FORMER Kulcha head honcho Jon Cope is back gigging in Freo, joining with wife Emma Birkett to form a new folk-swing-blues duo, Martin & Coole.
The musical couple have played together for years at their local café, in the kitchen and at the occasional school fete, but despite Cope’s 25 years behind his cittern and guitar, The Roaring Gimlet will be the couple’s first album together.
The family man said that he and Emma chose to name the band with a focus on their instruments rather than themselves.
Jon has a 1937 Martin guitar that he has had for around 25 years, whilst Emma has a “beautiful” ukulele by Fremantle luthier Ross Coole.
“I was just fascinated that luthiers put all this effort, love and craftmanship into making instruments, that they’ll never enjoy themselves,” Jon says.
A family road trip to Goongarrie provided inspiration for the title track, The Roaring Gimlet.
“We were sitting in this tin shed and playing music around the campfire and there was just a sense of history,” he says.
“The Roaring Gimlet was what they called the town before it was officially a town, because of the wind and trees.
“Sitting around the campfire, we were racking up bits of gimlet (a Goldfields eucalypt) and putting it in the fire and sitting around singing”.
Cope was also vocalist and cittern player in one of Perth’s most successful folk bands, Fling. He said Martin & Coole is more laid back with some folk influences combined with Emma’s passion for swing.
Mr Cope was also CEO of multicultural arts venue Kulcha, which was forced to close its doors in 2014 after government funding cuts.
“I’ve just quietly been supporting multicultural artists without going anywhere near the State government or the City of Freo or doing anything,” he says.
The record features guest musicians Ian Simpson on dobro, banjo and guitar, John Perry on double bass, Rob Zielinski on fiddle, Xiao Xuan on yangqin and Malcolm Mah on bass.
They will all appear at the launch.
The Roaring Gimlet will be launched at the Kidogo Arthouse on Bather’s Beach on March 26.
Tickets are $20+bf with a CD and can be purchased via the Eventbrite website.
by CHARLIE SMITH