Home in Hahndorf: Beccy Cole talks of writing songs, performing live, and her calling back to South Australia

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Country Music star, Beccy Cole, returns to her home state of South Australia and is set to launch her new album at the Hahndorf Old Mill on September 15. 

For Beccy Cole, being a star was never part of the ‘life’ equation. It’s always been about the music and the audience.

Starting out singing in her mum’s band at 14, she’s been delighting audiences with her husky voice and down to earth humour for over 25 years. With ten Golden Guitar awards (Country Music Awards of Australia) under her belt, as well as multiple ARIA Top 10 Country and Top 40 Mainstream albums, Beccy is nothing short of accomplished.  

Her latest Album, Lioness, released in August this year, is a carefully procured album, bursting with female talent from across the country music scene and beyond.

Originally from South Australia, Beccy is returning this weekend to officially launch the new 100 percent female-produced album. Her home state of South Australia was keen to get her back home for the official album launch, and it didn’t take much convincing. With a love for Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills, Beccy is officially launching her new album, the first 100% female produced album in Australia, at the Hahndorf Old Mill on September 15.

We asked Beccy a few questions about her life and career on the road, and what drew her back to her hometown.


How long have you been playing music?

Mum had a country rock band in Adelaide in the eighties and nineties, so I started working with her when I was 14 which was about 30 years ago. Mum was a singer and I just always wanted to do the same. I think I thought everyone’s mum was a singer.


What drew you to playing professionally?

I left mums band and went on the road with the Dead Ringer Band which was Kasey Chamber’s family band at the time - we bonded over music. I got a taste of touring around Australia…and then I heard about the Star Maker award in Tamworth - all these great country people had won it and so I thought I’d give it a go. I won that when I was 18 or 19…that was a stepping stone…you get a little record deal and that’s what got me cracking.

It wasn’t about being a star…it was always about making music. That’s the most important thing. You don’t hang around very long if you’re doing it to be a star. That was always very important for me.


How has your music changed?

I’ve always been attracted to more rootsy country music but, like everything, it’s an evolution. I’ve always been one of those people that has pushed my folk-country to more of a rock-blues path…my music is a bit of a fusion and these days it’s probably more classed as ‘singer-songwriter’ or ‘Americana’. People need labels but I’d rather just call it good music.


Where do you draw inspiration for writing songs?

It’s a lot easier to write about yourself and stuff that’s happened, but I also love talking to people and hearing their stories. I believe there’s a song in everybody - there are songs and stories everywhere, but they’re ever-changing. [I like writing about] just the beauty of the landscape of this country in particular…I’ve been on the road a lot and it’s one of the most inspiring things to write music in the morning on the road…there’s so many stories to be told.


What’s your favourite part of your job?

I think performing live. I love all the aspects of my job, but performing live is something that I just love. I love being on stage and entertaining an audience. If you make an audience laugh they’ll listen to everything you say. Humour and having a go of myself is a huge part of my shows. I think self-deprecating humour is the Aussie way.

I also love writing...this last album I wrote and recorded in South Australia.


Where was the album recorded?

We recorded it in the Hills actually. I recorded it at Mix Master Studios which is in Hawthorndene. There’s always this pressure to go to Sydney or Melbourne to record but I thought we’ve got state of the art equipment here… I wrote this one on the river at Morgan, and the one before I wrote on the beach at Aldinga. No regrets in that decision…I love the sound. There’s a lot of South Australian content in the songs. Victor Harbour is mentioned, there’s one called Coromandel Valley.


What was important to you about recording this album in your home state?

It’s a bit of a coming home thing for me…I lived in Sydney for years but I realised this is where I’m happiest. I’m not afraid to say that any more. I think a lot of us realise how beautiful it is here. One of my absolute pet hates is when people complain about Adelaide - it’s a small town syndrome. It really prickles me up when people do that…the city is incredible, the wine country is incredible, the beach is amazing.


What are you most looking forward to with this upcoming tour?

For me, it’s a celebration of music and it’s a celebration of women in music. All the people [on the record] are women - that’s never been done in Australia. I’m not a man hater…I’ve raised one,  but the music industry is such a dude’s world and I have played with some of the most amazing women over the years. I want little girls to come to the show and see that they can play guitar or drums…that’s a really important thing.

Image credit: Adam Gormley Photography

What made you choose the Old Mill for your album launch?

That particular venue in Hahndorf is synonymous with my style of music and I’ve played there half a dozen times before over the years. I love playing in regional areas, obviously. Hahndorf is just so beautiful. Every time I’ve got band members from interstate they just fall in love with Hahndorf.


What is it about Hahndorf in particular that brings you back so many times?

I like everything about Hahndorf. I think when it comes to Hahndorf itself, walking down the main street [is great]…you can just spend hours pottering around and then go and have a beer. It’s steeped in history and you think you’re hours and hours from the city.

Interestingly, I got married just around the road from Hahndorf earlier this year. We [Libby and I] got married at Howard Vineyard which is just gorgeous...that is obviously an absolute sentimental favourite [in the Hills].


Why did you choose South Australia as your home base? 

I feel really connected with the Hills…I grew up in Blackwood in this seemingly rural area which is actually 15 minutes from Adelaide. I live back in South Australia now, quite close to Blackwood again. I moved back coming up to five years ago now… this is my base. It’s just perfect.


How special is it to play in South Australia, your home state?

I love it. I love it because I had to leave here to pursue something and get noticed, but when I come home, people want to come to see me and see what I’m doing…I get really proud of that.


Her album launch at the Hahndorf Old Mill is on September 15 from 6pm. Enjoy an optional Smorgasbord dinner prior to the live event at 8pm. Tickets are available for purchase here