Willie and the Correspondents rock their top 20 greatest hits
What do you get when you put a Canberra author, estate agent, foreign correspondent, civil servant and press officer on stage?
You get Willie and pen pals, of course.
The iconic local roots-country-folk band is gearing up to give fans a gripping performance of their greatest hits from the past two decades this week.
Willie and correspondents have seen a few faces come and go over the past 30 years. But the current line-up is a group of men who apparently know all of Canberra’s secrets, having seen the inner workings of Australia’s highest places.
There are the two original members: author and former private secretary to the minister, Hugh Watson, and former ABC chief foreign correspondent, Philip Williams.
They will be joined by the estate agent, Matthew Herbert, the former IT director of a government agency who previously played with The Seekers and John Farnham, Peter MacDonald, and the former Prime Minister’s press secretary Paul Keating and the Former Leader of the Opposition Kim Beazley, Greg Turnbull.
Lead guitarist Matthew Herbert says the band will keep performing until one of them has “had enough” or isn’t welcomed into a venue. So far, no storyline has happened, so the band continues to entertain the masses.
“If you’re a musician, it’s not a lot of fun playing alone in your room — you want to play, but that’s the challenge of being able to sustain it,” Herbert says.
“Especially as we get older people give up because it’s hard to get gigs, but we’ve taken the other view that we have something special going on so why stop now ?
“Two of us in the band aren’t retired, but the others are, and we’re all looking for things to do that fill our days. Music is great fun, so we fill our lives with things that make us happy.
Expecting his band’s upcoming gig to be “rather upbeat”, he says Canberra can expect a mix of their old classics with new songs no one has ever heard before.
“We decided to play our 20 favorite original songs – some of the oldest and newest. We don’t always have these opportunities to indulge ourselves with our favorite songs,” smiles Herbert.
Their closing song, No one cares about the country anymore, is guaranteed to “send you home in great shape,” says Herbert, and their brand new songs will be recorded live into the night.
“I would describe our band as an alternative country-folk-rock band, with songs ranging from our experiences to political songs and songs about life.”
Willie and pen pals are genuine, Waltzing Matilda-style storytellers. Their songs tell stories of innocent lives lost in war (Son of the Somme), mocking former North Korean leader Kim Jong II (Dear Chief’s Country Band), and even an overheard conversation between two ex-criminals on the train to Sydney (We are free, we ride).
Willie and the Correspondents will perform at Smith’s Alternative, Friday June 3 from 7-9pm; tickets through www.smithsalternative.com
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