Despite Deborah Conway’s ambitious entertainment portfolio -“ a 20-year wagon chase spanning experimental theatre, cult film appearances and music -“ the cover of her latest 18-track CD reads, Deborah Conway’s Greatest Hits -¦ Plus 16 Other Songs.

Besides the statement’s obvious buoyancy there is a vaguely abject truth to it. Many know of Conway, yet most would be hard-pressed to list beyond her 1985 Do Re Me hit Man Overboard or 1991’s Only The Beginning as breakthrough releases for the artist.

Perhaps the not-so-abject truth about Conway’s career is that it’s had a more exotic development than that of your average rock performer.

Only The Bones, Conway’s new retrospective album, captures Conway’s innovative career path, from her solo work, to her side collaboration Ultrasound with Crowded House’s Paul Hester, a new tribute track for Paul Kelly and of course Conway’s take on two Patsy Cline tracks, as lifted from Conway’s lauded work as the key role in the Star City stage show Always -¦ Patsy Cline.

I had to get quite obsessive about Patsy at the time and you go through patches where that becomes scary, Conway says. I haven’t really kept following her since doing that role -¦ I mean, not in the sense that I am channelling her through my mind, or anything, Conway says.

The singer is about to embark on a national tour to promote Only The Bones, a 12-city jaunt that will reach Sydney’s The Basement in a double show on 16 September.

I will be establishing a strong theatrical element for these shows -¦ audiences can expect me to push the boundaries again on stage in order to deliver a rich visual show, as well as a musical retrospective. It should really be enjoyable.

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