Q&A Scene: A HITCH TO THE STICKS Special: Jo Jo Smith

Jo Jo Smith is on the line-up for the inaugural A HITCH TO THE STICKS bus trip. She answers a few questions for us before the festival hits the road:


What does this mean to you?

It means a lot to me, it is an honor to be invited to be a part of this exciting great tour.

At what point of the bus trip are you performing?

I will be playing at a secret place in Violet Town.

What can we expect from your performance?

I will be playing a bunch of original tunes mixing genres as well as playing some favorite covers of mine. Expect to sing a bit with me too cause I love that.

What excites you about appearing at this event?

I am excited alright. This event is one out of the box. A very new and different concept that I feel proud to part of. I am always excited to be playing music and to a new audience.

A bit about you:

 Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?

I have a new solo EP out. Titled “My life has Just Begun”. That’s a song I wrote for Music and for my love of it. 5 original tunes + “Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love”

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

Probably Jo Jo Smith Live @ The Blue Birdy. A gig recorded in Byron Bay with a beautiful band. All in together boys and girls 1234 on your toes up straight face the front. The energy is high. My cd Standing in The Love Light, a studio recording is a honey too though, beautifully recorded with stunning players on it.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

Well you had to be there really. On tour last year, after a very late night and three gigs prior. So we are a little tired. Three of us. Note three of us. Driving to a country gig on a lovely Sunday afternoon. GPS tells us we are at the venue. “Nothing here, GPS is telling biggies”. We couldn’t see any venue. So we took a left turn off the main drag and hoofed it down a dirt road. We drove at least 12 ks past farm houses, over pot holes, past lots of cows and heaps of bamboo. Looking looking, scratching our heads and running late. Up and down we drove.  “ We’re running really late guys, this doesn’t look right, let’s turn around and go back to that main road. We must’ve passed it surely ” so back to the main road we drove. And right there at the corner, we all looked UP and screamed in unison “There it Is” Like I said, you had to be there.

What, or who, inspires you?

I am inspired by water, mountains, life, love and wonderful people.

What’s next for you?

A few festivals and house concerts. Getting down to writing some new tunes and some chilling.

What’s your scene?

My scene is sharing Love and Peace out into this messed up world through music.


Jo Jo Smith is one of Australia’s greatest treasures, an inspirational performer who takes her audiences on a lyrical, musically diverse
journey of blues, soul, funk, R&B, Latin and jazz. Her own songs are a tour de force and along with a unique interpretation of a small, select group of covers, JoJo’s status as one of Australia’s finest singer/songwriters is confirmed.

Arriving in Australia in 1974 from Dunedin with an already established reputation as a writer, drummer and singer, Jo Jo quickly became a skilled performer on the Australian club scene, as well as a sought after session vocalist for Radio and TV. In the day she sang backing
vocals for touring and recording artists Marcia Hines, Renee Geyer, Glenn Shorrock, Jon English, Olivia Newton-John and the list goes on.
In 1990 Jo Jo was the first female artist in Australia to perform at the Byron Bay Blues Festival. She now holds workshops and frequents
many festivals and private events from the Clarence River Jazz Festival to the Mullumbimby Music Festival.

In addition to regular live performances, JoJo has recorded several albums. Initially two, with the band ‘Hip Pocket’ – ‘Crack That Smile’, and ‘Get Loved’. Jo Jo worked hard and continuously on her song writing and recorded her debut solo album of 11 original tunes ‘Miss Del Ray’ in 1996. Her second album ‘Million Dollar View’ was recorded in 2001. The CD contained 9 original tunes and an exquisite cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Love’s in Need Of Love Today’. In 2009 the album ‘Jo Jo Smith Live At The Blue Birdy’ was recorded in Byron Bay with long time friends Greg Lyon, (Crossfire), Steve Russell on piano, Dave Sanders on drums, Geoff Wright on guitar and features Tony Buchanan(also Crossfire) and the late David Ades on saxophones. Jo Jo’s fourth album ‘Standing In The Lovelight’ is a collection of original tunes and favourite covers. The songs speak about life and love for music and the musicians she loves and admires. They also speak of inner fears, miracles, surrendering to what is and peace.

Jo Jo plays drums like Stevie Wonder and sings so soulfully you won’t believe what you are seeing and hearing. “I was blown away by Jo Jo. It’s statistically rare to see a woman locking it down on drums and also statistically rare to see a drummer laying down such amazingly
powerful, soulful vocals. Put both of these together and you’re left with the statistic of one!! I have never seen anything like the show I saw at Mullum Music Fest, I was blown away!!” – ASH GRUNWALD
Jo Jo Smith is a true soul singer. She sings soul music. She sings with and through her soul. Smith has a mighty weapon in her voice, she reserves it’s power striking only when necessary. – Marty Jones, Rhythms Magazine

Jo Jo Smith’s performance will be exclusive to AHitch To The Sticks BUS travellers.

 [pullquote]”If you find yourself at the same party as Dallas, make sure you’re match fit.” Sarah McLeod, The Superjesus [/pullquote] Ever wanted to hitch a ride onboard your favourite band’s tour bus? Fantasised about starring in the next Almost Famous film? Well, listen up, because Dallas Frasca is about to give you precisely that chance with what is guaranteed to be one of the musical highlights of the year.
The powerhouse Aussie frontwoman and rock and roll icon is throwing a world-first music festival set to take punters on the road this March. Taking place over three days, A Hitch To The Sticks Music Festival is a unique band-tour-meets-VIP-experience that gives audiences a glimpse at a touring musician’s lifestyle in a three day regional bus tour of hand-curated music events, gigs and festivals. With Frasca as your guide, passengers will navigate some of North-East Victoria’s hidden musical gems and undiscovered live music venues and events all from the comfort of your own rowdy, airconditioned tour bus.
For 50 lucky ticket holders, the adventure begins in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday 16 March where the Hitch To The Sticks bus will commence boarding. From there the tour heads North to six secret locations and four public events across Violet Town, Lima, Myrrhee, Tatong, Thoona, Wangaratta and Moyhu until the musical safari touches back down in concrete town on Sunday 18 March.
Transporting passengers direct to the cream of the crop of Regional Victorian music and culture, Dallas has packed a massive lineup of local gigs, events, festivals and experiences into the three day tour, to shine an unforgettable light on the immense musical talent hidden in the quiet corners of our land. Some of the exclusive experiences along the way will include a hedge maze “artist hunt” where punters must follow the music to discover live local artists playing throughout the maze; a rock & roll slumber party in cabin style accommodation (limited VIP upgrades available); celebrity hitchhikers and an intimate live performance by a very special international guest.

“There is something special, indescribable, about experiencing live music in regional Victoria. A travelling music festival on wheels? Sign me up! Music Victoria loves regional live music.” Nick Cooper, Operations / Program Manager Music Victoria.
For those who can’t make it onboard the tour, there are plenty of opportunities to join the disembarking passengers and meet the legendary bus at four public events throughout the tour. This includes the sixth annual Wangaratta Down By The River Festival – a free event offering a kaleidoscope of flavour, music, activity and culture curated by Frasca herself, as well as a bunch of local ticketed events across the weekend.

With the full lineup dropping soon, Dallas and the Hitch To The Sticks team are excited to reveal the first couple of performers eager and ready to board the festival bus – conductor of the Melbourne Ska Orchestra and all-round reggae luminary Nicky Bomba and Beechworth-born singer songwriter Liv Cartledge.

At just 21 years old Liv’s oaky tones and disarming lyrics have captivated audiences around Australia and beyond, with her debut EP Timber an incredible first glimpse of a destined rising talent. Relentless traveller and performer Nicky Bomba is an absolute staple of the local reggae/funk/jazz scene and has contributed to just about as many musical endeavours as he has footprints on the earth. Liv’s regional Victorian roots and local knowledge together with Nicky’s worldly prowess and love of community are sure to make the inaugural A Hitch To The Sticks Music Festival one heck of a kumbaya.

So get ready to sit tight, buckle up and play corners with some new friends when the wheels on the Hitch To The Sticks bus go round and round this March.

3 days |10 music events | 30 acts | 710km | 1 bus

Hitch To The Sticks Festival 2018
Friday 16 March – Sunday 18 March
North-East Victoria

Tickets on sale now via www.ahitchtothesticks.com
Limited to only 50 tickets.
Accommodation, travel and some food and drinks provided.

About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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