By Natalee Kerr
After country music legend Slim Dusty played his final show in 2002 his backing band parted ways.
Fourteen years later, the Travelling Country Band unexpectedly found themselves back together.
Geelong-born frontman Pete Denahy said the reunion happened by “accident”.
“I had a solo spot teed up at the 2016 Slim Dusty Music Festival and I knew the band was going to be there, but we hadn’t caught up for a while,” Denahy said.
“We ended up playing together on stage and it was just like old times.”
Denahy said the reunion was a “magical moment” that spurred a new tour idea.
“As soon as we started playing we all just lifted, it was really special,” he said.
“Slim’s wife, Joy, and daughter, Anne, were there and they were thrilled.
“I then went home and called up the guys and had a chat about potentially doing a few shows.“
Joined by Slim’s original band members – bass player Rod Coe, drummer Robbie Souter, guitarist Jeff Mercer and fiddler Mike Kerin – the tour kicked off the following year.
Denahy said the show was unlike “anything else in the county”.
“It’s different to a tribute show. We’re Slim’s band just doing his own stuff; we’re not trying to do our own interpretations,” he said.
“We’ve kept the arrangement pretty much exactly the same as Slim’s.
“It didn’t take much for us to step back into it. We came into first couple of shows without rehearsal.”
Denahy was the last musician hirperformed with Slim for four years and was the last musician hired for the band.
He has since gone onto become a successful artist in his own right, wining multiple Golden Guitars.
Denahy said Slim had been an idol of his since a young age.
“I went to my first concert of Slim’s when I was 13. I never thought I’d one day be performing with him,” he said.
“It was truly a dream come true.”
Denahy said the tour features some of Slim’s greatest hits, along with some personal insights.
“We talk about his music, his life and some stories and experiences on the road” he said.
“It’s great to be able to celebrate my mate and Australia’s king of country music.
“Even now at 46-years-old I still feel like a little kid every time I perform.”
Denahy said returning to his hometown had an “extra special” meaning to him.
“I have a lot of fond memories in Geelong as I used to perform here when I was younger,“ he said.
“I’m excited to bring this show to Geelong for the first time.”
Travellin’ Still, The Songs of Slim Dusty will take on Gateway Hotel on 1 June.