Triple Golden Guitar Winners and 2021 Roll Of Renown Inductees The Bushwackers are currently celebrating the major milestone of 50 years of performance. They performed in Tamworth over January – but only just. Says Roger Corbett “Dobe lives in Melbourne so he was locked down and it was touch and go for a while as to whether we could get him to Tamworth for these very important shows”.
In 1972 Dobe joined The original Bushwhackers and Bullockies Bush Band, The band quickly established ‘legendary’ pub residencies in Melbourne’s inner north, and soon turned their attention to the folk revival that was sweeping Europe, led by English folk/rock bands Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention and The Albion Band, all featuring the cream of traditional players in new and exciting electric music experiments. Dobes commitment to the growth of Australian Music saw him as a member of the CMAA Board and Executive for 10 years, to the planning and establishment, and development of the Australian College of Country Music. Dobe continues to do what he loves best – belting the hell out of the lagerphone more than anything else he can think of – well, just about anything! In celebration of their 50th anniversary year and their induction to The Roll of Renown, The Bushwackers released their new single, Diggin’ For Gold. Written by Roger Corbett with Dobe Newton and current members Liam Kennedy-Clark and Gabi Louise, the song is not simply your classic Australiana story.
At first listen, Diggin’ For Gold appears to about the trials and tribulations of looking for gold in the freezing rivers and the building of a community over the ensuing years, however there is a secondary meaning.
The Bushwackers first headed to the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 1981. They found a ‘nugget’ on the second day in town in the shape of their very first Golden Guitar Award - rumour had it that the band threw the award into the Peel River but that is simply an urban myth. The Bushwackers remain crowd favourites and, as the song says, “there’s treasure in the river, we just knew, we stayed the course, we saw it through”. Thus 29 years after their first ‘nugget’ the band won their second Golden Guitar followed by a third a couple of years later. “The Tamworth country music community has grown so much over the years and we’ve been privileged to have been a part of it all,” Dobe Newton said. There have been too many golden highlights over the years to mention, but Roger Corbett summarises a few of these. “We have done so many shows with cameo performances by the stars of country from our own 25th Jubilee Concert, Oz Rock Salute, The Elvis Show, ABBA, Crazy Beach Parties, the iconic Chardonnay Show all with hilarious and wonderful performances from the stars,” he said. “We even had Keith Urban singing ‘Khe Sahn’ at one of our shows!” Every line in the lyrics of the new single refers to a part of The Bushwackers’ country music journey as well as a gold-seeking one. Diggin’ For Gold is destined to be in The Bushwackers’ repertoire for years to come and is a true music nugget and is available from all digital retailers. The Bushwackers played a sold-out show at the Moonshiners Bar, appeared on the front page of the Northern Daily Leader, performed a medley to close the 2021 Golden Guitar Awards, were inducted into The Roll Of Renown and played in Bicentennial Park on January the 26th to 2000 local Tamworthians. A great start to the year and The Bushwackers kicked off their Golden Jubilee year with a big bang at The Way Out West Festival in Winton, QLD on April 7.
Although The Bushwackers are a ‘household name’ some ‘youngsters’ may not know entirely what the Bushwackers are renowned for. Their energetic live shows have had thousands of fans dancing in the aisles with legendary performances at the The Port Fairy Folk Festival, The National Folk Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Gympie Music Muster, Woodford Folk Festival, The Americana Conference (Nashville) The National Celtic Festival and countless other events. Dobe Newton and Roger Corbett bring their combined experience of over 90 years of playing in the Bushwackers with all the songs, stories and history that kind of a journey entails. “Strangely not all that much has changed over the years” laughs Dobe Newton who has been a member since 1973. “We still bring that energy and enthusiasm to every gig. Our audience has slowed a little but we’re still going as strong as ever and our band has changed a lot since the 70’s with over 105 musicians able to call themselves Bushwackers alumni” Roger Corbett, who joined the band in 1980, adds “The Bushwackers have so many songs that our fans have grown up with over the last 50 years and 26 albums that they’ve shared with their families and friends. It makes for a very special relationship. We have generations of fans who come along and bring their families to continue the tradition” The Bushwackers perform an exciting blend of Australian music featuring the Lagerphone of frontman Dobe Newton, Roger Corbett on guitars and the addition of fiddle, bass and drums rounding out the sound. The music is all Australian with all the stories, humour and sense of history that has helped to forge our national identity. In 1979 The Bushwackers created ‘The Bushwackers Australian Songbook’ which sold copies all over Australia and the world and is a ‘bible’, a ‘must have’ for anybody playing Australian folk music. That volume remains the highest selling book of music in Australian publishing history and is used and treasured today in libraries, schools and collections all around the country. The Bushwackers followed that success with a second volume and there are plans in 2021 to combine these two books with some newer original material and publish later in the year. The Bushwackers also recorded the iconic album The Bushwackers Dance Album with a book, an album and instructional cassette that launched the national craze for bush dancing which is still a staple of the curriculum in many schools. The many Bush Barns around Australia owe their success to The Bushwackers fuelling bush dancing in the early 80s. The concert at The Hordern Pavilion in 1984 which attracted 5,000 people, was made into a ‘Big Country ABC documentary' and can be viewed in full on Youtube. www.thebushwackers.com.au | F: @thebushwackers | I: thebushwackersofficial