Americana meets Australiana with Corn Nut Creek

Tanya Bradley (left) and Danielle Vita perform as Corn Nut Creek Photo: Contributed

It’s a story that seems too good to be true.

Two musicians from opposite sides of the world meet overseas, develop a connection, go their separate ways and eventually reunite to start their own band.

But that’s exactly what happened to Danielle Vita and Tanya Bradley, who together form Corn Nut Creek.

As Ms Vita explained to the Gippsland Times, the duo came to be through a mutual appreciation for the Americana genre.

“I’d been living in Hong Kong teaching music and I met my bandmate, Tanya, who was also there teaching music,” Ms Vita explained.

“I was looking for other people that wanted to play Americana kind of music and even a bit of trad American music.”

Ms Bradley proved to be the perfect collaborator.

After finishing their teaching duties in Hong Kong, the duo went their separate ways, with Ms Vita returning to her home in New York and Ms Bradley to Melbourne.

But their musical partnership continued through the online realm.

“We started to actually write our own songs and send them to each other virtually, and add things on,” Ms Vita said.

“It wasn’t like an official band or anything, it was just us having a creative process together remotely.”

It wasn’t until Ms Vita’s husband found work in Australia that she and Ms Bradley were properly reunited.

“We stayed such good friends when I went back to America and we probably spoke every other day, so I was actually pretty thrilled that I could move here.

“It’s not so often that you can make that kind of a musical connection with someone.

“I was never going to find something quite like that in New York, even though there’s heaps of musicians.”

With the rapport established and desire to collaborate as strong as ever, all they needed to do was commit to a name.

“The moment that we actually decided to do it, we were at Nariel Creek Folk Festival.

“I had just come back from the U.S. from a trip to visit my family, and I brought back a big bag of corn nuts.

“We’re sitting there eating corn nuts at that creek … and we said, ‘You know what? We’re going to call ourselves Corn Nut Creek!’

“It was a pretty zany, kind of silly idea at the time, but it just sort of stuck.

“It’s good though, because we don’t take ourselves so seriously, although a lot of our music does deal with serious issues – young motherhood and the like.”

Tanya Bradley (left) and Danielle Vita perform as Corn Nut Creek
Photo: Contributed

As an Americana band with hints of folk and blues in their sound, Corn Nut Creek take influences from everywhere, but Ms Vita credits the group Crooked Still as her main source of inspiration.

She turned to Crooked Still’s discography after becoming disaffected by the classical music scene.

“I’d gone to school to be an opera singer, basically, in New York.

“I’d done that for a little while, and I sort of burnt out, to be honest, and didn’t find it enjoyable anymore.

“About 2009, I started to just get really fed-up with the classical world … and decided to move towards the opposite end of the spectrum.”

Ms Vita praised Crooked Still for being the band that garnered her interest in Americana music.

“What I loved about it was the communal sense … that you could learn a fiddle too and travel anywhere around the world.

“The idea that you can … just sit down and jam together and play these common, traditional tunes was really appealing to me.

“It felt like the opposite of what I had been doing in the classic world in terms of perfectionism and things.”

Corn Nut Creek have now established themselves as one of Australia’s best folk bands, and will be bringing their music to the Stratford Courthouse this weekend for their first-ever performance in Gippsland.

“One of the things that we really like is to bring our music into the community,” Ms Vita said.

“Every time that we play a show that’s outside of a major city, I think we enjoy it more because … I feel like the way that the music is received is different.

“The kinds of audiences that you get, they’re really interested and really listening and really curious about what you’re doing.”

The duo will be supported by Ruth Hazelton for their Stratford gig, who Ms Vita described as a “strong presence” in the local folk music scene.

“I think a lot of other women sort of look up to Ruth – she’s kind of paved the way, in a lot of ways for other females in folk in Australia.

“One of the reasons that we asked her, particularly, to do this project with us, is that we really respect her work she does.

“There’s just a lot that we feel we share with her, and the message of her music as well, and we just love that.”

Corn Nut Creek and Ruth Hazelton’s Courthouse performance will take place this Saturday, June 18 from 7.30pm.

Tickets are available via www.stratfordcourthouse.com.au