Songwriting duo in concert in Springwood for Live at the Village

Live at the Village: Tony Backhouse and Peter Dasent will be performing in Springwood.
Live at the Village: Tony Backhouse and Peter Dasent will be performing in Springwood.

The great songwriting duo of Tony Backhouse (words) and Peter Dasent (music) feature with their ensemble, Blessed Relief, in Springwood on February 24 for the first concert of the year presented by Live at the Village.

Alongside very different career paths starting in the late 1970s New Zealand rock/pop scene, Dasent and Backhouse have written songs together for many years and finally released an album, Design for Living. Dasent likes to call the music, with its sophisticated pop base,  “subverted easy listening”. 

This duo finds common ground in popular music with funny chords and uncommon structures, and some rather sardonic lyrics. In the album, which they will perform at Springwood, there's a hilarious tribute to a small town Elvis impersonator as well as the witty Like David, in which Bowie is wistfully evoked.

Backhouse largely avoided instruments to become a pioneer in choir mastery in Australia and New Zealand where he has been a major influence on a cappella singing. He is perhaps best known for forming the Cafe of the Gate of Salvation choir.

Peter Dasent is renowned for his pianistic skills, for directing his virtuoso jazz instrumental ensemble, the Umbrellas, and for his children's music as the resident pianist on Play School since 2000. He has arranged tributes to the Italian film composer Nino Rota, among other things. 

Soul/blues/jazz singers, Virna Sanzone and Lisa Spence, provide backing vocals in Blessed Relief; maestro Paul Cutlan will play woodwinds, jazz trombonist James Greening will also play pocket trumpet, with the rhythm section of Alex Hewetson and Finn Ryan completing the top notch line-up.

Live at the Village begin its ninth year presenting concerts with partners including the Springwood Neighbourhood Centre, Peter Karp Photography and the Turning Page Bookshop. The Presbyterian Church makes the hall available. Support in the early years from the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust was vital.

The concert will be held at 8pm on Saturday, February 24 at the Presbyterian Church hall, 160 Macquarie Road, Springwood. Tickets $35/$25 concession at or Turning Page Bookshop on 4723 5050.