Picking Winners

One of my favourite reviews of all time started out something like, “I never saw the Beatles in Hamburg. Missed out on Hendrix and the Isle of White and Dylan in Greenwich Village…” from there it went on and on, powered by a beautiful and insistent rhythm to reveal that the author had never witnessed any of the great figures of modern music at the early gigs in which their talent was forged. Finally, after perhaps two dozen examples, the author wrote, “But now I don’t care so much, because I saw the Dirty Three before they were famous.”

I can’t remember if there was anything else to the piece, anything about why the author thought The Dirty Three not only deserved, but would inevitably earn, acclaim, but it didn’t really matter. In the end The Dirty Three never achieved the sort of fame of even the least of the other members of that list, but they’ve done well enough to not make a fool of that reviewer.

There are few things more exciting than discovering a new artist, in any field, you really like. But there is an added frisson on concluding that they’re going to be successful. I’ve seen quite a few performers I adored, but who I knew were always going to have a tough time making it commercially, so the idea of being part of something you expect to one day break out of the ghetto is quite exciting.

My record for accuracy has been mixed, but I have enough hopes for Jade Goodge, now playing with Le Fay, that I’m going to get in here now, for two reasons: 1) I hope I can get even one person to turn up to a future gig and 2) If I’m right I want to be able to point to this piece as vindication.

I first met Jade when she was a student in one of my prac classes. Jade is a little hard to miss at any time, but she stood out with enthusiastic questions beyond the relatively simple topics we were covering. I also overheard her plugging a benefit gig she was playing for Oxfam literally at the end of my street. All who know me know my love of fundraisers, and I give enough to Oxfam that going to an event for them needed little other incentive.

I got to see a very raw talent. Jade’s voice was gorgeous, and her songs remarkably promising for someone far more focused on her medical degree (not to mention a hobby of kickboxing, for which she had spent six months in Thailand to hone her skills). Nevertheless, I’ve rarely seen someone who gave such meaning to the word unpracticed. I figured her musical talent would probably always play second guitar to other aspects of her life.

Nevertheless, I’ve since been to all the rather infrequent gigs I can make and have watched in delight as Jade has developed, diversifying her musical styles and moving from solo performance to an increasingly well matched band. She even played at the event I organised at the Transit of Venus, although I was too busy with the telescopes to catch her performance. It’s slowly dawned on me that one day I may get to skite to people about how I saw Jade Goodge before she was famous.

I think at one point she had a few other songs online, but I can only find these three. She’s also self-financed a music video for the first track that will be coming out soon. The photo is from after the filming.

I’m not going to embarrass myself by trying to describe Jade’s music – the three tracks linked above don’t do justice to her diversity, but they’ll give a better idea than anything I could write. But I hope I’ve intrigued some readers enough to want to take a listen and hopefully even see her live.



About Stephen Luntz

I am a science journalist, specialising in Australian and New Zealand research across all fields of science. My book, Forensics, Fossils and Fruitbats: A Field Guide to Australian Scientists is out now through CSIRO Publishing. I am also a professional returning officer for non-government organisations. I'm very politically active, but generally try to restrict this blog to scientific matters.
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