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Rider Essentials: Small Town Romance

25 August 2023 | 11:47 am | Mary Varvaris

To celebrate Small Town Romance’s musical comeback, we caught up with them to find out what they always take on the road for this week’s Rider Essentials.

Small Town Romance

Small Town Romance (Source: Supplied)

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Melbourne country music duo Small Town Romance are in the driver’s seat for this week’s Rider Essentials, revealing what they can’t live without when they go on tour.

Small Town Romance, partners in life and music, comprising Flora Smith and Jim Arneman, just dropped their soothing new ballad, Home Fires. You can watch the music video below.

The first single from the duo’s upcoming second album, due for release in early 2024, is an Americana-influenced, soul music examination of what humans seek in their quieter moments. Their debut self-titled album was released in October 2016 – when the duo were a five-piece band.

Following the release of their debut album, Small Town Romance earned nominations for the Music Victoria Award for Country Album of The Year and New Talent of The Year category at the Golden Guitar Awards.

On Sunday, 3 September, fans can celebrate Home Fires and see Small Town Romance again at Shotkickers, Thornbury. Melbourne hillbilly duo The Ironbark Brothers will open the show – you can find tickets and more information here.

To celebrate Small Town Romance’s musical comeback, we caught up with Smith and Arneman to find out what they always take on the road for this week’s Rider Essentials.

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Being able to DIY an AM caffeinated beverage is essential. This was instilled in me (Jim) from a very early age as my Mum, Anne Kirkpatrick, always had an extensive collection of travel teapots to take on the road. We tend to lean on the harder stuff (coffee), and an AeroPress makes decent motel room coffee a reality. 

A willing kid wrangler

We haven't toured a huge amount with our kids, but when we have, we've only been able to do so if we can enlist someone to help with the kids while playing. Joy insisted that Anne happily sat side of the stage while she and Slim played, but our daughter Helena is hungry for the limelight and has had to be removed from several shows after rushing the stage, yelling 'WHEN IS MY SONG!?' At least we know who will be opening the show in a few years’ time… 

A Springsteen record

There is no place like the car to listen to music. It’s where we discover new artists and actually have the time to listen to albums from start to finish. But there comes a time for The Boss on every road trip. We both love long drives, and nothing gets us in the mood like a packet of Twisties and some Springsteen. Pulling out of here to win! 

The bachelor’s handbag (hot chook)

Being able to construct a decent meal from the offerings of a supermarket is a skill that all travelling musicians require. Especially when squeezing dinner in between soundcheck and showtime, which is often before anything is open for dinner. Bachelor’s handbag to the rescue! A hot chook really raises the bar on the supermarket car park dinner or the roadside bread roll lunch. 

A benevolent and generous attitude

Touring can be stressful, and we are both usually FAR nicer to everyone else in the touring party than we are to each other. Making music together has always been at the core of our relationship, and we feel so lucky to share that. But we also share the stresses, anxieties and insecurities that come with it. And while we can be more upfront, honest and direct with each other, sometimes it’s better if we try to treat each other as bandmates, not as long-suffering husband/wife.