AWARD WINNING SINGER-SONGWRITER LUKE O’SHEA RELEASES NEW SINGLE
SINGLE SAME SMALL TOWN AT RADIO NOW
Same Small Town, the new single from multi-award-winning country music artist Luke O’Shea, is a powerful and poignant song that seems set to further cement its creator’s reputation as one of the finest lyricists working in Australia today. Luke, whose chart-topping album, The Drover’s Wife, is winning plaudits around the country, recently scored two very significant awards at the this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival. The title track from The Drover’s Wife earned him the prestigious Golden Guitar award for Heritage Track of the Year. Even more importantly, however, the same song earned him the coveted Golden Gumleaf award – a gong up until this year awarded exclusively to spoken-word bush poets.
Yet if the word ‘heritage’ carries with it connotations of history and a certain old fashioned style, Same Small Town will dispel any doubts that Luke O’Shea is a man who spends his time looking backwards. The song is a touching and wry confessional piece about a country-born man who moves to the city and then accidentally runs into his ex-girlfriend. Their meeting is awkward, igniting memories, questions and, ultimately, sadness. They promise to meet up again, but both know in their hearts that they will never do so. Same Small Town is a sharply observed take on a very modern case of happenstance in urban life. And, what’s more, it’s a true yarn.
“We’re always forming relationships with people,” says Luke. “Some work and some don’t. I think all songs are biographical in some ways, and this one is definitely from the vault of my experience. I did bump into an old girlfriend of 20 years ago a while back. I haven’t seen her again since, and, no, she doesn’t know she was part of the inspiration for this song. I’m a married man – there’s no other woman in my life.”
The real life incident, however, was only one element that Luke considered when writing Same Small Town. The other is a little unexpected. “There’s a song by American singer Harry Chapin called ‘Taxi Driver’,” he says. “It’s about a guy driving a taxi and his ex gets in the back seat. There are a lot of thoughts and questions about what was and what might have been, but in the end he drops her off and she just leaves him with a big tip. ‘Harry, keep the change.’”
The reference to Chapin is indicative of the wide range of musical forms that ultimately influence Luke O’Shea’s work. “I’m basically an Aussie male who grew up in the Aussie pub rock scene, with my music exposure influenced by my father’s and mother’s country collection,” he says. “I grew up with Creedence Clearwater Revival, Simon and Garfunkel, George Jones and Johnny Cash. I found my own sound among diverse genres. My home turned out to be in the country singer-songwriter field.”
Luke’s home, also, once, was in a small town somewhere. He declines to identify it in the lyrics of Same Small Town because, he says, in a sense it doesn’t matter. “When you’re growing up as a kid, everywhere is a very small town,” he says. “It could be suburban Sydney, or Gunnedah, or Narrabri – it could be anywhere. In that sense, we all grow up in the same small town.”
The Drovers Wife was released in January at the 40th Tamworth Country Music Festival through WJO Distribution. The new single Same Small Town is at radio now.