Briagolong Bush Band started in 1980 after some music nights and jam sessions in the Briag pub and parties around the town. Talented singer songwriter
Brian O’keeffe (BOK) and Garry Rose were joined by friends, seasoned fiddle player Anton Teese and shortly after Mick Waters. Monthly music nights at the
Hotel and Bush dances around the area quickly expanded the repertoire and popularity soared.
Anton left to start his own band and Barbara Williams (accordion) joined. They
rapidly gained a reputation for being equally a Concert and Dance band. The
music nights were so popular the Hotel expanded the lounge area to
accommodate the crowd. Garry met his future wife Maria at one of these nights.
The range of material was always broad and is still constantly expanding.
traditional and contemporary Australian, American, Celtic, European, Swing,
Blues, original songs and tunes.
1982 saw the first studio LP released as a cassette “Beating Around the Bush”
and included Warren Rice on bass. It was so popular the next year they
released “Bushed Again.”
BOK decided to leave to concentrate on writing and Gerard Snowball (bass)
joined for the next year, then in 1983 Kevin Penny replaced him. Album Wombat
Rd was another success. Demand was high with jobs all over Gippsland and
other parts of the state.
1984 saw the first year the band appeared at the Rutherglen winery walkabout, playing at the Apex Bush Dance, Bullers, Stanton and Killeen and Lake
Moodamere Wineries. The band has played every year (except 1996) since.
Popularity was still growing and in 1986 the band supported world renowned “Fairport Convention”.
Mick Waters decided to retire and his good friend and brilliant 5 string Banjo player Garry Griffiths joined, a new Album “At This Stage“ released in 1988.
Gary Kesper replaced Griffo in 1989 and 1992 “Turning of the Years“ was released and compilation album “Seventeen” in ‘97.
1997 saw Gary Kesper shift to Qld. The old team of Garry, Barb and Kevin were joined by Violin player Ann Roffe and with popularity still high cd album
“Fiddleback” was recorded, a great success, it was followed by “Down the Track” with the locally very popular song “Last train out of Briag”.
Kevin decided to retire and was replaced with renowned double bass player
Pete Howell in 2005.
2007 was a sad year for the band with Barb becoming ill and dying from a brain
tumor. During her illness keyboard player Col Wilson filled in and remained.
2007 also saw the release of Garry’s first Album of original songs.
In 2009 Ann’s work commitments made it hard for her to continue and Fiddle
player Alex Black has taken her place and the band sometimes plays as a 5
piece with Garry’s daughter Georgia also on Fiddle (the next generation of the
band) so the story continues...
Over the years the band has played at many festivals several times including
Pt Fairy, Maldon, Beechworth Celtic, National, Adelaide Fringe, Newport, The