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Fred Eaglesmith
& The Flying Squirrels
A thoughtful moment: Fred takes a moment during a song.
Photos Courtesy of Anna Rose
Click here Anna Rose Index page
 
Click here Fred Eaglesmith Artist Report Page
Click here Photos Fred & The Flying Squirrels with Bill Chambers, Brooke Harvey -  Northern Star Newcastle
Fred Eaglesmith & The Flying Squirrels,
with special guest Bill Chambers
@ Lizotte’s Restaurant, Kincumber, Thursday, April 5, 2007

Squirrels cut loose in Central Coast eatery
After almost five hours’ driving last Thursday I arrived at the Central Coast for a night I’d been looking forward to for some time.  I was going to Lizotte’s Restaurant, Kincumber.  The act was Fred Eaglesmith and the Flying Squirrels, with Bill Chambers as the opener.  It doesn’t get much better than that now, does it? It’s a beaut venue, and I’d read about so many great acts going there previously, so this was going to be a memorable evening. And that it was.

Billy Bob is one of the most underrated acts in the country.  He just gets up there and does it – from set up to pack down, it’s all Bill.  But this time he had company. Willie P Bennett, Fred’s harmonica and mandolin player, joined Bill for his tasty set.  From Teresa to Ain’t Your Town No More, it was pure enjoyment all the way.  Willie’s mastery of the harp is something to behold and his sheer love of playing shines through in every song.  For one song, Bill called on son-in-law Shane Nicholson to take the stage for, and Shane’s soulful harmonies and guitar picking was a real highlight of a fabulous set of Bill Chambers magic.

Dinner was delicious – I had the scotch fillet, and it was cooked to perfection – not mooing, of course.  Can’t cope with that. But just right, so thanks very much to the chef. Then it was on to the star attraction – Fred Eaglesmith and The Flying Squirrels. I’d only ever seen Fred on his own before, when he came out here from Canada about five years back with a contingent of Canadian and American singer-songwriters for a series of shows at Wests during the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The Squirrels were an absolute delight, starting with drummer Kori Heppner’s unadulterated passion for her role in the band.  After flirting with a radio career, Kori took a detour onto the drum stool via the merch table – and she’s loving her work.  Then there was Luke Stackhouse from Port Dover, Ontario, who opted out of the punk scene to wear a fluffy tail on the road with Fred.  Two years ago he swapped punk guitar for Squirrel-style upright bass and hasn’t looked back.

Snappy dresser and multi-instrumentalist Willie P had already won a new fan in me during Bill’s set.  I was rapt to see him in full flight with his fellow Canadians.  In a career spanning more than 30 years, Willie’s skills have ensured he’s travelled far and wide and made some beautiful music along the way.  Bill was an honourary Squirrel, which he seemed to relish.  Don’t think he could do it for too long though, due to the rib injuries it may incur.  Bill laughs so hard at Fred’s jokes he could easily break something.  And they call it work?

For one song Fred was joined by one of his most ardent admirers – the beautiful mother-to-be (for the second time) Kasey Chambers, and Kasey’s harmonies were exquisite.  I think it was Bill, Kasey and Audrey Auld who first championed Fred before Australian audiences almost a decade ago.  Now it’s about Fred.  He joked, he spoke. He sang, he jeered and his monologues were memorable – some absolute gut-busters.  I discovered he’s a totally different Fred with the Squirrels behind him.  I’m so pleased I made the trip as it really was a night to remember.
Cheers!
Anna Rose
The “beer-soaked woman in front”… who was barely damp.
J
Exquisite Squirrels: Willie P Bennett, Kori Heppner, Fred Eaglesmith and Luke Stackhouse.

 
Now that’s a look: ‘What the?’ could be what Fred is thinking at this point.

Loving it: Kori Heppner loved every minute of the show, singing every
word and having a fine time with the sticks.
 
An added bonus: Bill Chambers’ set was enhanced with the gorgeous harmonicas and harmonies of
Willie P Bennett. Shane Nicholson is obscured on Bill’s right.
 
Like a fine wine: Willie P Bennett’s harmonicas and mando were an integral part of the Squirrels’ sound,
 and his harmonies were to die for.
 
Multi-talented: Luke Stackhouse came from a punk background, and only learnt double bass when he began
playing with Fred – and his harmonies were wonderful.
More than pretty enough: One of Fred's major fans in the land of Oz, Kasey
Chambers, hopped up on stage and joined him for one song, much to the
delight of the capacity audience.

Stars out for the night: Sara Storer, Beccy Cole and Di Chambers wouldn’t have missed the gig for quids.
 Sara and Beccy were to leave the next day for their Songbirds tour with Gina Jeffreys.
 
Fredheads all three: Worm, Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson taking some night air on Lizotte’s verandah.
 
Double dose: Central Coast/Tamworth businessman Brian Clarke couldn’t get enough of Fred.
He caught the show at the Vanguard on Tuesday night, then doubled up for Thursday night’s gig at
Lizotte’s, taking three friends along.
 
With the band? Kate Meurs and Jessica Belle – two devoted Bill Chambers fans.
 
Fred fans: Jim and Christa, from the Central Coast.
 
Loved the show: Brian Clarke, Beth Clarke and John Di Candelo from the Central Coast.
 

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