Real family band from Perch Creek
BEFORE you ask, yes, they are a real family.
Comprising siblings Camilla, Lear, Eileen, Christi and Lenny Hodgkins, The Perch Creek Family Jugband, with the added bonus of Jimmy Chandler on double bass, are a bluegrass band to be reckoned with.
The band started out in Midginbil (where Perch Creek runs around their property) with a few of dad's (Bob's) mates and Camilla 11 years ago.
When the band members slowly departed the family band grew.
Lear had started playing drums so he quickly filled a gap while Eileen was born a performer, says eldest sister Camilla.
"One day we were at a festival and she just elbowed her way onto stage and started singing harmonies and dancing," Camilla says. "But she'd always been a little performer."
Christie started playing with the band after one night when Bob put a challenge out. He'd give $50 to the first person who learnt how to play Oh! Susanna (Stephen Foster 1848) on harmonica "with all the blues inflections".
"About a week later Christie came out and he'd learnt the whole song," Camilla says.
The youngest member of the band, Lenny, made his stage debut a few years back while he was still crawling.
It was the Tamworth Country Music Festival where he first appeared on stage bashing away at a tambourine.
"Someone had forgotten to put his nappy on," Camilla says. "And of course he did a big poo right on stage. He's grown up a lot since then though. He's much-better behaved."
Bob retired a few years back, but the rest of the family have had no problems carrying on the family tradition.
They've toured Europe, played on Spicks and Specks and released Tall Tales late last year.
The album was recorded in a self-built studio in a shack in Doon Doon Valley over a month last year and features songs written by four members of the band, making for a varied mix of jugband, bluegrass, old-time jazz and country blues.
After the initial recording process the album was sent down to Melbourne (where the band is now based) for mixing and mastering.
The band have been touring since December and after this round of shows they've got plenty of dates lined up in Melbourne before they plan to head back to Europe in June.
The family factor on the road is never really an issue though, Camilla says.
"We are all really close," she says. "You fight and you're angry for an hour, but then you get over it. It's just a real buzz to play music together; it really just brings everyone together. As soon as you start playing music you just forget about it."
The Perch Creek Family Jugband play the Star Court Theatre, Lismore tonight (Thursday, January 12) with Lil' Fi and The Candy Apples. Tickets $15 at the door, children free.