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Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005
August at Almost Acoustic features hot celtic outfit, Wheelers & Dealers, and iconic songwriter John Warner.
‘awesome musicianship’ … ‘just fantastic music’
Wheelers & Dealers is an acoustic trad band with influences ranging from Irish through rock, country, and eastern European. Their repertoire includes Irish songs and dance tunes, songs about contemporary Australian life including original material, and an eclectic selection of other material from eastern European, swing, American country and other sources. Members are: Chris Wheeler (vocals, woodwinds), Mike Kerin (fiddle, guitar, mandolin), Ged Corben (guitar, mandolin), Luke Robinson (percussion) and Michael Vidale.
The variety in a Wheelers & Dealers performance is breathtaking – fast changing instruments, fast changing moods, they not only feed the brain and the heart, but the pulse and the feet as well.
John Warner is an iconic songwriter and performer in Australian folk music. He may not be Australia's best known songwriter, but he is very highly regarded by his peers and the folk music fraternity around the world. His "Sandpit Picket" is a recent work - a cycle of songs about children and the challenges of work in childcare.
John is a childcare worker and at work, he's seen many rewarding and exciting events such as that depicted in his song "Llewellyn Walking". But John is also witnessing some troubling developments.
Economic trends mean parents have to reduce the time that their children are in care, leading to a situation where child-care workers are dealing with many more children, but for shorter periods - the paper work is increased but not the staff and funding to balance the situation. The over-emphasis on safety and insurance issues leads to children not being able to take the perfectly natural risks that most adults were able to take as children. Meanwhile, childcare workers are some of the lowest paid although they are entrusted with caring for our most precious resource.
These are examples of some of the issues that John addresses with humour and sensitivity, and instrumental variety in Sandpit Picket.