By TERRI LEE FATOUROS
I CALLED into The General Wine Lounge at McCrae recently, expecting to catch a friend’s energetic Sunday arvo gig. Instead I was treated to the melodic harmonies of a trio called 3/Fold. I sensed new talent afoot.
This trio had me intrigued from the moment I walked in, with their fine acoustic work covering the likes of Carly Simons, Radio Head, Soft Cell, Dolly Parton, 9 Inch Nails, Pink Floyd, Sia, Birdy, Led Zepplin, Diesel and heaps more.
As I sat there trying to figure out why they stood out from the crowd, I noticed something a little different to the many acoustic gigs I’ve seen over the years. Other patrons were equally enthralled. The woman’s voice was delicate yet strong, reaching the higher notes with aplomb. The guitars were a combo of semi-acoustic, rhythm and lead.
As soon as they got a break, I grilled them. This is what I found out.
Rhonda Featherstone is a singing teacher and was the original choir leader for The Choir of Hard Knocks on the Mornington Peninsula, which incidentally became The Voice of Hastings Choir.
Glen Vincon is the acoustic lead and rhythm man and happens to be a guitar teacher with a penchant for bass and ukulele. He cut his teeth gigging in head-banging bands flavoured by Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath and AC/DC vibes, but claims you get mellower as you become older.
Michael Ennis is a primary school teacher and just digs playing his acoustic guitar.
That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t really explain why they jumped out at me. Until they dropped the bombshell.
Their special vibe and laid-back, well-polished method of taking an original song and changing it to suit their panache has come from participating in a cool little thing called The Liberated Pencil.
Ennis explained. “Glen and myself were invited to play at a Life Drawing class. After doing the first couple we got Rhonda in to make up our trio, thus creating a unique art experience for people. The tone of songs performed is encapsulated by the vibe and feeling present with each lesson, so we focus and tune in to the moment while we play. Additionally, we have Gemma Sheree performing exotic burlesque during our gigs!”
Featherstone interjected, “The Liberated Pencil presents Life Drawing, live music and burlesque. It’s an art class for everyone and no experience is needed, there’s no pressure or judgment. Ry Wheeler guides people through the process of life drawing while the beautiful Gemma Sheree performs burlesque and we provide the music. In other words, we travel all over the burbs and provide a unique act/experience playing live music with a burlesque dancer to Life Drawing classes and call it The Liberated Pencil. Our music inspires art and dance simultaneously. It’s heaps of fun and extremely enjoyable.”
3/Fold play at The Antique Bar in Elsternwick, General Wine Lounge in McCrae and locally around the burbs.
Ry Wheeler is a teacher and an artist who originally started The Liberated Pencil on the first Thursday of every month at the Rye Hotel.
In fact, The Liberated Pencil idea proved so popular that it now operates throughout selected Melbourne Metropolitan Art Centres and continues at The Rye Hotel with 3/Fold Band performing there on the first Thursday of each month.
First published in Mint Magazine – February 2016