Bruce Watson (songwriter)

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Bruce Watson
Birth name Bruce Morrisby Watson
Born (1956-12-02) 2 December 1956 (age 58)
Terang, Victoria, Australia
Genres Folk, children's, country
Occupation(s) Musician, satirist, public servant
Instruments Vocals, guitar

Bruce Morrisby Watson (born 2 December 1956, Terang) is an Australian singer-songwriter, satirist, public servant and children’s entertainer. Watson's satires are often politically in nature. His style is generally contemporary folk music, he also writes and performs children's songs, conventional folk-country music and political songs. He has issued six solo albums Politics, Sex and Religion (1990), Real World: Songs of Life, Love & Laughter (1994), Out My Window (1999), Are We There Yet? (2004), A Moving Feast (2004) and Balance (2010).

Early life and education[edit]

Bruce Morrisby Watson[1] was born on 2 December 1956 at Terang, a town in rural south-western Victoria. His great grandfather was Horace Watson (1862–1930),[2] a pharmacist, who, in 1888 in Hobart,[3] had married Louisa née Keen (died 1936)[4] (sixth daughter of Joseph Keen, inventor of Keen's Curry)[5] who was the recent widow of Robert Williamson.[6][7][8] In 1899 and in 1903 Horace recorded traditional language songs by indigenous Tasmanian, Fanny Cochrane Smith.[8][9] Horace and Louisa ran the Keen's Curry company and were survived by two sons, Stanley and Edward, and a daughter, Emily.[2] In 1912 Stanley married Myra Morrisby.[10]

Bruce Watson was educated at Eltham, Brighton Road St. Kilda and Kew primary schools; for secondary education he went to Kew High and then Wesley College.[11]

Musical career[edit]

In 1990 Watson released his debut album, Politics, Sex and Religion. One of the tracks, "Amazon", was later covered by fellow folk artists Blackwood, Eric Bogle, and Zamponistas.[12] In May that year, he launched his book, Songs of a Satirical Bloke, with the Canberra Times‍ '​ Mike Jackson, describing him as "an academic with a wicked sense of humour".[13] In April 1994 he performed at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, with the The Canberra Times‍ '​ reporter, Graham McDonald, describing his work as "dreadfully funny parodies".[14] Also that year he issued his second album, Real World: Songs of Life, Love & Laughter.

Watson's third album, Out My Window, appeared in 1999. Its lead track, "The Man & the Woman & the Edison Phonograph", told the history behind a family photo which depicts Bruce recording Smith's vocals back in 1903.[8] A similar photo was displayed at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.[8] In the early 2000s Watson was performing at the National Folk Festival when he caught up with Ronnie Summers, the great great grandson of Smith.[8] Summers is also a folk singer and joined with Wilson in a rendition of "The Man & the Woman & the Edison Phonograph" in 2005.[8] Watson and Summers recorded the track as a duet for Watson's 2010 album, Balance.

Watson has been called a "major Australian songwriter and performer in the folk tradition",[15] and "an icon of the Australian folk scene."[16] He has performed at over 100 folk music festivals, coffee houses, and house concerts throughout Australia and New Zealand.[16] Watson has won several "songwriting awards", such as the Declan Affley Memorial Songwriting Award at the Australia National Folk Festival.[15]

Watson's song Lake Pedder Again from his Balance CD has appeared on The Folk Show on Radio Adelaide.[17]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Watson, Bruce (May 1990), Songs of a Satirical Bloke, Foreword by Eric Bogle, Melbourne, Vic: Victorian Folk Music Club Incorporated, ISBN 978-0-9598269-7-5 

Discography[edit]

  • Politics, Sex and Religion (1990)
  • Real World: Songs of Life, Love & Laughter (1994)
  • Out My Window (1999)
  • Are We There Yet? (2004)
  • A Moving Feast (2004)
  • Balance (2010)

Compilations and covers[edit]

  • Unsung Heroes of Australian History [18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "'Accident of Birth' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Obituary Mr. Horace Watson". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (National Library of Australia). 12 April 1930. p. 8. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Family Notices". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (National Library of Australia). 13 October 1888. p. 4. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "Tasmanian Wills. Mrs. Louisa Watson". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (National Library of Australia). 19 December 1936. p. 10. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Davies, Lynn. "Keen, Joseph (1819–1892)". National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Family Notices". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (National Library of Australia). 28 January 1881. p. 1. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Probates". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (National Library of Australia). 29 February 1888. p. 2. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Watson, Bruce. "The Man and the Woman and the Edison Phonograph: Race, History and Technology through Song" (PDF). Bruce Watson Official Website. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  9. ^ Stubington, Jill; Koch, Grace; Lowry, Carolyn. Jennie Shaw, ed. "Obituary: Alice Marshall Moyle 1908–2005". Newsletter (63) (Musicological Society of Australia). ISSN 0155-0543. 
  10. ^ "Family Notices". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954) (National Library of Australia). 4 May 1912. p. 1. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Watson, Bruce. "War Cries". Australian Folklore Unit (Warren Fahey). Retrieved 1 November 2013. I spent a couple of years at Wesley College, a Methodist (now Uniting Church) school in Melbourne - one of Melbourne's private schools .
  12. ^ "'Amazon' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  13. ^ Jackson, Mike (24 May 1990). "A capella Weekend". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). p. 8 Section: Good Times. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  14. ^ McDonald, Graham (31 March 1994). "Folk: Discs Galore Launched at Fok Festival". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) (National Library of Australia). p. 2 Section: Good Times. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Nixon, Sandra (13 June 2010). "Bruce Watson + Jenny Fitzgibbon @ The Loaded Dog". Jam.org. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Bruce Watson". Christchuch (NZ) Folk Music Club. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "The Folk Show, Radio Adelaide". Radio Adelaide. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Unsung Heroes of Australian History theme concert". Moira Tyers Music. 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  19. ^ "Tamar Valley Folk Festival Programme 2014l". Tamar Valley Folk Festival. 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 

External links[edit]