By Joshua Gliddon
A new music show made its debut at Adelaide Fringe and brings together the traditions of big band music and Sinatra-like crooning with the modern day sensibilities of pop and rap music.
The group, California Crooners Club, is led by Hugh Sheridan, a former Adelaide local who now calls Los Angeles home. He’s joined on stage by his talented collaborators and fellow performers Emile Welman and Gabe Roland.
“I loved the era of big band and swing, and my dad is a jazz singer,” said Sheridan. “There are videos of me as a child getting up on stage and singing things like The Lady is a Tramp – not that I knew what I was singing!”
Sheridan moved to Los Angeles in 2014 after a stint in New York. He describes LA as an extremely exciting hub for musicians, and said that the long established performers’ skills rub off on the young up-and-coming performers.
“For us to start this little group was an exciting moment,” he said. “But it wasn’t until we started writing together that we understood how swing and rap can come together to make something bigger.”
Big Band music into a new era with California Crooners Club
Sheridan said his goal is to move swing and big band music into a new era, and appeal to a new generation of music fans and concert goers. “I think we’re sitting on something that will have a huge life,” he said.
According to Sheridan, the best way to conceptualise what the California Crooners Club is doing is to imagine Dean Martin meeting modern day performer Diplo, or Frank Sinatra making Taylor Swift’s music his own.
The season ran at Fringe in the prestigious Mortlock Chamber of the State Library of South Australia and at Gluttony, The Octagon in Rymill Park. Shows ran ‘in the round’ and were performed at lunch, as well as early and late dinner times.
Sheridan said the group scheduled some performances in Sydney and Melbourne around the Fringe Festival, and then returned to Los Angeles to finish an album.
“After that I’ll be looking to come back to Australia. I have some new and exciting projects that I am working on, and I am looking forward to getting into them,” he said.
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