Two blokes from the bush are the opening act at this month’s Akoostik Festival. We catch up with the boys…
You recently burst on the scene with a self-produced album, entitled ‘Life on the Run’. Tell us about the mood of the album.
Jay: It’s actually quite a surprising mixture of tempos and moods. From the rollicking romp of ‘A Day in the Run’ to the sorrowful lament of ‘Through My Tears’, Graeme’s writing is heartfelt and sincere. Likewise, in two of my songs, ‘Where I Want to Be’ and ‘Don’t Get Much Better’, I address the classic themes of love, home and family. Mixing things up, Graeme has added in four very different songs about his grandchildren. On the lighter side, there are 2 comedy songs and, on the more serious side, a few inspiring anthems, like ‘Proud to Be Australian’ and ‘Burning Light’.
Graeme: I think it’s music getting back to the style of what it was originally – written about an experience of life and not to a formula, just to be commercial. I write from the heart and in some ways let my songs take their own path.
> Wherrol Flat the backdrop to your band. Tell us about how the area inspired you, or drove the themes to some of the music.
Jay: When my wife and I were looking to settle on a rural property, we found 100 acres along the Little Run Creek, just west of Wherrol Flat. I tell you, from the spectacular landscape to the good country folk, this area’s got it all.
Graeme: Basically being inspired by the beauty of our surrounding area, family, everyday events on the farm and this country in general. I think the Manning Valley has some of the prettiest areas in Australia.
> You had your concert debut as the opening act at the Fatherhood Taree Festival, and now you’re set to play the Wingham Akoostik Festival this month. Tell us about the joys of playing live …
Jay: Well, there’s really nothing quite like it. All the hours of work and practice come down to that singular moment between you and the audience … what a rush!
Graeme: After working 30 years on the farm in a peaceful valley, performing was the last thing on my mind, so to be honest the Fatherhood Festival was very bloody nerve wracking! Now we have a great group of musos working with us, so I am looking forward to the Akoostik Festival.
> As musicians, what have been some of the highs and lows?
Jay: Performing together now for over a year, there have certainly been some great moments. One that comes to mind was our Australia Day concert at the Kempsey Fairgrounds. It was a great audience in a fantastic outdoor setting. The sound crew had their end sorted, and we just got to sing and have fun.
Graeme: The highs have been having my songs played on radio both here and overseas and seeing people enjoy the music. Another high is having the privilege of working with top musicians and vocalists. The lows were the unknown aspects of recording and producing a CD, however it did have many exciting moments. At the start it was fairly daunting and we had to be willing to change direction at times to achieve the optimum result. From building the studio to finalising the CD, it has been a very interesting journey to say the least.
> Who/what are some of your inspirations?
Jay: I find that in the music I’m composing now there are direct influences by many, such as John Denver, the Eagles, Gordon Lightfoot, Jim Croce and even Peter, Paul and Mary.
Graeme: My inspiration for songs comes from everyday life, true feelings and personal experiences.
> Country music gets great air play in the USA. How do you think it is growing here? Do you see yourselves landing in Nashville anytime soon?
Jay: It’s funny, because I was never a big fan of the Nashville style of country music. It wasn’t until I got here and heard Lee Kernighan, John Williamson, Slim Dusty and others, that I began to appreciate the distinct sound of Australian country music. That’s the spirit that we’ve tried to capture on this CD.
Graeme: We are getting great response in most areas including overseas, but the whole thing has been out of the blue and totally unexpected. I think at this stage we take it week by week and see what happens.
> Thank you guys.