This coming December Gympie’s own wandering son Darren Hanlon will once again traipse the towns and cities of Australia to perform what will be his 14th annual Christmas concert tour.
Over so many years these shows have become legendary and beloved among his loyal followers.
It’s business as usual: an intimate and informal solo performance, drawing on songs from his entire catalogue and with a new album slated for release next year there’ll be many new tunes to showcase as well. To alleviate the abstraction that comes with repetition Hanlon strives to set each Christmas tour apart by exploring new places.
This year he’s taking the tour to regional WA (Broome, Geraldton) and the tiny NSW town of Billimari, a dot on the map that basically consists of the hall itself. Most excitingly this tour will also see the launch of Hanlon’s signature beer – Yule Do Brew – lovingly brewed by his friends The Welders Dog in Armidale NSW which will be for sale at most of the shows.
The regional craft-brewers have whipped up a batch of refreshing Pale Ale, presented in a 355ml can that emblazons the tour dates and artwork by Hanlon himself. Another thing unique to these shows are the interesting support acts that Darren hand-picks. These past couple of years he’s brought with him 70 year old San Franciscan outsider artist The Space Lady and 76 year old Walmajarri elder Olive Knight.
This year he’s bringing along little known Melbourne bedroom musician Hugh F. At the sprightly age of 25 Hugh already has two self-produced albums under his belt. Darren met him randomly in Portland OR a year ago when the young adventurer was hitchhiking around and sleeping in parks.
“He and this other great Melbourne singer Zoe Fox turned up to a Josephine Foster show I was helping out at,” Darren remembers. “They introduced themselves and were soon offered to sit one of my friend’s houses while he was away. I ran into them a few times over the coming days. Hugh was fairly quiet but mentioned that he wrote a few songs. Fast forward to when I was back in Melbourne months later and I stumbled across Hugh’s Instagram page without realising it was the same guy. He’d posted all these incredibly catchy one minute songs that got stuck in my head. It took a bit of research to realise it was the same guy I’d met in Portland.”
Hanlon then heard the full length album Hugh F had self-released called Childhood Reunion and offered to put out a vinyl LP version on his own label Flippin Yeah Records.
“I relate to a lot of the themes Hugh sings about,” says Hanlon. “Like animals, food, and family, and the feeling of dislocation that comes from moving to the city from the country. And he does it in such an earnest and unpretentious way.”
Hugh F joins Flippin Yeah Records at a very fecund time in its history. Last year’s Buried Country: An Anthology of Aboriginal Country Music has been lauded throughout the world. Much loved American singer Jonathan Richman has also just joined the Flippin Yeah family for his first ever Australian release.
This December will mark the end of another busy year that has seen Hanlon travel the world for shows that brought him to the US, UK, and the remote west coast of Norway, all the while working on his new album which will be released on Flippin Yeah Records in 2020.
All details and ticket links can be found at http://www.darrenhanlon.com/tours/
Tue Dec 17
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm