Led by the fiddle artistry of their one constant, Cath Newhook, Gentle Annie’s initial acoustic line-up released a self-titled album and became backing singers on TV show That’s Country before “going electric” with a succession of fine singers and pickers that included harmonica player Brendan Power and bassist Sid Limbert.
Their close harmonies and later twin fiddle and harmonica lead lines were sharpened playing up to six nights a week at residencies such as the Country Gentleman Restaurant in Queen Street, the shallow stage over the servery at the Alexandra Tavern in Federal Street, the Westward Ho in West Auckland, and the public bar and Corner Bar of the Gluepot in Ponsonby.
Gentle Annie were a hit during two separate trips to the United States and came close to taking up an option to work and release music there in 1987, but Cath Newhook believes they didn’t quite have the courage of their convictions to see it through.
Cath Newhook - vocals, fiddle
Peter Madill - vocals, guitar, mandolin, dobro
Denny Stanway - vocals
Glenn Fuller - vocals, guitar
Evlynn Barber - vocals
Anna Rugis - vocals
Errol Shute - pedal steel
Becky Bush - bass, vocals
Myra Singleton - drums
Sid Limbert - bass, vocals
Read Hudson - guitar, dobro, pedal steel
Paul Hewitt - drums
Under her married name Catherine Mayo, Cath Newhook is a “young adult” author. Her first book, Murder At Mykenai, was published in 2013. She doesn’t gig much anymore as the result of a neck injury sustained in a car accident in the early 1990s, but still runs the Stringed Instrument Company in Auckland.
Bass player and singer Becky Bush became a chef and opened Bayou Café in Grey Lynn in 1992. She worked in various Auckland restaurants and cafés and had a food truck before getting homesick and returning to the States in 2000 where she lives in her home town of Shreveport, Louisiana.
Wayne Baird, Gentle Annie’s final bassist, switched to guitar and has led his own jump swing band The Alibis in Auckland since the early 1990s.