The Warratahs find inspiration


Old-timers The Warratahs are heading south.

After a nine-year spell the Wellington band have released a new album, Runaway Days, and they’re back on the road.

The country-pop band’s New Zealand tour will hit Queenstown on Sunday. Lead singer Barry Saunders says making music is what has kept them going for the past 29 years.

Despite their longevity, this will be one of few Queenstown gigs The Warratahs have played.

Saunders: “It’s an inspirational part of the country down there. Every time I’ve been there I’ve written something.”

The band hadn’t intended to release an entire album this time round.

Runaway Days has now been on NZ country music charts for 10 weeks.

“I’d never be out there [performing] without something new, even if it’s just a couple of songs. We haven’t turned into an old blues band or tried to retrace hits. It’s always been creative,” Saunders says.

Nik Brown on fiddle, Michael Knapp on drums and Nick Theobald on bass and backing vocals make up the rest of the band.

Queenstown audiences can expect to hear new and old music.

Gore’s Jenny Mitchell will be opening for The Warratahs’ South Island leg of the tour in Queenstown, Wanaka and Oamaru.

The 16-year-old country-folk artist released her first album, Old Oak, earlier this year.

Mitchell: “It’s super-exciting to be asked to open for a band that I grew up listening to. I don’t know how many competitions I’ve sung Hands of my Heart in.”

This will be Mitchell’s first performance in Queenstown. She intends to debut some new music and a few covers.

The only cover The Warratahs sometimes do is Roosevelt Skye’s Driving Wheel – the first song they ever learnt together.

“Our songs basically are covers these days,” Saunders says.

Catch The Warratahs and Jenny Mitchell at The Sherwood this Sunday, 7.30pm. Tickets $30.50. All ages