Christchurch Folk Music Club

Graham Wardrop and Roger Lusby

A night when two Otago raised lads brought their well-founded and honed skills to a Christchurch stage, amidst a room filled with anticipation and a full audience. If there was expectation in the air for a fantastic night of entertainment, there would have been no disappointment. Roger hails from Roxburgh, this rural experience crafted the story line of both songs and yearns.

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One touching tale was the reason the encore choice was made. Roger shared his recollection of performing ‘The Streets of London’ as the Lusby family in the Roxburgh hall to a packed audience, a tape recording of this song arriving with a letter in the post from England from his brother David and the tears of grief his mother shed when playing the tune. A touching tribute to the power of music, offering the wonderment to transport us across decades and oceans, sparkling with recollections to encapsulate a depth of connection.

The connection also bridged realms of history and folk legends. Thanks and recognition was generously given to Phil Garland, Milton Taylor and Slim Dusty. An impromptu few bars of Slim’s ‘About this Hat’ slipped easily off the fret board by Graham, matched equally by the original poem of Roger about the Akubra hat. The companionship and support between the two performers shone of mutual respect throughout the night which was a true delight to witness. Roger had the honour of performing on a Wardrop original and gave credit to both the craftsmanship of the luthier and the hands that usually fashioned the sounds, saying ‘this guitar has more notes than I am used too!’

Creativity reigned throughout the night, there were only two covers, and the remainder of the programme was packed with originals shaped by either Graham or Roger. Their sharing of the mic, the ballads, poems and dialogue flowed with an ease that embraced their friendship and respect for the other’s craft. This relaxed professionalism made for a night of ease to be an audience listener, it was so obvious that this pairing was well prepared and we were there to be taken on an enjoyable journey for the night. There was international and national recognition in the air as well.

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Rogers song ‘Miller’s Flat’ airs in Alaska, he announced incredulously, how does this happen he mused. However equally pleased to take the credit and the segway to an invitation to perform at an Alaskan folk festival. National recognition was outlined as Deirdre from Nelson nominated ‘Signs of Spring’ by Graham as the ‘Best Song Ever Written’ for Jesse Mulligan’s RNZ programme in 2012, a catchy chorus line that certainly had the audience participation winning vote as well.

The night was certainly a winner, thanks to Graham and Roger for their days of groundwork forming the plan for this night; this planning brought both Graham and Roger, together with their crafts to the fore and shining for our delight.

By Judi Smitheram, Secretary

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