Boogieing Back to NZ

We’re packing our bags and are super excited to be part of the SMALL HALL Concert Series, held in beautiful Heritage Halls in NZ’s Hawkes Bay. These concerts are caringly presented by HB resident Jamie MacPhail, so be prepared for a unique experience of music in an unforgettable environment with delicious food and, of course, famous Hawkes Bay wines.

Have I sold it you? Sounds like heaven to Mike and I!

And for those in the Wellington area we’ll be playing 3 concerts the week after. 

All the details are on this website…

So! I’m back on the horse (road/piano) after months of recording my new album, and  it’ll be strange to be playing live the precious material I’ve been working on. 

I so hope the audience loves it as much as I do…..!

In boogie and blues,

Jan

  

Wrapping Up 2023

Our last shows for 2023 are this SAT NOV 4th in Dungog at the Royal Hotel @ 7.30pm, and Newcastle on SAT NOV 11th @ 3.30pm. Both venues have fabulous grand pianos, so it’s a great way to end the year. Whew! I’ve got through 2023 with my fingers and arms still attached and still operational!

Last weekend’s TABLELANDS FOLK FESTIVAL,  (held yearly in Yungaburra, is up the mountain from Cairns, and has been held for 43 years!

Our 3 shows were some of my most exciting and uplifting performing experiences, the audiences were amazing and I’m still buzzing (exhaustedly)

Here is JAN PRESTON’S BOOGIE CIRCUS sitting on red lounges waiting to go on stage, getting the vibe right with husband Mike and brilliant bassist Craig Renneberg (aka Franz Batmilk).

Craig is the CIRCUS part of our band.

Definitely.

Those of you who have seen him perform will know what I mean….!

Life of a Musician

Sometimes in my musical career there are several things going on at once, and this month has been a prime example.

Firstly my Film Composing workshop at the University of Newcastle which was meant to be restricted to 20 participants but, as you can see, a few extras were squeezed in. They were a fabulous bunch of people, and we had a great afternoon, there was such a buzz in the room.

This weekend my trio is playing 3 concerts at the Tablelands Folk Festival in Yungaburra near Cairns. I haven’t been to Cairns much and the festival looks fab, so this will be a blast.

Next up on Sat Nov 4th we’re finally returning to Dungog, the grooviest rural town in Australia, playing one show at the heritage Royal Hotel. We will be finishing up our live concerts for 2023 at the beautiful Adamstown Uniting Church in Newcastle on Sat Nov 11th. All details are on my website.

In the meantime I’m digging into my boogie wardrobe wondering what on earth I can wear this weekend in possibly 35 degree heat. Bearing in mind that I like to stay as fully clothed as possible at this age (so I don’t scare the horses, well the audience that is) I’m frantically searching through long forgotten drawers.  Any suggestions? Bearing in mind that Mike refuses to contemplate shorts due to his gammy leg, I’m wondering if matching 30’s neck to knee swimsuits would work? Lightweight Lycra jackets? I need some ideas fast!

Sydney on a Saturday Night

We were rehearsing yesterday for our last Sydney show this coming Saturday night, and the band is sounding brilliant!

It’s a great joy for me to be playing with (apart from loyal husband Mike Pullman on percussion) fabulous double bassist Craig Renneberg and sensational violinist George Washingmachine. George is well-known and respected in the jazz scene in Australia and NZ, is hugely charismatic as well as a magnificent player.

This will be our last local show so please join us at the Leichhardt Bowling Club Sep 16 for a night of grooves, moods and food (if you like).

More coming up for us is one performance only of an Australian silent movie at the Newcastle International Film Festival, a seminar on Film Composing, the Tablelands Folk Festival in the Atherton Tablelands, as well as concerts in Newcastle and Dungog in November.

And isn’t the weather in Sydney amazing at the moment?
Glorious winter sun!

Alex Steinbach joins the club!

I’m truly grateful for the donation of a new piano for the LEICHHARDT BOWLING CLUB in time for SAT SEP 16th when I will happily perform my new barrelhouse and boogie material on it.

This ALEX STEINBACH piano is valuable, and I and the Club are super thankful to Lois Harris, my friend who has made such a generous donation. Amazing!

This will be our last Sydney show this year, so don’t miss it…

This coming weekend on SAT SEP 9th we are playing in Melbourne at the lovely LOMOND HOTEL, Brunswick, which also has an acoustic piano.
Most venues these days use any excuse (takes up too much room, can’t be moved, needs tuning etc) to get rid of their pianos, so bless these 2 venues for keeping the acoustic piano culture alive!

The King of Tetris!

I am emerging into the light of the concert stage of Melbourne’s Lomond Hotel in Brunswick on Sep 9 and the Leichhardt Bowlo in Sydney on Sep 16. Both are Saturday nights one week apart.

The fabulous Thirroul Hall last weekend was our warm-up show, with huge thanks to the Illawarra Folk Club for presenting us in their series. We couldn’t have asked for a more astute and responsive audience, who have been unwitting guinea pigs to my new material.
The Barrelhouse went down a storm – it’s a hit!

It will definitely join my musical brain on the road, packed into Mike’s car along with everything else that NO-ONE can believe he fits in. The King of Tetris reigns! He’s a wiry unstoppable part-time drummer from the North of NZ’s North Island!

And speaking of the North Island we are sadly having to miss touring there until next March 2024, but have some exciting dates coming up in NSW and Cairns before the end of the year.

So friends, if you can’t keep boogieing, at least keep going!

 

On the Rails!

It will be a huge change to play a concert at the Thirroul Railway Institute Hall at 2.30 pm next Sunday 13th August!

After these past 4 months of recording in my studio, I’m in trepidation that I will still remember how to do that. i.e. play and sing songs one after the other in front of an audience (a strange activity it now seems to me).

The concert is presented by the Illawarra Folk Club, and the hall is on the Thirroul train station platform at 14 Railway Parade, Thirroul.  It’s a unique environment and better still, has it’s own acoustic grand piano, so I’m excited about that.

Bookings for this concert may be made here.

Note : Sydneysiders, you can even make it a day trip and take the train to and from the show.

Moving forward, in early September we travel to Melbourne for 2 shows, at the Lomond Hotel in Brunswick on 9th followed by Hanging Rock, Woodend on the 10th, then back to Sydney on Sep 16th at the Leichhardt Bowling Club.
And btw I’ve become obsessed with Barrelhouse, it’s my new discovery, and I’ll be playing some material I’ve written.

See you soon!

Leaving Pianoland

When 101 Music approached me to compose and perform 12 piano tracks in the boogie, blues, ragtime and barrelhouse style, my creative journey was wide open.

My daily routine consisted of the gym, then breakfast, after which my musical brain went into overdrive as I worked away all day. Much coffee was drunk, and many grooves in the wooden floor of my studio were made as I took breaks, walking up and down thinking, thinking……

I was bursting with various ideas and, over time, focussed the 12 tracks down according to style, tempo and key. I wanted a variety of fast and slow grooves, keys, melodies and, most of all, atmospheres and moods. Some of these pieces are playful, fun, uplifting and even humorous. Others are contemplative edging towards sadness.

For me there were 2 separate processes: firstly composing a great tune, and secondly capturing a magical performance that had momentum, groove and expressiveness.  I hope I’ve achieved both! 

So I now reluctantly leave Pianoland, although I will continue some recording for my new album.

What next? It’s a very strange feeling!

We’ll be returning to the concert platform on Sun August 13th at the Thirroul Heritage Railway Institute, as part of the Illawarra Folk Club concert series.In September we travel to Melbourne (finally!) playing at the Lomond Hotel Brunswick on Sep 9th, Hanging Rock on Sep 10th, then back to Sydney for one night on Sep 16th at the Leichhardt Bowling Club. My glorious trio will be joined by the super glorious George Washingmachine, after which we clamber onto a plane to NZ for a month long tour of the North Island. All details will be on my website soon in “Live Shows”.

Gotta rush, going on a holiday away from my grand piano (sob!) for a few days.

Moving into Pianoland!

I’m coming off the road for the longest time in a while and moving seriously and with great intent into a space I call PIANOLAND.

This is my precious private time when my grand piano and I spend all day (and sometimes all night) together discovering each other again. It’s like a new and intense relationship, but with someone you’ve known all your life.

The end result is to produce 12 solo piano tracks for a prestigious film soundtrack company in Sydney, who are generously commissioning me to compose and record this body of piano music. I’m anticipating the project to take me from the concert stage for at least a few months, and I’m very ready for this next phase of prioritising and exercising my creative musical brain. (The motor, visual and auditory cortices all at once evidently!)

This is where I shall be through the winter months until, in spring, I will put on my boogie boots and bling again, a piano-playing chrysalis emerging into the stagelights.

I’ve never been chosen for such a large project before, and I’m rather in trepidation that I’ll be up to the job. 

Wish me luck friends!

The Biggest Boogie!

What a wonderful time we had at the National Folk Festival over Easter! It really is a fabulous event, and huge thanks to Festival Director Graham MacDonald for giving us this opportunity and such a prominent billing amongst over 200 artists. 

Our Saturday concert to over 1000 people on the Budawang Stage will remain a highlight of my career. A wonderful audience, excellent sound and lights, and a band that boogied due to Craig Renneberg on acoustic bass and Mike Pullman on drums, plus our special guest Carolyn “Pine Cone” Packer joining me on the piano for a 4 hander. The roof came off at that point for sure!

Yet to have such a large crowd listening in silence to my composition for the soundtrack of my sister Gaylene Preston’s film “Home By Christmas” was also magical.

Thank you to all who came to our 3 shows and also voted us into the final of the Elton John Song Competition. Our version of Crocodile Rock did exactly that….it rocked! We were terribly disappointed to not be able to perform in the final due to a programming clash with my Piano Boogie Workshop.

Still, I did so love being Elton Jan for a moment!