It was a beautiful Queenstown afternoon at Kinross Winery on Sunday where about 100 friends, family and the people of Gore assembled for fine food, fine wine and very fine music.
New Zealand’s newest super partnership came back together for the second time in the past six months in a lockdown embrace, and we once again thank our lucky stars for our isolation, our resilience, our compliance and for Jackie Bristow and Barry Saunders.
Barry Saunders you know, of course, iconic in The Warratahs, and many solo efforts, and most recently Best Country Music Artist of the year along with Delaney Davidson for their 2020 effort Word Gets Around. And Jackie Bristow, singing since her childhood in Gore with sister Katrina, and then moving off to Australia and then the US, and occasionally seen back home supporting Bonnie Raitt. Jackie got stuck here last year just a few days before flying back to Nashville and we are grateful. There’s a new album due out later this year which has been recorded and mixed between Auckland and Nashville. But in the meantime, there’s been time for Jackie and Barry to play together, and grow together as a potential new musical partnership, and maybe there’s some recording to be done? Fingers crossed, watch this space.
Barry kicks off with one of many songs of rejection, watching, through his binoculars, a young female painter at work in the “Mount Victoria Rain” and being busted in voyeur view and getting a non-verbal sign of disgust from the unhappy artist. Jackie joins him on backing vocals for “Magnetic South” and they sing together on the Warratahs’ “Hands on my Heart”. Barry’s raspy, gritty, “taste the dirt” Americana voice mixed with the clear pure country Jackie sound is pure magic, and then Barry picks out a neat little solo effort in support of Jackie’s classic “Whistle Blowin’”. A helicopter intrudes, and Jackie howls at the moon in her bluesy recent offering “Blue Moon Rising” A new song from Jackie comes next, written in the lockdown paradise of Waikaia, a “Goldmine” town. Rock n Roll stays king as it’s the “Right Time” for Barry to present a new song, before another rejection song, this time from Max Merritt to the young 16 year old fan, as Barry and Jackie sing the first of their road trip songs, the legendary “Slippin’ Away” “Move On” is a song they are recording together, and then the June Carter Cash version of “Ring of Fire”, the original version before Johnny got hold of it.
If you’re ever cleaning out your ears with your car keys, then “One Red Morning” it is, before Jackie takes us to the land of Memphis, Nashville and just across the border to the Shoals, with “Tennessee”. Barry is no Mark Punch on guitar, but he gets bloody close! The Bristow Sisters are back together as Katrina joins the duo on a song I think is called “Take it to the Train” but I might be wrong, but never mind, it’s just magic to hear the two Bristow voices in subtle contrast.
Barry takes us back to Surry Hills in Sydney where “Maureen” once lived, such a memory now referred to as ‘Chlorine’ in order to downplay the perception of obsession with a former flame. Bonnie Tyler interjects as another road song arrives, and then we are on a wrap as Barry picks up a couple of classic Warratah songs, “The Wheel Inside” and “Drivin’ Wheel”, while Jackie closes off in between the latter two songs with her classic “Freedom” and the audience is on their feet shaking’ their booties.
Two singers, two guitars, two sets of great songs, three great covers and one hundred happy punters makes for a sublime afternoon in the Gibbston Valley sun.
Barry Saunders and Jackie Bristow…..born to sing…..together….
- Mt Victoria Rain (Saunders)
- Magnetic South (Saunders)
- Hands on my Heart (Saunders)
- Whistle Blowin’ (Bristow)
- Blue Moon Rising (Bristow)
- Goldmine (Bristow)
- Right Time (Saunders)
- Slippin’ Away ( Merritt)
- Move On (Saunders/Bristow)
- Ring of Fire (Cash)
- One Red Morning (Saunders)
- Tennessee (Bristow)
- Take it to the Train (Let it Rain) (??) (Bristow)
- Maureen (Saunders)
- It’s a Heartache (Tyler)
- The Wheel Inside (Saunders)
- Freedom (Bristow)
- Drivin’ Wheel (Saunders)