Trevor Knight, well known country music singer and fascinating horse whisperer, shares the inspiration behind his music and what horses have taught him. He is also involved in raising much needed funds for the Bulahdelah fire brigade.
Hi Trevor. You are a singer songwriter with a huge music resume … two Golden Guitars, world travel and award nominations. Where are you now with your musical career?
I’ve had a lucky life and music has been my passport to adventure. Entertaining is one of the best professions you can have, instant job satisfaction and you also get the chance spread a little happiness.
For the past few years I’ve been busy performing around the world on American cruiseliners, writing songs and touring around this great country of ours.
I’ve just got back from South Korea, China and Japan, and now I’m heading off to Hawaii to cruise down to Malaysia … but on 8 May I’m performing at one of my favourite venues, the Bulahdelah Bowling Club to raise some badly needed funds for our rural fire brigade.
As the song says “It’s really nice to go travelling, but it’s oh so nice to come home”… and it’s even better to sing there!
How did your country music career begin?
Music has always been my driving force, I started playing the piano when I was at English boarding school. I was 10 years old … and hated it!
I had a very strict music teacher, up every morning at 6am to practice scales and boring music. Anyway after much pleading with my parents, I was eventually allowed to give up the piano, as long as I took up another instrument. I can remember that life changing moment … I was in my music teacher’s office and he said, “Well, what instrument are you going to fail at now?” There was a picture of a guitar on the wall – I had never seen a guitar before (this was pre-Beatles in the late 50s) – I pointed at the picture said “Eh … that, sir!” Well I got my guitar, an old Spanish Tatay, fell in love with it and never looked back. I discovered folk music, attempting Dylan songs and sounding just like a spotty 14 year old English school boy trying to be Bob Dylan.
To begin with I was woeful, but I got better. I had some great teachers in England. I played at folk clubs with the likes of Paul Simon (before he was a pop star), Ralph McTell (Streets of London fame), and Tom Paxton and that was just the start!
I’ve always thought of myself as a folk singer, but when I won my first Golden Guitar I became ‘country’!
And then you were playing for the Queen on Darling Harbour. That must have been a highlight? Tell us about that experience.
Yes, it was a great honour. It’s funny, I can’t remember what songs I sang, but I can recall in detail what Her Majesty was wearing … a lemon coloured suit with a matching hat.
After the concert I drove back to my farm in Berry on ‘cloud nine’.
At the time my two kids were about six and eight years old, bursting with pride, I said to them, “Do you know who daddy played for today?”
“No” they said “Who?”
I said “The Queen!”
They said “But dad … we’ve decided to become Republicans!”
Another fascinating thing about you is your connection and lifelong relationship with horses. Now, we have all heard of a horse whisperer, but how do you define it?
The term horse whispering is a taken from the book and film ‘The Horse Whisperer’.
You don’t ‘whisper’ to horses at all, you communicate with them in a way they can understand. Horses ‘talk’ body language to each other, and so you move your body in a way that they can relate to. Not like the predator that we are, but in soft curves, approaching them in a non threatening way. You ‘train’ with trust and respect, not ‘break’ with fear and dominance – and it works!
Tell us three things that people may not know about horses.
There are so many things that I still don’t know about horses, I am learning from them everyday, but here’s some for you:
Every horse has a unique personality and they feel intense emotion. I have a video of my stallion Jericho crying tears over the passing of one of his beloved mares. I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t seen it.
The hoof of a horse acts as a pump, so the action of walking helps the heart to keep the blood pumping, so I suppose they have five hearts.
Arabian horses have one less vertebrae, denser bones and a bigger brain than other horses.
Horses can’t breathe though their mouth. Every horse is special!
How does your life on the farm influence your music?
I’ve always been a country boy and the sort of music I play expresses the open spaces and the love of nature.
As you know, I am influenced by my friend John Denver, his music and his philosophies of life. He once said, “If I ever come back it will be as an eagle”. There are three eagles who live on our property, and when I look up and see them soaring overhead, I can’t but help thinking of John and his influences on my life.Mind you, I don’t think our chickens feel the same warm glow when THEY see them!
Recently you approached the fire brigade in Bulahdelah, and asked them if you could help them raise badly needed funds, what prompted this gesture?
I’ve always had a thing about heroes. Ever since I was a little kid I used to dream of the tall, dark and handsome stranger in a big white cowboy hat, riding a palomino stallion, galloping into town to save the townsfolk from disaster. Well, I suppose the outfits have changed – they wear fire helmets and drive fire trucks these days, but the heroes remain!
The Rural Fire Service is a volunteer organisation and although they are funded to a certain extent there’s always a shortfall. Living in the country for most of my life, I respect the commitment of these people who give of their time selflessly and put themselves in harm’s way for all of us.
My profession takes me away from home for up to eight months of the year, which means I can’t commit to be part of the brigade, so I do what I can do to raise money to help these true Australian heroes!
Why should people come to the concert and what can they expect?
Singing for me is a passion and every performance is unique, I have a lot of fun on stage. I suppose the best way to describe it is by reviews.
I guarantee we’ll all have a great time, and raise money for a worthwhile cause.
Thank you Trevor.