Individually Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole have carved their own impressive careers at the forefront of Australian country music for almost two decades.
The combination of the two dynamic performers has already proven to be a hit with live audiences and now, 20 years on since their first encounter, they return again with a new and unique project for their fans: The Great Country Songbook Volume II, featuring classic country music duets of all time. Together they have brought back some of the most famous country combinations of all time: classic duets recorded by Johnny Cash and June Carter, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, and Kenny Rogers and his many duet partners, including Dolly Parton of course! In a befitting hat tip, audiences can look forward to Jackson, Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer, It Ain’t Me Babe, If I Needed You, Anyone who isn’t Me Tonight and Beccy and Adam’s personal favourite You’re the Reason Our Kids are Ugly.
Becky believes that it’s the combination of voices that make a duet work. She laughs.
‘It’s unusual coming from a publicly out lesbian, but a lot of these songs are from the golden era of country music. I really enjoyed recording it. We have a chemistry and a history together and there’s a mutual respect. Something does happen when we are onstage together. It always works, and it’s why we come back to each other. This is our 9th national tour together; we have known each other 20 years!
Adam’s wife calls us the male and female version of each other; I guess this because we take a very similar approach to entertaining the audience.’
So what is the key to covering these iconic duets?
‘The main thing,’ says Beccy, ‘is that you are not trying to recreate or emulate; you actually contribute to the song, so you do it your way, and you can keep it traditional sonically and instrumentally but you have completely different voices, we both have very low voices…’
For Beccy, who is open about her sexuality, the current debate on marriage equality is disheartening.
‘I think it’s very sad, and it’s very sad for a lot of people, gay and lesbian people who aren’t out or who aren’t secure, or who feel vulnerable, without the support of their government and with the hate speech thats out there. People are saying the most horrible things; that is what this debate is going to promote.’
Ironically the duets are mainly love songs, sung between a man and a woman, but the real love story onstage is between Beccy and her partner Melinda, who is onstage singing backup vocals.
‘There is a moment in the show where Adam talks of my sexuality and how happy he is and that is his endorsement, that is what we do, providing a safe place for the rainbow people!’
Catch Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey at the Ballina RSL Club on Saturday at 8.30pm. Tix: 02 6681 9500 www.rsl.ballinarsl.com.au. Adults $44 / Children 14 & younger $25 VIP Meet & Greet package – $74 (available until sold out). All-ages event when accompanied by an adult.