“Humans experience woes and tribulations no matter what century they are living in. We all need to find a way through our troubles and music immediately connects us to the great mystery and wonder of being alive…” Jenny M. Thomas – Bush Gothic
Bush Bands and Bunyips
For those who haven’t come across this kind of folk music before, then lead singer Jenny M. Thomas explains that Australian bush ballads are ‘old, old songs of heartbreak, gold and criminal behaviour from a time of adventure and transportation.’ However, Bush Gothic perform their own versions of these songs with a more modern aesthetic, capturing the dark beauty that lies at the heart of these stories, which have been passed down through the generations.
Both the history of the genre and the history behind Jenny’s love of the music make interesting stories: ‘Many trad Australian songs travelled with the convict ships and migration waves from The Mother Country of Old England and Ireland, and then there are the songs written in the colonial era that describe the paradox of migrating to a country that is a paradise while also being brutal and oh so far away from your homeland.’ She confirms that while there are a lot of songs about sheep, Bush Gothic prefer the anti-establishment bushranger songs and tales of dangerous women, with Jenny also enjoying the songs about bunyips – a huge creature from Australian Aboriginal Mythology which lurked in areas of water, like swamps, riverbeds and waterholes.
Jenny grew up with the genre as every night before going to sleep her mum played guitar and sang to Jenny and her three sisters. Bizarrely, Jenny’s mother had been taught these songs by her Scottish guitar teacher! Jenny also recalls camping trips with large gatherings of people around a fire, or sometimes just a gas lamp enjoying the music together. Eventually, she was able to play her own beloved twelve-string guitar and the rest, as they say, is history!
Covering issues such as death, love and all kinds of trouble, their songs often evoke a variety of emotions. Audience members are often moved to tears while the band’s version of ‘True Blue’ has previously caused much guffawing. When asked why they love rural touring, Jenny says that it is without question, the people that make it so special. The band finds promotors and audience members both welcoming and enjoyable to talk to. Plus they love the regular lessons in how to talk in the local accent!
To find out where Bush Gothic will be performing this year, as well as discovering other incredible shows in your area, take a look at our upcoming performances or use our ‘notify me’ page to find out when ticket will be available to buy.
Photo Credits: © Peter Tarasuik