Cannington Hillbillies play “The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1”

Newport Hotel – 23rd March 2017.

I had the absolute pleasure of being asked to join the Cannington Hillbillies as a cameo performer for the gig at the Newport Hotel as a part of the Roadshow Record Club when they performed “The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1” on Thursday the 23rd of March 2017.

The Cannington Hillbillies are a band that was put together specifically for this evening, consisting of some of the finest and most well known original song writers and performers currently living in Perth. The band, consisting of Steve Parkin, Timothy Nelson, Justin Burford, Chris Murphy and Mike Hagerty, was a combination that brings energy, life and entertainment to what has become known as an iconic album featuring some of the greatest songwriters / performers of the 20th century.

I received a text message from Timothy Nelson on Monday the 20th of March (three days prior to the gig) asking if I’d be available to come and join them. The advantage being a saxophonist is that I’d only have three songs to learn, however it was important that the solos were learnt note for note to give the authenticity of the album. I would need to spend some time learning the tenor saxophone solo in “Heading for the Light”, the alto saxophone lines for “Margarita” and the horn lines for “Got My Mind Set on You” which was being done as an encore.

The preparation for the gig went well, however, due to the commitments at school I didn’t really get a good chance to start listening and learning the songs until the morning of the gig. I got up at my usual 5:30am but rather than heading for the gym I headed for school where I got in an impressive two hours before the school day started. In this time I managed to learn the solos for “Heading for the Light” and the lead lines for “Margarita” fairly accurately. Later in the day I managed to get the time needed to revise these two songs and learn the horn parts for “Got My Mind Set on You.” My lips have copped a little bit of a hammering from this preparation, not necessarily due to the amount of time on the horn but also because of the range with most of it played at the very top of the tenor range and into the altissimo register.

The gig itself was an absolute blast. I arrived down at the Newport in time for the sound check and straight away found it so easy to slot in and play along with the Hillbillies. The energy and vibrancy of every member lead to an entertaining and memorable performance.

My songs were a part of the second set, the first song being “Heading for the Light”. This proved to be one of the highlight songs of the evening, the saxophone contributing an additional layer to the guitars and vocal harmonies. Throughout the evening I was blown away by drummer Mike Hagerty, the  sense of time and feel this man has is phenomenal, he is a joy to play with and listen to. Margarita followed on from “Heading for the Light” with “Got My Mind Set on You” occurring as one of the encore songs (this was also received incredibly well).

I’d like to give a huge thanks to the boys in the Hillbillies as well as everyone from the Record Club. I had an amazing night and hope to be able to do it again some time soon.

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