ThingsICarryAroundWe chatted to the beloved Australian country music icon about his brand new releases – both album and memoir.

Q1/ You are releasing both an album and a book, each titled Things I Carry Around – did the two develop completely in tandem, or did writing for one prompt the writing of the other in a cause and effect kind of way?

They grew together really. One thing inspired the other and it was book, song, book, song, in no particular order. I really loved it actually.

Q2/ How did you meet Tom Gilling, your co-author for the novel version of Things I Carry Around, and how did that writing partnership work?

We met through our publisher and had many an hour on the phone trying to paint my life’s pictures in words. He really helped me organise the house with this book; if it was just me, the place would be a mess!

Q3/ I learned from your album cover that Tamworth has an airport! Do you truly collect the bag tags from all of your flights? I’d imagine you could plaster the inside of a guitar case several times over on one year’s worth of travels alone.

I could do a couple of rooms now I think, yes for a long time I collected them because they were a constant reminder of the amazing places I have had the privilege of visiting. Yes, Tamworth has quite a big airport, and you may want to use it during our country music festival in January!

Q4/ This release finds you in a “more relaxed and organic musical environment.” Were you getting too caught up in the post-production side of music making? Is this about returning to a simple, acoustic- or analogue-driven way of creating?

Yes, it’s the most relaxed record I’ve made in years for a couple of reasons. Most of the songs were either written or half-written; I just wrote songs while reading the book to make sure the stories flowed from one to the other. My pre-production was the same and I really enjoy that, I love being creative down in my little studio [with] my Pro Tools. But this music found me digging deeper lyrically than ever before, and I loved it.

Q5/ You are one of Australia’s most decorated musicians, in any musical genre – but particularly within the country music scene. Which young country artists are you enjoying watching achieve, whom you think might win their own Golden Guitar one day?

A young bloke called Tyson Lucas is one to watch, and Missy Lancaster is a ripper young artist, who has potential overseas; I reckon keep an eye on them with me!

Things I Carry Around is out now via Liberation.

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