Live Review + Photos: Brad Cox – Yarns & Yodels Tour at Riverlinks Westside, Shepparton – 16th March 2023

Reviewer and photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Brad Cox has grown a reputation throughout Australia as a country rock artist collecting thousands of fans. Since hitting the country scene five years ago, Cox has shown his writing, and performing skills are some of the best in country music. This tour and opening concert, in particular, allowed fans to hear traditionally louder songs in an intimate environment.   For a confessed “softie” that “cries when he gets a mosquito bite”, Thursday night’s warm-up show of the ‘Yarns and Yodels’ tour in Victoria must have been emotional overload.

The River Links Theatre located in Westside Moorpna in country Victoria provided the perfect venue for the first show; the 300-plus crowd that made their way to the show from all over the state were prominent long-term fans, the car park full of utes confirmed where the heart of Brad Cox music is based.

On entry, the stage was intimate, with acoustic guitars and a piano. Sammy White, a talent in her own right, provided the support act of the evening. Singing songs, including ‘Country As Cow Shit’, provided an easy segway into the show ahead. At one-point, White spoke about Cox informing the audience, “he is my partner, you know, and now my fiancé”. She confirmed a recent engagement that earned the audience’s admiration and applause. White’s music is fun, with an undertone of a more serious nature. Only a few songs long, her opening set left you wanting more.

When Brad Cox entered the stage, you felt you were in for something unique. I remember watching a young artist in the country music’s capital a few years ago performing a two-song set that had the audience talking about the next new thing in the country. These comments were well deserved. The journey since has been fascinating, confined like many during the past couple of years to enforced isolation and removal from performing live,  the concept of this show was conceived. Cox has written a catalogue of songs, a collection of them is about to be released on May 5 on his new album entitled ‘Acres’  Cox has also taken the time to develop his musical skills further, this time on the piano.

Opening the evening with ‘Reflections’ from his 2018 debut album, Cox turns and smiles to the audience and moves into ‘Old Times Sake’ from the new album. With only voice and piano on stage, the audience sat utterly silent. What is traditionally a loud and vocal crowd was reduced to simply listening to what was unfolding on stage. The stripped-down versions of these numbers were breathtaking to the point no one was game to sing along for fear of being heard. There was no band, no backing vocals, just a man and a newfound instrument, one there is little doubt he loves. Songs from the new album continued, this time on acoustic guitar ‘Now She Ain’t’ was followed by ‘Wildfires’, a song featuring Ian Moss; this will be a treat to hear for the first time on the new album. In between songs, Cox’s interaction with the audience was genuine and honest. There was talk about the new farm he and White had purchased outside Rockhampton in Queensland. He also disclosed that playing live was what he wanted to do after performing at CMC last year. ‘What Bought You Back’ and ‘Beer and Fishing’ the later, a song Cox believes can solve almost anything in the world. Rounds out the new album set list, at least for the moment. Cox is joined on stage by White for a two-song set, including ‘Love On The Line’ and ‘Feathered Indians’  from the  2001 released ‘What’s Your Favourite Country Song’.

Although brief, you are left wanting to hear more of these artists sing more often together. Back to the piano to sing a powerful version of Beau In The Back’ In country music, when an artist sings about his dog, it is always going to pull at the heartstrings; add a love song to the mix and the six-foot giant behind me crying just about sums it up. More new music, ‘One Like You’, again stripped down to vocals and piano. Followed by ‘Letter Home’ and ‘Single Life’, you want to pick up the new album and listen to it now. ‘Short Lived Love’ from the 2000 album My Minds Projection, Followed by ”Last Time Last’ from the 2001 acoustic album, draws additional crowd applause. ‘Acres’, the new album’s title, finishes the set. Cox gracefully thanks the crowd for coming to this unique show.

Outside I always like to listen to the crowd’s response; this, after all, is the ultimate concert review. The vibe focused on the songs with genuine anticipation to getting hold of the new album. I doubt anyone there had seen Brad Cox in such an intermate format. All were positive about their experience.

As this show travels the country, I look forward to reading and hearing other reviews. As this was the first concert, there really were little or no teething problems. You got to see one of country music’s premier performers stripped back and honest; seriously, you can’t ask for better than that.

Acres, the new album, is out May 5


Old Times Sake
Now She Ain’t
Wildfires (Ian Moss)
What Bought You Back
Beer and Fishing
Love On The Line
Feathered Indians
Beau In The Back
One Like You
Letter Home
Single Life
Short Lived Love
Last Time Last

BRAD COX tour dates