Artistic collaborators Geoffrey Datson and Annette Hughes form the psychedelic folk duo DATSON+HUGHES.
The duo formed to perform new material and give voice to Geoff's vast back catalogue of songs written since the early eighties.
Since leaving Sydney in 2004 they have spent the past 10 years in relative seclusion in the back-blocks of the Sunshine Coast in SE Queensland. In 2008 Hughes wrote a memoir, Art Life Chooks, about the wrenching move from city to country but as the dust settled, they realised that what was lost by leaving the city was compensated by more time - time to think, reflect, practice and just play together for the sheer pleasure of it.
The duo was well rehearsed when the pair met award-winning record producer Kalju Tonuma, another escapee from the insanity of the city. He had spent several years in front of a console mixing some of the biggest bands of his generation and had just moved to the next valley.
Angelic trickster, an antennna or that little spinning Tasmanian devil, all enegy and momentum and enthusiasm, Kal swept in, set up a load of old skool microphones in the livingroom and everything changed. When he presented 'Eve Fooled Yourself' all covered in his magic production dust, Geoffrey knew he wanted Kalju to produce his music, and Annette was thrilled that she wasn't the only one who recognised Geoffrey's songwriting genius. What had been intended as only a sampler of their live sound morphed into the wildly ambitious double album recording project.
Now, four years later, Kalju has delivered the final mixes with co-producer, Megan Bernard on board who has brought virtuosic musicianship and sublime, etherial vocal arrangements to the project: 40 years in the making. It has taken that long to arrive at the perfect combination of players to bring the work to its most beautiful and polished expression.
If the album were an art exhibition, it would be hailed as a major retrospective of the work of a fully formed artistic vision. This album is Datson+Hughes's masterpiece.
ANNETTE HUGHES is a Sunshine Coast hinterland based writer who moved to the region ten years ago after a twenty year career in first Brisbane, then Sydney, in the entertainment and publishing industries. In her previous lives she has been a contemporary art dealer, bookseller, small publisher, theatrical F&TV agent, literary agent and author of Art Life Chooks: Learning to leave the city and love the country (Harper Collins 4th Estate).
But her first thing was music. She she went to art school in the late seventies in Brisbane mainly in the hope of joining an art school band, which she was doing when she met her first husband, the Brisbane art dealer Ray Hughes whom she married in 1985. It fell apart in 1996 soon afterHughes begn working in pubishing.
She has been co-writing and recording songs in collaboration with Geoofrey Datson since 2000 when she set up their Stickylabel and began executive producing and performing in their various collaborations.
She has played in their duo Datson+Hughes in conjunction with publication of Datson's lyrical works in print at: Reality Bites Festival (Cooroy), Sydney Writers Festival, New South Wales writers centre, Gloucester Readers and Writers Festival and various bookshops and libraries, and performed at the 2011 Byron Bay Writers' Festival on the same bill as Paul Kelly.
Annette is director of the indy Stickylabel Pty Ltd, publisher of Stickybooks and runs the label's recording studio, independent labels Masterpiece and Art Reocrds, and manages The Greenroom studio. In 2017 the duo goes on the road touring their EP Whispering Highway in the leadup to the release of their debut album.
GEOFFREY DATSON is a sound artist, combining spoken word, electronica and instrumentation in his recordings. Many poets recite their work to music, but few are also composers. Datson's work is a synthesis of forms of sonic expression in which the voice and the sound field are interdependent.
As a poet Geoffrey most recently launched his second work in print Protest SInger, in performance at the Brett Whitely Studio's Sunday @2 Poetry Series in Sept 2012. Protest Singer is a collection of 10 years of political poetry and song, performed in the tradition of Woody Gurhrie, Dylan and the soapbox speakers of the Domain. In 2010 Geoff was an Australian Poetry Centre cafe poet in residence at Bistro Bistro in Cooroy, working towards a spoken word work Then, and Then; a memoir which was his project associated with the program, and which was launched by author and 'troubador', Linda Neil at the 2010 Reality Bites festival. This work also includes, in a limited edition, Datson's first published work of poetry. Since its launch at Gleebooks in Sydney, Datson has appeared at the 2011 Gloucester Writers and Readers Festival and Byron Bay Writers' Festival performing works from the collection. In 2006 he participated in the Wordjammin's 'Random Acts of Poetry' at the Brisbane Writers' Festival, and in 2009 was a guest of the 2010 Reality Bites Literary Non-fiction Festival on the Sunshine Coast.He is currently working on a large podcast series entitled the Datson Driveby, each episode a compile of poetry, music, song and spokenword to be released on Sticklabel's Art Records.
As a musician/ singer songwriterGeoffrey Datson has had a diverse recording career to this point from the straight up pop rock of the Surfside 6 to the post-punk of Belle du Soir who recorded for the legendary MSquared label. In the mid 1980s he formed Samurai Trash whose Afrobeatish sides released by Virgin were widely acclaimed. Since then he has toiled in the basement and traveled widely, recording an eclectic range of projects including working with Dana Velcek (Konk, Fred) and Warner Bros-signed spoken word siren, Dana Bryant.
Works from his early career have recently been released in compilation albums. In the second half of 2009, Geoff received RADF assistance to travel to Sydney over six months to rehearse with the reformed Samurai Trash (all original members) and to record with them. During the early 2000s, he performed political spoken word and song as Protest Singer, releasing an eponymous album and “The Truth”, a collection of war poetry, with several live performances in Sydney.
He is currently touring with Annette Hughes in their duo, DATSON+HUGHES.
As a producer, in 2000 Datson set up Stickylabel, an independent label producing spoken word works.Stickylabel, with Datson as producer, also released Mohsen, the debut spoken word album of refugee poet, Mohsen Soltany Zand. He appeared in 2003 at the NSW Writers' Centre in performing works from that album, and was invited to appear at the 2004 Sydney Writers' Festival to perform with Mohsen following the Iranian refugee poet's release from detention. In 2005 he produced Mohsen Soltany's second album Australian Dream, works from which received national ABC air play on Poetica.