The Haystack Mountain Hermits are a family of six multi-instrumentalists
with quite peerless flair, and a touch of happy lunacy to boot!Joanna Funk in Scenestr.
Haystack Mountain Hermits are all related (and have the embarrassing photos to prove it), all multi-instrumentalists and all go.
Between them they play guitar, mandolin, double bass, accordion, washboard, ukulele, banjo, snare drum, harmonica, kazoo, xaphoon … and more! Think of a homemade gypsy/skiffle/folk/bluegrass pie with a dash of country and crazy!
Catch a Haystack Mountain Hermits’ show … you’ll laugh, you’ll sing, you might even dance. But mostly, you’ll just wonder how the hell they all fit into one vehicle with all those instruments.
One family. One band. One day … they’ll get a bigger bus. #weplaywesingwefight
These Hermits are so upbeat they make the Wiggles sound like Nick Cave.Ernie Belroy
Flick through the family album …
Around about 1996, Davo decided that he would like to start a family band. This was quite difficult to achieve, as he had no children. Fast foward 15 years, and he and Kerrie decided to throw off the shackles of full time employment to travel Australia with their young family. The decision making process went something like this. Dave: “I reckon we should busk around Australia.” Kerrie: “Orright, let’s go.” Dave: “OK then.” And so, in 2011, the Haystack Mountain Hermits loaded their Toyota van with every unusual instrument they could find (and not much else apart from some scones and jam made by Super Gran) and set off on their “Are We There Yet?” busking tour of Australia. The kids were 7, 9, 11 and 13 as they fought over instruments, seat positions and the colour of the sky; developing their musicianship while travelling the long, straight sections of Highway One. Contrary to popular belief they were not assigned their instruments at birth – hospital records just state name, time, length and weight as usual. Family photos from the Busking Tour show cute young’uns holding instruments almost bigger than them, whose gap-toothed smiles and hungry expressions helped pay for the groceries and top up the fuel. And buy the occasional coldie. Don’t judge. They did 8 hour stretches of driving with 4 kids.
After travelling more than 26 000 kms and with performances in every state, the Hermits returned home to SE Qld, where they kept busking and performing together at private functions and small festivals. They made enough to buy a few packets of mandolin strings and replace a spark plug or two, but they were hooked. In 2017 the band entered the Australian National Busking Championships competition on a whim and came away Regional champions, albeit feeling like the proverbial stunned mullets. They won the Best Band section in the Nationals in the same year. They were astonished (so astonished, in fact, that they did not respond to the announcement, thinking there had been a mistake) and absolutely delighted to be crowned Tamworth Busking Champions in 2018, following this with more ANBC Regional success and being crowned Australian National Busking Champions in November, 2018.
2019 saw the band release their debut EP Going Home in a soggy fashion during an epic, drought-breaking thunderstorm (they cried “Send ‘er down Huey” … and he did!) and step up to major festival performances at Tamworth, Groundwater and Ballina. Along with Gran and Pap, Haystack Mountain Hermits were featured in the popular ABC series The Recording Studio, with the soundtrack featuring various artists winning an ARIA. The Hermits continued to donate their talents to causes close to their hearts, with Ewingar Rising Bushfire Benefit supporting communities close to Haystack Mountain, NSW. Yes, Haystack Mountain really exists. Kerrie’s family have lived and farmed there for more than 110 years.
2020 started with great promise at Tamworth, with many more festival bookings locked in. The title track from the EP Going Home was shortlisted in the Australian Song Association songwriting competition. The year then took a shortcut down the S bend, and finished up conked out like a second-hand lawnmower in long, dry blady grass. But you know that already.
Hermits were thrilled to usher in 2021 at Woodford Folk Festival’s Bushtime and despite all the COVID cancellations, recorded and released their ANZAC single The Horses Stay Behind (One Last Ride). They are truly honoured to have the support of the Australian Light Horse Association, the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation and the General Sir Harry Chauvel Memorial Foundation for the song and the upcoming film clip. The newly released vinyl single donates all profit to the RSL and can be purchased at https://haystackmountainhermits.bandcamp.com/
With festivals returning, the band have a number of announcements to make for 2022, COVID gods willing. They look forward to meeting you down the track somewhere at a Festival, live music venue or supermarket.