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Stock Route Music Festival: Celebrating Global Talent In Dubbo

17 April 2024 | 9:51 am | Christie Eliezer

Discussing his third Australian visit in 18 months, Dan Davidson reveals the special treats he's planning for his headline set at this weekend's Stock Route Music Festival.

Stock Route Music Festival organisers Mat & Krissy Smith

Stock Route Music Festival organisers Mat & Krissy Smith (Source: Supplied)

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Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Davidson is gearing up to hit Dubbo for the first time and co-headline the Stock Route Music Festival with Travis Collins on 20 April at the Lazy River Estate.

It was started in 2022 by Lazy River owners Mat and Krissy Smith to spotlight the NSW region as a destination and its music.

On his third visit in 18 months, Davidson just had time to do Toowoomba and Campbelltown outside Sydney before Dubbo.

“Every time I come back to Australia, we go on a bit of an adventure, and I go to new places,” says Davidson. “It’s always cool to see the country and meet new people.”

He’s got something special planned at Stock Route. After her set, Max Jackson will join Davidson for his banjo-driven Canadian and Australian hit Won’t Forget, on which she appears along with Canadian singer-songwriter Tim Hicks.

Davidson has also been talking to fellow Stock Route co-headliner Travis Collins about singing together as well. The Australian appeared on his single, Girl Drinks Beer.

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“I’ve been bugging Travis; he’s looking at his schedule to see how long after his set he has to leave. It’d be a pretty big missed opportunity if we didn’t.

“We got to do it last year, and we had such a great time. I love hanging out with those guys, so welcoming, and always good to drink beer together!”

Work Ethic


Davidson and Jackson first met in 2022 at the Groundwater Festival. Apart from the fact she was a talented and warm person, they shared the same work ethic.

“I’m always inspired to work with people that I find are grinding and sprinting as hard as they can,” he recounted. “That’s what I hope I do, just work harder than anyone else in my head.”

Jackson was also on the same Australian label, ABC Music, which he signed to in March.

“It’s not easy to do a collaboration with someone 15,000 kms away! But I had the song. I’ve been playing music for pretty much my entire life, and the song was about taking the time to appreciate the moments when you have them. 

“It had a ‘young, wild, and free’ vibe, and it made sense for me to have some other people on this one. I’d wanted to work with Tim for a long time. I reached out to Max out of the blue.

“It’s a strange way to make music. When I did the track with Travis Collins, I’d never met the guy before. The first time was when we performed the song together.”

Won't Forget is a great radio and road track. Its sing-along, dance-along vibe requires turning the volume up to get the full effect. It’s a good taster for the new album Nineteen Eighty Something—Australian Special Edition, out digitally on ABC Music.

“In the 1980s, growing up, I was totally inspired by songs on the radio by people like Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, [and] Don Henley.

 “They were bigger than their genre. They had an appeal to a wider group of people, with classics that won’t go away. I wanted to find a little inspiration from songs like that and how they remind me of being 17, borrowing your parents’ car, rolling the windows down and turning the music up.”

Putting A Spin


Nineteen Eighty Something puts a country spin on ‘80s street pop/rock, creating an exhilarating and emotional vibe. The feature track Spirit Of 17 strikes a chord, recalling the carefree days of summer and youth in Edmonton, growing up on prairies surrounded by endless farms.

Opening track He Met A Girl sets the scene with banjos and electronic drum sounds, charging on with Throwback and After Hours with a similar blend of eras. If These Streets Could Talk brings the mood down a notch, recalling old flames.

Davidson’s ability to deliver sophisticated country rock with lean stomp concerts explains why he’s managed to click up 30 million global streams. After spending almost a decade with the successful alt-rock band Tupelo Honey, he launched a solo career in 2016.

His second single, Found, a collaboration with Clayton Bellamy of The Road Hammers, went to Number One in Canada and went platinum.

There was a major reason why it struck such a chord in his home market. “A lot of people call it their wedding song. It’s a love song but not a sappy song. It’s a got-drunk-and-fell-in-love song.”

While he was notching seven nominations in the Canadian Country Music Awards and ten in the US, Australia quickly became his second country music home. On his first visit, he was stunned to find clubs packed out and people singing along to songs that had never been released in this country. He’s notched up multiple Top 20 hits.

Australian Experience


Canada and Australia are the second and third-largest country music markets in the world. They also have parallels in climate, weather and people.

“Canada and Australia are so similar; it’s the other side of the mirror, a bit inside out and upside down from what we’re used to (laughs). 

“Australia is a big, wide country and very hard to tour, just like Canada. Australian fans are very similar, real party people who just love to have a good time, with soundtrack-to-your-life experiences.”

He’s also big in the UK (streaming of country acts jumped by almost 50 per cent between 2020 and 2022), Germany, and France.

“It’s funny how France panned out. There’s a huge underground country music fanbase there. Line dancing is their main thing, and they like country music because they like line dancing, not the other way around. 

“So, when we go there, it’s really interesting because there are all-day line-dancing workshops and a conference through the day, and the shows are at nighttime with 50,000 people all just line-dancing. It’s like a military demonstration, and the French just love it.”

He’s also toured China, Italy, Hungary, Spain and Australia. 

After the two weeks here, Davidson returns to Canada for an acoustic theatre tour and some summer festivals and then goes to Italy in June.

He’s also a record producer of some renown in his home country. Last year, Hailey Benedict’s Wanted You To went Top 20, and he was also in the studio with W3apons (rock) and Stereos (pop). “I’m always learning as a producer. It’s a personal thing. The more you work, the more you grow.”

Also on the Stock Route bill are Ashleigh Dallas, The Bushwackers, Robbie Mortimer and Emerging Talent competition winner Aaron Jurd.

Mat and Krissy Smith said about the festival: "Our vision has always been to showcase the incredible talent we have across Australia and the world, bringing it right here to Dubbo.

"We believe in supporting emerging artists and providing a platform for them to shine alongside established performers."

Stock Route Music Festival is going ahead in Dubbo on Saturday, 20 April. You can find tickets here.