Local blues-tinged legend Noel Coutts has travelled from Warsaw to the Wakatipu for a long-awaited homecoming gig.
The colourful Queenstown muso has just spent six months living in the European city, where he recently wed Polish classical flautist Ela following a whirlwind romance.
Coutts is now back with his new bride for the New Zealand summer.
And he can’t wait to road test his latest group The Black Friday Band with a show at Dux de Lux on Saturday.
“I’m really excited about the new lineup,” Coutts says. “I first started putting things together earlier this year as my old group Custer’s Last Band had disintegrated, really.
“I’ve got the best musician in Queenstown, Ned Webster, on bass along with Mark Stallard from Arrowtown on guitar and Bang Bang O’Connor is coming up from Invercargill to play drums.
“It’s an original band so people going along to the Dux shouldn’t expect us to be playing Brown Eyed Girl or Sweet Home Alabama because we just don’t do that kind of stuff.
“I’ve written a few new songs that we’ll be doing as well as a few old favourites.”
Local hero Coutts has released six albums and is now building a following in Poland too.
He moved there for the NZ winter after meeting now-wife Ela while on a European tour last year when he starred in the musical Porgy and Bess.
“I turned up to play with a band in Warsaw recently and discovered they’d already learned my songs Tui in the Rain and Going back to Nelson, which was great.
“In fact, they actually pulled me up for not doing Going back to Nelson the same way as I recorded it on the CD.
“But people in Poland seemed to be interested in this weird old guy from the bottom of the South Pacific who suddenly turned up on the scene and it was cool.”
Coutts now plans to split his time between Queenstown and Warsaw – and has formed a musical duo with his new missus.
“We’ll be doing softer stuff than I usually do because it will be guitar, flute and vocals and we’re going to play a few gigs together around NZ,” he says. “Ela also plays with the National Opera Orchestra in Poland so we’ll go back there again when she gets busy.”