"I got drunk in New York City on the sounds of integrity/ I got mad when I realised that you don't know what you are gonna do with me" - Girl In The Band - Tamara Stewart-Bob Theile.

Way back in the halcyon days when country music reigned on local commercial radio singing actor Marty Robbins visited Goulburn Valley town, Mooroopna.

Robbins by-passed the major cities and played a two day country music festival in the heart of the Victorian citrus and dairy belt on November 2 and 3, 1974.

The visit was such a huge success the Arizona born stock car driving star returned in 1977 for a national tour with pioneer progressive country band Saltbush.

And between tours in Mooroopna a baby girl entered the world on a parallel path to a country-singing career.

"I wasn't even born when Marty played in Mooroopna," Tamara Stewart, then 30, told Nu Country TV.

Well, was it possible that Stewart, one of three sisters, was blessed with Marty party genes by being conceived during his visit by her proud parents?

"I've never thought of that," laughed Stewart who began singing at five when known as Tammy Sloper.

But, like Robbins - born Martin David Robinson - she adopted a different stage name.

Unlike Robbins, who went to God at 57 on December 8, 1982 after a heart attack, this singer is energised.

She is blooming after her birth in the fertile dairy-music belt that that produced artists diverse as Hawking Brothers, late Kevin Shegog's band Gold Toppers and latter day Shepparton starlet Briana Lee.


"Oh even a hero on the silver screen/ gets to rest between the scenes/ you've kept our engines going/ keep our wheels in motion." Drive - Tamara Stewart.

But soon as Tamara turned 21 she hit the highway north to the big smoke of Sydney and earned her stripes as a roads scholar in the outback beer and wine mines with veteran bush troubadour Brian Young's show.

"We played missions, settlements and towns where local residents came out in force," Stewart fondly recalled of a circuit that was finishing school for peers including Troy Cassar-Daley and Beccy Cole.

"We learned to connect with audiences who travelled hundreds of miles to enjoy the music.
It was a valuable learning process in reality."

Reality - as in contrast to fabricated fashion fuelled reality TV.

Stewart also explored the eastern seaboard by living in locales diverse as Byron Bay, the Central NSW coast for seven years until 2005 and now Sydney.

She wrote 12 of 14 songs - including the powerful social comment title track of her 2001 debut disc The Way The World Is.

Her only co-writes were with album producer Rod McCormack and Rick Price.

This earned her an APRA funded songwriting sojourn in the U.S. and U.K. enabling her to hone her creative skills.

Stewart earned healthy royalties from writing eight songs for prolific award winner Beccy Cole's 2003 album Little Victories.

Tamara teamed with Nashville tunesmith Angela Kaset whose songs are published by expatriate Australasians Barry and Jewel Coburn.

And she also wrote with Kostas - the former Montana writer whose songs have been hits for Dwight Yoakam, Mavericks and Patty Loveless.


With sweet serendipity the Goulburn Valley gal became the envy of peers during a sojourn in music mecca Nashville when she spent a day with revered stone country songwriter Harlan Howard, who died less than a year later at 72.

"I was having lunch with Stewart Harris after a writing session and I just mentioned I would love to meet Harlan," Tamara recalled.

"Stewart picked up his phone, dialled a number and said he had a writer with him who wanted to meet him. Harlan said come on over so we did. It was Halloween."

Howard didn't need Halloween as an excuse for a drink but the trio celebrated with several.

Harris, a prolific hit writer, was one of many tunesmiths with whom Tamara teamed.

They included Jerry Salley and Jim McBride who penned her embryonic single Lying Down.
But that was then and this is now.

She has hooked up with an eclectic mix of writers from different genres and chanced her writing and vocals by morphing into a broader based roots artist on her 2005 self- titled album.


"You want a little left of centre baby/ but you keep on walking that line/ it's a sad situation when every creation is dependent on company time." - Girl In The Band.

She penned the satiric Girl In The Band with Bob Theile in Los Angeles after doing a little field research on the mean streets of New York City.

"Yes, I did get drunk in New York in the interests of accurate research," Stewart confessed.

"But it's also a social comment on the public perception of girls who sing in bands."

She wrote ruptured romance song Stolen with Jess Cates, whose songs have been cut by Backstreet Boys, Blue County and Clay Aiken, and Try with St Louis raised Ted Bruner of the band Colony.

And although she produced the album with Price at his Neutral Bay studio their only collaboration is James - a vivid eulogy to James Taylor.

Stewart plays acoustic guitar with Price on guitar, bass, drums, mandolin, dobro and piano with session players guesting on horns, strings, organ, cello and accordion.

She also weaves the imagery of new environs into the evocative Military Road - a song inspired by Price.

Equally powerful is anthemic All Woman and the poignant Song Girl - a reflection of the artist's struggle to retain country fans who believe she has gone pop and rock fans who think she sounds too country for their citified tastes.

"Poor little song girl, she's paid to lose/ if it's criminal I'll do my time, living a life of rhyme."


Stewart has since released her self produced independent third album Love Laughter Lessons and we'll feature her video clips on Nu Country TV and a review soon.

The singer wrote all except one of the tracks.

"Producing this album has been an amazing experience," Stewart recently revealed.

"I needed to re-acquaint myself with what I do. I have had to nurture these songs from conception and it has been a joy getting the guys in to play on the album and to be the one in the drivers seat."

Those musicians include bassist Ian Lees, drummer fiancé Bradley Bergen, organist, pianist and accordion player Mark O'Connor and Michel Rose on pedal steel, dobro and mandolin.

The album was launched at the Regent Theatre in Tamworth on January 25 this year.

It included Stewart's collaboration with Nashville writer Angela Stewart on Company Of Strangers and guest vocals by Camille Te Nahu and French on Joni Mitchell epic Both Sides Now.

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