Liz Stringer

Keeping it in the fam – Festival of Small Halls

 

 

I’m writing this in Yeppoon, a small coastal town in Queensland near Rockhampton. The view out of the hotel window is pretty good. Straight onto the ocean across the road. But I’m inside trying to book a car with frequent flyer points. Turns out that’s disproportionately time consuming.

The glamour of touring. I’ll definitely be getting in that water I can see out the window though. At some point.

We’re up to gig 17 or something. I’ve stopped counting. Even when I was counting I was doing it incorrectly. So 17 sounds about right. I’ve been on the road for most of this year. Extremes in climate and coffee quality. And extremes, also, in mental health levels and in my extraordinary ability (some would say talent) to lose possessions, even after all these years of being on the road. I’m not winning the latter battle, at this point. The former, though, I’m holding my own in by swimming every day. I drive sometimes an entire hour round trip, before anyone else is awake, to the closest lap pool to get a kilometer into the arms. And early sun on the back. To gently force the mind to move in a straight line, instead of turning in a circle, down into itself. I think that might make me somewhat of an idiot, to get up that early, but being the only person swimming in an old, tiled pool in a tiny regional town just after dawn continues to bring me inexorable joy. I may as well take advantage of this particular kind of idiocy while it lasts.

It’s the Festival of Small Halls tour that’s rounding out the year for me. Twenty shows (I think, clearly I’m not sure…) through regional QLD, the (massive) region of Australia that I’ve toured the least in. Holy shit. What a delight to be somewhere so familiar I can feel it in my body and yet so utterly new. Driving for hours past cane fields. Scrubby, red dirt country that morphs into lush, tangled jungle, ticking with the tiny comings and goings of tropical creatures and birds that cry out at night. The eye can’t see the change, and only stares in wonder at how the country is ‘suddenly different’. It’s hot. Thick heat. Around the clock. Beautiful and complicated and hot.

I’m on the road with three travelling companions, the Festival Of Small Halls crew. These shows have been microcosms of country Australia. I’ve never said the word ‘community’ so many times in a short period. That’s the concept that FOSH is built around, the idea that people want somewhere to congregate and be together. In the 1950s and 60s, light spilled from these halls several nights a month. Dances, New Years Eve parties, weddings. This was followed by long years of quiet, as the dust gathered and flying foxes began to nest in the roofs. Maybe this quiet coincided with everyone getting a tele at home. Maybe priorities changed. But now, decades later, a collective yearning for togetherness has seen these beautiful buildings being dusted off, and bunting strung up, old roads opened, car parks marked out on grassy verges, cakes baked, best shoes put on, sausages grilled and curries cooked in massive, blackened pots, and old friends and neighbours shaking hands and kissing smiling cheeks as they arrive from their homes, having driven, in some cases, hundreds of kilometres for the occasion.

The formal part of the evening begins. A welcome to country. And then sometimes a local musician performs, or an acrobatic troupe, or a politician from the region. Then we play songs. Maybe some of these punters sit in the rows of chairs in the hall that they learned to dance in, or behind which they kissed their first sweetheart, and allow themselves to drift back to older days, and feel the smooth boards under their feet and the timber beams above their heads. A rare moment of suspended time among country that’s been in drought for years, or ravaged by coal-mining, or developed to welcome whole new populations, babies born, loved ones seen off. Slow change, like the country outside our window while we travel between these towns. Changes that are imperceptible in the moment, but profound in their sum.

It’s a simple privilege to provide music for these scenes every night. And I’m grateful for being the recipient of often tender and vulnerable post-show stories from so many of these locals. I guess I spilled my guts, so they feel safe to do the same. And that’s what propels me to keep touring so much. Maybe more structure and less chaos would be easier to manage for my, at times, unstable disposition. But this is the way I want to live. Even with the fourteen hour drives and the shitty wifi and the missing my people and my old haunts. I make jokes about being from Melbourne at these shows, that I wear black a lot, that I’m a coffee snob. Both things are absolutely and somewhat embarrassingly true, in my case… And, particularly on this tour, I am acutely aware of how different the Australia that I grew up in is to the one these locals know, and how many things that preoccupy and worry me in the city fade into an barely perceptible water colour out here.

I will always continue to have a lot more to learn.

 

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Photo by my touring buddy, Vance Gilbert from Boston, Massachusetts. Taken in Ilfracombe, QLD

December 8, 2017

X-mas Show with Jordie Lane Announced Today!!

 

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My dear friend Jordie Lane and I are playing a special End of Year show at the Northcote Social Club on Wednesday, December 20th.

We’ll be playing some old favourites, some new tunes, definitely a few together, and reminiscing about our musical friendship, which spans almost 12 years now.

After our two sold out shows at the Bella Union at a similar time last year, we’re pretty confident this show will sell quick, so we’re urging everyone to grab tickets now. You can click HERE for tix.

Both Jordie and I will be off to North America – Jordie to Los Angeles and me to Toronto – for extended periods following this show, so this may be our last respective Melbourne headline gigs for some time.

Can’t wait, it’s going to be a fun one x

October 2, 2017

My Last Show at the Incredible Caravan Music Club SATURDAY 23RD SEPT

The Caravan Music Club, in Oakleigh in the south east of Melbourne, is closing its doors after years of being, in my opinion, the best live music venue in Australia. Which is incredibly sad. BUT, my buddy Mel Parsons and I get to tread the boards one more time at our show on Saturday 23rd of September, the Melbourne leg of our Across The Ditch tour.

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Tickets are selling fast. Come and celebrate an incredible venue and two songwriters that love it very much!!

Click HERE for tickets.

X Stringzy

 

September 16, 2017

Across The Ditch Tour with Mel Parsons (NZ) begins NEXT WEEK!!

Mel & Liz_Combined image- NO TEXT

 

I’m writing this in Nashville and I’m preparing, slowly, to return to Australia for a hectic few months of touring! I’m pretty pumped, and I’m hoping that my beloved Melbourne will have warmed up a bit!!

Mel Parsons, a kick-arse songwriter from just outside Christchurch on New Zealand’s stunning south island, and I will be joining forces for a cross-Tasman tour, taking in dates in Vic, SA, NSW and the south island of NZ during September and October. Here are the dates (full details on the SHOWS page).

21st Sept – Adelaide, SA

22nd Sept – Adelaide, SA

23rd Sept – Melbourne, VIC

24th Sept – Beechworth, VIC

27th Sept – Maitland*, NSW

28th Sept – Lennox Head, NSW

29th Sept – Glenreagh, NSW

30th Sept – Dashville Skyline Festival**, NSW

5th Oct – Geraldine, NZ

6th Oct – Twizel, NZ

7th Oct – Queenstown, NZ

8th Oct – Wanaka, NZ

9th Oct – Okarito, NZ

10th Oct – Westport, NZ

11th Oct – Golden Bay, NZ

12th Oct – Nelson, NZ

13th Oct – Amberley, NZ

14th Oct – Hororata, NZ

 

*Liz only  / **Mel only

 

We’re looking to forward to seeing you Xx

Festival of Small Halls Australia with Vance Gilbert (US)- Queensland Summer 2017

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be heading out on the road with American songwriter Vance Gilbert in November and December on the Festival of Small Halls Australia Queensland Summer Tour 2017.

 

Woodford Folk Festival  will be able to explain better than me… Here’s a bit from the press release…

 

Woodford Folk Festival in partnership with Mullum Music Festival presents

Festival of Small Halls Queensland Summer Tour 2017

Vance Gilbert and Liz Stringer

The Festival of Small Halls is a series of tours that takes the best folk and contemporary acoustic artists performing at two large festivals, and sends them on the road to halls in communities all overAustralia. Each night on the tour is a beautiful occasion for original music, and a chance to catch up with family and friends over cake and tea during a supper break. From Wyreema in the DarlingDowns region of Qld, moving swiftly to the 10th annual Mullum Music Festival and travelling to a further 19 locations, Summer Small Halls finishes up in the Moreton Bay hinterland overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains for the 32nd Woodford Folk Festival.

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                                                                         FOSH Australia 2017

All dates and information can be found on the FOSH website. Here are the towns and the dates, though, to get you in the mood 🙂

Wednesday Nov-15 Wyreema, Wyreema Hall

Thursday Nov-16 Petrie, Bray Hall

Fri Nov 17 – Sun Nov 19 Mullum Music Festival

Wednesday  Nov-22 Austinville, Mount Nimmel Hall

Thursday, Nov-23 The Channon, The Channon Public Hall

Friday Nov-24 Nymboida, Nymboida Hall

Saturday Nov-25 Valla, Valla Public Hall

Sunday Nov-26 Wauchope, Wauchope Community Arts Centre

Thursday Nov-30 Texas, Texas Memorial Hall

Friday Dec-01 Cooranga North, Cooranga North Memorial Hall

Saturday Dec-02 Surat, Surat Shire Hall

Sunday Dec-03 Ilfracombe, Ilfracombe Rec Centre

Wednesday Dec-06 Koah, Koah Hall

Friday Dec-08 Yeppoon, Queen Street Community Hall

Saturday Dec-09 Degilbo, Degilbo Hall

Sunday Dec-10 Rainbow Beach, Rainbow Beach Community Hall

Wednesday Dec-13 Kandanga, Kandanga Public Hall

Thursday Dec-14 Perseverance, Perseverance Hall 

Friday Dec-15 Woodford, Woodford Memorial Hall

Saturday Dec-16 Mt Nebo, Mt Nebo Hall

Sunday Dec-17 Eudlo, Eudlo Public Hall

Wed Dec 27 – Mon Jan 1, 2018 Woodford Folk Festival

September 10, 2017

‘Leave it Behind’ – new single and tour with Tim Moxam

MoxamStringer TOUR POSTER

I’m excited to be heading out on the road in eastern Canada with my touring buddy and Roaring Girl Records label mate Tim Moxam. We wrote a song together while we were on tour in Australia in May earlier this year and have recorded a version (Tim in Toronto, me in Melbourne) for release to support the tour. Can’t wait to hit some venues for the second time and see some new places in August!

Aug 5/6 Sawdust City Music Festival, Gravenhurst ON

Aug 11 Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield QC

Aug 12 Squeezebox House Concerts, Kanata ON

Aug 13 Burdock, Toronto ON

Aug 14 Victoria Playhouse, Victoria By The Sea PE

Aug 16 House Concert, St Andrews NB

Aug 17 Concert in The Common, Rothesay NB

Aug 18 Stanstead House Concert, Stanstead QC

Aug 19 SHCN, Pointe Claire QC

Aug 20 House Concert, Toronto ON

 

Listen to the new single, ‘Leave it Behind’, HERE

 

 

July 21, 2017

TOUR BLOG POST 1: Back On Beautiful PEI

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Rustico, PEI

Well this is the first official post of the tour blog I’ve decided to write again. I posted blog entrees last year when I was touring during the Canadian summer and feel compelled to do it again. Partly to let everyone know what I’m doing and partly to document, for myself, these big trips in such a big country.

I’m in Breadalbane (pronounced breed-AL-ben) on Prince Edward Island. PEI is ridiculously beautiful any time of year, really, and particularly at the moment. I missed the lupins (stunning flowers of various colours, iconic here on the island, that only bloom for a few weeks a year). They’re actually classified as weeds, which just goes to show how beautiful weeds can be… Something in that for all of us, really… ?? But even post-lupin, PEI manages to put me under some kind of spell. I feel good here.

I just played the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival for the second year in a row. This is the fest that’s run by the Chaisson family, a huge mob here on PEI renowned for their musicianship, two of whom make up two thirds of the East Pointers, my lovely mates and touring buddies. The weekend was bathed in sunshine and filled with great people, many of whom have become good friends of mine in a relatively short amount of time. It felt so good to be back on the field, hearing incredible music, watching musicians play their instruments so well it was almost too much for my tiny mind. I left with a pretty good tan (for a pasty southerner like me) and a full heart.

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RBFF, Souris PEI

I’m staying with my friend Melanie this week on the island. She took me sightseeing yesterday and I FINALLY saw the Anne of Green Gables tourist stuff (well, we drove past most of it, tbh) and some stunning beaches. The weather is fucked. That means ridiculously good – 28 degrees yesterday with a gentle sea breeze. I only have one stripe of sunburn on my back. Again, not bad for a pasty Melbournian like me. I wrote a song today with Newfoundland musician Chris Kirby, tonight I play a show out at the Trailside (the other side of Charlottetown – the capital of PEI – from where I am right now) with my good mate Tim Chaisson (the East Pointers), tomorrow I’ll hopefully get to have a now traditional swim with my brother-from-another-mother Koady Chaisson (also an East Pointer – the tradition started in Tassie last year, by the way) and will cap off the day with another show with Tim at the Trailside.

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Branders Pond, PEI

So it’s lovely here. I had a few days in LA on my way to Canada a couple of weeks ago catching up with my friend Mia and then flew up to Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia, where I spent ten days unwinding and learning to relax, staying with my friends Jane and Jodie, their fantastic housemates and a seemingly unending series of drop-in visitors. It’s a top-shelf bunch of people out west there in East Vancouver, what a great community. Impromptu dinner parties and hangs were the staple every night, basically. And I played a house concert at the Babehole, as their house has been named, to a living room full of lovely people. Very relaxed.

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Commercial Drive, East Vancouver BC

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Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal, Vancouver BC

I’ve been going hard for more than a year now, and having a bunch of days off in a row was equally nice as it was confronting. It’s hard to change down the gears after being on the road, and being in the throws of big projects, for so long. I’ve had to really work hard on trying to calm my mind and allowing myself to rest. And continuing to assure myself that things are still cooking, I just get to leave the oven on, exit the kitchen, and go off and look after my head and my body for a while (clumsy analogy, but I have some time pressure writing this, so that’ll have to do!) Which, I’ve learned (the hard way) is equally important as the ‘working like a maniac’.

So on Friday it’s off to Toronto. A total change of pace, a big city, a new bunch of gigs, new crew of people. My goal is to take things as they come, let go of some that ‘controlly thinking’ that I am sometimes guilty of, and finish up songs for my next album. Cos I got plans already.

 

 

 

 

July 18, 2017

VANCOUVER SHOW DATE AND VENUE CHANGED!!

Hello! You’ll notice on the SHOWS page that my Vancouver gig has been changed to this coming Thursday, 6th July, at the infamous East Vancouver house concert venue, The Babehole. See the shows page for details.

 

X Stringzy

July 3, 2017

Tour Blog – Canada and the United States

Hiya. I’m back over in Canada. East Vancouver, to be more precise. I just spent a few days in Los Angeles with my darling friend Mia Dyson and her lovely husband Karl. The Californian sunshine was a delicious tonic after leaving Melbourne just as the cold fingers of winter were curling their way around the streets of Brunswick. Early morning runs were getting chilly. I’ll be over in this hemisphere for a few months, playing, writing, recording, sowing the seeds for the next adventures… And I’ll be writing a blog and posting it here for your reading pleasure, should you feel so inclined.

 

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Stay tuned.