Back in the old days, when there were rather strict laws regulating when a pub could or could not serve liquor, there emerged a character known as a “bona fide traveller”. There were different variations of the law in different countries or localities although, in a nutshell, serving liquor on a Sunday was prohibited except when the customer was a “bona fide traveller”. Although there were many lawsuits in the succeeding years trying to pin down the definition, a bona fide traveller was basically a person coming from outside of the restricted locality on the way to somewhere also outside the restricted locality, but who needed to wet his whistle along the way.



Thirsty men and bartenders being what they are, it was not long before loopholes were found in the law and the bona fide traveller began to acquire a rather shady reputation. In Ireland and Great Britain, for instance, all a thirsty soul had to prove was that he traveled for three miles from where he spent the night. The bartender on the other hand only had to show that he “honestly believed” that the customer was a bona fide traveller. And so, like the highwayman, the bona fide traveller became a fixture in history.


As if straight out of the pages of music history, The Bona Fide Travellers have burst upon the scene. A group of country musicians who earned their spurs before the term “alt country” was coined, they were entertaining audiences at the same time as The Dingoes, Greg Quill's Country Radio, Dead Livers, Bluestone and others. Between them, the members of the group have almost a century of musical performance. That explains the broad range of the mix they play from old-time country and hillbilly to traditional folk and cowboy songs all the way to acoustic blues.


The leader of the group, Graham “Snowy” Townsend has played in bands that span generations, like The Wild Beaver Band and One-Armed Bandit in the 70's when he also made a splash at a Bacchus Marsh Country Festival departing from the traditional country music acts of the day. Townsend's musical band width extended well into the 90's with The Operators. He has been on tour with outlaw country rockers like JJ Cale, The Amazing Rhythm Aces and Steppenwolf.



The group has at bass Mike Parker who also appeared onstage with The Operators and who first moved from New Zealand to Australia with The Slippery Sam Blues Band. Shane Fitchett who handles drums, banjo-ukelele and backing vocals for the group broke his teeth with Detroit garage, was last with The Swing Club then came out of retirement to perform with The Bona Fide Travellers. Don Farrell who plays lead guitar is a much sought after guitar teacher with over twenty years behind him as a professional musician. He has played with Mick & The Aces, Sons of the Outback, The Dead Livers, The Silverstring Outlaws and also played lead guitar for Neil Murray and Monique Brumby in their touring outfits. Tony Persic, a member of The Straight 8's for sixteen years, handles electric guitar and brings a new dimension to the group's sound. Michael Schack takes care of dobro, acoustic guitar and bass and is a founding member of The Dead Livers, the legendary Melbourne outlaw country rock band. Mike also played with Kenny Joe Blake and played in a backing band for Leslie Avril many years ago!


The BFT are playing at The Jug (acoustic trio) this Sunday arvo for a pretty relaxed session from 2pm-4pm and stay tuned to find out more about their 2 new video clips (Snowy Originals) which they have just finished shooting.


Check the Gig guide for the Bona Fide Travellers other upcoming gigs on ItsCountry or visit their website Bona Fide Travellers


With Shane Connors on vocals and guitar, John Palmer on guitar, Phil Pellegrino on double bass, and Luke Callahan on drums, Melbourne-based The Blackhill Ramblers are a four-man band that will guarantee to make you dance. The Blackhill Ramblers play country, rockabilly, honky tonk, rock 'n roll or anything that will get you on your feet and keep you there for the night.



The Blackhill Ramblers have been crowd drawers at country music festivals, rock 'n roll festivals, RSLs, hot rod events, dance clubs, rodeos, community events, pubs, clubs and anywhere that people love dancing to rockin' music. They've even performed at wedding receptions in the long time that they've been playing. On Black Saturday, for instance, their performance was canceled when the Glenburn Hotel burned down but they returned later to perform at the Post-Fire Concert and BBQ. The Blackhill Ramblers kicked off the year with a New Year's Eve performance at the Chelsea RSL, and in May they played to a full house at the Ingleburn RSL.



The band is booked for the rest of the year and the whole of 2012 at places like the Whitehorse Club in Burwood, the Bankstown Trotting Club in Sydney (November), the Ferntree Gully Hotel in Victoria (December) and the third Sunday of each month in 2012 at the Micawber Tavern in Belgrave. The coming year will surely see many people all over Australia dancing to the beat of the Blackhill Ramblers.


For more information on Shane and the boys - visit their website ...

Blackhill Ramblers website


Leslie Avril will be playing a the Pascoe Vale RSL for the Country Music Guild on Friday November 11. The talent of this highly versatile artist spans a broad spectrum of music. From Broadway and French love songs to blues and jazz. And, naturally, to country which is her favourite genre. Raised in Eltham, in Victoria, Leslie Avril has taken this talent all the way north to Scandinavia, the rest of Europe, the United States and the South Pacific!

Leslie has honed this talent with the best of the music breed. She has worked with Skyhooks legends Ross Wilson and Greg MaCainsh, James Joseph Paulsen aka Joe Sun, outlaw country singer Billy Joe Shaver, the Southern rock/country band Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Texas Country artist Guy Clark. They've all been bowled over by her voice and her music and she has been likened to Streisand, Piaf, Sarah Vaughan, Janis Joplin and Bette Midler.


This Jill of all sounds from Smiths Gully performed with her 90's band the Melbourne Blue Healers who ushered her into country music. Avril was a Nu Country DJ, featured in the album New Country, movie soundtracks and in ABC's “Something in the Air”. She has written songs with Keith Urban and Heather Field. Leslie played the role of Polly Garter in the Athenaeum Theatre production of Dylan Thomas' “Under Milkwood”.

The talent has not gone unrecognized. A regular mainliner at Tamworth, she was nominated in the Judges' Top 10 for the Golden Guitar as Female Entertainer of the Year in 2000 and went onstage as a headliner in a recent Whittlesea Country Music Festival. At the Victorian Awards in Kyneton, Leslie was a dual finalist for Album of the Year and Best Female Vocalist. The CMAA also nominated her as Independent Entertainer of the Year in the Country Music Achiever Awards.



Her sound has been described as “a voice laced with vinegar” (The Age), “a voice full of power, style and class” (Northern Daily Leader), “ a sense of rhythm, melody and lyrics second to none” (Toorak Times), “one of the gutsiest voices around” (Capital News), “as much bluesy rock as country, can be raunchy, gutsy and sensitive” (Art Streams).


Now, how much more versatile can one get?


Check the gig guide to see when Leslie Avril is playing next at The Country Music Guild at Pascoe Vale


Leslie Avril Band at Pascoe Vale RSL


Leslie Avril will be playing a the Pascoe Vale RSL for the Country Music Guild on Friday November 11. The talent of this highly versatile artist spans a broad spectrum of music. From Broadway and French love songs to blues and jazz. And, naturally, to country which is her favourite genre. Raised in Eltham, in Victoria, Leslie Avril has taken this talent all the way north to Scandinavia, the rest of Europe, the United States and the South Pacific!


Leslie has honed this talent with the best of the music breed. She has worked with Skyhooks legends Ross Wilson and Greg MaCainsh, James Joseph Paulsen aka Joe Sun, outlaw country singer Billy Joe Shaver, the Southern rock/country band Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Texas Country artist Guy Clark. They've all been bowled over by her voice and her music and she has been likened to Streisand, Piaf, Sarah Vaughan, Janis Joplin and Bette Midler.



This Jill of all sounds from Smiths Gully performed with her 90's band the Melbourne Blue Healers who ushered her into country music. Avril was a Nu Country DJ, featured in the album New Country, movie soundtracks and in ABC's “Something in the Air”. She has written songs with Keith Urban and Heather Field. Leslie played the role of Polly Garter in the Athenaeum Theatre production of Dylan Thomas' “Under Milkwood”.

The talent has not gone unrecognized. A regular mainliner at Tamworth, she was nominated in the Judges' Top 10 for the Golden Guitar as Female Entertainer of the Year in 2000 and went onstage as a headliner in a recent Whittlesea Country Music Festival. At the Victorian Awards in Kyneton, Leslie was a dual finalist for Album of the Year and Best Female Vocalist. The CMAA also nominated her as Independent Entertainer of the Year in the Country Music Achiever Awards.



Her sound has been described as “a voice laced with vinegar” (The Age), “a voice full of power, style and class” (Northern Daily Leader), “ a sense of rhythm, melody and lyrics second to none” (Toorak Times), “one of the gutsiest voices around” (Capital News), “as much bluesy rock as country, can be raunchy, gutsy and sensitive” (Art Streams).


Now, how much more versatile can one get?


Check the gig guide to see when Leslie Avril is playing next at The Country Music Guild at Pascoe Vale


Leslie Avril Band at Pascoe Vale RSL


Keith Urban is cancelling appearances and must postpone an upcoming benefit concert after scheduling throat surgery for a polyp that has developed on his vocal cords. "All for the Hall," a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum scheduled for January 18th, will need to be rescheduled while the singer recuperates. The concert, with Urban hosting, was set to feature Vince Gill, Allison Krauss, Rascal Flatts and a host of other Country Music stars.


Keith, who is married to Nicole Kidman, recently notched his 13th Number One single on the country charts with "Long Hot Summer." Until his surgery – an outpatient procedure described as "minor" – he will honor a few upcoming appearances that require him to sing just one song. He will now reschedule all other dates.



Rolling Stone Article