Return to Tasmania
"Richard, one day you’ll go to another planet and play Classical Gas on a guitar made from a cement block for very nice folks who speak English and make a wicked cup of coffee.
On top of that, they’ll invite you back and you'll record a concert and some day do a CD release show there." Had that been said to me 20, 10, or even 5 years ago I would have laughed. Ha! Great imagination and now I’ve got one for you. It all started with a pig farmer in New Zealand.
Actually, I can’t say that I traveled to another planet, but my first trip across the equator seemed to take the same amount of time as speeding toward Mars. Several years ago New Zealand opened her arms and welcomed me to a country of flat whites and outstanding musicians. I have toured yearly throughout this magical land and one day wondered why I never considered Australia.
Then, prior to my 2011 tour of New Zealand, word got out through the musical grapevine that I was coming back to the Oceanic Pacific Region. A fellow picker, Tim O’Brien of Brisbane, Australia invited me to do a few shows, as well as songwriter, Steve Seaton who runs Loose Acoustics. My first introduction to Australia had me trying to train my ear from the Kiwi accent to that of the Aussies.
This mainland invite apparently prompted Steve Gadd of Tasmania (yes, it IS part of Australia) to extend the welcome to visit their lovely region of the country. I only had a few days to tour and Steve set up some concert dates and school programs around the Hobart region. Through the speedy work of Roger Joseph of Arelmedia Management, my visa came through just in time and I was able to follow my dream of playing in Tasmania, as did John Fahey, my mentor and guitar hero.
This first visit to this heart shaped island resulted in an attempt to mirror Fahey’s efforts and record live in Tasmania. Some 30 years ago, Steve Gadd had attended Fahey's show and witnessed the live recording. Aware of my reputation of carrying the Fahey-torch, Steve arranged for me to record at two of the concert halls and I am proud to have released "Tasmania Live".
Since I chose to not steal or tangle with a Tasmanian Devil (yes, they do exist – although they are having their issues) I was invited back for a release of my CD project at the beautiful Palais Theatre in Franklin, Tasmania – just outside of Hobart. I am honored to say that John Fahey's style of acoustic guitar music will continue to ring out throughout Tasmania as "Tasmania Live" was well received.
Post Script from editor: Richard did get to play Classical Gas on a cement guitar on Planet Earth.
Tasmania Live is available from http://www.richardgilewitz.com