Family first for Noel

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Noel Coutts’ children have been playing musical instruments since they were too small to carry them. 

The veteran Kiwi bluesman took daughter Jessie and sons Joseph and Oliver on their first US tour when they were just teenagers 

Now seasoned and professional musicians themselves, they will take to the stage with Noel, his wife Ela and Jessie’s husband Mathurin Molgat this weekend. 

Noel says: “By the time Jessie was 11 she had a band with her two brothers. 

“Oliver was nine and the guitar player, Joseph, was seven and the bass player. 

“He couldn’t even stand up and play the bass. It was physically too heavy for him, so he had to sit down. 

“They played a lot in Queenstown, got on Saturday morning television show What Now and when Jessie was 16 I took them on a tour of the US. They played schools, universities, honky tonks and juke joints for four-and-a-half months.” 

Noel has recorded eight albums over the years, many with Joseph on bass. He divides his time between New Zealand and flautist Ela’s native Poland. 

Jessie and Mathurin, a guitarist, have performed together since 1998 in their band Beach. 

Noel says: “There will be a lot of original material – I’m a songwriter, Jessie and Oliver are both songwriters. 

“This is the first time we’ve done a gig together, although we’ve all got up and had a jam together before at each other’s gigs. 

“I’ll do some songs with Ela, then Jessie and Mathurin, and then I’ll do some with Joseph before the tribe play together,” Noel says. 

“Ned Webster is playing drums for us. I would rate him as by far the best musician in this area – a wonderful drummer, awesome bass player, great guitarist and the best male singer in Queenstown by a country mile. 

“So it’s all little line-ups and should be a great afternoon.” 

Catch Noel Coutts and family at The Tap, Arrowtown, this Sunday, from 4pm