The year the music died

Tumut’s own Elvis, Len Connolly, is one of many musicians in the region whose careers have been put on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Gig-less musicians are another group of Tumut people hard hit by Covid-19 regulations.

The bans against gatherings mean that they have nowhere to play and no one to play or even practice with.

Most of Tumut’s musicians have full time jobs and don’t necessarily rely on their music for their main income, but the bans have put a solid hold on their musical careers.

Tumut’s own Elvis, Len Connolly, is missing the fun factor of music.

“It’s really disappointing not being able to play live,” he said.

“I love performing and making people happy.”

He performs for the enjoyment of it, not for financial gain.

“I’ve got a government job, so as far as income is concerned I’m okay, but it has affected musos and fans. Everyone is in the same boat.”

Len had accepted an invitation to perform at the Viva Paradise festival at Surfers Paradise, but this event has become one of so many casualties.

“I’m also meant to be performing at a show at the Commercial Club at Albury on August 16, but I’m hoping that might still go ahead,” he said.  

Len is still practicing singing and playing guitar at home and is looking forward to being in front of people again.

“I’m keen to get going again,” he said.

“Everything is on hold, but the local music scene will flourish once it comes back. It will be business as usual.”

Velvetsmyle singer Laura Rampling is a school teacher so she doesn’t rely on singing for income, but is disappointed she can’t perform out the front of the band or at functions like weddings for the foreseeable future.

“All of our upcoming gigs have been cancelled completely,” she said.

“Lots of weddings have been cancelled as well which hits pretty bad for a wedding singer.”

Captain Jack bass guitar player Brian Hartshorn has already lost four bookings.

“It’s been disappointing not being able to play,” he said.

“We had a new singer from Sydney who was going to make her debut at Rock the Turf, and make guest appearances for us in Tumut, and that was really going to be something good.

“At the moment I just strum the guitar by myself because we can’t practice.”

Rock-it bass guitarist Brett Day said the restrictions had taken a toll on the band, and not just in cancelled pub gigs.

“We’ve got a few new songs we want to practice, but we can’t,” he said. “We had Rock The Turf cancel and we had some weddings coming up and we won’t be able to play then.”

A motorbike rally they were to perform at towards the end of April is now looking unlikely, but the band is staying in touch as much as they can.

“We’re still communicating on the phone, group messenger and FaceTime,” Brett said.

Tumut Singer-songwriter and guitarist Jess Crossman is doing it tough.

“It has affected my music in the regard that music is sometimes something I can rely on financially, but the main issue is that it is much harder to release new songs and even my new album due to the fact that I cannot broadcast it as well live,”

“New music may also be a god-send for some during isolation so I guess that is a standing point, however, most of social media is bombarded with information about the coronavirus and there is not a lot of room for us small musicians trying to be heard.”