2015 CD REVIEW
JOHN K KRSULJA
TRAVELLIN' ( www.johnkrsulja.com.au )
FOUR DECADES APART – HEARTS REUNITED
“The letters that I wrote - they never gave you/ and I searched, until the path grew cold/ forty years - I tried to forget you/ forty years, so alone.” - In A Heartbeat - John Krsulja-Luke O'Shea-Lachlan Bryan -Kerrie Garside.
Patience and heartbreak is a powerful weapon - especially when wielded nations apart.
Singer-songwriter John K Krsulja has spent most of his latter career nurturing careers of fellow songwriters on his sheep station at Nundle, population about 290, in northern NSW.
Now, because of a passionate paean about an inter-racial romance, begun almost 50 years ago and resurrected recently in the Hunter Valley , the singer is reaping the rich rewards.
It's not the first inter-racial romance song to launch a career but it's one that resonates way beyond the parched paddocks of New England .
At the age of 13 Janis Ian, real name Janis Eddy Fink, wrote and sang her first hit, Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking , about an interracial romance forbidden by a girl's mother and frowned upon by her peers and teachers.
The year was 1965 and Ian, now 64, was a prolific hit writer in the folk, country and pop field before moving to Nashville.
John K wrote his song about Aunty Joy Reid who was 17 when she met Daryl Wilson, then 20, in Narrabri.
The pair were unable to be together because it was, “back in the day when nice white boys never had black girlfriends", says Aunty Joy.
Joy moved to Maitland and Daryl stayed at Narrabri - centre of cotton, wheat, beef and lamb country on the Namoi River at the junction of the Kamilaroi and Newell Highways.
But after 40 years Daryl contacted Aunty Joy and they agreed to meet at Maitland Railway Station.
The collective heartfelt hug inspired a bond that ensured they have remained together since.
The reunion not only fuelled the song In A Heartbeat - it was also subject of the ABC radio story Meet The Mob.
John K's song is accompanied by a video clip, filmed at a railway station and house in Werris Creek, and scheduled for Series #29 on Nu Country TV in January.
John K enlisted Kerrie Garside and Golden Guitar winners Luke O'Shea and Lachlan Bryan to fine tune his evocative true life romance that features Sydney singer Katie Brianna as his duet partner.
Expat Scott Karl Broadie produced the song for John K's debut album recorded at Cliff Tops of Sydney and his DAG sheep station and song-writing retreat at Nundle.
The name of the 13 track album, the first in John K's 45 plus years that began in Sutherland Shire, is Travellin'.
That name and story sound similar.
Well, Kentucky born former Steeldrivers guitarist and singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton, 37, topped the Billboard All Genre Top 200 sales charts for two consecutive weeks, with debut solo album Traveller, originally released six months earlier with little chart action.
That was after winning best male vocalist, new artist and album of the year at the 49 th CMA awards in Nashville on November 4.
Stapleton and singing spouse Morgane have two children - so do John K and wife Belinda.
Now, if only John K can repeat that success in his adoptive home-town Tamworth .
FROM BUSKING IN TRIESTE TO NUNDLE
“I don't mind playing here alone/ I don't mind playing a lonely song/ I don't mind playing day after day/ I just need to make a little money.” - The Busker - John Krsulja-Karl Broadie.
“I took the time to travel around until I found a place, a place that's me”, John K revealed in his biography.
That place is Nundle, at The DAG Sheep Station where he and his wife Belinda with their two little girls Brooke and Jade now live.
It was here at The DAG, inspired by all the artists he met over the years, he resurrected his 20 year love for song writing and performing.
The Busker, featuring back-up vocals by Brianna , segues into the dreams of better times in Common Ground and his paternal eulogy Old Man's Shed - a celebration of his late sire who built his life with hammers and nails.
It's that shed that is the final resting place for the ashes of the Krsulja patriarch.
The singer delivers his narratives with a rustic charm - from his tribute to a loyal female Jessie , an outlaw equestrian astride a mare in Such Is Life and desolation row ruminations in All The Same and Hopeless featuring harmonies by Katrina Burgoyne.
There are no secrets in autobiographical Travellin' Man but the cheating murder parable Six Shots Of Regret , replete with release after doing time for the crime, has an extraneous source.
Equally evocative is the broken belle left behind in Billy and romantic resurrection drawn from the artist's back pages in Life Is Loving Me.
A timely and fitting finale is My Last Goodbye - a soldier writing his epistle to a loved one from the trenches on a far off theatre of war where there is, of course, no applause.
“My grandfather served in New Guinea ,” John revealed.
“The song was inspired by a combination of my visit to Gallipoli and my memory of watching him march down George Street every ANZAC day.”