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Taking the Wimmera Mallee to the USA

HOPETOUN musician Maurice Conway who has written songs about towns in the Wimmera Mallee will be performing to an American audience. 

Mr Conway flew out of Tullamarine yesterday set to land in Dallas, Texas in the United States this morning (afternoon in US). 

He played one of his last shows at the Warracknabeal Markets last weekend before moving on to international crowds. 

Departing the country, Mr Conway said he was feeling emotional about leaving. 

“Just coming off the bus, I was feeling a little bit emotional about coming out of the Mallee in a positive way, because I’ve been there five years. It’s been good, it was time to move on,” Mr Conway said. 

Now out of Australia, he said his style of music and writing is likely to change with his movements. 

“If I start writing while I’m overseas, I won’t be writing the same as I write over here.” 

Upon arriving in the country, he plans to secure some gigs at open mic nights and building more traction through performing around Richmond, Kentucky. 

Through his music Mr Conway sings about his experiences living in the Mallee, and a number of his songs are actually titled after town names like “Warracknabeal” and “Patchewollock”. 

Mr Conway first dreamed of being a recognised musician when he started to play the guitar and piano at the age of 11. 

After studying and teaching music in university and travelling around the world, meeting many prominent musicians and singing and writing music Mr Conway’s is now receiving more recognition for his art. 

Mr Conway said he’s excited to have the opportunity to both play music and promote the Wimmera Mallee. 

“I’m moving into an independent business, and the songs I’ve written, I hope this allows me to travel back and forth from the US for the rest of my life,” Mr Conway said. 

“My timing was coincidental returning to the Mallee around the time the Silo Art Trail was starting up and writing songs on these communities. Hopefully I can weave all that together as well through my travels.” 

Even through many years of experience playing in bands, teaching music and writing his own songs Mr Conway said he was drawn back to his roots when writing his most recent releases. 

“I played in a jazz band and that was my very first band in Melbourne,  it went really well. I went to Europe and never played jazz again after that. I then went on to play reggae, with international artists in Melbourne,” he said. 

“When I wrote these songs, it’s taken me back to my childhood, but also the music of my childhood as well, they’re very simple songs. - But that’s the secret. 

“When I was a young boy in Hopetoun, my uncles were listening to a lot of old American Country and Western, Slim Dusty and all the other Australian Country singers from the 50s.” 

Mr Conway bought 100 acres from his mother in Goyara which was his home for the past five years where he started writing the songs. 

Starting with a song about Patchewollock, which received 4000 views in two days, he has also written about Timberoo, Tempy, Goyura, Brim, Beulah, Rosebery, Berriwillock, Ouyen, Yaapeet, Warracknabeal, and Lascelles.

Mr Conway said he will project videos and photos behind him of the Silo Art and the towns he will sing about while he performs. 

Mr Conway’s ventures were made possible with the help of Wimmera Mallee Tourism, Yarriambiack Shire Council and Many Rivers Organisation.

Listen to Mr Conway's songs titled 'Warracknabeal' -