Release Date: Tuesday 25th January, 2022
Well, hello there! It’s been a while since drinks. I took a few weeks’ break from IMAIL over Christmas to sit in the corner and cry about the impending doom of Omicron. I also spent some time with my dog and my family (but mainly the crying).
I cannot believe I am saying this but we actually got a show in amongst this madness! And it wasn’t just any show, it was our annual Holiday Hootenanny including my band and amazing special guests Ali Barter, I Know Leopard, Mo’Ju and Timothy James Bowen! Given the circumstances surrounding it, I still can’t believe the show went ahead, and as a celebration of the fact that it did, I thought I’d do a little IMAIL recap.
We started planning this show pretty much as soon as the previous Hootenanny ended around Christmas 2020, and the show took many forms as we moved through the ever-changing year of 2021, trying our hand at the impossible task of predicting what the following months would hold. In the time we spent planning the show, there were 9 changes in band members and 6 venue changes (2 of those on the week of the show alone!) In the week leading up to the gig, we cancelled it twice – it was dead, gone and buried, and yet somehow my incredible team resurrected it with their hard work and determination. Both our keys player and guitarist came down with the spicy cough within 4 days of the show (cue heart attacks from both me and my manager), so two band members were added at the eleventh hour, one of whom had only 48 hours to learn about 15 songs. We lost some guests and gained a couple more. That week leading up to the gig was, by far, the most insanely chaotic week of my life. But we DID IT!
I want to say a giant thank you to my brilliant agent Jess Wust at Niche Agency, who has laboured over not only this show, but all of my shows and tours since the pandemic came to make her job a nightmare. She has had to deal with endless venue and date changes, perpetual uncertainty in a role that relies on long-term planning, and somehow, she has always soldiered through without complaint.
On the night of the show, I still didn’t believe it was actually going to go ahead, until we were standing in the stairwell behind the stage ready to blow the roof off The Toff in Town in Melbourne. A special thank you to The Toff, who were kind enough to take in our little orphaned show at the last minute. Without them, we would have had to cancel once and for all. Despite the stressful lead up, once we got out there on that stage, the concern faded away and all I could think about was having the time of my fucking life out there. The band totally killed it and our guests were absolutely brilliant!
There’s a special magic that happens when you get to share a stage with people you admire, and that has been a real source of joy for me at both our Hootenannies so far, and the main reason for us wanting to curate these annual shindigs in the first place. I want to thank everyone in the band, every guest, and every crew member who made this show happen – Jeremy Dylan, Jess Wust, Georgia Mooney, Ryan Brewer, Sally Potts, Dan Nash, Christian McBride, Maddie Allan, Kat Murphy, Nadine Muller, Josie McManus, Nicole Stringer, Travis New, Clio Renner, Luke Davison, Elizabeth Clenci, Kyran Daniel, Alex Crosara, I Know Leopard, Mo’Ju, Timothy James Bowen, Ali Barter, Travers Chesney, Michelle G. Hunder, Nick Rae, and everyone at The Toff in Town. But also, thank you to every single one of you who came along despite the current chaos so you could feel the magic of live music in the flesh with us again. Honestly, I’ve never felt so much like I needed live music to survive as I do lately. Thank you for being the reason I get to experience that feeling on stage. Here’s to more of it in 2022. 🙂