Steve Cole and Erryn Metcalfe are The Barflys … a local duo who are equally at home playing a raw acoustic session or an uptempo electric party show, entertaining at a corporate function or a wedding. The trademark warmth, humour and musicality of this pair can lend itself to almost any kind of event you can imagine!
Hi guys! How did you meet and form The Barflys?
Steve: Erryn posted an ad on Facebook looking for a guitarist, and a mutual friend, Gabi, tagged me in the post and spoke highly of her.
My previous singer had moved back to Gundagai with her family, and I had been using fill-in singers for a couple months. I had a lot of dates booked and was desperate to find a permanent singer. Many venue owners would laugh and say, “We never know who’s gonna be singing with you until you get here” ha ha!
Erryn and I seemed to connect right away, and I was really blown away by her amazing voice.
You have quite a diverse musical background between you! Steve, apart from being involved with a few bands, you also performed as “Keith Richards” in a Rolling Stones tribute show for a few years. What was this experience like, and how has your performance history helped you hone your skill as a musician?
Steve: It’s funny; we come from completely different worlds. I’m kind of a Neanderthal who lives and breathes rock ‘n’ roll, blues and funk, while Erryn loves modern music. I guess it was time for me to try something new and live outside the square a little.
Oddly enough, I really dig playing some of these songs that in the past I might have even abused you about if you suggested I should perform them ha ha!
Playing the part of Keith Richards was awesome, as he is like a golden god to me. Watching him pick up his Telecaster is like watching Thor pick up his hammer.
It helped me as a musician by giving me more confidence and by teaching me that showmanship is equally as important as musical performance. I also got to travel to New Zealand and Tasmania and lots of other places and was lucky enough to play to some very large crowds.
Erryn, what experiences do you feel have shaped you most as a singer/performer?
I don’t think there are particular experiences that have shaped me as a singer; I just do what I love. I have been singing my whole life and had lessons throughout most of my childhood, mostly in jazz and musical theatre.
I think the singer I am is more due to the people I have surrounded myself with; they have made me more genuine and real and allowed me to put more emotion into my music.
As far as being a performer … I’m pretty sure I’m still learning/making that up along the way!
What/who most inspires you musically?
Erryn: My main musical inspiration comes from big powerhouse vocalists such as Whitney Houston, Etta James, Christina Aguilera, Jessie J, Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. I love how these artists really mastered their craft, and their performance is effortlessly flawless.
Steve: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Keith Richards, AC/DC, Hendrix, Clapton and Robert Johnson are my biggest influences, but there are countless others. I’m particularly inspired by anything that emanates from passion, energy and reckless abandon.
How would you describe the sound and vibe of The Barflys?
Erryn: The Barfly’s sound hopefully embraces those qualities mentioned before. It can be wide open and raw, or it can be polished and tight, depending on the song or the vibe we have at the time. The main vibe is really to have fun. We figure if we’re having a good time, then hopefully other peeps will too.
What are some of your favourite songs to perform (and why)?
Steve: My favourite song to perform at the moment is a song by Duffy called Mercy. It seems to have all the elements that we love – energy, great lyrics, percussion; it’s a bit bluesy, and I think it really showcases Erryn’s incredible voice. We also love playing arrangements we made up of Preacher Man, Etta James’s epic At Last and Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.
Erryn: My favourite song to perform would definitely have to be At Last, by the great Etta James. This song is absolutely my favourite song of all time. Everything about this song – the style, the lyrics and the melody – is so soulful. And yeah … Mercy by Duffy. It just has a great feel to it, and the audience seems to really enjoy it.
Where/when are some of your upcoming gigs?
Steve: By the time this publication goes to print, we would have played at this year’s Old Bar Festival on September 29th – we’re crazy excited about that. Sometime in the very near future we will be performing live on Strawny’s Brekky show on Triple M, singing ads to the music of classic songs.
We also have lots of local shows for October on our Facebook page, plus a few weddings and corporate functions.
What are your performing dreams/goals?
Steve: Our performing goals are simply to play as often as possible. We’d love to play more festivals and maybe do some originals next year. We are also in the process of adding a bass player and drummer, so that we can offer a full band show from time to time.
Erryn: I would really love to get into some original music and make a real career out of performing, but for now I’m quite happy to be entertaining the Mid North Coast.
Where can we contact you?
Steve: The best way to find out more about us is to like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thebarflyduo/ and follow us on Instagram, the barfly_duo. You can contact us anytime on 0420 949 515 or email email@example.com
We offer a variety of different shows, so we can play pretty much anywhere. Whether it’s a laid back Sunday afternoon acoustic session you’re looking for, or dinner music for a wedding, or an all up tempo electric party show, or even a combination – we can definitely accommodate all requirements. Weddings, corporate functions and Christmas parties are a specialty.
Interview: Jo Robinson.