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.


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, 


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. 


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

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,


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,

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 .

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,


Winnie, and Wine in Victoria

Hello boogie friends,

Are you finding it as impossible as I am to stop consuming chocolate this Easter? Honestly I’ve had so much my jeans are bursting!

Here’s a short reminder of next Sunday’s show at the Frankston Arts Centre, Wonderful Winnie Atwell in which I recount her fascinating life’s story and perform her boogie and ragtime piano hits.

After many tours back and forth from the UK through the 1950’s, Winifred Atwell and her husband emigrated to Australia. The show’s accompanying images, many from the Australian National Library, are fascinating from a personal and also a social history point of view and, of course, the music is thrilling. I’ve been practicing hard!

Here’s a short excerpt on Youtube ;  Click here

You can book through the Arts Centre here ;   and tickets are selling now……

And the wine? Ah, that’s available together with wonderful food at the glorious Amulet Winery in Beechworth, Victoria.

We’ll be playing our show 88 Pianos I Have Known there on the following Sunday May 5th @ 3pm.

For the rest of May we go back to my beloved South Island of NZ  (hopefully in less dramatic circumstances than last month) for a few concerts in Christchurch, Greymouth and Hanmer; all details will be on my website.

In boogie and blues,



Thank You NZ, now for Queensland and Melbourne

Hello Boogie Friends,

We have emerged from our NZ tour tired, ecstatic and slightly crazy as you can see in the selfie of the band on our last night. About 1000 people overall turned up to our concerts throughout the North and South Islands, and my heartfelt thanks to the wonderful audiences who have supported us, some for many years.

Mike and I go back to Sydney, and from there to Queensland and onto Melbourne, a special event being one performance of Wonderful Winnie Atwell at the Frankston Arts Centre on Sunday afternoon April 28th. This is my show about West Indian born honky tonk piano great, Winifred Atwell, who emigrated to Australia in 1966. The Australian National Library projected images from the 1950’s 60’s and early 70’s are totally fascinating, together with Winnie’s amazing life story and, of course, her vibrant boogie and ragtime piano music. The Frankston Arts Centre’s Cube 37 is an intimate 200 seat theatre, has a grand piano and great acoustics as well.

But before that we are excited to be returning over Easter to the funky PopUp Bar at the Palace heritage Hotel in Queensland’s Warwick. This room is an experience you can’t have anywhere else, believe me! Lyndall and her brilliant team decorate in mid century style what is a charmingly untouched environment, only open to the public on rare occasions. 

Lastly, for the people who came to 88 Pianos I Have Known in NZ, were you not blown away by the sudden appearance of talented double bassist Nigel Masters at the piano? Playing 4 handed boogie woogie with Nigel had audiences screaming, the same reaction at every concert – it was extraordinary!

Yours in Autumnal boogie and blues,


Australian Festival and an NZ Tour

Hello Boogie Friends and welcome to this Year of the Pig!

I hope you had a welcome break over the Christmas hols, alas all too soon forgotten as we charge into 2019, during which Mike and I will test out our fast disappearing Kiwi accents on an extensive tour of NZ.

We’ll be there for the whole month of March and I’m greatly looking forward to it, in particular touring places in the South Island we’ve never played such as, believe it or not, Queenstown.

Here are the shows; all on-line bookings are available either through Eventfinda or the venue website, except Napier, Wellington and the Cambridge Autumn Festival, which will appear this week.
March 10th The PumpHouse             Auckland
March 14th Mussel Inn                      Takaka
March 16th Playhouse Theatre          Nelson
March 17th Live @ Orange                Christchurch
March 20th Memorial Centre              Queenstown
March 21st 50 Dundas                        Dunedin
March 23rd Century Theatre               Napier
March 24th Meow                               Wellington
March 27th Autumn Festival               Cambridge

The show I’m performing is called 88 PIANOS I have known with extraordinary images of pianos (yes 88 of them) and personal anecdotes, as well as new songs (Same Sky, Olds on the Loose) and a new killer version of a tune called Nutrocker, based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite played in fast boogie style. I’ve been practising this a lot and my left hand is threatening to seize…….well hopefully not until the end of the tour.

But before all that, this coming weekend my trio are playing at the Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn, a delightful small festival which is close to my heart. This was the first Australian festival I ever played (decades ago) and I’ve been playing there on and off ever since. The format is changing for 2020, so I’d advise you to come along and support Australian musicians next weekend, in the hope this lovely festival doesn’t disappear. Local tip is to “rock on down to the Paragon Café” (yes, it even sounds like a song) for breakfast where we all go. The Paragon is one of the few remaining old style cafes in Australia, still run independently, waitresses with small pads writing orders down at the tables, and the best home cooked breakfast you will ever eat amongst the surroundings of the spotlessly clean original décor. You won’t find a sun dried tomato or marble benchtop in the place.

So I hope you can come along to one of our 2019 concerts,

Yours in boogie,