Aussie divas going to Graceland

Grace Knight and Wendy Matthews. (Supplied)

Two of Australia’s best-loved singers bring the music of Paul Simon to Geelong audiences when they perform at the Geelong Arts Centre (GAC) this month.

Grace Knight and Wendy Matthews have had strikingly similar musical paths; both made their names as part of a larger band – Models and Absent Friends for Matthews, the Eurogliders for Knight – before subsequently forging successful careers as solo artists.

The two have been friends for decades, and have talked about working together for much of that time.

In 2020 the Knight and Matthews thought the planets had finally aligned. Their show Graceland, featuring Simon’s work, was ready to go.

“What we didn’t want to do was sing our own songs or each other’s songs, and the other thing we didn’t want to do was walk on and off stage, singing a song each,” Knight said.

“So we were looking for songs where we could do harmonies with each other, but also songs that the audience recognised.

“And Paul Simon came up. It was like, oh my god, he’s got the best stories, his lyrics are amazing, as is his musicianship; it was a no brainer.

“We had just finished doing a PR campaign around all the radio stations. And then the following week we were in lockdown, so that really put the kibosh on it.”

But all things come to those who wait. Once the crisis period of the pandemic began to pass, Knight and Matthews reignited the project, which is now in full swing.

“We’re friends, so the reason we wanted to do this is we just wanted to have fun together on stage,” Knight said.

“And it’s a real lot of fun. Wendy loves this, I don’t get it myself, but we’ve been called Patsy and Eddie (of Ab Fab fame) because we might tell a few stories about, you know, the 80s and the jiggery-pokery we were getting up to.”

Knight and Matthews are joined by four of Melbourne’s finest musicians in Sam Lemann (guitar), Darren Farrugia (drums), Lucas Taranto (bass) and Miro Lauritz (keyboards), delivering a show that is both endearing and heartfelt.

“People can expect to have a bit of fun, to have a bit of a sing with us, which I encourage greatly throughout the evening,” Knight said.

“Wendy and I, and the band, we’re having a lot of fun with beautiful songs, with the audience, and with each other.”

Grace Knight and Wendy Matthews perform Graceland at GAC on Sunday, May 19.