Bill Lake

  • When: 8th Mar 3:30pm
  • Where: Gordon Pl Stage
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“Gentle, sometimes witty and just as often moving reflections at every turn” – Graham Reid, Elsewhere

When it comes to blues and roots music, Bill Lake is one of New Zealand’s most respected and long-serving practitioners. For more than four decades the singer and guitarist led the iconic country-blues band The Windy City Strugglers, as well as playing with pioneering rock group Mammal in the 70s and fronting brassy funk-rockers The Pelicans in the 80s. 

He is also admired as a songwriter, his songs having been covered by numerous performers including Midge Marsden, Darren Watson, Kokomo and Marg Layton.

2017 saw the release of As Is Where Is, the first new collection of Bill Lake songs in a decade. Recorded and mixed by John McKay, it was made in the relaxed and intimate setting of Bill’s living room with a small group of friends: Andrew Delahunty on mandolin, harmonica and guitar, Andrew Clouston on saxophone and Nick Bollinger on bass – known collectively as The Right Mistake.

The songs are all Bill Lake originals, several co-written with Arthur Baysting. The pair have been collaborating since the late 70s when Arthur, who was working at the time with the Red Mole theatre troupe, stopped Bill one day on his postie run and asked to borrow a blues record. 
“We shared musical tastes and had a real chemistry,” says Bill. “Arthur could write a lyric in two minutes. If I played something that got him going, he could write very quickly.” 

40 years later the process is not much different. As Arthur explains: “We make a cup of tea. We sit in the kitchen or out under a tree in the garden and Bill picks up his guitar. I can’t really sing or play but Bill is a bottomless well of beautiful music. We know each other pretty well and we try not to write the same song twice.” 

The Bill Lake songbook is perfectly suited to an intimate setting.