2020 CD Feature
JOHN K KRSULJA
BURDEN OF THE FOOL ( CHECKED LABEL )
JOHN K HEADS BLACK TO BLUE WITH OLD MATES
“Those old souls checked out long ago/ just like wells that are filled/ they're now overflowing/ we just can't seem to find our place/ in the time we open this bottle/ man, there ain't no-one to share the wine/ that's when the light it shines through/ turns our black to blue.” - Black To Blue - John Krsulja.
Nundle singer-songwriter John Krsulja is no stranger to the death of peers and pals in more than his half century on the planet.
He resurrected an evocative inter-racial romance in his song In A Heartbeat on his previous album Travellin'.
But this time it's his late former producer - expat Scottish singer-songwriter Karl Broadie - and his guitarist Glenn Hannah who inspired his first single Black To Blue from his second album Burden Of The Fool, released on June 19.
Broadie, who died from cancer at 44 on April 19, 2016, also collaborated with John K on his song The Busker on his debut disc.
Edinburgh born Karl moved to the historic Nundle village near Tamworth with his family before he succumbed to his illness.
Nundle is also where John K lives at the DAG Sheep Station with his wife Belinda and their two young daughters Brooke and Jade.
Black To Blue is the only track to feature Glen Hannah on acoustic guitar, as he took his life four weeks later.
Glen died on May 28, 2019 - a month after his wife Felicity's seventh CD Frozen Rabbit was released.
Black to Blue was produced and engineered by Glen - prolific producer-guitarist-photographer-graphic artist - and Matt Fell and recorded at Love Hz Studio.
“It was hard to lose Glen and a huge loss to all,” John K confessed.
“For me I took a back seat for six months before approaching Matt Fell. The album was recorded in two sessions. The first was at Studio Goonga with Glen in early March 2019, the second session at Love Hz Studio with Glen, Matt and Josh Schuberth at the end of March 2019
Matt gracefully stepped in to finish the album in November 2018, bringing Pete Cornelius in on guitars and kept true to Glen's brief. I'm proud of this Album and grateful to have spent so little time with Glen.”
Equally memorable was his work and friendship with Karl.
“Karl and I often talked about the music industry and finding our place within the industry,” John revealed.
“Karl would share his thoughts, trials and tribulations, that eventually led him to give the advice of ‘your music is art, and if you aim to please everyone, then it's just not art'.”
The song represents the emotions of meeting someone who shines light into your life, only to lose them and be lost to the dark.
“It is the memory of love and loss that replaces the darkness and allows the light to return one's black to blue,” John added.
The song is illustrated by a video directed by Luke Oldknow of Electric Light Films.
That video clip, to be aired on Nu Country TV on June 27, continues the tribute theme with photos of Karl and Glen, exuding warmth and light while addressing a dark subject, and shot in the Nundle Hall.
Tamworth City Dance Academy 's Lily Singh choreographed the dance for performers Kirrilly Filla and Caitlin Boonstra.
ABSENT MINERS AND STOLEN GENERATION
“Johnny got a job in the mining town/ his earning over 150 grand/ bought the missus a diamond ring/ he's gone again, she's alone with the kids/ she keeps quiet - whoa, keeps quiet.” - Keep Quiet - John Krsulja-Allison Forbes.
“It's the oldest song on the new album. It came about after Allison suggested a song title Keep Quiet and we talked about so many topics, including depression, suicide, #metoo, child abuse, corruption and others, I then went away and wrote the song.
“Yes, it's one of my best mates, Johnno, he had a job in South Africa , and in 2017, two years after the song was written, his beautiful wife and friend of mine Belinda, hung herself on the clothes line in the backyard, her two young kids found her the next day.”
It is a sibling or sorts of Love's Lost Woman.
“ Love's Lost Woman started as a song from a woman's perspective,” John K recalled.
“Susanna Clark, Guy's wife and losing Townes Van Zandt and becoming bed ridden through grief, before I finished the song, we lost Belinda, so I edited the song and it became more from a man's perspective and dealing with the loss of a woman.”
Susanna Clark - also a prolific songwriter and artist - died on June 27, 2012, at the age of 73.
The writer expands the theme of desperation of abandoned workers and families destroyed by greed in People Revolution, penned in January of 2019 , and album title track Burden Of The Fool, written in 2017 .
“They are very relevant to our current times,” he explained.
“Burden Of The Fool , unknown to me at the time is referred to in the Old Testament, Proverbs 27:3
“Greed is not good, and hides itself in so many places, for me, People Revolution was born from my communities fight against a Sydney based developer wanting to desecrate our beautiful range in pursuit of gold, except it's hidden behind a wind farm proposal, full of corruption and greed. But that's another story. This song was written near the Queensland and NT border, inspired by the No Fracking signs throughout the outback.”
FISHING WITH FATHER
“This is a story about me and my old man/ right through my life, the best friend I ever had/ every minute counts no matter what you do/ if he's working on the weekend, I'm working too.” - Fishin' N Workin' - John Krsulja-Brendan Nawrocki.
“Yes, my old man, Peter is still alive, he is 82 this year, he is Croatian, and escaped to Australia 64 years ago,” John K proudly said of his dad and song source.
“I did my plastering trade with him in 1990 and he is a good mate, my best mate.”
John K's whimsical exploration of Nimbin - “I'm stuck inside of Nimbin and I'm stoned and unknown” - borrows imagery from Dylan's “stuck outside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again” but has a vastly different source.
“This was written in 2017, after a Nimbin Roots Festival , it was how I saw my three days there, all is true, except I didn't get stoned this particular visit,” John confessed.
“The joke was to imagine getting stoned and not been able to leave because the cops were waiting to test everyone leaving. Hence stuck inside of Nimbin, now though Nimbin is more of a state of mind, than a place.”
Album title track Burden Of The Fool is followed by his co-write with Lachlan Bryan on the philosophical The World Keeps Turning On Its Own.
John K's salient sequencing finds the loneliness of Love's Lost Woman segueing into his fond childhood memories of Woronora River that flows into the positive passion of his finale Love Finds A Way .
“I experienced the realities of my first real drought, four long years, having to shoot my pregnant cattle, whilst I was chosen by my community to be President of a Preservation Group fighting a Wind Farm,” John K explained of his finale.
“In the current global climate, whilst also having to deal with a sick child for 12 months, it was a draining time, but love can find a way to help heal and give hope. This song is all about hope.”
The singer's honesty in his story telling proves this album is worthy of success way beyond his Dag Sheep station and songwriting mecca.