Sugarcane Collins is a crowd favourite thanks to his style of entertainment.
Sugarcane Collins is a crowd favourite thanks to his style of entertainment. Contributed

Sugarcane counts his blessings on east coast tour

SUGARCANE Collins's name should be enough to spark your interest, but the blues singer's music career is even more interesting.

The Observer chatted with Sugarcane recently, in the midst of Sugarcane's East Coast Summer of 2014 Tour.

His raw, soulful voice is one that has retained its status as one of the best in the business, and Gladstonites will have the chance to witness this live on Sunday.

Q. Tell us about your life so far

A. I moved to Cairns in 1978 and fell in love with the tropical lifestyle. I've had an international and national career in Cairns.

Nine of 10 musicians move to Sydney or Nashville or whatever but I've stayed in Cairns, I feel blessed. I've been a professional musician for the past 34 years and I played my very first solo in a pub in 1981.

I've played music all around the world.

I've recorded four original albums and picked up an Australian blues album of the year award for my recent album - I don't think any Queenslander has won that award before.

I have a wife of 36 years and we bought and paid off the house.

Q. What have you been up to lately?

A. I've been touring for the past eight years. I toured the US recently and did five tours, playing at taverns and festivals.

I'm in Sydney now, doing a tour from Cairns to the east coast to Tasmania to Adelaide and back.

Q. What are you most proud of in your career?

A. To be having my album played in United States and to be still getting royalties is second to none.

I've always believed in this day and age with technology you can live anywhere you like.

Q. Describe your style.

A. Alive, raw and real. I don't use stomp boxes, fancy loops or any of that stuff.

You get a passionate singer and a fiery guitarist. Big powerful voice and storytelling is a big part of my show. Folk music has always been a storytelling device.

Q. Where did you get your inspiration for your sound from?

A. I stumbled across blues when I was 18/19. I heard the harmonica and I was enchanted.

Q. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

A. What I've learnt in the business is that you are only as good as your last gig - whether I'm playing for five or 500. I give it all I've got.

Junior Wells' bass player also once said to me "when you are finished paying your dues in this business then you are finished in this business". In other words, music owes you nothing. I've never forgotten that.

Q. Excited to come to Gladstone?

A. Gladstone is my last gig. The Rocky Glen show is the last date on the marathon tour that started mid-January.


WHERE: Rocky Glen Hotel, Dawson Hwy

WHEN: Sunday, April 13, at 2pm

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