"Way down at the end of the world there rests a golden land/ a heart shaped diamond, at peace for a while/ safe from the perils of man/ there is a bosom so soft, waiting for me/ how I long to be safe in her arms/ I'm a fallen leaf from a broken family tree/ but I flourish wherever I land." - Tasmania - Audrey Auld.

When Van Diemens Land lass Audrey Auld decamped the unlucky radio country in 2003 for northern California her song sources mushroomed.

Now, almost a decade later, she is relishing her first home visit in five years with a timely Tasmanian tour.

The singer wrote a brace of songs about her adoptive homeland but also recorded a pair about her deepest south heritage.

And Auld highlighted her homage to her home state on her fifth album Come Find Me.

The songs Tasmania and Tree have more than just nostalgic value for her family and fans.

"I'll be home for my Dad's 80th birthday at the end of April," Auld told Nu Country TV on the eve of her tour.

"We always had music in house and very little TV that I'm thankful for. He's a great piano player and cornet player and my step dad's a great trumpet player who plays Dixieland jazz.

We lived up on Mt Wellington in Fern Tree and later on in Hobart. When I wrote Tasmania my mum was going though some medical issues. I felt a long way away in east Nashville and wished I was with her."

Audrey won't have that problem on this tour that included the Apollo Bay music festival and east coast concerts.


"If I could bring you anything I would bring a banquet for a king/ cheese and wine/ and fruit and pies, a taste of everything/ I would bake you a cake, but the hacksaw wouldn't fit the pan." - Bread And Roses (for San Quentin.) - Audrey Auld.

Several Texans including rising roots country stars Sunny Sweeney and Kori Jean Olsen have recorded Auld's songs.

Sweeney cut Next Big Nothing on her 2006 debut disc Heartbreaker's Hall Of Fame - it originally appeared in 2001 on Audrey's second solo disc Losing Faith.

But unlike many expat peers, who invaded the Nashville mecca, Auld has not plunged deep into the lucrative Guitar Town writing pool.

Auld prefers to write alone - except when she is in jail.

"One of most satisfying co-writing experiences has been in San Quentin prison doing workshops with the inmates," Auld explained.

"I love creating songs out of their writing. I'll give them the title and toss it in the air. It's very much taking 15 men's words and creating songs out of them. Then I'm the editor in that situation."

It's a little different to when the five times wed celebrated Californian country star Merle Haggard spent his 21st birthday behind bars in San Quentin while the late Johnny Cash did a prison concert.

Auld wrote Bread And Roses about her prison writing workshops.

She donated proceeds of a digital version of the song to Bread And Roses - an organisation dedicated to healing power of music for institutionalised prisoners, children, ill, disabled and elderly people.

The late Mimi Farina - sister of folk singer Joan Baez - created the trust in 1974.


The karma worked.

Dale Jett - a member of the famous Carter Family clan that produced Cash's wife June Carter - is performing two other Auld songs.

"A P Carter's grandson Dale Jett performing one of my songs Down In A Hole in his live show," Auld revealed.

"He's also going to be singing Orphan Song from my new album - he really responded to that. He's a hardcore Virginian guy who plays in a trio with wife Theresa and Oscar Harris on banjo and guitar. It's pretty cool - they're big Fredheads. They play at Fred Eaglesmith's festivals."

Auld doesn't shy away from co-writing when approached but prefers to choose writers she knows.

"A lot of people come to Nashville to co-write," Auld said.

"They sit down and write a song. I like writing alone, going along on inspiration. A lot of people want to get rich out of writing songs but that's not my motivation - I don't pursue it. I tune into what the muse is sending through. I felt that on the Orphan Song (about Louisiana orphan singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier) when Terry McArthur showed me the lyrics. It came to me immediately as a complete song, came to me very easily. Terry gave me the lyrics after meeting Mary, hearing her story and listening to her songs. Obviously I write very easily with Bill Chambers - it's obviously a very trusting thing."


"I'm gonna be the next big nothing/ you won't see my name on MTV/ I'm gonna be the next big nothing/ no-one knows my name in Tennessee" - Next Big Nothing - Audrey Auld Mezera.

Auld has also scored songs in American TV shows - including one based on books by famed crime writer Elmore Leonard.

"Justified is a modern western with Timothy Olyphant and Nick Searcy in it," Auld said of the show set near Lexington in East Kentucky and based on Elmore Leonard novels Pronto and Riding The Rap.

"Good Guys is a cop show - a comedy. It's all handy mailbox money for me."

Auld and American plumber husband Mez Mezera collaborated on Just Love.

"He sent me a romantic email one Valentine's Day," Auld confessed.

"I ripped it off and that became the first verse. There was too much of him in there not to get a co-write."

The couple definitely need the money - they have 15 mouths to feed.

"We have got two dogs and 11 chooks that Anne McCue feeds when we're away," Auld said of the expat Sydney guitarist who also sings on her new album.

"One of the dogs Gypsy is very lucky. She's an Australian muscle hound - she's a rescue dog. When I played at the Woody Guthrie folk festival in his hometown Okema, Oklahoma I wanted to bring home a dog for my husband. He wanted a black female lab replacement for the one he had for 14 years. I came home with a freaked out brown hound dog. She came from a no kill shelter in Bristol, Oklahoma. She's a country dog, she tours everywhere with me in my van. She's my shadow - my sidekick."


Although Auld has never lived in Austin, Texas, she frequently records and performs there.

She recorded Come Find Me at Congress House Studio with producer Mark Hallman.

Hallman is a multi-instrumentalist performer who has toured with the late Dan Fogelberg as well as Carole King and Iain Matthews.

"He was someone I had wanted to work with for a long time," Audrey says.

"It was a bit of a dream come true on this record."

Hallman produced King and Matthews - Texas legend Eric Taylor, Will Sexton, Eliza Gilkyson, Sara Hickman, Ezra Thomas, Tom Russell, Hot Club of Cowtown and many more.

Marty Muse played pedal steel on One Love - penned with Mezera.

"He's from Robert Earl Keen's band," Auld said.

"It was a great thrill to have him in the studio - hearing him put it down."

McCue, youngest daughter of a Campbelltown milkman and producer of Tracey Bunn's new album, By The Wayside, sang on One Love and Tree.

"We jam a lot together and have toured together," says Auld.

"She's a good mate. She lives around the corner from me and looks after the chooks when we're away. We've got two dogs and 11 chooks."


"Your mind is dark, your life is pain/ you drink black water, smoke from a pipe/dally all day rock all night/ there's an ape on your back/ your voice is ravaged." - Petals - Audrey Auld.

Auld also wrote a eulogy to hard living Austin singer-songwriter Jon D Graham - a member of the True Believers with the Kinman brothers in the eighties.

She previously recorded tributes to fellow Texans Billy Joe Shaver and Karla Faye Tucker and the late Harlan Howard and Woody Guthrie.

"Bill Chambers and I opened for him in Austin at Threadgills," Auld recalled of the singer cut from the same cloth as the late Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley.

"We later met him on a train trip - a week long trip. I've been a fan of his for many years. We would hang out and jam, drink and smoke and play guitar in the baggage car. His story is pretty amazing. He's a cat with 99 lives who can't kill himself no matter how hard he tries. He survived drugs, booze, car wrecks, falling off ladders, ruptured organs and busted hearts. He roars through it all with poetry and passion."

Another new song The Butterfly Effect also had its roots near where she now hangs her guitar.

"It comes from living in the south," Auld said.

"There are black people all around me. I'm interested in black history of America - the slavery and emancipation and that ability for people to make changes in the world with non-violent actions and peaceful work. The inspirational work to step up and make a change. It's a cool thing to make a change. This song celebrates the courage and conviction of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King to speak up in the face of bigotry, racism and fear, to simply hold firm and change the course of history."


"I got battle scars around my eyes/ I've got old boyfriends with bitchy wives/ I look back and I wonder why I'm 40." - Forty - Audrey Auld.

Although Auld enjoyed living near hippy HQ Bolinas on the California fault line she and husband Mez are now soaking up the culture of East Nashville - an arts mecca.

The couple met almost 30 years ago in Hobart when seaman Mezera was in port on a ship.

They reunited a decade ago and settled on the west coast before the lure of Guitar Town brought them down south.

Neighbours include Todd Snider and a vast cast of other songwriters.

"Some nights there are 10 women jamming out on different instruments," Auld enthused about the neighborhood musical soirees.

The singer is keen to reveal her influences but was coy about being asked when she wrote Forty about hitting the big 40.

"Funny question Dave, oh really, you'll have to come and look at me," Auld joked.

"That song will keep me forever young - you can write me the 70 verse."

Auld plays Northcote Social Club - Tuesday May 3 - with Abby Cardwell and Sam Lemann.

CLICK HERE for Tonkgirl's Gig Guide for full tour dates.

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