Since barnstorming his way onto the country music charts with the mega hit “Boys From The Bush” Lee Kernaghan has notched up 33 #1 hits on the Australian Country Chart, won 3 ARIA awards, 33 Golden Guitars and has sold 2 million albums in the Australian market. Lee’s latest release Beautiful Noise scooped the pool at the 2014 Country Music Awards of Australia picking up the awards for Single of the Year, Music Video of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Top Selling Album of the Year.
Kernaghan’s music gave birth to a distinctly Australian brand of rural rock with songs like “Hat Town”, “She’s my Ute” “Texas QLD 4385” and “The Outback Club”” leading the way.
Lee grew up in the bush and it was in the pubs and clubs of southern NSW where he learnt to rock a country crowd. Lee said, ‘We had to play all kinds of music to survive and I think a lot of what was happening in the pub rock scene back then has rubbed off on me. I hauled a horse float around for about ten years with all my musical equipment in the back. I was the singer, the roadie, the lighting guy and front of house mixer all rolled into one but all the miles and trials of doing it that way has helped me navigate my way through the highs and lows.
For Kernaghan it all began to explode in the early nineties with the release of his ARIA award-winning Album of the Year, “The Outback Club”. He toured relentlessly throughout the decade, pumping out the hits and unleashing his own brand of high-octane country on a fast growing national audience. His music was undeniably country but it rocked and his songs told the story of a new generation of Australians living and working on the land. Highlights included 3 ARIA Awards, an award winning duet with the King of Country Slim Dusty, his Toyota Pass the Hat Around Australia tours and Farmhand that raised millions of dollars for drought relief and community causes throughout Australia.
In 2000 Kernaghan was named Hitmaker of the Decade, an award he picked up again in 2010 for the most #1 radio hits. Lee said.” It’s always a big challenge embarking on a new album project because I reckon you’re only as good as the songs you put out there. Sometimes we write and re write a song several times until we feel we’ve got it right. Then, before it’s released, I road test the song in a Landcruiser. If it passes that test it makes it onto the album.”
Kernaghan is also renowned for his electrifying live concerts and sell out shows around the country. He regularly gives credit to his Dad, country singer Ray Kernaghan who introduced Lee to the stage and by example, showed him the ropes. Lee said, “Dad started off life as a truck driver working on the Snowy Mountains Scheme but his heart was always in music. I was about 13 years old when Dad started making albums and I got to play in his touring band. Most of what I know today about being on stage, I learnt from him. Another big influence on me was my Grandfather Pat Kernaghan. Pop was a drover of sheep and cattle for fifty years of his life and I’m sure songs like “Three Chain Road”, “High Country” and “The Way It Is” would never have been written if not for the influence he had on me as a kid growing up in the bush.”
2008 was a milestone year when Lee was named Australian of the Year for his service to rural and regional Australia. He dedicated much of the year to visiting drought-affected communities, singing his songs and showing his support for families doing it tough on the land.
Lee hit the road again in 2009 with his extensive Planet Country Tour and Pubs Clubs and Carparks Tour. At the 2010 Country Music Awards of Australia he was awarded the Golden Guitar for Top Selling Album of The Year for Planet Country.
In 2012 Kernaghan headed back into the studio to record his 10th studio album, “Beautiful Noise”. He was not prepared to rest on his laurels when it came time to offer his legion of fans something new. The latest album has a giant beating country heart and an innovative approach to the music production.
Lee said, “The title track is a song about a red dirt dream, a big V8 and the promise of an open road. It’s also about having your girl there with you and the beating of her heart as you hold her close…- It’s a Beautiful Noise!.”
“We also brought a new approach to the recording process, layering programmed parts with the live musicians. Most songs are written with just a guitar or a piano so to start recording as simply as that felt a lot more organic and helped us capture the spirit of the song. There are a number of rules you follow when making a country record and I reckon we broke most of them in making this album. We just let the songs go where they wanted to go. Some tracks, like “Splash” and “Flying with the King” were recorded the traditional way and sound pretty much the way they were played in the studio. On others like “Ute Me”, “Dirt Music” and “It’s Only Country”, there are elements of hip-hop, rock, pop, dance all wrapped up into this thing called country.
Industry insiders are predicting Beautiful Noise will be another ground-breaking album for Lee.
“A powerful and spirited album. Beautiful Noise breaks new ground for Australian country music.” Ara Jansen, The West Australian
“All Killers, no fillers!” Trevor Smith, Aloha Media
“It’s on high rotation and highly requested.” Sean Scanlon, Gippsland FM
Lee will be touring his Beautiful Noise Tour around Australia throughout 2013 and 2014.