Should the call go up for Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler during guitar man Brett Strachan’s set at SkyCity Casino tonight, he’ll hook into it – no questions asked.
The Queenstown troubadour isn’t precious about his repertoire, especially when it comes to kickstarting some action on the dancefloor.
Whether it’s a bar-room gig, a wedding or a birthday party, Strachan says his role is to “get the room working”.
“If they’re paying you, if it’s going to help get the night along and if I know it, I’ll play any song,” he says. “That’s what you’re there for.
“I like the challenge of ‘Here’s the canvas let’s make something really good.’ Even though I’m playing the same songs night after night, every night to me is a fresh bit of paper in front of me.”
Strachan says his 20-plus years of gigging in the resort has come full circle.
Starting out as a singer-guitarist, he went on to play in various duos and trios and bands such as The Ratz, before returning to the solo work he loves most.
“If you have a good night, it’s big ups to yourself,” he says. “It’s still a buzz for me every time I do a gig.
“I guess that’s one of the things for any muso – doing what you love to do, and that challenge of trying to play that little bit better each night. If it all comes together, you pick the right song for the right time, your sound is right and everyone gets up and boogies, there’s no better job out there.”
On one memorable evening recently at Cardrona, a voice in the crowd joined Strachan’s in a rendition of Hunters & Collectors’ Throw Your Arms Around Me. Later, as he was packing up, Strachan struck up a conversation with the punter.
“I said to him, ‘That was a wicked harmony you were doing there’ and he said, ‘Oh yeah, I used to be the bass player for Hunters & Collectors.’
“That kind of thing doesn’t happen very often but it blows you away when it does.”
Catch Brett Strachan at SkyCity Casino tonight from 8.30pm and tomorrow from 9.30pm