His Sand Grabber tour was truly Australia-wide, hitting all the major stopping points as well as paying special attention to roads less travelled. While he was on the road, we asked Ben to keep a diary, documenting his favourite shows, locations and moments along the way.
Ben Wright Smith has finally finished his Sand Grabber tour after over 3o shows in three months, and the Victorian folk singer is ready to reflect on his time on the road.
Here we are hitting the road again. This was a photo taken by a great folk singer Mia Wray, who joined me up our run from Victoria, Canberra, The Blue Mountains, Sydney all the way up to Port Macquarie.
Here’s me up in Darwin playing with some of my close friends. On the left there is Jack Parsons from The Pretty Littles. Over on the right is our mate Huge ‘Dingo’ Dean from Slim Jeffries on the bass and playing drums is Jo Syme from Big Scary.
This was my supergroup touring band for one run we did from Tassie to Darwin and I loved playing with these guys every night. While they’re not my usual band, these guys had such cool ideas for the songs and we had a wild one heading up through the middle of the country together.
Here I am in a school in Darwin playing music with some of the students. On our way through the middle of the country, the organisers had us go in a play tunes with some of the kids with the local schools. I have to hand it to teachers – I was really nervous before we started. I thought it’d be a breeze because I sing every night in front of people but public speaking is a different story.
Even though I’d never really done this sort of thing before I had a great time hanging out with the kids and chatting music.
This photo was taken by Kai Benjamin when we played at the Rosemount in Perth. I hadn’t been to Perth since I was a little kid and I loved playing that room. This was taken on our run through WA to SA. We ended up at The Moon Cafe at the end of the night and if you’re in Perth I definitely recommend that place for a bite to eat and a late night whisky. There was a great soul band playing that night too.
The final run of the tour was from Echuca and Mildura and I got to go with two of my best mates. On the left is my best friend Jesse Williams who plays guitar in my band, and in the middle there is Leah Senior. She’s one the best songwriters I’m proud to know and travelling with these two is always exciting as it means I get to listen to them perform every night.
We had a rough trip on this final round, having to navigate through the heavy floods in Victoria in Leah’s van. We had to take care on some spots where roads had been flooded or closed off but eventually made it up to sunny Mildura.
If you want to know how tour diaries get made this is a backstage peak. Yes, its very meta but this is a photo of Matty Nuemann from ScotDrakula taking a photo of me in Keith, South Australia. Who took the photo of him is a mystery to me. I can’t remember exactly, we may never know. But this is how its done.
Heres me, Leah Senior and Jesse Williams hanging out the front of the church op-shop in Queenscliff. Jesse always carries around his little camera which runs off film roles, so at the end of every tour its a nice surprise to see what he’s been taking photos of.
This one is particularly arty and is very focused on perspective. I appear to not be posing, but as if I’ve accidentally fallen over and happened to land in the photo.
Shit got pretty real in the desert. I found these tinted sand glasses to keep me from the dust storms and enhance the general yellow-ness of my surroundings.
Travelling from Bendigo to Echuca we were on our way to stay with a friend’s uncle who’s house we heard had been flooded in. He told us that we could get through although we’d have to lie to the people at the road block.
While I wouldn’t recommend this, we didn’t seem to have a choice at the time so we made our way slowly around the dry parts of the flooded road and made it to his house at a bout 1am. We woke up to find out that he had a beautiful farm home to this very nice horse. The horse liked carrots.
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