Lucky ducky

Lucky Oceans with Asleep at the Wheel in the 1970s.

LUCKY OCEANS will be joined by a who’s who of the Fremantle music scene at his 70th birthday bash later this month.

In an amazing career spanning Nashville to North Fremantle, the talented guitarist has played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Originally from Philadelphia, Oceans enjoyed his first big break with the US band Asleep at the Wheel, who got their debut recording contract after being praised by Van Morrison in Rolling Stone.

A grammy quickly followed and Oceans – renwoned for his pedal steel guitar playing – was soon rubbing shoulders with the likes of Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris.

“A lot happened at the Palomino Club, Los Angeles’ premier Country Music Venue, which Asleep at the Wheel played regularly,” Oceans says.

“Peter Fonda come to one of our shows and hung out on our bus with us. 

“One night, Jerry Lee Lewis was in the audience, flicking his lighter on in appreciation of the band and then he stormed the stage, taking over the piano playing a ferocious boogie woogie.”

But Ocean’s life was turned upside down when he fell in love with Boston Globe photographer Chris Haddow – originally from Broad Arrow in WA (now a ghost town) – and they got married and moved to Fremantle in 1981.

Since then he’s become an integral part of the local music scene playing with bands like Jim Fisher’s Outlaws, Zydecats, and Nansing and the Jam Tarts, whose Sunday Sessions at the Seaview Hotel were legendary.

He’s also forged a career as a well-respected broadcaster; his eclectic music show Daily Planet on ABC Radio National enjoyed a dedicated following for many years.

“As a broadcaster, I’m proud of the musicians I’ve helped by putting them on air, of the people that took up music as a result of the show and the high-level musical community that we built,” he says. 

“As a musician, I’m proudest of my projects as musical director (The March 2021 Songs for Freedom at Point Walter) and as co-musical director for Perth Festival’s opening concert Home in Langley Park, 2014.  I’m proud of the albums I recorded here – Dude Ranch, Zydecats, Secret Steel and Purple Sky (with Paul Kelly and Kasey Chambers), of my Sonic Sessions series, of my compositional work with cutting edge arts organisation Big hART, and of evolving a unique pedal steel style.”

Lucky Oceans will be joined by a host of established and new musicians including Dave Brewer, Peter Evans and Jim Fisher at his 70th Birthday Bash at Freo Social on Friday April 23.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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