MUSIC

Jimmy Barnes can't wait to take the Red Hot Summer Tour on the road

KEEN: Jimmy Barnes can't wait to get the Red Hot Summer Tour on the road, joined by Jon Stevens, Vika & Linda, Hoodoo Gurus, and Chris Cheney. Picture: Nic Walker
KEEN: Jimmy Barnes can't wait to get the Red Hot Summer Tour on the road, joined by Jon Stevens, Vika & Linda, Hoodoo Gurus, and Chris Cheney. Picture: Nic Walker

Jimmy Barnes and the Red Hot Summer Tour go together like cheap wine and a three-day growth.

He's been part of the concert series since it kicked off 10 years ago and has watched it grow into one of Australia's most popular summer staples.

"Duane McDonald, who runs Red Hot Summer, he cares so much about music and he always puts such a good bill together, picks great venues to play, and he looks after the punters," Barnes said.

"It's a great brand and it's value for money. I literally can't wait to get out and play again."

He pauses and then adds: "Isn't it nice to be talking about live shows and music and getting together and celebrating and stuff like that, rather than all the doom and gloom?" I concur.

Joining Barnes on the Red Hot Summer line-up this time around is Jon Stevens, Vika & Linda, Hoodoo Gurus, and Chris Cheney.

I've recorded a lot of music and spent time with my girl, which is just the best.

Jimmy Barnes

"As for Hoodoo Gurus, they've been friends of mine for years, we've toured the same circuit for the past 30 or so years. They are of the great rock 'n' roll bands in the country. I am proud to share the stage with each and every one of them."

Barnes released his 20th studio album, Flesh And Blood, in July, borne out of the literally hundreds of live-at-home performances he filmed that comforted many during the 2020 lockdown.

He also released a children's book - Rosie the Rhinocerous - plus a cookbook with his wife Jane titled Where The River Bends.

Everything Barnes chooses to do these days is a labour of love. He is content living with Jane on their Southern Highlands farm, hosting friends and family for meals and singalongs, and generally going with the creative flow.

"As horrific as COVID lockdowns have been, and with people ill and struggling being away from their families, for me it was a moment," Barnes reflected.

"It held me back and gave me time to sit and reflect; to gather my thoughts and look at how I want to continue on.

"Jane and I, we worked it out, it's our 40th anniversary this year and we'd never spent three months in one place, ever. COVID allowed us both to sit still for a moment and enjoy what we have.

"We got to stay in our house, without having to travel. We wrote a cookbook together, I finished off a Killing Time book, I made two albums.

"I've recorded a lot of music and spent time with my girl, which is just the best.

"We're very lucky, and I don't take it lightly. That's part of the reason why we reach out on social media - it felt really good to bring a bit of connection to people who were locked away by themselves or couldn't be with their families; to shine a bit of light."

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I remark that Jane's smile is radiant enough to brighten anyone's day. Barnes agrees.

"She's a gorgeous girl and you know what, she smiles because she loves guitar but she's also nervous and she's concentrating," he replied.

"She's only been learning guitar since lockdown started and she's playing some really complex stuff now.

"She'll learn a song and then I'm like 'let's film it' because I am used to doing things on the fly. She's not always keen but, still, she's stepped up to the challenge every day."

Then there's the other record he has been working on that is due for release midway through next year.

It's a rockabilly album.

You can hear the excitement in Barnes's voice as he talks about it.

"I've got it ready to go and it's a really fantastic record. It sounds like we're in a garage together - a young band in in a garage - but we did it while we were all on three or four different continents. It was incredible."

The band is called The Barnestormers (Barnes plus two members of the Stray Cats, a piano player from England, a Californian saxophone player, a French bass player and Aussie guitarist Chris Cheney, of The Living End.)

As for Christmas, Barnes is looking forward to "a quiet sit down dinner for 50" at home.

"We've got all the kids, all the grandkids, all Jane's family, all my family, and we're all getting together and it's going to be a beautiful thing. Everybody in the family cooks and they all do their bit. It's like loaves and fishes, we'll all combine and there will be lots of food and lots of music. It'll be fun."

Tickets for the Red Hot Summer Tour are available at: ticketmaster.com.au.

This story The ballad of Jimmy and Jane first appeared on Newcastle Herald.