At our second-ever show – Newport Folk Festival in Melbourne, 2014 – a folk and blues musician from Wangaratta caught the tail-end of our 45 minute set in the scout hall. Luke R Davies was being punctual for the quick turnaround between acts. He was next on the bill.
But he liked what he heard – the interplay of stories and songs, the quality of the writing, of the musicianship – and back in Wangaratta wrote his first Stereo Story. About Born In Chicago, on an album by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
Is that one guy playing the harp? That sound, how does he do it? What is it? It blew me away and blew me straight into The Guitar Factory music shop in Mt Druit to get one of those blues harps. It was a Hohner in the key of A. I needed one in the key of D to play Born In Chicago, but I soon worked that out.
Twelve months later, back at Newport, Luke made a guest appearance with us, playing a mean harp on, yes, Born In Chicago. He continued writing stories for the website. How Blue Can You Get, Weevils In The Flour, Old White Men…
In early 2016 Luke said to the director of the Write Around The Murray Festival in Albury, “Hey, there’s this show I’ve seen in Melbourne…”
Luke was very much a part of the band for our first two shows at Albury (2016 and 2017), and in Williamstown and Wangaratta in 2017.
The Wangaratta gig, at The Stage Door Studio, was entirely due to Luke’s enthusiasm. He gained funding from the local arts council (including payment and accommodation for the band), lined up the venue, organised the publicity (newspaper, radio, posters), hired a lighting director, provided the PA, and mixed the sound. Too modest to be on stage for the whole show (“It’d be a conflict of interest, mate. I’m running for council.”), he did join the band for the rousing finale, Born In Chicago.
A mighty, mighty effort.
While Luke’s recent health has prevented him from performing with us, he will always be part of the band, and of the Stereo Stories family. And he continues to write stories. Hard On Things, Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto Number 2, Five Feet High And Rising…