Melinda Schneider is renowned as one of Australia’s best female entertainers. With six Golden Guitars and a slew of other awards; there’s no doubt as to why her career has spanned so many years.
Visiting LUSC this month, Melinda will be honouring other women of country music, as she takes on the solo tour of her much acclaimed album that she produced in 2014 with Beccy Cole: Great Women Of Country – and The Songs That Made Them.
Melinda tells FOCUS about the upcoming performance and the inspiration behind the album and tour.
Melinda, there are so many wonderful women in country music, so when it was time to put the album together, how did you choose who would be included?
I originally produced the album as a duet with Beccy Cole, and we both wrote out our lists of our favourite country music artists and the songs … and a lot of them crossed over. We both had a love of so many of the same songs and had been inspired by them; so they were added to the list, and then we whittled them down to a list of 23 tracks that we would put on the album.
There are a lot of Dolly (Parton) songs, as she is such a prolific songwriter – I think we ended up with six Dolly songs on the record.
There are also the likes of Tammy Wynette, Linda Ronstadt and Olivia Newton John – so many amazing female country music artists who had inspired us through our youth and that we know so many people love.
As this is a solo tour, how have you adapted the tracks and the performances?
The original album had some solos and some duets. I tended to do a lot of the ballads and Beccy did a lot of the story songs, and then we met together on a few duets.
So for this tour I am doing the whole album and all the songs on my own.
It will be a massive night – with two 45 minutes sets, and I will also throw in a few of my own songs, some of the popular ones, at the end of the night.
You must have an amazing band coming with you – tell us about them.
I do have an amazing band – they are some of the best country music players in Australia, and a lot of people would know the likes of my guitarist Rod Motbey, who has played with Adam Harvey and many other artists.
Brad Burger is on drums – he’s also an amazing guitarist – as well as Mick Moolous and Stefan Novak. They are immensely talented and can also sing and help out with the harmonies – as well as being lovely, lovely guys.
I am very lucky to be working with a great group of people.
There are some classic songs in the sets, and they are no doubt going to get the crowds singing and dancing, wouldn’t you say?
Yes. You see, everyone knows these songs, and they all know the words.
It is like one big singalong, and I definitely encourage that, so we have a bit of fun. If ever I forget the words, I don’t have to worry! (Laughs.)
What is it that you love about getting on stage and singing these great songs?
Oh well, it is what I do! It is what I have always done, as I have been performing on stage since I was three, and never had a 9 – 5 job. I have always been a singer. It is like breathing to me and a very important part of my life.
I love getting on stage and performing and giving people a good time – making them laugh, maybe making them cry with sad songs. It can be an emotional journey – especially as we tour regional areas – music can help take people away on a journey, away from their worries (like in drought affected areas). Entertainment can provide an escape for people …
So what does 2019 hold for you?
I am recording a new album; I am currently in the studio, and it will be my first new album in ten years.
I have been working on a number of concept albums in recent years, such as my Doris Day Project, the Great Women of Country, and I also had a baby!
It has been a busy ten years, but I have had about six years of getting these original songs really right. I have just started recording this album, and it is called The Woman; it’s for the women and people who love them.
It has been an inspiring and liberating project for me, and I have recorded it under my own label, Empower Records. I am empowering myself in all different ways with this project.
My dream is to celebrate, validate and empower women at the same time that I do it for myself.
Melinda performs live at Laurieton United Services Club on Saturday, March 23.Melinda Schneider Sings Great Women Of Country.
Phone (02) 6559 9110.