Former Goanna muso serves up Homemade Jam

Marcia Howard. (Phil Nitchie)

By Luke Voogt

Former Goanna singer and Voice contestant Marcia Howard hopes to serve up a Homemade Jam – of the musical variety – this month at Fyansford.

The multi-instrumental musician of more than four decades, now living in Belmont, held her first Homemade Jam for a live audience at The Door Gallery Cafe last month.

“It’s just a beautiful venue and [the owner] Graham had the fire going in May, so it was really cosy,” she said.

“It was just beautiful to have that connection again and sing with a live audience.

“Getting back out there to perform after the lockdowns – it takes a bit of nerve. You think, ‘can I still get back on the horse?’ But I really felt the love in the room.”

Howard plans to hold a combined live and live-streamed Homemade Jam at the venue on June 19.

“I thought why not film this one, and film the audience singing,” she said.

“I want to put mics in the audience so people can sing along, that’s the idea.”

The concerts are an extension Howard’s live-streamed shows from home since COVID-19 hit Australia.

Howard left Australia on March 10, 2020, for Ireland to open for folk singer Mary Black – a major recording artist in her native country – in a five-day tour culminating in a live orchestra show.

“Two days in, Ireland went into lockdown and I had to come home,” she said.

“It was devastating.”

Since COVID-19 Howard has worked as a music teacher for local high schools and Deakin University.

She has also been working on a PhD for Deakin on “my experiences as a female in the music industry over 40 years”, which included penning a few new songs.

“I’ve also been doing these homemade jams for myself and to keep morale up for people at home,” she said.

“I broadcast them on Facebook and YouTube during the lockdowns. I’m jamming, but I’m at home – so it’s a Homemade Jam!”

Howard first rose to fame alongside older brother Shane in Goanna, the Geelong-born band most famous for the Australia-wide hit Solid Rock.

The singer-songwriter has also released several albums in her decades-long solo career, and competed in TV singing contest The Voice in 2016.

She plans to draw on her time with Goanna and as a solo artist while paying tribute to her favourite artists in the June 19 show.

“Bonnie Raitt, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin – it’s all the women I loved listening to growing up,” she said.

The show, dependent on restrictions at the time, will feature Howard on guitar and piano, along with local musicians Matiss Schubert and Michael Davis on fiddle and drums.

Howard pledged to refund all bookings if forced to cancel the show on June 19, or to allow those happy to attend at a later date to hold onto their tickets.

“People are understandably shy about committing money at the moment,” she said.

Dependent on Victoria’s COVID-19 situation in a fortnight’s time, Howard might hold a free live-stream event instead.

“We’re all in flux at the moment,” she said.

“It’s a day-to-day thing – we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. We’re all just trying to survive.”