By Natalie Phillips
Australian folk duo Bluehouse is back in America and preparing to play Don Quixote’s in Felton on Oct. 19. The group, made up of the lively Jacqueline Walter and Bernadette Carroll, took a few minutes to speak with City on a Hill Press (CHP) about their experiences in the States and about their impressions of Santa Cruz.CHP: So, the two of you met at a pub in 1995. How did you strike up a conversation?
Walter: It was a very casual meeting, we had friends in common. We started swapping jokes. It sounds kind of weird, but we just started talking and swapping jokes. CHP: You met in a pub, and your slogan is "Bluehouse: It’s Australian for great music." Are you guys big beer drinkers?
Walter: No, no we’re not. I think the English are bigger beer drinkers than Australians are. Is that a Foster’s thing? CHP: So what do you think of Santa Cruz?
Carroll: I think it’s one of the most artistic places in America. There’s a similar place to it in Australia called Byron Bay, which has a similar meeting of art and intellect. I know that might sound a bit wanky, but there’s definitely a bit of Australia going through Santa Cruz. When we come there, there’s a feeling of home. CHP: Does the Santa Cruz audience stand out in any way from an Australian one?
Walter: Yeah, they’re cruzy (laid back), they’re very cruzy. Very easygoing, and they love music. It’s just so nice to walk into a community that supports music, and live new music that they haven’t heard before. CHP: You’ve shared the stage with some large names in music, such as Neil Young, Elvis Costello and the Cowboy Junkies. Any interesting stories?
Walter: Let me see…that was the festival where no one got paid, but we did because we took our payment in airflights. We got home.
It was in New Zealand. We met UB40, they sing that song "Red Red Wine." They invited us to their table, and we had a pretty good night with them. They spent more on room service than they did on anything else. They were wild boys, a lot of fun though. CHP: Have you experienced any culture clash since you started touring in the United States or are you immune to it at this point?
Walter: There’s always clash from one country to another. Americans are very accepting of Australians and the way they are. The hardest thing is the accent, sometimes we get misunderstood, and maybe our humor is a little different. But on the whole, you guys are great. You seem to find our accent very nice. CHP: Any difference in the music you play in America versus in Australia?
Carroll: Totally, we’ve had to explain that to our Australian audience. The music we’re writing now is influenced by the Americana culture we’re being introduced to. To come here and feel the generosity of the people, there’s no way it doesn’t affect the music we write now.
For more information about Bluehouse, visit the group’s website at http://www.bluehouse.net.