Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020

Pete Denahy - Week 25

 

Bec Reid

Hello, I'm Bec Reid, and thanks for joining us at the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined in 2020. This week, we're taking a chance and exploring chance with bluegrass artist all the way from Yackandandah, raconteur and comedian. It's Pete Denahy. Hello, Pete.

Pete Denahy

Hello, Bec. Great to be here. Thanks very much for visiting us here in Yackandandah.

Bec Reid

Pete, we're talking about chance this week. Can you tell us about any time you've taken a chance as an artist?

Pete Denahy

I took a chance with the with a song I wrote back in 2007 called Sorta dunno nothin.

[Pete Denahy singing Sorta dunno nothin]

How's your ankle?

Good

When's your exam?

Dunno

Have you done much study?

Dunno.

What's on tomorrow?

Dunno.

And it was all sort of short answers and there was no singing in it. There's no story and there's no tune and I didn't know where it was going to go because, all of a sudden, you know, it was on the Today Show, it was on Big Brother, it was on Rage. Every new song you write, you think this is going to be great but it did sort of work right from the - from the word go. The only problem with that song was it got a lot of exposure but the song became a lot better known than I did, so.

Bec Reid

Yep, and Pete, do you like taking chances when you're performing?

Pete Denahy

I guess the chance side of my performance probably is more in the comedy realm. During the show, even if I'm doing a straight show, I'll incorporate comedy into the padder in between the songs, so I get to sort of kill two birds with one stone and I enjoy doing both equally.

Bec Reid

You had literally toured all over the country, Pete, but also you've got a really interesting connection to Japan. Can you tell us about that, Pete?

Pete Denahy

My Japanese grandfather was a great musician, a cellist, and he played bassoon as well and he was a teacher and composer and worked for NHK, which is like the national broadcaster in Japan. Mom worked in Yamaha selling records and Dad went in there one day to buy some records and met Mum, fell in love and they started going out and, about a year later, they were married in Hiroshima and we used to go over there a lot as kids and my earliest memories of living on this earth are Japan and, so, the next time I went back, I was 33 and it was my first time seeing Japan through the eyes of an adult and I just sort of fell in love with it and wanted to keep going back. I took a bit of a chance here and decided to do music tours to Japan, where I'd take 10 or 15 Australian music fans, just a small group, and going and visiting these little honky tonks and bars around Japan, where I've got a lot of friends now, and exploring the bluegrass and country music scene in Japan, which is pretty strong.

Bec Reid

What is it about bluegrass that is really captured your heart?

Pete Denahy

I guess, initially, it was the sound of fiddle and banjo. I started learning violin when I was 9 years old. Even though I had a great teacher and very patient teacher, an old nun from Bendigo, Victoria, Sister Rose Murray. She was tremendous, encouraging force with music for me, and she never gave up on me, even though I didn’t practice and I was the eldest of four. Still am and - and the whole 4 of us got lessons - piano lessons, off Sister Rose and then when I was 16, I saw a fiddle player named Mike Kerin who played in Slim Dusty's band and I saw this fiddle playing live and I thought, wow, I didn't realise you could do all these things.

Bec Reid

Can you tell us how that young boy made his way to sharing a stage with Slim Dusty?

Pete Denahy

When I was 13, I begged Mum and Dad to take us to see Slim when he was coming through town. Met him there that night and I said, "Ah, have you got - I've written some songs. Can I send them up to you?". "Yeah, yeah, put them on a tape, mate" and I sent it up to him and it was just a magic night. I couldn't believe it. I was finally seeing Slim and then, 12 years later, I was in his band.

Bec Reid

Oh, Pete, thanks so much. It's so great to hear those stories and I reckon Sister Rosa would be pretty proud of you. Really, she would. Pete, can you tell us about the bluegrass song that you're sharing with the Victorian Seniors Festival?

Pete Denahy

So, the song that I'd like to sing for the Seniors Festival is one that I wrote about the late Reg White, the great horseman from Benalla in north east Victoria. I don't actually mention Reg in the song and it's just about the sound horses shoes make on a sealed road and that's just what this song's is about. Simple as that. Singin’ shoes.

[Pete Denahy playing his guitar and singing Singin’ Shoes]

Hear them shoes and hear them singin’

Down the road I hear them ringin’

Rollin’ wheels on his own grave

That’s a sound of wakin’ day

 

It'll hook you line and sinker

Big dark eyes and leather blinker

Rangers slack and harness cold

Feathers brush the frosty road

 

Rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

 

Wooden seat is old and creakin'

I can hear the wheels are squeakin'

Two big horses eight big feet

Makin’ music on the street

 

See them leanin’ in their collars

Shoes are bright silver dollars

I don't need the daily news

Give me those old singin' shoes

 

Rollins wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

 

Singin' shoes have got me dreamin'

Horse hide in the cold is steamin'

Pull ‘em up and ease the grip

Rest a leg and drop a hip

 

As the winter days grow colder

I know that he's gettin' older

One day soon we're gonna lose

The music of those singin' shoes

 

Rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin'

 

Rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

 

[Thank you to Pete Denahy]

[This video material was recorded by Pete Denahy on his mobile phone at home]

[Creative Directors - Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid, All The Queens Men]

[Director and broadcast producer - Andrew Gill, Agent Creative]

[Performer tutoring and video post production - Leo Dale, WeFo Studios]

[Audio post production Myles Mumford]

[Zoom switching Graham Cunningham]

[© This video recording remains the copyright of Pete Denahy]

[Reproduced by the State of Victoria as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services for the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020 with permission from the intellectual property owners]

[During the period of the Victorian Government response to the COVID-19 emergency, this recording is made available on free to air digital platforms for the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020]

[Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020]

[in the groove]

 

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As a kid, growing up in country Victoria, Pete Denahy would dream about being a musician like his hero Slim Dusty, never guessing he’d get to join Slim’s band.

Take a look at Pete's website: petedenahy.com

Read Pete's Performer Profile

Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020

Pete Denahy - Week 25

 

Bec Reid

Hello, I'm Bec Reid, and thanks for joining us at the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined in 2020. This week, we're taking a chance and exploring chance with bluegrass artist all the way from Yackandandah, raconteur and comedian. It's Pete Denahy. Hello, Pete.

Pete Denahy

Hello, Bec. Great to be here. Thanks very much for visiting us here in Yackandandah.

Bec Reid

Pete, we're talking about chance this week. Can you tell us about any time you've taken a chance as an artist?

Pete Denahy

I took a chance with the with a song I wrote back in 2007 called Sorta dunno nothin.

[Pete Denahy singing Sorta dunno nothin]

How's your ankle?

Good

When's your exam?

Dunno

Have you done much study?

Dunno.

What's on tomorrow?

Dunno.

And it was all sort of short answers and there was no singing in it. There's no story and there's no tune and I didn't know where it was going to go because, all of a sudden, you know, it was on the Today Show, it was on Big Brother, it was on Rage. Every new song you write, you think this is going to be great but it did sort of work right from the - from the word go. The only problem with that song was it got a lot of exposure but the song became a lot better known than I did, so.

Bec Reid

Yep, and Pete, do you like taking chances when you're performing?

Pete Denahy

I guess the chance side of my performance probably is more in the comedy realm. During the show, even if I'm doing a straight show, I'll incorporate comedy into the padder in between the songs, so I get to sort of kill two birds with one stone and I enjoy doing both equally.

Bec Reid

You had literally toured all over the country, Pete, but also you've got a really interesting connection to Japan. Can you tell us about that, Pete?

Pete Denahy

My Japanese grandfather was a great musician, a cellist, and he played bassoon as well and he was a teacher and composer and worked for NHK, which is like the national broadcaster in Japan. Mom worked in Yamaha selling records and Dad went in there one day to buy some records and met Mum, fell in love and they started going out and, about a year later, they were married in Hiroshima and we used to go over there a lot as kids and my earliest memories of living on this earth are Japan and, so, the next time I went back, I was 33 and it was my first time seeing Japan through the eyes of an adult and I just sort of fell in love with it and wanted to keep going back. I took a bit of a chance here and decided to do music tours to Japan, where I'd take 10 or 15 Australian music fans, just a small group, and going and visiting these little honky tonks and bars around Japan, where I've got a lot of friends now, and exploring the bluegrass and country music scene in Japan, which is pretty strong.

Bec Reid

What is it about bluegrass that is really captured your heart?

Pete Denahy

I guess, initially, it was the sound of fiddle and banjo. I started learning violin when I was 9 years old. Even though I had a great teacher and very patient teacher, an old nun from Bendigo, Victoria, Sister Rose Murray. She was tremendous, encouraging force with music for me, and she never gave up on me, even though I didn’t practice and I was the eldest of four. Still am and - and the whole 4 of us got lessons - piano lessons, off Sister Rose and then when I was 16, I saw a fiddle player named Mike Kerin who played in Slim Dusty's band and I saw this fiddle playing live and I thought, wow, I didn't realise you could do all these things.

Bec Reid

Can you tell us how that young boy made his way to sharing a stage with Slim Dusty?

Pete Denahy

When I was 13, I begged Mum and Dad to take us to see Slim when he was coming through town. Met him there that night and I said, "Ah, have you got - I've written some songs. Can I send them up to you?". "Yeah, yeah, put them on a tape, mate" and I sent it up to him and it was just a magic night. I couldn't believe it. I was finally seeing Slim and then, 12 years later, I was in his band.

Bec Reid

Oh, Pete, thanks so much. It's so great to hear those stories and I reckon Sister Rosa would be pretty proud of you. Really, she would. Pete, can you tell us about the bluegrass song that you're sharing with the Victorian Seniors Festival?

Pete Denahy

So, the song that I'd like to sing for the Seniors Festival is one that I wrote about the late Reg White, the great horseman from Benalla in north east Victoria. I don't actually mention Reg in the song and it's just about the sound horses shoes make on a sealed road and that's just what this song's is about. Simple as that. Singin’ shoes.

[Pete Denahy playing his guitar and singing Singin’ Shoes]

Hear them shoes and hear them singin’

Down the road I hear them ringin’

Rollin’ wheels on his own grave

That’s a sound of wakin’ day

 

It'll hook you line and sinker

Big dark eyes and leather blinker

Rangers slack and harness cold

Feathers brush the frosty road

 

Rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

 

Wooden seat is old and creakin'

I can hear the wheels are squeakin'

Two big horses eight big feet

Makin’ music on the street

 

See them leanin’ in their collars

Shoes are bright silver dollars

I don't need the daily news

Give me those old singin' shoes

 

Rollins wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

 

Singin' shoes have got me dreamin'

Horse hide in the cold is steamin'

Pull ‘em up and ease the grip

Rest a leg and drop a hip

 

As the winter days grow colder

I know that he's gettin' older

One day soon we're gonna lose

The music of those singin' shoes

 

Rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin'

 

Rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

Take away my mornin' blues

Misery will only lose

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

With rollin' wheels and singin' shoes

 

[Thank you to Pete Denahy]

[This video material was recorded by Pete Denahy on his mobile phone at home]

[Creative Directors - Tristan Meecham and Bec Reid, All The Queens Men]

[Director and broadcast producer - Andrew Gill, Agent Creative]

[Performer tutoring and video post production - Leo Dale, WeFo Studios]

[Audio post production Myles Mumford]

[Zoom switching Graham Cunningham]

[© This video recording remains the copyright of Pete Denahy]

[Reproduced by the State of Victoria as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services for the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020 with permission from the intellectual property owners]

[During the period of the Victorian Government response to the COVID-19 emergency, this recording is made available on free to air digital platforms for the Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020]

[Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020]

[in the groove]