The 3-Chord Club

June 26, 2021 - 4:31 pm No Comments


 John Hannah started the 3-Chord Club in October of last year with the help of Rob Williams, Peter Marples and his partner, Gwynn James. Considering the range and variety of talent  presented last Sunday, June 20, 2021, at the Guildford Hotel, it’s going from strength to strength.

First up, Sean Kenan, who usually dazzles us with his fiddle, banjo or dobro playing, surprised us all with a charming little shadow play, a kind of silent movie he operated solo behind a screen.  

Next was Dean Richards who presents his own material—often tales of perfidy and love-gone-wrong set to some techno wizardry which brought to my mind that virtuosic Japanese electronic music man, Isao Tomita.

Charlie Steel followed with On the Breadline  —‘I don’t need the kind of things that shiny money brings.’ Charlie too, writes a lot of his own material which is evocative and poignant. (Remember his gorgeous song about travelling through the dark on the V-line train?) “Down the Lost Highway” and “I Don’t Want to Die with Dirty Hands” were his offerings on Sunday.

Richard Weis, the next act, is new to the 3-Chord Club, but a consummate musician on chromatic harmonica, all the same. He had some really funny patter, too. He verbally offered us a whole range of musical styles he was prepared to play us, including Holocaust music—which, he pointed out to us, kind of puts the Lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic—at least in Australia—into perspective.

Banjo Baz, aka Barry Fitzpatrick, was number 5. After his turn on stage he told us he was nervous, showing us still-trembling hands, yet he put in a wonderfully professional performance of banjo picking, from the very lyrical “Tennessee Waltz” to Barry and Robin Gibb’s  “You Don’t Know What It’s Like to Love Somebody,” then had us all lustily singing “Country Road” with him. 

Next were a couple of delightful out-of-towners (from Melbourne) who played us some World Music that had everyone stamping their feet in time with the music and ‘encore!’-ing. Jonathan Hicks played banjo mandolin and fiddle and Sue Ferguson piano accordion. They were accompanied by our Bill Thompson on drums. Starting  with a heavily rhythmic Russian folksong, they ended with an Italian partisan song. Stirring stuff. 

Sugar and Spice was in the 7th slot. These ladies—Vanessa Craven and Z’dene Schwanmeier—have appeared several times before at the 3-Chord Club. This Sunday I was charmed by “We’re Still Friends”—an original work—and “You’re Leaving” sung and played on a Dobro or Resophonic guitar accompanied by ukulele bass.

Jude Warren usually plays with Steve Cole and Russell McKenzie but this Sunday Steve was unable to attend. Jude sang “Once in a Blue Moon” and the Jo Stafford hit, “You Belong to Me.”  Her style this time was more intimate and restrained, a gentle contrast to what was to follow.

The last item was some rowdy, rollicking Old Time Chicago Blues and didn’t we lap it up? The performers, Darryl Pyers and Kez come from the lovely town of Dunnolly. Tall, slim Kez with long blonde hair under a black cowboy hat, mini-skirt and boots, managed to look kind of enigmatic until she got down to the business of playing her guitar—when she wowed us. Darryl’s gravelly voice was perfect for the genre though I didn’t catch too many of his words. But these guys ended this gig on a very high note and we hope they’ll find their way back around these parts sometime very soon. 

The 3-Chord Club, an Open Mic event,  happens on the 3rd Sunday of the month at the Guildford, starting at 2.00pm. You have to book but it’s still only 5 bucks to get in—which has to be some kind of miracle considering the quality of the music.

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