be the best CD I’ve
made, is out as from
Feb 2. I’m really proud of it so I want to know what YOU think.
I think it’s the best one ‘cos of
the songs, the production, the mixing and the mastering – thanks
to Stuie, Rod, Ted & Jeff.
May we all pull together for the people of Marysville, Kinglake,
and all affected areas, and try to help rebuild this shattered
corner of Australia.
As my SNAG mate says, lotsa love and hugs
email@example.com or visit
- Greetings from the Champ
Hello, how ya been, and nice to be with you again dear Newsletter
- You know how every singer’s newsletter starts with “it’s been a real
busy time lately”? Well, I’m not
going to say that…but lately it HAS been a REAL busy time.
- A huge hello to constant correspondents Clare in WA, Joe in Mosman,
Lance from Hectorville, Penny in
Albury and Rhonda & Greg in Cessnock. I trust your winter is
tolerable. Here, I’m not so sure. On the
bright side, I happen to barrack for a really good football team
at the moment [Adelaide Crows].
- One of the highlights of the year so far has been meeting and
co-writing with Keith Potger, of The Seekers.
This fella is a living legend in my mind, and I grew up idolising
him, identifying with him especially
among The Seekers. To be co-writing with him just floors me.
- Since we last spoke, we went to Port Fairy Folk Festival in March, an
event almost equal to Tamworth
for fun. Just like the previous Port Fairy, I was blessed to have
Gary Carruthers, Robyn Martin and Rod
McCormack in our band. James Gillard also spent some time with us,
Gary and Rod all backed up Bill Chambers there too.
- Tailem Bend country Music Festival followed, where I sang with my
friend of thirty years, Margie Russell. I love that part of SA –
and all other parts….
- In April I played a Flying Doctor fundraiser show in Bordertown with
singers John O’Dea and Penny Burke. Then came the National Folk
Canberra, always a hoot, performing with Jane Saunders, Michael
Fix and Gary
Carruthers. While in Canberra I snuck over to the National Masters
Championships, doing long jump and high jump, coming second and
Then back to the Festival for more fun and music.
- Shows in Warrnambool, Penguin in Tassie, Sydney and Adelaide took us
through to July. The Adelaide
City Muster is next up, where I’ll compere a show with Sara Storer,
Pete Murray, Cat Southern and Lee
Kernaghan. I’ll sing at The National Folk Convention in Canberra
in August, then I’m delighted to be
performing in Tumby Bay in September, as I just adore that region.
Shows at the Royal Adelaide Show
and Gundagai Folk Festival will fill out September. I’m also rapt
to be going to Maldon Folk Festival
again in early November.
- I may be asked by the powers-that-be to put out some targetted cricket
songs for the upcoming Ashes Series.
Will keep you informed.
- Until then, may all your breaths be good breaths, may your average
days get happier, and your good days
become wonderful ones.
- Happy travels, see you along the track, Greg
Grace and Greg on stage
Win a free flight to
see Champs live—
to play your set!
Shack Tapes Review — Lyle Stone
Ducks Crossing Publications, Trad & Now
THE SHACK TAPES - Greg Champion
The Shack Tapes is the latest album from the legendary
singer, songwriter and media personality
Greg's songs have come to form part of the soundtrack
of our lives, especially if, like me, you happen to be a bit
a cricket tragic.
The bulk of the album was recorded at a remote beach
shack in Victoria's South Gippsland (hence the title).
Further overdubs (including some stunning electric guitar playing
from the equally legendary
Ross Hannaford, ex-Daddy Cool) were laid down at producer Rod
McCormack's studio on the
Central Coast of New South Wales.
Songs which struck a special chord with me were the two songs
written from Greg's perspective
as a parent, "Walk Alongside of You" and "Somebody Needs Me".
The sound of the album is hard to categorise, moving easily across
country, folk, blues and
Australiana (in the sense of being an Australian version of
Americana!) Greg's distinctive voice
(both literally, as a singer, and more broadly, as an observer of
the Australian way of life)
shines through on this album, which although less slick
(deliberately) than some of his other
work, is up there with the best of it.
This album makes delightful listening for Greg's many fans around
Don ’ t forget ….
entries for the Champs Set List Competition are due in by the end
of this month.
Put together your dream show of Champ ’ s songs. Select your
favourite songs that you would like Champs to perform at a show,
then place them in order of performance - make it about 12 songs.
Send your list to
or post it to
“ C hamps Set List Competition ”
PO Box 110 Como WA 6952
- GREG CHAMPION
THE SHACK TAPES
THE SHACK TAPES, Greg Champion
BETWEEN madly barracking for the Adelaide Crows, appearing
on the radio program Coodabeen Champions, and performing
at various venues around the country, the irrepressible
Greg Champion found time to slip into the studio
during 2005 to record his latest album, The Shack
Tapes. Champion roped in a few mates for the recording
including Ross Hannaford and producer Rod McCormack. Another
guest, Gina Jeffreys provides backing vocals for
Melbourne Town, a song that is a virtual tourist guide to
the Victorian capital, even giving hints at where to find
laundromats and buy the best falafels. In his own lighthearted
fashion, Champion travels further afield on Been
There, Done That, and cruises the highway on Somebody
Needs Me. But all the songs are fresh and evocative, and
Champion delivers them in usual laid-back style. A delightful
album, it’s distributed through MGM.
Australian Ute/Big Rigs
August 4 - Mitcham Primary School Dinner
August 25 - Concert at the National Folk Convention Canberra
August 27 - Epping Football Club Melbourne
September 3 -Tumby Bay South Australia
September 23 - Gundagai Folk Festival NSW
October 4 - Melbourne Clifton Hill Hotel Melbourne
November 3rd - 6th - Maldon Folk Festival Victoria
November 18 - Southern Cross Club Canberra
November 19 - Wollongong Ex Services Club
December 10 - Encounter Bay Football Club South Australia
- To email Champs
To keep your finger on the pulse
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
Greg Champion’s rollicking road song Been There Done That (Like To
Do It Again) is riding high at # 8 on the Country Tracks Top 30
chart this week.
Been There Done That… has been travelling north since it hit the
bitumen in January and thanks to the support of radio stations
nationally, happy campers are belting out the chorus with the
windows wound down, all the way from Weipa to Tumby Bay.
Champs’ ubiquitous travelogue is just one of the soundtracks for
distance on his latest adult contemporary album The Shack Tapes
released through ORiGiN Music and available through MGM.
For more information, interviews or images, please contact:
Sue Camilleri on 08 89 412 512/0408 412 512
or visit the website
- THE CHAMPS SET LIST COMPETITION
- Don’t forget to put together your
ultimate Champs set list - put the thinking caps on, get out all
- Champs albums and remind yourself of
all those top tracks.
- Then imagine yourself at a Champs
show and what tracks would make the
- show your best Champs show ever!
- Put pen to paper - or digits to the
keyboard - and send
- in your entry!
- CHAMPS WANTS YOU TO HELP
- What is the
ultimate Champs show?
We will fly the winner
to see Champs
perform at a venue
later this year to be
Yes Champs wants you to put together your
Dream Show of Champs songs.
Select your favourite songs that you would like Champs to perform at
then place them in order of performance at the show - including
Make it about 12 songs.
Send your list to
“Champs Set List Competition” at Champs
PO Box 110 Como WA 6952
Win a free flight to see
Champs live to play your set!
- Greetings you hard
rocking Australians, battling daily to hold this country together
from the goodness
of your own hearts…. Did that get your attention?
Welcome to newsletter No. XVVICIVX, courtesy of our kindly editors,
Andrew & Del, of Perth.
Tamworth has come and gone again. It’s still the highlight of the
year, and long may it remain so. Nine
days is just long enough to lull you into believing you’re living
That’s the beauty of Tamworth.
The new CD The Shack Tapes was launched
there, on the charming verandah of June Smyth’s
pleasant abode, where we sang without PA with
the backdrop of a tropical storm.
I only saw copies of The Shack Tapes when I
arrived in Tamworth. The production of it was
so close to the Festival deadline that it was
freighted there from Sydney the day before it all
began. I’ve tried harder and dug deeper with
this record than any other. To me, that’s evident
in the listening.
- People often ask: is this CD ‘funny’ or
‘serious’? It’s a ‘straight’ album – like the last two.
There’s now a small backlog of novelty/Australiana songs so the next
CD may swing that way.
A tardy Happy New Year to you for 2006. May you have a fine time of
it. For this new newsletter
we’ve got heaps of fresh photos and stuff….
- The past few months have been rippers
for good action and fun travel. Between October and Christmas
I was lucky to sing in Warrnambool Naracoorte Renmark Burnie Mt
Buller Goulburn Hobart and
then a real highlight, the Spencer Gulf country Music Festival, 25k
from Pt Augusta.
In the New Year I’ve seen the sights of Briagolong, Bairnsdale and
Boyup Brook, and coming up it’s
the incomparable Port Fairy Folk Festival, The Murraylands Country
Music Festival in Tailem Bend
S.A., and the National Folk Festival in Canberra. Boyup Brook
Country Music Festival in W.A. was a
real hoot ‘cos it’s not often I get to go three hours south-east of
Perth for a great weekend.
I’ll leave the rest of the newsletter to Andrew & Del and wish you
well in your travels. Until we
meet again, stay cheerful,
- The Boyup Brook Country Music Festival.
For Champs fans the highlight of this weekend was Friday night when
Greg hit the stage
and filled the balmy twilight with a set that included some old
favourites, a humorous
tribute to John Williamson and a few great ideas for the national
anthem. When Greg
was joined part way through his set by the band we were treated to
some classics like “I
made a hundred” and “Don’t call Wagga Wagga Wagga” as well as his
new single from the
Shack Tapes, “Been there done that (like to do it again)”. Champs
finished the night with
his Golden Guitar winning song “May your fridge be full of coldies”.
You shoulda been there!
- CHAMPS WANTS YOU ! CHAMPS WANTS YOU !
- WINNER ANNOUNCED
We will fly the winner
to see Champs
perform at a venue
later this year to be
YES CHAMPS WANTS YOU TO PUT TOGETHER YOUR DREAM
SHOW OF CHAMPS SONGS.
SELECT YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE
CHAMPS TO PERFORM AT A SHOW, THEN PLACE THEM IN ORDER
OF PERFORMANCE AT THE SHOW - INCLUDING ENCORE!
MAKE IT ABOUT 12 SONGS.
SEND YOUR LIST TO
“CHAMPS SET LIST COMPETITION”
AT CHAMPS NEWSLETTER,
PO BOX 110 COMO WA 6952
- Joan rang the ABC on a Sunday night,
requested Greg’s song never turn right at Burke Road Malvern, and
then sent this email:
I got married in the church on the corner about 40 years ago. As the
bridal party stood on the steps, church bells ringing,
confetti everywhere, a semi came down the hill and screeched to a
halt at the lights. The driver alighted, stood on
his step and yelled "you stupid buggars". Never a truer word was
said. The marriage ended in tatters - a nasty heap on
the divorce court floor! but I'll remember that moment forever. Joan
- GREG CHAMPION
THE SHACK TAPES
12 awesome news tracks from Champs (or is that 13 trac
- Come this far
Keep the kettle boiling
Walk alongside of you
Out to Winchelsea
Been that done that (Like to do it again)
Somebody needs me
This train I’m on
- Stratford to Yarram
Big country town
- Tour Dates
- May 12 South Warrnambool Football Club Victoria
June 10 Alexandra Truck Show Victoria
June 17 Penguin Football Club Tasmania
June 23 Sydney Eagles Football Club Sydney
- Champs launching the new album The
- THE SHACK TAPES
- 4 Fellas, 1 shack and 12 tracks in 4
Greg Champion has twelve reasons to be Satisfied with his new adult
contemporary album The Shack Tapes, recorded on a mates’ retreat
with Gary Carruthers, Rod McCormack and Ron Engelhardt.
Champs is a driven songwriter who’s always embraced Australian
themes. On The Shack Tapes, his 15th album to date, he also explores
the essence of the restless spirit.
Come This Far, Out Winchelsea Way, This Train I’m On and Keep the
Kettle Boiling are soundtracks for distance while Somebody Needs Me,
Walk Alongside of You and Undying Flower are songs of the heart.
The Shack Tapes is a great companion to any road trip whether you’re
cruising around the city - Melbourne Town, heading from Stratford to
Yarram or any Big Country Town.
It wouldn’t be a Champs album without a singalong and the catchy
travelogue Been There Done That (Like To Do It Again) will have
everyone joining in.
Greg says of the recording, “We set up our own studio in a rustic
60’s shack in South Gippsland on an escarpment with a panoramic view
of the tidal flats. We lived off local fish and chips and watched
the kangaroos on the floodplains below while we played. We worked
the album for 12 hours each day, then the Gordon Lightfoot
Appreciation Society kicked in each night – four fellas, 4 days, one
shack and a bucket of fun.”
Released through ORiGiN Music, The Shack Tapes will be launched
during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January 2006 and
available through MGM.
Tamworth Country Music Festival dates:
For more information, please contact Sue Camilleri on 08 89 412
512/0408 412 512
or visit the website
THE SHACK TAPES –
Come This Far
While searching for a fourth verse, I noticed an Aussie
precedent for this kind of tale. Back at Uni, we studied Patrick
White’s Voss. The explorer walks into the wilderness and disappears.
Burke & Wills revisited. It’s a recurring Aussie literary idea.
Lasseter’s Last Ride is another. So then I had the idea for the last
- Keep the Kettle Boiling
About the places in the four verses: I was resident frontman
for the Coober Pedy Hotel band over summer break at first year Uni.
At Nardoo station I attended a songwriters’ camp near Cunnamulla,
Western Qld. Parachilna is North of Wilpena in the Flinders Ranges.
The West McDonnells often pop up in my songs. There’s a lot of
beauty out there.
- Walk Alongside of You
The thought bobbed up while following my eighteen-month old
daughter on a walk around the block.
- Out to Winchelsea
Talking to musician Dave Steele, I asked him if he still
lived in Geelong.
He said “No, we’ve moved out to Winchelsea”. The idea stuck for no
Been There Done That (like to do it again)
You hear that phrase around a bit. I thought it might be a
Slim song title so I asked Joy McKean. She said “No – it’s a Chad
Morgan album title [with the words gonna do it again]”. I wrote to
Chad and said “Hope you don’t mind – I’m doing a song with almost
the same title.”
- Somebody Needs Me
Again, written to our infant daughter. Sometimes I think that
Canadian Ian Tyson’s early songs are the most similar to the ones I
do. This one reminds me of that sorta style.
- This Train I’m On
My friend June Mary Smyth was going through a rough patch and
said “You know – this train I’m on – it’s a mighty interesting
- Stratford to Yarram
In mid-winter I had two trips to these Gippsland towns. They
were the extent and the highlights of my winter voyaging. For some
reason Ralph McTell’s music was in my head at the time.
- Undying Flower
During my first year at Uni, I had to write four sonnets in
Shakespearean style. That exercise came back to me while doing this
one. The song was written and abandoned four years ago and as with a
few other songs, eventually I was able to make it sit up and behave.
- Melbourne town
I told my music-loving friend I wanted to do a travelogue of
Melbourne pub venues from the Eighties, when we were in a band
together. Ross Hannaford’s electric guitar here is so helpful.
- Big Country Town
In a Melbourne newspaper I saw an amusing reference to
Adelaide as that big country town across the river. I’m part
Victorian and completely South Australian so I used it for a song
about my hometown.
There comes a point when you discover you can stop trying to
be someone and stop thinking you’ve got something to prove.
Cheers from Champs
Issue 8AD XVCIIDFKH
September 2005 Greg Champion
HELLO ME HEARTIES
Hello you fine-feathered Aussie battlers, and welcome to newsletter
just mucking around.
I trust your lives and your health are in good order, and may the
leaves of winter
clog your gully trap.
It’s been four months since we spoke. May I tell you about my
album - but not before saying Come On The Crows, who at the time of
writing take on West Coast in the Preliminary this weekend –
and well done England, who were the better cricket side and rightly
pulled our pants down. I might not feel so kindly if the Crows
weren’t doing so well.
For my new CD I was keen on a new approach: set up a temporary
studio in a remote beach shack in Venus Bay Sth. Gippsland and make
the album there. Rod McCormack, due to his immeasurable generosity
agreed to come and supervise and lend his class. Gary Carruthers, my
‘right arm’ as far as musical support goes, was the third member and
‘Rotten’ Ron Engelhardt, the maestro engineer completed our team.
Boy did we have a good time - oh, and yes, boy did it work out well
as far as the sound of the new CD goes.
Four days, four fellas, thirteen songs, twelve hour working days,
and from 10pm-3am each night: the Gordon Lightfoot Appreciation
Society reigned, with Rod and Gary trading favourite Gordon songs.
They’re two of the finest Gordon exponents in Oz.
I got the result I was hoping for: a more back to basics sound, a
little raw, not too smooth. Each song was recorded live with Gary
and I duetting on acoustic guitars and a live vocal. Although some
songs remain quite raw, harmonies, bass by Jeff McCormack, and
sparing drums were added back at Rod’s studio on the Central Coast.
The album may be called The Shack Tapes, but that could change. It
was mixed by Ted Howard at Garth Porter’s studio in Sydney, and you
can’t do much better than that. A number of the songs are loosely
about travel in Victoria, as well as other places. I felt I could
improve on my last CD, and I would hope this one is more focused and
a better record. As always, you’ll be the judge of that.
This winter I’ve had the pleasure of singing in Stratford, Yarram
and Rupanyup in the Victorian bush.
Driving to Yarram takes you past the ethereal-looking Loy Yang Power
Plant and over the Tara Ranges – in pea soup fog. Stratford had us
there during their Shakespeare Festival, and Rupanyup is a classic
Mallee/Wimmera town with a charming main street.
Festivals and events heat up in October-November. I hope to meet up
with you if you live around Naracoorte, Renmark, Burnie,
Warrnambool, Canberra, Hobart, Goulburn or Port Augusta. And of
course, all roads lead to Tamworth in January – and if there are any
roads that don’t, they’re heading the wrong way…..
Be seeing you along the track, happy travels, warmest
regards, keep the chops on the stove, go you good thing,
yours cheerfully, greg
3 amigos on the verandah of the Venus Bay shack, in
late May during the making of the CD.
L to R: Champs, Gary Carruthers, Rod McCormack
- We asked
Champs fanatic Tom of Tennessee to tell us how he became acquainted
I was surfing the internet just a few years ago when I stumbled
across a site called bluegrasscoutry.
org...the program playing just happened to be an Australian
bluegrass show called "music
from foggy hollow" with Mike Kear. well...the image of crocodiles
and kangaroos stomping their feet
to Bill Monroe kept me listening for longer than i probably should
have...i was multi-tasking (playing
freecell) so i missed the artists name when a song came on about
dying a slow and mournful
death...it caught my attention but alas and alack it ended so
quickly that i barely got the drift of the
song...i heard Mike Kear say something about "champions" as the next
song was coming on...
i immediately started backtracking until i found a website for
Hawkesbury radio and Mike Kear’s program
where i was happy to find an email address for contact with Mike. i
wrote right away and asked
him what that song was and the name of the band...champions
or something...to my surprise he answered that same day and
gave me the particulars of "slow and mournful" and one Greg
Champion..he even gave me Greg’s email address and urged
me to write him...i figured i was on a roll and what the
lo and behold...Champs replied almost immediately as well. we
seemed to click from the beginning...i ordered a copy of Shady
Tree and was blown away with it when it finally arrived two
i knew i had to share this with my friends so i sent Greg a boat
load of cash and he arranged the
shipment of millions of copies of Shady Tree which i have
distributed around the world at no charge
to anyone...i have mailed them all over the USA and even to South
Africa and England...everyone
wanted a copy but nobody knew where to get it...to speed things up i
just mailed them a copy myself...
and met a lot of interesting people in the process....soon Greg
started sending me complimentary
copies of shady tree which i continued to hand out to anyone
interested...i have yet to meet anyone
who didn’t just love it...
well..to make a long story even longer...Greg and i have become good
friends, exchanging emails on
a regular basis and even talking on the phone several times. we keep
threatening each other with
extended visits but i doubt if that will ever materialize...until
they build that bridge to Australia at
least...i've also gotten to know Mike Kear quite well as a result of
this chance encounter...he is one of
Greg’s biggest promoters through his foggy hollow show... requests
for Champs songs on the program
have made him one of the most played artists on the playlist...Mike
usually mentions my connection
to Greg whenever he talks about him...i hope the two of them can sit
down together some
day and have a chat...
“requests for Champs songs
have made him one of the most
played artists on the play list”
Tennessee Tom Pierson’s Story
The Champs Family
at the Longyard Hotel Tamworth 2005
Teresa, Greg, Grace
- Country Music Dreamteam, or a police
L to R: Gary Carruthers, Rod McCormack, Jane Saunders,
Champs, Michael Fix and Robyn Martin
on stage at The Longyard Hotel Tamworth,
before the police led them away…..
Hello you brave-hearted Aussie battlers, and welcome to our
courtesy of ‘publishers’ Andrew & Del of Perth.
Trusting your problems are little ones, and that if you have aches and
pains, they are in a different place each day. My mother-in-law, a
girl in every respect, says that as long as the aches and pains keep
to a new place, you’re still a chance to survive a while yet.
While at the Longyard in Tamworth, I met Elaine from Tumby Bay. She
knew I loved the town [I’ve only been once] and asked if I’d like to do
Bushfire Appeal Fundraiser show there. Nine people died and about 77
homes were destroyed in the January fires around Cummins. Well, I just
returned from there yesterday.
If there’s a finer spot in Australia than Tumby Bay, then my name’s
Richie Benaud. It sits
on the Spencer Gulf and looks East over flat Gulf waters, as if on an
inland sea. The foreshore, the
remoteness, the feel of the place, the charm of the forties style
sandstone houses, all make it
heavenly. I sang in the pub and funds were raised for those affected by
Can I tell you we’re about to start a new album. From May 23, we’re
going to a beach house in Venus
Bay, South Gippsland, with portable recording gear, and the help of Rod
McCormack, Gary Carruthers,
Ross Hannaford and James Black. By going out of town I expect to get an
rustic sounding record, with songs that are a bit rootsy, a bit
‘Strayliana, and always folk/country.
Some of the titles are been there done that like to do it again,
Melbourne town, keep the kettle
boiling, those deadly koalas, out to Winchelsea, and possibly I’m just
an outa luck desperado in Swan
Hill I gotta make it to Mildura in the morning. And there’s two songs
relating to Daddy’s little girl.
The day before the Tumby Bay trip I experienced Targa Tasmania, the
week-long annual car rally
involving 300 cars, 1500 drivers, and 3000 volunteers. I witnessed it
from a marquee half way up
Mt Wellington in three degree ‘heat’, where I sang to the crowd before
the cars came through.
In March I had the privilege of playing Port Fairy Folk Festival with
Rod McCormack guesting in our
band, as well as usual suspects Gary Carruthers and Robyn Martin. There
are few finer towns than
Tumby, and there are few, if any, better gigs to play than Port Fairy,
for the quality, size and support
of the crowds. Port Fairy? – it doesn’t get any better than that.
A week later I had the treat of going to the Kapunda Celtic Festival.
Just to travel in that part of
SA’s mid-North again was a delight. Since then there were also trips to
Burnie, Launceston and
Briagalong (near Bairnsdale in Gippsland). Still in Gippy, shows in
Stratford and Yarram are booked
for May and June. In Maryborough Queensland, they’re running week-long
guitar and songwriting
July, and that good sport Michael Fix and myself will be helping out.I’m
excited about getting my new CD into your hands. May your echidnas be
well-fed, and your
wombats never turn on you. Thanks again to Del and Andrew for their kind
organization of this
newsletter. See you along the track, stay cheerful, champs
- Champs clears 1.45m to take Silver in
the Vic Masters
Athletics Championships in March—go Champs!
- Tamworth Festival 2005
- Gary Carruthers, Rod McCormack, Jane Saunders,
Michael Fix, Robyn Martin - Longyard 2005
- Well, that was the fifteenth straight Tamworth, and each one is still
better than the last.
This one was undeniably the best fun - yet again - owing to, I think, the
(we’ve got it just right now), an improving repertoire, the best crowd
numbers, and the best
stage sound, all adding up to a good fun
Many things about Tamworth Festival never
change: the ten day endurance event, the
heat, the fun and friendships. As we have
for the past six years or so, we did five
straight two-hour lunch shows at the
Longyard, and then a final big one with special
guests Jane Saunders, Rod McCormack,
Gina Jeffreys and Michael Fix. That
one was a real buzz, with Michael and Rod
playing some very tasty guitar behind Jane
Saunders, and Gina wowing the crowd inevitably.
There are the friends and followers you may
only see once a year, bit it’s every year
without fail. So a big thankyou to Rhonda &
Greg of Cessnock, Lynette & Tracy of Yarraville,
Alison & Gloria of Portland, Laids
and his kids from Canberra, Alan & Glenda
from Cowra, Sally from Tamworth, John &
Yvonne of Tamworth and the Newcastle
mob, some of whom are there for almost all our shows .
For the first time, the Coodabeen Champions attended, and we broadcast from
stage in the park. The lads also attended the Awards Concert, a glittering
night for four thousand
people, and the after Awards party, a not-to-be-missed event.
I had a late call to present the Heritage Award during the concert, which
went to Lee Kernaghan
and Colin Buchanan, and it’s a real pleasure to be involved in that way.
The Coodabeens also managed to stay at the guitar-shaped pool motel, another
The final Saturday brings the Cavalcade, and this year I was on the float
with other ABC artists
Beccy Cole, Sara Storer and Adam Harvey, among others. I was customarily
and had to chase the float down the street in front of spectators in order
to scramble on belatedly.
It was after about the fourth Tamworth that we came home and realized -
well, nothing will be
more fun than that for the rest of the year. Since then we’ve known that
Tamworth is as much
fun as you can have, and the rest of the year is just a foggy dream until it
rolls around once
See you along the track, greg
- Tamworth Times — The Editor asks Champs:
How many Tamworths is that now, and were some better than others?
That's fifteen straight, and they've all been equal, as well as each one
being better than the last.
What is the essence of Tamworth and what draws you back each time?
It's the ideal combination of hugely enjoyable fun and it's
'career-advancing' as well - i.e. the
'industry' is all there and you're seen by the powers that be. You know the
Brigadoon? The Scottish village miraculously appears out of the mist every
200 years, the townsfolk
live a normal day, and then it disappears back into the mists of time again.
Tamworth is like
that. The ten days is a long enough chunk of the year to convince you that
you're living this life
permanently, and that's why we all get Post Festival Depression -- as well
as Pre-Festival tension.
Is each Tamworth a different experience.?
They're remarkably similar. For all fifteen years my shows have been at the
Longyard Hotel, and
for the first twelve years we stayed in the same room at the same motel, the
one with the guitarshaped
pool. And the friends tend to be the same, so you know what to expect every
Can you describe three Tamworth memories that will always be with you?
Sitting with John Wiliamson at 5am at the end of the After Awards Party,
still having fun.
Doing Elvis impersonations at the Bushwackers' Elvis tribute show.
The late night singalong jams with Ted Egan and others under the vines at
- dubbed 'testifying'.
Winning the country singers' tennis tournament some years ago.
Batting with Rod McCormack at this year's charity cricket match.
Having the same supporters turn up to all your shows for five years
Seeing the Awards Concert when it was still at the old Rodeo Arena....
(OK so there’s more than three....)
- Jane and Greg
Heard on ABC Grandstand Radio
on 5 February.
- Peter Walsh was talking to Champs about his new
CD The Cricket’s on the Radio. Champs said it was
the fourth season the song had been used on the
ABC so he thought it was time to make a fresh recording
of this track, originally written because the
phrase appealed to him. Greg is really pleases that
many others identify the phrase with enjoying the
cricket. The CD has 9 tracks including a reggae
number dedicated to the West Indies and songs
about Glen McGrath and Shane Warne. Of course
there’s the classic I made a hundred in the back yard
at Mum’s and Greg’s personal favourite You’re going
home in the back of a divvy van.
The CD will be released on ABC Radio on 14 March.
- Robyn Martin, Jane Saunders and Greg at Maldon Folk Festival 2004
(courtesy of Jasmine Mcdonald)
- Greg Champion - Maldon Folk Festival 2004 (courtesy of
- Greg at Barwon Heads
- Interviews with
At the beginning of October
Champs answered a few questions
from the editor.
Issue 5AD October 2004 Greg Champion
- Greg, to follow up the acclaim
of both Shady Tree and North and South, where to from here? Musically
will you be progressing further in that direction or will you branch out
into other territory?
I now think that my songs have always been too diverse. I’ve always
had a scattergun approach: write
any sort of song that comes into your mind. My new policy is: be far more
circumspect. Now I abandon
song ideas that are not going to end up suiting me. I’m writing
less, but far more homogeneously. I
want the next CD to be ‘unified’ in style. The short answer to the
question is: a bit the same, a bit different.
From your early country material, your lyrics have been able
to capture the essence of what might be
called "the Aussie spirit", in the mateship and humour and understated
values that we hold. Is this a
style that you enjoy writing in or is it a theme that has unconsciously
unfolded through your albums?
More unconscious than conscious, maybe. Actually, you could call my style
‘stream of unconsciousness’.
However, there is some definite intent to be Aussie. Anything much more than
that is accidental.
You seem to travel widely and to enjoy visiting far flung places and
interacting with audiences.
- What keeps you going with the
Gee, how many people wouldn’t enjoy that job, if they had it. It’s
not hard to find it a pleasure, is it? I
feel blessed - as if I have the best job in Australia.
You continue to enjoy a healthy career. For the benefit of
young artists, what would you tell them
about labels, independence, management and surviving in an industry that
seems to only allow a few to
have any significant profile?
My impression is that only a lucky 3-5% of musicians get to make a fair
living. They usually have
some ‘gimmick’ or some edge that sets them apart - if they’re not simply
blessed with sheer overwhelming
undeniable bloody talent! SOOO many good musos don’t get past square one,
career and incomewise,
and it seems a waste and a shame. On the other hand, Vincent Van Gogh never
sold a painting in
his lifetime. Maybe the rewards come in other ways.
- Greg you have performed on
albums and live with a huge number of artists. Are there some musicians
that you would like to collaborate with either on a tour or perhaps one of
your forthcoming albums?
- Colin Buchanan is one of the most gifted people
I know. He’s inspiring to work with any time. Jane
Saunders has been a long-time collaborator and musical ally. Rod McCormack
is a privilege to be produced
by. I’m not sure who it should be next but I’ll keep searching.
- You have released many CDs - and
of differing styles - do you have any personal favourites?
Shady Tree, all things considered, is the one I’m most proud of. North &
South would be nearby, i.e. the
most recent two. Actually, the one I’m going to release next will be my
- How do you maintain your high
level of creativity?
I’ve become obsessed with the process of songwriting over the years. I try
to do a little bit every day,
generally at night after 11pm. When we were living in Northern NSW recently
I found creativity had
never been so good. The lifestyle and environment must have helped. The
Melbourne winter is not as inspiring,
I’ve noticed. Travel in the bush always is. I’m sorta determined not to
allow the output to slip
away if I can help it. Books, poetry and listening to other music can help.
- You have recently become a
father. Has this been a big change? How do you now balance music and
Having a daughter, just turned two, is so fulfilling and rewarding. Of
course there are adjustments, but
it’s something special to write about! The main difference is, that when you
go away, which is usually
only for short trips, you’re even more motivated to get home quick!
- Once you have written the songs,
do you find that they change during the recording process? So do some
songs end up to be quite different to what you imagined?
Not too much at recording, but the songs change heaps in the incubation
process. The music may be
evolving constantly with repeated examinations over a few weeks.
Often i don't like the tune/music of any emerging song at all for a
while, and then quite suddenly you strike on a better musical vehicle
for your idea.
- How do you decide on a song to
be a single?
The Record Company and the Producer slug it out. In Country, you
pick the best one, or the catchiest, 'uppest' one - if you can find one!
- Have you ever played a set which
is a complete album - a concept gig?
Just the once - at Port Fairy Folk Festival in 2002. We played Shady
Tree from start to finish - leaving out the a capella one. We did it on
Stage One, in front of 2-3,000 people, between Fairport Convention
and The Proclaimers. It was one of my favourite gigs of my life!
- Grace Elizabeth Champion
Aged 22 months
- Champs chats with Mick
- Border Mail, Albury
MM What is your favourite
GC I like footy and cricket equally.
MM Who do you follow?
GC Adelaide Crows.
MM Who is your favourite sportsperson?
GC Nigel Smart Crows.
MM What are you reading at the moment?
GC Books about Tibetan Buddhism.
MM What sort of music do you listen to?
GC Renaissance choral music by composers like
Tallis and Pallestrina, blue grass western swing
folk music in general. Bob Dylan is number one
and I regard him as the musician who had the
greatest impact of the century. He is so far
ahead of who comes next. He is the Bradman of
this caper and it is hard to see anyone getting
close to him. He is the Mozart of our time. And
I like musicians like James Taylor and Cole Porter.
MM What is your favourite movie?
GC I don't watch many movies. Probably
Jeremiah Johnson and another one called Evil
MM What inspires you?
GC Nature, a good story.
MM What makes you angry?
GC Being angry. It is always wrong to be angry.
What does make me angry shouldn't and I should
always be working to make sure it doesn't.
MM What has been the highlight of your life?
GC My daughters.
MM What has been the biggest challenge in your
GC I haven't had one.
MM What spins your wheels?
GC Travel on water.
MM How do you spend your Friday nights?
GC Preparing for the radio show
and watching footy.
MM How do you chill?
GC My whole life is a
MM What do you like about your life?
GC I think I have a charmed life and the best job
MM What would you change in your life?
GC Nothing I can confess to here.
MM Who has been the most influential person in
GC It might be John Williamson or Nigel Smart.
MM Where were you born?
GC Benalla Home, Melbourne in 1955.
MM Where did you go to school?
GC Hectorville Primary School and Pulteney
MM You are now a singer, songwriter, radio announcer,
corporate entertainer and author.
What was your previous job?
GC I was a clerk with International Harvester.
MM What would you do if you were not in your
GC I would like to work with dogs.
MM What are your hobbies?
GC Gardening. Music is a hobby.
MM What is your favourite holiday destination?
GC Alice Springs.
MM What is your favourite meal?
GC Fried rice.
MM What is your favourite drink?
GC Peach tea.
MM What would you like your epitaph to read?
GC Walk on.
MM Have you been successful in life?
GC Beyond my wildest dreams.
MM What is your ultimate life goal?
GC To end life as a Buddhist.
- On stage at the Longyard at the Tamworth
- Festival with Gary Carruthers
- The Mighty Champs Notes -
What can we expect from Tamworth this year? That’s what
we start thinking about at this time. The Festival’s been
turned on its head by the decision to shift the Awards to the
However, my little group and I will be fronting up for the fifteenth
straight time. We’ll do our usual five lunch shows at
the Longyard, and we’ll have Gary Carruthers, Robyn Martin
and maybe Michael Fix in the line-up. Gary’s been touring
with Kasey Chambers and is touring the USA with her in November,
which is a highlight of his life, I know for sure.
Furthermore, it looks probable that the Coodabeens will be
there to broadcast for the first time. This is quite momentous
- to we Coodabeens, anyway…. Ideally, we’ll do the show
from the soundshell in the park which can hold 10,000 people.
Before then, the Maldon Folk Festival comes up on Oct. 29,
in Central Victoria. This is one of the top Folk events in Oz
now, to me. Jane Saunders, and sisters Jodi and Robyn
Martin will be along for the ride.
Last week I was in Sydney to sing at a dinner raising funds
for four orders of Catholic nuns. I met some fabulous Sisters
of that faith, I found the night wholly uplifting, and my
highlight was hearing Sir William Deane speak. To use a
hip phrase I’ve learnt, “he’s got it all going on”...!
One other thing: everybody needs an outback getaway. So
recently I went to Whyalla [Spencer Gulf, SA] to see a close
friend. He lives right on the edge of the Whyalla ‘suburbs’,
so we were able to walk across the street and into the desert
of Australia. That was inspiring. There’s nothing like a stroll
among the saltbush and spinifex to gladden the heart.
I hope your heart has been sufficiently gladdened lately too.
My thanks go to the ever industrious couple from Fremantle,
Andrew and Del, for compiling this newsletter. With the jobs
they hold, they ought to know better than to tackle this!
Good luck to them, and to all ye who read herein. If you
keep the kettle boiling, I’ll see you soon,
- Hilton Hotel, Grand Final week footy lunch
- Greg is enjoying ongoing success with both his new CD
“North and South” and the released double CD of “Shady Tree” and the “Best
of Greg Champion.”
- Issue 4AD July 2004
- A Chat with Champs
Dear fellow plodders on the bush track of destiny, welcome to our
under the editorial control of Andrew and Del McGuiness of Perth, bless ‘em!
How’s your footy team going? Mine has seen better years (Adelaide).
- Is everybody still treating you alright? Myself
- I can’t complain. Any better, and
I’d be up and about, as they say….
- ABC radio is consuming more time lately.
programmes on Saturday (AFL states only) and Sunday
(nationally), I can’t sit around and rust away just yet.
There’s also been some fun gigs to travel to. Since February I’ve
seen some far off places like Mortlake (Festival), Merimbula,
Caloundra, Canberra (Folk Festival), Launceston, Mount Beauty
(Music Muster), Coleraine, Swan Hill, and Adelaide. At the Canberra
Festival I had the pleasure of singing with Jane Saunders, as well as Robyn
- Andrew Clermont and Dave O’Neill. Jane joined
us at the Mortlake Festival also.
- Whilst it’s mid-winter (in Melbourne, anyway),
and things do slow up a
bit, with the help of ABC music and books I’ve managed to release
two CDs and a book this year. My latest Rod McCormack-produced album, North
South came out in January for Tamworth Festival.
- May saw the release of my second Guru Bob book,
Wisest Wisdom Of Guru Bob. The Guru is an on-air character
from our Saturday radio show who’s been with us for
sixteen years, and who says deep stuff like: “if you step on
people on your way to the top, you can step on them
again on your way back down”, and “you can’t always
get what you want, but you can get what you need – then
you can swap it for what you want”.
- Then in June ABC Music put
together the two CDs I’d released before North & South:
Shady Tree from ‘02, and The Best Of from ’03, and combined
them into a single CD package and price. Naturally I’m delighted
to have three different ABC items out on the shelves in
the past five months.
- The next CD: my current notion
is to do an acoustic/rootsy mainly duo album with long time
musical ally Gary Carruthers, slightly in the Kieran Kane/Kevin
Welch way. I also fancy inviting Ross Hannaford in on guitar. It
might be entitled Melbourne. The newest song I’ve written for
this project is called " I’m just outa luck desperado in Swan Hill, gotta
make it to
- Mildura by the morning", having been written in
a Swan Hill motel room,
with the above-mentioned Gary, on a recent trip there.
- A song about footy I have written, "One True
about to become the ABC radio Grandstand AFL theme. Two
members of "Things of stone and wood" have played on the
new recording. Trips coming up include Hobart,
Burnie, Launceston, Canberra,
and Maldon Folk Festival (Vic.).
Be seeing you somewhere along
the road of song.
If you live in the South, may you
ride out mid-winter happily. If
you live where the winters aren’t
tough, LUCKY YOU! Good luck
to your family. Say hi to your
Mum for me.
- It matters not whether the glass is half full
What matters is how much is in the bottle next to the glass.
- ? To Champs - any thoughts of a live album?
Not really. My voice needs all the help it can
get in the studio. Dunno if
people are quite ready for my voice without all that make-up!
- ? To Champs - how do you come up with such
albums as shady tree and north&south?
I put it down to failure to harness my mind
properly....! I've always
thought up too may songs in too many different styles. This can be a
hindrance rather than a help, because people can't as easily identify in
you one particular style. Since North&South I'm trying harder to address
that. Now, if I think of writing a song in yet another diverse style, I'll
stop myself before I start, in the hope of focusing my songwriting towards
a more homogenous sound.
- ? To Champs - do you have any videos available?
I think I've made 3 videos since 1986. That
year, it was I made a 100 in
the backyard at mum's. In 1993 ABC Landline made a quite basic video at
Toowoomba Country Music Festival of myself and friends doing may
your fridge be full of coldies, and bingo, it somehow won the inaugural gold
guitar for video in the next year at Tamworth. Never won another one
since. In 1997 I made a clip for Cooee Motel at that very motel in
- ? To Champs - any dvds coming?
Bought my first DVD player 8 weeks ago, and I'm
too chicken to get it
out of the box. I believe there's a plan for the Coodabeens to release a
DVD of a proposed live concert next year, celebrating our 25th year on
- Dear fellow plodders on the path to paradise, hello and a big welcome
to newsletter number three from out of the West, courtesy of our Perth
friends Andrew & Del McGuiness.
How’s your 2004 treating you? We trust that the year will be good to you; if
not, contact us and I’ll have my Perth friends try to fix that for you too…
Tamworth Festival number fourteen straight has now passed. This year our
line-up changed a little. The immaculate incomparable Jane Saunders blessed
us with her presence on vocals, and the very gifted and very nice Michael
Fix joined us as well. Robyn Martin continued with us on bass and vocals.
My new CD North&South was released during the Festival, marking a happy
return for me to the ABC label, with whom I put out CDs in the early
I’ve started working on songs for the next CD, which is a continuing
preoccupation. Some of the titles are keep the kettle boiling, far horizon,
you’re an individual, brother Pete, one man’s fishcake is another’s dim sim,
and the emu has a dumb look on its face.
Yes, footy’s begun, and for my mob, Adelaide, it looks like an LHS – long
hard season. Our Coodabeens’ footy show is back on ABC radio on Saturdays,
11-1pm, in all states bar Queensland and NSW.
In the next two weeks I’ll have the pleasure of attending the National Folk
Festival in Canberra, and then the Mt Beauty Music Muster in north-east
Victoria. Then the Festival circuit goes a little quiet until spring.
May your footy team have a good year, and if not, may they finish above
Collingwood. Good luck with your health, and don’t change that haircut.
Happy travels, and see you along the track,
- LET HIM SWIM
words: greg champion
tune: Let it Be, Beatles
- If a bloke called Thorpe falls off the blocks
gives us all an awful shock
change the regulations
let him swim
if he slips into the swimming pool
time to say forget the rules
there’s no other Thorpey
let him swim
and if his coach concedes it’s gone
and states that now they must move on
still we’ll strongly protest
let him swim
if Thorpey says he’ll concentrate
on the fifteen hundred or the eight
we just won’t accept that
let him swim
let him swim let him swim
let him swim let him swim
if I’ve paid my taxes
let him swim
let him swim let him swim
let him swim let him swim
change the regulations
let him swim
- Grace Elizabeth Champion.
- Good afternoon.
Bob Anthony's review on Greg's recently-released BEST
regards and happy travels,
- BEST OF
- By Bob Anthony
people would have heard of Greg Champion, mainly through his humour but there is
a serious side to Champs which doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.
this, his Best Of album, there are a few funny songs on it but the majority is
of a more serious side which allows the listener to appreciate Champs’ fine
there is one thing that Champs can do as well as any other songwriter in this
country, it’s to write about Australia and the people who live in it.
that takes in the humour, the wonderful descriptive lines of the places he has
been to, or tapping into the emotions of everyday people, Champs has plenty of
album covers work from albums he has released from 1990 to 2002 and it’s quite
an impressive body of work.
a good mix of styles from slow waltz tempos such as Cloud On The Moon, the
gentle duet Someday with Jane
Saunders, or the great descriptive passages of Drink It All Up through to upbeat
numbers like Boomaroo Flyer, 88k from Alice and Cooee Motel.
it would be remiss to go past some of the songs which have made Champs a
household name in some houses around Australia: tracks like Don’t Call Wagga
Wagga Wagga, May Your Fridge Be Full Of Coldies, the classic I Made 100 In The
Backyard At Mums and the ABC theme song, Cricket On The Radio.
is a great album to sit and relax to, have a laugh at and enjoy for the quality
of the songs, either at home or in the car.
Champion is a very funny man but there is another side to his music which is
definitely worth discovering, and this album is the ideal way of doing that.
Best Of Greg Champion can be obtained through Greg’s website at www.gregchampion.com.au or by contacting 03 9399 5470
- It's a girl!!!
8 pounds 8, and 14 days late....
Born by (emergency) Caesarian.
Mother and baby both delightful. Father: well, .....
Her name is Grace Elizabeth Champion.
Born at Lismore Base Hospital at 5.30pm today, wed.
Lotsa love, Greg and Teresa
- Dear Brethren,
Sistren and Kindren, WELCOME again to our newsletter, put together by the
kind good grace of Alan, co-ordinator of 'Friends of Champs'.
- I trust we find
you well and cheerful, Winter is passing us, and I hope you've had enough
rain in your part of the landscape.
- There's been some
action lately, with the imminent arrival of Teresa's and my first child
together, due about Sept.25
- And there was the
further thrill of the trip to France/Vienna/Amsterdam in June, which was
- The totally Fab
Jane Saunders and myself have a nomination at the Independent Country
Music Awards in Single of the Year, for "Someday Soon".
The Awards are around the due birth of our child, so I'll be watching from
- I'm told I'm
going to sing before the AFL Grand Final this year, in a short appearance,
not too long before game time; maybe about 2.30pm. If
you're watching, I'll be sure to wave and blow you a kiss....
- Our fearless
leader Alan has found that sending out mailed copies of the newsletter is
very labour-intensive, and so we're proposing from now on to make it an
emailed newsletter only. If any of you, our friends and readers,
wish to continue to receive a posted copy, please tell Alan of your
request. Others will now receive emailed editions.
Greg Champion returns from a successful 3 week tour of
France promoting his new album ³Shady Tree².
Greg Champion and his band, consisting of Robyn & Jodi Martin and
Gary Carruthers were the only international act to perform at the Thuit Signol
Inaugrual Country Music Festival, 120 km north west of Paris, in June 2002. The
French responded enthusiastically to the laid back acoustic ³Aussie² style of
Greg's group played a second show at the Australian Embassy in Paris,
introduced by the Ambassador.The show was a sell-out, as expats crammed the
Embassy bar to get themselves a good dose of Australian humour and music.
The visit was instigated by French country
music broadcaster Roland Lanzarone, who has an interest in promoting Australian
country music artists in France. The group are optimistic about returning to
France in 2003 to follow up their success.
³Shady Tree² (CHAMPS003) is available
through Black Market Music
For Further information contact:
Black Market Music (03) 9326 8886
POSTCARD FROM PARIS
Dear Auntie Joan,
A Country Music Festival in France is something to behold.
All bands were French apart from us, and they sang many well-known
country classics - in a French accent which sometimes made the words sound
funny, as if they weren't always sure what they were singing.
The staging, sound and lighting were luxurious. The reaction from the
crowd was beyond our dreams. I introduced the songs in mangled French which
seemed to make them laugh. I don't
know if my 'Franglais' made them feel sorry for us but they were very warm
They snapped up the CDs, and they seem to like Australians in general.
They call Oz their 'dream destination'. We
met another terrific band there called 'Mary Lou'.
They describe themselves as Country Folk and have no drummer - just a
4-piece with a great female voice and a wild Jerry Lee-type pianist. We went to their place for dinner and swapped notes about
coming to each other's countries for more shows.
Our second show was at the Australian Embassy in Paris, singing our
Aussie songs for all the expats. The
Ambassador introduced us and the Fosters flowed. The Embassy people were just fantastic to us.
Our group was our Tamworth Festival team: sisters Jodi & Robyn
Martin and long-time buddy Gary Carruthers, who's currently also in Graeme
Connors' line-up. The trip was
instigated by French Country Music broadcaster Roland Lanzarone, whose show on
radio RCF Rouen fanatically promotes Australian Country artists.
In Paris we managed to get kicked out of a restaurant for studying the
menu! We were standing near the
doorway reading the menu on the wall when a waiter called out
"Attention!" and made a hand motion like he was shooing away flies!
Evidently he didn't like us standing in the spot where he likes to stand.
He turned his back on us and there was no offer of a table so we went and
found a restaurant where they accept people….
We also managed to visit Vienna, Salzburg, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. At
Salzburg Cathedral the doorman asked us where we were from.
"Australia" we said. "Ah! Perth
or Adelaide?" he replied.
- I've thought up plenty of songs here and I hope you'll see the results
on the next album. With the friends and contacts we made in The Land Of The
Frog I think there's a real chance of returning and capitalizing on a
growing interest in Aussie music.
- I write to let you know that I will be out of the
country from tomorrow until June 27. It's a Country Music Fest in
France that we're going to play at.
Teresa will be at home growing the baby which is past 6 months now. She
is in formidably good health...
Dear fellow battlers on
the rocky rough road, I hope your sun is shining and your health is
healthy. Winter is coming, so rug up and get plenty of
rest.... Teresa, my wife, is expecting our first child, in
late September - Grand Final week, as it turns out. She
doesn't want to know what sex it is, and you know, the girl always has her wish
with these things....
In one week my three
band friends and myself will leave for France. It's a country Music
Festival near Rouen, West of Paris, on June 22 - the summer
solstice. I will have the pleasure of the company of the band that
played with me at Tamworth Festival, the adorable sisters Jodi & Robyn
Martin, who sing and play guitar and bass, and the equally adorable Gary
(Swanky) Carruthers on guitar, banjo, mandolin and vocals. We
trust we can turn those loveable French on to the sounds of Australian
music. We'll be giving it a Red Hot Go, anyway...
We'll also play at the
Australian Embassy in Paris. I can say 'croissant' 'baguette' and 'cheval'
in French so I'm tipping that the French and me will all get on like a house on
fire, or, as they say, 'une maison avecfeu'...
I had the good luck to
go to Weipa for a show recently. It's 1300k North of Cairns, 200k from the
tip of Queensland, on the Gulf of Carpentaria. The highlight was going
boating (doesn't everyone in Weipa? ) and prising oysters off the rocks and
eating them fresh. The more remote the places you go, and the further
North, the more fun, it seems the experience is. This is a shortened newsletter
because our trusty bosses, Alan & Glenda are going on an outback caravan
trip - as all fair dinkum Aussies jolly-well should! Thank you greatly
everyone for your interest and companionship over the four years of these
See you in the spring,
don't change a thing, if you feel sad, sing.....
SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND BRANCH
1/6 Tulip Tree Road, Murrumba Downs, Qld 4503
Phone/Fax: (07) 3886 3869 - Mobile: 0407 028506
FURTHER UP THE MOUNTAIN
SLEEP ON THE STONY
WHEN I KICK THE BUCKET
Have all been nominated in the top 5 of the RECORDED SECTION
of the 2002 TSA/SEQ National Songwriting Competition.
The Winners will be announced at the Awards Presentations & Gala Concert
which will be held on Saturday the 22nd June 2002 in the Blue Pacific Room
of the Kedron-Wavell Services Club, Chermside. Tickets to the Awards
Presentations & Gala Concert can be purchased directly from the
Kedron-Wavell Services Club (Phone: 07 3359 9122). It is recommended that
you purchase your tickets early as they will be sold out fairly quickly.
& JANE HIT NUMBER 3
we don't mean they're hitting golf balls or playing darts together.
Champion & Jane Saunders have hit number three on the Country Tracks
National Chart with their current duet recording, Someday Soon.
says this is testament to a great Producer, a great song, and Jane Saunders'
great voice. The Producer of course, is no other than Rod McCormack, whose
wonderful work speaks for itself, and the song is Greg's first single that's not
his own song. Someday Soon is a
Canadian country/folk classic of the sixties, written by the legendary Ian
Tyson, and a hit for Ian & Sylvia as well as a big hit for Judy Collins
and Greg have enjoyed performing together for nearly ten years, since they met
at Tamworth Festival in 1992. One day in 1997 Greg asked Jane if she knew the
song Someday Soon. Jane not only
knew it, she adored it, like Greg. In fact they discovered that they both ranked
Someday Soon as their number one favourite song ever!
They performed it together for years until in 2001 Shane Hogan heard them
sing it in Cunnamulla and asked them: "Why don't you two record that?"
The thought had never occurred to them.
took the idea to Producer Rod McCormack, one who deeply appreciates 60s/70s
Canadian country and folk - being a closet Gordon Lightfoot fanatic!
His touch of magic shaped it into something special, and it now finds
itself the current number three on the Country Tracks chart.
and Jane want to say thankyou to all the radio announcers who've been playing
Someday Soon - and ironically Champs' brand new single is again a duet with Jane
Saunders. Further Up The Mountain
is taken from his new album SHADY TREE, which has been receiving sensational
reviews not only in Australia but Nashville as well.
The track Further Up The Mountain has proven to be perhaps the most
popular song on SHADY TREE, and Greg Champion and Jane Saunders are hoping the
new single can follow Someday Soon to the top of the charts.
further information: Alan Wellsted, Friends Of Greg Champion office, 02 63413918
02 66875470 firstname.lastname@example.org
- CD Review
- by Tamworth Ragepage
- Greg, Australia's champion of country comedy music has
an album out called "Shady Tree"
and this CD proves that Greg can be taken seriously,-
sometimes!! All songs
are originals and written by Greg and the CD was produced by the genius
work of Rod McCormack and recorded by Rod and Jeff McCormack.
It is a mixture of Bluegrass, Gospel, Folk, a
bit of layed back western swing and of course a little comedy. The
CD has some of Australia's finest musicians making this CD a superb
addition to your collection. With Rod McCormack on guitar, banjo,
dobro and mandolin, James Gillard on upright bass, Mick Albeck on fiddle
and Andrew Clermont on mandolin adding to Greg's superb singing up
front. To really make this CD special there is splendid
harmony vocals from Rod, James, Jodi & Robyn Martin, Jane Saunders,
Dan Thompson and also guest vocalists Jane Saunders, Gina Jeffreys and
Beccy Cole. This is a must have CD, as it is all class,
and will satisfy the discerning taste of all music lovers.
All songs written by Greg Champion
produced by Rod
- Mick Albeck Fiddle
- Andrew Clermont
- Dan Thompson Bass and
Vocals Jane Saunders, Jodi
& Robyn Martin
Guest Vocals Beccy Cole and Gina Jeffreys
- CDs available through web site
- Stand back Europe
Well, it's true, we're
going to be playing at a French Country Music Festival in Rouen on June
22. Needless to say, this is very exciting news to us.
We may also have a gig at Paris Disneyland - they have a Country venue
I'm working daily on
securing more European gigs, with Belgium and the UK the best
possibilities. If you have any contacts over there, at this stage we'll
play at weddings, divorces, 70th birthdays and service stations.
I can't wait to try out
a bit of pigeon French on them. I'm sure they'll be mightily impressed...
see you after the trip - I hope to have a lot of travel tales to tell you.
- On behalf of Alan & Glenda
and myself, see you down the track, along the road of song, and in the
fullness of time.
- Lotsa Luck and love,
I think that maybe 2001 will
turn out to be the best of years for me, because this is the year I made a
record which I think, not wanting to exaggerate, is 1000% better than anything
else I've done!! Let's just say 'lightyears ahead of my other
records' and leave it at that, not wanting to overstate the case! That is
in large part due to the gift and genius of the producer and chief musician on
the project, Rod McCormack, bless his socks.
At this point the record will be
independently released, and due to the slick processes these days, I
should have first copies around Dec: 20-22. May I just add
that the songs were largely written in the last 6-8 months, and that they all
have a common thread. While largely bluegrass or folk in style the songs
were all triggered in some sense from a spiritual angle. In a way the
record could be classified as happy songs about death'.
- The track list may illustrate the
1 shady tree
2 i've never been
3 further up the mountain
4 might be jesus knockin'
- 5 rise up
6 the singing bird
7 this body's gonna wear out
8 rough with the smooth
9 slow and mournful
10 sleep on the stony ground
11 love in the heart
12 walk across that line
13 when I kick the bucket
- We have the blessing of guest vocals by
Jane Saunders, Gina Jeffreys and Beccy Cole. It's a huge pleasure to
have their contribution. Sisters Jodi and Robyn Martin also sang on
several songs, and I'll be working with them in Tamworth. James
Gillard played bass and sang as well as ever. Mick Albeck and Andrew
Clermont helped flesh out the sound.
- Three of the songs are humourous but the
other ten are non-humourous. "Praise the Lord His Soul Has Left
The Building" missed out on selection, but "When I Kick the
Bucket" and "Gonna Die Slow & Mournful" will offer a
chuckle. There's no drums, electric guitar or keyboards - only
acoustic guitar, lots of banjo, dobro, mandolin, and heaps of female
- Anyway, for those of you who have the
pleasure of going to Tamworth, we'll be seeing you there soon for what is
undoubtedly the highlight of our year - and this is year twelve.
Strap in cosmonauts, for another festive season, a summer of cricket and
sand (where you can get it), and hopefully another happy Tamworth
- Peace and Love are old words, but there's
a close relationship between clichés, and truth. So we wish
you peace, and love, because they'll always be the important
- Merry Christmas
- Happy New Year
MAKING A NEW RECORD
- When Rod McCormack
consents to make a record with you, you feel fortunate. Rod has his studio at
his house and he and Gina are hugely kind with their hospitality. I made
three trips to their place on preliminary projects before we knuckled down to the full-length album.
It took about ten days, and about two more days will be needed to
complete it. The first day involved Rod on guitar and James Gillard on double bass. We got nine ‘beds’ down
that day and the other five took on guitar and James Gillard on double bass. We got nine ‘beds’ down
that day and the other five took another half day. Then Rod swung into guitar, banjo, mandolin and dobro
parts for a day or so. Boy, did I hear some divine playing going down!
Some lead vocals were then recorded, before the girl singers started
coming in. Jane Saunders sang on three tracks, bless her and her angelic voice, and Beccy Cole and Gina
Jeffries also took a song each. The sisters Jodi &Robyn Martin sang on six tracks in all, and James
Gillard and Rod did about the same number each. We’ve mixed all but four songs, and the final list will be thirteen,
not fourteen. I think Rod has given the record a production quality you can only dream of. Call me
over-excitable, but I don’t think I have ever made an album nearly as beaut as this.
It’s provisionally entitled ‘Shady Tree’, which is the opening
track. It may be an independent release but we’ll also talk to certain record labels.
I should have some copies by
Christmas, and it will definitely be ready for Tamworth Festival, late January.
I can only describe the music as trad. -sounding, folky, bluegrassy,
Peter Paul & Mary-ish, gospellish sorta songs. There’s heaps of harmonies by a host of lovely voices, and
buckets of tasty guitar and dobro…. I’m keen to get one into your hands.
- Bestest wishes,