Megan Samardin, Deb Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin at the Civic Centre.
Megan Samardin, Deb Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin at the Civic Centre.

I had an early start on Wednesday with a trip planned to Tennant Creek for the Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline sod-turning so I needed an early night but there was also an event on Tuesday night I simply couldn’t pass up.

That was the Queensland Music Festival Songs That Made Me show featuring a trio of well known artists becked up by some up and coming talent from the North West.

The QMF is a great government initiative that brings top quality musical events to rural and remote regions and usually without charge.

I recall in 2013 being fortunate enough to be at Tambo’s 150th anniversary where the town celebrated with a musical written and performed by country and western legend Graeme Connors in the town common which had the entire town enraptured.

Tuesday’s event at the Civic Centre was just as special.

Songs That Me supports emerging female singer-songwriters with three local singer-songwriters involved in the program.

After submitting video entries performing two songs – an original song and a song that inspired them to become a singer-songwriter, the “song that made them” – Mount Isa’s Bianca Lugo, Cath Purcell and Lenita Woodsbey are among 11 from across the state to participate in the program.

The first half of the show had the three stars Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin, backed by an all-female band, sing “the songs that made” them.

It was a slick and joyous performance and it was clear all three ladies enjoyed the occasion. 

Then in the second half they were first joined by Mount Isa mentor Megan Sarmardin whose pumping rendition of Tina Turner’s River Deep Mountain High almost brought the house down.

Then of the three participants Bianca Lugo was chosen to perform two songs, including one of her her own, before she was joined on stage by Cath Purcell and Lenita Woodsbey for an ensemble piece.

The final song of the night had Samardin, Lugo, Purcell, Woodsbey, Conway, Bowditch and Macklin all warbling away to the intense delight of the big Mount Isa crowd. It was a wonderful evening that will live long in the memory – Derek Barry