2020 Boogie Christmas

We wish you a lucky and loving Christmas and New Year with your friends and whanau in Australia and NZ, with fingers crossed outbreaks are contained and that the Trans-Tasman travel bubble opens soon.

My last professional outing for 2020 was with director Robynne Murphy at a sold out screening last week at the Events Cinema in Sydney of the wonderful documentary “Women of Steel.”

I composed the music for this inspirational film which has been a finalist in the Sydney Film Festival and Atom awards, and won the History Council of NSW Award.
Huge congrats to Robynne and the team!

Please try to get along if there’s a screening near you in 2021. It’s an entertaining and informative recounting of an important step for anti discrimination laws in Australia. Here’s the trailer.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1295736997436344

We’re already planning concerts in Queensland, Canberra, NSW South Coast, NZ South Island and even Melbourne next year. Confident that “everything will be alright in the end, and if it isn’t alright, it isn’t the end yet.”

Arohanui,

Jan and Mike

Home to my Piano

After 4 months in NZ recording and touring we are home in Sydney and playing our last concerts of 2020 in NSW this weekend. For Mike and I to be able to hop in a cab from the airport and come home without needing to quarantine was a huge bonus. My beloved grand piano was waiting patiently, as wonderful a sound and feel as ever, so I’ve been back in my spot in my studio as if I never left!

A huge thanks to all the Kiwis who came out to our shows in the North Island. You were fabulous audiences and we are so grateful you had the courage in this crazy uncertain environment to attend an indoor music concert with us.

We are now packing the car (yes, I can’t believe it either) to drive to the beautiful Cootamundra Arts Centre in NSW for our last concert of 2020 tonight, as well as a one-off show there tomorrow afternoon, Jan Preston’s Boogie Christmas, presented in thanks to their tireless volunteers who have somehow kept the Arts Centre open this year. The show tonight starts at 7.30pm and bookings are through https://theartscentrecootamundra.org.au/events/janpreston-nov2020
or phone  02 69424773.

And I cannot tell you how disappointed we were last week to have had to miss Honky Tonk Town, the outdoor show for Bleach Festival on Chevron Island on the Gold Coast! We held our breaths with such hope the border would open in time, but it was not to be.

We are planning to present this show (and others) for the Gold Coast Jazz and Blues Society in 2021 to reconnect with our wild, loose and loyal Queensland boogie lovers, shall keep you posted.

Have a great Christmas and New Year……keep the music going, it will get you through!

Jan and Mike

Touring, Touring…

 

Hello boogie friends,

We’re having fabulous concerts and audiences so far on our tour and carry on this week to Mike’s hometown of Kaitaia on Friday night, followed by Whangarei on Saturday and The PumpHouse on Sunday afternoon. Please note the PumpHouse concert starts at 4pm, not 3pm as some advertising suggested. (Doors will open then)

And note our somewhat manic photo – travelling is already turning us into crazed musicians, with 3 weeks still to go!

In boogie and blues,

Jan and Mike

One more day

Hello boogie friends,

Mike and I are on our last day of hotel isolation at Auckland Airport’s Novotel Hotel. 2 weeks have moved quickly until the last few days (with the end in sight) which have dragged.

If someone had the vaguest thought of escape from behind the razor wire, they’d think again. Security are extremely vigilant in our facility. Masks are mandatory, I am signed in and out every time I step outside, and the 45m 8am walk I go on each morning is supervised. Mike goes at 9am, so we each get a glorious hour of the room to ourselves. And at this stage we’re still married, so that’s an achievement!

I go tomorrow to The Boatshed Studio in Tauranga (avoiding Auckland’s lockdown) to finish my new CD, Piano Boogie Woman, which will be launched along with a National Tour from Oct 7th. 

Some dates are still being confirmed; the entire 22 concerts throughout the North Island will be up on my website in the next few days. 

They include Auckland, Whangateau, KeriKeri, Kaitaia, Whangarei, Whitianga, Opotiki, Taupo, Napier, Waipawa, Levin, Wellington, Rotorua (Blues Festival), Omokoroa, Palmerston North, Feilding, Kapiti, Martinborough, and Masterton.

Huge apologies to our beloved South Island whanau and friends, we’ll get to you in the new year, COVID permitting.

Speaking of which, I cannot tell you how weird it felt to confidently fly into a NZ free of corona virus for 102 days, only to be told 4 cases had been announced. Of course it was sheer coincidence, yet somehow we couldn’t help feeling responsible……..totally bizarre!

And don’t let anyone tell you a hotel room can’t be turned into a music practice studio. We have photographic proof that it can be.

Jan

Quaama and Beyond!

What an exotic place name! Believe it or not it’s the little town of Quaama on the NSW south coast. The ABC is broadcasting a special radio program on bushfire affected areas this Thursday morning, 20th February.

And we’ll be there playing live on Simon Lauder’s program, sausage sizzle and audience in attendance. We are SO excited, this has to be a once in a lifetime event!

That night we play in Merimbula at Club Sapphire for the Merimbula Jazz Club, then Friday night at the Moruya Golf Club, and Saturday and Sunday at the beautiful Tathra Hotel. Please come along to Wonderful Winnie (our show about honky tonk piano great Winifred Atwell) and support all these venues who are continuing to struggle.

Thanks also to the amazing crowds at the Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn last weekend. Awesome acoustic Bass player James Luke from Canberra joined Mike and me and these 2 concerts were the best we’ve ever played at this festival. Sometimes all the elements gel together and it’s a beautiful experience……

Throughout March I have my head down composing for a film (more in my next newsletter) and when our concerts resume in April and May we’ll be travelling from Canberra and the Gold Coast to the UK and Germany. 

Bring it on!

In blues and boogie, 

Jan

Boogie Your Blues Away

Rain, rain, rain, what a wonderful thing it is!

Of course there are degrees of extreme that are harrowing, but considering no rain was forecast until March it’s great to have this soaking in many of the fire affected areas.We are driving through it to the Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn tomorrow for 2 concerts between midday and 4.30pm;first at the Tattersalls Hotel, then the upstairs concert room at the Astor. 

We’ll wind up February with what will be an emotional return to our beloved South Coast to see our devastated whanau in Mogo, Batemans Bay, Moruya and Tomakin. Please come and join us for one of these concerts at Merimbula, Tathra or Moruya if you possibly can. These communities desperately need visitors to help them recover both emotionally and financially. 

Cheers,
Jan

Home for Christmas

Hello Boogie Friends,

Huge thanks to all who came out through cold, heat, terrorist events, general elections and more to attend our concerts throughout Australia and NZ this year.

We barely touched base in Sydney through 2019, so are delighted to be finally spending Christmas at home. Today we are frantically purchasing for the whanau, with the 6 year-old grandson’s present needing to be EXACTLY the right lego. Despite the Sydney smoke (crazy) I am experiencing a burst of songwriting ideas for our new CD which I’m cautiously excited about. Whether they are lasting songs of genius, or tunes to be performed a couple of times and quickly buried, remains to be seen. 

You, the audience, will be the judge.

Our first shows for 2020 are in January at the fabulous Illawarra Folk Festival where Mike and I will be joined by brilliant double bass player Chris Mawer, followed by early February at the Australian Blues Festival in Goulburn, then a short tour down the NSW South Coast to Merimbula, Tathra and Moruya.

Unfortunately we will be missing some special friends this year; vale Graham Hayward, Neil Hughes, and Martin Armiger. 

Some of you may remember the super talented Martin as a member of Melbourne rock band The Sports? He was also a prominent Film and TV composer, and a great mentor and teacher who left behind a body of fabulous music including the Theme to the ABC News. 

And no, I didn’t win the Film Award in NZ, but hugely worthy winner Don McGlashan acknowledged all us nominees, and my sister Gaylene and I had one of the best party/eating/laughing nights of our entire lives. 

So in a word, it was worth it!

Btw did you know that “White Christmas” is the most recorded and biggest selling Xmas song of all time and was written by Irving Berlin in the middle of a heat wave?

Ah, the peculiarities of songwriting!

In boogie and blues,

Jan and Mike (who is telling me a typically stupid joke during the attempted selfie pic)

Tasmania at Last!

Finally we are returning to Tasmania!

It’s been too long!

My great-grandmother lived there, so I always feel a special connection. Evidently she was heavily pregnant whilst emigrating, so was put off the ship to NZ at Launceston, as it was felt she wouldn’t make it before the birth. And there she stayed in Tassie for a couple of years on her own with 2 toddlers and a new baby. Who knows how she survived and got together the money to ultimately get to the South Island of NZ.

Fast forward to 2019 and we are comfortably flying in to Hobart in time to drive over to the other side and play at the Wharf at Ulverstone on Sunday afternoon, Oct  13th.

We’re then playing a special concert for the Launceston Jazz/Blues Club at the Boathouse on Tuesday Oct 15th, before heading back to Hobart again.  I desperately want to visit MONA, everyone says it’s totally awesome and I’ve never been there.

We have 3 shows on Friday 18th believe it or not, between Margate and Lindisfarne (details below) and our final show is back at Margate on Sat Oct 19th.

We finish the month in Victoria at the Bena Hall on Friday Oct 25th and the gorgeous Paynesville Wine Bar on Saturday Oct 26th.

I’m also letting any Sydneysiders know we are playing at the Cheltenham Recreation Club this Friday Oct 11th. It’s a dinner/show and is pretty well sold out, but there may be a seat or 2 left, so if you’re super keen please contact Anita on cheltenhamrc@outlook.com

Meanwhile I’m packing my puffer jacket in Sydney’s sun. I guess Tassie is like NZ, you never know even at this time of year…….

In boogie and blues,

Jan

Films, boats, cars and another piano….

Hello boogie friends,

Having apparently driven to the stage in a 1909 Riley Sportsman at the Halswell Estate in Chrisctchurch, and added a painted piano to our show in Hanmer, we finished our current series of NZ concerts to a packed house in my beloved hometown of Greymouth this afternoon.

We now return to Australia for our next show with the extraordinary piano player and singer, Don Hopkins, at the music lounge of the Wollongong Town Hall next Friday May 31st.
Don and I played together at the Australian Blues Music festival in February this year and produced such an exciting pianistic sound and groove we wanted to perform together again. I’ll be “live in concert” on the lovely Nick Rheinberger’s show on ABC Radio Wollongong on Friday morning as well. He’s not only adored by his listeners, but is a fine musician who has recently, believe it or not, made a slide guitar out of a cricket bat!

June has a mix of concerts; first up on Wednesday June 5th at the Art Gallery of NSW performing my original score to the Australian Silent Classic “The Cheaters” for the Sydney Film Festival, a film made in Sydney in 1929 by the iconic early pioneers of Australian film, the 3 McDonagh sisters. The grand piano being moved into the Art Gallery theatre for the performance is provided by Australian piano maker and designer, Ron Overs, and will be given a workout. Not boogie this time! For this music score I even play the inside of the piano with a mallet, and Mike has a range of orchestral percussion.

We finish June with another performance of “The Cheaters” at the NFSA’s Arc Cinema in Canberra as part of their “Australian Women Directors” Series on Friday June 28th, and a unique collaboration with the exceptionally talented guitarist Shane Pacey (Bondi Cigars) and singer extraordinaire Sally King, for the Sydney Blues Society’s Harbour Cruise on June 30th.

And somewhere, somehow, I will have celebrated another birthday with all other Geminis such as Charlie Watts who shares the same day!

Yours in boogie,
Jan

South Island, Borders and a Damehood

Hello Boogie friends,

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to our show at the Frankston Arts Centre and also the Lomond Hotel in Melbourne. Both concerts were fabulous. I’m still on a high from the special musical moments with Nick Charles, he’s amazing to play with!

We go to NZ tomorrow for 2 concerts in Christchurch; this Sat May 18th at a private concert in Greendale, and Sunday May 19th at the amazing Halswell Estate.

We then move on to Hanmer for “88 Pianos I Have Known” on Friday May 24, before ending in my beloved home town of Greymouth on Sunday May 26th.

Our last concert for May is in NSW with the extraordinary rhythm and blues piano player Don Hopkins on Friday May 31st in Wollongong. This will be a blast!

Recently I wrote the music for a documentary called “Border Politics”, presented by Julian Burnside, about refugees around the world. It’s a brilliant, entertaining and informative film that has had great success in cinemas throughout Australia. The filmmakers have just released “The Burnside Interviews”, a series of 16 fascinating interviews with a fabulous range of people, prominent public figures and ordinary people. I would urge you to view these online at    Rymerchilds.com .

They are simply inspirational.

On a personal note, I’m so excited to be attending my sister Gaylene’s investiture at Government House in Auckland on Wednesday. To see my sister being made a Dame for her services to NZ film will be a once in a lifetime moment. She really deserves this and I cannot tell you how proud we are of her. Her 7 attendees have been encouraged by Gaylene to wear any of our own medalss and my friend Janice Wood has decorated this Maori kete especially for me to take. Isn’t it brill?

In blues and boogie,

Jan