Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.
Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

THERE is a timeless quality to many of Lee Kernaghan's songs.

But one in particular has stood the test of time above all others: Boys from the Bush.

Next year the country music legend celebrates the 25th anniversary of his breakthrough song.

It was a revolutionary time for Australian country music when James Blundell, Keith Urban and Troy Cassar-Daley were all coming up through the ranks.

"I remember what it was like 25 years ago when I was just kicking off. It was basically one party and town to the next," Kernaghan tells APN.

"I've been trying to figure out why did we go so hard? Looking back, it seemed too good to be true, so we thought we might as well enjoy it because it wasn't going last long. Well, it lasted 25 years."

He credits the song's success with setting him on a path of honest, personal music.

"Boys from the Bush was that first single that really ignited for me things back in 1992," he says.

"I t was a song that was telling the story of a younger generation of Australians living and working on the land.

"It gave me a sense of validation that it was okay to write about my mates and my experiences on the land. I didn't have to be somebody else or somebody I wasn't.

"One of the reasons I love country music is it's about us, our people, the country and our way of life."

Since the release of Boys from the Bush, Kernaghan has notched up 34 No.1 hits on the Australian country music charts, won a staggering 36 Golden Guitars and has sold more than two million albums in the local market.

"It's like riding a bucking bull," he muses.

"You don't know which way it's going to twist or turn. You just hold on for dear life."

The 52-year-old kicks off the celebrations at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in late January.

"It's been the birthplace of my career," he says.

"I won the best male artist under 14 in 1978 at CCMA awards, then I won Star Maker in '82, then I made my very first video clip on Peel Street in January 1992, then the following year I went back and picked up my first Golden Guitar.

"This will be more than a concert. It will be the annual general meeting of the outback club.

"It will be quite a party if I have anything to do with it, anyway."

The party will then continue with Kernaghan's biggest-ever national tour that will include the CMC Rocks music festival in March and the Big Red Bash in Birdsville.

"It will be quite an incredible experience to perform there (at CMC Rocks) with The Dixie Chicks and a whole host of great Australian and international artists," he says.

"People are so turned on to the music these days. The world's got a lot smaller now with streaming music and the internet.

"You get to experience a lot more great music than what we did 10 years ago, and that's reflected in these big outdoor music events."

As if touring the country to mark The Boys from the Bush anniversary wasn't enough, Kernaghan will also treat concert-goers to new music next year.

"Tons of great memories have come flooding back during the writing process," he says.

"Being able to turn those memories into songs just puts a great big smile on my face.

"I'm looking forward to next year with great anticipation."

The Boy From The Bush 25th Anniversary Show will be held on January 26 at the Tamworth Country Music Festival . Lee Kernaghan's national tour dates will be announced soon. CMC Rocks will be held at Willowbank in Ipswich, Queensland from March 24 to 26.