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 12 February 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]