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Peter Hisco

Originally from South Australia, Peter has been an active musician with an adventurous spirit for most of his adult life. He played guitar and sang initially, left home at 19 and went travelling in Europe and Africa, busking his way across continents. In his mid 20s, back in Adelaide he became immersed in the small Adelaide Bluegrass scene with the likes of Andrew Clermont, Andrew MacDonald, Peter Hall, John and Geoff Bridgland, Nick Cawthorn, while they jammed all night long and learnt their chops. He ran a bluegrass radio show on 3CR during this time.

A move to Melbourne saw Peter starting a band called ‘Shut the Gate’, which eventually merged with the existing ‘Bush Turkey’ – a band that originated in Tasmania and had migrated to Melbourne.

By this time Peter had taken up the fiddle and the mandolin and was involved in the early days of Victoria’s healthy bluegrass and old timey scene. He was one of the original organisers of the Harrietville Bluegrass Convention along with Nick and Janet Dear and Philomena Carroll.

A regular attendee at the Yarra Junction Fiddler’s Convention, Peter became aquainted with the boys who were to make up the ‘Blue Grass Souls’ – Jimmy Murphy and Bob Osborne. They found they shared a love for the ukulele and singing harmony and the odd lager.

And so for the past 20 years Peter has led the 8 piece Victorian based ‘Bluegrass Souls’, affectionately known as the ‘Grassoles’.
The name arose from the gang attending Bluegrass festivals and jamming playing everything but bluegrass. Somebody asked, ‘when are you arseholes going to play some bluegrass?’ and the rest is history.  They have been delighting audiences for years with their fabulous harmonies and stage antics as they
played popular, swing and Hawaiian classics from the 20s to the 60s. Jimmy and Bob became ukulele luthiers and have to date made around 100 ‘O & M’ ukes with fine Tasmanian timbers. Most of this time, the line-up remained unchanged. Mick Grey played banjo, Doug Wallace played guitar, and Graham ‘Proffessor’ Clarke played dobro. It was during the early days of the ‘Grassoles’ that Peter took up the double bass. In later years, David Dixon (of Dixon Recycled) joined on double bass, freeing Peter to play uke.

Throughout this time, Peter continued to play fiddle and mandolin and develop a love for ‘old timey’ – Appalachian string band music. In recent years while still based in Victoria, he played with Ian Alexander’s ‘Appalachian Heaven’ and has played double bass for visiting American Old Time musicians – the Bing Bros and Charlie Walden; and Andrew Dunlap and Bobby Taylor.

Always one to support the Bluegrass/Old Time music community, he put up his hand to voluntarily run the Beechworth Bluegrass Festival in 2008 and continues in this role today.


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