pinchgutSolo fiddle at Bundanoon


sc recordingon concertina at Goulburn Conservatorium

prb 99Solo vocal/guitar



Bush Music - Australia's Traditional Folk Music - Songs, Music and Dances

  Latest NEWS

Australian Tunes in 4 Parts

Since 2012 David has been arranging his favourite bush tunes, and some more recent ones, into parts for group playing. This has been inspired by the National Folk Festival Bush Ochestra, initially directed by Graham McDonald and later by Greg O'Leary. The collection of these arrangements is now available online for your perusal, download and hopefully performance. These are free to use with polite acknowledgement.


Songs of Australia

David's new collation called Songs of Australia is available from him at sessions for the cost of the printing. It is also available on this web site as a series of pages that can be downloaded as pdfs or as abc files (which can be edited eg to change key with a program such as ABCExplorer). Use them freely. Email any concerns about copyright and items will be removed if necessary.

David Johnson completed his bush music apprenticeship at the Sydney based Bush Music Club. Strongly influenced in the song, dance and poetry traditions by the likes of Jamie Carlin, Barry Collerson, Frank Maher, John Dengate, Ralph Pride, and Bob Bolton, David worked with a number of bush bands including The Rouseabouts, The Reedy River Bushmen and Pinchgut, playing fiddle, guitar, banjo-mandolin, banjo, and occasionally tin whistle and button accordion. He established and then led Southern Cross Bush Band for many years until the tree change to the Southern Highlands where he started his family band Paddys River Band.

On the first Friday of the month David leads a Bush Music Session at the Goulburn Club. Each month has a theme for songs and poems to challenge players, and collected tunes from south-eastern NSW are featured.

Since 1983 he has led the Heritage Ensemble as Musical Director and Conductor. The Ensemble is an annual confluence of the best bush musos in NSW. Together under the musical direction of David they provide the quality bush orchestra sound for the Heritage Ball put on annually by the Bush Music Club. In April 2015 the Ensemble also played for the main ball at the National Folk Festival in Canberra.

A new lineup with Canberra musicians Ray Mulligan and Peter Percival and long term music mate Ralph Pride from Sydney has been established under the name FolkLines.

Recent involvement with Bush Traditions Inc has seen David programming the Bundanoon DanceFest and supporting the annual Bush Trad Gathering currently held at Yass. With Ray Mulligan and others, he has been presenting Australian collected tunes sessions at the National Folk Festival for the last five years.

David's passion for the neglected Anglo-Concertina has led him to establish a web-based Concertina Tutor for playing it in an Australian style.

A period of isolated inspiration in Yass in 2006 gave David the time to collate and record a collection of poems that he had set to music. The resultant CD is Rough Sawn -A collection of New Songs in the Australian Tradition.

An online collection of recently composed tunes in the traditional style, entitled The Continuing Tradition, has been started. Other tunes are welcomed (especially in abc format).



Pinchgut c 1979

sc recordingSouthern Cross recording in ABC Studio c 1983

prb 99Paddys River featuring the whole family c 1997

mulligan and johnson

Recording with Ray Mulligan c 2012

david and jamesTwo up with son James C 2010