The Bushwackers new single Waltzing Australia sings about migrant history

Waltzing Australia is the single taken from The Bushwackers current album, The Hungry Mile.
Waltzing Australia is the single taken from The Bushwackers current album, The Hungry Mile.

A conversation between Roger Corbett and Colin Buchanan at last year’s Golden Guitars led to a song on the latest Bushwackers album.

Featuring a cast of country artists as guest artists, Waltzing Australia is the latest single from the album, The Hungry Mile.

“I asked some people to contribute songs, and keep their eyes out for songs, and the whole premise of the album was to write about big Australian stories, things that are important,” Corbett said.

“And I don’t mind how political they are, because we’re pretty lefty sort of guys, always have been, and we just wanted to do an album that meant something.”

After speaking with Corbett at the 2016 Golden Guitars, Buchanan penned Waltzing Australia, about the migrant contribution to Australia.

It included two verses, telling the personal stories of two migrants.

After taking the song back to Corbett, the Bushwackers veteran suggested they include a third verse, about the Karen refugees, a minority Christian community that had been persecuted in Myanmar and came to rural Victoria in the last decade.

When John Williamson was contacted to ask if would like to join the large group of country artists singing on the final chorus, that third verse caught his ear.

“John Williamson said ‘I’d love to do it, but I really want to sing the third verse about the Karen people in the Mallee’.”

The band was happy to have Williamson, who grew up in the Mallee, sing the verse, and soon decided another voice was needed for the second verse. 

“It made sense to have another voice in there, singing about Ann from Vietnam, and Sara Storer has been a long time friend of the band and she was happy and delighted to sing on that for us,” Corbett said.

“So we had the three great Aussie voices of Dobe, John and Sara.”

When it comes to the final chorus, it includes the voices of Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Catherine Britt, Aleyce Simmonds, Luke O’Shea, Felicity Urquhart and almost 20 other country artists.

“People recorded on their iPhones, home studios and computers, and it was just fantastic getting all these vocal parts through in emails.”

Corbett said they are planning to shoot a film clip the same way this month, with contributions from the artists who sang on the song.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s been a fun project actually,” he said.

“With all the nonsense that gets talked about around migrants and refugees, I think it’s really important, and an important song.”