Auckland: Just Another Cowboy Town
It’s Friday night in Auckland City. After dark it can feel like the Wild West. There are drunks, pimps, fights and a large amount of country music. Our reporter Nick Atkinson scours the streets asking folks what Auckland has in common with a cowboy town? You’ll be surprised at the answers as we travel from album launches in Ponsonby to gigs on K Road featuring West Coasters up from Hokitika. We duck and dodge cover-bands in New Market to find an all-ginger doom-punk act named Bloodnut, then we gallop to Kingsland only to find we can’t get into the Voom gig as the place is rammed full. A queue snakes down the street packed with local luminaries such as 3Ds main man David Saunders right next to band-members from Artisan Guns and Elemeno P. Louis the ZU is right at the back of the bus, but he has some choice words. “It’s your choice if you wear a cowboy hat or not.” Tune in after 11pm my people.
Bloodnut. Photo: Levonne Stening
It's a fantastic film on the legendary American roots label Arhoolie Records, run by an Austrian Chris Strachwitz who's devoted his life to recording ground-breaking, if sometimes obscure American Artists like Lightning Hopkins and Manse Lipscombe. In so doing he’s created a unique archive of authentic American music. Director Maureen Gosling was a social anthropologist drawn into documentary making through the work of filmmaker and mentor Les Blank, a close collaborator of Arhoolie Records founder Strachwitz. Maureen had been telling stories of indigenous peoples and regional musics for over twenty years when she, along with Chris Simon, started filming and collecting footage for a documentary on Arhoolie Records. This Ain’t No Mouse Music is the result of over 8 years graft and it’s a beautiful film, bursting with life and rhythm. Maureen joined Emma Smith in Auckland, during the film festival to talk about the movie.
Hamilton’s NRG Rising, have been making a big splash, with their empowering messages, soulful roots-rock reggae, and beautiful harmonies. They recently squeezed themselves, a guitar and a toddler into the Radio NZ studio in Hamilton for a chat and sing-song with Emma Smith.