Dan Murphy prepares for Tamworth Country Music Festival

FESTIVAL AHEAD: Former Gunnedah musician Dan Murphy is looking forward to a whole lot of country at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. The singer-songwriter is pictured here at last year's festival. Photo: Barry Smith

FESTIVAL AHEAD: Former Gunnedah musician Dan Murphy is looking forward to a whole lot of country at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. The singer-songwriter is pictured here at last year's festival. Photo: Barry Smith

Former Gunnedah musician Dan Murphy is gearing up for the Tamworth Country Music Festival, with a full line-up of gigs across the city.

Dan will arrive in Tamworth on January 19, with his first show at 6pm at the South Tamworth Bowling Club. He will play at the club three times over the nine days.

The artist said he looked forward to his shows at the bowling club and Wests, and performing with American master guitarist Redd Volkaert at the Honky Tonk Bar.

“South Tamworth Bowling Club and Wests are the pinnacle for a singer-songwriter because the crowd that come there are a listening crowd,” Dan said.

“They get up and dance to the originals as well.

“The music is the main reason they’re there.”

Dan said he felt he was being rewarded for his hard work over the years, with phone calls coming in for gig slots well before the festival.

Dan Murphy (centre) performs with Lance Birrell (left) and Gunnedah’s Trevor Stacey (right) at last year's festival. Photo: Mel Birrell

Dan Murphy (centre) performs with Lance Birrell (left) and Gunnedah’s Trevor Stacey (right) at last year's festival. Photo: Mel Birrell

“No better feeling contacting you four or five months out of the festival and offering you to have them first,” he said.

“Previous years you had to skimp and crawl and beg the venues to get the gigs and now they contact me months out.

“It’s a great relationship and the faith that they’re putting in us is pretty amazing.

“When there’s such a massive competition for artist to get venues, to have them contacting you and asking you in advance… is a nice compliment."

Dan said he and his band gave the shows their all and the festival was a good opportunity to uplift the people who were doing it tough.

“It’s a real privilege if people want to come and spent that very limited amount of leisure time with us,” he said.

“You’ve got to entertain the crowd - just let them forget about their worldly troubles for an hour or two.

“I do it for the crowd, that’s my whole driving purpose of music, to entertain them.”

The musician said the festival was a “good outlet to tell your story”.

“That’s where you can tell your stories and play your originals and they’re a listening crowd and they want to buy the album,” he said.

“As a singer-songwriter, that’s what you live for; that’s the pinnacle. That’s why you do it, especially country.

“A lot of my stories are just about life. That’s the common thread – that everyone thinks, ‘That song’s written about me’.

“It takes them to that last place where they remember, whether it’s childhood, whether they’ve found love or lost love.”

The musician has been playing at the festival for about 13 years and said it was a good kick-off point each year.

“The people that see me at the festival, that can set me up for the rest of the year as far as the venues, private shows, weddings, parties,” he said.

“It’s one of the premier festivals in the world and I just love the whole dynamic of it - the people the music, the venues.

“That’s probably the comfort fact, you feel like the people that come from all over Australia – 60 or 70,000 people – come for country music.”

For a full list of Dan’s gigs during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, visit his Facebook page.

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