I might have gushed a little last year about Canadian guitarist-singer-songwriter Scott Cook, so when I heard he was back I went along to make sure. In 2014 he was a last-minute entry and they stuffed him into the tiny Narira shed up the back, where a heads-upped crowd sweltered through a heart-on-sleeve set of blues, folk and country, more than tinged with sardonic enviro-politics. We loved him then, and we loved him again in 2015, when the organisers got wise and put him on the main Gulaga stage. At least it was a lot cooler.
Sunday 24 February at the Folk Festival. Kicked off with Michael Menager and Friends in Magpie tent. Michael, from Tantawangalo, plays guitar and sings his own songs, shades of Arlo Guthrie in their simplicity. It’s all in the lyrics, which are personal, confessional, wry and honest. Michael was accompanied by friends Heath Cullen (guitar, banjo) and Ricky Henderson (guitar).
Next up at the same venue: Peter Anderson, playing Appalachian Dulcimer and piano accordion. Can you imagine Buffalo Gals on dulcimer? He did it.
Mumbulla Hall in Bega, Saturday morning. A ragtag crew of a hundred or so, mostly women but enough men to cushion our sound. Shrill sopranos, mellower altos, the velvety tenors and the gravel-toned basses. I don’t know what I am but I’m standing with the basses when we divide ourselves up, and I don’t move easily, so I give it a burl. Can’t reach some of the low notes so I shuffle towards the tenors, where I kind of stay. By the end of the weekend I suspect I may be an alto. It doesn’t matter.