Country singer is Cole comfort in cancer battle
WHEN it comes to cancer, Beccy Cole doesn't mince her words.
The country singer tells the disease where to go in her new song, written for close friend and fellow musician Catherine Britt.
Britt was diagnosed with breast cancer in May last year and amidst her treatment she wed long-time partner James Beverley in October.
Britt hasn't shied away from the spotlight, appearing in the music video for her song We're All Waiting with a bald head after losing her long blonde locks to chemotherapy.
"I sent her a pillow when she first started going in for chemo and it said 'F U Cancer' on it," Cole tells Weekend.
"She loved it and she said 'we've got to write a song'."
Cole penned F U Cancer on the way to the recent Tamworth Country Music Festival, where she, Britt and friend Lyn Bowtell performed the song.
"On the plane on the way to Tamworth I scribbled some words and then I called Lyn and said 'can you help me finish this song?' She helped me finish off the last few bits and pieces and then that night I texted the song to Catherine," she says.
"It was a quick turnaround."
In the cheeky tune there are jokes about Britt's bald head looking like "one half of Beccy Cole's breast" and the tightness of Lee Kernaghan's pants.
"I knew Catherine wanted to have that sentiment," Cole says.
"She's not one who wants to dwell and get bogged down in the seriousness of the situation. She's had her fair share of worries. I'm her crazy, funny friend and I wanted to be able to provide her with that light-hearted song."
Female empowerment will be a recurring theme this year for Cole, who also debuted her all-female band The Sisters of Twang at Tamworth.
The new line-up, featuring Cole's long-time drummer Ali Foster, fiddler Clare O'Meara, Shireen Khemlani on bass, Julz Parker (from the duo Hussy Hicks) and Emily Smith on guitar and Cole's fiancee Libby O'Donovan on keyboard, will also play the Gympie Music Muster later this year.
It's the first time a female supergroup has played the Muster's main stage - "about bloody time" Cole says.
O'Donovan will also support her on her Sweet Rebecca national tour in the coming months.
"It used to be a very male-dominated area for me, but these days it's a really interesting life on the road with lots of female musicians," she says.
Cole will also continue her long-running relationship with "music festival at sea" Cruisin Country, performing on the eight-night Cruisin Country 6 departing Brisbane in November.
Her mother, '60s folk singer Carole Sturzel, and son Ricky will also join her on stage during next year's special family reunion themed Cruisin Country 7.
"Country music is such a family business," Cole says.
"So many of us come from musical families and I'll have three generations getting up on stage."
It was her son, Ricky, who inspired Cole to come out publicly as gay three and a half years ago.
At the time, Cole said she wanted to set a good example for her son.
Now, it seems he's keen to follow in her musical footsteps.
Cole has been delighted to watch Ricky, 16, discover a variety of music, including Bob Dylan, and his own musical talents.
"With my mum being a singer and being on TV in the early days, for me growing up and watching her perform I always wanted to do it. I can understand the urge he's got to join the family business. It's a weird thing to say but it seems separate (from me). I wanted to give him every opportunity to go in any direction he wanted."
But Cole reckons it's her mum who will steal the spotlight.
"Mum's a little rocket; she's hard to get off once she gets on stage," she said with a laugh.
"They'll love her. She's 72 and full of fire."
Cruisin Country 6 sets sail from Brisbane on November 13 and returns November 21.
Cruisin Country 7: Family Reunion departs Sydney for eight nights from October 8 to 16, 2017.
For more information go to http://www.chooseyourcruise.com.au