Bush band

Bush band

:"Not to be confused with Bush (band)."

A bush band is a group of musicians that play traditional Australian folk music or contemporary folk music played in a traditional Australian style. A similar bush band tradition is also found in New Zealand.


In addition to vocals, instruments featured in bush bands may include fiddle, accordion, guitar, banjo, mandolin, concertina, harmonica, lagerphone, bush bass (tea chest bass), tin whistle, and bodhrán. Less common are the piano, bones, barcoo dog (a sheep herding tool used as a sistrum), spoons, and musical saw. Although not traditional, electric bass guitar or electric guitar have occasionally been used since the 1970s.

Repertoire and function

Bush bands play music for bush dances, in which the dance program is usually based on dances known to have been danced in Australia from colonial times to the folk revival in the 1950s. Contemporary dances, composed in the traditional style, are also featured at bush dances.

Some popular traditional bush dances are Stockyards, Haymaker's Jig, Galopede, Brown Jug Polka, Virginia Reel and Barn Dance. Popular contemporary bush dances include Blackwattle Reel, Jubilee Jig, CHOGM Pentrille, Knocking Down His Cheque and Midnight Schottische.

Bush bands also play "bush ballads," many of which date to the 19th century. Among the most notable bush lyricists was the poet Banjo Paterson.

The Bush Music Club, based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, hold regular bush dances and Colonial Balls where bush bands perform.


Bush bands, as currently formulated, experienced a revival in 1953 with the musical play "Reedy River", which was first produced by the New Theatre in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. Written by Dick Diamond, the musical featured twelve or so Australian songs, which included Doreen Jacobs' setting of Helen Palmer's "Ballad of 1891," as well as the title song, Chris Kempster's setting of Lawson's "Reedy River." The backing band for this popular stage production was "The Bushwhackers," who had formed a year earlier in 1952. As the musical was performed in Brisbane and other Australian cities, local "bush bands" modeled on the Sydney group, such as Brisbane's "The Moreton Bay Bushwhackers" sprang up in each place; many of these remained together following the closing of the musical, and spawned other, similar groups.

Contemporary bush bands

Perhaps the best known bush band internationally, albeit in their later years with the influence of English folk rock bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, was the Bushwackers (spelt without the "h" as in the earlier Bushwhackers Band of the 1950s), who formed in Melbourne . The "Wackers," as they are known by their fans, toured around the world and with their larrikin, outgoing style, song books, dance instruction books and records, contributed markedly to the spread of bush music and dancing, especially in Australia. Their style was infused with Celtic music (i.e. reels and jigs) to a greater extent than previous bush bands, and they used an electric bass guitar in place of the more traditional bush bass. The period leading up to and following Australia's Bicentenary, 1988, saw a marked resurgence in bush music and bush dances that lasted for many years.

Many bands also bearing the rock influence and adding original music rode this Australiana wave. Examples are the Ants Bush Band, Eureka!, Skewiff, and Bullamakanka and some bands, including the Bushwackers, still perform on an occasional basis. Few bands formed in the 1980s survive to this day. One exception, while seeing many player changes overs the years, is Currency Lads, which still performs regularly (2007). Also, Brisbane's [http://www.rantan.com.au Rantan Bush Band] has continued to survive till the present (2008) having played continuously since its formation in 1977. This busy band still has two original members (Robyn and Alan Craig) and a lead guitarist/banjo player (Bob Hall) who has served with the band for more than 25 years.

In recent years the emergence of bands such as The Currency (Melbourne), The Handsome Young Strangers (Sydney) and S C Trash (Sydney) has has moved bush music into rock and roll venues and major festival stages, with a blended style that includes rock drums and guitars whilst combining with Celtic influences. The Handsome Young Strangers lean more towards the traditional style of bands such as The Bushwackers, whilst The Currency and S C Trash incorporate both punk and Celtic styles.

List of bush bands

In Australia

* [http://www.tasmantalent.com.au/artists/Ants%20Bush%20Band/Ants%20Bush%20Band%20Demo.htm Ants Bush Band] (Mornington Peninsula, Victoria)
* [http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Aussie-Mossie-Bush-Band Aussie Mossie Bush Band] (Ivanhoe, Victoria [9 km NE of Melbourne] )
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/70.html Beat Around the Bush Band] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.beefasbushband.com Beefa's Bush Band] (Brisbane, Queensland)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/84.html Bell Bird Bush Band] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://users.bigpond.net.au/vfmc/History.htm Billabong Band] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rayjen/ Blackberry Jam Bush Band] (Upwey, Victoria [34 km east-southeast of Melbourne and 2 km west of Belgrave] )
* [http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Blackboy-Jam-Bush-Band Blackboy Jam Bush Band] (Sorrento [Perth] , Western Australia)
* [http://members.ozemail.com.au/~bloodwd/Index.html Bloodwood] (Alice Springs, Northern Territory)
* [http://www.zip.com.au/~emmenjay/bluegum/ Blue Gum] (Kensington [Sydney] , New South Wales)
* [http://www.apricotfilms.com.au/page31.html Bluey Humpers Bush Band] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.nostringsattached.com.au Bob's Bush Band] (Rockhampton, Queensland)
* [http://www.entertainmentdepot.com.au/artist_profile.php/109 Briagolong Bush Band] (Victoria)
* [http://www.mp3.com.au/artist.asp?id=9338 Bullamakanka] (Burleigh Heads, Queensland)
* [http://www.tamworthragepage.com/Bulla.htm Bullamakanka] (another site)
* [http://www.bunyipmusic.com/ Bunyip Bush Band, The] (Sydney area, New South Wales)
* [http://www.scobie.com.au/bushland-boogie.html Bushland Boogie] (Eurobodalla, New South Wales)
* [http://www.users.bigpond.com/bushrangersbushband/ Bushrangers Bush Band] (Sydney's western suburbs)
* [http://leodale.customer.netspace.net.au/bushrmnt.html Bush Remnants, The] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.jagentertainment.com.au/bushremnants.html Bush Remnants, The] (another site)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/510.html Bush Remnants, The] (yet another site)
* [http://www.bushwackers.com.au/ Bushwackers] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.alphalink.com.au/~bwz/index.htm Bushwahzee] (Mitcham [Melbourne] , Victoria)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/496.html Bushwahzee] (another site)
* [http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Caddam-Wood-Bush-Band Caddam Wood Bush Band] (Bunbury, Western Australia)
* [http://www.boydsirishmusic.com.au/celticfire/index.htm Celtic Fire] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://users.senet.com.au/~rumrasp/index.htm Dave Clark] (Adelaide Hills, South Australia)
* [http://www.getlocal.com.au/displayBusinessDetails.do?printerFriendly=false&id=2.74772258112146 Coachwood Bush Band] (Razorback, New South Wales)
* [http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Crossfire-Bush-Band Crossfire Bush Band] (Narangba, Queensland [30 km north of Brisbane] )
* [http://www1.tpg.com.au/thedalys/ Currawong Bush Band] (Sydney area, New South Wales)
* [http://engineroom.biz/currencylads/ Currency Lads] (Earlwood [Sydney] , New South Wales)
* [http://www.upfront.com.au/artists/categories/country/ Dave's Bush Music Show (David Isom)]
* [http://redgum.bendigo.latrobe.edu.au/~fniaz/bdance/index.html Emu Creek Bush Band] (based in the Greater Bendigo district of Central Victoria, c. 150 km northwest of Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://home.vicnet.net.au/~bushdanz/emu_creek.html Emu Creek Bush Band] (another site)
* [http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Ewecalyptus-Bush-Band Ewecalyptus Bush Band] (Happy Valley, South Australia)
* [http://warrenfahey.com/ Warren Fahey] (solo artist) (Potts Point, New South Wales)
* [http://www.musicwithpanache.com/australian_bush_bands.html Fair Dinkum Bush Band, The] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.mikejackson.com.au/flying_wombat_band.php Flying Wombat Band] (Coburg, Victoria [8 km north of Melbourne] )
* [http://www.prideaux-e.com/australiana/flying_wombat.htm Flying Wombat Bush Band, The] (Brisbane, Queensland)
* [http://www.paverty.com.au Franklyn B Paverty] (Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)
* [http://www.entertainmentdepot.com.au/artist_profile.php/158 Free Selectors] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.myspace.com/thehandsomeyoungstrangers The Handsome Young Strangers] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.boydsirishmusic.com.au/haslamscreek/ Haslam's Creek Bush Band] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://oz.headland.googlepages.com/home Headland] (Coffs Harbour, New South Wales)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/1282.html Inland Navigators, The] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.lazyharry.dragnet.com.au/ Lazy Harry] (solo artist) (Beechworth, Victoria)
* [http://www.zeta.org.au/~andrewa/aja41.htm Mad Hatters Bush Band, The] (Turramurra [Sydney] , New South Wales)
* [http://www.users.bigpond.com/Mangrove_Jack1/ Mangrove Jack] (Edmonton [just south of Cairns] , Queensland)
* [http://letspartytonight.com/index.php?l=102&section=entertainer&cat=2&sub=3&key=83 Mucky Duck Bush Band] (Perth, Western Australia)
* [http://www.truelocal.com.au/business/murrumbidgee-bush-band/oxley Murrumbidgee Bush Band] (Canberra, ACT)
* [http://www.prideauxentertainment.com/australiana/murrumbidgee_rattlers.htm Murrumbidgee Rattlers] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.brucecameron.id.au/thistles/ Nodding Thistles] (Bathurst, New South Wales)
* [http://www.adelaideshowground.com.au/showtime/azindex/Kingsway_entertainment.htm The Old Gum Tree-O] (Adelaide, South Australia)
* [http://www.outbackband.com.au/ Outback] (Newcastle, New South Wales [2 hours' drive north of Sydney] )
* [http://15min.org/artists/outback/ Outback] (another site)
* [http://www.paddysriverband.com Paddys River Band] (Penrose, New South Wales)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/446.html Paddy's Wombat] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.norex.com.au/%7Ebernies/ Playing Possum] (Murwillumbah, New South Wales)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/446.html Rambling Bilbies, The] (Western Australia)
* [http://www.rantan.com.au/ Rantan Bush Band] (Mount Gravatt [Brisbane] , Queensland)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/691.html Rantan Bush Band] (another site)
* [http://www.ozmanagement.com/pages/performers/reel_matilda/reel_matilda.htm Reel Matilda, The] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.prideauxentertainment.com/australiana/reel_matilda.htm Reel Matilda, The] (another site)
* [http://www.jondaryanwoolshed.com/02_calendar/new_years.htm Ridgee Didge bush band] (Clifton, Queensland)
* [http://rockyriverbushband.speedlink.com.au/ Rocky River Bush Band] (based in Onkaparinga, 30-40 minutes south of Adelaide, South Australia)
* [http://www.salubriousproductions.com/bands_royal_bounty_bushband.html Royal Bounty Bush Band] (Brisbane area, Queensland)
* [http://users.senet.com.au/~rumrasp/rum.htm Rum & Raspberry (Dave Clark and Kathy Townsend)] (South Australia)
* [http://www.folkaustralia.com/FOCUS/Bolton_Files/bb_81118c15.html Ryebuck Bush Band] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.qac.org.au/htm/ScrubTurkey.asp Scrub Turkey] (Sunshine Coast [just north of Brisbane] , Queensland)
* [http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/shenanigan/ Shenanigans] (Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.members.optusnet.com.au/shenanigan/band.html Shenanigans] (another site)
* [http://www.entertainoz.com.au/acts/952.html Simply Bushed] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.folktas.org/html2002/dance_bands.html Slapdash] (Tasmania)
* [http://www.barfly.com.au/band.htm Snake Gully] (Cairns)
* [http://www.snakegullyband.com/ Snake Gully Bush Band] (Sydney area, New South Wales)
* [http://www.hinet.net.au/~djohnson/southerncross Southern Cross Bush Band] (Quakers Hill [Sydney] , New South Wales)
* [http://www.getlocal.com.au/displayBusinessDetails.do?printerFriendly=false&id=2.56233234000172 Southern Cross Bush Band] (another site)
* [http://www.letspartytonight.com/index.php?l=102&section=entertainer&cat=2&sub=3&key=136 Southern Cross Bush Band] (Perth City, Western Australia)
* [http://www.getlocal.com.au/displayBusinessDetails.do?printerFriendly=false&id=5.99011201618261 Southern Cross Bush Band] (another site)
* [http://www.redlandscountry.asn.au/stc.htm Stone the Crows Bushband] (Capalaba, Queensland)
* [http://www.prideauxentertainment.com/australiana/sunup.htm Sunup] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.sydneycoves.com.au/ Sydney Coves, The] (Chatswood [just north of Sydney] , New South Wales)
* [http://www.midcoast.com.au/~mparker/ Tallowood Band] (Coffs Harbour [on the mid-North Coast of New South Wales] )
* [http://www.mp3.com.au/artist.asp?id=8667 Terra Australis] (New South Wales)
* [http://www.jaybees.com.au/tuckitinya/welcome.html Tuckitinya Australia] (Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.ozmanagement.com/pages/performers/tuckitinya_australia/tuckitinya_australia.htm Tuckitinya Australia] (another site)
* [http://www.prideauxentertainment.com/australiana/tuckitinya.htm Tuckitinya Australia] (yet another site)
* [http://www.hotfrog.com.au/Companies/Vinegar-Hill-Bush-Band Vinegar Hill Bush Band] (Carlingford, New South Wales [22 km NW of Sydney] )
* [http://www.australian-heritage-dance.com/dinkum.html Wedderburn Old-Timers] (214 km northwest of Melbourne, Victoria)
* [http://www.wildmatildas.com/ Wild Matildas Bush Band] (Adelaide, South Australia)
* [http://www.folk-sa.asn.au/Folk_Federation/folk_performers.htm Wild Matildas Bush Band] (Adelaide, South Australia - another site)
* [http://www.windjammers.net/ Windjammers, The] (Western Australia)
* [http://www.wongawillicolonialdance.org.au/ Wongawilli Band] (based in the Illawarra region, 130 km south of Sydney, New South Wales)
* [http://www.pcug.org.au/~pfoster/whb/index.htm Woolies Home Band] (dance band in Canberra area)
* [http://www.entertainment.on.net/mulga%20marketing/JWbushbandinfo.htm Jeanette Wormald Bush Band] (from the Northern Mallee region of South Australia, 220 km north east of Adelaide)
* [http://www.jeanettewormald.com/band.htm Jeanette Wormald Bush Band] (another site)

In New Zealand

* [http://www.philgarland.co.nz/bush_telegraph.html Bush Telegraph]
* [http://www.philgarland.co.nz/ Phil Garland] (solo artist) (Culverden, Canterbury)
* [http://www.kiwifolk.com/pog/ The Pioneer Pog 'n' Scroggin Bush Band] (Otago)
* [http://www.kiwifolk.org.nz/artists/pog/poghistory.html The Pioneer Pog 'n' Scroggin Bush Band] (another site)
*Woolly Daggs Bush Band

In Europe

* [http://www.jenner1.demon.co.uk/ Buckley's Chance] (London, England, United Kingdom)
* [http://www.hardrushmusic.com/buckleys_chance.html Buckley's Chance] (another site)
* [http://www.rolfharris.com/ Rolf Harris] (Thameside, England, United Kingdom)

In the United States

* [http://www.seonamcdowell.com/ Seona McDowell] (solo artist) (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)
* [http://www.riverbottombushwhackers.com/ River Bottom Bushwhackers] (Kent, Ohio)
* [http://www.silverbushmusic.com/bushband.html Silver Bush Band, The] (Santa Rosa [north of San Francisco] , California)
* [http://www.davewinstone.com/Aussie.htm Dave Winstone Aussie Bush Band] (Santa Barbara, California)


* Chris O'Connor & Suzette Watkins: "Begged, Borrowed & Stolen", Talunga Music., 1979 ISBN 0 9594713 0 8
* David G Johnson: "Bush Dance - A collection of Traditional Tunes", Bush Music Club., 1984 ISBN 0 9599528 1 0
* Max Klubal: "Music for Australian Folk Dancing with Instructions", The Australian Folk Trust., 1979
* Jan Wositzky, Dobe Newton, Barry Olive: "The Bushwackers Band Dance Book", Greenhouse Publications 1980 ISBN 0 909104 255
* Rantan Bush Band (with Mike Jackson): "Bush Dance!", Bluegum Music, 1982–2006, 7th Ed., ISBN 1-875437-37-1
* Rantan Bush Band (with Mike Jackson): "Social Dance!", Bluegum Music, 1994–2006, 5th Ed., ISBN 1-875437-38-X

ee also

*Skiffle bands
* Bush dance

External links

* [http://www.bushmusic.org.au/index.html Bush Music Club]
* [http://folkstream.com/reviews/revival/bushwhackers.html History of the first bush band]
* [http://www.wongawillicolonialdance.org.au/ The Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club Inc web site ]
* [http://www.earthlydelights.com.au/upcoming.htm Dancing in Canberra, Australia]
* [http://folkstream.com/songs.html Australian Folk Songs]
* [http://www.ramin.com.au/online/newtheatre/ New Theatre] (Sydney)
* [http://www.riverbottombushwhackers.com/links.html List of Australian bush bands at River Bottom Bushwhackers official site]

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