Damon Smith sat at a grand piano, exhibits his effortless ability
- Milly Farmer

PERFORMER/WRITER/PRODUCER 

DAMON SMITH

Damon is a composer, lyricist, music producer, writer, instrumentalist, filmmaker and performer living in Melbourne, Victoria.

As a musician, he has performed at Theatres across Australia, written jingles, songs and composed ballet and has released several original albums. Appearing as a session piano player on numerous recordings, Damon has also had his music featured on television, stage and in short films and has produced several records for local artists.

 

Damon produced and filmed the popular YouTube video performance series, 'The Night Sky Is A Jewellery Store Window' and made over 50 videos that featured local and international singer-songwriters performances.

 

After co-writing the critically acclaimed cabaret show, Sun Rising – The Songs That Made Memphis, Damon wrote his second stage production about living with a mental disorder. This show, Mental As Everything, made its debut at the 2018 Adelaide Fringe with the show receiving a multitude of 4 and 4 & 1⁄2 star reviews.

He is currently touring his first one-person cabaret show, CRAZY ARMS, 'Centuries of Piano tinkering.'

“his full-bodied croon pairs the silken wryness of Elvis Costello and the gravel of Bob Dylan.
-
Ruth McIver, The Age

PERFORMER/WRITER/PRODUCER 

DAVID COSMA

David Cosma is a Melbourne based singer songwriter whose inspiring lyrics accompanied by sumptuous melodies and harmonies, guarantees an impassioned live performance.

 

Together with his unique method of playing the guitar (he holds the guitar left handed but plays right hand strung guitars, similar to artists Albert King, Elizabeth Cotten and Dick Dale) his music has been described as "straight ahead, thinking person’s rock ‘n’ roll that speaks volumes to what a terrific talent we have in our midst"- Tony McMahon.

 

Since 2008, he's released two LPs, two EPs, several singles, performed at theatres and venues across Australia and has supported artists including Mark Seymour & Russell Morris and received industry praise for his music.

 

Sonically, his music is rich and luminous and boasts a world class production quality that is often overlooked or absent in the world of independent singer– songwriters, but it is lyrically where Cosma stands apart from the rest.

He has a knack for examining commonplace and even trite circumstance and then magnifies their significance with a wry and ironic tone. Religion, pop culture and nostalgic nuances, punctuate and ultimately, accentuate his writing, triggering instant attention from an audience and listeners.

 

From a very early age, he became obsessed with 1950’s and 60’s music, in particular Elvis and The Beatles. His love for playing guitar started when he sat and taught himself Jimmy Reed’s 'Baby What You Want Me To Do', a simple blues riff which he first saw Elvis perform on the '68 Comeback Special.

 

Co-writing/producing and performing in Sun Rising, was a natural undertaking in addition to his original music. His part in Sun Rising has been described as energetic and and full of infectious passion.

“Trent McKenzie is a treat to watch plucking away on his double bass.”
-
the clothesline.com

PERFORMER

TRENT MCKENZIE

Trent McKenzie’s professional bass playing began in 2000 when he was employed as the bass player on Channel 7’s ‘Denise’ program.  

This opportunity allowed Trent the opportunity to perform and tour with a number of Australian and international stars such as the Drifters, Charlie Pride, Al Jarreau, Larry Adler, Normie Rowe and Frankie J Holden.  

 

Trent has toured the country with everything from Elvis and Johnny Cash impersonators, The Rat Pack and Grease show incarnations  and a number of original bands which has seen Trent play Australia's  finest music festivals alongside Aussie icons such as Mick Thomas, Mojo Juju and Neil Murray. Trent has received numerous awards and accolades for recordings with Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel, Abbie Cardwell and the Chicano Rockers, Tracy McNeil and the Good Life, Jo Meares and Amarillo.

“Adam Coad is a smiling, snazzy drummer”
-
AUSTRALIANSTAGE.COM.AU

PERFORMER

ADAM COAD

Adam studied drums and percussion at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), completing an Advanced Diploma of Contemporary Music and a Bachelor of Arts (Jazz). As a performer, writer and teacher, across a range of genres and instruments, he made the move to Melbourne in 2007 and has collaborated with many musicians on a number of projects and bands.

 

As well as collaborating with original Jazz Trio, LAA,  Adam has performed with well regarded Melbourne musicians Lisa Miller, Shane O’mara and Sherry Rich, percussionist Ray Peraria, Ethiopian band Afro Habesha and J Azmaris, boogie woogie duo The Every Men, as well as playing and recording with singer-songwriters Dan Lethbridge, Nicholas Roy and Scott Mellis. He has supported a number of Iconic Australian bands, including the Whitlams, the Audreys, Diana Anaid, Lowrider, The Melodics and Canadian singer songwriter Dan Mangan.

Adam also performs on stage in the comedy cabaret show, Mental As Everything, a show pertaining to mental illness featuring original music.

“exceptionally talented”
- STORIES WELL TOLD.COM.AU

PERFORMER

ADRIAN WHYTE

Adrian Whyte has shared the stage with nearly every psychobilly band to set foot in Australia in the last decade including Tiger Army, Nekromantix and Mad Sin. His admiration for guitarists such as Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery, Billy Gibbons, Scotty Moore and the legendary Django Reinhardt has helped shape his playing while still maintaining his own style.

 

Combining an enthusiasm for rockabilly guitar pickin' with a passion for all things guitar, Whyte brings an authenticity to the Sun guitar sound.

Adrian is also an original artist having written and performed in bands including Manic Pistoleros and The Vaudevillains. His instrumental guitar arrangements have seen him filmed by Los Angeles' world famous guitar collector Norman Harris, also coming to the attention of 'Nick 13' from Tiger Army.

"A prodigious talent”
-
the advertiser

PERFORMER

COOKIE BAKER

Raised on a farm by the seaside in rural South Australia, Cookie Baker has performed live unstoppably her whole life; from force-feeding ‘concerts’ to her family on the front verandah on Christmas Day through her brand new Young Talent Time microphone, to the obsessive nature of a tween in youth theatre, to the all-consuming hold of secondary school drama, to the discovery of effortlessly putting the stories she had always written to song and crafting a magical, musical life of sharing them.

 

Deceivingly gentle melodies, cool wordsmithery, and the sparkling grit of her vocals that audiences have come to adore have taken Cookie performing around Australia and brought her to share stages with many esteemed Australian artists, including Augie March, Kate Miller-Heidke, Ben Lee, Angie Hart (Frente!), Mick Thomas (Weddings, Parties, Anything), Little Birdy, and The Audreys.

THE SONGS THAT MADE MEMPHIS

TSTMM, was the brain child of good friends, Damon Smith and David Cosma and was written after numerous passionate conversations about the studio and the need for someone to perform the music, as authentically as possible, to the thousands of fans of Sun Records, and the era in which it was born. 

 

The Songs That Made Memphis takes famous tales and often hilarious anecdotes from Sun Records artists, and its creator, Sam Phillips. The narrative and music combination is designed to inform and educate the audience while rocking them senseless and it's this amalgamation of good humour, excellent musicality and great story telling that makes for a world class production and a wonderfully entertaining audience experience. 

 

 

"David Cosma is keen you get the story right, presenting Phillips and his stable of stars story chronologically, and introducing the songs with a wealth of appreciated information. Helping David with his dream is the fabulous Damon Smith. Smith rips the ivory off the 88s with terrifying slides, yet tickles his way through solos - he is both slap and tickle." Thebarefootreview.com.au

 

Sun Rising walks the audience through a chronological tour of Memphis’ famed Sun Records, focusing on the early period of 1950-57 and touching on artists including Ike Turner, Howlin' Wolf, BB King, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis & more, and for six years, SR have performed sell out shows all around Australia and have amassed a huge fan base and received glowing reviews.

 

"Melbourne band Sun Rising is rocking with an utter belter of a show. The Songs that Made Memphis is an exuberant, potent homage to the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll that has the audience jiving beyond the exit." InDaily.com.au