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Big River Blues are Melissa Smith, Dom Ferry, Marty William, Mark Watson & Jarred Burley


Singer and instrumentalist Melissa Smith (Mel) was born and has lived in
the Clarence area most of her life. Mel has been working in the music industry
for over 20 years in bands and duos such as Aluna, Gom Jabbar, Fillidh,
Cheeky Lollie
, Mick and Mel as well as teaching at the Clarence Valley
for the past 10 years.

She has a passion for travel and music in which she draws her musical style
from Blues, Rock and Folk music with influences from Latin, African and even
Indian music.

With these influences, Mel has developed a raunchy and interesting vocal style
as well being able to play solid rhythm guitar and funky conga and percussion
rhythms in Big River Blues.

believes music is a shared space that not only entertains but inspires,
creates and fulfills. It can bring the most different people to connection and
is a language we all understand.

Despite having been on stage since 8 years of age and having performed countless times
world-wide from Auckland to Zurich for decades as an international street performer,
Dom is a relative newcomer to the band world.

The guitar first entered his life at 10 years of age and became his passion for the next 10.
And then she quietly subsided into the background as clowning, mime, juggling, escapology, street theatre and the gypsy life took hold and flourished.

It wasn't until many years later after having done the "seachange" (moving from Sydney to
Yamba), and in search of a new form of self-expression that Dom's love of the guitar was
rekindled. A ten year journey of solo instrumental performing followed as he forged a
unique sound and repertoire, created 2 solo CDs (selling thousands of copies to
eager listeners) and played his heart out to hundreds of rapt audiences at markets,
cafes, festivals, house-concerts, campuses & street corners.

And then, quite by chance Big River Blues entered his life along with the opportunity to
play the ageless tunes of his teenage guitar heroes (BB King, Santana, Clapton, Gilmour,
Page, Trower and of course Jimi Hendrix!) live. Applying his improvisional skills and
guitar prowess to blues, rock, R&B & soul classics has been as much of a joy as melding
into the dynamics and camaraderie that is Big River Blues, a joy that is obvious to
all from the sound of the first note of every gig!!


Born into a musical family and working in my fathers music shop in Parramatta during the 60's and
early 70"s, it was second nature for me to pick up an instrument and learn to play. My choice of
instrument was the guitar, playing rhythm guitar for many years. In the mid 70's I moved to the NSW
north coast, opening and operating another family run music shop for 20yrs in Lismore. During the
70s and 80s live music was played in Clubs, Hotels and Local Halls on a regular basis. I began setting
up and playing in a number of popular local bands. As there was a shortage of bass players I then
took up the Bass guitar.

First off with "Big Mozzie" a successful popular band which ran for a period of ten years.
Other popular bands I formed were country rock outfit  "Katie Flyer"as well as "The Blue
and "Hands Down".  All played not only covers but had lots of original songs of
which some were recorded,released and played on local radio stations.
We supported touring bands that passed through the North Coast during this time.
The likes of "Richard Clapton" "The Cure", "Black Sorrows" "Little river Band", "Cold Chisel"
and many others. In the 90's live music venues began to be taken over by night clubs.
Gigs became few and far between.

Late 90's, semi retirement bought me to live in the Clarence Valley. Since living here I have
come to meet and play with various local musicians playing many local pub and hall gigs.
In 2016 "BIG RIVER BLUES" was formed and still going strong, with a popular local following.
Still playing the blues with a funky feel !!!


Bringing a wealth of drumming experience and an infectious groove like none other,
Marty Williams is the latest addition to the Big River Blues line-up.

Originally from South Australia, Marty has been playing with rhythms from the moment his
hands were strong enough to tap out a beat, much to the chagrin of the family peace and
quiet. This fixation with percussion took hold during his school years and has dominated
his life ever since. That and surfing.

Since moving to Eatonsville, Marty has become a regular within the ever-growing
Grafton music scene often to be caught keeping the groove at the Naked Bean
and the Royal Hotel jam sessions, busking outside Toast Expresso or on the
stage in the Pelican Playhouse.

He's been the beat behind many Clarence Valley bands such as The Wrecks,
Joe Terror, Ryan Martin, The McClymonts
and Swag Manouche,
And it's a real pleasure to hve him in the drum chair in Big River Blues!


Vital to the magical sound of Big River Blues
is the impressive audio skills of soundman Jarred Burley.

ensures that no matter how difficult the venue is, audiences are
treated to a balanced and great sounding mix.

Being talented musician in his own right, when his soundman duties allow,
Jarred has also become a valuable addition to the band as a great rhythm
guitarist and occasional opening support act.

Big River Blues are indeed very lucky & happy to have him on board!
(along with Rob & Jane Burley!)