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Best in Bush is Closer to the Coast

Best in Bush is Closer to the Coast

Who: Outback
Where: Swansea RSL Club
When: Sunday February 11, 2001

THE title of Australia's best bush band may be awarded each year hundreds of kilometres inland at Tamworth, by blokes in broad-brimmed hats wearing Blundstones and moleskins.

But for at least half of the past decade the title has been won by a band from the coast, Newcastle's own OUTBACK, playing on Sunday afternoon at Swansea RSL Club.

Outback won the Northern Daily Leader BATTLE OF THE BUSH BANDS awarded for the fourth time last month, during the TAMWORTH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL. The trio, featuring (from left) BRETT LAMBKIN on keyboards, guitar and lead vocals, DAVE FORSTER on fiddle and backing vocals, and GREG CARRUTHERS on drums, lagerphone and backing vocals, won the same award in 1991, 1992 and 1998.

In 1999, the band was runner-up for the award, but in 2000 it won the FOSTERS BATTLE OF THE BUSH BANDS title, again at Tamworth Country Musical Festival.

With five titles in 10 years, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the true home of country music was no longer within cooee of Tamworth.

As for the genre of bush music, Outback's eclectic style defies the norm.

'We play a variety of styles,' Lambkin said.

'We started out originally as an Australian country band, with a bit of bush music. Since then we've diversified into American country, bluegrass and a lot of things that are neither here nor there such as swing, rock'n'roll, folk and folk rock.'

On Sunday afternoon, Outback welcomes back Forster, who was away for the festival working in Cairns, and debuts as four-piece with MATTHEW KAISER on acoustic and electric guitars, banjo and didgeridoo.

Kaiser, who performed previously with Outback from 1995 until 1998, helped Outback win this year's Tamworth title.

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