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 in Blundstones.

No, 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 acre farm.

Tania Kernaghan

"Fiona 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, revealed.
"We loved it - we were right up to our ears in mud and dust and the rest."


The trio 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.


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.


Tania Kernaghan also made another recent video in Melbourne to raise awareness for drought stricken farmers.

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."


Kernaghan 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 network.

"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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