What's on Skin & Bone

Skin & Bone
When: Sunday 21st July 2024
Time: 7.30 pm
How much: $20 public | $15 members

Skin & Bone

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A Blend of Old and New in Dunedin's Music Scene

| Album available now: Last Bus to Brockville |

Skin & Bone are a five piece acoustic swing band from Ōtepoti, Dunedin. Formed relatively recently, they are nevertheless a product of some very longstanding musical friendships. Difficult to pigeon- hole, a substantial portion of their repertoire is 1930’s style swing, and they are popular in their hometown as an energetic dance band who will always pack the dance floor. In addition, they have a sizeable number of original tunes that tend toward acoustic rock, and contemporary folk music from Aotearoa. The band has recently released their first album ‘Last Bus to Brockville’ featuring a collection of these original tunes together with a sampling of that old style swing. The band also pride themselves on close harmony vocals from three lead singers.

Skin & Bone are

Emily Sterk – clarinet

Anna Bowen – fiddle, mandolin and voice

Mike Moroney – guitar and voice

John Dodd – bass and voice

Steve (Huddy) Hudson – drums and voice

Mike and John had performed together for over 30 years in the iconic folk band The Chaps, which undertook 3 tours of Europe, many tours of NZ, and released 3 albums before disbanding. Anna joined this group in its latter days, having already been working in a duo with Mike (Catgut and Steel) for many years. When Catgut and Steel started to develop their repertoire toward a swing sound they pulled John back into their mix, and he brought with him his favourite drummer Huddy from his rock’n’roll band the Whirling Eddys (another band of longevity, having entertained Dunedin audiences since the mid-nineties). Huddy has an innate grasp of feel and with Moroney’s so solid guitar chunk and the walking bass lines, this band truly swings. Anna is a gifted fiddler and also crucial to the band’s groove, and to complement this they wished for another solo instrument, clarinet specifically, and discovered the wonderful Emily hiding out in the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. The clarinet/fiddle mix makes our sound distinctive, and when Anna moves over to the mandolin it only makes the rhythm more driving. With their infectious energy, impressive musical pedigree, and captivating blend of styles, Skin & Bone is a band you won’t want to miss.

If you wish to read further, here’s a short profile of each musician.

Arriving in Dunedin around the turn of the century, Anna immediately came to the attention of a wide range of local musicians through her inventive busking (with fiddle and puppets). While playing in a range of folk-oriented bands she managed to study and attain a teaching degree, at the same time learning mandolin and raising three young children. Not having enough to occupy her, she joined the Pioneer Pog 'n' Scroggin Bush Band (where she played with both John and Mike), which eventually folded and gave way to the duo Catgut & Steel, which still endures as the ceilidh band of choice around Otago and Southland.

Emily has always admired 'real musicians who can make stuff up' but has spent most of her life playing notes someone else wrote. After completing a Bachelor of Music with Honours and a Master of Music in clarinet performance, she joined the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra as   clarinettist and also began teaching at the University of Otago and Logan Park High School. Now, more than 20 years later, Emily is still passionate about performing with the orchestra and teaching, but she has also finally found the courage to join some 'real musicians' as well.

Huddy joined The Kal-Q-Lated Risk in the early 70s, appearing on their first album. He and his bass playing brother Chris joined the westward drift to Australia in the mid 70’s, where they eventually became a rhythm section for hire, working with such Aussie legends as Stevie Wright, Glenn Shorrock and many others. He was a part of the 80s/90s rockabilly/western swing trend, touring with the Flying Emus and supporting Dale Watson. He and Chris were rhythm section for rock’n’roll show band the Comets, dance crowd legends and backing band to the Stars of Yesteryear. Returning to Aotearoa in the early 2000's, he was nabbed by the Oxo Cubans, tapped on the shoulder by the Whirling Eddys, subsequently recording and gigging with a wide range of Dunedin musicians. He has a cowbell and he is not afraid to use it

Mike Moroney is a veteran folk musician and occasional rocker, playing solo and in a duo with Anna (Catgut & Steel), in addition to a number of memorable units including the Pioneer Pog 'n' Scroggin Bush Band and The Chaps. He has been a sound engineer for most of that time (over 40 years) too. Mike plays all manner of guitars and guitar styles as well as mandolin, banjo, and is a keen session fiddler. He is a founding member of the Dunedin Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. He was recently given the title of Musical Director of the Dunedin Burns Club and is still trying to figure out what this means. When his daughter joined the swing dance movement, he was obliged to steer his repertoire in that direction.

John is best known as a bass player and vocalist frequently performing in any one of several groups in and around Dunedin. This has included the Chaps, the Whirling Eddys, Delgirl, the Oxo Cubans, the Spaghettis, The Ratz, the Pog Band, as a soloist and in a duo with John Egenes. He toured USA with the Donna Dean Band and spent much time playing with Midge Marsden’s touring group in the 1980’s. He has recently retired from a long held post as HOD of Music at Logan Park High School. He has worked as a session musician on many albums, and has been in the band of the MLT Songwriting Awards/Tui Country Music awards, since the inception of the event.


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