Read Hudson’s musical odyssey began in1959, when he won a primary school talent quest playing the mouth harp. Later, at high school on the South Island West Coast, came a band - with all six members playing guitar. His musical career continued to slowly evolve after he moved to Dunedin in 1965. During this period, he began to play bass guitar, as well as continuing to play guitar. After a year in Timaru, he returned to Dunedin in 1967. Shortly, he was in a covers band as rhythm guitar player, playing around the Dunedin bible class circuit with a band called Straat Heidelberg. By 1968, he had begun to move away from pop music, towards folk music, and had discovered an interest in acoustic music that has lasted to the present day. He joined a band with his two younger brothers – Stephen (drums, vocals), Christopher (bass), plus Miles Madigan (vocals), later replaced by Ray Brunton. The band – called Hudson - played a mixture of Folk/Rock, R & B, and Blues, and was regarded as something of a cult band in Dunedin at the time.
However, the folk interest continued to influence him, and he returned to playing this style of music. Through folk music, he began to listen to old time country and bluegrass. Oddly, the folk clubs were the only place to hear this style of music then. He joined a Dunedin Bluegrass band called The Pine Ridge Bluegrass Boys, initially as a replacement for bassist Lin Jefcote, playing bass and guitar, but fell in love with the acoustic resonator guitar, known as the Dobro©. He was to stay with Pine Ridge until it eventually disbanded in 1971. Shortly after Pine Ridge broke up, a neBluegrass band evolved, using some of the Pine Ridge players, and based around an American banjoist named George Bailey, who was a lecturer at Otago University. Read regards this band as the most influential band he ever played in, and helped to set the style and manner that he plays in to this day. Bluegrass Expedition went on to record two albums, and a Television series for the NZBC before the band broke up in 1977.Out of the Expedition came a renewed interest in old time country, and country music in general, which led to playing in a number of country music bands.
He began playing pedal steel guitar, and lead guitar in a couple of Dunedin country bands. One of these bands was Shotgun Willie, which included two old friends from his Pine Ridge days, mandolin player Mike Pelvin and banjoist George Brinsdon, as well as drummer Denise Shanks and singer/guitarist Ken White. Another was a trio called Cody, with Ken White, and bassist Bernard Madill. Eventually, he accepted an offer to migrate to Auckland, to join country rockers Gentle Annie, playing lead guitar, with occasional forays into resonator guitar and pedal steel guitar. When Gentle Annie finally broke up, Read drifted into the Auckland country music world, playing for bands such as Off the Record, The Silverados, and Southern Cross. He still found time for Bluegrass, featuring in bluegrass and old time countrybands like The Terraplanes, the Old Guns, and Diamonds in the Rough. He, and wife Kay are life members of the Auckland Bluegrass Club.
In 1998, he and Kay, who was by now playing guitar and bass, returned to the South Island's West Coast. There were subsequently several bands; notably the Jones Brothers – a part country, part 50’s/60’s pop, part rock ‘n roll band with two Coasters – Tarina Dunn (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Michael ‘Drag’ Anderson (drums). The Jones Brothers – so called as a salute to the old time country ‘Brother’ duets – performed occasionally at local workingman’s clubs, but also turned up at the Wellington Folk Festival, and the Tui Farm Folk Festival, playing their mix of country, pop, and bluegrass. Another project that come up after moving to the West Coast, Read, along with Kay, was exploring a return to playing folk music with a new folk styled group called Hatter’s Creek.
In 2007, Kay and Read decided to return to their roots, and settled down in East Taieri, south of Dunedin. They both continue to explore their musical roots. Read lists his musical influences as Bluegrass, Country – both old time and modern, Folk, and Hawaiian. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, resonator guitar, pedal steel guitar, slide guitar, lap steel, Autoharp©, ukulele, and bass. Kay Hudson
Kay Hudson’s earliest musical influences came from her father, a fan of ‘40’s and ‘50’s country music. Her musical journey began with folk music, when she sang in a folk trio with her first husband. However, raising a family took precedence in those times, and while she retained a lively interest in many different forms of music, she took little active part for many years. In 1975, she married Read, and, after raising three children, and moving to Auckland in 1987, she became more interested in taking a more active part in music. The Hudson’s oldest son, Timothy, was the bass player in one of Read’s more fascinating bands, the Old Guns. When Tim left to attend Otago University, the band asked Kay if she would consider taking over as bass player. She accepted, and also learned some mandolin, and fiddle, as well as contributing harmonies.
As a regular attendee of many folk festivals, and all too frequently as a listener rather than as a participant, Kay decided to learn to play guitar. In that capacity, she became a member of Diamonds in the Rough. Diamonds were an Auckland based band that played mainly old time country, with a smattering of bluegrass, folk and Hawaiian music added to the mix. Kay also took more of a role as a singer, as well as adding harmonies. Kay underwent open heart surgery in 1996, and, as a result of that, she and Read decided on a less taxing lifestyle, and decided to return to the South Island West Coast, where Read had grown up. By 1998, Kay and Read had settled in Runanga, just north of Greymouth. Kay also discovered a latent talent for song writing, particularly about the West Coast, and has written a considerable number of songs, about the many and varied aspects of life on the Coast. She and Read perform many of these songs, some with the Jones Brothers, and others with Hatter’s Creek. Kay is also looking at the possibilities of recording and
releasing some of the songs in the near future. Currently, she plays bass and guitar, but is looking at re-learning mandolin and fiddle at some point in the future.