BEFORE Tom Burlinson there was Frank Sinatra.
If you closed your eyes and listened to the smooth voice of Tom Burlinson you could mistake him for "old blue eyes" himself.
But when it comes to swing music of the 1950s, Burlinson brings both his acting and singing talent to the stage as part of his Now We're Swinging show.
The NIDA graduate has made a name for himself starring in many Australian films including Phar Lap, Eureka, Flesh and Blood, and the Man from Snowy River.
However it wasn't until 1991 that Burlinson made his professional singing engagement when he landed the role and sang the voice of a young Frank Sinatra in the Warner Brothers mini-series Sinatra.
Chatting with Burlinson, I felt as though I was interviewing a crooner from the '50s - he was a cool customer with no pretence about him. It is all about the music.
Now We are Swinging has a theatrical setting and is a celebration of the great stars of swing music from the '50s such as Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.
Many of their songs have been made very popular today by Harry Connick Jr and Michael Buble.
There will be many that will recognise the original but the younger ones will know them from Michael Buble.
The Mackay audience can look forward to hearing songs like Come Fly with Me, Sway, Just in Time, Beyond the Sea, The Way You Look Tonight, Ain't That a Kick in the Head? and Feeling Good.
Burlinson said he travelled with eight musicians including two saxophone, a trombone and trumpet player.
He said many of the songs were based on the original and during the show there would be biographical details on the singers and the history of swing.
The show which runs for two hours is very similar to his 1998 Frank - The Sinatra Story in Song.
"That show was far more successful than I thought it would be," Burlinson said.
"It has been a life long love for the music of Frank Sinatra.
"But it has been a process of discovery and while the focus has been on Sinatra, this show is also about the work of other performers and that has been a great joy.
"I have had a feeling for this music all my life and I don't really impersonate but it is more of an impression of the performers.
"When I perform a Dean Martin song I try to keep in mind his smooth, relaxed style.
"And when I am performing a Sammy Davis Jr number he was more energetic so I make sure I sing that way.
"It does come natural to me but it is also a product of intense study. But I think the music is timeless and still very much alive - well it is for me," he said.
There will be an eight-piece band at the show, not 16 as previously stated.
Now We're Swinging
- When: Thursday, May 3 @ 7.30pm
- Where: Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre (Auditorium)
- Tickets: From $45, dial and charge on 4961 9777 or mackaytix.com.au