Pandemic Blues: Stuck at home, Short & Curly turned to music videos from home to entertain their fans.
It’s been a long road for Bridgetown musical duo Short and Curly, otherwise known as Steve Packer and Karen Hunt.
They’ve been taking to the road around Australia performing 70 gigs a year for over six years now.
Last year alone they did 95 gigs on a grand circumnavigation of the nation and were gearing up for another busy year when the pandemic brought the music to an abrupt halt.
Finding themselves locked down at home they turned to shooting video performances of their original material, striving to produce the most professional production they could and improvising with the limited means available to them.
“We’re not Martin Scorcese,” said Steve with a smile.
Fugitive Souls is their second album of all original songs except for one cover of the 1954 number, Stealin’ Sugar by Ray Batts.
Their music is an eclectic mix of blues, country and folk with elements of rock, reggae and rhythm ‘n’ blues thrown in for good measure.
With just a guitar, harmonica and voices they’ve been entertaining audiences far and wide with a combination of original songs and covers of familiar songs and some that are less familiar.
“Karen’s the real talent in Short and Curly,” Steve said.
“Her voice doesn’t sound like anyone else – it’s a great musical instrument. She’s got the talent, I’ve got the pugnacious drive.”
Their song list is something of a balance between artistic integrity and keeping the customer satisfied.
Steve points out that there are really two customers to satisfy for musicians on the road: the audience and the owner of the venue.
That frequently means keeping pub owners and their staff happy by keeping the volume down and being easy to get along with. If that means being flexible and accommodating with their time and setting up their equipment, so be it.
Music might be entertainment, but it’s also a business, something Steve and Karen are keenly aware of.
In fact the business side of it never stops, with gigs to organise up and down the state and even across the country.
“It never seems to get any easier with changing staff and venues, we’re constantly trying to work things out” Steve said.
“We drive from one gig and organise another.”
After years in the game he thinks he knows every music venue in WA. Google and social media are vital tools.
“I don’t know how musos did it before modern technology,” he said.
With the lockdown behind them and things returning to normal, the hard-working duo will soon be back on song and heading north again to Marble Bar and beyond.
The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle it isn’t.