IN the midst of hanging her washing, Janelle Tongue got the fright of her life.
Around the bend walked Lee Kernaghan, after having his photo taken out the back of her property.
It’s everyday people off the land like Loomberah resident Mrs Tongue that have inspired his upcoming album.
“It’s really a whole bunch of brush strokes of the last couple of years of my life touring around Australia,” he said.
“We’ve been to every corner of the country and I’ve meet some legendary people – it’s quite a step forward from anything that I’ve done in recent years.”
A country boy himself, Kernaghan grew up near Albury and first came to Tamworth as a 13-year-old. He’s come a long way since then, and travelled even further.
On his Boys from the Bush 25th Anniversary Tour, a moment with a station owner inspired one of the songs on his upcoming album.
The young station owner lives 100 clicks east of Marble Bar in the desert country of the Pilbara and spoke to Kernaghan about how he entertains himself.
“He’s in the desert country mustering cattle 24/7, but when the wet season comes, the rain goes down, the river comes up and him and his missus sit on the front verandah watching lightning,” Kernaghan said.
“That put the goosebumps up both my arms and that looks like one that will make it onto the next record.”
Drought has played a large part in the conversations he’s had as he covered the breadth of Australia.
As he drove the dusty roads, every truck he passed filled with hay sparked pride.
You always look after your mates and if someone is doing it tougher than you, you pass the hat around.Lee Kernaghan
“It’s just been debilitating in so many people’s lives – devastating,” Kernaghan said.
“There has been a shining spirit through this and that’s the way the local community and nation has gotten behind our farming families.
“You always look after your mates and if someone is doing it tougher than you, you pass the hat around.”
More than two decades after he started Kernaghan reveals the story behind his black hat.
In 1992 when he made The Outback Club album it wasn’t particularly cool to be a country singer, he said.
“I was proud of my country roots, and I wanted to let everyone know that I’m country through and through, if anyone’s in doubt – cop this,” he said.
But is there any truth to the saying, ‘Never trust a man in a black hat’?
“There’s a bit of truth on both sides of that but you’ve got to keep them guessing,” Kernaghan said.
Kernaghan’s show at TCMF 2019 is on at TRECC on Thursday at 8:15pm.