Last night, sitting on the grass, one among the thousands who had gathered, the winter sky revealing its stars, my eyes and heart welled up. We gathered, as people have done on this land for millenia, to celebrate the power of the word. In the not too distant (and very bleak) past, this would have been considered an illegal gathering, but last night, we sat in harmony, celebrating the songs and stories of one of our finest singer/songwriter/poets, Kev Carmody.
The list of artists who took to the stage to breathe new life into these songs, was a veritable who’s who of Australian rock. There were many highlights…
Tex Perkins stripping back, the bluntly beautiful Darkside (from the album Bloodlines), performing it as a menacing spoken word piece.
Glenn Richards (Augie March), Missy Higgins & Paul Kelly’s version of Droving Woman (from the album Eulogy). With Kelly delivering lines like, some dogs grow too old for change, it seemed the song was written for him.
The visceral rock of The Drones took River of Tears (from the album Eulogy) to a whole new place; Gareth Liddiard wailing, two hundred years in the river of fear / they gunned him down. You could see on Kev’s face when he walked out on stage after it, that he was blown away by the power they mustered.
Steve Kilbey’s version of Images of London (from the album Images and Illusions) was exquisite. Kev recorded this song in Steve’s old Rozelle studio in 1995, so it was great to hear Steve put his stamp on it. Here’s a great link to Steve talking about and perfoming the song.
And if there was one defining moment, it was Kev himself taking centre stage to perform Cannot Buy My Soul.
As the last notes of From Little Things, Big Things Grow drifted off into the night sky, we stood as one, brought together by stories. Stories that will remain with me for as long as I draw breath.