TEST REGION Riverboats Music Festival



Now can I drown an eye unused to flow
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night

Charlie and I had talked over the years about making a record together but had never got around to it. Driving to a friend’s funeral last year and discussing the songs we’d played at other such occasions, separately and together, finally gave us our frame. Songs mostly written by others– Cole Porter, Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Lennon/McCartney - and some traditional.

We enlisted J Walker with whom I’d worked with previously on Spring and Fall to engineer and co-produce the recording, taking over Charlie’s house at Arthurs Seat for a week at the end of February. We kept the sound live and sparse, just the two of us, except for the occasional vocal by family members - my sister Mary Jo and my daughters Maddy and Memphis.

I stuck to singing and playing acoustic guitar. Charlie was the swing man, playing dobro, lap steel, electric guitar, synthesizer and piano. I managed to talk him into singing some harmonies too.

It’s interesting to look at the kinds of songs people request at funerals. They’re not always sad, of course. They tend towards the philosophical, wide and deep in scope. 

- Paul Kelly

Playing Sunday, February 19


I mean it’s all just music anyway I don’t care how it’s made and where it’s coming from as long as it gets me somewhere I want to go.” - Dave Faulkner 

The legendary Hoodoo Gurus. By any measure, one of Australia's greatest, best loved, most enduring rock bands of all time.

Hoodoo Guru in Chief, Dave Faulkner was once asked whether the band he sings and plays guitar for, had left an influence.  “I know we have,” he replied.  “I see it in lots of things going on, but whether it’s our influence or people that we were influenced by, who can tell? I see our way of thinking, which is something that when we started I didn’t see as much of.”

The Hoodoo Gurus formed in Sydney on January 1, 1981 to play their first "show" in an inner city lounge room. Core members are Dave Faulkner and Brad Shepherd joined along the way by Mark Kingsmill (’83) and Rick Grossman (’89)

The band’s debut Stoneage Romeos, full of garage punk songs and pop references, was named Australian Debut Album of the Year and was released in America where it stayed at number 1 in the Alternative / College charts for 7 weeks, becoming one of the most played albums for the year on the college network.

Mars Needs Guitars, the band’s second album, topped the charts and went gold within three weeks and platinum shortly afterwards. Blow Your Cool, released in 1986, was a massive pop hit propelled by the band’s highest charting single "What's My Scene”.  Album 4, Magnum Cum Louder, reaches Number One on the American College and Alternative charts. Followed by albums Kinky, Crank, Blue Cave, Mach Schau and Purity of Essence the band continued to tour regularly through Europe, North America, Australia and Brazil.

In 2011 and 2012 the band curated and headlined the extremely successful Dig It Up national tour comprised of some 26 bands and solo artists each year who all shared the same the love of the culture and music that inspired the Hoodoo Gurus.

Through Sony Music the Gurus released their successful “Gold Watch” best of compilation in 2011.

The Hoodoo Gurus were inducted into Australian Music Hall of Fame in July, 2007.

Playing Saturday, February 18


Folk-inspired cousins Husky Gawenda and Gideon Preiss have been writing songs and touring the world together since 2011. Sweet, gentle harmonies resonate through Husky’s two albums, reflecting inspiration from their hometown Melbourne and touring Europe and the U.S. The sum of the parts adds worldliness and sophistication to their rich seam of lyrical nu-folk.

After spending last year based in Berlin and touring throughout Europe and the U.S., Husky is now working on their 3rd album in their hometown Melbourne. It’s expected worldwide later this year.

Playing Sunday, February 19


I just feel that I’m getting better,” James Reyne says. “I’m a better singer and a better songwriter

It’s a simple statement, but also remarkable – considering that this is an artist who has sold more than two million albums and written some of the most memorable Australian songs of all time.

But as critic Ed Nimmervoll – who has followed James’ career since it started – remarked when he reviewed James’ 2012 album, Thirteen: “He’s a better singer today than ever, better songwriter, better lyricist. Every track on Thirteen tells you how important all three of those aspects of his craft are to him.”

James Reyne’s songs have provided the soundtrack to endless Australian summers, including “The Boys Light Up”, “Reckless”, “Beautiful People”, “Lakeside”, “Daughters Of The Northern Coast”, “Fall Of Rome”, “Hammerhead”, “Motor’s Too Fast” and “Slave”.

James has been a part of our lives since making an unforgettable debut on Countdown in 1979, with both arms in plaster (the result of being hit by a car, crossing Swanston Street in Melbourne).

“Lucky for the Australian music industry that James Reyne chose to strut through its door in 1979,” Wendy Milson and Helen Thomas wrote in their 1986 book Pay To Play. “His was exactly the profile … an injection of chutzpah to recharge a listless business burdened with hard-to-market punk acts.”

In her 1992 book Your Name’s On The Door, Tracee Hutchison noted that Australian Crawl “boldly explored an ‘Australian-ness’ that was unique at the time and which broke a lot of ground in the development of an Australian ‘sound’.”

James was a member of Australian Crawl for seven years, releasing four studio albums in five frenetic years in the ’80s. He’s been a solo artist for the past 28 years, releasing eight studio albums, plus two acoustic collections, a covers album and two live albums.

Australian Crawl sold more than one million albums in Australia, placing four albums in the Top 5, including 11 weeks at number one. Only four local bands – Skyhooks, The Seekers, Savage Garden and Midnight Oil – have spent more time on top of the Australian albums chart.

But James has never been interested in accolades or awards. His most treasured musical possession is not a Countdown Award or a platinum album; it’s a photo with John Lee Hooker (the blues legend and James were both signed to the same US label in the ’90s).

Australian Crawl defiantly did things their own way. As the Rolling Stone editors explained in 1985’s The Big Australian Rock Book, “Australian Crawl has become a major fixture of the Australian music industry without ever really becoming a part of it.”

James Reyne continues to do things his own way.

Playing Friday, February 17


Two jewels of the international soul scene, Australia’s own Kylie Auldist and New Zealand’s Aaradhna, come together at Riverboats 2017 with a mission to get everyone up on their feet. 

Taking a break from intercontinental tour hopping as the voice of the #1 hit ‘This Girl’ by Kungs vs. Cookin’ on 3 Burners, at long last Kylie returns to her home country to launch her new electro dance release ‘Family Tree’. ‘Brown Girl’, the #1 single from Aaradhna’s 2016 album of the same name, compliments Kylie’s recent success, and this exclusive set offers a unique chance to watch these leading ladies of funk and soul get down amongst the red gums at Riverboats. 

Described as “Melbourne’s high priestess of soul”, Kylie Auldist’s fourth album combines her love of contemporary Electronic Dance Music and influences from the hedonistic, golden age of Disco, Funk and Boogie. Kylie describes the new album as the love-child of Chaka Khan and Rick James in musical form, an ideal match for her live shows which are absolutely electric with a huge dose of boogie power. Already praised by the world's soul and R&B community as an extraordinary talent, Kylie’s new record has been strongly received by media across the world, from Bulgaria to Belgrade, in the UK, the US and back home in Australia.

Aaradhna, labelled since age 16 as “The Queen of the Pacific”, took out the #1 single, NZ album and Pop Album at the recent RIANZ awards.

Performing Saturday, February 18


Mia Dyson is a multiple ARIA-nominated & award-winning artist from Melbourne, with a powerful grit and gravel voice and guitar stylings that landed her named amongst the top 25 Australian guitarists of all time.

After releasing 5 critically-acclaimed albums, Mia returns to Riverboats festival on the eve of her 6th album release, with her impassioned songs and her full-tilt band.

Performing Saturday, Feb 18


"He sounds as though he has drunk deeply from the same fountain that gave the world Henry Lawson, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan" - Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

Shane Howard has refined his art with 13 solo albums, 3 Goanna albums, two books and a stable of great production credits, that have established him as a significant contributor to Australian folklore.

His anthemic song, Solid Rock, from the album, Spirit of Place (1982), recorded with his band Goanna, was written after a moving experience at an inma at Uluru in 1981. It has since passed into folklore and the Australian psyche. He pushed on, beyond commercial success, tirelessly pursuing an artist’s journey, in order to make sense of the story of a ‘whitefella’ in an Aboriginal country.

His songs have been recorded by numerous artists as diverse as Ireland's Mary Black and Australia's John Farnham and Troy Cassar-Daley. He has spent much of his musical life working with Aboriginal musicians, as well as touring Ireland and forging Irish-Australian connections. Shane has been a producer for the Pigram Brothers, Street Warriors, Mary Black, Archie Roach and the soundtrack for the Jimmy Chi musical, Corrugation Road. He’s a founding member of the celebrated Black Arm Band.

Shane has just completed his new album Deeper South.

Playing Saturday, February 18


"There's a pain that rattles the core of Cash Savage's third album...full of blues grunt and country groove that holler badass one minute and banjo tinged mellow the next" - THE AGE 4.5 stars ★★★★☆

“Savage comes at us with gruff, dirty-fingernails countryrock like her life depends on it” – HERALD SUN ★★★★

Rat-a-tat-tat might be unmatched as the best Aussie single of 2016. Savage gloriously steers a charged vocal ensemble into the next world" – THE BIG ISSUE ★★★★

One of Us seems to stir up all the emotions that normally herald last drinks at the pub, with songs that making you cry, laugh and sing.” – MYF WARHURST, DOUBLE J

Ask Cash Savage how last year was and she’d tell you: “it was fucking awesome, but fucking hard”. It’s a statement that’s been instilled into the Melburnian’s growling alt-country for years, but never so strongly as on her newest album, One Of Us. In it, Cash Savage explores beauty, freedom and the darkness that seep into even the supposedly safest of realms: family, friendship, sleep and love.

One Of Us is a record of duality, one that marks another stage of growth for Cash Savage and the Last Drinks. The ecstatic highs and devastating lows of 2015 would shape One Of Us, Cash Savage and The Last Drinks’ debut album for new label, Mistletone Records. There was her marriage, a European tour and the loss of a few close friends and family to suicide. After a long spell from writing, allowing these emotional events to sink in, Cash Savage grabbed a six-pack, headed off to the studio, turned her guitar up to 12 and began composing the songs that would form One Of Us. Produced by Nick Finch and recorded by Nao Anzai at Head Gap in Melbourne, One Of Us follows on from 2013’s critically acclaimed, The Hypnotiser and is packed tight with the kind of well-crafted, country and blues ear candy the band has become known for.

In the end, Cash fulfils the promise many heard on the first two albums and brings her most realised effort of songwriting and lyricism to fruition. The songs on One Of Us reflect the grieving that comes from loss and embrace the new road ahead. This new effort is bound to be regarded as Cash’s most intricate work to date.

Playing Friday, February 17


Melody Pool is a young artist with an old soul…

After delivering one of the most acclaimed Australian debut albums of recent times, Melody Pool returns with her stunning second album Deep Dark Savage Heart.

Deep Dark Savage Heart is Melody Pool’s story, taking the listener to a deeper, darker place: “I feel like I’ve really stood my ground with this record. I didn’t ever expect to make an album filled with pop hits. It’s always going to be me playing guitar and singing the truth.”

“I’m really proud of this album,” Melody says. “It really shows where I’m at – or where I was at – and how I wanted it to turn out.”

After the success of The Hurting Scene, Melody moved to Melbourne from Kurri Kurri NSW, her first time living away from home. She also toured with The Milk Carton Kids through Europe and performed two massive shows supporting the Eagles, before returning to Nashville to make Deep Dark Savage Heart with producer Brad Jones, an American who has worked with several Australian artists including Ben Lee and Missy Higgins. “Brad’s like a nutty professor in the studio,” Melody smiles. “He’s always up for trying new things.”

Playing Sunday, February 19


It’s a bold, brassy, twangy steam train of bumping backbeats and swinging shuffles. Then there’s that voice. Sweet as honey. The voice is soul, but it’s country too and something else indefinable; like you heard it before but don’t know where...

There’s a fair chance you haven’t heard that voice before, because for the last few years Simon Burke has been flying small planes out of small airfields in the dusty backcountry and taking refuge from the hustle and grind of the music business to raise a young family. The time off has been fruitful. A lifetime of writing and experience is condensed into a golden set of songs and a killer new band, The Meltdown, which Simon formed in collaboration with saxophonist and arranger Lachlan McLean. Great vibe, great players, great sound, but it’s the songs that are king here.

There are a lot of soul revival bands around, but the Meltdown’s angle is different – Simon and Lachlan are both pretty country and The Meltdown has more than a bit of that Ray Charles country via gospel thing, and a taste of dirty blues in it too. Echoes of towns like Euroa and Avenel, where the boys blew in from, or just artistic license?

Either way, if there’s one thing that soul and country can both do for you, it’s songs about heartbreak, so here’s some rippers. Ladies and gentlemen, let us introduce to you the inimitable voice and songwriting of Mr Simon Burke. And yes, in advance, you’re welcome.

Playing Times |

Friday, February 17 - Festival Stage
Saturday, February 18 - Pride of the Murray Cruise
Sunday, February 19 - Festival Breakfast at Beechworth Bakery


A son of the Riverina, William Crighton's work is relentless in its navigation of life.

His songs are defiant. They deal in revenge, faith, grievances, drug addiction and suicide but amidst the turmoil there is a strong force of hope and a belief in love and the skin of a lover.
His music is bold and visceral, uncompromising.

William Crighton is a voice crying from the wilderness of south western NSW. 

Authenticity is the element that defines his darkly beautiful and wrenching debut record.

For the deep-voiced songwriter and intense live performer, there were no short cuts taken to arrive at this self-titled album. Beneath each track are thousands of kilometres, and within are stories wrought of trees and roads and dust, soaked in the essence of our ancient continent.

Recorded in a house on the rugged banks of Burrinjuck Dam, near the South West Slopes region of NSW, the record paints a vivid picture of its protagonist: philosopher, romantic and a “pacifist who sometimes fantasises of killing”. The eleven tracks, which feature Crighton’s wife Jules on backing vocals and brother Luke on bass guitar, are produced by Matt Sherrod and shift between whimsical ballads and full-blooded, expansive rock sojourns. 

“Amongst other things I'm a father, husband and son,” Crighton says, “and like all of us I'm a lover, hater, fighter, victim, perpetrator, grower and harvestor.”

Woven into Crighton’s classic folk-rock sensibility is vivid prose. These tales are alive with visceral imagery and the echoes of a spiritual upbringing. In ‘Riverina Kid’ a snake winds up the riverbank, a boy’s found hanging; In ‘2000 Clicks’, the adult Crighton stares into the reflection of his childhood; In the thundering tale of retribution ‘Priest’, a pedophilic man of the cloth meets his demise. ‘Jesus Blues’ and ‘Dig Your Mind’ exemplify the ragged, sweltering rock that Crighton can command, while ‘Smile’ is the songwriter’s gentle reminder to do just that. 

“I have good memories of paddling down the Goobragandra River with my brother Luke avoiding tiger snakes and catching fish,” Crighton says. “We'd cast into where the water wraps around one particular river gum, the deeper water slows the current down and fish wait for insects and other things to wash into view. Witnessing a rainbow trout strike a lure under reflections of golden wattle through ripples of muddy water told me more than the TV ever will.”

The record’s centerpiece, the gripping and heartfelt ‘Woman Like You’, proves equally potent with two separate treatments. The song appears midway as a sparse, slow-building ballad and returns as a loud finale, a reprise that feels both natural and essential. But such is the diverse and timeless quality of Crighton’s songwriting. Such is its sincerity. Such is its authenticity.

 “I believe music is an essential part of our current experience and I am truly grateful to be able to share mine with you,” Crighton says. 

“Life is beautiful, torturous and short.”

Playing Saturday, February 18


The music of Karl S. Williams is born of a desire to connect with the universal soul. This connection is clearly evident to those who see Karl perform live; an experience so emotionally charged that all are unavoidably drawn to it and uplifted. Drawing comparisons ranging from Son House to Antony Hegarty and Nina Simone, of his music Karl can only say that it attempts to appeal to our fundamental humanity, that which unites us all and transcends superficial boundaries.

He came to music late, picking up the guitar in the evenings while working on a coffee plantation in Northern New South Wales. At this time he began to explore the blues, spirituals and work songs of the American south as a way to occupy his mind during the day’s labour. He later traded farm work for a job in the city, which though easier on the body, paid no heed to the soul leaving him drained and despairing. The situation, along with a fractious relationship that eventually left him homeless proved fertile ground for songwriting and emotionally raw performance.

Ten years, as he says, ‘on the grinding wheel’ resulted in a wealth of material but life’s tribulations hampered efforts to record the album his growing fanbase were clamouring for. Nevertheless Karl continued to make a name for himself around Brisbane and the Gold Coast as a performer willing to expose the innards of his heart. At the urging of friends and fans, Karl redoubled his efforts in 2013, finally producing the debut album Heartwood which Noel Mengel of The Courier Mail suggested “is so good it might even save your life.”

August 2013 saw the independent release Heartwood and the very kind reception for this work led to many opportunities including a packed BIGSOUND showcase, rapturous appearances at Woodford Folk Festival and national touring opportunities with Busby Marou and Darren Middleton. This gained the attention of Footstomp Music who released a deluxe version of Heartwood in August 2014 containing several new recordings, allowing this humble work a chance to enter the hearts of Australia and the world.

Playing Sunday, February 19


Melbourne's premiere calypso-inspired tropical party band will be hitting Riverboats for a next level set of tropical fever.

Following barnstorming sets at Meredith Music Festival and Falls Festival, the trop~pop quintet released their debut self-titled album early in 2016 to sold out crowds in Melbourne, Launceston and Auckland, and are now setting their navigational devices for Echuca-Moama.

Cheeky lyrics, wild rhythms and belting horns combine to turn the danceflooor into a monsoonal sweat-storm taking the party to the next level – up where the fancy rums are hidden. Comprising members of Melbourne Ska Orchestra, NO ZU, The Lucksmiths and The Suitcase Royale, Mighty Duke & The Lords put on a show that’s guaranteed to gyrate even the most stubborn of hips.

Playing Saturday, February 18


Brian's BACK! We're thrilled to announce that the wonderful Brian Nankervis will be joining us once again in 2017 as Festival MC. As co-creator of SBS TV's RocKwiz, Brian is one of the most respected people in the Australian music industry, and we're so excited we managed to tempt him back to Riverboats next year.

For the last ten years, Brian has been writing, producing and co-hosting (alongside Julia Zemiro) the AFI Award-winning SBS music trivia series, RocKwiz. The team recently wrapped up series thirteen of the show.

In 2013, Brian narrated and acted in Vandemonian Lags a theatrical presentation written by Mick Thomas and produced by the MONA Art Gallery.

In 2012, Brian hosted a new series for the Working Dog team on Channel Seven, Pictures Of You.

In 2011 Brian directed Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, a narrative concert based on the life of Bon Scott at the Athenaeum Theatre and co-wrote and hosted the ‘Queensland Country Comfort Hour’, five one hour radio shows for the Queensland Music festival and ABC radio in Queensland.