Mid Year Update

Hi there.

Been doing some great gigs with the BSoT lately.  Thanks to the efforts of Paul Sharp, and new drummer Lawrence Churches.

We’ve also seen the launch of a new Trad Jazz project, The CC Strutters.

And there’s yet another folkie ensemble taking shape out there.  Emily Wolfe from the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble and I are teaming up to do some of the other side of Trad music.

There is talk of a recording of the BSoT as well.  Exciting times!

Oh, and I have been doing a radio show on Edge Radio, 99.3fm.  6pm Every Friday.  It’s called “The Naked Folks,” and it’s about folk music.  And it’s podcasted!! You can listen anytime, anywhere.

here, have a link!
And some others…

Here’s the view of the audience from Saturday’s gig at the HBC.  (Note avuncular facial growth.)


Here’s our view of the audience…


The Future is NOW! oh no, wait, that’s the present. The Future is LATER!!!

It is a new year, soon to be old.   Some things change, some stay the same.  For example, my promise to use this blog more often has been broken….again.  And here I am, about to promise again!

But this time it’s for real!  (you know I often say that too, don’t you?)

Never mind.

Here’s the news for 2017!

The band that doesn’t exits, The Black Swans of Trespass, is playing an Australia Day (read: Invasion Day)  gig.  It’s a special one too.  It’s in the morning, and it will be all Australian songs with electric banjo, bass and drums.  And, curiously, no vocals.  In fact the condition of getting the gig was that there be no singing!   It’s like a belated xmas gift to me!  Because I freaking hate singing.

There’s something else I need to tell you too.

I have decided to follow through on at least one New years Resolution.  I have shaved my entire head, down to the skin.  This will be the last time I cut my hair or shave for 365 days.  At the end of this period, I will be asking folks to vote on whether I should keep my hair or not. it will cost $1 to vote, and I’ll be giving the money to a local Animal Sanctuary called Brightside.

This year I will also be running a radio program on Edge FM.  I’ll be submitting more details on this later, and using this blog primarily for song lists and various related info regarding the show.  It will be about folk music.  Stay tuned!!

There’s two more years of glorious academia in front of me and I am looking forward to it greatly.  But as of now I am in the January holding pattern.  So let’s take a moment to look back at what was achieved this year…..

FACEBOOK – I learned it is irredeemably evil, yet inevitable.  The problem is, the general population does not use anything else.  There is only FACEBOOK, and without it, you do not exist.
However, you cannot use facebook to promote anything.  For two reasons:

  1.  Facebook will not circulate into people’s feeds any events, unless you pay for them.
  2. Paying for an ad makes it spam and every one will ignore it anyway.

We DID use a paid Facebook ad, experimentally, this year.  It was a total failure.  Everyone at the gig had come by chance or word-of-mouth.  The ad itself was roundly ignored.  The event occurred on Dec 3, and Facebook is STILL trying to get me to fund the ad so it will have more…what is it?  Exposure?  Who the fuck knows.  Perhaps people will go to the gig retrospectively?  Time Travelers?  Will my memory of the gig change as time goes on or if I pay for the ad?  I am too poor to sate my curiosity in such matters.

HERITAGE FIDDLES – Joining the Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble has definitely been a highlight of 2016.  It’s been great to meet the folks of the ensemble and we’ve made many new friends.  Also I’ve done a few really cool gigs with them.  Most recently at Cygnet, where I was caught by the ABC giving a banjo lesson:

Yes… I did warn you about the hair…..

Playing with the THFE has exposed me to the amazing richness of Tasmanian folk music and musicologically it’s been fascinating.  It’s also helping my sight reading.  I’m so bad at sight reading….

THE BLACK SWANS of TRESPASS – have risen again, however, my desire to gig is almost gone.  It’s just not worth the effort.  Somethings change, some stay the same.  The pub scene is still the same horrible experience.  Although, to be fair, it is pretty good here, compared to the rest of Australia.  MUCH better in fact, but it’s still pretty uninspiring.  And that’s kind of how I feel about gigging.  uninspired.
Meeting James Wheller, Alex Raw and Paul Sharp, (Keys, Drum & bass respectively,) has been great, and it was so good to actually play with talented, motivated guys again, who kind of, in their own way, pushed the band more than I did.  But getting on a stage to trot out the dog & pony show, to the same drunken bogan indifferent audience, it just  doesn’t leave me feeling good.  Even though i have loved playing with the guys immensely,  there’s a certain emptiness.  And then, there’s the money.  The vulgarities.   So much is expected of a band, but so little is returned.  I wish I could just show up and knock out crazy funky electric banjo music, and not have to deal with the venues, the punters, the bookers, the scene.   Some things change, some stay the same….

But all is not lost, there are some very interesting projects on the horizon…  naturally, I will keep you posted on those!

But first things first – let’s see if I can keep up some decent, consistent blogging here, with regular updates and various stories about comical capers  and odd perspectives.

May you have a happy holiday and your war on xmas be victorious and glorious.



New Chapter

Well it’s been over a year since there’s been any genuine activity on the ol’ web page, and there wasn’t much to write about before then either.
But things have changed, and I’d like to bring you up to pace with what’s been going on, because it has been very exciting.

Last year I received a scholarship to study banjo at the Hobart Conservatorium.  So I moved to Tasmania.  Things had become very bleak on the Mainland, and I probably have a lot to say about it, but I leave that for another time.

What I will say is, however, that the culture and engagement in music and arts in Hobart and Tasmania is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered on the Mainland.  It’s good!  Really, really good!

The “Con” is challenging me and developing my skills exponentially.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself, especially as I walk to school with my banjo on my back to spend an entire working day playing, listening and studying music, and working with some pretty incredibly talented musicians.  I can’t believe how lucky I am.  It’s an honor.

Unlike on the Mainland and the “capital” of Aussie music, Melbourne, people here have hope and ambition.  They actually want to play, and want to experiment with new ideas.  As a result of this, the BLACK SWANS of TRESPASS has resurrected itself!   The idea of an electric banjo funk reggae band has been received  very enthusiastically, and we now have a committed, working band.  But things are moving much faster than I had anticipated!  Next week we’re looking at band pics, recording a demo and resurrecting the website.  Here in Tassie, bookers and festival organizers ACTUALLY LOOK AT YOUR WEBSITE AND PLAY YOUR DEMOS!!!

If you’re reading this outside of Tasmania – I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.  And what’s more, they think it’s normal, and they kind of think behavior that you would see in your average Melbourne venue kind of disgusting.

As a result, we’ve been doing some smashing gigs and had great crowds.   People have actually been looking us up and booking us.   The mythical and much prophesied 3rd BSoT Album may well become a reality.

There’s a few other projects on the boil at the moment too banjo-wise.  I’ll keep anyone who still reads this blog updated as best I can!

The ground is fertile.  Big things are happening.  It’s been a long, long wait and I almost lost hope.

I’ll finish this here, due to the TL:DR culture, and post more of my rants etc in days to come.

We’re back, baby.  We’re back!

Reposting some footage!

Apparently some links of me playing didn’t work!

Here’s a re post.  Hopefully these do, and if they don’t,  let me know.  thanks!!





Heheh, all the last three songs were all in E minor!  Weird…




WALTZING MATILDA (Not Trad, Funky Reggae Version)

KING GEORGE SOUND (Original by CC Thornley)




MY DETRACTORS (Original by CC Thornley

Ok, that’s it.  Enjoy!

Post Jambo/Pre Summer

Hello folks

Where was I?  I seem to get very distracted these days and neglect my blogging.   What a bad modern citizen I am.

So let’s do a quick recap:

Film Score gig for State Library.  What a hoot that was!   One of the best, nicest gigs I think I have ever played in Australia.  Over an hour of solid concentrated engagement with a listening audience who forgot I was there.  This makes a change form the usual Australian audiences, who are by definition a drinking, NON-listening audience who IGNORE that you are there.  But it was very challenging to get it right, especially with no accompaniment to hide behind!  At the end the staff at the library were so kind and many people in the audience took the time to thank me personally for, and I’m quoting one of my favorite quotes of the night here “creating the difference between seeing a film and having and experience!”  Yeah….good times, as Matt McKenzie from Stompdog would say!

Ok, next item in the minutes – The Guildford Banjo Jamboree – another great effort from Jan and the crew.  I don’t think I have ever been to a jambo so utterly sleep deprived as i was.  But now i know I can play a lot of songs without the need for consciousness.  I’m sure this is a skill I’ll need later on down the track.  my workshops were well appreciated…or so i was told.  It did seem a bit quieter than other years and I noticed a lot more contemporary folk players more so than trad ones this year.  And that’s both a good and a bad thing.  But I had a lot of fun!  Met some great crew from around the traps and as far away as Mornington Peninsula.  Oh, and I completely wussed out on the River challenge.  If I get any younger next year I’ll have another crack at it.

Then we went off on that holiday.  Was there any surf?  Well, yes.  But there was also a great big shark swimming around about ten feet from the shore.  I was going to hassle him for waves.  And that was on the only day we had with surfable waves!  Still, good fun and we had many, many encounters with possums, kangaroos and Lace Monitors.  (That’s what the Herpetologists call goannas.)

Ok, so that brings us to the great and fleeting NOW.

The Australian Musician did an interview on me!  Here’s the link….

Rex Hardware at Federation Uni Live, otherwise known as Live On Lydiard 53 has got some clips of me playing solo.  I can provide a comprehensive list of all mistakes i made upon request.  Just so you are prepared when watching the links.  Here they are:



So what’s coming up?  Zeptepi gigs are being locked down for next year.  Also, stay tuned, because the band that never existed – the BLACK SWANS OF TRESPASS has new phantom line up and will be debuting this Sunday at Cowrie Market!

I’ll be in touch.  Watch this space.  Keep on plucking.


Film scores and Workshops

Hello there,

Just a couple of things –

Tonight, being Thursday the 18th of September (that terrible anniversary of the death of Jimi,) I will be performing the live musical score, on 5 string banjo, to the film “Blind Justice (1916)” at the State Library in Melbourne.  Starts at 7pm.

here’s the film, including the score by Neil Brand that I will be working from loosely:

And here’s some info on the chap that wrote the music:


So that should be fun.

THEN on Saturday at 11am, at the Cricket Pavilion in Guildford I’ll be holding my patented workshops on Jazz chords for the 5 string banjo as part of the Guildford Banjo Jamboree.  This year will certainly be different from the previous years, with a more casual, conversational approach focused on the beginner player.


After that I am going surfing at a secret location for a week.  But I’ll be back with more banjo after the holidays.

Bye now!