Backroad Nation

Last night, my wife Susan and I went to see Lee Kernaghan on his ‘Backroad Nation’ Tour backed by The Wolfe Brothers at the Evan Theatre, Penrith Panthers Club approx. 60km away in Western Sydney, Australia.

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Lee Kernaghan OAM* has been one of the shining lights of Australian Country Music for the past 27 years and we’ve been fans for nearly that long, though this is the first time that we have ever seen him in concert. We always seem to have had something clashing on the dates when he was playing near Sydney prior to this.

Lee Kernaghan OAM is an Australian Country Music singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was the 2008 Australian of the Year, in recognition for his support of rural and regional Australia. He has  numerous awards including 37 ‘Golden Guitars’ at the world famous Australian Tamworth Country Music Awards, an event where accomodation is booked out years in advance.

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He was being backed by long-term friends, The Wolfe Brothers who hail from Tasmania, Australia and have been producing albums in their own right since 2012. In 2019, they won 4 ‘Golden Guitar’ awards including, including the coveted Album Of The Year honour with their critically-acclaimed fourth album, Country Heart.

Also accompanying the band were, Christie Lamb, Country Female Artist of the Year in 2018, who was in turn accompanied by Jonathon English (who is the son of the late, legendary Jon English, a star of stage, screen and music in Australia).

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The atmosphere was intimate (the theatre holds only 900 people), electric and a celebration of not only Australian Country Music but as Lee says, “It’s about feeling that good vibration when you get off the beaten track and the country wraps itself around you.”

The concert and the performances within met and exceeded the expectations I had for it.

There were the poignant moments of ’The Spirit of the ANZACS’ when Lee asked us all to stand during the song to pay tribute to Service Men and Women past and present; the tribute to Slim Dusty**, Australia’s King of Country Music, ‘Flying With The King’ to the rollicking moments when songs that celebrated iconic Country Australia with songs such as ‘Backroad Nation’, ‘ Beautiful Noise’, ‘She’s My Ute’***, ‘Waitin’ On A Mate’ and ‘Let There Be Cowgirls’ and ‘The Outback Club.’

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Also of note was a brilliant version of ‘Great Balls Of Fire’, one of the songs, Lee remarked that he played early on in his career when he didn’t have enough of his own songs to get through a set.

Am looking forward to picking up some of The Wolfe Brothers albums as I really love their sound. Am also keen to explore more Jonathon English’s music. I am a huge fan of his Father’s music and it was plain for all to see and hear that his son has all the makings of being a star in his own right.

We are certainly looking forward to the next time we can see Lee Kernaghan in concert!

Written by David Johnson
14 September 2019

Footnotes:

*     OAM – Order of Australia Merit
**   Slim Dusty – Australian cultural icon with a career spanning 70 years
***  Ute – Short for Utility. A term used in Australia to describe vehicles with a tray behind the passenger compartment

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