2018 CD REVIEW
SELF TITLED (Tamworth Music Works).
JINDAYBYNE JACKEROO BRAD COX DROUGHT BREAKER
“He's an old man, down on his knees/ he's got a lonely tear, running down his cheek/ wearing his Sunday best not going to church/ he's got a broken body, from a lifetime of work/ he looks up to God and he prays/ he says ‘when will you make it rain?/ but thank you for life on the land/ family and friends, not the fact that I ain't seen a cloud since two thousand and ten/ still not raining again /It's been so long since I found/ water on the ground.” - Water On The Ground - Brad Cox.
Jindabyne singer-songwriter Brad Cox was surrounded by lakes and rivers when he was raised in the Snowy Mountains high country.
He was also a water loving son - one of three children - of two swimming teachers during primary and secondary education.
But the 39th Toyota Starmaker winner experienced the soul destroying aftermath of drought in his four years as a stockman in the parched plains of the Northern Territory.
Now, as the latest drought worsens, the singer is raising awareness of the drought with new single Water on The Ground and three rural charities.
“In 2015, after spending a lot of time in rural NSW, I decided to head to the Northern Territory for work,” Cox, just 22 revealed.
“It was dry as I drove through Central Queensland, and when I say it was dry, the grass was beyond grey; there was no grass, just dirt - dirt for hundreds of kilometres. The few mobs of livestock you did see were poor. They were being fed just enough by the farmers to keep them alive in the hope they wouldn't have to sell off the last of their mob to sustain their livelihood.
“This song is very close to home and probably the song I am most proud of on my album which I released this year.
“I wrote it in late 2015 in the hallway of a hotel in Nashville. I didn't write down the song - I just started playing the riff, turned my phone recorder on and sang it. It was all but completed, and at that moment I realised the importance of people hearing this song.
“The Australian public needs to realise the importance of looking after our rural community and I will do all I can to help.”
Cox is one of many country peers drawing attention and funds to drought relief in a nation where some urban dwellers are besieged by carjackers, home invaders and computer clones and clowns.
BRAD BATS FOR BULLYING VICTIMS
“Got a head full of nicotine, tired eyes/ with an old guitar I travelled all over the state lines/ lone car by myself, days ticking/ in a half drunken daze/ wondering what is this life that I'm living.” - My Showcase - Brad Cox.
“Her mum and dad are very good friends of mine and she was a beautiful girl.”
Dolly, a creative Katherine spirit, died at just 14 after on-line bullying.
Cox released his independent debut single Too Drunk To Drive in April, 2017, and followed in July with second release Towels.
But it wasn't until after he won Starmaker that his debut single was re-released from his album and topped charts.
So where did it all start for Cox?
Brad would sing in the family car en route to many swimming festivals so his parents enrolled him in piano lessons when he was just seven before he graduated to guitar in his early teens in his school band.
At 14 he began playing cover gigs in his home town and at 16 he graduated from the NSW Talent Development Project where he met his band .
But it wasn't until he moved to the Territory and mustered cattle that he did most of his research for his album.
“I went to the Northern Territory where I've worked on properties mustering for the past four years and got more and more into country music,” Cox explained earlier this year.
LAKE HOUSE WRITING AND VIDEO LOCALE
“She was sporting cowboy boots and wearing blue jeans/ hey eyes lit up the endless summer night/ she listened to a song I had been recording/ smile was like a panoramic sight/ I know she spends her days breaking horses/ spinning country records and cowboy tunes/ I heard that she's coming down next weekend/ time to pucker up and make move/ hey I got this lake house, you should see it/ it's only down the road a couple of miles/ I bet you would feel like you're in Texas/ I know you're gonna stay a while.” - Lake House - Brad Cox.
Cox's album exhibits musical maturity well beyond his years.
His salient sequencing from alcohol of fame entrée Drinking Pioneer, Red Light and pit-stop in Too Drunk To Drive to biographical finale This Is Who I Am, is a sonic spotlight to his raison d'etre.
Cox nails messages by referencing liquor brands from his entrée to Take Me Higher, Towels and Kentucky bluegrass in Found My Way Home .
Brad soaks Water On The Ground, Somewhere Like Cheyenne and Lake House with country staples - old men, drought, God and Wild West escapism.
He exploits ruptured romances by expanding troubadour tributaries - Garth Brooks and the late Chris LeDoux in My Showcase.
Like many reformed romantics hooked on narcotic and nicotine nihilism, his character's soul is resurrected in Reflections - one of his dozen originals.
So it's natural that his videos are reality rooted extensions of his songs, many of them written in a friend's phone free lake house - a genuine getaway.
“ Lake House is about a woman I met and never saw again,” Brad revealed of the song and video set in his NSW Snowy Mountains locale and featured on Nu Country TV on Saturday September 22.
“For my first ever music video, working with Kris Lewis, Jason Lewis and Laura Webb was a really enjoyable experience. They did an exceptional job of turning my 2am beer-stained vision into exactly what I saw in my head.”
So did Cox's prolific Golden Guitar winning producer Fell.
“It was fantastic making the album with Matt Fell,” Cox added.
“He turned my shells of songs into something so much better than I ever imagined possible.”
Although Cox wrote and filmed his song and video in his embryonic home territory his aim is much wider.
“In my mind there's no point in aiming for contentment,” Cox explained.
“I decided I want to be the best, I don't want to be number two. There's no point in aiming for less than the best. Internationally I won't settle for second best either. I would like to get my start here in Australia and then much conquer the world.”
Cox has already performed and written on his three American sojourns and toured with Brooke McClymont and her singing spouse Adam Eckersley in May and June before his national tour from July-September.
“I like to push the boundaries but stay true to my country roots,” says Cox.
His favourite farming charities are listed below.