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Bio

   
 

Bruce is an icon of the Australian folk scene. He has appeared at over 120 folk festivals across Australia over the last 20 years. He plays regularly at festivals, folk clubs, house concerts and other venues throughout Australia.

Performers of the calibre of Eric Bogle, Joe Dolce, Greg Champion, Blackwood and a host of other Australian and international performers have Bruce Watson songs in their repertoire.

Bruce has received the Declan Affley Memorial Songwriting Award at the National Folk Festival for the song Amazon, which has been recorded by Eric Bogle and many other Australian and overseas artists.

Other awards include Port Fairy Folk Festival’s Lawson-Paterson Songwriting Award and Maldon Folk Festival’s Roddy Reed Memorial Songwriting Award.

He has produced six albums of original songs, plus a songbook of his own compositions: “101 Songs”. He also appears on over a dozen compilation CDs alongside artists such as Yothu Yindi and Christine Anu.

Bruce has a keen sense of the absurdities of life. Nothing is sacred, but many things are precious. A concern for people, the environment, reconciliation and for life's mysteries and ironies runs through his songs. His serious songs are both moving and challenging, and he is not afraid to tackle the hard issues.

The humour can be sharp - or at times just plain silly. Victims of Bruce's satirical pen range from Leonard Cohen to Peter Garrett. Don't miss songs like Save the Hippy, I Shared a Urinal with Martin Ferguson, The Rules of English, and Toddler with Attitude!

His act is one to be seen as well as heard, with plenty of audience involvement and usually a few surprises. Bruce will make you laugh, cry – and think.

As well as solo performances, Bruce has his fingers in a few other pies:

  • He presents the multi-media Unsung Heroes of Australian History show with Moira Tyers, Wendy Ealey and Neil Robertson
  • The Bruce Watson and Tracey Roberts duo is an act bringing together two of Melbourne’s finest musicians, songwriters and entertainers
  • When they get the chance, Bruce also joins forces to perform as a trio with Wendy Ealey and Moira Tyers (The Dixie Chooks).

Children also delight in Bruce’s antics, and songs about vampires, pirates, being naughty, hippopotamuseseseses and the eternal question: “Are we there yet?”
Read more about Bruce's children's concerts.

 

Recognition

Songwriting Awards

  • Declan Affley Memorial Songwriting Award (National Folk Festival) (finalist on 2 other occasions)
  • Lawson-Paterson Songwriting Award (Port Fairy Folk Festival) (Twice)
  • Roddy Reed Memorial Songwriting Award (Maldon Folk Festival)
  • Finalist in several other awards, including Ozmusic Awards (twice), Australian Songwriters Association Awards (twice), and the Darebin Music Feast.

Radio and TV

  • Bruce’s songs have received airplay on ABC Radio National on a range of shows including: The Daily Planet, Australia All Over, Into the Music and the Breakfast show
  • Bruce has also been a guest and performed live on ABC (local, Radio National), commercial and community radio, and on national television (Channel 10).

Compilation CDs

As well as six of his own CDs, songs recorded by Bruce Watson also appear on the following compilation albums:

  • Coo-ee: Songs of the Anzacs (2015), Produced by Peter Ellis with the Bendigo Historical Society
  • Unsung Heroes of Australian History (2012), With Moira Tyers, Wendy Ealey and Neil Robertson
  • Pick of the Crop CD4 (2010), Produced by Trad&Now
  • The Turning Wave – 2010 Festival sampler (2010), Produced by the TWF, Gundagai, NSW
  • Nannup Music Festival: Celebrating 20 Years (2009), produced by the Nannup Music Festival, WA
  • Stand Up and Shout (2007), Rouseabout Records, produced by Warren Fahey
  • National Folk Festival 2005 , produced by the NFF
  • Jamberoo Celebration - 20 Years On (2004), produced by the Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW
  • Victoria Sings! (2004), produced by Fay White for Community Music Victoria
  • Live @ the Selby Folk Club (2003), produced by the Selby Folk Club, Victoria
  • Maldon Turns Thirty (2003), produced by the Maldon Folk Festival, Victoria
  • Voices in the Trees (2003), produced by Tasmanian Greens
  • No Blood for Oil: Australian Voices for Peace (2003), produced by Geoff Francis, Tasmania
  • 35 years of the National Folk Festival (2003), produced by the NFF
  • Quadrille Mania, volumes 5 & 6 (2001) produced by the Emu Creek Bush Band
  • Green Songs (2001), produced by the Australian Greens
  • Australian Folk 2000 (2000), produced by the Folk Alliance Australia
  • Standing Room Only (1990), produced by the Melbourne Folk Club

Songs covered by other artists

Songs written by Bruce Watson, recorded by other artists, appear on the following albums:

  • Turlough Canyon Moonrise, (Ireland) (2013)
  • CD included in the book Tasmanian Songman Ronnie, Ronnie Summers with Helen Gee, Magabala Books (2009)
  • Margaret Bradford, Ten Years On (2007)
  • Joe Dolce, The Wind Cries Mary (2007)
  • St Brigid’s School, Fitzroy, We Love Music (2006)
  • Blackwood, Home Soon (2004)
  • Blackwood, At Home (1999)
  • Danny O’Flaherty, From the Heart (New Orleans) (1996)
  • On the Mark, How Many of them Can We Make Die? (East Coast Folk Music Convention, Virginia, USA, 1996)
  • Boola Boola Band, Graffiti Cafe (1993)
  • Eric Bogle, Voices in the Wilderness (1990)

Songs published in books

  • Song in The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, 17th Biennale of Sydney, NSW (2010)
  • Song in Tasmanian Songman Ronnie, Ronnie Summers with Helen Gee, Magabala Books (2009)
  • Tune in The Songs of Henry Lawson (2nd Edition), The Chris Kempster Project (2008)
  • Songs in The Waltz, the Polka and all kinds of Dance Music, Ed. Peter Ellis (2007) (Folk Song & Dance Soc, Vic)
  • Songs in The Merry Country Dance, Ed. Peter Ellis (2005)
  • Songs in River of Verse: Anthology of Tasmanian Verse Ed. Helen Gee (2005)
  • Songs in Rebels and Rabblerousers Ed. Warren Fahey. Currency Press (2001)
  • Song in Aspects of Language by Elry Edwards, Macmillan Education Australia (1995) (Secondary School textbook illustrating use of language and literature)
  • Song in Positive Messages in Popular Music Ed. John Tait. David Lovell Publishing (1992) (Secondary School Resource book to stimulate discussion of social issues)
  • Songs in The Balls of Bob Menzies: Australian Political Songs 1900-1980
    Ed. Warren Fahey. Angus & Robertson (1990)