The past three years have been a bit of a whirlwind for Newcastle country rockers Hurricane Fall.
At this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival the five-piece pulled one of the biggest crowds ever at The Longyard Hotel. They also opened for Billy Ray Cyrus, performed at the PBR Cairns Invitational and have gigs at Gympie Muster, Deni Ute Muster, Mt Isa Rodeo, The Mountain Cattleman Festival, Hats Off To Country and Rock the Boat 2017 under their belts.
Hurricane Fall even performed on an episode of The Bachelorette last year with Sophie Monk.
But for Jesse Vee (lead vocals and guitar), Pepper Deroy (lead vocals and bass), Jimmy Hick (lead guitarist), Lachlan Coffey (drums and percussion) and Luke Wheeldon (lead guitar) it’s only rock’n’roll – and they like it. They still work regular jobs when not touring but that is about to change, Deroy tells Weekender. Hurricane Fall could be on the precipice of something big. That’s the plan, anyway.
This weekend Hurricane Fall will be taking their rock-edge country sound to The Groundwater Country Music Festival (formerly Broadbeach Country Music Festival) on the Gold Coast. The surge in popularity of country music and its sub-genres has resulted in a diverse and more inclusive musical line-up.
“Groundwater will showcase a diverse range of era and genres from the roots of country music – the heritage of bluegrass and folk – to modern country rock,” program director Mark Duckworth says.
Hurricane Fall, described by festival organisers as “a taste of country’s new wave”, will fit right in.
“Breaking away from the traditionalism of country has become widespread. Within the country genre there’s, like, 10 sub-genres,” Deroy says.
“In music these days there are a lot of crossovers. I mean, look at Morgan Evans’ new stuff. We keep our genre broad and these days perform our own songs 90 per cent of the time, with the odd cover thrown in. At the end of the day, though, I think people appreciate a good live performance and that’s what we’re all about.”
Deroy says the band is “starting to get some traction now”. As a crossover band, though, Hurricane Fall has encountered a handful of disgruntled country music “purists”.
“I couldn’t give a shit about what anyone else says about us or our music, as long as we’re happy with what we’re putting out,” he explains. “We’re our own worst critics and Mike [Vee] our manager is pretty harsh so if something is shit we’ll know about it.
“When we played at the PBR in Cairns the crowd was going wild and people were buying our merch but there is always one person in the crowd who hates you and this time it was a woman up the front yelling at us to play more country. You can’t please everyone.”
The Groundwater Country Music Festival features artists the likes of Suzanne Vega, Adam Harvey, Catherine Britt, Lillie Mae, James Blundell and Casey Barnes. The free, three-day event is held on Broadwater Beach. The inaugural 2013 event attracted a crowd of 20,000. In 2014 more than 35,000 people attended.