Bernard Carney has been a full time entertainer for 37 years and with both humorous and serious repertoire, he relates well to a wide range of audiences.
Bernard has released ten successful albums, all recorded in Perth. His 2011 release Fly Above The Weather features family favourites The Feather Foot Fairy and Green Weapons, highlighting local musicians David Hyams on guitar, Roy Martinez on Bass and Angus Diggs on drums.
Bernard has completed a series of seven songs concerning the history and characters of WA’s Rottnest Island and was commissioned to write four songs for the opening of the Western Australian Maritime Museum. These all featured on his CD West.
Bernard’s shows focus on his original songs which are accompanied by a gutsy blues ragtime guitar style and often includes some classy instrumentals. He is a performer who likes to laugh with the audience and the light hearted delivery often belies the hard hitting issues in the songs.
He is a prominent guest at Australia’s major acoustic music festivals, including the Woodford Festival (Queensland), Port Fairy Festival (Victoria), the National Folk Festival (Canberra), the Bridgetown Blues Festival, and the Fairbridge and Nannup Folk Festivals .
He regularly tours the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore and has performed with international artists such as Gene Pitney, Taj Mahal, Foster and Allen, Ralph McTell and Richard Thompson. He had the honour of opening the late Stephane Grapelli’s final concert at the Perth Concert Hall.
Bernard’s busy schedule, other than touring, comprises community concerts in and around Western Australia, instant choirs for conferences and business functions, and tailor made songs for the occasion. He coordinates and hosts the City of Perth’s weekly Tuesday Morning Show and runs song writing and singing and guitar workshops.
2007 saw the birth of the Spirit of the Streets choir, originally put together from sellers of the Big Issue magazine and broadened out to include any potential singer from a disadvantaged background, or long term unemployed or disabled in some way. The choir is all inclusive and has performed at many conferences to do with social welfare and mental health.
In 2008 the choir successfully sold out the Perth Concert Hall in a joint concert with the Perth Male Voice Choir and Working Voices. The Spirit of the Streets goes from strength to strength with an average of 40-50 performances a year.
Feathers & Tributes Track List 1. A Song for You 2. Refuge to a Refugee 3. Over to You. 4. Since You’ve Been Gone. 5. Little Dot Com 6. Always be Loved 7. Devils’ Island 8. Feathers & Tributes. 9. Christmas with You 10. Starlight upon the Sea. 11. Wine 12. Reaching for the Light/The Devils’ Run 13. Here is the Chorus
Review by Dieter Bajzek Bernard Carney’s success as an entertainer lies in a unique blend of comic observations, well crafted songs, mastery of guitar styles and love of entertaining people. He has released seven successful recordings and won two Australian songwriting awards. He regularly tours with international acts and is respected nationally as a major songwriter and performer.
“Bernard Carney is a prolific songwriter these days, and his consistency of quality as a lyricist and tunesmith shine through in this collection. Twelve songs span the range from topical protest (“Refuge to a Refugee”) through almost poppy love songs (“Always be Loved”) to the trademark comedy wordplay of “Little Dot Corn”. Relaxed, gently swinging fingerstyle guitar, Bernard’s warm, intimate vocal burr and David Hyams tasteful production are the unifying elements. It’s hard to pick favourites, but there are a couple of standout songs. The title track is movingly constructed around the memorabilia of an old woman’s long life, a beautiful example of the use of the telling detail to create character and atmosphere. “Bottle of Wine” is a clever lampooning of the pretentiousness of wine-speak, compellingly driven by Bernard’s distinctive shuffle-feel fingerpicking and some crisply phrased swinging lead guitar lines from Rod Vervest. “Devil’s Island”, Bernard’s Declan Affleywinning song from a few years back about the original penal history of Rottnest Island, has finally made it onto CD with beautiful cello embellishments from Peter Grayling. Superb songs all, executed with immaculate taste and feeling. David Hyams’ production doesn’t take too many chances, relying mostly on a crystal-clear twin guitar sound with David taking most of the lead lines on acoustic six-string and dobro. Konrad Park (of the Zydecats) and Fred Kuhnl (SNACs) provide a beautifully understated rhythm section, and the Grayling cello and Ormonde Waters on low whistle provide some instrumental colour. The arrangements are spatious where they need to be, and deepen (like the songs) with repeat listening — a fine example of instrumentation serving the material rather than the other way around. If there’s a criticism to be made it’s that there could be more emotional range; “Refuge to Refugee” is a strong, angry song, and could easily stand a more edgy treatment. But that’s not really the Carney style, and this CD is very much true to the polished live stage sound which he has developed over the years. This is a fine collection of material from an accomplished songsmith at the top of his game, and deserves to become a classic of Australian folk.” Review by Steve Barnes
“Perth musician Bernard is going from strength to strength as a songwriter and performer. He has been named Artist of the Year at the Port Fairy Folk Festival 2003, and al.o won that Festival’s prestigious Songwriting Award with his song “Barbed Wire Round the Harbour’. Congratulations! His new album shows his development and consistent quality of his meaningful and diverse output. A selection of 13 original songs, well written, produced and recorded, clad in a nice booklet containing the lyrics. The successful mixture of love songs, strong social comments and funny songs makes it difficult to pick a favourite. One of the most appealing to me is the charming opening track “A song for you tonight”, very entertaining are the “Wine” song and “Little Dot Corn”, and “Refuge to a Refugee” makes a strong and timely comment (see lyrics on page 4 of this newsletter), and the sensitive and emotional title track is a fine piece of writing.”
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