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Old Country Soul is the heart behind Christie Lamb's award-winning album

23 September 2020 | 3:36 pm | Mallory Arbour

Explore Christie Lamb and the final single from her award winning album "Broken Lines', Old Country Soul, in our in-depth interview.

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Golden Guitar and CMC Award Winner, Christie Lamb has released her final single Old Country Soul from her ARIA #1 Country Album, 'Broken Lines'. Old Country Soul is about being proud of your roots and loving the simple things in life. It is undeniably a modern country song with its heartfelt and earthy lyrics, but true to its title, it’s got a laid-back and soulful influence too.

The first single release from her third studio release 'Broken Lines' was the fun and fresh single Hot Hot Kiss, which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Charts. The remix also debuted at #1 on the iTunes Dance Charts, making Christie the first Australian Artist to have #1 hits on both iTunes charts. Christie now has 13 top 5 radio releases to her name.

She has been a part of National tours with Lee Kernaghan for four years, opening the show and playing piano and mandolin as part of his band. Earlier tours have included two years with Aussie legend Jon English as the lead female vocalist and musician on The Rock Revolution tour, The Girls of Country tour with Amber Lawrence and Aleyce Simmonds, plus This Crazy Life tour with The Wolfe Brothers.

You have a new single out now called Old Country Soul. Given how the corona pandemic has essentially put a halt to live touring, which is torturous to not only frequent gig attendees but to the artists and musicians as well. Is it that much worse when you are actively wanting to hit the road to promote the new song and then everything stops?

It was crazy! In the first few weeks, I was like “I am literally a broke musician, like a true stereotype right now!” [laughs]. It's been hard not performing, not seeing people and being able to do what we love. But we keep going. We keep writing songs and that's all we can do. Next year, hopefully when we can all tour – there’s gonna be a lot of new music out there. Hopefully it means an up rise in live music attendance. People might have taken it for granted before and now hopefully everyone's realised how much they missed it and love it, and attendance will be up. I'm looking for the silver lining.

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You mentioned that you’ve been writing. Do you have enough material to plan towards the next album?

Yeah, definitely. I went to Nashville last year before this all happened, so I had a bunch of songs from that trip. I was also meant to go again this year in June with Soundmart Tours and be a tour guide, and I was meant to play Global Artists Showcase and be representing Australia over in Nashville [as well]. Obviously, we couldn't get there. That didn't happen. The few writing sessions I did have locked in, I've adapted them and put to zoom instead, so I was still able to do some of the writes I had planned for over there. I feel like I want to hit the studio and put them down, but we're all waiting for these borders to open up so we can get the producer and musicians we want all in the same room at the same time.

I'm doing some demo recording [today, when the interview was recorded]. I've been writing a few songs I want to get down and hear how they're gonna come out. One of them is a duet, so I'm going to put down the girl part and get [my fiancé Jonathan English] to put the guy part down.

Given how a lot of the material was written this year, is the pandemic reflected in those lyrics?

It's funny, I think 2021, there could be two completely different angles for people's music. It could be about the feelings of hopelessness, isolated and loneliness, or it could be the complete opposite [about] the positives and coming out of the pandemic as well – which is what my music is. It's that side.

I wrote a drinking song the day before my birthday back in June. I wasn't out at a pub drinking but I was thinking about it and going, “wouldn't it be nice to go out and have a drink with my mates?” My [music is] more about the celebration, coming out of it, doing things your own way and finding your own way.

I had a couple of zoom writes with my American buddies over there and they were in summer and all had these positive vibes, and we were bubbled up in our houses in trackies and uggies having been Australian in winter. Not being able to go out and celebrate my birthday, I wanted to celebrate it with my song writing mates by writing positive songs and songs about having fun and going out. That's what my winter birthday was. It was an escape in writing songs about what I wished it could have been [laughs].

What do you think are the characteristics of a person who identifies as an old country soul?

It's been interesting to hear other people's thoughts on what an old country soul is. To me, it's about the way of life, your values and the things that you hold close to you – your family, friendships, loyalty, love of your country. I think about the post-war times, my grandma and people like that and how tough, strong and moral they were. You put your family first, you're selfless, you love your country, you make time for your community, your hometown, all those kinds of things.

You can still get that even with city siders. There are always those hidden gems in there that still live by those rules. I mean, I always picture, as soon as I think of city siders, I think of Amber Lawrence. She lives near the airport in Coogee Bay, but she's one of the most giving and community-based people I know. So, even if you're in the city, you can still have that country heart.

In the press release, it reads: Old Country Soul is about being proud of your roots and loving the simple things in life. Can you expand on that and what inspired you to write the song?

I guess it goes back to that headspace, I picture my grandma, and it’s before the days of social media and mobile phones, and you had to reach out and communicate with people back then. Whereas now, it's a quick Snapchat or text and you don't actually call. It's the simple things like reaching out to people and making sure we're truly connected. We're meant to be more connected than ever with all this social media, but I don't know if we are. During this pandemic, it’s made me realise how much I miss the little things of going outside when it's a nice sunshine day and having a picnic. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to have a good time. Our nature, it's a pretty beautiful sight.

I've always thought of myself as a bit of an old country soul. I've got a brother who's three years older than me, but when I was a young kid, everyone thought I was older than him because we were the same height. When I was four, my mom took us to kickboxing because she used to be a kickboxer. I ended up crying because I was being told off for not knowing my left and right and my brother was over in the corner getting away with murder, basically. But they thought I was a seven-year-old and that he was the four-year-old, so, I've always had that older, mature headspace about myself.

But I've also always loved a lot of different types of music. My Dad would play the classics of country – Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn – but I'm of that age where this new sound of contemporary, pop country started to break through on radio with Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood had just won American Idol when I was in high school, so I've grown up with that sound as well. I wanted a song that encompassed both those sides – the traditional country and those great classic artists and the old ways of life and the morals that they stand by, but also putting into a song that had a modern sound about it for 2020 so that's what Old Country Soul was.

I feel like that’s juxtaposed in the music video for the song, directed and produced by Duncan Toombs from The Filmery, as well. That old country is represented in the location – your hometown of Camden at the picturesque Gledswood Homestead and Winery – and the modern side is in the styling of the red dress and the corset belt with the country boots.

Yeah, definitely. I was lucky enough to shoot that out at Gledswood. It means a lot to me – I've had my year 6 formal there, sung for other people's weddings there and I was meant to get married there. It's historic – from 1810 – so it's beautiful knowing the stories that have been on this property. But I wanted to still look like me, so, when I was singing the parts, I wanted to make sure I still had that modern, contemporary country look. But there was also that other side where I wanted to not just be singing in the clip, I wanted – the B roll as they call it – where I was working on the land and being that old country soul – chopping wood and all those different kinds of things. So, it was a similar look, but we played it up a bit more with the corseted belt and the off the shoulder frills.

Getting married is often a big moment in people’s lives. It’s a day many grow up imagining and spend their whole lives planning. Given that your own nuptials have been postponed due to the corona virus, were you emotional filming the music video in the same location you were meant to have your wedding?

It was a bit bittersweet, but I had to think about the song, portraying it down the lens convincingly and be in that moment rather than thinking about what could have been. But when you stop for breaks, costume changes and setting up for the next scene, you couldn't help but think about it. It was a challenge but it’s part of the job. We’ve got to act out the song and portray it in the best way I can. Luckily, we didn’t have all day to shoot, otherwise my brain would have wandered off [laughs].

But for this clip, I wanted to have an all-girl band, which I've never done in another video clip. Because the bridge is all about ‘you can take the girl out of country, but you can't take the country out of the girl’, so I wanted it to be all about the women in this song. My bass player didn't have a bass amp with her that could fit in her car, so I ended up asking Jonathan to come with his bass amp and drop it off for me. He got on set and was looking around like, “it's looking great, but I can't stay” because he was thinking about what could have been, so he ended up leaving and coming back just to pick it up.

I don’t want to pry too much into your wedding, because I imagine you want to keep a lot of it as a surprise. But are you keeping things quite traditional or bringing in country elements as well?

We went with Gledswood, [because] it's close to where we live and it's also got that rustic, historic setting, which is what we both love. But we didn't realise this at the time, the engagement was in Sydney Harbour in front of the Opera House. Jonathan's lived in the city in Balmain before and he's like, “That's representative of me. Now we're out where you are [and] getting married in the country” [laughs].

Are you planning on wearing cowboy boots or heels?

I'm probably gonna go with heels still, but definitely not big ones, more like a wedge. You only get to wear a wedding dress once and look that elegant, so I'm trying to go with elegance. I'm quite a clumsy person as well, so I don't think heels outside on gravel and grass is gonna work that well [laughs].

The ultimate question is – are you going to sing a romantic song to each other on the day?

With the wedding, me and Jonathan are in the headspace of it's our day, we can have a day off from gigs. We've had other muso friends, that are coming to the wedding, go, “Do you want us to get up and sing?” and we're like, “No. That's all we ever do when we get together. Let's just hang out, enjoy ourselves and book someone else to be the entertainment.” So, we're not planning on doing any singing or performing ourselves at the wedding [laughs].

Last month, you started the miniseries, also titled Old Country Soul, where you talk with a different country music artist every fifteen-to-twenty-minute episode, available to watch via your YouTube channel and Facebook page. What inspired the series?

With the way things are at the moment, it's hard to get out, promote anything or catch up with fellow artists and mates. It got to that point where everyone was hoping we were done with this pandemic and weren't not. We're still forced into lockdown and have certain rules that we've got to abide by, so I went, “what else can I do right now to promote the single and also be able to catch up with my friends?” As country artists, we are all over this country – we've got the Wolfe Brothers down in Tasmania, Adam Harvey and Gina Jeffries on the Central Coast, the Kernaghans are up in Queensland – everyone's everywhere, so we're definitely not gonna be able to see each other this year.

I thought it was a nice way to talk music, the single and also about life, how they're dealing with it, what they're up to, have they come up with any new skills out of Covid, all these kind of different things. It's been nice and people's reactions to it have been great and getting to see different sides of artists and find out things that they didn't know. And, even though we're friends, I'm learning things as well. As country artists, we all have this common ground and we all have this old country soul ingrained in us, whether we've thought about it or not, and it's a starting point that even if you hardly know each other, you can just automatically connect with someone, and this miniseries is proof of that as well.

It’s only fair I ask in return then – have you come up with any new skills during the pandemic?

Not so much. I probably have done more baking than I ever have. I've created a couple of those I'm quite proud of. I've always had a sweet tooth. I haven't really pursued the cooking of the main meals – that’s more Jonathan's department [laughs].

But apart from that, I've just come out of surgery because of a gardening accident during Covid. The week that Covid hit was the week that CMC got cancelled and I was meant to be playing on that, so, I had nothing to do that weekend because I was planning on being in Queensland. My parents were at their place and doing some gardening. I was like, “I'll be a good daughter and help them out.” There's a spiky palm tree around the pool that had never been clipped in the 20 years that they've lived there. I was trying to cut it right back and I felt this spike in my knee. [I thought,] “That hurt. I’ve got to stop.”

A few days later, I went to the doctors and [was given] cream and antibiotics. I lived with it up until about three weeks ago when I couldn't walk anymore [laughs]. It was just in pain. I got an ultrasound and there was this diagonal, gigantic spike that was in my muscle of my knee and had travelled down to my muscle. I've ended up going into hospital to get it out and I now have the big thorn in a specimen jar in the kitchen now as a reminder that I am not a gardener. The moral of the story is that musicians need to get back to doing what they know how to do because otherwise, accidents happen. It also gets me out of any future gardening [laughs].

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