More about Val

Cartoonist, children’s book author, anthropologist and multi-instrumentalist Val Ockert crafts powerful, soaring melodies with global imagery.


Well-known for his satirical toilet paper lampooning the Australian prime minister, John Howard, Val is a complex, humble character who considers song-writing as a life-long catharsis rather than a career move. His poetry reveals a profound longing for resolution. 

Whenever Val plays a raucous venue, the room is instantly chilled into a place of smiling, pacified listeners. You can smell the sweat and feel the tears that have gone into creating his clever, observational lyrics, accompanied by a lived-in voice full of gritty emotion.

Australian now, Canadian-bred, influenced by Irish music, alternate Country, 1950’s waltz, jazz and folk Val often brings together an eclectic mix of talented musicians to soothe the heart in a troubled world. Val is joined by Tracey Stride on keyboard, banjo and charango.

On their first album, “Lane Hog Mind with a Timid Heart”, Val and Tracey consider themselves to be blessed to play with Slim Pickens on vocals, double bass, guitar, organ and percussion, Dr. Baz (Barry Ferrier) on lead guitar and accordion, with Neil McCann on drums. Together they comprise over 300 years of inspired musicianship!
Music seems to come so simply to some people. Val is one of those people.​

"Song-writing is a catharsis, an involuntary urge to resolve the muddle. If the listener is soothed by one song, one lyric or even one note then honesty has triumphed". Val, 2017

The Splendour Trio

We are a joyous country-contemporary-rock folk trio who predominantly play uplifting and soothing original songs written by Val Ockert. 

Val Ockert & Tracey Stride both sing and are multi-instrumentalists who play piano, guitar, mandolin, travel banjo, percussion and bodhrán, as well as an unusual little 10 string instrument of sedition, the Bolivian Charango, beautifully carved from a single piece of jacaranda wood. 

Val played drums in his teenage rock band, Essence of Purple. In his childhood house, the lounges were pushed back and his parents danced and sang along to Frank Sinatra, Nat King-Cole, Vera Lyn, Lonny Donegan, Tommy Steele, Ruby Murray, The Chipmunks, Hank Williams, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Donovan and Rod McEwan. 

Tracey’s father played trumpet and she and her 3 sisters played piano and sang along to her father’s favourite, Louis Armstrong; also, Fats Domino, Bill Haley, The Four Seasons, The Andrews Sisters, The Beatles, Engelbert Humperdinck, Neil Young, and The Beach Boys to name a few.  Later influences include Buddy and Julie Miller, Stephen Cummings, Jason Isbell, Nick Cave, Gillian Welsh & Dave Rawlins, The Waifs, Tedeschi Trucks, Billy Bragg, Cruel Sea and Don Walker. She played in local Tweed-Byron band King Billy.

Their incarnation as a duo in 2013 finally allowed Val the time to focus on the songs he has been writing all his life and in January this year they released their first album, Lane Hog Mind With A Timid Heart, co-produced by Slim Pickens at Red Gate Records.

Tracey and Val are joined by Doctor Baz - Barry Ferrier PhD. Song-writer, crooner, many-times judge at the North Coast's Dolphin Awards, the talented Barry has performed in Jesus Christ Superstar, has a touring Johnny Cash Show, and plays regular gigs country-wide. He plays flute, accordion, guitar, koto and piano.

Val Ockert      songs of love & fatalism