In the early 1990s, Lee Kernaghan and James Blundell changed the face of country music.
Both young men, their style of country music attracted a younger audience to the genre, and on Saturday night they are up for a Golden Guitar with a song about that time.
Back In ‘92 was a duet Kernaghan recorded with Blundell for The 25th Anniversary Album, which recounts the days when they were young country musicians, and Kernaghan played piano in Blundell’s band, which is nominated for Vocal Collaboration of the Year at the Golden Guitars.
“I was invited back in early 1992 to be the piano player in James Blundell’s band, and to sing a few songs to open up his shows,” Kernaghan said. “It was an incredible highlight to join his Way Out West tour and we had a rip-roaring time out there, up until the point when I got the sack and it all ended.
“Twenty-five years later, we’ve written a song about it and it’s no holds barred,” he said.
So why he did he get the sack from the James Blundell tour, The Leader asked.
“Looking back, we were like two roosters in the one hen house, and there was only room for one rooster,” Kernaghan laughed.
“I remember turning up at Sound Level rehearsal studios in Sydney, and I’ve rocked up wearing the same Ray-Bans sunglasses and the same Levi jeans, so I guess it wasn’t going to work out,” he said.
Kernaghan described the time as a beginning of a revolution in country music, and he said Blundell was the artist who kicked down the doors for modern country artists.
“It was a huge production with massive light shows like country music had never seen before, and a younger generation of country fans getting into it for the very first time. I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” he said.
Back In ‘92 and The 25th Anniversary Album was recorded to mark a quarter of a century since the release of Kernaghan’s first album, The Outback Club.
He is a finalist for three other Golden Guitars with songs from the album, including Toyota Heritage Song of the Year and APRA AMCOS Song of the Year with Outback Club Reunion, and CMC Video Clip of the Year with Damn Good Mates.
Kernaghan’s 25-Year Anniversary Tour kicked off in May last year. More dates were added in November, and it will continue until the end of June.
“It was one of the greatest tours of my life,” Kernaghan said. “There were people there who had grown up with my songs, had families, and now it’s the second and even third generations that are getting along to the concerts,” he said.
His Tamworth concert is on tonight at TRECC.