Kihikihi’s Blair and Rosie Shaw are hoping the lockdown songs they uploaded to social media in early 2020 might launch a new career path.
The pair posted a series of ‘Lockdown Tunes’ to Facebook during the weeks of enforced isolation and were blown away by the response. That exposure, together with positive feedback they received when playing at the November 14 Te Awamutu Annual Craft Fair has seen a few bookings go into the diary and may signal new beginnings.
Now they are inviting people to join them at an impromptu Christmas party at Station 32 restaurant in Te Awamutu’s Arawata St on December 6, from 4pm.
“The craft fair was huge fun… we played four-and-a-half hours and got a few enquiries from that. We have also been booked for next year’s fair,” said Rosie, who enjoyed musical theatre, dancing and talent shows while growing up in Ōtorohanga. The beauty therapist and early childhood teacher is excited at taking their music further afield.
Blair is a homegrown Kihikihi lad whose parents owned the town bookshop for years. The painter and signwriter is the owner-operator of the Big Red Handyman, but says playing music and performing has always been something he wanted to do seriously.
“I’ve been playing the guitar and singing since I was about 14, probably doing it live for about two years. I helped run a few Sunday open mic jam sessions in a local bar which is no longer there, but the bug went on from there. Things began to change when I started teaching Rosie the guitar.”
The couple has been together for 10 years and married for seven. Those guitar lessons came at Rosie’s request about five years ago… she remembers being impressed by Blair when they first met: “We discovered a mutual love of music. It was a beautiful collision.”
Blair is a self-taught guitarist who marketed his early solo performances as Rowdy’s Acoustic Sessions. He did events such as Christmas markets, birthdays, weddings and the like, and at one stage he recorded a few songs in Hamilton, playing all the musical instruments himself.
“Rowdy was a nickname from a friend when I was in Canada … given to me because I was so quiet,” he laughed. “The name stuck once I decided to go down the music track. Then, when we started playing together, we changed it to Rowdy’s Rose. Everything changed when Rosie started performing with me, it’s much easier to do the gigs. I feel like she is my right arm in terms of music.”
The pair write some of their own material, but are better known at this stage for the unique twist they put to songs that loosely fall under the country rock, folk genre.
“We really do want to make this our future. When Covid came, we thought it was important to just go for it and not worry about what people thought,” said Rosie. “I lost my dad earlier this year, and found the music was really helpful in getting me through that.”