FAVORITE: Blues musician Jo Jo Smith arrived to Australia in 1974 from Dunedin, New Zealand, with a reputation as an established writer, drummer and singer.
FAVORITE: Blues musician Jo Jo Smith arrived to Australia in 1974 from Dunedin, New Zealand, with a reputation as an established writer, drummer and singer. Kurt Petersen

Jo Jo Smith celebrates 50 years on stage

NORTHERN Rivers Blues favorite Jo Jo Smith is celebrating 50 years in the music industry with a national tour.

Smith is a well-known blues musician who blends influences from jazz, roots, soul and R'n'B in her music.

Her shows are normally a mix of original songs and a small select group of covers.

Smith arrived to Australia in 1974 from Dunedin, New Zealand, where she was already an established singer, drummer and writer.

She has been backing singer for artists such as Marcia Hines, Renee Geyer, Glenn Shorrock, Jon English and Olivia Newton-John, among many others.

To celebrate her life-long career on stage, Jo Jo Smith is hitting the road this year with her musical comrades Lucie Thorne and Hamish Stuart, including a show at Bello Winter Festival 2017.

 

Musicians Lucie Thorne and Jo Jo Smith are about to hit the road together.
Musicians Lucie Thorne and Jo Jo Smith are about to hit the road together. Damian Fitzgerald

Stories beyond the music

A painfully shy child in the 1950s, Jo Jo Smith was too nervous to sing in a talent quest so opted for playing a tune on her Shepard's Whistle (farmer's dog whistle).

But it wasn't long till the shyness shook off and Jo Jo Smith first hit the stage in 1967, singing and playing drums in her Motown band in Dunedin.

According to Smith, she was taken to Christchurch from Dunedin to be exorcised at 17; she was arrested and jailed in Madrid in 1975 for busking in the subway; and that same year she won the Queensland Entertainer of the Year award.

In her website, she claims she was the first female artist to ever perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest, in 1990.

  • At Ex Services Club, Mullumbimby, on Saturday July 1, and at Tintenbar Hall, Tintenbar, on Sunday, July 2. For details visit jojosmithsoul.com

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