"I see the lights of Hay, shouldn't be too far away/ I once had dreams more than I can manage/ now all I need is a coffee and a sandwich" - Lights Of Hay- Neil Murray.

When Lake Bolac raised farm boy Neil Murray reminisced about the Lights Of Hay on his seventh album Overnighter it was an aching for their shelter.

But singer-songwriter Susan Lily long ago escaped the neon nostalgia of Hay for the brighter lights of the big smoke - Melbourne.

And, now, the slender blonde belle rings for Nu Country TV at our free Christmas Party at Hotel Kew from high noon on Sunday December 16.

Lily was born in outback NSW and lived in Hay where she was raised on the staples of bush life and its conduit to reality - country music.

She studied music until Year 9 and made her public debut in a trio with her guitar tutor - a social science teacher who also sang church songs - at Carols By Candlelight.

Lily, like many peers, opted for an off stage tertiary career - she chose radiography in Wagga at Charles Sturt University and later Sydney University.

That post-graduate degree led her to the Victorian health system almost a decade ago.
It was here she resurrected her guitar playing with a teacher who did his time in the Dilli Allstars - a band featuring Sunday Herald Sun singing scribe Paul Stewart.

Stewart recently joined former Dead Livers pedal steel guitarist Brendan Mitchell - now doing time with Andre Camilleri's Broken Hearts - as the proud recipient of a liver transplant.
While delivering good and bad tidings to the sick in the Victorian capital city, Susan also followed her muse.

In May 2002 she took vocal lessons from Nikki Nicholls - an in demand singer with a CV that covered all bases.

Nikki graduated from embryonic TV show Brian And The Juniors to work with acts diverse as Suzie Quatro, Stevie Wonder, Australian Crawl, Richard Clapton, Daryl Braithwaite, Johnny Farnham and Kylie Minogue.

Equally importantly she appears in the stage show Girls, Girls, Girls with Wendy Stapleton and Debra Byrne.

Yes, a nice segue to Susan's recording career.


It was while pursuing a career in stand-up comedy - on live shows filmed by C 31 - she found "people liked my singing more than my jokes."

"I dabbled in poetry and songwriting when I was younger and then began again in earnest four years ago when I first met Paul Norton," the singer revealed.

"Paul has become my songwriting mentor and co-wrote Not Today - the first song I ever took to him."

Susan maximised her vocal training - she recorded debut single Got The Monkey Off My Back with Norton (long time singing spouse of Stapleton) - and Michael Cristian.

The 2006 debut disc also featured Not Today - the collaboration with Norton.

Norton is famed for his eighties pop hit Stuck On You and scored massive airplay on Nu Country FM with his band Hillbilly Moon.

So did Cristian - not the Ten Network host and former Collingwood player - but the Seekers producer and male lead in Fisk & Cristian.


Lily, who performed at the famed Gympie Muster in 2005, was also a finalist in a 774 ABC radio quest at Federation Square.

Her single has been added to the playlist of Nick Erby's syndicated radio programme CMR via the country music NFS CD volume 110, released in December.

She has since entered her single into Victorian Country Music Awards, Starmaker Quest and appeared at the 2007 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

She was a finalist in the Jazzer Quest - a talent search staged in the honour of the late singin drummer Jazzer Smith who played in Melbourne country band Homestead in the seventies and eighties and co-founded the independent Across Country magazine with Christine Whyte.

That was before Jazzer wrote most of Australia's first country music encyclopaedia on a typewriter in his Tamworth bath while fighting a decade plus battle with cancer.

His widow - journalist Anna Rose - picked up the torch with her altruism to enhance careers of singers such as Susan.


Lily, who balances her radiography career with songwriting, also performed at 2007 Mildura Country Music Festival and indie music awards.

She entered her music in the Victorian Country Music Awards, Musicoz 2007 and the 2008 TIARA Awards in Tamworth.

Now she is busy writing for her disc.

"I currently have around 10 completed and another 15 unfinished songs to choose from for my debut album," Lily revealed.

"I am currently working with Paul to start choosing what I would like to go on the recording. I haven't really sat and deliberately written a song with anyone yet. Paul tutors me with my songs and I would love to have him, Michael Cristian and myself write some songs together. I really admire the musical acumen of Michael and Paul and are very proud they both like working with me. They will be my producers of the album."

Meanwhile Susan showcases her original tunes at 13th Nu Country Christmas Party.


Admission to our party, as always, is free to members, friends, Nu Country TV viewers and country music lovers.

The Hotel Kew, replete with new beer garden, is located at 99 High Street, Kew Junction.
Table and meal bookings are available - Phone 98538960 - Fax 98531528
Email bookings - hotelkew@bigpond.net.au

We have special prizes including an Akubra hat and autographed CDS by Kacey Jones, Mike Brady, Lee and Tania Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Brand, Adam Harvey, Melinda Schneider, Catherine Britt and Arizona singer Billy Wyatt.

We also have CDS by Texan singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, Gretchen Peters and many others.

Guests can renew their membership or become new members at the lavish party.

Memberships help finance our return to C 31 for Series #9 of Nu Country TV early in December.

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