From dust to fame: Lee Kernaghan's life through song

THERE are many of us brought up in regional Australia who cannot honestly claim to be "country". The fact is we are a largely urban population - even in the regions - despite our assumed national character.

But country star Lee Kernaghan is no urban cowboy. He is the genuine article, son of a drover-turned-country-rocker and a dairy farmer's daughter, grandson of a bullocky, with dust on his boots and mud on his ute.

Here Kernaghan, with help from the talented pen of Colin Buchanan, does what he has done throughout his career - he tells his story through his songs.

He works his way through a catalogue of 60-odd songs, with each chapter hanging off a lyric sheet as we learn how that song came to be.

Boy From the Bush: “This is my story, these are my songs.” By Lee Kernaghan with Colin Buchanan. ABC Books. Hardcover RRP $39.99.
Boy From the Bush: “This is my story, these are my songs.” By Lee Kernaghan with Colin Buchanan. ABC Books. Hardcover RRP $39.99. Photos Contributed

From being "the Dynamic Lee Kernaghan" in his dad Ray's travelling show, through his long-term song-writing partnership with Garth Porter (of Sherbet fame), to his multiple country music awards, we get more than a glimpse of what makes LK tick.

He tells of the drama and dangers of being on the road, of being a "musical mongrel" inspired by blues artists and the Rolling Stones, of writing songs as a boy and how he learned to write from the heart, of working and flying with Slim Dusty, of "scrubbashin' " in his beloved four-wheel-drive, of raising money for struggling country towns.

He tells personal stories, like how he met the love of his life (his wife, not the LandCruiser), his passion for old radios and for literature, and the birth of his first child ("the world got bigger").

It's a personal story, but a professional one, showing what it can take to build a successful musical career in Australia.


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