Surrounded by a small team of camera operators and sound engineers all wearing protective masks and gloves, Roach seemed to step back in time, recalling significant moments that inspired the writing of Beautiful Child, Down City Streets and Took the Children Away.
Afterwards, he said it was during the album’s original recording sessions that he soon came to understand a far bigger picture than just his own story.
“The people I’ve gone to see play and the different artists I’ve played with over the years, I’m very fortunate.
“When I started to listen back to the songs, and listen to them grow with all the instruments and backing vocals … I realised it was important that we do this. We talked about it for years, all those things that are on the album, but I hadn’t heard many songs about life on the street, drinking, about being taken away from family,” Roach said. “When you’re playing along with a guitar it’s beautiful and it’s good, but when you hear a recording with all these people who’ve done their very best for the song and it gets carried to another level … I thought what better way to try and reach people than with music.”
His stunning performance for Recharge 2020, accompanied by guitarist Stephen Magnusson and bass player Sam Anning, will be at the heart of the festival which screens from midday on Sunday at Delivered Live on YouTube. The live-streamed event will bring music from The Black Sorrows, Missy Higgins, Tones and I, Wagons, The Jezabels and more directly to homes around the country and showcase some of the best fresh produce in regional Victoria.
Hosted by Henry Wagons and Myf Warhurst, who will be visiting local producers around the state, Recharge 2020 also gives viewers the opportunity to purchase any of the food and beverages from more than 100 virtual regional markets. In between the live performances, chef Adrian Richardson will be creating meals and offering tips on how to get the best from the fresh produce.
“The creative industries are always the first asked in times of crisis to support causes and have always come to the party,” said Delivered Live co-promoters Leigh and Craig Treweek. “This crisis means it’s now time that they received support and recognition for their work … and we are incredibly proud to be the platform for this to happen.”
In association with the Victorian government and CrewCare, the team at Delivered Live have created a one-stop shop as part of Recharge 2020, where viewers can simply click on the produce they want and have it delivered, free of charge, by the women and men who prior to coronavirus were crewing at festivals and gigs across the state.
As part of Recharge 2020, regional festivals that were cancelled due to coronavirus, including Beechworth Music Festival, Yackandandah Folk Festival and Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival, have joined forces to create online concert The Paddock. It’s also streaming live on Sunday on Delivered Live and the Recharge Victoria Facebook page, from the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine, featuring acts such as Adalita, the Soultanas, Pete Denahy, Weeping Willows, Honey Hunter and many more.
“Everybody loves music,” Roach said as he packed up his guitar and headed back home to western Victoria. “I wouldn’t know what else to do … we don’t even try to imagine the world without music and song. What I’ve listened to over the years, the people I’ve gone to see play and the different artists I’ve played with over the years, I’m very fortunate. It’s amazing.”
Martin Boulton is EG Editor at The Age and Shortlist Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald