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New Series To Explore The Creation Of Country Music

21 October 2021 | 12:16 pm | Mallory Arbour

Self-confessed 'city girl' Justine Clarke takes a road trip into the heart of Australian country music in a new series that explores its creation.

Self-confessed “city girl” Justine Clarke is about to take a road trip into the heart of Australian country music. Premiering on ABC TV and ABC iview on 2 November, Going Country is a two-part series which sees Clarke travel to locations that have played an integral part in the creation and inspiration of iconic country music songs, as well as the lives of the artists who have helped shape Australian country.

Going Country is a joyous and heartfelt series helmed by award-winning director Kriv Stenders, and features musical performances by Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers, Briggs, Troy Cassar-Daley and Fanny Lumsden, amongst many others.

Crossing the inner city/country divide, Clarke begins a road trip adventure that reveals our country music story, as she connects with some of our greatest musicians performing some of Australia’s iconic songs. She learns that country was in some ways the punk of its time, how it cut through with its striking clothes, untamed singing style and its own unique culture. But more than that, she will discover just how important country music was to Australians – and still is – and how these songs capture who we are as a people and a nation.

Clarke says, “There's a personal side of this story. My family is musical. My mum was a dancer, my dad was a singer. They met performing. I've been singing for as long as I can remember. And I love all kinds of music. I even sang American country in my first band, but Australian country ... it feels like uncharted territory.”

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As part of her Going Country journey, Clarke visits Broken Hill, Silverton, Capertee Valley, Tooma, the Colo River, Blackheath, the Central Coast, Kempsey, Tamworth, Little River in Victoria, Melbourne and Sydney.

With a particular focus on female country talent, Going Country forms part of the ABC Arts Know My Name project. Started by the National Gallery of Australia to address gender bias in visual arts, the next chapter of Know My Name has been broadened by ABC Arts to include women from a diverse range of creative practices to be featured in vibrant original content across the ABC.

As part of the series, hip hop artist, Briggs has released his newest single Shadows featuring Troy Cassar-Daley. An adaptation of Cassar-Daley’s original Shadows On The Hill, the collaboration acknowledges an important part of Australia’s history. 

Cassar-Daley says, "Shadows On The Hill started its song line around a fire on Gumbaynggirr country at our men’s camp. There was one powerful moment for all of us when a massacre was mentioned that happened up the river from where we camped with our families for many generations, the wind died down, the air around us was still and not one bird sang.  My old uncle stood up and said, ‘Don’t be scared the old people know we are here; they are just letting us know’.  The trees on the mountains across the river from us stood long and lonely.  I believe the old people gave me this song to acknowledge the pain and to share one of the many brutal stories of this land and more importantly to share the truth. Because song lines never end and make their way through thousands of generations, I shared the song with Briggs so the next generation can hear the story of the Shadows On The Hill.”

Briggs says on the song: "Shadows was brought to me by Troy; I was honoured he’d share this part of his story with me.  There was so much depth and this haunting truth that is woven through his words." 

Going Country premieres on ABC TV and ABC iview on Tuesday, November 2 at 8.30pm.

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Image: Supplied