TEST REGION Riverboats Music Festival

THE WAIFS

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A trip that began in a van in 1992, playing gigs anywhere in Australia that would have them has led the Waifs to multiple ARIA Awards, platinum albums and successful tours across the world.

With a career spanning 25 years off the back of relentless touring and groundbreaking records such as Up All Night and A Brief History, the hard yards in those early days paid off in terms of their career, but also bound them together as friends.

The Waifs soared into 2017 celebrating their 25th Anniversary in style - releasing their eighth studio record Ironbark, completing a sold out national tour, gaining their first #1 album debut on the ARIA Charts and reminding fans that like a bottle of fine wine, they only get better with time.

The original road warriors, The Waifs have built a career out of continually circling Australia and the globe. From bustling cities to the farthest regional and coastal towns, they have spent the past 25 years, reuniting with old friends , and gathering new fans, thanks to their enchanting live shows and affable nature.


TEX PERKINS - FAR FROM FOLSOM

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TEX PERKINS & THE TENNESSEE FOUR - FAR FROM FOLSOM
THE SONGS OF JOHNNY CASH

Seminal musician and Riverboats favourite Tex Perkins returns with his critically-acclaimed Far From Folsom - The Songs of Johnny Cash.

Featuring legendary backing band The Tennessee Four (Matt Walker, Dave Folley, Steve Healy and Shane Reilly) with Rachel Tidd, Far From Folsom embodies Johnny Cash’s iconic performances at Folsom and San Quentin prisons in the late 1960s. Cash's two subsequent albums - At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin - became instant classics, with both going 3x platinum in the US. One of the highest selling artists in history, Johnny Cash's humour, humanity and grit instantly built a bridge between music genres, prisoners, preachers and presidents alike, earning him the love and loyalty of generations of fans along the way.

For the past decade Tex Perkins has been synonymous with the work of Johnny Cash through his Helpmann-Award winning stage production, The Man In Black. More recently, Tex's Far From Folsom premiered at The Old Parramatta Gaol as part of the 2015 Sydney Festival. Originally conceived as a one-off show, Tex and the Tennessee Four ended up performing to over 7000 people across three sold-out nights, before hitting the road and touring the country. 

Far From Folsom takes a fast-paced, rollicking rock n’ roll journey to the heart of Johnny Cash’s music. Featuring some of Cash's best-loved songs and music, Far From Folsom embraces Tex Perkins’ reverence for this incredible musician’s career.


MARK SEYMOUR & THE UNDERTOW

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Mark Seymour formed Hunters and Collectors in 1980, with a bunch of Uni friends. The band became famous for its rhythmic power and very quickly became touted as the “next big thing”.  The Album Human Frailty was recorded in Melbourne in 1985.

This record has proven to be one of the most important and enduring records of the eighties and Hunters and Collectors were still playing a large part of this cut in 1998 when they retired.  With Human Frailty Mark discovered, love, loss, and pop melody. His solo records are directly connected to this era and bear the same stamp of raw honesty and emotional power.

Hunters and Collectors went on to record some of this country’s most successful rock albums, including multi-platinum releases Ghost Nation and Cut, and became a huge touring operation.

By 1998, Mark felt that he had done all that he could as the front man of Hunters and Collectors. After eighteen years of touring with what became one of Australia’s most successful and deeply loved rock bands, he found himself alone on stage with just an acoustic guitar.

As a solo artist, Mark continues to search for the emotional truth in a song. Mark Seymour’s strength as a performer remains undiminished despite the ever-present shadow of the band he used to be in. 

As well as 13 Hunters & Collectors albums, Mark has released seven solo albums and three with his current band, The Undertow. Throughout it all, he has shown he is one of our finest songwriters, capturing our stories of love, loss, human courage and achievement.


AUGIE MARCH

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Augie March is that rarest of bands that enjoys both high critical acclaim and ardent popularity. Roundly lauded as one of Australia’s finest ever, it is in their live performance that their wonderfully dynamic and emotive music really shines.

With Glenn Richards’ distinctive voice, his sharp, literary lyrics and the band's off-kilter rock 'n' roll, Augie March has become a major Australian band over the past decade, bringing it multiple awards, taking it around the world and attracting an ever-increasing and loyal fan-base in Australia and beyond.

Over Augie March’s 5 album releases, the band has been nominated for 13 ARIA Awards (victorious in one) and picked up an AMP (Australian Music Prize), while Glenn has been awarded 2 APRA Awards – Song Of The Year for One Crowded Hour and Breakthrough Songwriter.


DON WALKER

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the most Australian writer there has ever been. Quite frankly, I think he’s better than the rest of us…” – Richard Clapton

Don Walker was born in Ayr, North Queensland, in 1951. As a member of and main songwriter for Cold Chisel, between 1973 and 1983 he wrote Saturday Night, Cheap Wine, Standing on the Outside, Four Walls, Khe Sahn and co-wrote Flame Trees. Enough said.

In 1989, after a break from music spent traveling, he released Unlimited Address, a set of songs under the band name Catfish, recorded with producer/guitar player Peter Walker and harmonica player David Blight.

In 1993 the Tex, Don and Charlie album, Sad But True was released in Australia and Europe. A collaboration with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owen, Sad But True showed the first results of the songwriting Walker had been doing in Nashville the previous two years.

In 1994 Don Walker recorded his first solo album We’re All Gunna Die over four days at Electric Avenue Studios in Sydney. Released in 1995, it was reviewed as “a masterpiece” and “possibly the best Australian album released in years”.

In 2005 Don, Tex Perkins and Charlie Owen recorded and released the widely acclaimed All Is Forgiven, their first album together for twelve years, and completed a sold-out tour to showcase that album.

In July 2006 Don’s second solo album, Cutting Back, was released by Warners. In the years between he toured live with the Suave Fucks, often featuring Red Rivers on guitar. More recently, 2013 saw Don release Hully Gully to critical acclaim. And, after a 12 year hiatus, Tex, Don and Charlie finally released their third studio album, You Don't Know Lonely, to critical acclaim.

One of Australia’s most celebrated songwriters and raconteurs, Don Walker will lead you down the highway with tales of outback towns and science fiction, Hebrew myth, country halls and Bluecaps rock’n’roll, timber yards and poolrooms by the sea. Tales handed down from other centuries and those that had to be lived first hand.


JEN CLOHER

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Her best yet... incredible” – The Guardian  ★★★★★

"...her magnum opus" - The Herald Sun ★★★★★

Astonishingly candid…(she) tackles politics, equality and pride with frank intimacy”  - The Observer (UK)

"a modern day Patti Smith whose brutally honest, politically charged lyrics mark her out as one of the most interesting and important artists of her day” - The Independent (UK)

“It’s self-titled.” The three-word answer is all that Jen Cloher requires to describe her recently released fourth album, a letter in triplicate addressed to themes of Love, Music and Australia (the beautiful and the terrible). Jen likes best to tell the truth.

Jen Cloher is the culmination of a period of artistic and personal growth in which the artist took her rightful place as the punk-rock figurehead of Melbourne’s famous DIY music scene. The NIDA Graduate is an outspoken advocate for artist rights and the co-founder of the incredible Milk! Records label (Courtney Barnett, Loose Tooth, Jade Imagine, East Brunswick All Girls Choir). Cloher’s fascinating life-story and compelling political voice is enough justification to pay her attention, but it’s the music that will have you returning again and again.

Since 2014, Jen's regular musical contributions to Milk! Record's discography of 7" releases and compilations have been increasingly biting, witty and poetic. It's fair to say that she was in a purple patch when she put the finishing touches to her stunning new record with engineer Greg Walker amidst the rolling greenery of Jumbunna in Victoria’s Gippsland. The band that first played together four years ago on Cloher’s acclaimed third album, the Australian Music Prize nominated In Blood Memory, are bold and assured, the songs split by Courtney Barnett’s extraordinary lead-guitar and anchored by the rhythm section of Bones Sloane and Jen Sholakis. The record was completed in March 2017 with Tom Schick at Jeff Tweedy’s famous ‘Loft’ Studios in the depths of Chicago’s winter.


DEBORAH CONWAY & WILLY ZYGIER

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Deborah Conway has been a significant and eloquent contributor to Australian music for over 30 years. Her first band Do Re Mi topped the charts and her first solo album, String of Pearls achieved platinum sales. Conway met Willy Zygier in 1991 and together they have released albums that have attracted critical acclaim from reviewers and audience plaudits.

Conway & Zygier continue to be a vital force, with their most recent recording Everybody’s Begging receiving a rare 5-star review in The Australian. They have pursued careers of extra curricular activities alongside the core business of writing, recording and performing their songs. These have included producing a national concert series called Broad of all female singer/songwriters from 2005 to 2008. In addition, Conway took on the role of Artistic Director for the Queensland Music Festival from 2009 to 2011, and in 2015 they established the Melbourne Shir Madness Jewish Music Festival & continued their roles as Director & Artistic Director for the 2017 iteration.

In 2016 Conway & Zygier’s 1993 5/4 anthem Alive & Brilliant, was inducted into the National Film & Sound Archive, and Conway was named a Living Legend by both the Leaps & Bounds Festival and Rolling Stone Magazine.

They are currently recording their 10th album due out in 2019.

FRASER A. GORMAN

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Fraser A. Gorman grew up in a small surf town on Melbourne’s southern coast called Torquay. Growing up surrounded by surf culture, Gorman quickly strayed away and looked to the songs of Bob Dylan and early 60’s Rock’n’Roll. When he was twelve, his mother put him in singing lessons and he took to it like a duck to water.

By 15 he was playing in a high school garage rock band at many local venues, and touring around the country. A few years later, the band decided to go its separate ways. With his love for country, blues, and folk, he started a solo project writing lots of songs with a more laid-back, storytelling style. 

A few years later, in 2015 he released his first full-length album, Slow Gum which received critical acclaim across the globe including mass praise in Uncut, Mojo and Rolling Stone. Gorman toured the world three times before settling back in Melbourne to work as a carpenter and contemplate existence.

Now the break is over and his sophomore album, Easy Dazy has arrived. Recorded at Head Gap with producer Nicolas Vernhes (War on Drugs, Silver Jews, Cat Power, Etc) and Melbourne musician Dan Luscombe (The Drones), the record features guest musician friends including members of King Gizzard, Leah Senior, Anika Ostendorf (Hachiku) and Hollie Joyce.  

Taking a step away from the country folk of his previous releases, Easy Dazy is more laid-back Americana with a driving pop sensibility. Tasteful horn arrangements sprinkled on a few tracks evoke a contemporary blue-eyed soul vibe and lush background vocals summon a sound somewhere between Transformer-era Lou Reed and Bill Fay's Omega Day.


GABRIELLA COHEN

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Australia’s sweetheart, Gabriella Cohen, returns with her sophomore album, Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love. The album’s opener and first single ‘Baby’ was born in the graveyard of unrequited love, yet morphs into a remarkably catchy, feel good number.

On Pink Is The Colour, Cohen pays homage to her musical influences by inviting the listener on a journey: from the grooves of bossa nova, to the lilting sentimentality of strings, to kicking it back on the sprawling highways of rock ‘n’ roll. Honest heartache is woven into glory throughout the record, and during eleven tracks a candid, almost ethereal self-portrait of its songwriter emerges. For Gabriella Cohen, it’s an epitaph of electric wonder, and a definitive fact: Pink is the Colour of Unconditional Love.

Cohen moved to a farm in countryside Victoria, Australia in summer of 2017 to record and self-produce the album with engineer and partner-in-crime, Kate “Babyshakes” Dillon. There, amidst flocks of screeching white cockatoos and herds of Black Angus cows, they etched the beginning of Pink Is The Colour Of Unconditional Love. The record was almost complete when the band was invited to join Foxygen’s US tour, compelling the girls to finish the album on the road. Armed with a microphone and an interface, Dillon and Cohen captured the final touches of the album on a boat in England, and the coast of Portugal; in the mountains of Southern Italy, cafes of Mexico, and finally in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

Throughout the new album Cohen (flanked by a choir of imaginary dolls that exist in her head) creates complex and sugary backing vocals. These signature vocal arrangements – contoured with classic harmonies and nostalgic melodies – form songs remarkable in their originality.


THE KILL DEVIL HILLS

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The Kill Devil Hills formed in sun-bleached Perth, Western Australia, in 2003 as a quiet acoustic 3-piece project, but that was a dumb idea (too quiet) and didn't last very long, quickly swelling ranks like a looming tide, until 15 years and a few divorces later it has settled down (sort of) as 6-piece purveyor of tuneful cacophony, beautiful bastard noise, ugly but honest ballads, and gene-spliced sonic travesties....in other words, a rock band with a heart of mud and coal.

Five albums, a few 7"s, a live record, several band members, a few laps of the planet and some late late nights later, like the fabled Hydra, they are difficult - nay, impossible - to slay. The band has toured Australia, playing major festivals, venues of all sizes, with bands of all ranges, from the Beasts of Bourbon, the Dirty Three, the Drones, through to Jolie Holland and Justin Townes Earle, in the process finding themselves roaming Canada, the US and most parts of Western Europe.

An entrancing, visceral, emotive, sensual and usually very loud live act, this is one of those special Australian-mutant bands that only remote continents can cough up, a species confined to islands, fever-dreams, and occasionally to strut the stage a while...


BENNY WALKER

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“Walker’s voice has the drag and timbre of a natural soul man…his music is pure blues-rock, buoyed by clean, lyrical guitar solos and the throb of electric organ" - Michael Dwyer, The Age

Yorta Yorta singer/songwriter Benny Walker is the real deal. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for people, the land, summer vibes and deep grooves that reach the soul.

Capturing hearts with darker tracks reflecting a shadowy side such as those on album Through the Forest through to upbeat songs such as Summer Sun, Benny’s killer voice and songwriting talents have impressed audiences far & wide. Nominated for 4 NIMA awards in 2016 (New Talent of the Year, Best Song, Best Cover Art and Best Film Clip for Oh No You Don't’), the single shot to No. 1 on the AMRAP chart and was soon followed by another No. 1 with the heart wrenching single SAVE. 

Both songs marked the beginning of a new direction for Benny and were produced by ARIA-award-winning producer Jan Skubiszewski. 2016 closed on a winning streak when Benny took home the gong for Best Aboriginal Act at The Age Music Victoria Music Awards.

In recent years Benny has played some of the country’s favourite festivals including Woodford, Festival of King Island, Deni Rhythm, Blues and Jazz, Blue Mountains and St Kilda Festival.


THE PUBLIC OPINION AFRO ORCHESTRA

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Inspired by the infectious afro-beat music of Nigeria and its neighbours, The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra delivers contemporary African funk to Australian dancefloors. This mammoth ensemble comprises musicians hand-picked from Melbourne’s music scene.

The experience and creativity of these established musicians energise the group’s original compositions and the sound of the entire band is a force to be reckoned with. The POAO’s powerful MCs and tribal rhythms are the modern-day “musical weapon” that Fela Kuti conceived of. Their conscious lyrics and West African grooves are relevant today while remaining faithful to the message of afro-beat.

The group is the brainchild of Zvi Belling, Ethan Hill (DJ Manchild) and Tristan Ludowyk who are long- time friends and musical collaborators, each with vast and diverse musical backgrounds to draw upon.

The band’s directors recently travelled to Africa to promote the new single and recorded with African hip hop stars Tumi (South Africa) and Modenine (Nigeria). These artists feature on the band’s ARIA-nominated album “Do Anything Go Anywhere”, which was accompanied by a sold-out 12” vinyl release.


LEAH SENIOR

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“Recalling Joni Mitchell playfulness through cozy, folk minimalism…” - Rolling Stone

"With a spellbinding voice and a delicateness to her music that is nothing short of awe inspiring, Senior is truly something special" - STACK

Leah Senior has been silencing audiences around the country with her otherworldly vocals and unique lyricism.

The Melbourne-based folk artist creates fragile but effortlessly nimble melodies that demonstrate a clarity of thought and studied discipline beyond her years. Her songs evoke the familiar and the peculiar, the poetic and the plain.

Her breakthrough 2017 album Pretty Faces pays homage to her folk music idols while hinting towards pop and psychedelic undertones. Leah Senior is establishing herself as a revered songwriter and has played major festivals including Queenscliff and Golden Plains.


MC BRIAN NANKERVIS

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MASTER OF CEREMONIES - BRIAN NANKERVIS

Brian's BACK! We're thrilled to announce that the wonderful Brian Nankervis will be joining us once again in 2019 as Festival MC.

Brian has been writing, producing and co hosting the SBS music trivia series, ‘RocKwiz’ since 2005. In 2017 the team toured as ‘RocKwiz Live’, performing thirty one shows in theatres around Australia.

Brian currently co-hosts, with Richelle Hunt, 'The Friday Revue’, each Friday afternoon on ABC Radio Melbourne. In 2013, Brian performed in ‘Vandemonian Lags’ a theatrical presentation written by Mick Thomas. In 2012, he hosted 'Pictures Of You’ on Channel Seven.

Brian contributes regularly to The Age and 3RRR and is an experienced MC and performer for public events and corporate functions. He performs a poetry show in schools. Brian was a primary teacher who fled the classroom to become a waiter at The Last Laugh theatre restaurant. He was a writer/performer on the hospital soap opera ‘Let The Blood Run Free’ and made regular appearances on ‘Hey Hey It's Saturday’ as the street poet, Raymond J Bartholomeuz.