So I’m in this folk duo now


I have formed a folk duo with Emma Luker. It was only a matter of time before this happened, I think. I’m going to do my ‘solo’ folk stuff, and she’s going to do her solo Celtic fiddle thing, without either of us actually having to do the lonely solo artist routine. Being on stage with one other person is literally about five times more fun, for me anyway…

We had out first ‘show’ last night at L’hôtel d’Exatorre on Rue de la Roundelle, a two-song intro at the end of La Nuit de L’acoustique Toutes les Etoiles, run by the ineffable Guillaume.

We sounded quite good apparently, despite the table of screaming “look at me” twenty-somethings who chose to sit right up the front in the music room, yelling at one another, even though they had the whole rest of the pub to themselves if they wanted a place to do that. Sound quality improved dramatically when Bob told them to – and I quote – “shut the fuck up”. I bought him a beer.

For Suzy and anyone esle looking for the two versions of the goldfish song, it is here:

Anyway the set was all right and we’re both looking forward to doing a few more shows but things won’t really get sorted until I purchase my new banjo later in the month.  Then things will really start to come into focus. “Folkus”, get it? Oh, don’t stop me.

There is a new site,, and all the info on our activities will go up on there.

Oh, and I’m leaving the upcoming shows page here for the time being. I got a gig playing with Soursob Bob in October and various other sideline plans.

But for the most part, this blog will return to being about my home studio stuff.


‘Southern’ Steve McKenzie.


Introducing the Song Archive

Another site makeover post:

I figured that new people coming here might not be able to get hold of all the different mp3s easily, especially if you are not blog-savvy. They are kind of scattered throughout the site.

So I have made an archive page where all the major recordings are listed and you can download from there, or go to the actual post in question if you want to know more about the song. The archive doesn’t include covers, or songs by other bands, but it does include collaborations.

This willl be updated as time goes on.

Happy browsing,


Look What They Done to My Song, Ma!

Looks like Emma Luker of The Fiddle Chicks has been getting her hands on my music and doing her own thing with it again!!!

The first such incident occurred a few years back when she got hold of an old demo tape that Bill Greenwoood and I made for his Honours cello audition in about 1990, featuring an instrumental tune of mine called simply The Third Waltz. When Emma was putting together a demo CD with her beau Soursob Bob, they made a recording of the tune with violin, guitar, bass and some percussion. Here it be. I can’t give you the original to compare. I think it was pretty basic. (The tune went on to become part of a full song called Never Come Close, a maudlin epic about love and loss that is best forgotten).

Mp3 – Emma Luker and Soursob Bob – The Third Waltz.

About six months later Emma e-mailed to ask if she could cover another tune, Goldfish at the Laundromat, this time from the Live at Home CD I made last year and have been banging on about on here. It’s a melancholy folk tune about love and loss etc, but it doesn’t annoy me at the moment.

Sure, I said. Why not?

At this point I had only met this person once, briefly, at the Wheaty last Christmas, completely by accident, and was kinda wondering who she was. Well, we’ve hooked up twice now, and had a trial recording session just yesterday, and I am pleased to report she is a fine musician who also seems to make a fair living out of being that, which I had previously thought to be a myth, like Craig MacLachlan’s music career. But this photograph proves her to be quite real.


Her version of the song is on her forthcoming debut solo CD. It’s all her, except apparently that the producer snuck in and did the snare drum while she wasn’t looking.

MP3 – Emma Luker – Goldfish at the Laundromat

I think I like it better than the original version, which was kind of patched together out of several different files with the home recording equivalent of sticky tape. You might not pick that but I hear it every time I listen to it…

Mp3 – Great Southern Steve – Goldfish at the Laundromat

Anyway there’s more where this all came from. I’ll be putting up a few mixes from the trial session, maybe including one of Bob’s tunes too, and hopefully we’ll do more folk together later in the year.


A Career in Virtue

Great Southern Steve – A Career in Virtue (mp3)

Here’s some more banjo folk from the Live at Home album, as a few folks liked the Golden Retriever tune from a few posts back.

This song, however, is anything but jaunty, although it does have kind of sombre sea-shanty thing going on. It’s based on a banjo riff I wrote when I was about nineteen. It’s worth remembering the things you wrote when you are nineteen because they are often more natural than things you write later.

Anyway, I had in mind for the lyrics the character of a priest in a remote location, who had brought his wife along, promising glory in the service of God, but delivering misery in the service of his alcoholism.

Yes, I know, what a cheery thing to write about. I’m such a ray of sunshine.

The final part was written over here in Melanesia. ‘Blacktop’ is what they call a ‘tar’ road, to distinguish between that and most of the roads, which are just dirt. It is dusty, hot and everyone drinks too much.

Anyway here it is.

So starch my collar up and bring my liquor down

And I’ll kill the memories that dog my days

Even if I’d lived across the other side of town

I’ll bet this would have happened anyway

I gave up a career in virtue

For the chance to hold you by my side

I promised that nothing could hurt you

Sweet innocence,

You know I lied.

I’m a Golden Retriever

Mp3 link – Golden Retriever.

My long-standing ambition to write a tune for Sesame Street resulted in this song, Golden Retriever.

I love guide dogs, often more so than their owners, and was imagining an old-style, flickery super-8 film to complement this clunky acoustic folk track about the noble beasts. But the Sesame Workshop has gone very modern and the music is hip hop, as recent viewers will note. I guess they have to cater to what kids are interested in now, and don’t have time for their old fans any more, probably rationalizing this on the basis that people in their thirties should no longer be watching the show. Point is, they just don’t have time for the old-style folk any more. Even so I might send them a copy.

The song is from an album of folksy-rock I did in 2006-2007 called Live at Home. Other than sending a copy of it to my mate Soursob Bob, I haven’t done much with it so far but might put the cover art and more tracks up at some point.

Lyrics – extract

Oh when I grow up I’d like to be a seeing eye dog

When I grow up I’d like to change the world

But there’s so many muddy fields i want to explore

Sometimes I think I’ll never change the way I’ve been since I was born

I’m a Golden Retriever

I said I like to retrieve

And I will go anywhere you want

Just so long as my leash will reach

I can do anything

that a doggy can nominally do

Just so long as I can see you throw

Then I will bring it on back to you

You better believe that I like to retrieve…

(pant pant)