WITH TANIA KERNAGHAN - 22 JANUARY 2002
DIVAS FIND BRIDES IN BOOTS
Way out beyond
the mulga and spinifex in the great Aussie outback old cowboys curl up
and die and are buried with their boots on.
But up north in New England where INXS guitarist-pianist Andrew Farris
raises beef cattle good old young girls sprint to the altar to be betrothed
it's not a rural myth - it happened to a neighbour of Farris near
Armidale and was captured in the song 'Boots N' All' on Tania Kernaghan's
third ABC album, Big Sky Country.
Riverina reared divas Tania and younger sister Fiona learned of the
booted bride in a week-long song writing sojourn on Farris's 4,000
got the idea for the song after she had been flipping through an R M Williams
outback magazine," Tania told Nu Country, "they have a section
with girls getting married in their R M Williams or Blundstones. She read
an article about a girl who does it boots n all - even on her wedding
day under her wedding dress she was wearing her boots. It's not fiction.
Andrew told us about a neighbour who was getting married - it bucketed
down rain so she went and put her boots on."
The trio wrote a swag of songs during their stay with Farris who produced
and played on Tania's album.
But it wasn't all bouquets, boots and brides for these sisters in song,
"One day, I think it was a Saturday, Andrew said 'I've got a few
cattle to drench - do you want to give me a hand?" Tania, now 33,
"We loved it - we were right up to our ears in mud and dust and the
wrote about farm foreclosures, faded love, cheating, absent lovers and
joys of rural living.
"I met Andrew about two years ago when he was writing with Fiona,"
Tania recalled, "he said he was interested in producing so we got
together. He was very much the musical part of the writing team - because
Fiona and I were more into the lyrics. He was more into the music and
gave us a fresh sound."
Although Farris invested wisely from his rock career some New England
neighbours were not so insulated.
'A Farmer's Prayer,' a Fiona-Farris collaboration, was a new twist
on the foreclosure theme that has long been a country staple.
"A lot of Andrew's friends had been through drought and tough times,"
says Tania, "I like the Farmer's Prayer because it's a song
about reality but it's also a song of hope. It doesn't leave you feeling
desolate and destitute - it does give you hope. That's very much about
what this album is about - it's an uplifting sounding album."
Fiona fronts rock band 'Feeling Fine' in Nashville where she's
a prolific songsmith, writing and singing demos pitched to major artists.
MINDY MCCREADY AND CHEATING
Although most of her songs have been covered by Australian acts she had
one track on an album by Floridian singer Mindy McCready.
Tania, like most peers, faces the harsh reality check of no metropolitan
radio airplay - she has tired to leap the moat by making a video of her
cheating song 'Steal Away.'
"It's the first real cheating song I've ever written and sung before,"
she says, "it's the singer (myself) admitting I'm lying in the arms
of another man while my man is out on the road, trying to make a living.
It feels so good but I know it's so wrong."
Tania is realistic about shrinking TV exposure for country music with
only CMC on Austar and Nu Country TV.
The singer resisted the temptation to expand the appeal by hiring a male
celebrity to play her paramour.
"I play the cheater, it's just me thinking about cheating,"
she explained, "we didn't put a male lead in. Maybe we'll get exposure
on the ABC - Landline and shows like that."
Kernaghan covers all extremities or romance in the bush on her five compositions.
'Heart Of The Man' echoes love being driven by the heart - not
fashion or image.
And 'She'll Be Right' - written by Fiona - is based on a rough
neck rigger friend on a gas rig out west in Queensland.
The female, who keeps the home fires burning, is a vast contrast to the
cheating femme fatale in 'Steal Away.'
The singer and her three siblings - including brothers Lee and Greg who
were born into a family who toured the outback when they were children
- are not afraid to write about her own ravaged romances.
"Too Little Love' is one of the real country sounding songs
on the album," she proudly declares, "I wrote it about a year
ago with Fiona in her home in Nashville. I was going through a situation
where I had been going out with a fellow for a while and it was all falling
apart. When I put the brakes on things he said 'hang on.' I said 'sorry,
Buster - too little love too late."
Although airplay is scarce in the cities for Tania and peers her profile
is raised by her charity work - she's a patron for Riding For The Disabled
and Rodeo groups.
also made another recent video in Melbourne to raise awareness for drought
Kernaghan filmed the video for 'A Farmer's Prayer' - written by
her sister Fiona and producer Andrew Farris of INXS about bank foreclosures
on family farms.
The video for the song was filmed in the ballroom of a Melbourne CBD hotel.
Kernaghan says the crisis worsened when old school friends were forced
off their farm at Oaklands near Albury.
"I have some friends who have had a property all their lives at Oaklands
in the Riverina," Kernaghan revealed.
'I went to school with them in Albury. The family have been on the same
farm for three generations and had to move into town and manage the local
caravan park. They hope to save the farm with caravan park income. They're
hanging on, fighting foreclosure."
WOMEN ON THE LAND
said the song was written from the viewpoint of women on the land.
"It's not just a song of despair, it's a song of hope," says
Kernaghan who hosts 'A Little Bit Country' on the Prime national regional
"Fiona and Andrew wrote it through the eyes of women on the land.
When their backs are against wall rural women get stronger. Some of Andrew's
friends had been through drought and tough times. The song is uplifting
and doesn't leave you feeling desolate and destitute."
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