Artist profile: Bill Barber

Artist profile: Bill Barber

I caught up with Bill Barber between sets with his new band the Blackwood Shakedown at the Golden Vine recently.

The addition of a bassist and saxophonist has given Bill a meatier sound. What’s also apparent having seen Bill seven or eight times since Big Hill Winery last year is how much more confident he is on stage. He will have a formidable stage presence in the future.

“How did you get into music Bill?” “It was Dad’s record collection. It might sound weird but when I was a young kid I couldn’t get to sleep without listening to Chris Wilson. Then I moved onto Geoff Achison, Lloyd Spiegel, Son House, Muddy Walters, Rory Gallagher…”

Bill’s set now includes originals such as Whatya Got To Say? along with perennials like Who Do You Love? and Oreo Cookie Blues. His first CD should be out in April or May.

He enjoys Bendigo. “It’s a real regional centre for live music. The community embraces it. Every week several venues put on good acts.” In addition to his busy rehearse-play-rehearse-play schedule Bill Barber took “time out” last year to organise the youth stages at the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival.

“I suggested it to Colin,” he says, “and he said “run with it” so I did.” The result was 15 or 16 young Bendigo performers, with visiting acts mixed in, on two stages over two days in Lansell Gardens and at RockPride Music (RPM).

“It was good to organise and I got some really good help and advice from Skip and Andrew Watts. The best thing was to see the great audience reaction.” With that our interview ended. Bill’s drummer has come over; they’re due back on stage. Busy young man indeed. And a very bright young talent.