Old time song and dance man

WE KNOW the words to Waltzing Matilda, but how many of us would say we were fans of Australian folk music?

Travelling musician Archer is set to make those numbers go up.

With a heavy regional Aussie accent, a light touch on the guitar and a rare gift for storytelling, the self described "old-time street sing-song man" has a voice, and a story, that makes him a modern man in an old tradition: Australian folk.

Born in 1984, Archer did most of his growing up in the small autumnal NSW town of Tumut.

"I was always singin' from when I was a tiny little baby, singin' endless made up songs as many children with their free and open minds do," he said.

"I kept on singin' and got some real valuable training from the islanders and mainlanders of northern Australia - singin' training and living training."

The journey from country NSW to Australia's top end came courtesy of Archer's job as a timber cutter and tree climber - work that was immensely common at the turn of the century, now only done in small numbers.

"I could have well fallen through the cracks, another drunken bum, but havin' two sons at a tender age forced this wandering boy to become a man," Archer said.

He settled for a time on Bald Hill, Victoria, and entered a talent quest at Castlemaine's Theatre Royale.

"He stole the show," Theatre Royale director David Stretch said.

"I've been in the entertainment business for 25 years and I was taken in the first six bars - he's a very unique talent with a great stage presence, a very friendly nature."

David started giving Archer gigs at the Theatre Royale; then the gigs expanded wider into the region, and eventually Melbourne, where Archer now has an agent.

"I've been gettin' a slow roll on of late playing in some of the sparklier establishments around," Archer said of his slow growing successes.

His slow roll brings him to No. 5 Church Street on October 19, singing a mix of old Australian and American folk music.

Or as Archer calls them: songs of getting by and rolling with the punches, on the old rollercoaster ride that we call living a life.



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