“From the get go I’ve been trying to make this album,” says Brad Butcher looking over his new record, Travelling Salesman.

It may sound surprising for a man releasing his fourth long-player, having already won a Golden Guitar for New Talent Of The Year at Tamworth, and Country Song Of The Year in the 2018 Queensland Music Awards. But Travelling Salesmanis a landmark for the former Mackay boy whose hallmark is sometimes brutal honesty.

“In the past, because I wasn’t confident enough with my musicality, I let the producer take control. But this time around, after learning three previous times, and working with [producer] Matt Fell again, I was relaxed and confident and I walked into the room knowing exactly where the songs wanted to go.”

The confidence extended into his songwriting where “in the past I would still send them away to co-writers and stuff, to get that little finishing touch put on there. But this time around, I trusted myself and my gut a little more.”

The result is an album which focuses even more Butcher’s mix of country, folk and blues, brings some different toughness to the sound, and highlights his ability to write about families, the natural world, and something close to his heart, mental health.

“It’s coming from experience,” Butcher says. “I worked in a few different areas where I’ve seen the effect it had on people and families. You see it everywhere, and I’ve been deeply affected by it so I feel like as much as the expression [of it] helps other people, it helps me too.”

In these songs, about breaking out of the boundaries others set for us, finding a way through personal darkness, or just remembering the love your grandmother showed, these might be people you know. They might be you. But even if you’ve never experienced something like this, Butcher wants you to understand more.

“It’s all good and well to write a song and have people connect with it because it’s happened to them, but if you can listen to it and you’ve never been through it but you understand it, that’s what I’m most proud of.”

It’s a fourth album with a lot to be proud of.

“Yeah, I think we did okay.”