LIFE OF TUNES: Gerry Connors celebrates his 60th year in the music industry on the Fraser Coast.
LIFE OF TUNES: Gerry Connors celebrates his 60th year in the music industry on the Fraser Coast. contributed

The love of country runs deep

GERRY Connors has played in every pub and club in town during his 60 year music career.

With his first gig in years, the country music guitarist and entertainer will celebrate his milestone with a tribute to legends like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Aussie icons Slim Dusty and Chad Morgan later this month.

Although he classes his music journey started at 18, as a seven-year-old he remembers listening on the wireless to the original country musicians like Slim Dusty and Buddy Williams.

Before he left school at 14, he bought his first guitar and when he moved to Brisbane to work as a junior clerk at Queensland Rail, he learnt to play.

"I went in to the Conservatorium of Music in Wickham Terrace and did 10 lessons - that's when it started," Gerry said.

By 16, Gerry had learnt a few chords and sang a few songs.

"I got up at my brother's wedding in March 1959 and sung."

 

The Magpies at the old Scarborough Hotel in Hervey Bay in 1962 (from left) Eddy Rooney, Gwen Cockburn, Brian Baker (dec), Kevin Gott and Gerry Connors.
The Magpies at the old Scarborough Hotel in Hervey Bay in 1962 (from left) Eddy Rooney, Gwen Cockburn, Brian Baker (dec), Kevin Gott and Gerry Connors. contributed

When he returned to Maryborough later that same year, a work colleague talked him into forming The Magpies.

After that, The Magpies worked the music scene with odd jobs around Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

They disbanded in 1962 and Gerry joined a trio and formed the Cimmarons.

They were a hit and played regularly at the old Scarborough Hotel in Hervey Bay.

"There would be old tin shed at the back of the Scarborough called The Den and I would hear all the aluminium chairs and tables being scratched along the floor as we came in to do our show," he said.

"People still tell me they remember the shows."

Gerry said it was a big call to name his favourite song.

"My favourite song of all time is North to Alaska by John Horton," he said.

"Alan Jackson is my favourite American country music."

 

Gerry Connors released his one and only CD of cover songs with an original in 2008.
Gerry Connors released his one and only CD of cover songs with an original in 2008. contributed

And if push came to shove, he said he probably preferred Waylon Jennings to Johnny Cash.

Some of the covers he will perform with his four-piece band will be Don Williams, Brookes and Dunn, Kenny Rogers "you gotta do The Gambler - the most popular song", Everley Brothers, Elvis, Buddy Holly and Glen Campbell.

Gerry is calling his celebration gig the farewell show, but like John Farnham, "never say never".

He has been in full practice since announcing the show.

It's going to be quite a feat - I gotta get up and do 75 to 80 numbers and remember all the words," he said.

"If I am going to do a show, I better do it at 78 because I can't see me doing it at 80."

The singer said he was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.

"One of the former Cimmaron members said they might come out to see me and I am sure there will be some who want to come and join me," he said.

"I feel confident I will get through - I am amongst friends."

Gerry Connors with his four-piece band will perform his farewell show on Sunday, June 23 at the Maryborough Sports Club from 12.40-4.30pm.