The Fisk family have been in Australian country music almost as long as the Dusty and Kernaghan dynasties.

But the Fisk fry, now calling Mr Moriac home, are best known here in Victoria.

And it's on another side of the microphone that veteran singer-songwriter Gene and daughter Donna embellished their talents.

Gene, whose radio career started during an Air Force stint in Malaysia in the fifties, blazed a trail at Melbourne commercial station 3UZ during its halcyon days in the seventies.
Fisk also worked at major regional stations, including 3GL Geelong, before and after his 3UZ era.

And more recently Gene, a one time PBS-FM country music host, was a driving force at long suffering Geelong radio station Country FM - 89.3 FM.

The station staged a decade long battle for a community broadcasting licence but, like sibling station Nu Country FM, was refused in 2001.

Gene, whose station is now operating on a narrow cast commercial frequency, won the Heritage award of the spring Independent Country Music Awards in Mildura with his song 'Kidman' about the outback cattle king.


Donna, whose career began in the eighties, has recorded as a solo artist and in a duo with writing, recording and performing partner Michael Cristian.
The singer balanced her singing with her volunteer work as a popular disc jockey on 3WRB-FM, now Stereo 974, in the Melbourne suburb of Brooklyn in the nineties.

Fisk and Cristian upstaged her dad by making the finals of the 31st Australian Country Music Awards in January, 2002.

It was their second year in succession.

They hit the Top 5 for vocal duo or group with their single 'The Recipe'
The Recipe and new single 'Under The Influence Of Love' are from their third album 'The Big Picture,' set for launch at Tamworth in January, 2004.


It's a far cry from when Donna cut the narrative, 'The Cowboy Song' before Garth Brooks chose it for one of his huge selling albums, 'In Pieces.'

Fisk & Cristian have shared stages artists diverse as Tom T Hall, Dionne Warwick, John Denver, Donny Osmond, Tom Jones, Blood, Sweat & Tears and leading satirist Barry Humphries.

In 1998 they had a top 10 radio hit with their song 'Lara' and rocketed into the ARIA charts with their Seven Network AFL TV footy song 'Rock 'N Footy'.

They performed the song to a sell-out crowd of 100,000 people on the hallowed turf of the MCG.

And a 100 million plus audience for the 1998 AFL Grand Final International satellite broadcast.

This year they performed live at the Bellarine and Geelong Football Leagues Grand Finals at Skilled Stadium in Kardinia Park.

Donna and Michael were also chosen by the Federal Government to perform Bruce Woodley penned song 'Building On A Strong Foundation' as Australian Centenary of Federation anthem.

The duo have also released four albums and won awards for their original songs.

Their CD 'Joyride' on Warren Fahey's Rouseabout label featured 11 of their tunes including a remake of 'Dimboola' and the stone country song 'Toe Tapping Twang'
with Brian Cadd on piano.



When singer Donna Fisk's hometown team Geelong was being eliminated from the AFL finals in September, 1997, she was lying in agony in a Melbourne hospital bed trying to watch TV.
Bur after a miraculous recovery from a protracted illness, Donna and singing partner Michael Cristian, performed at the 1998 Grand Final for a television audience of 40 million plus.
The duo sang Seven Network AFL footy theme Rock 'N Footy at the MCG as a curtain raiser for the North Melbourne-Adelaide grand final clash.

"Donna was very ill for a good three or four months," Christian revealed on the eve of the big game, "she was in hospital for at least 10 days. She had a really horrible time lying there and was very scared. We were also worried sick. We cancelled many gigs and recording sessions to allow her to recuperate."

Ironically, it was during the convalescence of Donna - eldest of six children of veteran disc jockey and country singer Gene Bradley Fisk - that she got her big break during a private concert at the Woodend home of Seekers singer and former MP Athol Guy.


"We were doing a gig at Athol Guy's farm and Gordon Bennett - the head of Seven Network Sport - was there," Donna revealed, "he later rang Athol to contact us for a project. He called and asked if we would sing the Lee Roy Parnell song, If The House Is Rocking, which was used for the football last year. He added he wouldn't mind something fresh. I said 'why don't we write something?' We wrote the song that afternoon and played it to Gordon the next morning. He wanted something with a country rock edge like Hank Williams Jr song All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over For Monday Night Football which is used for the NFL. He also wanted us in the footage."

The rest is history - the duo became an "overnight sensation" after a collective 40 years working with artists of the calibre of The Seekers, Judith Durham, Tom T Hall, Donny Osmond and the late John Denver.

"We wrote the song in about 45 minutes," revealed Cristian whose tunes have been recorded by The Seekers and Judith Durham on recent albums.

"We recorded it at my studio - Sound Plant in Spotswood."

Cristian is no stranger to success as musical director, arranger and writer for The Seekers and Judith Durham but Fisk feared she was doomed to be a Coodabeen champion like her football team.


She performed and recorded with Brian Cadd in Nashville and released a song that failed to make Top 5 in the best female vocal section of the 1988 Australian Country Music Awards.
'The Cowboy Song' was recorded at former Little River Band guitarist David Briggs West Melbourne studio but was rejected in Tamworth.

But the same song was later chosen by American superstar and multi-millionaire Garth Brooks for his album 'In Pieces' which sold more than six million copies - a hefty slab of his total sales of 100 million plus in just a decade.

Now, a decade after beating the huge selling Oklahoma legend into local stores the bucolic bridesmaid has become the belle of the football after being rewarded for the vote of confidence by Brooks.

Rock 'N Footy was added to the duo's debut album 'Little Stars Of Eden' and they performed at both North Melbourne and Sydney Swans 1998 grand final breakfasts.

"We are getting fan mail from all over Australia - especially Adelaide - and we are now working on a second album," Fisk said.

The duo received hefty exposure on Live And Kicking and other TV variety shows but little on mainstream radio which does not play country music.

But like other Australian country music artists the duo rely heavily on TV - not radio exposure - for airplay, popularity and publishing royalties.

"I believe the publishing cheque will be quite OK," says Fisk whose father Gene was a popular DJ on 3UZ in its halcyon days in the seventies.

"Equally importantly it puts country music in the national spotlight - something it has never been able to achieve in recent years. It's important to me that the song put our album and music in the minds of people whom we would never normally get to. People who would never get to listen to country music have heard us because of the sales of the single with its bonus country tracks."


One bonus track is 'Lara' - a tune about driving through the town where Brownlow medallist Gary Dempsey was born - to reach the Great Southern Ocean.

"That song came almost as quickly as Rock 'N Footy," say Cristian, "it took us only about an hour to write."

The duo have collaborated with fellow local singer-songwriter Paul Norton - living in the shadows of singing spouse Wendy Stapleton - for their single Right Here.

It's aimed at the Australian Country Music Awards.

"We have to prepare for life after football," quipped Fisk, "that means performing at interstate and Victorian country music festivals. We write prolifically - we've had a song recorded by Tina Martyn and we're writing for Geelong country singer Adam Harvey."
It's a lot less painful and far more lucrative than being confined to a hospital bed on that one day in September.

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