CULT muso Steve Tallis will bid farewell to his hometown with a special gig in Maylands tonight (Saturday September 26).
For half a century the singer/songwriter has been ploughing his own course in the music industry, building up a dedicated and loyal following with his blues, folk and spiritual gumbo.
Despite playing with music icons like Van Morrison and Bob Dylan, mainstream success has always been just out of reach for the uncompromising blues shaman.
The 67-year-old will launch his latest album Where Many Rivers meet at Lyric Lane tonight.
“My new album is raw…passionate…personal…mono…live first take,” he says. “I recorded 39 songs in 10 hours and chose 25.
“I’m inspired by life, my children, close friends, my beliefs, the mess the world is in, women, sex, death, anything basically.
“I have no problem in being inspired. I live a very private quiet life. I need solitude to work on my music and compose new songs. I have written approx 13 new songs since I recorded this album.”
Tallis’s gig at Lyric Lane will be filmed by Music Reel, as part of a series on influential figures in the WA music scene including Bob Gordon, Donna Albertini, Greg Dear and Erin Devenish.
Over the years Tallis has worn many musical hats – He launched his own independent record distribution company Monkey Music, was a promoter and tour organiser for international and national touring musicians, worked for Australia’s legendary import record shop 78 Records, and created the radio program Spoonful of Blues.
In recent years he created and managed The Gaslight Club for musicians in Fremantle, and taught students about the machinations of the music industry at WAAPA and TAFE.
But you can’t beat the buzz of performing, and Tallis says the highlight of his serpentine career was supporting Bob Dylan on tour.
“During our performance I noticed Bob at the side of the stage for about 10 minutes. After the show the stage/road manager came up and said ‘Bob wants to meet you. I’ve been working with him for 20 years – this is the first time he has ever asked to meet his opening act.’
“The band and I went into his dressing room where he was getting ready for the show and we basically talked about music.
“He said he could hear where my roots were and said he really enjoyed the music. Bob said basically ‘stay true to your beliefs and never compromise’ – which I never do anyway. He invited us back to his hotel after the show.
“It was a big honour for me and strengthened my self belief in my music and, because he was so humble and sincere, inspired me. And still does to this day.”
Over the years Tailis has been a bit of wanderlust, living in Paris, London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney, before returning to Perth about three years ago.
In typical Tallis fashion, he is relocating again to Paris, despite the predicted rise in covid cases in winter in Europe.
“I get a lot of work in Paris and France and also I get 10-20 times more respect there than my hometown,” he says.
“I fell in love with Paris when I first went there in 1974 and have gone back basically every year since.”
Tallis’s farewell gig at Lyric Lane will also feature Paul McCarthy with his band Circus, and the acclaimed Paige McNaught Experience (PMX).
Tix at https://tickets.oztix.com.au
by STEPHEN POLLOCK