Call of the drawl

12. 34ARTS1

THE voice down the blower had the familiar drawl heard in song, and if CW Stoneking had been any more laid back he’d have fallen over. Except he was already laying down.

“I’m stretching out in front of the pot belly,” he says from home in Victoria.

The first time I heard Stoneking I pictured a geriatric African-American from the deepest south, singing songs from the Depression era.

So it was a surprise to discover he’s actually a white bloke from Katherine in the Northern Territory, aged about 35. And that Stoneking is his real name, the CW standing for Christopher William—and he writes his own songs.

He sings like he has a mouth full of marbles, his distinctive, gravelly drawl part-Territory, part-American gospel/soul, which I’d assumed was put on.

“It’s just how it comes out, it’s not a difficult obstacle for me,” he says. “I tend to lean quite hard on my vocal cords, which is what someone trained in voice would say.”

Gon Boogaloo, his first album in six years, is pure Stoneking, and while there’s no “one influence” bits of music from a lifetime of listening creep in.

“In any song I could name a hundred influences that I can recognise—it’s what you brush up against.

Boogaloo is more old style rock’n’roll than previous albums, “before they called it that,” Stoneking says.

Having recently returned from a gruelling 36-stop tour across the UK and Europe Stoneking is on a national tour that could be the last Australia sees of him for a while, as he heads to the US.

You can catch him, along with Vika and Linda Bull, at the Fremantle Arts Centre, November 14, for one last boogaloo before this exceptional showman heads off somewhere else.

Tix at


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