Chainsaw carver and muso, Keith Gall was a hit at the recent Man from Snowy River Festival.
Chainsaw carver and muso, Keith Gall was a hit at the recent Man from Snowy River Festival. Frances Klein

Chainsaw crooner Keith Gall carves up

KEITH Gall's career path has not exactly been a traditional one. He has gone from sign writer to chainsaw carver and sculptor and bronze artist and now, he has added professional musician to his resume.

The talented artist's u-turn started when he began making hand carved signs in the 90s. That led to the chainsaw carving, learnt in California and that in turn led to working with bronze.

But as he ages (he is now 52 years old), he wants to eventually phase out the chainsaws and having always been a "campfire and party singer", took it to the next level when he attended the Widgee Muster last year and took part in a performance workshop with Phil Emmanuel.

"I've always wanted to take my singing further," he said from his house bus, deep in the hinterland of Victoria yesterday.

He and his partner are on their way to Adelaide for a family occasion at the Anzac weekend and are stopping off at points along the way.

One of those stops was the recent Man from Snowy River Festival, held at Corryong in Victoria (120km east of Albury-Wodonga).

There, Keith entered in the festival's Bush Idol competition.

He performed the Man from Snowy River poem, written by Banjo Paterson and sang Home Among the Gum Trees, which had the audience of about 2000 singing along with him.

He didn't win, but against about 20 contestants, came a very credible third.

Keith has a CD too, Keith Gall Australiana, filled with Australian bush songs and country music. He launched it at the festival and all profits will be ploughed into getting a bronze made of his famous stump sculpture, Silky.

Silky, made from a silky oak tree stump, features 21 animals and was made in 2000. It was on show at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has been on display at a Gympie Muster, and it has toured many parts of the country at other celebrations and festivals.

It is now on display at Gympie's Woodworks Museum and Keith wants to cast a copy in bronze so it can be installed in a public place.

The master chainsaw carver is still working on smaller bronze pieces and will be back in the area in June, giving a chainsaw demonstration at the Nambour Show. Who knows, he may give his audience a song or two as well.