Taking their name from a 1964 Ford Mustang convertible, it’s no surprise that country rockers, Two Tone Pony, have a love for vintage instruments and classic music. The 5-piece draws on a veritable A-list of influences to craft the authentically Australian sound heard on their debut single, ‘A Life Well Lived’.
The band’s debut offering is a reflection on the simple pleasures that make for life-long memories. “I was inspired to write this song after giving a speech to introduce my own mother,” recalls frontman David Kirkpatrick. “I used the phrase a life well lived to describe her career.”
His mother is none other than Joy McKean – legendary Australian singer-songwriter and wife and manager of the late Slim Dusty. As the son of two country music icons, Kirkpatrick’s upbringing was a little unorthodox. Literally born on the road, he lived his first 6 years in a caravan before attending boarding school and later carving out a career as an Emergency Medicine Specialist.
Those humble beginnings gave Kirkpatrick a genuine understanding of a life well lived. “In my conversations with people, when you ask what they reflect back on in their life, it’s not the big house, the big car or the big money – it’s the friendships and family memories that mean the most to them and whether they feel they achieved something good in their lives for other people, not just them.”
Although the brainchild of Kirkpatrick, the outfit from the NSW Central Coast has 4 other music veterans in its ranks. Ian Rhodes (Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, Vocals), Graham Puglisi (Bass, Vocals), Glenn Willey (Hammond Organ, Keyboards) and Kirkpatrick’s brother-in-law, Greg Richardson (Drums and Percussion, Vocals), all grew up in a golden era of Australian music. They would spend their days spinning Beatles records on vinyl, playing in bands or watching legends like Midnight Oil, Australian Crawl, or the mighty Cold Chisel at the pub.
When united by Kirkpatrick in 2021, they reignited a mutual love for playing live, which led them to pen their own material. Enlisting the production wizardry of multi award winning Rod McCormack (Gina Jeffereys, Kasey Chambers) they tracked ‘A Life Well Lived’ in 2022 and had a little help from family too. “One of the special things about recording this song is that my daughter Hannah sings harmony with me,” smiles Kirkpatrick. “She was 6 months pregnant at the time – drove up to the studio, did the song in two takes and then headed off home to pick up her other child! We were all in awe of her!”
The boys also recruited local videographer, Jeremy Minett (Eyes and Ears Creative) to give their debut a visual identity. “Jeremy wanted a relaxed vibe to the video with us all arriving at Ian’s house and playing in the lounge room with family movie clips playing in the background.”
Shot at the Bucketty bush block owned by guitarist Ian Rhodes, the clip is brimming with family sentiment. “Our drummer and my brother-in-law Greg Richardson had previously converted our wives parents’ home movies to digital, so in the video you will see clips of them as kids, being married, watching the Harbour Bridge being built and other family snapshots and scenes.“
Two Tone Pony have exhibited some serious chops on ‘A Life Well Lived’. The recording has an authenticity to it that only comes from careful study and synthesis of ones influences, yet it still manages to sound unique. It’s a song of celebration and gratitude told by remarkable storytellers.