Jimmy Little’s Messenger (20th Anniversary)
CELEBRATING JIMMY LITTLE’S MESSENGER - THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY: IN THE SHADOW OF THE BLACK LOVE
MESSENGER PRODUCER BRENDAN GALLAGHER CELEBRATES JIMMY LITTLE’S CLASSIC 1999 ALBUM LIVE ON STAGE WITH JAMES HENRY, STU HUNTER AND SPECIAL GUESTS
20 years ago, Indigenous Australian icon Jimmy Little released Messenger, an album paying tribute to great Australasian songwriters. Messenger launched Little into the consciousness of a whole new generation of fans, many of whom had not known that he was Australia’s first Indigenous pop star on the back of hits like “Royal Telephone” in the early 1960s, or that he had a huge presence on Australia’s country music scene. The album won the 1999 Best Adult Contemporary Album ARIA, and at the same time Jimmy was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame.
Fitting for a man who was one of the first people to record a Barry Gibb song – Little charted with the then-17 year old songwriter’s “One Road” in 1964 - Messenger saw Jimmy interpret classic Australian songs like “Under The Milky Way” by The Church, “Down Below” by The Cruel Sea, “Cattle & Cane” by The Go-Betweens, “Quasimodo’s Dream” by The Reels and “The Way I Made You Feel” by Ed Kuepper. The album was the result of an idea conceived by Karma County singer/songwriter/guitarist and producer Brendan Gallagher who wanted to highlight Little’s honey-smooth voice and frame him as a superb interpreter of classic material – a singer’s singer. The importance of Messenger in the Australian music canon cannot be overstated, nor its impact in reinvigorating Jimmy’s legacy as a seminal contemporary Indigenous artist.
Jimmy Little, a proud Yorta Yorta man who rose against the odds from mission life to stardom, passed away in 2012, having been made Officer of the Order of Australia for both his music and his extensive community work, and having had an huge influence, especially on the careers of subsequent Indigenous performers including Archie Roach, Troy Cassar-Daley, Tiddas and Dan Sultan. His legacy lives on in the work of the Jimmy Little Foundation, and his fine recordings. Following Jimmy’s death, Paul Kelly, who had been honoured with an interpretation of his “Randwick Bells” on Messenger, paid tribute: "He was a trailblazer, but he was someone who was very comfortable in his own skin and he set an example just by being himself."
In the new multi-media music concert Jimmy Little’s Messenger - 20th Anniversary: In The Shadow Of The Black Love, the album’s original producer Brendan Gallagher celebrates the music and impact of Messenger and shares songs, stories and yarns of his time with Jimmy, shining a light on the recording process and touring of this legendary album with rare photos, film clips and audio.
Brendan is joined on stage by Jimmy’s grandson and singer/songwriter James Henry, Messenger sideman Stu Hunter, and different guests in each town. Jimmy Little’s Messenger - 20th Anniversary: In The Shadow Of The Black Love promises a transporting night of beautiful music in tribute to one of the true greats of Australian music.