It’s here, Gold Coast, and it’s well worth the wait. Blues on Broadbeach has just dropped their second lineup announcement and The Black Sorrows, one of Australia’s most prolific and enduring acts, is right at the top of the list.
Led by living legend Joe Camilleri, The Black Sorrows have been a beloved part of Australia’s musical landscape since forming in 1984. Renowned as a dynamic live act and festival favourite, the band takes crowds on a musical journey that encompasses everything from blues and roots through to old school R&B, with flashes of jazz, country and even pop.
Fresh off the back of finishing the recording of his 50th (yes, fiftieth) album, we had an energising conversation with the chatty and down-to-earth Mr Camilleri ahead of what is set to be his first appearance at Blues on Broadbeach since 2015.
It’s been far too long in between sets, he tells us.
“I love it there,” he says. “It’s kind of like being a movie, there are these people there living their lives and they’re looking down at you, and you’re only playing a small part in them.
“I do a lot of these things and a lot of them are free, but there’s something about this particular festival, the atmosphere is a little bit different, I don’t know if it’s because it’s near the water or everyone’s relaxed in a different way, there’s just something special about it, it’s like this block party concept!
“I love the fact that they give a lot of young kids an opportunity to play too.”
At 72, Joe shows no sign of slowing down, with 20 shows under his belt for January, and 18 planned for March. February was a slow month, he laments, due to recording the album, with the band managing to get in “only” 12 shows.
I’m beginning to understand why former backup singer Vika Bull referred to him as a “workhorse” when we interviewed her in the March edition of Blank.
“Aw, could she not have called me something a little bit sweeter?!” he laughs. “No, you see, even while I’m talking to you, I’m sweeping up after getting water damage, I’m hanging paintings because I just love to re-arrange. I can’t even play my saxophone until that stuff is done. So what does that tell you about me?”
It tells us that fans are in for one hectic ride when Joe and the current Black Sorrows lineup of James Black, Tony Floyd, Mark Gray and Claude Carranza hit the stage over the May weekend in Broadbeach. Joe hints there may even be a surprise or two in store.
“I might even go a bit off to the shoulder, let a few sweet loveables onto the stage,” he chuckles. As for who the said loveables might be, Joe doesn’t give too much away, although he is excited about seeing our very own Mason Rack (“He’s a good stick. Great arms!”) and also couldn’t resist getting in a good-natured dig at his long-time friend and fellow industry veteran Tommy Emmanuel, with whom he is sharing the bill.
“They did tell me Tommy was playing. I said ‘Why’?” Joe laughs. “You know everyone hears Tommy and they think about what a great musician he is. All I think about when I think of Tommy is this terrible joke he told the night I got inducted into the Hall of Fame!”
As for what people think when they hear the name Joe Camilleri, he isn’t fazed.
“I don’t know! I just come to play. I love playing music and I think the difference I bring is the joy in it. Let’s just have fun, do the hits and all that stuff, it doesn’t matter what we do. Let’s just do it in a way that’s completely joyous.”
Come and feel the joy with the Black Sorrows when Blues on Broadbeach hits the streets on 14 to 17 May 2020.
Rounding out the second lineup announcement is G. Love – Don Bryant and the Bo-Keys – Bootleg Rascal – Tami Neilson – Karen Lee Andrews – Hat Fitz and Cara – Ray Beadle & The Hi-Tones – The Soul Movers – Li’l Chuck The One Man Skiffle Machine – Devils Kiosk Duo – Dean Haitani – Mojo Webb & Wil Sargisson – Tim Stokes – Eamon Dilworth’s Crawfish Po’Boys – BB Factory – Dezzie D and the Stingrays – Benny D Williams – Mike Beale – Mike Elrington – Trombone Kellie Gang – B-Daddy and the Double D’s – Simon Kinney-Lewis Band with special guest Andy Just – Adam Hole Band – Slips and the FW’s – Julian James – Nikolaine Martin – Matthew Armitage – Patrik Williams.
Click here for the first lineup announcement.