Blake Everett’s dad didn’t want his young son to be a jailbird, and so didn’t allow violent video games. In later school years, Everett started playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on a PlayStation 2. He (possibly?) didn’t become a psychopath, but the game’s soundtrack shaped his musical tastes. Surely Daddy would now exclaim: Video Games Made My Son Love Country Music.
Previously seen out on the range in festival comedy outings, Everett now has a musical posse riding shotgun. The group capably wrangled songs from GTA:SA’s dedicated Country-music radio station: K-Rose.
In almost authentic check shirts, Everett (in an Essendon flannie and stockman’s hat) and his band (Harrison Lane, Alanah Parkin, Josh Cake and Gus Cox) shared vocal duties.
These good ol’ boys also showed themselves to be rootin’-tootin’ multi-instrumentalists as electric bass, drums, and guitar duties were passed around. The musicians were able to imbue their notes with a suitable lonesome twang as a tune required.
Clad in a faded denim romper, (Alanah Parkin) looked (and sounded) the part of a honky-tonk singer. Memorable performances such as on Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray recalled the longing of Patsy Cline, and her harmonising gave the group more colours to work with.
Offerings in this high-quality set provided a good overview of the country genre. Some selections, possibly not-so-familiar to the casual fan, could recall a particular kind of Southern tragedy (Amos Moses by Jerry Reed, 1970).
It was unfortunate that the sound quality had times of being wild as a bucking bronco. This caused us to miss some lyrics, and to not appreciate banter around them.
It’s not all tragedy and tarnation though. More mainstream, upbeat offerings, such as I Love a Rainy Night (Eddie Rabbitt, 1980), or Hey Good Lookin’ (Hank Williams, 1951) lifted the energy of the room. There were also some asides of dark humour about smoking, ‘gators and family issues that earned laughs we didn’t expect.
A smallish audience suggests that maybe the 6.00pm timeslot wasn’t ideal for such a gig. However, the more adventurous cow-pokes of the fringing public would have exclaimed “Yee-hah” at this bourbon-tinged cruise through the everglades and backroads of the American South. This was a short season and deserves another run, so don’t you be a stranger now, y’hear?
Video Games Made My Son Like Country Music
Festival Hub: Trades Hall – Common Rooms, Corner Lygon & Victoria Streets, Carlton
Performance: Saturday 7 October 2023
Season: 5 – 8 October 2023 (ended)
Image: Blake Everett – photo by C B Mursell
Review: Jason Whyte