Rockability with Shelley Minson
I first met Tamworth based singer songwriter Shelley Minson and her husband Lawrie at the 'Love Vintage Fair' in Melbourne, Australia 3 years ago. I was struck by how genuine, down to earth and lovely a person Shelley is - and that was before I heard her sing! Sometimes you meet people who you can immediately tell are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside, and that's Shelley and I am completely thrilled about the release of her debut album, Rockability. The album was launched on March 30th, just in time for her and Lawrie to play at the opening night of the 20th Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Festival.
Shelley and Lawrie are a dynamite team and delight audiences on the national festival circuit including spots at the Gympie Music Muster, Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival and Viva Surfers Paradise and Garterbelts and Gasoline. Her voice is pure and strong and her music is Rockabilly and Honky Tonk with a dash of Australian ‘Big Sky’ Country.
Rockability showcases 12 brilliant tracks and was produced by Lawrie Minson. Shelley & Lawrie also collaborated with local songwriters John Cunliffe, Paul Owen, Brent Larkham & Darryl Keighley. Her previous single Rockabilly Man, written with music legend Ross Wilson is also included on the album.
No stranger to the Pinup world, Shelley has a love of 1950’s music and fashion and her photos have been featured in magazines such as Retro Lovely, Pin Up Skool and Pin Up America. She is also one of two winners in the Pin Up America World Wide Photo Contest 2014 and is rarely seen without at least a dash of her signature colour, pink.
I was excited to get a chance to ask Shelley some questions and get to know her better, distance means I haven't seen her in person since Love Vintage and I've been keen to learn more about her.
How did you get started in the Rockabilly/country scene?
I grew up on a farm just out of Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley of NSW. My parents played lots of old time country music and I always loved artists like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. When I first started singing which was only really a few years ago I had already begun dressing in 1950s inspired fashion so the link between my fashion style and my love of music from this era all kind of gelled together.
How long have you and Lawrie been playing together?
The first time I sang in public was in 2011 but we didn’t start doing regular gigs until 2014. In 2014 I did my first support spot touring with James Blundell. Lawrie played in James' band and I also sold the merchandise. It was a great experience and a wonderful way to visit parts of Australia I’d never been to before.
I had always dreamed of singing but never had the confidence to do anything with it previously. Lawrie has enabled me to live out a dream and I’m very grateful to him!
How does it feel to be releasing your very first album?
I’m really excited and grateful. So many wonderful musicians and songwriters put so much effort into the songs and of course I’m extremely grateful to my husband Lawrie. Lawrie not only co wrote the majority of the songs with me he played guitar, harmonica, pedal steel and recorded and produced the album. So far the album has been getting a fantastic response which I’m really thrilled about!
How long did it take to produce?
Lawrie spent more than six months working on the album and often had to find time in between other recording projects and gigs. We recorded most of the album in our home studio which made things easier. It was also a much more affordable way to record. I think you can hear the difference in quality with a recording that had time spent on it.
You collaborated with some pretty legendary artists on this album, what was it like to work with other people on your music?
My husband Lawrie has been a professional musician for over 30 years and has played with some of the best including Jimmy Barnes, Lee Kernaghan, Trisha Yearwood and Slim Dusty. Over the years he has made strong friendships with so many awesome musicians and songwriters which I have been fortunate enough to benefit from.
A highlight from my album was co writing Rockabilly Man with Australian Music Legend Ross Wilson. Ross has a song Rockabilly Women and had an idea to write a female version of the song for me to sing. The song came together really quickly. Ross has written so many hit tunes like Eagle Rock and Touch of Paradise and has been really encouraging of what Lawrie and I are doing.
What’s it like as an Australian performing at Viva Las Vegas?
This year was our second time performing at Viva and I love it! Although I’m a relatively new artist, there were people at our show who had enjoyed watching us in 2015 and came back again this year. It was also great to have some of my pinup friends come along to support me. We had our drummer Ronny Rindo fly over with us this year from Tamworth and we used a Nashville based bass player Scott Hinds who seemed to be a real hit with the ladies!
I think Tom Ingram does a fantastic job organising VLV, it must involve so much work to put it all together.
What did you enjoy most about Viva Las Vegas?
This year was my third time at Viva Las Vegas and I think I enjoy more each time I go. I’ve been active on Instagram for the last couple of years and I really loved being able to meet people I follow and that follow me. I’m always amazed at how stunning the women look especially in their evening wear! I used to feel a bit self conscious that I didn’t look good enough but I think as I’m getting older I’m realising it’s not a competition. I’m there to have a good time not be paranoid that my hairstyle isn’t as fancy as someone else’s.
Pink is your signature colour, you’re rarely seen without it – why pink?
Even before dressing Pin Up, I have always loved pink. When I worked as a school & library assistant if I wasn’t wearing pink the kids wanted to know why. I’ve been learning about colours and how they effect your moods. Pink represents love & femineity and I think it just makes me feel good. If I go into a shop and something’s pink I want to buy it lol!
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Don’t expect to be famous overnight and realise that you’ll have to work hard. There is so much behind the scenes stuff that goes on with being an artist that you don’t necessarily get paid for. It is fun though and you kind of never know what will happen next!
Where can we catch you next?
Cooly Rocks On next month in June will be my next major festival and later in the year in October I’m really excited to be performing on Cruisin’ Country.
Favourite brand shout out!
Gee this is a tricky one but I’d have to say at the moment I’m obsessed with Vixen By Micheline Pitt. Micheline was the first pin up model I had seen online and I just thought WOW this girl looks amazing! I absolutely love the designs from her new label and the fit and quality is top notch!
Care to share your top beauty tip?!
Lately I have been obsessed with watching make up tutorials on You Tube. I think we’re so lucky now with the internet. Any skincare or makeup item that you want to find out about you can find reviews online. Looking after your skin is very important I think. I drink gallons of water a day and always wear sunscreen when heading outside.
Have you got your Pinup Name registered with us? Would you like to win your very own copy of Rockability, a flower crown by Cherry Pie Millinery and have your picture up on The Pinup Registry's site?
We want to hear your best Pinup tip - it can be general beauty, hair and makeup, dressing, posing etc, whatever you like! The top tips will be published on The Pinup Registry site along with the name and state/country of the Pinups who submitted them and the winning tip will be chosen from them at random.
To submit your tip fill out the contact form
Or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more about Shelley, buy her album or have a listen head to
Images by Studio Goonga
Hair and make up is by Glamour Empire