Danny Widdicombe
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Danny Widdicombe

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | INDIE

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia | INDIE
Band Folk Blues


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When he arrived in Tamworth Danny Widdicombe had no idea he was going to play the afternoon slot at the Tamworth Hotel, where he was appearing in Karl Broadie’s band at night. But when the band that had been performing from 2 till 5 had to abandon ship, Widdicombe stepped in and gave everyone present a delightful afternoon of music, all the more special because it had been unexpected.

As rain pelted down on the garden stage, the instruments and equipment were moved into the front bar, allowing everyone to get cosy next to the pool tables. Accompanied by Fiddleboy a.k.a. Luke Moller a.k.a. ‘The Champ’ (for he had won the national bluegrass fiddling championships), Widdicombe plunged into over two hours of songs from his album The Transplant Tapes, as well as Beatles and Neil Young covers; the highlight was a sublime version of 'Dear Prudence'. Having seen this duo play, and on other occasions seeing Karl Broadie and Johnny Kendall play together without accompaniment, I’ve decided that a guitar-and-fiddle duo is a wondrous thing (of course, you need the right guitarist and the right fiddler, but I’m not ruining a good theory over detail thanksverymuch).

After not even drawing breath for a set break, Widdicombe eventually stepped aside to give The Falls some time at the microphone, then regrouped with The Champ and brought in, separately, Kevin Bennett from The Flood, Michael Roberts from Karl Broadie’s band and the mighty Den Hanrahan - as well as a dude called Dax whose full name I don’t know - for a couple of songs each. It was the best kind of free-form musical love-in and you could tell that the punters felt they’d been treated to something very special. It’s again a mark of the kind of festival Tamworth is, that musicians of this calibre could all be found in one place and with enough time to take up this sort of opportunity and make something unique for everyone in the room. It was like the best kind of Christmas present.
- Jolene - the Country Music Blog

The perennially-mellow Panics softened up a swelling crowd at Friday night at the Tivoli. Although there seemed something awry with the Perth Quintet’s sound, the instrumentation sounding somewhat unbalanced. The front-man at times sounding like a can of vipers. This is not a criticism of the band themselves. In fact I’m sure the sound leaving their respective instruments was quite good until filtering through either temperamental PA/callous sound engineer. All things considered, it was a serene performance. By the time Bernard Fanning took to the stage the crowd had well and truly serried together creating a sweaty mass of flesh (I don’t recall it being that....temperate at the Tivoli in a while actually). Unless elevated, the average punter could have expected an obscured vista of the stage through whatever narrow corridor a sea of heads would provide; a capacity crowd. As one would expect, Bernard and band moved through most of the pieces featured on Tea And Sympathy, including some additional tunes that didn’t make the final cut such as Weekend of Mystery. Interestingly, Danny Widdicombe of Dangerbird had taken up lead axe duties, temporarily replacing Andrew (Mos) Morris. The chap did a smashing job considering he’d only rehearsed with the band a mere couple of times. Different scene, but I thought the show at QPAC late last year was a little more refined in all respects. ANDREW ROBINSON - Courier Mail


The Transplant Tapes (Butter Chicken Records/MRA)

Without doubt, The Transplant Tapes would be the most personal albums to cross the Time Off desk in the past decade. Recorded by Widdicombe during his recovery from a bone marrow transplant after a nine-year battle with leukaemia, it’s truly awe-inspiring.

The rawness of the home recording adds to the feel that this is like looking into someone’s diary. Subtitled A Musical Document of a Fight Against Cancer, the album cuts straight to the chase with opener ‘Can’t Turn Back’, where Widdicombe croons ìLooking for a transplant to feel at homeî. ‘Rock Bottom’ drips with desperation and fear via an almost hymnal treatment and is enough to bring a tear to the eye. ‘Wait’ succinctly charts the frustration of cancer and the feeling of separation it can cause, as does the aptly-named ‘Isolation’.

Widdicombe has a deliciously warm, honest voice. His old-school country croon on ‘Yellow Rose’ is spellbinding, as if he’s channelled 50s star Jim Reeves. He has similar fun on ‘In The Morning Light’, a love song that sounds like a gypsy lounge singer wooing a lady love in the audience. He’s also playful with his arrangements, where a song like ‘Round N Round’ shifts up and down gears with ease.

With Widdicombe now in recovery, let’s hope the next album comes easier - and soon.

(Matt Connors)


- Time Off

Transplant Tapes
(Butter Chicken Records)
" Lovingly crafted acoustic
album inspired by life-changing
Danny Widdicombe leads locals
Dangerbird and has also played guitar
for Bernard Fanning. His new album The
Transplant Tapes is subtitled A Musical
Document of a Fight Against Cancer, in
reference to his real-life battle with leukaemia
which, following a bone marrow
transplant, he ultimately won. His extraordinary
fight for life is soundtracked
on this CD in often painfully personal
fashion, but Widdicombe tempers the
raw emotion with a soothing acoustic
feel, turning the likes of Wait into finely
crafted folk pop, while Soundwaves is a
simply gorgeous sunburst of a song.
Rock Bottom is a distinctly darker beast,
bluesy desperation with almost choral
backing vocals. But for the most part,
Widdicombe makes The Transplant
Tapes an uplifting listening experience,
despite the immense pain at the heart
of the record. The songs have an informal,
calming air about them, enhanced
with fiddle and understated string arrangements
and sung by Widdicombe
in an impassioned voice often reminiscent
of Gene Clark. Lovely stuff.

- Rave


The Transplant Tapes - Danny Widdicombe Land of the Powerful Owl - The Wilson Pickers Dominoes - Danny Widdicombe



Winner of the 2010 Grant McLennan Memorial Fellowship
Nominated for two ARIA awards for Best Blues and Roots with his band The Wilson Pickers (2009, 2010)
Qsong Award winner
Finalist in the 2010 APRA PDA
Finalist in the 2008 and 2009 International songwriting competition
Played Port Fairy Folk Fest, Byron Blues and Roots Fest, Apollo Bay, Queenscliff, Woodford etc
Played lead guitar for Bernard Fanning and Tim Rogers