THE Sale Memorial Hall may have sat empty for most of 2020 as the pandemic saw the end of social events, but anyone walking past this iconic building at night may have seen a light flickering.
They may have heard the sound of guitar, violin and singing.
Tucked away in an abandoned room at the top of the Sale Memorial Hall complex, a local musician has been working madly on his new album.
It was too noisy during the day to record, so Harry Hookey recorded at night. The light fittings didn’t work though, so all through Sale’s winter nights, Harry worked on his recently released album, No Snake in the Tree, by candlelight.
Harry can no longer make music under his name because a record label owns his name. He also married during 2020 and changed his surname to Hook.
He has made his new album under the name Harry Hook is Real.
Harry talks about making his new album No Snake in the Tree in a room at Sale Memorial Hall.
“Strangely the dark and the cold helped me focus more on my craft,” he said.
“There were less distractions. Being cold meant I could work late into the night; if it was warm and cosy I would have fallen asleep.”
Harry’s first album was nominated for an Aria Award. He said the new album was the one he was really proud of, and recording it in Sale was one of the best parts.
“I’ve been in some of Australia’s best studios and they don’t have half the vibe for recording our Sale Memorial Hall has,” he said.
“The Sale Memorial Hall architecture takes me back to a time whose music I really love,” he said.
“I think about all the dances, exams and town meetings that have happened here, the flurry of emotions and traffic of interesting people through the place.
“It makes me feel like I’m another story here, and I hope there are more stories made here in the future.
“I love this building.
“I hope it’s preserved and stays a part of Sale’s history.”
Harry plays every instrument on his new album including piano, banjo, harmonica and xylophone.
He sings all the vocals and worked on all the production elements.
It’s a one man show.
Better Life for Foster Kids runs out of the Sale Memorial Hall complex, and director Heather Baird has welcomed Harry and his music into the building.
“It’s been fantastic, especially since he wrote and recorded a special song for Better Life for Foster Kids,” she said.
“It was amazing he donated his time like that.
“Harry brought the building to life.
“It’s great when the building is being used.
“Harry’s music is always fantastic – I absolutely love it.
“His songs are about real life and are always original.”
No Snake in the Tree by Harry Hook is Real can be found on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.