Greetings from onboard a plane, the destination of which I have forgotten.
I have always been a busy bee, I cram much into my days, weeks and months, but this past year…?? My goodness, it has been crazy!
I have just spent my 8th night in my own bed for 2015, and the first time I’ve had two nights in a row! Bliss. Not that I’m complaining mind, how blessed I am to be travelling the country and beyond, doing exactly what I love!
I’m currently in the midst of a tour with the wonderful Melinda Schneider, we are touring to support and celebrate the release of ‘Great Women Of Country,’ a tribute to the women who have had a major influence to us and many others, singers and music fans alike, through the years. It has been terrific getting to sing these old songs again. The idea was Melinda’s, my phone rang about a year ago and there was Ms. Schneider with a light bulb above her head, insisting that I was her first choice for this wonderful covers concept. 8 months later, the album was released and we began a series of exclusive shows with the WHOLE studio band. 6 fabulous musicians (in suits) make up the incredible line up and I have to say, as a singer, it is an honour to be sharing the stage with Doug Gallacher (drums), Jeff McCormack (bass), Stuart French (guitar), Michel Rose (pedal steel), James Gillard (guitar, vocals) and Clare O’Meara (keys). The best of the best right there.
Between the recording of this album in 2014, I was tapping away on the laptop, sometimes through pretty crazy emotions, and finishing my autobiography, ‘Poster Girl.’ What a ride it’s been putting that baby together! I guess I always knew that it wouldn’t always be easy, especially when one is face to face, once again with the demons of the past. However, there were as many wonderful memories stirred during the writing of the book and I am most grateful for the happy highlights that I was able to recall.
I’m a pretty honest kind of person and I didn’t fancy using much of a filter so there are things in the book that may surprise some. I can’t say I’m not nervous having so much of my life exposed for all to see but I’m pretty proud of being able to face some of the craziness of my past. I honestly feel refreshed and renewed, kinda like I’ve slayed a dragon or two in the writing of ‘Poster Girl.’
As we approach the release date of the book, my breathing is getting slightly heavier, but I’ll be just fine! We took an advance box to the Hunter Valley’s ‘Campfire’ festival last week and sold out straight away! I’ve been thinking about the 100 or so people that have already had a chance to read my story – I hope they’re OK!
Upon completing the book (submitting to the publisher and screaming ‘THANK F*%#K for that!”), I was really so very keen to write the songs that would accompany the book perfectly. At the end of last year, some expressed that it was such a pity that I didn’t have time to write, record and release an album in just a few short months. The best way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t. (Like the time my brother told me I can’t quit smoking and I haven’t had one since…)
So on November 11, I wrote the first song for the album, ‘Broken Soldiers’ and followed with 11 more songs over a couple of weeks after. I took myself to an awesome old retro shack at the beach at Aldinga, South Australia and locked myself away with Stevie (the Wonder dog) organic local produce, SA wine and a head full of inspiration after the unlocking of memories during book writing.
I LOVE these songs! They’re all very ‘ME!’ Ten of them are 100% mine and two; ‘Songs Remember Me’ and ‘Off My Chest’ were co-written with my talented partner (and the most supportive person in the world), Libby O’Donovan.
The first single ‘Broken Soldiers,’ has been released and the finishing touches are being added to the film clip, due in the next week or two.
I was keen on releasing ‘Broken Soldiers’ first as we are approaching ANZAC day and I wish to shine a light on the plight of many return soldiers who suffer from non-physical injuries. PTSD is a very real and sad affliction that faces some of the men and women who come home after serving our country and it’s a matter very close to my heart. For almost ten years now, I’ve been dedicating my song ‘Poster Girl’ to those who have served our country, past and present, and to their families; the ones who wait at home holding their breath until their loved one returns. ‘Broken Soldiers’ tells the story of a man who returned home unable to fit back into his life, losing his wife and children, his job and his home. The story is told from his mother’s point of view and sadly, his is a very common story in our country. The song was inspired by, although not the story of, Captain Paul Mackay. After returning from Afghanistan, Paul took his own life when the PTSD was more than he was able to cope with. I attended Paul’s memorial in Adelaide where I was asked to sing ‘Poster Girl’ in his honour. When Paul’s mother, Angela spoke, my heart broke for her. As a mother, I listened to this amazing woman speak to lovingly of her son, she honoured him as she shared his story, her strength, pride and bravery shone throughout her speech. I knew I would write a song. A week or so later, I was observing a minute silence at 11am on November 11, dedicating it to Paul and all our fallen women and men, I wrote ‘Broken Soldiers’ that afternoon.
My new album, ‘Sweet Rebecca’ will be released on April 10, 2015 and I just can’t wait to have these songs out and about. This is album number 10 for me and I’m pretty sure it’s my best yet – although we all think that about our new ones, don’t we? I’ll be hitting the road with the band, the books and the album and I’ll spend most of this year travelling the country – much like I have for the last 22 years! The show is fun, full of laughs, old songs and the new stuff, I am aiming to please.
Thanks for reading my blog – I don’t seem to be able to nail myself down more than a few times a year to do this but I’ll certainly try to pop another one up ASAP.
To those of you who have bought my music, my book or tickets to my shows, I say thank you. Here’s to a top year for you x x x