DIARY - 16 JANUARY 2013 - LEE KERNAGHAN INTERVIEW
GIRL LEFT IN DUST
the roos, hit the washout sideways/ knock other guidepost flyin'/ fish
tail, hold tight/ full lock, power slide/ drop her down put the boot in
yeah." - Ute Me - Lee Kernaghan-Colin Buchanan-Garth Porter.
country music king Lee Kernaghan shot the video for a new song at the
famed 2012 Deni Ute Muster he turned bad tidings into good.
A city model booked to play the female lead cancelled at the 11th hour
because she feared for her safety.
Not from Lee - 48 and father of two sons - but muster fans.
"So we made a few enquiries on the site and it just so happened that
the people that ran the backstage catering at Deni, their daughter is
a model based in the United States and she just happened to be back in
town," Kernaghan revealed while promoting his ninth album Beautiful
"So we got this absolute glamour girl who is country through and
through - born and raised in Deniliquin, and making a name for herself
in America and she is in the clip and features beautifully too. We had
a model booked from Sydney to play the Ute Me girl and at the last
minute she bailed out - she told the director she didn't want to go down
there because it was too feral and she feared for her safety. So she was
obviously the wrong girl for the clip."
Kernaghan shot the clip at the 2012 muster - it's the second single from
the album he's promoting on a national tour in March.
"I'd say that Ute Me will be the second single and we did
shoot the clip while we were there in Deni," Lee recalled.
"We took a huge crew down there and a massive crane and we captured
live on stage but also out in the car park in the camping ground. It was
an awesome experience! Ute Me is probably one of the wildest party songs
I've had out ever! And it's made to sound big in a vehicle - in a Ute
or a four wheel drive"
a red dirt dream, out in the sticks/ a shed with a Chevy in a million
bits/ it's the big day, she's in the driveway/ we got fuel in the tank,
hand on the wheel/ I can see your reflection in the Chromium steel/ slip
the key in, I got ignition/ it's a beautiful noise."- Beautiful
Noise - Lee Kernaghan-Garth Porter-Colin Buchanan-Matt Scullion
the singer exploited a vehicular theme on the disc when he wrote the
title track for the V8 Super Cars he says the real beautiful noise
is more personal.
"It's the sound of our unborn baby's heartbeat - hearing Jet's
heart beating and knowing a new life had begun, is something I'll
never forget," Lee explained of the music made by his youngest
son when singing spouse Robby was pregnant.
The couple also have another son Rock who also arrived after more
Kernaghan has long promoted the culture of vehicles - from Utes, trucks,
4 wheel drives and faster cars in his music.
back to when the Corryong high country born bush boy moved to Albury in
the Riverina and spent time in his red TE Ford Cortina near a town called
Those were the days examined in the summer time romantic and automotive
memories of Splash.
"There is also a bit of a theme there," the singer added.
"When you're making a country record there's usually a number of
rules you follow. We broke all those rules - nearly all of them anyway.
There's elements of dance, hip-hop, you name it. Things you would normally
hear on one of those kinds of records, we've stuck into a country record.
I think they'll probably notice a new sound. Stylistically it's a little
different to anything I've done before. Thematically, it's still about
"us" - "our" country and "our" way of life
and life experiences. I just try and write about and try to make music
for this generation."
The singer collaborated with long time writing partners - producer Garth
Porter, Colin Buchanan, James Blundell and Matt Scullion - in a creative
They wrote songs in Lee's shack in the McPherson Ranges, Blundell's family
farm near Stanthorpe and Porter's Sydney studio.
Watching flight details at Coolangatta Airport ignited Ute Me.
The singer enjoys an extensive pre-release aural journey with his music.
"Well, every record I make I road test," Kernaghan explained.
"I often do that for continuity to see how the songs flow from one
to the other and whether I've got the themes right and the tempos right.
But yeah, no doubt people who are on a long trip are going to find they'll
get a lot of miles under their belt before they realise the album's played
through. There is also a bit of a theme there."
was Ansett 603, he sits down next to me/ we were flying out across the
Great Divide bound for WA/ he shook my hand and said g'day/ there I was,
Slim Dusty by my side/ I was flying with the king, riding on the wind/
a small town boy from nowhere/ my head up in the clouds." - Flying
With The King - Lee Kernaghan-Colin Buchanan-Garth Porter.
is indebted to late bush balladeer and country king Slim Dusty for
support, songs and inspiration.
Lee honoured the Kempsey raised legend in previous posthumous praise
- Missing Slim - and also scored exposure with Leave Him
In The Longyard.
This time he weaves the late aviation pioneer Reg Ansett into Flying
With The King - a sibling song of John Hiatt's Riding With
But the singer has another closer and younger inspiration for new
Kernaghan says falling in love with duet partner Robby inspired Bang,
Bang and Shooting From The Heart.
It's no surprise
Robby joins him on New Kind Of High - a song she inspired and co-wrote
Maybe Party Town - a kaleidoscopic celebration of farmers after
the crops are harvested - is also his fond link with a pre-marital life
on the wild side.
"I don't know how I kept it up," he jokes.
Kernaghan also sings praises of outback workers triumphing over fire,
floods and drought with the tuneful therapy of Dirt Music.
The same characters are again eulogised in the geographical gamut of this
vast sunburnt country in Keeping On.
The fitting finale is Peace, Love And Country - another song in
which he credits her with guidance, loyalty, solace and much more.
YOAKAM PARTY TOWN
there in the boondocks/ bullet holes n truck stops/ see em rolling in
through the heat/ filling up the north star/ packing in the front bar/
spilling out into the street/ it's been a long haul/ but the wheat cheque's
in/ the tractors are back in the shed/ things are getting louder/ it's
a keg of powder." - Party Town - Lee Kernaghan-Garth Porter-Colin
grew up in Albury on the music of the outlaws - Hank Williams Jr, Waylon
Jennings, David Allan Coe and Willie Nelson.
But he also had a penchant for the music of Kentucky born, latter day
Californian singing actor Dwight Yoakam with whom he toured in November.
"I remember being 22 years old in Nashville, learning to write songs,
and this new guy had just hit town called Dwight Yoakam," Lee recalled.
"And he made a huge dent in country and pretty well paved the way
for Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw and all the others that followed."
Although Lee admires international heroes he is steadfast in retaining
his Australian roots in his music.
"Country music is constantly evolving in terms of production and
musicality," Lee says.
"There are a lot of different musical influences going on, both within
and outside of country music. On Beautiful Noise my main mission is to
tell the story of my generation. One of the things that really turns me
on about this great music of ours is that it's not just country music,
it's the music of our country. I'm trying to write songs that will resonate
regardless of where someone happens to live."
Kernaghan is never rushed making his albums.
"Don't let timetables get in the road of making the record you really
want to make," Lee says.
"I've been lucky over the years to have a record company that's backed
me all the way. There's been lots of starts and stops and delays, but
at the end of the day it's allowed me to make the music I believe in.
It's also meant that I haven't been as prolific as output of CDs - often
it's two or three years between albums. But I want the songs to stand
the test of time."
But are there any regrets - even with time to reflect?
"No there's always stuff I'd change," Kernaghan confessed.
"One of the pitfalls is that sometimes the harder you strive for
perfection the further it recedes. You've got to kind of balance it with
giving it a red hot go with not wanting to over bake it.
"But there's always stuff that you want to change. Probably the most
embarrassing experiences I've had in terms of wanting to change something
was on the Electric Rodeo album where we had a song called Texas,
QLD 4385. When we were writing the song I was researching it and I
wanted Amy to live out on a particular road just outside of Texas and
the local publican gave me the name Bebo Road but I thought he said Nebo
Road. So come album time I thought we'd go out and we'll sing it at the
Royal Hotel in Texas where I can sing Amy lives out on the Nebo. Well
there is no bloody Nebo Road, it's the Bebo Road! But you know, these
things happen. Often when it's on record it's too late to change."
for Lee's interview on his ninth album Planet Country in the Diary on
November 10, 2009.
/ back to diary