Katie Noonan Songbook


Katie Noonan

With Special Guest Louise King

Flinders Performance Centre

Saturday 27th April 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 


You know I saw my friend, Naomi Price, perform her ADELE tribute Rumour Has It: Sixty Minutes Inside Adele on Friday night, and all weekend I was thinking about something she says in the show. She elaborated on it for Paul Andrew, in an interview conducted earlier this year for his blog and I’ve included it here.


“…music is so amazing – it can take us to a single breath, a place, a moment,” she explains. “That’s why, I believe, people connect so deeply with music, because we associate so much emotion and memory and experience with the songs we hear. And that’s not necessarily about raw emotion. That can be as a result of impacting lyrics, or a hypnotic musical riff, or shared experience. Music is divine. It transcends natural, rational thinking and transports us to other places or moods in an almost supernatural way.” Naomi Price



Poppy and I were privileged to attend a very special local performance the following night, at Flinders Performance Centre, in Stringybark Road, which is the street I grew up in. The Flinders Performance Centre is the Sunshine Coast’s latest and greatest venue, kitted out with state-of-the-art everything, and designed for perfect acoustics, making it the ideal space in which to host Cellist, Louise King and Singer/Songwriter, Katie Noonan. It will be interesting to see how a major musical production goes into the same space, as it doesn’t seem to be designed for performers who jump around a lot in and around enormous set pieces but rather, pretty sedentary instrumental or vocal performers. Flinders, or more specifically, Director and Drama HOD Melissa White, is known for her savvy use of scaffolding and Nambour Civic Centre’s extensive floor space, where previous productions – Grease and West Side Story – have been staged. I’ll let you know how this year’s Director, Wendy Lyons, has used the space after we’ve seen the College production of Guys and Dolls on May 23rd.


On Saturday night Poppy and I were both so tired! But we knew it would be a special show so there was no way either of us were going to opt for an early night instead! Besides, we knew that Katie’s Eumundi friends and fans were coming, which meant a chance to see my sister, Poppy’s Aunty Ana, and thank her again for being part of The Village that raises my child! Poppy had spent the previous night at my sister’s mother-in-law’s place with the extended family so that Sam and I could get to Nim’s late show. The babysitting and sleepovers are usually shared around a bit, between my parents (Nanny and Bugsy Pa), Ana and Mike, Pip and Randall, Tracey and Richard, Kathy and Bob, Kellie and Paul, and Synda and Mike. We couldn’t possibly get to everything without the help of our family and friends. So here’s a big shout out to THE VILLAGE! THANK YOU!


(I couldn’t find any footage of Louise King playing this piece, or any other for that matter, which is unfortunate because she is a dynamite performer!).



It must be one of the most well known classical pieces in the history of the world – Bach Suite No 1 Prelude in G Major – and it’s one of the only classical pieces that I can actually recognise and immediately put a name to (you know, that BACH PRELUDE). You may have heard it used most recently in Master and Commander. When I heard the first few bars of it on Saturday night I felt a strange ache, and tears pricking my eyes. I’m super sensitive at the best of times but I didn’t want to be seen with tears streaming down my face from the very first moment! I focused on my breath. Became aware of my breath. Observed my breath. Breathe. Breathe In Now. “Oh. Right. That’s later,” I thought.


Louise King is just incredible to watch; she’s entirely animated and speaks to us in between musical numbers to introduce, explain and reflect upon each, in a friendly, humourous manner that makes me feel as if we’re well acquainted. King expertly plays a diverse repertoire; it includes contemporary pieces written by living, local artists (intriguingly, both Louise and Katie have strong connections with Stradbroke Island, which they both mention more than once) and heavy metal, including Metallica, as well as traditional classical music. So much of the music is surprising, intriguing, and incredibly evocative, conjuring images of landscapes, sky, sea, and storms…or memories you think now might have been lost along the way. It is impossible to listen to King without feeling deeply.



Louise King and Katie Noonan are perfectly matched as a double bill, though the show was not promoted as such; it’s Katie’s Sunshine Coast Songbook launch. She gives Louise a lot of love and thanks her several times, inviting her to return to the stage to play again later, which proves to be a real treat! As you will have read in Poppy’s Perspective, there is a major issue with the seating in the venue, and it’s not the first time I’ve witnessed a mishap. I’m sure somebody is onto it so it doesn’t happen again. As well as being incredibly uncomfortable for the audience members, what a distraction it is for the artist! Luckily, Katie is a consummate professional; compassionate, patient and kind, genuinely concerned about those affected, and making certain that everyone is okay before beginning her set.


Songbook includes most of my Favourite Ever Katie Noonan Songs.


Songbook see’s Katie exploring material from throughout her career including songs from George, Katie Noonan and the Captains, Elixir and her solo album. This intimate and beautiful recording see’s Katie predominantly accompanying herself on the piano with some gorgeous string arrangements augmenting the recordings. Songbook features 5 new tracks never before available.


1. Quiet Day
2. Sweet One
3. Breathe In Now
4. Bluebird
5. Special Ones
6. Tip Of Memory
7. Slowly
8. Love’s My Song For You
9. Emperor’s Box
10. Spawn
11. Untitled
12. My Own Time
13. Time
14. Janet
15. Let You In


Katie Noonan Songbook

Katie’s intimate music and her ethereal voice have the power to transport (Bluebird is an exquisite example), perhaps even more so now than in the past, as she effortlessly conveys the deepest of emotions with the purest of sounds, which the rest of us have probably repressed by now (both the emotions and the sounds!). Songs such as Special Ones and Spawn, which were originally, back in the george days, the realm of Katie the fabulously enraged banshee-goddess, sit now in some sacred place, shared with us like secrets from a smiling sage who holds back nothing and invites us to travel the same path. Hearing these songs now is as if Katie is saying to us, “That happened. That hurt. And I’m okay now.” It’s strangely comforting.


I was not the only emotional one. I suddenly heard uninhibited racking sobs behind me during Emperor’s Box, which Katie wrote for her father, and I wanted to turn around and offer to hold a hand because of course I recognised that desperate sadness. We all do and we invariably attach music to it. Or realise with dismay that a particular track has attached itself to the sadness, as our tears well up when we hear it one day in a shopping centre (I stopped still until I stopped crying and nobody noticed, or stopped, or asked if I was okay), or on breakfast radio on the way to work (I let the tears fall behind my sunnies, messing my mascara, and felt self-conscious and silly – silly woman – at the traffic lights). Is it just me? At various stages of my life, some of Katie’s music has reminded me that I’ve felt that desperately sad too. I remember crying and crying the first time I heard Quiet Day, on a limited edition george single- a CD I picked up at K-Mart. This song still resonates with me to such an extent that when I heard Katie sing it on Saturday night I found myself observing my breath again, trying not to long for it so much it might make me crythat elusive quiet day. Breathe In Now.


Hers is one of the most recognisable (and covetable) voices of the Australian Music Industry. Well, look out, world! Katie’s vocals are even more sublime now, at this stage of her life; we’re hearing the quiet, soulful confidence of a unique talent, who has followed a path to suit her, serve her, and nourish her. It pays off for us because these are the most sublime versions of Katie’s songs we’ve heard yet.


Check tour dates


Purchase Songbook



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