By Bob Gordon
Tom Fisher is a born and bred musician. His father Jim is a legend in Fremantle and all across the many miles he travelled as a musician around the country.
The younger Fisher has carved his own history as a musician, taking the family tradition around the world playing with bands and solo, as well as establishing the much-loved Tom Fisher & The Layabouts. Constant touring can be wearying, however, and upon returning home some year ago Fisher found himself a little out of sorts with his band and music. He credits Blues at Bridgetown with giving him clarity when he needed it most.
“After I’d moved back from Melbourne touring with an act over there for a few years, I was hesitant to revive the Layabouts after a few shows,” he recalls. “I wasn’t really feeling it. Then we got booked for Blues at Bridgetown and had two absolute cracking shows. It really reassured me this band was a great act and a fun festival act.”
As it has been for Jim Fisher, Blues at Bridgetown is an annual destination for Tom Fisher & The Layabouts and the human connection is a huge part of that. “There’s a very loyal kind of tribalism with Bridgetown punters and performers,” he notes. “I often get pulled up on the street somewhere in Perth with a ‘See ya at Bridgetown, mate’. I love that loyal, inclusive vibe it creates.”
Blues at Bridgetown, of course, is founded upon the style of music that gives it its name, whilst covering a feast of other genres – rock, folk, reggae, roots, country, funk soul – all throughout. In another words, it’s an entity that is very similar to the DNA of The Layabouts.
“The blues is at the base of everything we do,” Fisher reflects. “We touch on country and rock a lot, but it all comes from the blues. I think my singing can really lend itself to the blues. as well as Kils’ (Killian Albrecht) guitar playing.”
For The Layabouts, 2019 has been about finishing their new album (“we’re very close,” Fisher notes), and playing shows. Along the way this year they won the WAM Song Of The Year ‘Blues’ category and have been nominated in the forthcoming WAM Awards for ‘Blues & Roots Act Of The Year’.
“2020 will be about pushing the new record, writing and touring,” Fisher declares. “And playing Bridgetown, of course!”
Tom Fisher & The Layabouts appear at the Geegelup Stage on Saturday, November 9, from 2-3pm. Tom will also perform a special set on the WAM Stage earlier that day at 11-11.45am.