Yes folks, it’s a true story of loss, love and generosity that knows no boundaries.

Esric Jackson’s latest recording Second Generation is finally out!  Dedicated to his grand children, the brand new CD release is possibly the final from this renowned singer, entertainer and philanthropist. And it’s creating great interest amongst the community for all the right reasons.

Not only for it’s selection of songs, including duets with his late wife Sandra (RIP) but also his continued passion and desire to give so much back to the less fortunate and those community groups needing a helping hand. All CD sale proceeds are going to assist others. Sale price = $25.00 inc postage.

Let’s recap a little can we? Sandra’s death in 2018 was the catalyst for Esric to raise valuable funds in her memory and that’s exactly what he did. In this case it was the Pulmonary Fibrosis unit at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital who were the beneficiary of over $22,000. Esric’s passion to see this take place was also fulfilling a promise Sandra had made to support the Hospital when she was under their care. An incredible outcome to say the least.

Back then the predominantly local and international Sri Lankan community banded together to put on a show that featured so many great artists and musicians whose love & respect for Sandra & Esric knew no bounds. They all responded donating their time and talent to the nights event.

But the story continues………………..

Let’s not forget too that Esric has had his very own serious health issues over the past few years. However, nothing can stop him it seems. He’s back on track, still singing and entertaining regularly. He also knows how to coordinate a great network of professionals who bring about positive results, both in a music sense and in his ability to get everyone singing off the same song sheet for the right outcomes.

Having a personal connection firstly as a close friend of Esric’s and secondly with my involvement in the post production of the Second Generation CD, I’ve been able to closely watch it evolving to finally holding it in my hands.

From co writing the tribute to his beloved Sandra in the first track – This Song’s Just For You and coordinating the CD printing and APRA obligations to then watching my wife Karen designing the beautiful CD cover, one of many she has done for the Jackson family and others artists, it’s been a great project to be involved in.

Local music & media identities too have also been a big part of the CD’s success. Stan & Tony Azzopardi, Cameron Colombege, Chris Mant, Johann Jayasinha,Trevine Rodrigo, Replay 6 & No Limit have all contributed their specialised expertise. Just check out the (featured) insert for more info.

So what’s the deal folks you might ask? Ok, so why not get yourself a copy? If you purchase one from me, the funds ($25.00) are all going to Casey Radio Station 97.7FM where I’ve been a presenter for over 10 years. Thus assisting the great work that the station does in getting the local message out there and importantly the music heard (Globally)

Or you can personally contact Esric and organise one directly. Remember your purchase is “making a difference” whichever way you choose.

What are you waiting for? It’s a great listening experience! Go forth and support Esric’s generosity. Don’t go fifth you’ll miss out on one! (Ha Ha)

Rob Foenander – Columnist Melbourne Observer – Local Paper Network – Casey Radio 97.7FM Presenter on The Monday Morning Mix. 

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GROOVIN 60s SAT 11 NOV 23.

St Stephen’s Anglican Church Richmond

What better way to spend a Sat afternoon than listening to some pretty impressive Choirs and a hit list of timeless songs. Right?

Bring it on I say. The Divine Divas Show Choir and The Rainbow Voices singers didn’t disappoint their appreciative audience, taking them on a memorable journey back to the Groovin 60s.

Producer & Musical Director Adam Przewlocki, a well-travelled multi awarded performer, led these enthusiastic singers through two sets of absolute song heaven. His piano playing is world class and he exudes a great confidence anyone under his direction would feel comfortable with.

The choir performances were engaging with clever arrangements, movement and an infectious vibe. Let’s not forget the tasteful harmonies too which shone through.

Whilst their guest artist Danielle Matthews fell ill on the day and was unfortunately absent from the performance, young 10-year-old Freya Trikojus stepped up to the mark and found her confidence with a lovely interpretation of Elvis’s classic – Can’t Help Falling in Love, ably supported by her fellow choir singers. Watch out for this dynamic talent. I’m predicting a big future. Here’s a little taste.

It was great to hear a truly live “acoustic” performance not only from the choirs but the dulcet tones of Adam’s lovely Yamaha piano and some nice violin work from Aleksandra Bronshtein, all enhanced by the Churches ambience itself.

So if you get a chance, check it out. It’s an impressive show.

Rob Foenander – Music columnist Melbourne Observer – The Local Paper Network & Casey Radio 97.7fm.

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28 Oct 23

Indeed it was folks, a night of Carole & James albeit Nikki Nicholls and Steve Wade playing the lead roles.

The Eagle Ridge Golf Course Velvet Lounge were host to a sold out crowd who sang along, listened with interest to the back stories and just grooved out to those timeless classics.

These songs never seem to tire and with Nikki & Steve’s interpretations bringing them back to life once again, they thankfully live on, well certainly with the “mature audience” in attendance whose lives were enriched by the music Carole & James gave the world over a number of decades.

Nikki & Steve need no introduction to the local and international entertainment scene either. They are music icons themselves who have reached the top in their professions and worked alongside the biggest names both in Australia & internationally.

Ok Ok, if you’re new to it all, here’s a start, Nikki’s list of credentials include John Farnham, Kylie Minogue, Suzi Quatro and the list goes on. Get the picture?

Steve on the other hand also boasts an incredible resume that includes vocal stints with Little River Band, Jingle singer for Mike Brady, numerous Radio & TV engagements, award winning songwriter etc. Just ask uncle Google for more if needed on either. It’s all there and an interesting read.

Let’s not forget the band either behind Nikki & Steve. Again, a fabulous group of Australia’s finest who just keep delivering the goods with their incredible musicianship. I recommend you look them up too and check out their playing history.

Rick Petropoulos – Bass Guitar – Always wonderful work from a seasoned pro.

Fallon Williams iii – Drums – Sat there with a nice tight groove and no over doing things. Fab.

Harry Mullaney Keys – WOW… How good is this Guy and I understand he was a last minute call up on the night? Impressive work Harry.

Steve’s guitar work too was very tasteful and those iconic riffs brought you even closer to the songs of Carole & James.

If you’re after a night of nostalgia, timeless songs and interesting facts about the evenings repertoire then get along and see them. It’s a great show.

Rob Foenander – Music columnist

Melbourne Observer – Local Paper Network & Casey Radio 97.7fm

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Tommy Emmanuel – Wrest Point Hobart

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Let’s start this concert review with – SOLD OUT & STANDING OVATION. It was classic Tommy, no holds barred & a total 2 hour – 100% continuous entertainment package. To see him live again & marvel at his brilliance was … Continue reading

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Judy Australia 1964 Standing ovations were the order of the day at St Kilda’s National Theatre presentation of Judy Australia 1964. The three shows produced by SKUNKWORKS relived both the music and drama that Judy Garland created all those decades … Continue reading

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BRIAN CADD in – Weekend at Brians

We can only wish it was a whole weekend of Brian Cadd and his songs, but regardless, the capacity crowd at Memo Music Hall St Kilda lapped up every minute of the two hour show on Sun 27 June.

What a gig and what a nostalgic trip down memory lane for the enthusiastic music lovers who put their recent Covid lockdown blues behind them, laughed, sang along and hung on every word that Caddy said. This was a moment to “Let Go” enjoy & remember.

The mega hits were all there too, Let Go, Arkansas Grass, Little Ray of Sunshine, Alvin Purple etc.

Caddy is the consummate professional who knows how to entertain his audience. He engages, involves and feeds off the adoration he gets back. Witty one liners along with the back stories to his hits also add to the interest of the songs, some that are still firmly entrentched in our memories and will never leave. That’s the work of a great song writer.

And what about the band? WOW – how good it was to see some of the trailblazers joining Caddy on stage.

From the Bootleg Family Band of the 70s – Tony Naylor and his famous Striped Strat played gritty yet melodic lead guitar showing no sign of slowing down. Tony’s inspirational solos would pass muster anytime.

Geoff Cox (Coxy) another “Bootlegger” – was as solid as a rock at the back on drums with great timing & control. He remained very quiet with not much to say in spite of a little friendly niggling from Caddy. Yeah I know, hard to believe hey?

The inclusion of Chris Stockley (Axiom) and another past band member mate also made his presence felt with some great guitar contributions along with Tony on the set list.

These guys too also need to be saluted for their contribution to the Australian music scene and who set a path for all the other bands who’ve followed since.

Talk about NOSTALGIA Ladies & Gents!

Of recent times, Paul Cartwright on bass has worked with Caddy for the past 20 years and is a very fine musician – already making his mark in other outfits too alongside some of the country’s great singers and entertainers.

Lisa Mio and Tracey Kingsman – these guest singers delivered a sweet dimension to the vocal dept on the night with impressive solos and harmonies worthy of note.

Pedal Steel – Wow, this blew me away. What an awesome addition and a fabulous sound from Shane Reilly that delivered a nice touch. Ahh Yes, I never tire of listening to “Let Go” and it’s subtle melodic pedal steel sound in the mix.

The encore which consisted of some timeless rock n roll covers inc. Mama Don’t Dance and others followed by the standing ovation said it all to a wonderful night’s entertainment.

The world has changed as we know it and well done to Memo Music Hall on pulling it off. Good Covid practices were in place, good sound (from where I was sitting) and a great ambience always makes you feel part of the show there.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen Caddy and won’t be the last. Maybe next time Brian, make it the whole weekend (LOL)

Rob Foenander
The Melbourne Observer
The Local Paper Network
Casey Radio 97.7FM “Monday Mix” 9-11am

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The Dreamroom is a Dream Team made up of some of the Country’s finest musicians, songwriters and performers who all have seriously impressive music credentials to showcase.

Eric McCusker, Nikki Nicholls, Fallon Williams III and Rick Petropoulos between them have an extensive back catalogue of work that would sit perfectly in any list of a who’s who in the entertainment world. Go on, go google them for yourselves and if you’re not impressed let me know. Here’s a start

‘What the Moon Believes’

The recent exciting news is that, they’ve signed a worldwide distribution deal with renowned Australian Music icon Sebastian Chase and his  MGM (Metropolitan Groove Merchants) group for their album ‘What The Moon Believes’ released earlier in the year. It means both this and any future recordings will be streamed globally through MGM on all their available digital platforms. Talks are underway for the album to be available in record stores also.

So the album itself – WOW! This is where the DreamRooms’ Dream Team take things to another level. How many levels can you go? Well, let me tell you folks.

Firstly, the album is full of quality songs all written by the team and others, not restricted to any particular genre. There’s blues, there’s funk, rock, pop, latin, all masterfully created. Carefully designed engaging riffs and grooves just grab your attention immediately with a WTF factor (Wow That’s Fantastic). Varying tempos also add to the interest and engagement of the listener along with outstanding vocals by all members. If this isn’t radio friendly worthy then I don’t know what is.

The introduction of Sophia Petro (Ricks daughter) on Girl In Love is a welcome addition to the album and showcases a young talented artist already forging ahead with her music career. I’m advised that Sophia too has been signed to her own distribution deal so watch this space as they say.

And of course, try and catch them live and treat yourself to a listen. They’d welcome your support.

In the mean time you can buy the album here –

Rob Foenander
The Melbourne Observer
The Local Paper Network
Casey Radio 97.7FM “Monday Mix” 9-11am

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Melbourne singer songwriter Aaron Schembri has released his current single “It’s Not Goodbye”. The song reflects his thoughts on 2020 and the Covid disaster that unfolded.

Aaron says “In early April, I realised the effect that the pandemic was having on the music industry and how brutal it was going to be. I was totally affected by it like so many musicians across the world. Once I had finished writing the song, I felt this anthem vibe to it he adds”.

The 27 year old has already clocked up over a decade of performing experience with his first gig at the tender age of 15 playing rock n roll in Melbourne’s inner city pubs. Furthermore, his resume to date includes an impressive list of Australia’s biggest music acts he has worked with in the years that have followed. Who wouldn’t like to throw around these names over a quiet drink – Renee Geyer, Ross Hannaford (R I P) Ross Wilson, Russell Morris, Kevin Borich, Mike Rudd, Normie Rowe and more.? Yes more!

If that doesn’t prick your interest then check out his new video and see which other familiar faces drop by to lend a helping hand.

When they talk of having the “complete package“, Aaron certainly has got the goods to get to that next level that they speak of. (whatever that means). He sings and plays extra well, there’s a great sense of confidence, writes his own songs and maybe one might say, there’s even a little Urban “esque” in him? For Aaron however, it’s all about remaining happy with what he does and being able to connect through his music. He enjoys continuing to learn and being inspired. That’s his biggest thrill. Oh, and he’s a very humble individual too. Take a listen to my 10 min chat with him on Casey Radio 97.7FM.

Way to go Mate!

For more info about Aaron check out the following links –

Rob Foenander
The Melbourne Observer
The Local Paper
Casey Radio 97.7FM –“ Monday Morning Mix” 9-11am

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Melbourne Actor, Singer Songwriter Shivantha Wijesinha has landed a role in the recently released Netflix movie Funny Boy.

Filmed in Sri Lanka, the storyline follows a young Tamil boy coming to terms with his homosexuality against the backdrop of the increased tensions between Tamil and Sinhalese people before the breakout of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Shivantha plays the character Jegan however, it’s not his first acting gig with a number of movies already to his credit. He’s also had roles in Australian productions including Kath & Kim,The Librarians, Carla Carmetti along with some commercials.

Although the movie has had a mixed response from critics it has been selected to represent Canada at the 2021 Oscars for Best International Feature Film. Finalist nominations will be decided in Feb for the prestigious awards. The films director Deepa Mehta is an Indo/Canadian with many credits and distinctions for her previous work.

Shivantha’s other passion music can be described as “contemporary” that offers nice melodic structures and arrangements with a very pleasant listenable voice. His songs are available on all digital platforms and I must say it was quite enjoyable to hear both his musicianship and voice. A total package if you like.

Having lived in the UK, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Australia for much of my youth, I grew up a child of the world, and then moved to New York, where I released my first album “Words From Not Long Ago” in 2014 says Shivantha.

So take all that on board along with the fact that he is a qualified Barrister. WOW! How many hats can he wear?

More info at

Rob Foenander
The Melbourne Observer
The Local Paper
Casey Radio 97.7FM

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Mark Gardner – State Of Emergency EP.

State of Emergency Mark Gardner EP

Melbourne indie artist Mark Gardner will officially release his new 5 track EP – State of Emergency shortly. However, it’s already gaining positive momentum from the general public and community radio nationwide.

The EP has been in progress since 2019 and is part of a bigger plan Mark says. The strategy is to get more recognition locally, regionally and nationwide, not only for himself but also to emphasize the valuable input from the local musicians who worked on the project with him.

Chart success is being pursued too.Like many fellow artists, Mark has been a victim of the Covid 19 crisis with numerous gigs, income streams, festivals etc being blown out. “Focusing on live streaming, recording, writing and career changes like remote music teaching and technical support in the electronics area” is a plan to get back some lost income he points out.

The EP is a strong piece of original work and adds to the numerous other recordings Mark has completed over time. From the opening track “Happy” with its catchy melody, good brass and keys to the pleasant trumpet instrumental Autumnal that takes out the EP, the 5 track song list is an impressive part of a much bigger catalogue waiting to surface.There’s good listening too with Trouser Party, The Colour Of Money and Enough where the inclusion of slide guitar, Harmonica and acoustic guitar add a whole new dimension to the listening experience.

The theme is no doubt current and Mark adds – “ all the songs are very relevant right now as there is so much uncertainty, poverty , change and autonomy going on in the job world”. Additionally, good vocals and equally good production make it a worthwhile addition to anyone seeking to get behind something original and local! Check it out yourself and let him know your thoughts.

Rob Foenander
Melbourne Observer
The Local Paper
Casey Radio 97.7 FM

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