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Whether it’s with Dustbowl or Easy Club, Dr Simon Edwards of Willunga & Aldinga Veterinary Services in South Australia finds real joy playing his saxophone and harmonica.
“In Willunga [an historic town south of Adelaide], there’s an old show hall that’s been transformed into Cinemallunga. They play a movie every couple of months and have an intermission with a themed meal. They were showing O Brother, Where Art Thou? and wanted a band to play while people ate. A group of us from the local community came together and formed what was to become Dustbowl. It’s kind of grown from there.
“Dustbowl is an eight-piece band and I play sax and harmonica. We play all sorts of songs—Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel and some old gospel stuff. After the band got going, we started busking at the local farmer’s market and a few more movies for Cinemallunga. Over the past seven years we’ve become the local Willunga band and have performed at weddings, birthdays and a number of times at the local beer and chilli festivals, the Fleurieu Folk Festival and the Almond Blossom Festival.
“I’ve also started playing with a band called Easy Club that has more of an easy listening style. We play at a couple of local wineries and have put on some of our own shows. When I joined the band, it was just to do a single set but I’m playing with them more often now.
“I was the typical nerdy kid at school and played clarinet in the school band. When I went to uni, I inherited an old saxophone from my brother. It’s pretty similar to a clarinet and I taught myself how to play. I also taught myself to play harmonica and grew to really love that instrument. When the band is in a nice blues groove, there’s nothing better than blowing along on the harmonica.
“My favourite song to play is ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ by Sam Cooke. ‘Wagon Wheel’ by Darius Rucker is also really fun to play on the harmonica with lots of opportunities for solos.
“There’s something about playing music, whether it’s with bands or on your own, that gives you real freedom of expression. I can find a melody and build on it and create something that’s unique and special. When you play with a group of people, there’s a buzz when you make a connection through the music. You just get completely caught up in the moment and it’s a very special experience. It doesn’t even matter how well you play your instrument. You can be playing along to a CD and still find something in it with which you connect. That’s the important thing.”