Former Icehouse keyboard player rocks aged

FINE-TUNED: Tony Llewellyn wooing the crowd at St Andrew’s, Ballina.
FINE-TUNED: Tony Llewellyn wooing the crowd at St Andrew’s, Ballina. Patrick Gorbunovs

THE main attraction at the annual St Andrew's Village fete in Ballina on Saturday was the crooning voice of aged care worker Tony Llewellyn, tickling the ivories with practised fingers.

And while many of his elderly audience raved about his weekend performance, most wouldn't have known him in the heyday of his career, as keyboardist and back-up singer with international touring band Icehouse.

But for Tony, who started work at the village in February of this year, coming home to the Northern Rivers is part of a journey that he does not regret for a minute.

Growing up on a cane- farm at East Wardell, he graduated from Ballina High School in 1976 after forming a teen band called Company A.

Tony's move to Sydney and subsequent deal with WEA Records and Warner Brothers Pub- lishing provided an eye-opening reality for the boy more used to small- town hijinks than the heady heights of the Sydney social scene.

"I was from a small town," he said. "I was grounded. I didn't consider myself one of the cocaine-snorting darlings that surrounded me in the music industry."

When his father passed away Tony came home, to plant cane on his family's farm and learn again the simple joys of a country lifestyle.

"It was humbling to come home," he reflected.

"There is nothing humbling about hopping on a plane three times a day and touring with a super group. That just makes you arrogant."

Making the shift from playing Sydney gigs five nights a week to looking after elderly people at the Village was easy.

"Music makes people happy," he said. "And so does caring for people."



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