My Countrytown: Bud Rokesky – Imbil, Queensland

14 September 2022 | 12:02 pm | Mallory Arbour

To get to know Bud Rokesky a little better, we’ve asked what he loves about Imbil, Queensland.

Bud Rokesky

Bud Rokesky (Image: Supplied)

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Regional towns are in our blood here at CountryTown! From Ballarat to Toowomba, Bendigo to Tamworth, we love the pubs, the people and the places that make Australia tick. But most of all, we love the amazing country musicians our regional centres produce, like Bud Rokesky.

Picking up his first acoustic guitar at 13, Bud began writing songs to entertain himself on the 170-acre property where he spent his teenage years living, in the tiny rural town of Queensland’s Imbil. Fast track some years later and the Americana singer-songwriter finds inspiration in his songs through his life travels on the road and people’s stories.

Drawing on the classic country songwriting of artists such as Johnny Cash and Townes Van Zandt, his songs are based on everyday life - written through the eyes of his real life and fictional characters. He has been quietly making his mark on the scene over the last couple of years, picking up some impressive festival and support slots, recording his debut album and signing a record deal.

His current debut single, Love My Baby More is taken from his forthcoming album, Outsider. Following his appearance at BIGSound, you can catch Bud at Dashville Skyline Festival (Oct. 1), Groundwater Country Music Festival (Oct. 29-30) and Queenscliff Music Festival (Nov. 26-27)

To get to know Bud Rokesky a little better, we’ve asked what he loves about Imbil, Queensland.


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1. The “Tree Change” Boom

When we first moved to Imbil, the welcome sign leading into town had a small population count at the bottom. It read - Population 346. There were more kids at my school in Gympie than people in town. By the time I moved away 10 years later, there had been a massive real estate boom that meant the sudden demand for a piece of beautiful countryside increased and had raised the price of land up significantly. As I drove away for the last time, I remember the sign had changed to reflect the new population count. It read - Population 432. 

2. Promise to Myself

For one week in August every year, I could see from my bedroom window a strange dim glow of lights and faint cheering of crowds, pulsing from behind the bush opposite my bedroom window. We were pretty isolated, so this was always strange. It was a few years later before I learnt it was actually the Gympie Music Muster I was witnessing. I’d heard stories from friends at school of the Muster and knew it was a party, so once music solidified in my veins, I made a vow - I would not go to the Gympie Muster until I had been invited to play. 

These weeks were special to me since it was one of the only times each year I heard anyone other than our family, or The Rattler, anywhere near our property. I have attended the Muster and it was when I was invited to play.

3. The Rattler

Our house lay beside a heritage rail tunnel that stood disused until the Mary Valley Heritage Railway Association refurbished the line in the late 90’s and operated a heritage steam train called the Valley Rattler. The Rattler screeched by every Sunday, blowing dense, black clouds of smoke over our drying sheets, and howling its long whistle through the tunnel. Thinking back, we might’ve seemed like a part of the tourist sights – as the shirtless, shoeless hillbilly kids, miles from civilisation, running through the washing lines and waving at passengers. In the ’99 floods that railway line was our saviour in that it was the only route above water we could walk into town for food. As we had tank water, our pump was without power, so we showered in the fresh waterfall that ran off the rock sides of the tunnel. I have many more fond memories of that tunnel. 

4. Chance Meeting

It was at someone's parents 40th birthday, on a sheep property outside of Imbil that I was introduced by my mate Jake, to Alex Henriksson. I remember Jake coming over to me and saying, "there's someone you've gotta meet... he plays guitar too." Alex and I would play guitar on the bus to and from school every chance we could, and after school behind Libby’s Country Kitchen in town, until one day he moved away. One memory that stands out is, I had just started mucking around with a glass slide on guitar when Alex accidentally knocked it off the table and it smashed. I bought a brass slide after which is the one I still use today. After years of not knowing where the other was, Alex managed to find me and we’ve gone on to have many, many adventures since. Alex is, of course, one half of Rainbow Valley Records with Matt Corby and features as co-producer of my first album.

5. Locked Away

The town of Imbil and its surrounds are home to a vault of innumerable memories for me. Many are too haunting to actively revisit but come back to me whenever I even begin to picture just the landscape; while others are so profound that they’ve left me with a deep reverence for the entire Mary Valley region. I’ve been back 4, maybe 5 times since I moved away, I’ve travelled the world and have seen some indescribable beauty, however the Mary Valley will always be the source of every emotive story I create, musical or otherwise. 


Keep up to date with Bud Rokesky on his Facebook page here.

For more of our My CountryTown series, check out here.