Australian musical icon Tim Freedman is bringing his signature blend of moody and reminiscent music to Mudgee as part of his first regional solo tour during April, May and June to launch The Whitlams' new single "Man About a Dog" from their forthcoming album.
That's sort of the silver lining in COVID - it's been four months which has suited cabaret...Tim Freedman
Ahead of his performance at Lowe Wines in Mudgee on April 18, Tim spoke with the Mudgee Guardian about the tour, its impetus and the freedom that success can bring.
"The Whitlams have stuck to the cities lately, but with this new song being a little bit country it seemed like the perfect time for me to return to the towns we loved playing when we were young and full of the devil," Tim said.
The aforementioned single - the first since 2006 - The Ballad of Bertie Kidd is a six-minute-long story of a crime gone wrong. The true story of a couple of blokes who were undone in their plot to steal a collection of Pro Hart and Ken Done when they put their balaclavas on too early and were caught by police.
"I was just talking to a friend who used to be a lawyer and he had defended one of the crew in a subsequent matter. He had a version of the story in his mind. I found out that his memory had been a little bit degraded because I got to speak to the actual Bertie Kidd after I'd asked him for permission to use his name. But it was about 80 per cent correct," Tim said.
He said there were some tiny details that needed adjusting that had changed over time, but the spirit of the story was the same.
"I heard that they'd told the police that they were going fishing, that's why they were wearing balaclavas in the car, but having dinner with Bert he said 'Nah, I told them I was doing track work in the morning' it's one of those little things that's changed. I originally approached it [the story] because I thought it was funny. I guess like stories about hapless moments in crime."
Little Cloud was the title of the Whitlams' last album way back in 2006. The world was a different place back then and much has changed. So why the long wait between releases?
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"I just got my ambition back. My mind was another things for quite a while, raising a family and, sort of - everyone had their own voices, after Facebook invited our consciousness and strangely enough the audience has kept coming to see us just as we played our best of I realised how much I love doing it," Tim said.
"I want to do it more and I won't be able to to unless I freshened up the set with new material. So I set myself the goal of putting out a new album.
"We recorded quite a few tracks in the last four months, singles up this track about that I wrote when I was living out of the city during lockdown. And so it's, it's quite a bit of a rural feel. It's quite bucolic. And so I thought it was a really good excuse to go and play some country towns I haven't been to for a long time."
No stranger to Mudgee, having performed in at Roth's Wine Bar back in 2009, Tim said while COVID had otherwise decimated live music for a time, a return to cabaret music was a silver lining.
"I have to admit I like the excitement of planning, sort of 600-900 seat venues, they're our favorites in the cities. Places like the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and the Governor Hindmarsh in Adelaide. We don't play the small places a lot anymore. Because I can get to those places and do them solo," Tim said.
"That's sort of the silver lining in COVID - it's been four months which has suited cabaret, because it's been reduced capacities and people sitting down and watching them that suited my solo show, which I've been really enjoying putting on for people."
Tim will settle in with his piano to tell some stories, reinvent favourites like Blow Up the Pokies and No Aphrodisiac and play some tracks from The Whitlams' forthcoming album "Gaffage and Clink" at Lowe Wines Mudgee on April 18. The same packed Mudgee weekend which will see Wings, Wheels and Wine, a major race meet and the Manly Sea Eagles take on the Gold Coast Titans.
Tickets are on sale now from https://thewhitlams.com/tour