Bettylou Rose, or The Yellow Rose of Texas, as she’s known in country music circles, is back in 2021 with not one but two new shows for Fringe World. Bettylou’s first show; By Her Bootstraps promises a bucket-load of bona fide Kentucky-fried country hits and rib-tickling antics and runs from Wednesday, January 20 for four nights until Saturday, January 23 at the Hyde Park Hotel (get more info and tickets here), while her second show; Southern Gothic runs Thursday, February 11 to Friday, February 12 at The Sewing Room (get more info and tickets here). MICHAEL HOLLICK gave Bettylou a holler to find out more about both of her shows, who she is bringing on stage with her and just exactly what it is about Perth and Fringe that she loves so much.
Bettylou Rose has been at Fringe World Perth previously despite her Texas origin. What was it about Perth and Fringe World that made her so keen to return in 2021?
Well, I live here now, if you can believe that! Last time I did a show here in 2015, I dropped my passport somewhere between Beaufort Street and the Pleasure Garden, and that was just as good as a sign from heaven above that I should just find a place to hang my hat and stay in this pretty little town. I’ve been tryin’ to fly under Peter Dutton’s radar for the last few years, but then COVID hit and I thought, well shoot – they’re not lettin’ anybody out of the country anyway, so now’s my chance to get my boots back on and get back on stage!
Bettylou has two shows this year: By Her Bootstraps and Southern Gothic. What can audiences expect from each show?
I tell you what, they are as different as night and day, these two shows. The first one, By Her Bootstraps, is a comedy cabaret kinda like the shows I’ve put on before. It’s mostly country music with a few other country-fied tunes thrown in for good measure. And of course, there’ll be a Texas-sized helping of down-home humour and plenty of cuttin’ up. And you might just learn something about Texas while you’re at it.
Southern Gothic is a trip through the Deep South – that low-down region of the US along the Gulf of Mexico that’s filled with stories and songs that come crawlin’ up out of the swamps and travel along the highways and byways at night. The South has a lot of blood on its hands, and a lot of ghosts lingering in the old plantations and tin shacks there; you can hear them echoed in the songs I’ll be singin’, songs about love and death and broken hearts.
Does Bettylou have any co-stars to help her out this year?
For By Her Bootstraps, I’ll be joined by Tess Crow, one heckuva good musician and a real kindred spirit who has so many irons in the fire with other bands and projects around town I can hardly keep up. I feel real lucky to have her singin’ and playin’ with me. For Southern Gothic, I somehow wrangled up Owen De Marchi, who most folks would know as the frontman of The Chlorines. I knew right off the bat that he’d be a perfect fit for what I wanted to do, and I sure am lookin’ forward to tryin’ out something new with this show.
What do you think differentiates Bettylou’s shows from the other Fringe 2021 shows?
Well, I don’t think there’s any other real life Texan country singers in the line-up, but then again, I haven’t checked the whole program. I only looked at it once to make sure they spelled my name right.
What other shows at Fringe 2021 is Bettylou keen to check out?
Oh shoot, I don’t know yet! Ask me after my first show’s good and done! No, I’m only teasin’. It’s real sad that so many good people couldn’t make it over this time around ‘cause of that ol’ nasty COVID, but that just means we have more time to appreciate what we’ve got right here in Western Australia. I’m hopin’ to catch BarbieQ’s Dolly Parton Spectacular down at Connections ‘cause I can’t think of a more spectacular combination than drag queens and Dolly, and if we can’t have her here in person, we might as well have an impersonator.
And finally, what fruit is Bettylou most like? And why?
Good grief. Can I be a root vegetable instead? Like a turnip. You see, I’m like a turnip because I turn up on stage and then I turn up the good tunes and turn up the good times.