The original line-up of Jim Fisher, (guitar/vocals)
John Reed, (cittern/vocals) Fred Kuhnl, (bass/vocals) and Martin Randall, (banjo/vocals)
went on to be invited to every major Folk festival in Australia. Within two years they had
also played at the major Country Music festivals as well as the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
1995 saw the production and release of
their debut CD "This CD Will Change Your Life" and
they continued to work extensively throughout Australia. In 1996 Martin Randall left the
band and was replaced by Ian Simpson, another Fremantle musician, who had returned to Perth after
working successfully in the East for a number of years.
In the same year the band undertook its first international
tour, playing at festivals in the United Kingdom with great success, leading them to be
invited back the next year for more shows including the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe
1997 saw the release of their much-acclaimed second CD "Strange
On The Range" featuring the "New Australian National Anthem".
The band continued to tour nationally and also perform internationally at festivals in
both Hong Kong and Malaysia.
The band worked through the beginning of 1998 until March
when founding member Jim Fisher collapsed and was hospitalized. Jim had been working under
great duress with declining health due to a blood borne liver disease he had acquired in
Jim underwent a
successful liver transplant in December 1998, survived harrowing complications and re-emerged a year later
with a new enthusiasm.
The band did some performing
in 2000 returning to the UK for a third tour, but soon after Jim said that he would
stop playing indefinitely, having survived such a traumatic experience, he recognized that
he needed more time to recuperate and to consolidate.
Paradoxically, even in the bands enforced rest and
recuperation phase, they were still in demand and the remaining members were called on to
perform their famous "New Australian National Anthem" at the closing concert of
the People Scope event from Parliament House, Canberra.
As 2002 clicked over the band dusted themselves off and
returned to the studio to record their third CD entitled "Fly Like A
Chicken". The SNACS were officially re-launched and played to a
sell out audience at the Fly By Night Club in Fremantle, before heading East to the Gympie
Muster and later to the Woodford and Tamworth Festivals.
March 2003 saw the farewell to long time
member John Reed (aka Texas.T.Tex ) and the introduction of Adam Gare
(aka Doc Adams) on mandolin, fiddle and vocals. More recently members of the band
are recording with Paul Kelly for his second bluegrass influenced album as well as
responding to interest for the band to perform overseas in Canada and the USA.
Releasing one CD is a great achievement for a band -
getting your fourth out is a cause for celebration. And if they're an
independent, bluegrass comedy act on the other side of the planet from
Kentucky (and other places where picking a banjo is a culturally
relevant activity), they must be very celebrated indeed.
It's no surprise that the band in question is none other than one of
Australia's National Musical Treasures, the Sensitive New Age Cowpersons,
and the new album causing all the excitement is "Meanwhile, Back
at the Ranch".
The Cowpersons built their reputation on wacky covers of songs from
artists ranging from ABBA to Hendrix - played "Bluegrass
style". On their new album another batch of legendary tunes - "Howzat",
"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", "Burning Love" and even a medley of
songs from The Sound of Music get the Sensitive treatment.
But these days its the band's original songs that are attracting all
the attention, and with titles like "Twangin' the Wires", "Daddy Wore A
Mullet", "Doc Met the Devil" and "They Never Mention the Flies", the new
album promises more great Aussie humour wrapped in some of the best
bluegrass playing the country has to offer.
In between touring and recording, the band have fitted in
extra-curricular activities like liver transplants and, even more
life-threatening, supporting their beloved AFL footy team, the Freo
Dockers, as well as musical chores with the band's members in demand as
studio musicians for artists like the late Slim Dusty and on Paul
Kelly's second bluegrass influenced album.
With a series of international dates, including a first dip at the
banjo-crazy U.S.Market - in the offing, and "Meanwhile, Back at
the Ranch" on the shelves, the next twelve months looks
like being a year of hootin' and hollerin' for the best behaved cowpokes
on the planet!