Lee Kernaghan

When things kicked off in the early 90’s I got to see what I believe was a revolution in country music in Australia. The music reached out and pulled in people aged from 5 to 95 and they were all getting into it. When you think that James Blundell, Keith Urban, Troy Cassar Daley, Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys and I all broke out sort of simultaneously, and we’ve all sustained long consistent careers. That hadn’t happened before.”

An old upright piano sits in a house on Dallinger Road in the Albury suburb of Lavington just a stone’s throw from the railway line and the famous Hume highway.

It’s the early 90’s and inside a 26-year-old Lee Kernaghan is broke. He has reluctantly returned to the family home and moved in with Mum and Dad.

“I was staying in the back bedroom of their place,” Lee recalls. But the ivory keys were calling and the melody to a song that has become as iconic as ‘Waltzing Matilda’ as an Aussie anthem was soon conceived.

“Next to the bedroom was a small room where the piano sat and it was on that piano I put down the music to ‘Boys from the Bush’,” Lee recalled.

“At that point, I was towing a horse float around the Riverina with all of my music equipment rattling around in the back. I was the sound man, the gig booker, the singer, the lighting guy and roadie all wrapped up into one. Then along came ‘Boys from the Bush’ and changed everything.”

That’s where the stars started aligning for one of Australia’s most successful music artists of all time. With more than two million albums sold in Australia, 15 albums released, 34 number one hits, 36 Golden Guitar Awards, four ARIA awards, a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement ARIA Award in 2015 and a former Australian of the Year, there is no disputing the success of Lee Kernaghan.

“At the time it didn’t properly dawn on me the significance of this song but ‘Boys from the Bush’ spoke to a younger generation of Australians living and working in the country. Many of their parents had probably raised them on a steady diet of Slim Dusty and they felt this was the soundtrack for their generation but still Australian and about stuff they were into.”

“I never particularly thought that my stories of paddock bashing, chasing girls at the pub and going to B&S balls were noteworthy enough to write about but Garth Porter pushed me in that direction and the first bunch of songs we wrote and recorded became the Outback Club.”

… read the rest in Issue 84