Franklin Folk Club
The first meeting of the relaunched Franklin Folk Club rang into the cold June night as musicians young and old gathered to display their skills and share their passion.
The Franklin Folk Club will be held every third Saturday night in the upstairs supper room of the Palais Theatre in Franklin. Everyone is invited to relax and listen to accomplished professionals. And for those so inclined there will be open mike opportunities and jam sessions to complete the folk music experience. For the latest information check out their Facebook page.
It is a commonly held belief that there are more musicians per square foot in the Huon Valley than anywhere else in Tasmania. It could be something in the water or maybe it’s to do with the peaceful surroundings and culturally literate community. Maybe, like the Huon River, music simply flows through the veins of the Huon Valley.
The Cygnet Folk Festival goes off with a huge bang each January, echoing across the hills for a whole year until the next time. But the genesis of that music extravaganza was across the river in Franklin way back in the 1970s. In 1976 a group of locals decided to meet and play folk tunes in the old Cons pub, an establishment of great history and character still a landmark in Franklin today. The room they played in was so cold in winter that one of the required contributions on the night was to bring a log of firewood. When the final log had burned down it was time to go home.
Franklin was at that time a small rural town with a long tradition of uniquely Tasmanian folk music where young musicians were nurtured and traditional tunes passed on through the Apple Shed Dances.
The Franklin Folk Club has had several incarnations since then, moving to Cygnet under the leadership of local musician Peter Campbell. Now it is back in Franklin where it all began. In the upstairs supper room of Franklin’s majestic Palais Theatre, on June 18th, the Franklin Folk Club was relaunched in a musical smorgasbord of styles.
Folk music is a slippery genre to pin down. In this eclectic era, where musicians have literally a world of tunes and songs to draw their inspiration from, no one particular tradition has the monopoly on ‘folk’. Perhaps the essence is found in the word ‘folk’ meaning of the common people.
‘Folk’ can also imply the opposite of elite, but there was no shortage of world class musicianship on display at the inaugural event of the new Franklin Folk Club. The line-up included legends such as Steve and Marjorie Gadd, Dave Steel, Frank Povah and Sandy Pollard.
Steve and Marjorie Gadd are passionate promoters of Huon Valley Music, and opened the night with their usual soulful mastery on banjo and fiddle.
Dave Steel, of Weddings, Parties, Anything fame now lives in Franklin with his partner Tiffany Eckhardt. Tiffany could not make it on the night, to the disappointment of many, but Dave was at ease entertaining the audience with his own blues/rock style. Dave was also in charge of the sound mixing which included lugging heavy equipment up and down a flight of stairs.
Living legend Frank Povah displayed his expertise on the autoharp, just one of his many talents.
Sandy Pollard is another Huon Valley local with world-class talent. His sophisticated fusion of acoustic and electronic created an extraordinary listening experience.
Tasmanian singer/songwriter Ruth Doblo played her own brand of folk/blues. This versatile young musician is already making an impact and will be one to watch out for in the future.
Japanese born Montz Matsumoto, now a Huon Valley local wows audiences with his unique Japanese influenced bluegrass banjo.
Following the formal line-up the microphone was thrown open and there was no shortage of performers waiting their turn to entertain. This is what the Franklin Folk Club is really all about. Each month there will be opportunities to perform network, jam, get encouragement and just generally bask in musicality.