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Cowboys In Cyberspace - January 2005

"Sharpen Up Your Image"

The camera never lies...even on the Web.

THOUSAND MILE STARE is title of an exhibition currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra until the 1st of May. It consists of over 80 images by noted country music photographer JOHN ELLIOTT. Some of the faces are familiar (Kasey, Slim, Smoky etc) but all are striking in their own way. As John himself explains, "My portraits are about the look in their eye and the surface of their face - hopefully a look into their very soul." Preview ten of those photos on-line and read an interesting interview with John and then explore the gallery's site. Look there too for the painting The Sheik and Me, Self Portrait with Imagined Portrait of Chad Morgan after Frida Kahlo by Nerissa Lea, which won the 2004 Portia Geach Memorial Award.

Slim Dusty and John Elliott
JOHN ELLIOTT (above right), snapped with two Australian icons...
the late SLIM DUSTY and the Aussie meat pie!

Being photogenic is rarely a hindrance to any singer's career. In the case of NICKI GILLIS, her talent is as striking as her appearance. Having now wowed audiences from the West to the East (literally, by relocating from Perth to Sydney), Nicki is now winning fans worldwide via her new Web site where you can sample all of the tracks from her CD On The Mountain and watch a video of the title track.

NICKI GILLIS
NICKI GILLIS

The WILLIE NELSON Web site has undergone a change of image that includes a cool 360 degree scrolling panoramic view of his World Headquarters in Luck, Texas. Willie continues to be as prolific as ever, having released two albums in the last few months; the all-star live set with his friends, Outlaws And Angels, and a stunning studio album, It Always Will Be. Perhaps we can look forward to some Australian news entries on the site when Willie tours here in February.

Country music fans around the world will be able to log on and have front row seats at the TELSTRA ROAD TO TAMWORTH finals series on January 17 and 18 plus the FENDER Super Jam concert when they are Webcast live from Tamworth. The Telstra site will also feature exclusive live performances by many of the top artists and Web Cams set up in the streets! Assisting in the Internet promotion of the Tamworth festival this year will be the 25 metre 40-tonne B-double transporter Telstra BigPond Mobile Media Centre - a satellite-linked facility which is hauled by a prime mover. This imposing facility has already been successfully used by media throughout Australia during the V8 Supercars motor racing series.

A reminder: If you are heading to the TAMWORTH FESTIVAL in January, you'll find a lot more to check out on-line before you get there this year, including on-line ticket sales. HERE, at the COWBOYS IN CYBERSPACE site you'll find a collection of links relating to the festival, that will be constantly updated as new features on events and artists come to hand.

barbed wire
barbed wire

DVD REVIEW

DVD cover

SINGING SONGWRITERS
Various Artists

This DVD largely combines performances from two different and uncredited episodes of the PBS television show Austin City Limits. The earliest was taped in December 1997 and was titled 'Celebration of Townes Van Zandt'. It featured some of the finest performing songwriters, including Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell and Nanci Griffith, honouring the work and life of the late Texas songwriter. All the renditions of his songs are heartfelt and joyous, with the duet of Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle singing 'Lungs' being a highlight. On three songs, Townes' own performances are edited in for a verse or two. An intriguing idea, but an ultimately jarring effect. Also regretfully, the closing number from this show is missing.

The second show, from 2000 and also slightly incomplete, stars Emmylou Harris who leads Dave Matthews, Patty Griffin and Buddy amp; Julie Miller through a selection of their songs. This is also an excellent show, with Julie Miller's rendition of 'Broken Things' being worth the price of the DVD alone. Although randomly mixed with the first show and supplemented by an unexpected but fine Dolly Parton song recorded in 2001 and an incongruous uncredited closing song, the chances of seeing these shows anywhere else at present, are slim. Recommended then, for the rarity and brilliance of the performances.

Medusa 8595
(distributed in Australia by Didgeridoo)
80 Mins

TRACK LISTING:

1. Introduction
2. If I Needed You - Emmylou Harris & Steve Earle
3. For The Sake Of The Song - Jack Clement
4. Tecumseh Valley - Nanci Griffith
5. Top Of The World - Patty Griffin
6. Broken Things - Julie Miller
7. Long Black Veil - Dave Matthews
8. Mountain Angel - Dolly Parton
9. Heavenly Houseboat Blues - Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
10. Don't take It Too Bad - Guy Clark
11. I Still Cry - Julie Miller
12. Fort Worth Blues - Steve Earle
13. No Lonesome Tune - Peter Rowan & Nanci Griffith
14. Highway Kind - John T. Van Zandt
15. Poncho And Lefty - Emmylou Harris & Willie Nelson
16. Lungs - Lyle Lovett & Steve Earle
17. Somewhere Trouble Don't Go - Buddy Miller
18. Mary - Patty Griffin
19. Bartender - Dave Matthews
20.Ordinary Heart - Emmylou Harris & Kimmie Rhodes
21. Singing My Own Song

Until next time, happy surfing!

If you want to share the location of an interesting site you've seen
or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with
Barbara Morison
on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney and on the Web)
and listen for Big Bob from Bondi every Saturday night with
John Nutting on Saturday Night Country (your Local ABC Radio and the Web).

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