Greetings from Tuckombil. The Re-mains are on hiatus at the moment after Nymagee and our second tour of Canada. We’re playing a handful of shows for the rest of the year and taking it easy while we hunker down in meatspace to try and get outta debt and regroup. Tom Jones has relocated to Darwin with his lovely beau Flanno, UBL is in training for the Ironman races at Bentley, Frisky has gone into timber milling and I’m driving cabs. We’re playing three shows at Tamworth CMF in January and hopefully will have the new album by then. More below on that. Last year we played 132 shows – a record for the band. It was a tumultuous year – our first tour of Canada, 64 shows across seven provinces taking on 16,000 kilometres of Rocky Mountains, the great prairies and the enormous metropolises of this fabled continent. We made a lot of friends there, the Bush Pilots, The Secretaries, Joey Only and the Outlaw Band, Colin Farnan, Peter Brush, The Deep Dark Woods, Li’l Miss Higgins (the Kansas version) and Foy, all the crew at Ness Creek Festival, who broke their golden rule by having us back for a second time, Wil and Caroline, Mayor Matt Allen and family, The Smokin’ 45s and our Calgary sponsor Brad Simm, the Weber Bros and the D-Rangers … We also did a heap of touring at home, from Melbourne to Nundle via Goologong and Tamworth, Nymagee, Bourke, Cobar … business as usual. Uncle Burnin’ Love came back to the fold after a grave illness that had put him temporarily out of action. As soon as he was pronounced fit the Recruiting Sergeant whisked him out of Bentley and back on the road. Recording for the next album continued in fits and starts. We’d actually commenced just prior to the fateful national tour that ended before it began, in the back of a steer north of Tennant Creek. Grant Bedford and Dave Ramsey are still recovering from their injuries there, and fighting off the insurance vultures trying to deprive them of compensation. Sessions went on throughout last year and this and we were able to release nine new songs on the ‘Inland Sea’ album – a Canada-only cd that garnered heaps of radio play over there, punters particularly taken with ‘Darn Tootin’ in Saskatchewan’, a bawdy tale of depravity and bears in that blessed province. The female anchor of City TV in Calgary, Alberta was so taken with it that she had us play it live to air on Breakfast TV during our long sojourn there, courtesy of expatriate Peter Brush, a generous bon vivant and lover of late nights and Gary’s antics. We still have another 11 songs in the bag to be polished, have guitar, harmonica and vocal parts added for release hopefully before this year is out. It’s all down to the patience and dedication of Christian Pyle, genius producer at Prawn and Spanner that we got this far, un-monetized, haphazard and harried. The album is to be called ‘Courage … and shuffle the cards’, a valiant quote attributed to Lola Montez. This year we played a mere 52 shows in Canada, including two TV appearances, marking new territory in Montreal and beyond and criss-crossing the Rockies with Joey Only and Zinger to play some extraordinary venues that we would surely never have had the privilege of without these two spirit guides. Once again we were treated to amazing hospitality, mind-bending conviviality, and Shaun saw a wolf. So he reckons. We managed 35 shows in Australia, about ten of those being in disguise as The Postmortemists, our covers band whose residency at the sadly missed Winsome Hotel was responsible for some highly liberal interpretations of tunes by the likes of You Am I, The Beasts of Bourbon, Divinyls, Midnight Oil, The Stems, The Church etc etc. Last weekend we joined the rest of the Australian country rock and roll coalface community in commuting out to our very own Mecca, the birthplace of crnr, where Beefweek first split the atom and GOLD!!!! tumbled out, where the Trippin’ Shearer was sacrificed to the angry god of the coalface, where the burrs are bigger ‘n landmines, NYMAGEE. Yeah that’s right, The Re-mains were born out on this slag heap in the Mallee, and we returned along with a plethora of other bona fide coalface roots acts to carouse, cavort and disport with all those brave enough to venture out to the middle of New South Wales. There are a heap of pics on myspace and facebook to tell the true story, suffice to say that it probably was the best ever festival in terms of music, camaraderie, weather and hilarity. Directors Mcintosh and Hull did a magnificent job and have well and truly hooked Nymagee into the broader Australian psyche. Next shows for us are Nov 21 at a private party in Yamba and Sunday 22nd at Billinudgel Pub in the afternoon. Traditionally a great gig. After that, the Grand Junction in Maitland on December 4 and maybe something else with Crossy on the Saturday night. Meanwhile I’m playing solo at the Nimbin Pub on Thursday night, November 19. Till you hear the banjo roar, au revoir.