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This Tamworth, a lone figure walked on stage at the historic Town Hall for the very first time and played one song. By the end of the first verse and chorus Brad Butcher had the place holding their breath and hanging on his intricate guitar melody and the story of a young boy wondering where home is now that his Dad is gone.

A young coal mine crane operator from central QLD, Brad has pursued his music week on, week off, for the last 10 years. “It certainly makes gigging hard” Brad says with a laugh “but it’s a passion.” And when listening to his remarkable self-titled debut CD, one can easily hear Brad’s tasteful influences. Cat Stevens, Ryan Adams, Ray Le Montagne and Ryan Bingham, all great storytellers with rustic, lonely and introspective stories beautifully sung with defined signature tones and set within stark melodic landscapes.

Playing a high level of Rugby League for many years in and around Mackay, Brad was in a rather fortunate position with his mother and uncles going to school with one of Mackay’s favourite sons Graeme Connors. “It started with him lending me a song-writing book and I would send him through my early stuff.” Brad says, “You could tell if he liked it or not if he replied and although he would never tell me what to do, he would offer subtle hints so I could figure it out on my own.” “After I sent him ‘The Pipe Song’ (opening track) Graeme sent me a note back saying “You are really on the right track now!” Right track indeed, and after a further few years of developing and honing his craft he found stoic and skilful believers in Anthony Lycenko and multi instrumentalist Ben McCarthy.

Combining talents they locked into Studio 301 in Byron and produced an album that can comfortably go down as one of the smoothest, most polished and mature debut albums. One rarely heard in this modern day of smash and grab. The production is luxurious, spacious and contrasting, a Harry Morant of melody and dirt. The sweet, fluent sophistication of a string ensemble married with a grunting banjo jug-band percussionist. Unrelenting. Red dust and caviar. Australian.

“I really wanted to make an album like Ray Le Montagne.” Brad says, “I never wanted to be a Hat Band country singer and to me Ray is cool country.”

Brad says, “The albums’ theme is a reflection on life – and trying to stay positive.” The scope of songs and themes are best explained by Brad himself.

‘Speed of Sound’- When things seem to be spiralling out of control and no matter how hard you try to correct it or change what ever it is you just keep making mistake after mistake. I have heard this referred to as ‘quicksand’, the more you struggle the deeper you sink.

‘The Old Man’s Gone’ – This song is basically about broken marriages and the children involved. It’s written from the perspective of a young child who is now living with the mother since the divorce.

‘Another Fall’ – I wrote this song after my dad’s mum, my grandmother, passed away. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died 3 months later which was a huge shock to everyone. She was a nurse for many years and was always happy and very healthy. It was especially hard on her husband, my grandfather, and this song is about how he coped with such a sudden wrench after 52 years of marriage. Conversations and the children involved. It’s written from the perspective of a young child who is now living with the mother since the divorce. ‘Another Fall’ – I wrote this song after my dad’s mum, my grandmother, passed away. She Complications’ – This was written after a heated argument. It’s something that every young adult goes through when you’re at the age you think you are capable of making your own choices and decisions in your life and sometimes parents or guardians just aren’t ready to let you be that person.

‘This Anxiety’ – At the time of writing this song the Mackay area, and broader regions, were dealing with some major issues. We had a huge flood which really hurt a lot of people and ruined cane crops throughout the region. We were on the verge of a Global Financial Crisis and there was a lot of talk coal mining, one of biggest industries in the area, having a direct affect on the climate. This song deals with all three and the way people felt about it.”

Well enough said really, combine the depth and eloquence of the above with stunning, classic, contemporary, urban production and there you have it – Ladies and Gentlemen – Brad Butcher.