Australia’s Cornerbrook a festival hit

Cory
Cory Hurley
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Australian band Cornerbrook is named after the west coast city where accordion player Cory Clarke used to live. — Submitted photo

Cornerbrook is music to the ears of many Australians. Not the Newfoundland city of a slightly different spelling, but the band that has been playing in various festivals Down Under over the past four years.

A lot of the credit belongs to Newfoundland native and former Corner Brook resident, Cory Clarke, who toured Australia as a member of the Crowd of Bold Shareman in 2005.

During the 10 Days on the Island Festival in Tasmania he says he fell in love with the country and its people — one lady in particular, Bridie Burke.

Now his wife, and mother of his four children, the two lived together in Newfoundland for approximately a year — the initial part of that in Corner Brook.

They lived on the east coast for the remainder of their time in the province.

The couple then moved to Sydney, Australia in 2006.

Clarke, an accordion player and singer, formed a band, alongside his fiddle-playing wife, and Australians Ben Stephenson and Ben McAtamney.

They blend Irish music with that of the traditional Newfoundland sound to offer unique entertainment to the Australian audience.

“We try to put it out there as an original thing, us being the only Australian/Newfoundland/Irish band,” he said.

“We tend to gravitate more toward the instrumental, so we do a lot of my own compositions and traditional Newfoundland tunes. All the members of the band write their own tunes, so we try to incorporate as much of that as possible.”

It was also in Corner Brook — where Clarke completed a nursing degree and later worked at Western Regional Memorial Hospital and various health facilities throughout the region — years before, the Western Bay native rediscovered his passion for music.

After becoming acquainted with local musician Daniel Payne, Clarke became a Saturday night regular at Casual Jack’s Roadhouse for a number of years.

He later joined Payne in the Crowd of Bold Shareman.

Cornerbrook originally decided upon The Rounders for a name in the beginning, paying homage to salt fish, but discovered the name was taken by an American group.

With so much focus on Newfoundland music, the band wanted to recognize Newfoundland in its name in some way.

“(Burke) loved it,”he said of Corner Brook. “It was very picturesque, and we thought it would be a great name for a band.

Cornerbrook may have been a second choice, but it certainly has stuck.

“We just loved the idea of using that since it was the place we first lived, myself and Bridie, in Newfoundland” he said. “We wanted to keep that connection.”

The band plays at some of the many festivals throughout Australia, typically of the folk/Irish variety.

Clarke said it’s long been he’s hope to record an album, but the band has yet to do so.

Maybe one day, Clarke said, Cornerbrook can make the trek to Newfoundland, and the place credited with its namesake, to play.

The Western Star

Organizations: Western Regional Memorial Hospital, The Rounders

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Australia, Corner Brook Tasmania Sydney Western Bay Western Star

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