Beccy Cole & Gina Jeffreys – Australian Country Music legends

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Australian Country Music legends, Beccy Cole and Gina Jeffreys, visit the Great Lakes again to perform at Club Forster on Friday 10 February at 8pm … We caught up with the best friends of 20 years to find that fame and industry acclaim hasn’t affected this down-to-earth duo one little bit …

Beccy Cole

What do you like about coming to the Manning-Great Lakes?

It’s not too far from home, so I’m often in the area to write songs. I love the beaches, the people and the food! We always have lovely, warm crowds when we come to the Great Lakes. I don’t think I could possibly count the amount of times I’ve been there with the many shows I’ve toured with.

You’ve been at the forefront of the Australian music landscape for nearly two decades and are a prolific recording artist, having released seven studio albums … What motivates you?

Life and people. I just love travelling, and I love the creative part of me that finds songs everywhere. My favourite thing to have happen is when a ‘trigger’ goes off and there is an urgency about putting what I have just experienced into a song. Wherever I am, I have to stop and capture the emotion of the moment, and this is where I feel I find good results. Believe me, I’ve written many duds to come up with the selections that make the records, but it’s a process …

Most of all, I love the growth I see when I look at the music on those seven albums, and I count my blessings that I’ve been given the opportunities to explore that growth. I never get complacent about my position in the industry… I’m not the best singer, player or writer in the world, but I am hardworking, and it is very important to me that I give people something they will enjoy. That comes before any self indulgent urges I might have!

Songs & Pictures is your most recent release and your most personal album to date, one which you solely financed. What sets this album apart from your others?

These songs are real. Each one is from an experience that I have lived and reported on first hand. I can’t explain how much I enjoyed making this record, other than to say that the process was a dream come true, and the results of making the album in this new and different way are extremely precious to me.

From the artwork and photographs, which were provided by two very close friends (artist, Judy Nadin, and photographer, Lauren O’Brien) to the musicians (my touring band, rather than studio musicians) down to a new Producer, in the very talented Shane Nicholson. These were all new steps taken to make the songs come to life in an exciting and different way for me.

You’ve won a slew of Golden Guitars. How proud are you of this acknowledgement, and where do all the awards live?

Golden Guitars are not something we set out to win when we make records. Winning them, however, is the most incredible feeling of accomplishment that one can experience in my industry. I’m extremely proud of those little fellas, and they hold pride of place on a borrowed baby grand piano that belongs to Sara Storer (I think she has forgotten that I have it, as it’s been here for a couple of years now!) This is where Sara also kept her accolades, and I love the tradition that I have upheld here!

In February, you’re performing a run of shows with Gina Jeffreys. How did this come to be?

Gina is one of my closest and dearest friends. We were bridesmaids for each other, as well as touring at length with the Songbirds (also with Sara) for over three years. Gina and I just took our families on a camping holiday together, during which I not only beat her several times at Scrabble, I was also witness to a fine moment of her coming an absolute cropper on the ‘bomber’ behind a friend’s ski boat. Special times.

We’ll be friends forever; we know too much. Performing with one of your best friends is such a special feeling … Add to this, that I believe Gina Jeffreys to be the woman who singlehandedly changed the way women were perceived in our industry, and you have a unique combination. I can’t wait!

What’s next for you?

Touring and then more touring. My dates for 2012 are filling fast, with shows across the country and even after 20 years of being on the road, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My itchy feet don’t let me stay at home long; I’m always happiest when I’m either searching for a song, or singing one I’ve found. I’ll be doing this until they throw tomatoes at me. I just hope they’re not canned.

Thanks Beccy.

 Gina Jeffreys

What do you like about coming to the Manning-Great Lakes? 

This is one of the prettiest places in Australia. It always feels more like we are going away on a holiday than heading to town to do a show.

What can the audience expect from your impending performance with Beccy at Club Forster? 

As Beccy mentioned, we were each other’s bridesmaids (two weddings and one divorce!) We’ve been best mates for nearly 20 years, so watching us do a show together is like watching two old friends out on a girls’ night out! Lots of laughs, lots of stories and of course, a bunch of great music.

You’re married to Rod McCormack, head of Core music label. Rod produced your albums Christmas Wish, Walks of Life, Old Paint. From an artistic perspective, what was it like to collaborate with your husband?

Rod is a perfectionist, and he really expects that from everyone else too. He is wonderful to work with. He’s so creative, so kind. I love writing with him, love being in the studio with him (he has very strong opinions, but so do I!) I think we make a great team. Rod knows me better than anyone, so creatively, it’s a great place to start when you are trying to create an album that reflects who I really am.

Both you and Beccy live on the Central Coast and have been friends for time eternal. How did you meet, and what do you like about performing with Beccy? 

Beccy and I met in Tamworth in the early ‘90s. She is the first person I ever met who loves Country Music like I do. I grew up in a country town and all those years ago, you didn’t tell your friends you loved Country Music! So when Bec and I met, it was like we had found our tribe. We found someone else who shares the same passion… Somewhere to feel like you fit in, I guess.

Then we quickly realised we share a crazy sense of humour. I haven’t stopped laughing with her since the day we met. Being on stage with Bec is ridiculous fun. Our main aim is to make the other one laugh so hard, that they can’t sing!

What was it like to meet Country Music legend Kenny Rogers?

I grew up listening to him! He is a big part of the reason I love Country Music, so when I met him I was really nervous!

What’s next for you?

We are about to record a new album, and I’ll be back out on the road for more fun! My life at home now is quite different to how it used to be, because I run a performance school on the Central Coast. So these days I spend most of my time mentoring and helping develop new talent, and I absolutely love it.

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