Goodwills Maleny house concerts 2017

For those of you who like to plan ahead, here’s a run-down on our House Concerts  2017 (with a gap in the northern fall when we will be abroad). As usual, seating is limited, so book early. Use our contact page or, if you’ve been before, you know what to do.

Sunday February 19, 3pm: We are starting our 20th year of house concerts with a visit from our friends. the fabulous folk group Cloudstreet. Bookings are open and details available on a post further down this page.

Kelly Cork

Sunday April 23, 2pm: Maleny alt-country songwriter Kelly Cork returns to our loungeroom, hopefully clutching copies of his new CD, produced this year with Kevin Bennett. Kelly’s concert last year was very popular.

Mr Chuck and Miss Chrissy

Sunday June 25, 2pm: Brisbane singer-songwriters Mr Chuck and Miss Chrissy are founding members of Brisbane band Stockade. Last year they performed at Neurum Creek Festival, where Chrissy also held a very popular harmonica workshop.

Sunday August 6 2pm: Irish songwriter Kieran Halpin (All the Answers, Angel of Paradise, Mirror Town), makes a welcome return to Maleny. He is visiting from Germany and on a tour of Australia. If you are not familiar with his work, go to and be amazed.
November: A 20th anniversary surprise. Date and details to be revealed.

Not waving, drowning


Bob Wilson ( reports

Veteran Irish songwriter Andy Irvine took a moment during his recent concert in Brisbane to tell a story about the day he was almost a drowning victim off a New South Wales beach.

You could hear an intake of breath among the devotees gathered at the Old Museum. A founding member of the 1970s super group Planxty, Irvine visits Australia over and over – loves the place. After his first-half gig, he told us he had to leave almost immediately to drive to Sydney, where he would catch a flight to Tasmania next day. The life of a troubadour.

As he told it, the near-drowning happened when he was swimming at a beach in northern NSW. He got caught in a rip.
“I didn’t even know what a rip was,” he told the audience. “All I knew was the harder I swam the further out to sea it took me.” Close to exhaustion, wondering if his time was nigh, Andy dimly heard a gruff voice off to his right: “Oi, mate, over here.”
“I knew it,” said Andy, “God’s an Australian.”

More later in this piece about drowning and why 83% of victims are males (and 8.83% are overseas visitors). Andy was rescued from the surf and, under protest, taken to a hospital for observation. The local newspaper reported “Irish tourist saved from rip.” If only they knew.
So we savoured that concert, where the humble 74-year-old singer-songwriter and campaigner for social justice took us through a mixed set, including the famous My Heart’s Tonight in Ireland, A Blacksmith Courted Me and a complex story-song about Harry Houdini.
After chatting to fans and posing for photos, Andy and his wife Kumiko loaded up their Landcruiser with his bouzoukis and octave mandolin and set off for Sydney. At an age when many of his generation are playing lawn bowls, going on South Pacific cruises or pushing up daisies, he sets a cracking pace. In late November, he wrote on Facebook about having finished a marathon tour of the UK and Germany – 43 gigs in 59 days, wryly saying he needed a day off.
In December, he headed to Australia, teaming up with young Tasmanian musician Luke Plumb, who is back living in Australia after a decade playing with Scottish folk-rock band Shooglenifty.
The duo featured at Woodford Festival, after which Plumb went home to Tassie where he reunited last weekend with Irvine at the Cygnet Festival. Irvine and Plumb have two more festival bookings (Illawarra and Newstead) with concerts in between.

January, the month of drownings

Some of you might be still saying “Andy Who?” even though some of his May gigs in Ireland are already booked out. He’s as popular as ever among Irish music fans. There’s always rumours of another Planxty Reunion (with former members Donal Lunny, Liam O’Flynn and Christy Moore), last heard together in 2004.

And we owe it all, apparently, to a couple of bronzed Aussie surfers, standing up to their thighs on a rock shelf, willing an exhausted Andy Irvine to paddle his way towards them.

All Australians should be able to swim. It is a necessity in a continent with a 19,320 km coastline. But, whether they could swim or not, 280 Australians drowned in 2015/2016, 83% of them males. They drowned in the surf; they drowned in rivers, creeks, lakes and waterholes. Some were swept off rocks while fishing, some were tipped out of boats, but most were drowned while swimming at beaches.

We all know it is foolhardy to swim outside the flags or worse, at an unpatrolled beach. Many of us have had our brush with death via rips or other misadventures, as happened to me one time in the 1960s.
Clowning around in the east coast surf with my teenage mates I was suddenly dragged out of my depth, a powerful current towing me out to sea. I remembered from a physical education lesson, if finding yourself in trouble; raise your arm as high as you can. So I did and lucky for me that Dave, a member of the school swimming team, was further out than me and grabbed my arm as I swept by.
“What you doin’ out here?” he said, tucking his arms under my armpits and swimming backwards down shore where we emerged tired but happy.
Go on, you all have stories like that. Things you never told your mothers.

Your penance, should you choose to do it, is to download the Royal Life Saving Drowning Report 2016, from which these facts emerge.

Even if you skim through it, you’ll be all over your teenage kids like sand rash. The statistics which chill are as follows:
Drownings: 280
Men: 83% Women: 17%
Average age: 43.1
Age groups with most drownings:
25-34 (19%); 35-44 (15%);
Unhappily, drownings in the aforementioned age groups are increasing against the 10-year average, by 27% and 11% respectively.
The positive news in this sobering, 32-page report is that education programs are working on youngsters and their parents. Drowning deaths are down 30% in the 0-4 years group and 38% in the 5-9 age group.
There were 14 drowning deaths among the young (5 to 17) in 2015-2016, with a somewhat telling increase to 23 deaths in the 18-24 age group.

If I may editorialise, the latter can be largely explained away in the song by Rage Against the Machine− “F**** you I won’t do what you tell me.” Youngsters love to rebel and one clear way to give the metaphorical finger to your folks is to go swimming at an unpatrolled beach.

The Australian Water Safety Strategy has some ambitious targets, the key one being to reduce drowning deaths 50% by 2020.
This includes targeting “key drowning challenges” which are: boating, watercraft and recreational activities, alcohol and drugs, high-risk populations and extreme weather.
Royal Life Saving found that 44 people died with positive alcohol readings in their blood stream. More than half were above the legal limit in most Australian states and territories (0.05mg/l). Of those, 40% recorded a blood alcohol reading four times the limit or higher. Similar figures were quoted around people with cannabis or methamphetamine in their blood.

Who me, swim?

I’d like to say I can swim, after braving adult learn to swim classes in the 1990s. If you threw me in the deep end of a pool I’d paddle my way to the shallow end. But these days, if I were swept off my feet in angry surf, in future you’d be re-reading some of the early FOMMs and saying “Such a shame about Bob”.
If you’d wondered, I’m writing this not because it’s Friday the 13th, but because January is the month when most drownings occur (40 deaths last year). This is the main holiday time for families with young children and inevitably they head for Australia’s beaches. They need to be vigilant.

Some closing words, then, from Andy Irvine, ABC regional radio, circa 2003. He’s set to play his song, “My Heart’s Tonight in Ireland,” about the days in his first band, Sweeney’s Men.

“I’ve reached an age of looking back nostalgically at my past,” he told ABC South West Victoria Radio’s Steve Martin. “I nearly drowned in New South Wales about ten years ago and I wrote that in hospital. I was recovering from my near-drowning experience.”

‘Irish tourist’ indeed.

YouTube: My Heart’s Tonight in Ireland (with Donal Lunny)

Re-posted from

Cloudstreet Maleny concert Feb 19

Internationally renowned folk group Cloudstreet return to Maleny on Sunday February 19 for their fifth appearance as guests of The Goodwills (Bob & Laurel Wilson).

Original members John Thompson and Nicole Murray, now teamed up with fiddle player and singer Emma Nixon, performed six times at Woodford Festival 2016. Their latest CD, Clouded House, the 8th Cloudstreet album since John and Nicole began performing together in 1999, was launched in late 2015. Clouded House includes a bizarre song about a colony of beavers relocated to a new home – by parachute! Here’s a more serious trad song from the same album – The Catalpa – performed in two time signatures.

Cloudstreet perform New Australian folk music, a combination of Anglo-Celtic and Australian traditional songs and tunes, coupled with trad-styled original songs. Their music is arranged for an array of instruments including guitar, concertina, flute, whistle and fiddle and now includes the fiddle playing brilliance and vocals of Emma Nixon.

Nicole and Emma have also performed at a Goodwills’ house concert as The Wish List. The duo performed at the Illawarra Folk Festival last month and taught fiddle at the festival school.

Host Bob & Laurel Wilson (The Goodwills) will present a preview of their latest project, a collection of essays written by Bob, each based on the topic of a song. Bob is aiming to publish the book with an accompanying CD, “Goodwills by Request” before Christmas 2017.

This is the 20th year The Goodwills have held concerts in their home, first at Fairfield, Brisbane, then for the past 14 years in Maleny, mostly to full houses so it pays to book ahead.

The Cloudstreet concert starts at 3pm. Tickets are $15/$12 and afternoon tea will be available. Bookings are essential. Email Laurel [goodwills at] or use the contact page.

Goodwills house concerts are sponsored by the Queensland Folk Federation (QFF).

Penny Davies and Roger Ilott Nov 20

Penny Davies and Roger Ilott

Penny Davies and Roger Ilott made their second appearance at the Goodwills’ house concert series on November 20.

The Granite Belt-based folk duo last performed at Bob & Laurel Wilson’s home in February, 2014, fresh from appearances at Woodford Folk Festival. Penny and Roger are stalwarts of the Australian folk scene and have performed at most major festivals and many smaller ones. They are known for their long association with folklorist Bill Scott. This collaboration produced classic Australian folk songs such as Hey Rain! and Where the Cane Fires Burn. They have released more than 20 albums of Australian contemporary folk music since 1983. Their lengthy association with the ABC radio programme Australia all Over brought them critical acclaim and a loyal following. Songs aired on Australia all Over include Hey Rain, Where the Cane Fires Burn, Beside a Railway Line, Ridin’ on the Fruit Train and The Monkeys Sing Soprano. Three of their songs were included on Macca’s Top 100 album in 2012.

The Goodwills (Bob & Laurel Wilson) performed an opening set, including songs from their latest album, The Last Waterhole, followed by afternoon tea then a set from Penny & Roger.

Goodwills house concerts are sponsored by the Queensland Folk Federation


Fred Smith in concert

Fred Smith image by Geoff Dunn

Australian diplomat, singer-songwriter and newly-minted author Fred Smith was our house concert guest on Sunday October 16. Fred’s gig sold out again. He was here in 2015 with Liz Frencham playing to a full house (we had people sitting on the veranda too).

Fred has recently published a book, ‘Dust of Uruzgan,’ through Allen & Unwin and is now on a solo tour to promote the book and sing songs from his many albums. The most recent album, Home, was recorded after Fred completed his two-year stint as a diplomat in Afghanistan. Fred has recorded six other albums based on his experiences as a diplomat in the Solomon Islands, Bougainville and other exotic locations. He has also recorded an album of songs with the Spooky Men’s Chorale and a CD called Texas based on a residency in the US.




The Goodwills at the Danish Club August 20

Goodwills on bridge3We are part of a great line-up at the 79th FolkRag Old & New Concert held at the Danish Club, Newstead (Brisbane).

Doors open at 6.30 for a 7.30 start.

$15 Admission / $12 Concession

Excellent light meals, licensed bar

Featured acts:

The Goodwills with Helen Rowe
Jodi Murtha
Karen Law & Family
Sadie & Jay with Suzanne Hibbs

Info: Michael 07 3855 1091

Rebecca Wright and Donald McKay RWDM wall mid-reswere guest performers on Sunday August 14.  Donald’s traditional and original songs from his native Scotland were beautifully complemented by Rebecca’s insightful Australian originals and thoughtful selection of contemporary songs. Accompanied by requinto, cello, acoustic guitar and bodhran, their show brought us all back to the heart of folk.

Rebecca is well-known on the Australian folk circuit for solo performances, inspired songwriting and sensitive cello playing. She has played at countless festivals and folk clubs, including the world-renowned Woodford, National and Port Fairy Festivals. In 2008, Rebecca met Donald while touring in the UK as guest cellosinger with Aussie group Cloudstreet, and soon found herself living in Scotland, immersed in traditional Scottish music and culture.

Since joining their songs and lives together, Rebecca and Donald have toured in Scotland, New Zealand and Australia, with highlights including Woodford, National, Cygnet, Newstead Live!, Palm Creek and Wintermoon festivals. They have released two albums, “Over Burns And Braes” (2016) and “Joys that never weary” (2012).

The concert on August 14 starts at 2pm with an opening set from The Goodwills (Bob & Laurel Wilson). Tickets are $15/$12 and bookings are essential. Contact us via the website or call Bob on 0438 525119.