Sometimes I'm a bit torn about what to put in this column.

There are generally two directions things can go. Firstly, and the most tempting, is I can have a bit of a rant about something.

That is, if nothing else, cathartic. It might be picking at the Oscars like last week, and wasn't that a show? Though in retrospect I would tend to add another four-letter word beginning with “s” in front of “show”. Or I could be banging on about some local annoyance, though occasions for that have certainly decreased now the seven dwarfs, or however many councillors there were, have been temporarily retired.

The other approach is I can have a look ahead and highlight things coming up in the Bay.

That certainly seems like an option preferred by many. Fair enough too. Despite the plethora of information out there and the proliferation of means for discovering it on social media, it still amazes me how easy it is to miss finding out about events until they're right upon us.

So, since there once again genuinely seems like a whole bunch of stuff about to occur on the musical front I'll put my ranting tendencies on hold and point out three impending things that might be of interest to music-lovers.


First up – next Thursday (May 6). Yep, Tauranga is now so busy musically that there's prestigious stuff happening in the middle of the week. This is the way next week when the extraordinary singer/songwriter Caitlin Smith visits the Gallery at the Te Puna Quarry Park, another concert arranged by Rosie Holmes: $20 tickets are available from her via 07 5526291 or

It's possible you haven't heard of Caitlin, since she moves in rarified jazz circles. She has long been an in-demand singing teacher but every so often emerges with a new album of her complex demanding compositions. She is an unusual and very individual songwriter and her albums are unique.

Her latest is a case in point. Caitlin has been legally blind since birth; she can see a tiny bit but not much. Her latest album, You Have Reached Your Destination, creates a multisensory universe, including Braille and more within the cover art, as well as poetry and footsteps acting as bridges between 14 original songs.

In concert this original material sits alongside careful arrangements of songs from the likes of Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, and alongside Caitlin – who plays very good piano – will be guitarist Lance McNicol, sitting in for her regular accompanist Mark Laurent, and top drummer Steve Cournane, an alumnus of Tui-winning Wellington band CLBob now resident in Auckland.

If you want to have a listen to Caitlin, a 2013 album, Stories To Tell, is on Spotify and shows her off on a bunch of covers in pretty much a live setting. Damn, she's a good singer! Things kick off at 7pm at the Quarry Park Gallery.


The following night there's something interesting happening at the Katikati Arts Junction where the Folk Club welcomes Chris Priestly and the Unsung Heroes. Chris has for years now been documenting New Zealand in folk song and will present an evening of original songs about characters and events from New Zealand history, the likes of Kimble Bent, Little Biddy, Minnie Dean, Von Tempsky and many more, each song accompanied by a slide show.

Chris also has a kinda famous band, including a couple of well-known TV faces, Cameron Bennett on dobro and Peter Elliot contributing readings from relevant historical sources and the odd poem. Also in the band is brilliant guitarist Nigel Gavin and singer Sonia Wilson.

Doors open at 7pm, tickets are $20.

And just one more. My old blues mate Bullfrog Rata is coming up to play at the Entertainers Club on Sunday May 9. I'd happily listen to Bullfrog any time but particularly when he's got such a fantastic band with him, including Blerta bass player Patrick Bleakly and trumpeter Geoff Culverwell, who's about as good as you get in New Zealand. It should be a top night, happening upstairs at the Citz Club on Cameron Rd. Tickets are $15, things kick off at 5pm.

Winston Watusi
Music Plus