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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

50 years of Jo Jo

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Some performers are born with talent, others with charisma.
A very special few are born with both, and when you’re in their presence you know that magic is going to happen.

Jo Jo Smith is one such performer. She is a small woman who quietly walks onto stage. She’s not showy. There are no gimmicks. Then she starts and it’s game on. This radical exponent of the power of music and love has lived it every day of her 50-year career onstage. And guess what? The woman is also super modest. It’s an alluring trifecta, and not one you see much in the music industry!

To celebrate 50 years in the biz Jo Jo Smith teams up with her dear friends and musical comrades Lucie Thorne and Hamish Stuart.

Jo Jo, congrats on 50 years performing as a musician. What’s your secret, woman?


Why have you teamed up with Lucie – what is it about the two of you on the road? What do you get up to?

After a gig we played together last year, I told Lucie that 2017 would mark my 50th year playing music for a quid.

She jumped on the idea of putting together a huge celebratory tour… and here we are! I feel mighty grateful. Being able to celebrate music with such dear friends – Lucie and Hamish – is a wonderful thing. We’re having a hoot!

How would you describe your career thus far?

Varied! Joyous, difficult, blissful, rewarding…

How do you see love and music entwined?

I can’t see them being separate…

Has music been a kind of spiritual practice for you? What has been your greatest lesson… what about your greatest teachers?

Music is soul food for me. I’ve always drawn inspiration from the wonderful musicians I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and listening to. Stevie Wonder’s my guru. And as for my greatest lesson – shut up and listen. 

What happens to you when you perform? You always seem so modest and unassuming but you have this charisma that’s bigger than the opera house! How do you do that?

I’m much more interested in the lovelight than the limelight. (She even has a song called this!)

How are you, Lucie, and Hamish Stuart working together? What is the joy of collaboration for you?

I love being around gorgeous generous-hearted people – and this is the perfect trio for this time. I’m so very fond of Lucie and Hamish. We get along great and have such fun making music together.

Tell me what we can expect for your local shows.

Lucie and Hamish will play the opening set, then me, then we all get together for a cracking finale! 

And what about the next 50 years?

Well, Everest is on my bucket list… 

Jo Jo Smith, Lucie Thorne and Hamish Stuart play Club Mullum on Saturday at 7.30pm. Book now at www.clubmullum.com.

They also play Tintenbar Hall on Sunday at 4pm and Bello Winter Music 6–9 July. For ticket and program info go to bellowintermusic.com.

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