More than the sum of its parts.
Chloe and Jason have been presenting ‘Radio-Play’ styled themed presentations and instructional workshops for over twenty years – at festivals and other venues around Australia and internationally. The themed shows have also been described as ‘folk documentaries’. The shows generally run for between 60 and 90 minutes – but can be extended (or shortened) by negotiation. Each show is written fresh to suit the event, based on the previous iterations. Some shows can be presented by Jason Roweth solo, most will suit the duo, while a ‘Chloe and Jason Roweth Band’ booking will allow any show to be programmed.
As we work to find new ways to live in a changing world, we return to familiar songs to find that they have acquired new meanings. So, what's worth keeping? Allow the Roweth to introduce to you 'Phonograph Jack', who wanders the tablelands of NSW stirring the memories of those who live and work there. Dance to the tunes of Sally Sloane and Ebb Wren under the stars, listen in the dark to the songs of battered travellers and chancers with hope still alive in their hearts.
The Roar of the Crowd
Delving through old and new traditional Australian song, story and poem, Chloe & Jason explore the clear duality in the nation’s modern history, unearthing a cycle of dispossession and dislocation. This is the other side of the fence, the wrong side of the street, south of the tracks - this is the Hidden Republic. We hear the voices of convicts and bushrangers, The First Australians, soldiers and activists for peace, workers rights and the elusive “fair go”. We hear from the earliest days of colonial Australia - Frank the Poet and the Great Anon, from the goldfields years and the Great Depression - Henry Lawson and Duke Tritton, and through to more recent work from the mighty pens of Alistair Hulett, John Dengate, Denis Kevans, Roger Montgomery. The songs and stories seem to resonate through the generations, inspiring and informing the characters and events in the new ballads as they appear. Pieces are tied together thematically, music running under poems and expanding into songs, weaving together diverse threads of Australian tradition. A rich and resonant presentation - with plenty to chew on... and plenty of laughs!
"Jason and Chloe's brilliant Roar of the Crowd was moving, funny, achingly sad in turns and at times all at once - not to mention both educative and entertaining. Top class stuff." - Cathy Rytmeister (regarding the live performance at the National Folk Festival, 2017).
The Soul of A Poet - Songs and Poems of Henry Lawson
Duo / Band
The power and pathos in Henry Lawson’s writing still resonates strongly with readers today. The Roweths invite you to join them in savouring this extraordinary man’s work. Some poems are sung, with arrangements by the duo, and Chris Kempster among others, others are recited with the sensitive musical accompaniment the Roweths have pioneered in recent years. This concert includes original musical settings, and evocative use of dance music from Lawson’s (and the Roweths') home country - central-west NSW.
“This IS my day job.”
Making your living as an independent performing and recording artist in Australia – Solo, Duo
Building on 30 years as a professional performer and 20 years without any other job, this workshop is a discussion on every, and any element of making, performing and recording your life’s work in Australia. It may seem like an impossibility, it may be a small step, you may be there already – bring what you know, bring your questions and join the discussion. Performance techniques, chasing gigs, marketing and promotion, home-recording, production… This is the kind of workshop where, whilst Jason has a lot to offer, he will walk out knowing a lot more than when he walks in.
This workshop can also be programmed to include other performers, with Jason acting as chair.
“Make it your own”
Sourcing, arranging and presenting traditional Australian song and story - Duo
The way traditional music is played is as individual as the characters who play it. Maintaining the tradition can be a vibrantly creative and richly rewarding process. Traditional performers are uniquely positioned to provide entertainment with a social functional, and a historical depth that is also artistically expressive – robust and real at the country show, beautiful and powerful on the concert stage; this material is steeped in Australian character and experience, and resonates deeply with Australian audiences. In this workshop, the Roweths share their enthusiasm for combining new and old songs, poetry and music, and using many points of view and historical context to tell larger stories. What are the elements of traditional Australian music? Which stories and sounds resonate strongly with what you want to say today? Walk away with information regarding resources and practical processes to help make traditional music your own.
‘We Go On Disobeying’
Songs and Poetry of John Dengate - Solo, Duo, Band
John Dengate – National treasure, modern Lawson, musician, failed punter, educator, and a very fine songwriter and satirist. Chloe and Jason Roweth celebrate John’s contribution to Australian folk with a selection of John’s songs, poems and stories.
‘Too Many Bloody Songs About Shearers By Far!’
Australia’s great wealth of shearing songs is well recognised. The Roweths present the pick of the crop in all it’s bountiful variety, inspired by the recent discovery by Mark Gregory of some very early publications in various Australian newspapers (now available on Trove, a National Library of Australia website). There are swaggering songs from the late 1800’s / early 1900’s, (some rare, some well known), rousing singalongs, classic poems, bitter sweet ballads, and even the murder of a "Mad Shed Rep." (thanks Rob Willis!). The show features the recently uncovered earliest known version of “Click Go The Shears”, from the Bacchus Marsh Express, dated 1891! Bring your voices!
‘The Riderless Horse’
An Australian Impression of The First World War – Duo, Band
This material has the ring of truth for nobody knows better than those who were there …From the rousing songs of nationalistic fervour, to the soldiers’ brave faced morale boosters composed on the spot in the trenches and sung by many voices, to the ballads of those left behind to watch and wait - It’s the songs written by people of the time, those directly affected by being at war, that really tell the story and provide a rare insight into Australia at the time of the war to end all wars. Although these songs were never meant to tell the story of one soldier’s experience, this presentation has been arranged chronologically and gives a strong impression of continuity. The show also contains a potted folk history of Australia’s involvement in WW1.
‘Gallipoli – 5 acres of pretty poor grazing country’
2015 Marked the 100th anniversary of what is known in Australia simply as "Gallipoli". Though the campaign has been discussed endlessly, no one knows more than those who were there. Strip away the legends, these are the songs, poems, stories and closest thoughts of those who took part. This presentation is in the style of a radio play - a continuous collage of contrasting points of view.
Sing Us a Song Boys - The Songs of Michael O’Rourke
Duo - 60 mins
While many around the folk scene will have sung along to the mighty ‘Poison Train’, far fewer could name any other songs written by Michael O’Rourke. The Roweths have long been fascinated by the strength and variety of O’Rourke’s backlist of songs with their powerful imagery and occasional dark humour – now’s your chance to hear why.
Musical Arrangements for Spoken Word
Duo - 60 mins
Why do we stream music and poetry into separate events when they go so well together? Combining poem and song in a session seems like a natural thing to do. The Roweths have been exploring ways to present Australian poetry as part of their concerts and discovered that music can emotionally enhance spoken word, and link items in the set to evoke bigger stories. There is a particular joy in finding a tune or feel to partner a poem, and a measure of improvisation when it comes to performing these pieces live on stage - you never step into the same river twice.
Popular music of the 1960s – first heard on a little record player, at Parramatta Pool - BAND ONLY
Take a popular song or two from each year of the 1960s - the greatest of revolutionary musical decades, and present them chronologically, and with some clear objectives - The song needs to be one that Bill Browne (the band’s drummer) bought in the 1960s... But it’s not all about Bill! Where were you when you first heard ... ? What were you wearing? Remember the furniture? Was it the dance? The radio? The pool? The river? The car? These songs are not rarities or b-sides - these are the mountain peaks! The enormous influence and enduring popularity of the songs - not to mention the diversity and explosion in styles - allows the show to hit the mark, even for younger folks in the crowd, and the refreshing approach to music and words is designed to make the music feel brand new again. Aah, Nostalgia – it’s not what it used to be!
‘The Game is Getting Lively’
Bushranging in Central West NSW - Duo, Band
No subject in Australia’s short history has created more ballads than the bushrangers of the gold-rush days…in particular the exploits of Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert and co. By arranging these fantastic traditional ballads chronologically, and filling a few gaps in the story with yarns and poems, we set out to tell the history - admittedly with a bias towards the sympathisers! An entertaining and informative presentation with a general appeal.
Traces seditious and rebellious songs of interest through Australia's history, with an eye for how the old may have informed the new. This presentation features songs from the time of early penal settlement, convict rebels, gold rush bushrangers and the Kelly uprising. In particular we aim to explore some seditious threads handed down in rebellious ballads from the old countries – Ireland in particular, and linking the words of Frank the Poet, the songs of the Gardiner / Hall / Gilbert gang of 1860s NSW, and ballads of the Kelly Gang. The songs and stories seem to resonate through the generations, inspiring and informing the characters and events in the new ballads as they appeared.
‘There Won’t Be Any Trains’
A concert of Australian railway related songs - railway workers, rattler jumpers, rail explosions, and trains that just don’t arrive...
‘Bush Songs are for Singing’
Just how much would you like to learn about Australian bush songs? or are you happy just to get the chance to sing them? We offer workshops and master classes, or sing-a-longs that everyone can enjoy. A broad repertoire of bush songs allows the humour and surprising depth of traditional Australian bush ballads to shine through.
‘Between the Lines’
Sourcing, Arranging and Performing Australian Traditional Music - Duo
Of interest to anyone who arranges traditional Australian music for performance (or would like to try).
We look at sources for traditional Australian songs and dance music, and some fresh ideas for presenting the material to audiences. One of the real pleasures in performing traditional music can be found in creating new and interesting arrangements. Copying other peoples arrangements is one way to learn the art, but has little new to offer an audience, and can leave you sounding like a pale imitation of the original. Our aim in this workshop is not to provide a formula, but to open up possibilities that the participants may not have considered.
The arranging skills learnt in this workshop may also be applicable to original songs or creative covers of contemporary music. If time allows, this workshop may extend to a discussion on performance, and promotional opportunities and techniques; where to play and how to play when you get there.
‘Women of the Bush and the Songs they've Sung’
Sally Sloane, Val Turton, Susan Colley, Carrie Milliner - names that should be better known throughout Australia as great tradition bearers. We look at the songs and dance music that has been collected from the extraordinary repertoires of these women of the Australian bush, and also visit the context in which they were learned and shared. Full of stories and songs and some fascinating snippets of bush life; a unique and entertaining show.
The Songs of Carrie Milliner and the Bobbin Family - Duo
A presentation of the songs and stories from traditional singer Carrie Milliner. Carrie (nee Bobbin, 1926 - 2005) grew up in the bush of "The Nullica", eight miles from Eden, on the far south coast of NSW. The large extended family lived hard working lives as sleeper cutters. In fertile isolation, this family of singers aurally maintained a fantastic collection of songs. Some of the songs have a traceable history in the family for generations. Carrie in particular found a passion for remembering the songs and sang many of them for Rob Willis, who thankfully passed them on to us.
Traditional ballads, early popular and country styles, music hall, parodies, poems and stories; more than just a concert of songs, this show has a general appeal due largely to the humour and the retelling of Carrie's experiences living in the bush. Beautiful and seemingly forgotten tales and melodies, unified by Carrie's stories from her early life, provide a fascinating glimpse of the Australian aural tradition at work and of life in the bush of southern NSW.
‘Australian Bush Poetry in Song’
Enjoy the great stories as told by the bush poets of Australia - set to music. The great names of Lawson, Paterson and Ogilvie are all represented in this workshop along with some lesser known poets of interest, and of course "Anon" himself. Many of the items presented have been set to music by some of the best in the business - Chris Kempster, Bob Rummery - and quite a few by Chloe & Jason themselves.
‘Bush Fun for Kids’
Sing along to some great Aussie bush songs, hear a few yarns and poems, and learn some easy bush dances. Chloe and Jason Roweth have been sharing their enthusiasm for making your own fun with kids groups for many years, around the campfire and in schools. These shows are great for all ages - in the grand old bush tradition!