Its been a long time between drinks, but revered Australian piano rock outfit The Whitlams are set to return to Bathurst in January for the first time in over two decades as part of The Victoria Bathurst's Backyard Sunset Series.
Best known for the hit singles 'No Aphrodisiac', 'Thank You [For Loving Me at My Worst]' and 'Blow Up the Pokies', The Whitlams have spent the last three decades wowing audiences across Australia with their unique brand of piano-driven rock, with hints of pop and jazz.
But mainstay frontman and pianist Tim Freedman said the Bathurst audience can expect a largely renewed take on their sound when they visit on January 16.
"The Bathurst gig will serve as part of the debut of a new line-up running in tandem to the 'classic Whitlams'," Freedman said.
"I've been listening to a lot of country music of late, and I joined my friend Matt Fell [seven-time Country Music Association of Australia producer of the year] in the studio earlier this year with a host of country musicians, and we enjoyed the experience so much that we've decided to bring this group on the road.
"Half the performance will be Whitlams songs reimagined with lap steel and banjo, and the other half will be some covers and country classics we all enjoy playing."
The Whitlams are currently gearing up to release Sancho, their first studio album in nearly 16 years, and Freedman said the album helped him rediscover his love for writing and performing music.
"I stepped away from all ambition for around a decade in order to get the hunger back for producing new material, but I've come to realise writing and performing is what I love the most," he said.
In reference to 'Blow Up the Pokies', arguably The Whitlams' most iconic song, Freedman said it's pleasing to see so many venues turning away from gaming licenses, something The Victoria Bathurst committed to when it relaunched nearly three years ago.
"It's entirely possible to run a successful venue with quality entertainment, food and grog, and it gives me a warm feeling to hear The Victoria has committed to this model," he said.
"'Blow Up the Pokies' is about how gambling ruins lives, and some venues won't have me because of the song, but those with gaming facilities justify it by saying they too are against problem gambling, but of course they don't give them their money back."
The Whitlams will be supported by local band and fellow piano-driven act The Safety of Life at Sea.
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