When you think pioneering Australia country music artists, you think storytellers; Slim Dusty and John Williamson, that traditional balladeering country. One singer/songwriter had the fortitude to mix that storytelling with a rockier sound to modernise the genre we now know as country. James Blundell is widely credited with being the man who changed the face (and sound) of today’s country music. With a brand new album due out next month and a set last week at Broadbeach Country Music Festival, he’s also on the bill for Murwillumbah Country Roots.
“We’ve had wonderful responses with the first two songs. I’m working with my favourite label (Karen Waters) so it’s been great and I can’t wait to get out on the road and play.”
We know he’s a great singer/songwriter and we know he’s an avid surfer. On the back of those two new single releases in Hills of Brisbane and Casuarina I’m wondering what a typical day looks like. He laughs long and hard.
“That’s a lovely question,” he said. “The days I’m not on the road, I usually get up 5.30am. If I’m not working on music, its quad bike, dogs on the back, trying to find sheep in the mountains. Once we’re done it’s usually repairing fences that are nearing 100 years old. This is a glorious period of my life. I love performing and being on the road, but it’s nice to come home too.”
Is Blundell trying to convince us that he’s just a normal, knockabout sort of a bloke? He laughs when I mention it.
“Probably more stupid than most really. Nah, I’ve got common sense and honestly it’s the thing that I believe has saved me numerous times through a career that’s had both highs and lows. I’ve managed to live through three marriage breakdowns on the front page of newspapers so without common sense it would be a problematic existence.”
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Kylie Daniel spoke to Blundell ahead of Broadbeach Country Music Festival. And he joins a royal cast of country stars for the first ever Murwillumbah Country Roots Festival in September too.