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Ronnie Taheny

Ronnie Taheny
‘It’s All About Me’ DVD Launch. Sat Feb 2, 2008.
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel. Adelaide, South Australia.

Accomplished singer-songwriter Ronnie Taheny launched her DVD, ‘It’s All About Me’, at The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel in front of an audience of around 400 expectant fans. Taking the stage alone, armed with just voice and guitar, Taheny immediately demonstrated why she is a favourite amongst local music aficionados. ‘This Lifetime’, from 2001’s ‘Dodgy Vita’ CD, kicked off what was to be an impressive performance. Effortlessly switching between a selection of instruments and performing with a range of on-stage partners through the evening, Taheny delivered her songs to an increasingly spellbound audience with an energy and verve rarely seen around town.
After moving from guitar to keyboard for a version of ‘Cinderella’, Taheny greeted the big crowd and immediately showed that, for all the worldliness that years of traveling and touring overseas brings, she’s a down-to-earth Edithburgh girl at heart. Taheny joked with the audience, establishing a level of comfort and intimacy that would last the evening.
Taheny was joined on stage by her fellow members of the fabulous Outhouse Orchestra, Amanda Goodfellow on cello and Marie Suzanne de Lint on flute (and occasional harmonica); occasional drummer Jarrad Payne also took part in the fun. Taheny continued to provide excellent examples of her incisive lyrics, wit and great music through songs like ‘Irish Girls Wake’, ‘The Only Girl on the Island’ and the wonderfully busy ‘Would I Know If My Arse Was On Fire?’ which closed the set. Members of the audience were given a few minutes to reflect on the first half of their evening while viewing excerpts from the new DVD on the big screen.
The second part of the show opened with Taheny playing keyboards and, with Jarrad Payne on drums, vocals and bass simultaneously, she gave the crowd a great rendition of ‘Wasting Away’. Taheny swapped between guitar, keyboard and grand piano, further demonstrating her versatility. The songs were lifted further by the thoughtful accompaniments provided by Michael Bahlij on keyboards/vocals and, again, Jarrad Payne on drums/bass/vocals. The set list included great numbers like ‘That’s Jesus’ and ‘Turn Those Heroes to Stone’ and the fabulous ‘Gold, Frankincense and Murder’ from the ‘Decalogue’ CD, which closed the set.
Called back for an encore, we were treated to more of Ronnie’s wit with the recitation of a poem, ‘A Darcy Before I Die’, before “Good Day” and “Guardian Angel” closed the show, sending punters home happy and, no doubt, impressed.
There’s no pigeon-holing Taheny. She moves from the tender to the raucous without missing a beat. She gives everything and it’s easy to see how she has taken her music to increasingly bigger stages over the years. It’s all about passion.

David Robinson


ronnie and me

Ronnie Taheny
“Renaissance Point” CD Launch. Sat Feb 6, 2010.
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel. Adelaide, South Australia.

European-based ball of energy Ronnie Taheny returned to Adelaide to present a selection of songs from her latest album, ‘Renaissance Point’, at the Governor Hindmarsh on February 6. It’s her first studio album for four years and, as such, it’s big. It spans two discs and I was looking forward to hearing the bulk of it live. I took my seat amongst the good-sized crowd that comprised Taheny’s fans, family and friends, waited for the lights to dim and the show to begin.
Taheny was given a warm welcome to the stage, and appeared immediately at home. Picking up her 11-string guitar she began with the controlled commotion of ‘Tell Your Story Walking’, a track that dates back to 1996’s ‘Valentine’s Prey’ CD. I was thinking we might be given a retrospective first bracket, but as soon as the opener finished we were treated to the first of the ‘Renaissance Point’ numbers, the impressive ‘Letter to the Muses’. The set went on to showcase many of the tracks from the first disc of the new album, with the multi-talented Taheny moving from guitar to keys to grand piano and back again. ‘Artemisia’, ‘Surface’, and ‘Photograph’ were all delivered to an appreciative audience, before the performance changed gear and Taheny gave us the spoken word ‘A Darcy Before I Die’, which also appears on the new album. The first stanza concluded with the powerful vocal performance that is the making of ‘This Lifetime’, from the ‘Dodgy Vita’ album.
It was only to be expected that Taheny would need a break after the powerhouse opening session. The audience was left to reacquaint themselves with friends and bar staff for 40 minutes, which only served to raise the level of expectation about what was to come.
The second set started with the Outhouse Orchestra, resplendent in familiar black garb, performing ‘Trade’ - a brilliant song that deserves both of its appearances on the new double CD. Amanda Goodfellow (cello, bass and vocals) and Marie de Lint (flute, keys, harmonica and vocals) provided perfect accompaniment for Taheny through the set as she once again cycled through her instruments. The rather beautiful ‘Mal di Mare’ and ‘Latitude Age’ benefited from recorded backing, obviously a necessary evil if these songs were to be aired. The latter featured a breathtaking vocal performance from the whole band, Jarrad Payne (drums, vocals and occasional bass) having completed the line-up earlier in the set. Taheny was comfortable and assured throughout; even the occasional intermittent problems with the guitar sound were managed with aplomb. The band concluded with ‘The Thinker’, another song from ‘Renaissance Point’.
The crowd were given plenty of reasons to buy the new album but the performance also featured many songs from Taheny’s back catalogue of CDs. ‘The List’, from 2003’s ‘Happathy’ album, was a personal high point of the night.
Taheny and band, including guest Michael Bahlij on grand piano, were called back for an encore that comprised ‘Wasting Away’, ‘That’s Jesus’ and ‘Guardian Angel’, before the curtain fell on another memorable performance with ‘Moving Door’.
The whole evening was an exercise in variety, virtuosity and versatility. The audience was presented with 21 examples of why Ronnie Taheny is worth seeing. The gig careered, bounced and soared in a range of directions, but never managed to shake itself loose from Taheny’s control. Which is exactly how it ought to be.

David Robinson


Ronnie Taheny: Twenty years in the making
Saturday February 4, 2012.
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel. Adelaide, South Australia.

On a warm and rainy Saturday night in Adelaide, a decent-sized crowd fills the back room of the Governor Hindmarsh and waits for Ronnie Taheny to appear. She’s back in town, for the first time since 2010, this time celebrating a 20-year solo career. There’s generous applause when Taheny does appear, and takes her seat at the grand piano. She promises a performance that will follow a vague chronology. She’s not wrong about the vagary because her first number is the opening track from her most recent album. Letter to the Muses is a beautiful song, and is an instant reminder of Taheny’s songwriting and performing prowess. Two songs from 1996’s Valentine’s Prey album follow; Montana, an early composition, and the familial Aida.

Taheny switches between 12-string acoustic guitar, piano and keyboards to perform selections from a range of her albums. The tales she tells between the songs only add to the pointedness of some, like Gold, Frankincense and Murder and Irish Girls Wake, and the poignancy of others, like the aforementioned Aida. Taheny completes her first set with the brilliantly haunting Trade, and the spoken word A Darcy Before I Die, both from 2010’s Renaissance Point double-album.

For the second half of the showcase Taheny is joined onstage by the multi-talented Jarrad Payne. Although seated behind a drum kit, he’s also responsible for bass, backing vocals, keyboard and various other percussive instruments, generally managing to do (at least) two things at once.

Not to be outdone, Taheny also adds another instrument to her catalogue, strapping on a Telecaster for That’s Jesus, After a couple of songs from Decalogue album, we return to the more recent Renaissance Point, for the slow-burning, anthemic Wasting Away, Latitude Age, and the well crafted and catchy Surface. This is followed by an impressive vocal performance in The List, and I get the feeling that we are reaching the climax of the show. The last three songs of the set see Taheny move from piano, to acoustic guitar, to Telecaster, for assured renditions of Toyland, Glacial and Moving Door.

Taheny returns for a very welcome encore and performs Versailles and the touching crowd favourite Photograph in solo mode, before inviting Payne to join her for the final song of the evening, and popular encore choice, Guardian Angel.

The versatility is there for all to see; the sizeable talent even more obvious. Taheny is a thoughtful, gifted and vibrant artist who more than deserves the applause and goodwill she receives from another satisfied Governor Hindmarsh crowd.

David Robinson

SCALA News #129


Double the fun
Ronnie Taheny and the Georgia Germein Sisters
Saturday February 9, 2013.
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel. Adelaide, South Australia.

Here we are again; it’s early February and time for another Ronnie Taheny show. This time, however, we are promised an extra treat; an opening showcase set from the highly regarded Georgia Germein Sisters.

I’ve seen award-winning songwriter Georgia Germein in solo mode, but this is the first time I’ve seen the band, which comprises Georgia and her two siblings, Clara and Ella. All frocked up and ready to rock.

The Germeins kick off with Nice to See You and Take My Hand; catchy pop songs that appear to show the desired musical direction of the band. The breathy vocals on Time to Go Away further serve to make the point. The short set changes gear for the slower, more plaintive Please Be OK, before finishing with another strong pop song, the curiously entitled Da Da Doo.

All the songs in the set are, I think, designed to please. They are well-constructed compositions, possessing most, if not all, of the hallmarks of contemporary pop.

Georgia Germein switches instruments throughout the five numbers – from acoustic guitar to electric guitar to keyboard. Clara and Ella are also obviously capable musicians, and the overall sound is full without being cluttered. The Georgia Germein Sisters appear to know where they want to be, and play with an accomplishment and confidence that suggests that they are already well on their way.

After a short pause in the evening’s proceedings, Ronnie Taheny appears to an expected generous round of applause.

Taheny is a gifted songwriter; she’s lyrically astute and a master of rhythm and melody. Her compositions are interesting and complex, without ever becoming overly obscure or self-indulgent. Quite the opposite; these are songs to be understood and enjoyed.

The set includes a selection of familiar numbers, adeptly presented in the manner to which regular gig attendees have become accustomed. The first half of the set offers Cinderella, Letter to the Muses, Surface, Moving Door and Photograph, all features of recent Governor Hindmarsh shows. And great songs besides…

Taheny’s regular co-conspirator, Jarrad Payne, joins her on stage for the second half of the show. The pointed That’s Jesus sees Payne on bass, drums and backing vocals. Payne is a devastatingly capable musician, and the impressive range of talent displayed when supporting Taheny only provides a glimpse of what he can do.

One of Taheny’s on-stage strengths is her ability to spin a yarn or two, and tonight is no exception. She regales the audience with anecdotes, jokes and tales of her musical adventures, the funniest being about balancing the life of a late-night muso with that of a daytime teacher.

The deliberate ordering of the anthemic foursome Wasting Away, Guardian Angel, Glacial and the brand-new Babel raises and maintains the momentum of the set; the audience becomes increasingly engaged as the evening reaches its culmination. The applause is loud and sustained. Taheny tells us that the show is over and bids us a fond farewell, but we all know there will be more. We’ve been here before.

The encore features the jaunty spoken word A Darcy Before I Die before Taheny sits at the piano and presents another world-premiere song, entitled Over. To round off a very enjoyable evening, Taheny then invites the Georgia Germein Sisters back onto the stage to join Payne and herself in a performance of the Georgia Germein song, Wake Up.

The night’s entertainment concludes and the audience has been treated, not once but twice. The Georgia Germein Sisters have shown that they have much to offer the audiences awaiting their upcoming performances in Europe. And it’s not just been a Taheny greatest hits package either; the inclusion of two new songs shows that there are good reasons to expect more from this diminutive powerhouse sometime soon.

David Robinson

SCALA News #133