8 March 2024

Singer-songwriter tunes into the most productive of environments ... the Yass Valley

| Sally Hopman
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Man wearing hat leaning on piano

Musician Garth Prentice is soon to become artist-in-residence at The Crisp Galleries in the Yass Valley. He’ll use the time there to write blues material for a new album. Photo: Supplied.

When Garth Prentice looks out the back door of the rural property where he’s soon to spend two weeks, the inspiration for his music could not come more naturally.

It is the stunning rural setting that is The Crisp Galleries at Bowning in the Yass Valley.

The musician, songwriter and the Contemporary Music Manager at the Hume Conservatorium in Goulburn, is the recipient of the Artist-in-Residency program for 2024.

Situated in prime agricultural country in the Southern Tablelands region of NSW, The Crisp Galleries, home of internationally renowned glass artist Peter Crisp, is the location for Garth’s residency, a place to meld into the rural setting and, hopefully, inspire new work.

Garth, 31, said he was excited to do the residency, which starts on 11 March.

“I love what I do at Hume,” he said. “They call it a cradle-to-the-grave institution. The classes range from early childhood to mature-age – I think the oldest student we have is in their 80s.

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“I have a passion for it, I love performing as well as teaching – and I love community.”

The musician, who has been at the Goulburn Con for about eight years, said he heard about the residency through Southern Tablelands Arts (STA) and its executive director Rose Marin.

“When I found out I had it I was so excited and kept talking to Peter [Crisp] and Rose about all the projects I wanted to do there – I think I talked about four or five,” he laughed.

“They have been incredibly supportive but thought maybe I should just concentrate on one.”

To that end, Garth will use the residency to “write a bunch of songs”. He will look at his previous work and then, inspired by the peaceful rural scenes around him at the galleries, is keen to write new material.

“I have a passion for music,” he said. “What I want to do at Crisps is to write some new songs and hopefully a blues album which I can play with other musicians from the Hume.

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As a musician, Garth said he had to wear a number of hats: from his teaching duties in Goulburn to playing regular gigs in two of that city’s clubs to playing with a bluegrass and rock band and finding the time to write the songs he wanted to sing. When he’s not playing his own, it will be favourites from Bill Withers, Cold Chisel and Garth Brooks to name just a few.

“To be able to just have one hat on for two weeks … I can’t believe it,” he said. “I am so looking forward to it. I like to write songs about my surroundings – and I’ve heard such amazing things about Crisp Galleries. I can’t believe I won’t have to do anything but write songs for two weeks.”

Garth’s residency will culminate in a concert, Looking Out My Back Door, presented by Southern Tablelands Arts and The Crisp Galleries on Saturday 23 March, from 2 to 4 pm. Tickets available online.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on About Regional.

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