House Concert No. 23
David Francey, Mark Westberg & Chris Coole
4 January 2015
We don't normally run house concerts in summer because of the risk of a Total
being declared, and, as we're in a high risk area, having to cancel on the day.
However, when we discovered that David Francey was going to be in Melbourne, Jonni was quick
to abandon that rule and decided to take the risk. Despite a few nerves in the week leading up
to the concert (the two days leading prior to the concert were both Total Fire Ban days)
it turned out to be alright on the night, with a nice cool(ish) evening for the concert,
but due to the stress experienced, he's asked me to remind him not to consider it in future!
It seemed strange starting the house concert in daylight,
but the capacity crowd had no problem with the unfamiliar atmosphere.
For the first time we had a support act - my two grand-daughters, Joni and Erin,
from New Zealand, who delighted the crowd with their rendition of
My Johnny Was A Shoemaker. They were a tough act to follow.
David had had a pretty tough week. He'd been delighting audiences at
Woodford Folk Festival for four days, and then played two nights in Victoria.
So it wasn't surprising that the hard week, along with the unaccustomed
heat and humidity, meant that he needed a little microphone assistance
instead of the acoustic performance he had planned. However, his rich
warm distinctive voice (with that Scottish/Canadian accent) was still there,
and his humanity shone through in all his songs and stories.
David has been accompied on his tour by two good friends who are also first-rate
musicians - guitarist Mark Westberg and guitarist/banjo picker Chris Coole.
Mark's beautiful guitar playing and occasional vocals provided a wonderful
accompaniment to David's singing.
Likewise, Chris' touch on the banjo is second to none and his playing
on the night was superb. The set list was made up of one request from
my grand-daughter Joni (Torn Screen Door), a pretty long list from Jonni,
leaving space for one of two of David's own selections!
Chris' banjo case looks as if it has travelled a long road with him.
While in Australia, David, Chris and Mark are diligently cared for by Annabel Hawkins,
whose nurturing is obviously deeply appreciated by her three charges. An unusual
and very delightful 'roadie' who did so much to help not only them but also us,
ensuring everything went well, including running the 'CD shop' from the
kitchen during the interval.
It was a truly delightful evening of poignant and personal stories and songs, and a group of folk
who were happy to spend time chatting to audience members during the break and after the
last song was sung. David is a wonderful songwriter, whose songs authentically document
the lives of real working people, and a terrific storyteller. It's little wonder he's become
one of the most popular folk singer/songwriters in Canada.
If you'd like to find out more about David Francey, go to his website at
and, I highly recommend you go to the YouTube link at the top of his home page and listen to 'Torn Screen Door'.