Gentle Annie Profile

Glen Moffatt
1 Aug 2017

Although their beginnings were in the Auckland folk scene of the late 1970s, Gentle Annie rode the new-country wave coming out of the United States in the mid-80s and were a regular attraction at inner city venues until calling it a day in 1988.

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.

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Gentle Annie predecessor Stringed Instrument Co in concert with Alaska’s Banish Misfortune, 1980. It was Banish Misfortune’s invitation to come to Alaska that brought about the formation of Gentle Annie.
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Gentle Annie in late 1982. Left to right: Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook, Evlynn Barber, Peter Madill.
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Gentle Annie on stage in Alaska, 1980. Left to right: Cath Newhook, Martha Louise, Peter Madill. 
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The original Gentle Annie line-up, 1980. Left to right: Martha Louise, Peter Madill, Cath Newhook.
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Confirmation of a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand grant to assist in Gentle Annie’s trip to Los Angeles, 1986.
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One of the venues for Gentle Annie and Banish Misfortune’s Alaska tour, 1980.
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Gentle Annie and the Gray Bartlett Band back up singer Suzanne Prentice (front) on That’s Country, late 1982. Left to right: Murray Wood, Peter Gillette, Paddy Long, Wayne Allen, Gary Sammons, Gray Bartlett, Cath Newhook, Peter Madill, Denny Stanway.
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Gentle Annie and friends hamming it up for their final performance at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, 1984.
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Gentle Annie with singer-songwriter Andrew White at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, 1984. Left to right: White, Cath Newhook, Glenn Fuller, Steve Garden.
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Proof sheet of a shoot during Gentle Annie’s mid-1984 rebuild. Left to right: Cath Newhook, Glenn Fuller, Becky Bush.
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Gentle Annie’s Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook (centre) and Becky Bush on the beach at Mission Bay for a New Zealand Women’s Weekly story prior to travelling to Los Angeles, 1986.
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Gentle Annie as they appeared in the Central Leader, August 1988. Left to right: Paul Hewitt, Read Hudson, Cath Newhook, Glenn Fuller, Wayne Baird.
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Photo from a NZ Herald article on Gentle Annie’s return from Los Angeles, 1986.
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An early Gentle Annie poster.
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The Gentle Annie line-up that travelled to Los Angeles, 1986. Left to right: Cath Newhook, Becky Bush, Glenn Fuller, Read Hudson, Paul Hewitt.
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Gentle Annie, mid-1984. Left to right: Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook, Sid Limbert, Anna Rugis.
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Gentle Annie and friends hamming it up for their final performance at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, 1984. Left to right: Sid Limbert, Roy Phillips, Andrew White, Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook, Steve Garden.
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Gentle Annie, late 1984. Left to right: Brendan Power, Cath Newhook, Becky Bush, Glenn Fuller.
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Gentle Annie appear on That’s Country. Left to right: Martha Louise, Cath Newhook, Peter Madill.
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Cath Newhook’s letter to LA entertainment lawyer Owen Sloane on Gentle Annie’s return from Los Angeles, 1986.
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A flyer for Gentle Annie’s welcome home party, August 1986.
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Gentle Annie and friends hamming it up for their final performance at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, 1984. Left to right: unidentified, Steve Garden, Sid Limbert, Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook, Andrew White, Ronny Franks, Roy Phillips.
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Gentle Annie’s self-titled album, released on Ode in 1982, became known as Remuera for the sign on the railway station window.
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Gentle Annie pose with a cardboard cut-out of Sting, 1985. Left to right: Brendan Power, Cath Newhook, Becky Bush, Glenn Fuller, Myra Singleton.
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The original Gentle Annie line-up, 1980. Left to right: Peter Madill, Cath Newhook, Martha Louise.
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Newspaper piece on Gentle Annie’s welcome home concert, 1986. Left to right: Read Hudson, Cath Newhook, Paul Hewitt, Becky Bush, Glenn Fuller.
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The original Gentle Annie line-up, 1980. Left to right: Cath Newhook, Peter Madill, Martha Louise.
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Gentle Annie in late 1982. Left to right: Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook, Evlynn Barber, Peter Madill.
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Cath Newhook’s thank-you letter to Sister Cities International on Gentle Annie’s return from the organisation’s 30th anniversary conference, 1986.
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Members of Gentle Annie, Limbs Dance Company and Tu Taua during their trip to Los Angeles, 1986. 
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That's Country (1982, NZ On Screen)
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The original Gentle Annie line-up in action, 1980. Left to right: Cath Newhook, Martha Louise, Peter Madill.
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Peter Madill and Cath Newhook, 1981.
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Gentle Annie and friends hamming it up for their final performance at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, 1984. Left to right: Cath Newhook, Glenn Fuller, Steve Garden.
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Gentle Annie feature as Unsung Heroes on Radio New Zealand’s Tonight Show, November 1984.
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Gentle Annie and friends at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, 1984. Left to right: Glenn Fuller, Cath Newhook, Andrew White, Steve Garden, Roy Phillips, Sid Limbert.
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Gentle Annie, mid-1984. Left to right: Glenn Fuller, Sid Limbert, Anna Rugis, Cath Newhook, Errol Shute.
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Members:

Cath Newhook - vocals, fiddle

Peter Madill - vocals, guitar, mandolin, dobro

Martha Louise - vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin

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

Brendan Power - harmonica

Read Hudson - guitar, dobro, pedal steel

Paul Hewitt - drums

Steve Garden - drums

Wayne Baird - bass

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Labels:

Ode

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Trivia:

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.

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