"Met a pretty girl in Gower, only her first time/ I'd been there two years and had two more in line." - Roll Me Out - Mia Dyson.

Torquay raised singer songwriter and guitarist Mia Dyson has a healthy penchant for including her family in music that has won her national exposure.

There's luthier dad Jim who carved out her distinctive sound in the slide guitars that he toiled over.

And her mother eulogised in her tune Rivers Wide and a late octogenarian grandfather who was the source of No Other.

But it was a disparate family who inspired the single Roll Me Out - a staple on JJJ-FM and community radio.

Dyson sourced her tune after a concert at the Deer Park gaol for women.

She personalised the story of a woman, ostracised in her central Victorian hometown for being gay, and institutionalised after being gaoled for a minor crime.

But, unlike Allan Caswell tune, On The Inside, it hasn't earned massive royalties as a TV show theme.

"I met these characters at Deer Park when I performed there but used the name Gower - the prison farm - in the song," Aria Award blues-roots winner Dyson, 24, told Nu Country TV.

"A lot of women find love in the prison - especially matriarchs who run prisons and take new prisoners under their wings. I met some incredible people in there. One grew up in a small town in Victoria. Being a dyke her sentence was out of proportion to the crime. But when she was in there she learned her criminal trade. She got an 18 month sentence and then had to learn how to survive."


Dyson didn't organise a reality TV gaol break to publicise her new video shot at home without her song subjects.

"It's a low budget video clip by a friend of mine who is a film director," says Dyson.

"It's not going to be story telling - most will concentrate on the chorus about having a good time. It features a lot of musicians and other friends."

The artist recorded No Other, featuring her dad, in the bungalow at the Moonee Ponds house her grandparents called home for 59 years.

"We recorded most of the album in the 8 ball room at the back of their home," says Mia of the house from where her grandfather would take nostalgia tram trips until he died at 87.

"He trekked across town on trams to places like South Melbourne, where he grew up, and Glen Iris and check out how things changed. I was compelled to write the song because my grandmother, who is now 85, never spent a day apart from him when he was alive. He was a jack of all trades, brush and furniture maker."


Dyson also eulogised her mother's artistic support in Rivers Wide.

"She had incredible taste in music," says Dyson, "she fed me art, music and literature, was the main bread winner and held the family together."

But a childhood friend and musical mentor inspired I Meant Something To You Once.

Dyson and her friend were among a trio of musicians and songwriters who flew under the radar at Mathew Flinders High School in Geelong and never became Sweethearts Of Swing.

"She was incredibly talented," Dyson recalled.

"At 15 I looked up to her and aspired to be like her. We wrote songs but our music teachers didn't know about that. She went on a bender after high school and lost her way. She's now an activist, doing incredible stuff."

Ironically, Dyson was long unaware of fellow roots musician Xavier Rudd who lived at nearby Jan Juc when she was on the Surf Coast.

"I had no idea who he was until he followed me into the Cricket Pavilion at Port Fairy folk festival," says Dyson.

"As I was finishing my solo set for about 50 people the crowd started flocking in to see him.

He came back afterwards and gave me couple of supports on his gigs."


Dyson hopes to release her music in the highly competitive world market but has no plans to emulate fellow ARIA winner Keith Urban and move overseas.

The singer has performed on three continents but is building a growing market here in Australia.

"I did some showcases for record labels and booking agents in the U.S. and Canada," she revealed.

"I played in Toronto, Vancouver, London and Edinburgh."

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