I got back into performing, on a casual basis, in 2015 after my good friend and former road-companion Ralph Bennett died. I’d basically been 30 years away from the stage, but Ralph’s last months and his lamentable death reminded me we have only ourselves to blame if we don’t do what we love while we can.
As it happens another former comrade of Ralph’s, guitarist / keyboard player and arranger Peter Charlton-Jones, was living in the district and we soon teamed up to put a band together to showcase my work – although the original excuse was to have a band to play at my wedding, when I finally (after 25 years) made Linda Hill-Rennie my wife.
“Bruce Bisset and the Rural Voters” was the outfit that resulted – a subtle dig at the good ole boys of central Hawke’s Bay, whom I frequently called out in my newspaper columns, as well as referencing the fact that Peter, drummer John Jukes and bassist Tony Spears all came from that area. Guitarist Lennie Lawton (Napier) and myself (Hastings) were the two “townies”.
Over the next three years we gigged infrequently around Hawke’s Bay and occasionally further south in the Wairarapa, though most often at The Common Room in Hastings. About halfway through that time John had to step back for health reasons, and Julian Hansson took over on drums. (Jules also plays trumpet, but we never got to use him on brass.) Our last gig together was an outdoor concert in a freezing southerly (summer? ha!) in February 2020… and then Covid-19 hit.
But during that time we managed to record several gigs, from which we were able to salvage enough original material of reasonable quality to have something to work with. They might have stayed as “demo” tracks, but since the band was now history I decided to remaster them and put them out as a record of ourtime together, and an example of the sort of stuff I’m writing and performing these days.
So, “unfenced” because it wasn’t planned but just got out, “rawboned” because it’s live and unpolished. Hope you like it.
Bruce Bisset & the Rural Voters – Unfenced and Rawboned CD
A collection of all original tracks, recorded live, from the past couple of years. Not studio quality but hey, not bad for all that! Price includes postage.
OR, especially if you’d like to sample before you buy, or want to download a digital version instead of buying the CD, head on over to
where you can buy the album or individual tracks you like.