Rory heads to Tamworth

Tumut’s ten-year-old guitar whiz Rory Phillips will have performed at two Tamworth Country Music Festivals before he starts fifth class this year.

He’ll be playing every day of the 10-day 2017 festival, the first time on January 20, appearing alongside the likes of James Blundell, Fanny Lumsden, Celine McAlister, 8-Ball Aitkins and Christie Lamb, entering two talent quests, making guest appearances on other shows, busking and featuring on a radio show.

Despite this, he’s not worried about sore fingers.

Rory Phillips.

“I might be knackered, but my fingers should be okay,” he said.

“Sometimes I look at my schedule and think ‘holy crap, what am I doing?’ but when I start playing I just love it.”

It is nothing new to him, as he was a big hit at last year’s festival, when he was just nine years old.

He entered talent quests, winning one and reaching the finals of two others. He finished in the top 10 of hundreds of buskers, and was the only one of these finalists to be such a young age.

By invitation of the Tamworth Junior Academy of Country Music, he performed at the Hats Off To Country festival, also in Tamworth, in July last year.

Rory’s career is on an upward trajectory, as he recorded a six track EP, featuring three original songs and three covers, in October last year, and it awaiting its final production and release.

He’s been guitar obsessed since he was three, got his first guitar at five, and began playing it at six.

He stumbled across his passion for country quite by accident.

He’s a huge Joe Walsh (multi-instrumentalist with the Eagles) fan, and as a present, was given tickets to see the Eagles in Hanging Rock, Victoria, in February of 2015.

“Before that, he had been asked if he wanted to see Kasey Chambers at the Montreal Theatre in Tumut, and has said ‘not really’, but Kasey supported the Eagles at the concert, and he enjoyed her performance,” Rory’s Mum Sam said.

After Kasey’s Montreal Theatre show in March 2015, Rory got talking with Bill Chambers, Kasey’s dad and an accomplished musician in his own right.

“Bill was chuffed that someone Rory’s age was so into the music,” he said.

He was introduced to Kasey backstage, and Sam rued the fact that she hadn’t brought her phone with her to photograph the moment.

However, this was a blessing in disguise, as Bill took a photo and swapped numbers with the family to text it to them.

He asked if Rory could send him video of him performing, and was very impressed with Rory’s work when he got it.

So much so that he invited him to play along side him, and Rory did so in Tumut and Canberra, and also played alongside Catherine Britt.

He’d like to make a full-time career out of music.

“If I can,” he said.

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