Blogs, New Videos, News September ’16

Hello There!

I’ve got some news and updates for you all, and I’m pleased as punch about David Francey’s new record “Empty Train”, which features some backing vocals of mine.

“I’ve loved this song for many years. I am joined by my friend Mandy Connell from Australia.  One of my favourite trad voices anywhere.” David Francey.

Check it out here

I came across this YouTube clip yesterday (See  video link at the bottom), while looking for something else, as you do. Ryan Tews (Stray Hens Drummer) and I singing Louden Wainwright III’s “Swimming Song”. What a fun afternoon that was at the Blue Pool in Bermagui. It’s usually much more serene there…I love touring in NSW- luckily I get to go back up soon!

There’s a lot happening before then. To start with, there are two more gigs of a  Thursday night front bar residency in Melbourne. At the Wesley Anne (Northcote) each week from 6pm to 8pm. This is a free thing, and is NOT a concert format. The PA is good, and the tunes are nice and clear, so you can sit in the venue and enjoy a beverage or one of their lovely meals while I play a couple of informal, friendly sets.


When the Wes residency finishes (on the 29th of September), I’ll get in the invincible Toyota and head up to Uranquinty in NSW to sing some Louisa Lawson songs with Peter Hood and others.

Coming up soon in Wangaratta on 7 & 8 October, some shows with Neil Higgins and Josh Grundy, after which I’ll get back in the car and head over to South Australia’s Fleurieu Folk Festival – 21st to 24th of October. Fleurieu is reputed to be a real gem of a festival, and has been home to some songwriter genius, like Vorn Doolette and Courtney Robb.

In between I will keep writing blogs for The I was lucky enough to be included in a round of writers and interviewers. My wee stories start here– next to an interview with Tim Kill Custom.


Coming back from SA, I rejoin the Stray Hens to play some traditional and Australian ballads! It’s been a while since the Stray Hens played a show, we’ve been recording or on holiday for what seems like an ice age. But Summer is coming back and we will be playing in Briagolong for the Foothills Music Festival (VIC), gearing up to release our cracker of a new album- “The Confluence”.


On December 10th the Hens will launch the album- media releases out soon.

December 16th sees me back out to Adelaide to play at the Wirra Creek Winery


Then it’s off to Illawarra Folk Festival in January 2017.Illawarra is where I first met Big Erle and Reg Meuross. The committee at Illawarra choose a brilliant line up and host one of the most dedicated arena’s for teaching, learning and performing the tradition across genres and age groups. I love this festival. Can’t wait!

September Update

Hi Mandyfans!

2016 so far has been full on, with the finalisation of two recordings done, and the planning for release dates commenced, and a relocation to Wangaratta for family reasons. A wee Pozible fundraiser for the hospital here recently saw contributions of $1765.00 pledged, (of which most came through). Having settled in to the house in Wangaratta, and now being used to the commute to Melbourne for most shows and recording, a new host of bookings is trickling in and live shows are recommencing.

Tim Kill Custom has sent up a loaner guitar- a Steampunk Dobro called the Clockwork Orange. Swoon. Play time has been facilitated by this cracking new instrument.

I have joined a choir called “If You See Her Say Hello” who are on facebook (Follow the link) but not on a website. The choir is directed by Brooke Russell and Holly Ball, who put together the team of 30-odd female singer songwriters from Melbourne to present each other’s songs as a choir. It’s a breathtaking experience and, as a late-comer I can tell you it’s an immense thrill to hear these beautiful songs so well backed. Singing with a choir is a joy and a healing thing, anyone’ll tell you, but this one really speaks to me, as it is formed by songwriters and features originals by individuals… Members of the choir recently recorded with James Kenyon, and I joined them to record  Al Parkinson’s “Story Song in August this year. Here’s a link to a facebook video of them. (Sorry kids, I can’t find a Youtube)

In a bid to make more coherent written contributions, there’s a new blog for you to check out at Some reflection on my personal facebook posts has given me some motivation to write longer, more consistent updates about my whereabouts and goings on. There are a lot of highlights from this year, including the babes choir (above) and of course the chance to perform with Geoff Achison, and the round robin format with David Hyams and Frank Jones at the Lomond Writer’s Block. Such great moments. I wish I had documented them all properly. From now on I’ll be taking a lot more selfies. Of course it’ll show I’m a narcissist, but I live in fear of dementia and to be honest… I can’t remember all the great stuff from the last ten years. How will I go when I’m 80 years old?

I particularly enjoyed the Sunday 3RRR Radiothon this week, singing with some of the girls from the IYSHSH choir to back Dan Warner and the choir’s own  Jane HendryListen Here

Upcoming shows are up on the home page, with festivals added, including a couple of Adelaide / South Australia trips (FleurieuOct ’16) and NSW (Illawarra, January ’17).

With the 2013/14 failure of a recording of original songs, called “The Girl Who Fell Off The Wall” new beginnings have been made to undertake the project again, and to that end, some serious work on production has been required- read, thinking, listening to previous attempts, planning instrumentation…. In the original attempt, work was done with Circal Studios’ Damien Sutton, who was, given his brief, absolutely brilliant. The project was ambitious and set in an unfamiliar environment, and a severe case of the yellow phlegm of bronchitis attacked myself, Sally Taylor and Rowena Wise, who were all working on the recording. Illness, time and inexperience were a killer and sadly I was never confident enough to release the work.

Soon I’ll be looking into recording time frames again. With a lot more knowledge and experience under my belt, having run the failed attempt with Circal, the simple yet charming debut album for the Hens, and the now complete  Stray Hens album, “The Confluence” due out at the end of this year, a side project has also been finished and is due for mastering, when logistics and money allow.

This project is called “The Maggie Darlings” – a play on the avian theme, as I am a member of Stray Hens, Layla Fibbins (Sideshow Brides) has raven-dark hair and Alysia Manceau is part of Ravenswood. We note the name change of a stunning young female group to  the “Drowsy Maggies” and hope this won’t cause too much confusion. Both bands are awesome.

There are many lovely images online from the events of the last 12 months, and you are welcome to go trawling for them. Not Trolling, though, please. Fragile muso ego and all that. I will endeavour to do a retrospective on past shows and put up some images for reference. Something like a website/scrapbook…

Favourite shows from the last few months have definitely included gigs with Frank Jones’ Writer’s Block, and house concerts. I have a taste for them now and would love to do some more. If you are curious, I’m happy to have a chat with you about how they work. Usually it depends on you- it’s your home. I have also immensely enjoyed collaborations with

In the meantime, there are two medium/large cotton “Mandy Connell” Tshirts available, and of course you can order Stray Hens ‘Debut’ Albums, or  Mandy Connell “Tall Tales & Pretty Colours albums from Bandcamp.

MC Tshirts

Tshirts available for $25.00 via E-Bay or by email. Only 2 exist so get your order in quick.





July 2016

An Update on Gigs, Recording and Travels.

Things have been a little quiet since summer, with a bunch of recording with the Stray Hens & Luke Plumb, some solo recording with Ryan Tews, and a new project called the Maggie Darlings, recording at Thirty Mill Studios, which is nearly finished.

Much new recording is on its way to you, and you can follow the news on Facebook or by subscribing here on the website. We are working on a mailchimp link for an email subscription.

Some downtime has taken Mandy out of circulation this year- with some family illness and a lot of time spent spent in rural victoria, particularly around the months of May & June. She is now based in Wangaratta as well as brunswick.

Upcoming shows for Mandy Connell include the 3 below.  Put them in your diary now, go on, and help out by sharing the news with your mates. Rent-a -Crowd is invaluable and these shows feature some brilliant artists who need your support- and who you will LOVE seeing live.

Sunday July 3rd:

Bar Open (Fitzroy), 7pm. $16.35

Appearing at Leaps & Bounds Festival- Bar Open, Fitzroy. 7pm. With Claire Johnstone on violin and Craig Kelly on bass. Also performing are Matt Kelly (Mayfair Kytes, Ghost Orkid) Coda Chroma, and Saltwood. We strongly encourage ticket sales ($16.35) through the below website:

Sunday July 24th:

Yarra Hotel Abbottsford, 5pm-8pm.$10

Trio (again with Claire Johnstone on violin and Craig Kelly on bass), playing with te Old Married Couple & James Hickey & the Fairweather Riders (SA).

The afternoon will be 3 acts that will bring a smile to your face and warmth to your chilled Melbourne bones.

James Hickey and the Fair Weather Riders have been kicking their grooving raw blues laced pop tunes around the brooding city for the last couple of years and are ready to bring your weekend to a toe-tapping, hip-shaking climax.

Mandy Connell trio
Mandy Connell performs as herself (Solo, Band or Trio) or with the Stray Hens. She is a fine Songwriter known for her knack of interpreting other’s songs in striking ways.

The Old Married Couple
Ex-Sydney siders now dwelling in Melbourne’s hemline The Old Married Couple are a folk-pop duo on a mission from the Registrar, with the license to use whatever means necessary to bring the quirk back to the fore.

Facebook Event:

Sunday August 21

Standard Hotel, 5-7pm Free Entry

2 Sets from the trio this time, with a couple of special guests getting up with the trio. The Standard does fantastic food and has a steady team of staff who like their jobs. It’s a walk for those who in the inner north of Melbourne and cloe to Brunswick Street trams.

293 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065.

There is so much to tell you all about the gigs so far this year. I keep telling myself I will share some of my incredible experiences and talk about the wonderful hosts & great music I’ve seen this year. I will, too. It’s on the to-do list. But for now, I hope to see you at a show soon, and I’d like to thank all the supporters out there who’ve bought albums, come to shows, put me up in their spare rooms, and helped out or shared the load in various ways. I work with amazing people and This year will pay some fabulous dividends on the efforts we’ve put in. See ya soon!

February 2016

Lucky Lucky February:



In October & December I was working a lot of hours in the Bar. Since then I have had a bit of a re-think- the bar work was eating into hours I was able to work on the music. I still love the hospitality work. But I want to play and rehearse and I need to sleep sometime…

2016 so far sees Mandy Connell playing more shows than ever with the Stray Hens, recording albums with three different projects, working on a series of YouTube collaborations, and playing supports for Vin Garbutt (UK) Scott Cook (Canada), David Francey (Canada, vocals on the new D.F. Album)  & Michael Waugh (Melbourne, Album Launch).

The Mandy Connell Trio so far seems to have had no space, but the videos produced last year by Agostino Soldati and Myles Mumford were brilliant. Really got great responses from all over, and got several hundred views on Facebook alone.

This year we (my amazing team of friends and colleagues) aim to finish a new album:  “Girl Who Fell Off the Wall”. Working with Ryan Tews, and a bevvy of talented musicians… it’s sounding great so far. But it’s an apt name considering it has taken 4 years to complete The last album, “Tall Tales & Pretty Colours” was released 6 YEARS ago.

A series of collaboration videos (done acoustically in Coffee shops) is also in the works, together with an album from the Maggie Darlings- Alysia Manceau and Layla Fibbins, which started as a week-long side project and got out of control…..and of course the new Stray Hens album, produced and engineered by Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty).

I am fueled by support from Jack Spira Guitars, LaMoor Automotive, The Troubadour Foundation, and the amazing people who continue to come to shows and share the recordings around online.

Big thanks to all for your interest and support so far this year. It’s gonna be a good one.










2015 Autumn- the Season winding up

I love this weather. This time of year in Melbourne makes me feel kind of bittersweet and excited too. My garden looks a bit sad but my tomatoes and herbs have pulled through and wll get some attention over the coming, cooler months.

I’ve had a rough couple of months this summer of ’14-’15, learning some hard lessons about protecting myself financially, emotionally and professionally.

I danced to the Go Set, the East Pointers, wept at Black Market Tune, Smled with Scott Cook. I discovered the music of Jason Isbell, I enjoyed the comforts of a lover who is still around, however loosely, and I worked my ARSE off, playing with the Stray Hens around what felt like the entirety of the Australian Festival circuit.

I had a bad run in 2013 & 2015 trying to record my original material. The first attempt saw a mean bout of Laryngitis for myself and Rowena & Sally (also Stray Hens), whch made the process of recording qute stressful, and most of the work a bit disappointing. There are some really great moments I’d like to rescue from it though, thanks to the fine work of Damian Sutton (engineer) and the support of Jasmine McDonald.
The second attempt is takign a little time, mostly because of the confidence knock I got in the last round.

I have developed some more skills in my guitar playing and some more surety in my performance. And Ive made or cemented some great freindships in the scene and outside of it.

I’m still playing Solo and Orgnals stuff, its just a bit harder to find.

But that’s changing soon, with a Live EP coming out (to help garner support and interest while I record an album).

I’m off to Sydney in April to play MoFo (April 17th) and St. Albans Folk Club (24-26).

I hope I can get my ceilng up before I have to leave….but keep your eyes peeled- there’s Mandy stuff happening, and there are some great gigs on the way.
Tonght I share a house concert with Mitchell A Power & Lachlan Stuckey. And a Dog. Next to the Union Hotel in Brunswick. Should be fun:)