How Fans Helped Save Brooke McClymont & Adam Eckersley’s Family Farm

7 July 2023 | 11:23 am | Anna Rose

“Like with Hang at the Wang continuing even though we’re out of Covid, this just feels like it’s the right thing to do right now for us.”

Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont

Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont (Image: Supplied)

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Before it had even been released, Up Down & Sideways, the second album from lauded Australian country husband and wife duo Brooke McClymont & Adam Eckersley, had scooped up a plethora of awards. Its singles, Country Music, You & Beer, Memory Lane, Roll On Baby and the winner of the Golden Guitar ‘APRA AMCOS Song of The Year’, Star Of The Show, have been noted by peers and fans alike thanks to a magical interweaving of the pair’s individual yet compatible music stylings. 

The album has been recognised for its dynamic celebration of life’s ups and downs, a special interplay of stories and connection. McClymont and Eckersley wanted these songs to have a place in people’s lives, to sound like there was common understanding between them and their fans as they navigated unexpected hitches and unexpected delights. Delivering that sense of belonging and empathy that, in fact, stemmed from the most unlikely of places.

Born out of the pandemic – out of “desperation”, McClymont says - Hang at The Wang is a special glamping experience held at the couple’s 100-acre property near Nabiac NSW. Visitors’ Wang experience includes bespoke accommodation, 8-course tucker, live music from the pair, and a whole day and night of fire-side story-sharing. 

McClymont and Eckersley kicked off the concept with just twenty visitors (in keeping with the then-restrictions) and have since doubled that number. The couple attest to being inspired by stories and experiences shared by the people involved in this essentially, pop-up community. 

“The cool thing is, we get to know [the] people who come to our shows more than you would at the show,” says Eckersley. “At 2am, you really get to hear the stories of their life – and we’ve met some bloody interesting people! And everybody’s got an interesting story, too,” adds McClymont. “We do it from midday through to 10am the next day,” McClymont continues of the event’s construct, “it’s a great chunk of time to get to know our fans, really.”

“It’s become a thing!” exclaims McClymont. “We call everyone who comes to visit ‘our Wangers’. We assume people would only come once – get the experience, get to meet us – but we’re finding they’re making it their yearly catch-up with their friends, they’re bringing more people, they want to introduce their friends to us, but they’re also coming to our shows.”

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A unique concept among not just country artists, but Aussie artists in general – how many artists’ homes can you think of where regularly get down and personal with their fans?  Eckersley says, “We figured while people keep wanting to come and hang out with us, we might as well keep doing it. We love it!” Concluding to sounds of laughter, Eckersley adds, “We would have just been sitting around a fire drinking piss anyway!”

Much like their relationship, Up Down & Sideways is a beautiful sonic marriage of Eckersley’s strong country features and McClymont’s more lilting country-pop grace. It was, of course, during Covid that McClymont and Eckersley first began work on the release. 

“We actually said to each other, ‘Let’s not waste this time’,” says McClymont. “Don’t worry, we wasted plenty of “time”,” she adds suggestively – they’ve recently had a new baby, quite a happy result to time-wasting. “We loved this process and weren’t in a hurry,” she continues. “Still being parents, running the farm, it was a nice pace for us to get this album sorted.”

Though it’s been five years since the release of Adam & Brooke, McClymont and Eckersley’s debut duo effort, they never had pressing plans to rush into their second offering, particularly as during that time they maintained their commitment to their own projects; McClymont with her sisters as part of The McClymonts, and Eckersley with his Adam Eckersley Band

The space in their schedules that the pandemic provided was a window of opportunity for McClymont and Eckersley, who had originally considered this project a side gig. “You know how the universe just sends you signs? Like, ‘This is the right time to do this now’,” McClymont says. “Like with Hang at the Wang continuing even though we’re out of Covid, this just feels like it’s the right thing to do right now for us.

“We love this whole ten-track album. We’re really proud of all the songs, and if anything, it really represents Adam and I to a T and what we’re going through. Because writing duo songs, especially when you’re married, is really quite difficult.” Eckersley chuckles at McClymont’s comment.

McClymont and Eckersley are the most endearing and approachable couple. Warm, outgoing, and unashamedly funny, which means, McClymont says, nothing is off limits in a chat with them. Her statement makes it a whole lot easy to discuss any strains making this album may have put on the couple’s personal relationship. The ultimate objective in compiling the thematic material for this album, Eckersley explains, was to find subject matter that was relevant to he and Brooke, but not boring from a listener’s perspective. 

That’s what makes Up Down & Sideways so relatable, palatable, and enjoyable; McClymont and Eckersley have covered the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s evident from listening to the album that the experience of producing it has not only improved, reshaped, and revitalised not only their professional relationship and independent musicians coming together, but that of being a romantic item. 

McClymont says openly, “We’re very honest with each other as a couple anyway, so we don’t need to be polite with each other when we’re writing a song.” “’Nah, that’s shithouse, move on!’” Eckersley offers up a hilarious example. “We want the best for the project,” McClymont continues, “[so] with the subject matter, through covid we went ‘Let’s dive into it.’ 

“We did go through a tough period time where we lost all our work, and we weren’t being kind to each other.” McClymont shares examples of where such situations have been developed into tracks on the album. “I was like, ‘That’s probably a great thing to write about – let’s write about how we were being arseholes to each other and saying, ‘Listen, I know I’m not being the best version of myself’ – that’s Don’t Give Up On Me Yet

“Then you have Rock Bottom, where we sing a song about, ‘Oh my God, living on the road,’ there are some crazy addictions that can start, whether you’re drinking too much or staying up too late. ‘Have I hit rock bottom? Or digging myself a hole? Or am I spinning back into control?’ – McClymont recites the lyrics of that track – “it’s that whole thing of being open and honest with ourselves firstly has been, I guess, quite therapeutic. 

“And we are that couple where we’re not ashamed of saying how we feel either.”

Even the title of the album alludes to that mind set. It does what it says on the tin. The pair chuckling, McClymont says, “Up Down & Sideways, because that’s exactly what the last few years have been for us!” 


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