Special Event Review: Country Rocks The Black Dog – Raising Funds for Mental Health – in memory of Tom Fauvette

Sunday 17th June, 2018 – 2pm

Rick Hart, Mat Black Band, Katie Brianna, Mitch Power Stand Up, The Weeping Willows and Great Aunt with special guest, Brad McKenzie for Black Dog Institute





Train and bus breakdowns, a major accident on a road and a bridge into Melbourne and  two lifts from friends there in the pouring rain, hail and a power out and musos running in the rain with guitars and merch and a still a full house.

As we walked into the club, musos and fellow fans were milling about with club staff trying to work out what to do. Maybe Tom was just letting us know that he was there. As country musos, they know how to do it unplugged but it wasn’t necessary. Enter one of my country music sons, ready to do his alternate work choice, stand up and the power went back on….His name is Mitch Power, by the way.  He will be forever known as Much Power from now on.

This gig was more than a gig. It was more than our country music family gathering to sing some tunes and to tell some stories – funny and sad – it was a bittersweet afternoon in memory of our dear friend, Tom Fauvette and to raise awareness of the Black Dog Foundation and other programmes like it (Lifeline, Beyond Blue) who try to help and understand the growing problem of Depression and to do something about it.

I haven’t heard the final tally yet but I suspect that there were a lot of funds raised for the cause. Blackdog merchandise, merchandise of the artists and lots of donated items were sold and bid for in the silent auctions.  Rick Hart released an E.P. with a new song dedicated to Tom and three other previously recorded songs and feature Tom.

Laura Coates (Mrs Wrigglesworth) from The Weeping Willows, hosted the event with a special address by Brad McKenzie for the Blackdog Institute.

Great Aunt started the proceedings, two gals with great harmonies, interesting instrumental combinations and an awesome sound.

Brad addressed the crowd and then we were treated to a performance by the wonderful Katie Brianna, who did a gig the night before in Sydney, flew down for this gig and flew back home….just as well she works for a travel company now!  As always, she too, shone a light on the day and sang most of my favourite songs of hers, sprinkled with her dry wit and big smile.

The Weeping Willows were their usual awesome selves. They are heading off to Europe mid week to do a tour with Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes and Imogen Clark but they dedicated a lot of time and effort to this event, including their musical genius. Cathy Dobson was in the crowd and we did our usual flirting with Andy and he reciprocated with a couple of unanticipated lines on stage.  It’s ok, Laura, we mean no harm! Poor Andy wasn’t very well but he soldiered on.

As one fellow fan at my table said, “I never tire of listening to the Willows.

I think Mitch was actually on before the Willows or after them, I can’t remember (getting old) – in any case, the man responsible for turning back the electricity, heat and food back on for us was a crack up. I love his music and for Mitch to tell a joke or two was never going to be a big stretch, because he is a naturally funny person. He had to “clean it up a bit” because there were lots of kids there, but with a swear jar he managed to make a little bit of extra money for the cause.

Mat Black Band were on and I was glad to hear them. I had heard Matt’s name mentioned here and there but I hadn’t heard his music. It was great to hear some new songs by a different band. The last song was a rippa and really pumped it up for Rick.

Rick Hart is a good man. It was a tough day at the office for him, having to say goodbye to his dear mate all over again but at the same time, he was amongst people who loved him and Vanessa and Tom and people who have seen the Black Dog once or twice or know people who have. Rick had most of his family there and they are a tight, loving bunch and he had his country music family there as well.

Amongst the crowd were other awesome musos: Lloyd Clarke and his good wife, Cathy Dobson and her husband, the dynamic Andrew McClean (who blew us away with his harp and a surprise vocal in the finale), Rose Zita Falko, Mitch’s other half and a great singer in her own right and lots of regular fans and music promoters. Tom’s boys were there too, understated but they were there.

Rick sang some of his big songs, including my favourite, To The Grave which he mentioned me in and the girls (part of the Anglo/Indian ABBA) did their own tribute by tying paisley scarves to the mic stands as Tom loved paisley.

Most of the artists joined in on the finale, “The Weight” which was apt. Previously, Rick sang the new song, dedicated to Tom and while Rick made it through the song, I didn’t and I think most of the crowd found it hard to hold back the tears too.

When these sad things happen, you hope that something good comes out of it. You hope that at least one person can be saved or one person can change their opinion about mental illness.

I am very lucky to have a legendary family and a great bunch of friends, and this fine country music family who have shown me time and time again, how special they are. yesterday was a shining example of that.

God Bless Tom, wherever you are. May your star always shine.