Australian Country Music

It might seem like country music is a uniquely American creation, but just like most other American creations, it has influenced artists around the world. One country that was especially receptive to American Country was Australia, a country with a shared English heritage and a range of geographic similarities. There are many comparisons that can be drawn between the American West and the Australian outback, so it really shouldn’t be that surprising that Australian folk music evolved to sound similar to American country even before American country music made an impact down under. To give you an idea of what Australian country music is like, let’s look at four artists that show off what the genre has to offer.

Slim Dusty

Slim Dusty’s song Cunnamulla Fella was so influential that it was honored by a statue outside the Cunnamulla Shire hall.

The first thing you need to know about Slim Dusty is that some argue he created the genre. Folk music existed all throughout Australia’s history, but Dusty brought together Australian folk, American country influences, and outback culture to create an image and a sound that would define Australian country for decades to go.

He was born in Nulla Nulla Creek New South Wales in 1927 and started writing and recording in 1946. From that year until his death in 2003 Dusty would record 73 solo studio albums, eight collaborative albums, and another eight live albums. When you add in his compilation records, you get more than 100 albums that would sell millions of copies within Dusty’s lifetime. And he did all of this without going international. Dusty’s career had many highlights, but he reached his largest audience when he performed “Waltzing Matilda” for the world to see as part of the Sydney Olympics’ closing ceremony.

Top Slim Dusty Songs

  • A Pub with No Beer
  • Duncan
  • The Answer to a Pub with No Beer

Lee Kernaghan

“Boys From The Brush” was the opening track on Kernaghan’s breakout album, The Outback Club.

The music produced by Lee Kernaghan will be familiar to anyone who’s a fan of 90s country. As an artist, Kernaghan sought to make American-style music about quintessentially Australian topics. Kernaghan didn’t just sing about the rural life in Australia; he has also done plenty of charity work to help deal with issues like droughts and rural poverty. The “Pass The Hat Around Australia” tour and “Spirit Of The Bush” concert series have helped to alleviate poverty and cement Kernaghan’s position as one of rural Australia’s favorite artists. Since his debut release in 1985 Lee has released 18 albums. Out of those nine have gone platinum and four have gone gold. His art and his activism would help to earn him the Order of Australia Medal, the title of Australian of the year, and a heaping helping of other awards.

Top Lee Kernaghan Songs

  • Missin’ Slim
  • Spirit Of The Bush
  • Spirit Of The Anzacs

Kasey Chambers

“Not Pretty Enough” was Chambers’ biggest hit, peaking at number one on the Australian ARIA Charts and receiving a double platinum certification in the country.

The work of Kasey Chambers is reminiscent of the pop-country crossover music that came to dominate the radio waves during the 2000s. Chambers was born in 1976 in Mount Gambier, South Australia. She grew up in a musical family, both her father Bill Chambers and her sister nash Chambers are Australian country music artists. She released her debut album, The Captain, in 1999. The album would help her earn the Most Performed Country Work award at the 2001 Aria Awards and Songwriter of the year in 2002.

While her debut album did well, her second album shot her to the heights of fame. The song “Not Pretty Enough” off of her 2001 album Barricades and Brickwalls would represent her commercial peak but her follow up albums would continue to sell well. Over the course of her career, she’s released eight solo records and three collaborative albums. Out of those releases, five have been certified platinum, and one reached gold. Her latest album, 2017’s Dragonfly, peaked at number 1 on the Australian Charts.

Top Kasey Chambers Songs

  • Not Pretty Enough
  • True Colours
  • Nothing at All

Sara Storer

“Buffalo Bill” wasn’t just the Storer’s first successful song; it was actually the first song she ever wrote!

There are plenty of Country artists who grew up far away from the rural environments they sing about. Sara Storer is not one of those artists; she grew up on a farm in Wemen, Victoria. Unlike other artists, she wasn’t single-mindedly focused on becoming a musician. Instead, she trained to become a teacher and worked as one. She didn’t write her first song until she was in her twenties. The experience of writing the song went so well that Sorer decided to become a singer songwriter. She would tour the country in between classes until she was finally signed and released her debut record in 2000.

Her next two albums would build on the success of her debut until she reached the top of the Australian country charts with her 2005 album Firefly. To date, she’s released six studio albums and one compilation albums, two of which have gone gold in Australia. Her later albums haven’t sold as many copies as her earlier hits, but her 2016 record Silos was her first to win Best Country Album at the Aria Music Awards.

Top Sara Storer Songs

  • Buffalo Bill
  • Come on Rain
  • Children Of The Gurindji