Singin’ for the Home Crowd
The out-there girl of country music, Beccy Cole, is a headline act in Feast 2013. She spoke to Peter Burdon.
The best part of twenty years on the road and Beccy Cole’s going as strong as ever. She’s about to hit the road with a tour to promote her new album, her eighth, Big Hits, and is looking forward to finishing the tour in Adelaide at Feast. “What I was really hoping to do was to be in Adelaide for more than one night!” Beccy says with a laugh, “Now don’t get me wrong, I love performing, but you spend a lot of your life with one night here, one night there, then going home to rest up before the next lot, and this year I’ve actually got a few days in Adelaide, and a couple of gigs, and I couldn’t be happier.”
The big gig for Cole will be a huge party at the new ANZ Cluster, the area behind Fowlers Live on North Terrace. “It’ll be the icing on the cake of the tour, and hopefully the weather will be great and we can all get out under the stars and make some noise,” she says with a laugh, “and like I said, being at Feast will be great. I was only there for a short time last year, but this year has been great, apart from all the usual gigs I’ve done Mardi Gras and the Big Gay Day in Brisbane. It’s great to be with what I might call my home crowd!”
No-one who saw Beccy Cole’s appearance on Australian Story last year will soon forget the ease with which one of Australia’s foremost singer/songwriters came out. “It was an interesting year,” she says with a chuckle, “I’ve thought about it a lot, you won’t be surprised to know. I mean, I knew fifteen, twenty years ago, but I had an ingrained fear about it at the time. I was right at the start of making a serious career, and I didn’t want to risk it. I’m quite embarrassed to say it now, because I’m out and proud and I’m a justice freak! One thing I have definitely realised is that it’s important, if you’ve got even the slightest bit of celebrity in you, to come out. Especially if, like me, you’ve got a voice in regional Australia. I receive letters almost every day from regional gay youth saying that the Australian Story appearance made it easier for them, either to come out or at least to cope. I don’t want to pretend that everyone tells me joyous stories, though they’re definitely the majority. But some people are doing it rough, and there are some sad stories about having to leave my town, and that sort of thing. I had the privilege to be able to tell my story without any bias or twists and turns.”
Cole has also come to realise that a lot of her music has actually been telling her story for a long time now. “It was when I was working out what songs to include on the album that it really came home to me,” she says, “I realised I’d actually been putting a lot of what I was thinking into my songs almost from the beginning. I look at 'Clown Song' now and I realise that I’d actually written it from the deep dark depths of the closet. It’s not a bad song, don’t get me wrong, but it was a way of saying ‘I’m gay but I’m going to hide behind it with humour’. You put the unconscious bits into your songs, I think, and that’s a good reminder to me now that I am out, and I am proud. If you keep that in mind, you don’t get too cocky!”
Beccy is really looking forward to visiting. “And I hope we get a huge crowd,” she says with a laugh, “Feast deserves it, it’s a great festival, and it’s for our community, and it’s a reminder that country music’s not as bad as you think. I call it country with mirror balls!”
Beccy Cole performs at the ANZ Cluster on Friday November 15. Book at Feastix at www.feast.org.au.