Watling & Bates
Unumgar NSW Australia
Watling & Bates are Kym Watling & Geoff Bates, songwriters from Unumgar, on the western edge of NSW’s Northern Rivers. Geoff Bates plays rhythm guitar, sings, and tells stories, while Kym Watling sings and plays old timey fiddle, banjo, and flatpicked guitar.
The duo’s 2018 Small Town Tales album was produced, recorded, and engineered by guitarist and Dobro player Thor Phillips, who joins them in the studio, and on stage for special occasions. Their first radio single and video from the album ‘I Got Gold’ was released by Checked Label Services in July 2018.
Their debut EP, ‘Before I Met You’, recorded by Brett Hamlyn’s Deva Studio, and self-produced with drummer Marcus Schintler, was released in 2014. Two singles from the EP were released by CRS Publicity, ‘Misery Loves Company’ (CRS 179 2015) and ‘Highway Prayer’ (CRS 191 2016).
The duo were chosen to play the the houseband in Opera Queensland’s ‘Tumbulgum and the Countdown to Midnight’, part of the ‘If These Halls Could Talk’ series by Arts Northern Rivers in 2016, with their original work ‘Florence Met Frank’ included in the production.
Festivals include Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Texas Country Music Roundup, and Bangalow BBQ & Bluegrass Festival Variety Nights. They are members of their local Kyogle Country Music Association, perform regularly at Lismore’s Country Carna, and enjoyed a two year residency at the Rappville Pub.
The pair developed the Bow & Curtsy arts health program for aged care, which they regularly tour to regional and remote areas. They have also produced funded community events, hosted old time picking sessions, performed in their local country halls in the Northern Rivers.
Watling & Bates are currently enjoying their role as official buskers in Brisbane’s Queen St Mall, taking their own piece of old time country hall culture to the big smoke.