“I used to come and play in the corner of the front bar at the Golden Vine in the early days, before the back room was set up as a venue.”
Jeff Lang has fond memories of the Golden Vine.
“They were fun shows, everyone pretty close to you. I wrote the song Ravenswood – title track from my 1994 debut – sitting in my van outside the Vine. There’s a real mood in that whole Goldfields area.”
Lang returns to the Golden Vine, next Friday, March, 24, showcasing new album, Alone in Bad Company, which was released at the end of February. The Vine gig is near the start of a lengthy nationwide tour that runs until June, taking in 26 venues.
Lang has played in Bendigo over 20 times in his long career. He’s travelling alone this time.
“I’ll be performing solo, just me and my various stringed instruments. I’m looking forward to it.”
Lang thrives on touring. “The positive is the direct engagement between myself and the audiences. Something about travelling to different places and having different groups of people to bounce the songs off helps keep the music fresh for me.”
He manages the drawbacks though. “I miss my family when I’m away, but it’s never too long without seeing them, we deliberately keep it from taking me away for longer than three weeks at one stretch.”
He would certainly be accumulating air miles though. “One time I had to play three shows in France, fly back to Melbourne then straight across to WA, play at Fairbridge Folk Festival for two days, fly back to Melbourne then straight back to France for another two weeks of shows. Jet lag madness. After that ten hours in the van feels like a doddle!”
Lang’s new album showcases his renowned storytelling. Some of the titles – Nocturne For Tangle Eye, Falling Down An Infinite Staircase, Half My Luck – just leap out at you.
“Nocturne For Tangle Eye is an instrumental piece that I improvised after listening to a collection of field recordings of black American prisoners singing unaccompanied. One of the singers had a particularly incredible voice and the moniker he went by was Tangle Eye, so I dedicated the piece to him.”
“Fugitive Ghosts was written about Gino and Mark Stocco, the father and son outlaws who were sought for eight years for various crimes. They were kind of like modern day bushrangers, and the song is me imagining what it would be like living that way, looking over your shoulder.”
Lang has an extensive back catalogue with 12 solo albums under his belt, several live albums and collaborations with the likes of Bob Brozman, Chris Whitley and Hat Fitz.
A three-times ARIA winner, Lang is highly regarded by fellow musicians. John Butler described him as “a national treasure, a truly gifted songwriter and an outstanding guitarist. He has been inspiration to countless Australian and internationally renowned roots artists and surely has a place in history as one of this generation’s finest.
The show starts at 9pm. Tickets are available directly from the Golden Vine.