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Rider Essentials: Harry Hookey

28 October 2021 | 12:05 pm | Mallory Arbour

We caught up with Harry Hookey of harry hook is real to find out the things he always takes on the road with him for this week’s Rider Essentials.

Harry Hookey is a singer-songwriter from Sale, whose debut album Misdiagnosed was nominated for a 2014 ARIA Award for ‘Best Blues & Roots’ Album. He followed up with the release of his sophomore album, No Snake In The Tree, under the name harry hook is real. He is also currently part of Desert Alien, a band with Jack Hookey and Jesse Kidd.  

Harry will perform as part of Play On Victoria – a series of events taking place across multiple outdoor stages throughout Ballarat, Warrnambool, Archies Creek, Avenel, Geelong, Halls Gap, Castlemaine and Bendigo, featuring an all-star line-up of local talent on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st of October. But get in quick as some shows are already sold out and others are selling fast! Ticket info is available here.

We caught up with Harry to find out the things he always takes on the road with him for this week’s Rider Essentials.

1. Boots

You can't play country or any kind of roots folk music without boots on. I'm pretty sure it's in the constitution. There may be a small exemption for thongs if you're from Byron or thereabouts. But apart from that, it's boots or you're out. 

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2. Flat Cap

I started wearing English flat caps around the same period I started performing. At first, it was like wearing a costume to appear more erudite than I really am on stage, but I have really grown attached to them. I wear them all the time now. I feel naked without one on, especially on stage. 

3. A Book Of Poetry 

Like wearing a flat cap, bringing along a book of poetry is a great way to pose as an intellectual without having to "be" one. Although, as with the flat cap, the poetry ended up drawing me in. I like poetry because it is quick and evocative, which works perfectly for my mind on the road. A good poem hits you squarely in a place beyond the conscious mind which is precisely where I believe the best songs come from. 

4. Wife And Kids

I probably should have put this one first ... I toured for the best part of a decade alone around the world, had many adventures and got into my fair share of strife along the way too. Right before COVID cast its shadow over our world, I met my wife Mim at a music festival. She had 2 kids, so we have become an instant family. We had a lockdown wedding at our place and weathered the storm called pandemic all together. They'll be joining me on this leg of shows, I guess that means a few less benders but no shortage of hijinks to be sure to be sure. 

5. Sketch Pad

I always travel with a moleskin sketch pad and try to document what I see, in some way or another. Sometimes through a line or a poem, sometimes through a cartoon, sometimes through an abstract scrawl. When I get home, I can expand my observations out to songs or paintings.  It has really helped my approach to creativity, it invites the muse to come and go as it pleases. The muse to me is like a bird, timid at first, utterly untameable, best you can do is make offerings to it and hope it sticks around. 

6. Cocaine And Rhinestones*

*NOT LITERALLY. It's the title of my favourite podcast. Makes a long journey short and informative. If you're even remotely interested in the double-aged, high-octane, bar room odyssey that was George Jones' life, get amongst the latest season of Cocaine and Rhinestones. The pod expertly weaves in and out of George Jones' story and the history of bullfighting. If you've never heard the possum (George Jones) sing a note, it doesn't matter, this pod will set you on your course, no doubt leaving you safe in the knowledge that he is the greatest country singer of all time. 

Keep up to date with harry hook is real on his Facebook page here.

For more of our Rider Essentials series, go here.

Image: Supplied