kerri simpson



In late-2018, Simpson – together with Allison Ferrier and Anthony ‘Shorty’ Shortte – formed Opelousas. Simpson’s raw New Orleans and vodou influenced vocals create a tasty gumbo with Ferrier’s down-and-dirty stripped-back guitar and fiddle, and Shorty’s swampsoaked percussion. In 2019 the trio’s debut album “Opelousified” won the Music Victoria Best Blues Album of the year award.

Few singers anywhere have so successfully traversed musical genres as Kerri Simpson. The woman dubbed as "Australia's own Blues diva" by Bruce Elder of the Sydney Morning Herald has made herself a home in a myriad of genres. This led MHS critic Lee Howard to write of her commanding vocal abilities "Kerri Simpson could sing the phone book and knock an audience out!"

Renowned for her ability to effortlessly own whatever genre she cares to inhabit Kerri Simpson has successfully navigated myriads of genres throughout her career.

In 2017 Simpson turned her hand to alt country recording the critically acclaimed Bluebirds album with fellow singer-songwriters Barb Waters, Suzannah Espie and Allison Ferrier. Music journalist Jeff Jenkins wrote of the project, “It’s like an Aussie version of the American trio of Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. A lot of living has gone into this record, but it contains unbridled joy. There’s nothing quite like hearing four formidable women singing heavenly harmonies.”

Over 2017 and 2018 Kerri joined Indigenous songwriter Glenn Skuthorpe on his Small Change and Wild winds of Dooga albums.

Simpson has always been at home in the blues idiom and so returned to her RnB roots in 2014, releasing 4am on Belmar Records. The album of nine original tracks is tied together by the musicians’ mutual love of New Orleans music, their shared playing experiences in the Crescent City. There are no fancy studio tricks, just glorious lo-fi.

The Belmar Playboys’ collective wealth of experience bursts through every track on this album. Rambunctious guitar solos from Dai Jones and Shannon Bourne, sensuous tenor sax from Dean Hilson, solid Crescent City synchronicity from Andrew Ogburn, all held together by the groove masters Mark Grunden and Steve Purcell in the rhythm section. Simpson honed her writing, arrangement and production skills working on the “Knockin’ at the Backdoor” series by recording over 40 tracks in various genres for future release at Thirty Mill studios. She is also a dab hand at composing tunes in diverse genres and on Fortune Favoured Me, as with previous releases, she collaborates with a stellar line up of musicians.

“Fortune” not only highlights Simpson's extraordinary vocal command and range, it showcases her production and writing skills with tracks co-written with Matt Walker, Jeff Lang, Geoff Achison, Shannon Bourne and Charles Jenkins.

Crossing over into world music, Simpson’s Vodou: Songs of the Spirits was Rhythms Magazine’s World Music Album of the Year. It is in the roots music field that Kerri is really at home. Her 2003 award-winning blues and gospel album Sun Gonna Shine stayed in the Australian roots charts for nine weeks.

Kerri spent her formative years as a musician playing and writing in the US and Europe, Her blues albums are showcased on Chicago radio and receive regular airplay there. She recorded Confessin’ the Blues with a host of the country’s finest players. The CD received airplay in the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, and was nominated in the 1999 ARIA Awards. After the band’s showcase at the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, Patrick Donovan from The Age dubbed Kerri “Australia’s Queen of blues” and the band “one of the country’s finest blues bands” their overall performance as a “highlight of the festival”.

Shortly after, Kerri supported Dr John and Keb Mo on their national tour. As a result of that release and her previous work in New Orleans, Kerri was invited to perform with Norman and Ricki Caesar, Jason and Aaron Neville Jnr at the 1999 Jazz and Heritage Festival, making Kerri one of the few Australians to appear at the prestigious festival, and the first Australian female to perform there.

In the 90s, her original rock albums inspired author and music critic Andrew Masterson to compare her to “Patti Smith with a glass of scotch in one hand”. She was featured alongside Beth Orton and Fiona Apple on Fritz Radio in Berlin when her The Arousing CD was their number one. Her dance records Higher and Kiss Her Goodbye saw her compared to Patti la Belle and Chaka Khan. They became popular on the London underground dance scene and she toured Australia supporting Kylie.



Knockin’ at the Backdoor series:

#3 4am [2013]

#2 Fortune Favoured Me [2012]

#1Maybe by Midnight Mescalito/origin, 2007]


Sun Gonna Shine [Belmore]

Vodou: Songs of the Spirits [Ind]

Confessin’ the Blues [Viridian]

Speak [Ind]

The Arousing [Ind]

Vévé [Ind]


Grubby Rhythm and Soul Vol 1 [2021] Belmar Records

Bruce Hearn and the Machinists Live at the Athenaeum: A tribute to Woody Guthrie [2020]

Opelousas Third Jinx Blues [2020]

Opelousas Dear John single [2019]

Opelousified [2019]

Opelousas Baby Ltd ed EP [2018]

Hey Gringo: Not the same planet [2018]

Glenn Skuthorpe: Wild winds of Dooga [2018]

Small Change [2017]

Barb Waters, Suzannah Espie, Alison Ferrier: Bluebirds [2017]

Belmar Records Top 10 Vol 5 [2017]

Belmar Records Top 10 Vol 6 [2019]

Ska Vendors: Feeling Fine [2015]

Suzannah Espie: Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today [2015]

First and Last Hotel [2009]

Wendy Rule: Black Snake [2015]

Zero [1996]

A band called Milton: Kiss single [2014]

Andy Szikla: Dark Valley [2013]

Geoff Achison and Chris Wilson: Box of Blues [2012]

The Gospel Belles [2010]

Diana Wolfe: Rutherglen Road [2010]

The Ears: Dogs in Space [2010]

Sarah Carroll: Yippee [2006]

Rory Ellis: The Rushes [2005]

Two Feathers [2008]

Cyndi Boste: Scrambled Eggs [2004]

David Bridie: Act of Free Choice [2000] Take the next illusionary exit

Telek: Amette [2004]

Higher [Razor Records]

Just Music [Jesuit Social Services]

Kiss Her Goodbye [Razor Records]

PsyHarmonics Comp. #1 [Psyharmonics]

Turkey Neck: Lasso [Ind]

Swing Sidewalks Attic Jazz

The Five Aces

Sophisticated Boom Boom Don’t mess with Bill


Bran Nue Dae [Australia 2010]

Tempted soundtrack [US 2000]

Last Drinks [Australia 1998]

Island of Salvation [US 1998]

Nomad SBS TV [Australia 1993]

Big Night Out [Australia 1990]


The Singers companion by C. Sullivan [2019]

Blues Portrait: A profile of the Australian blues scene by P. Bailey [2019]

Roots: How Melbourne became the live music capital of the world by C. Horne [2019]

Witch: A Magikal Year – chapter: ‘Lakes of Memory’ by F. Horne [1999]