Two-time Golden Guitar winner Tom Curtain is back with the brand-new track, ‘Why We Live Out Here’. The rousing ode to life on the land is the first single to be lifted from his forthcoming fifth studio album.
“It’s the way of life, country atmosphere / That’s why we live, why we live out here,” sings Curtain in the brand-new track. The love letter to rural living certainly hits the ground running; a booming drum beat tangled in soaring guitars creates the backdrop for what is sure to become an outback anthem.
Although, the joyous tune was born out of struggle. “The people out here in the bush have been smashed over the last few years with some pretty life changing events, with the extreme drought, bushfires, the floods to name a few,” says Curtain with a solemn tongue. “I heard a few people say, ‘why would anyone want to live out there’, and so I thought it could be a great topic to expand on and explain why people love it out here. There’s no denying times can be incredibly tough on the land but there are definitely some cracking reasons to spend your life in the heat and dust.”
The NT native co-wrote ‘Why We Live Out Here’ with his good friend (and accomplished songwriter in his own right), Matt Scullion, and Australian country music legend, Garth Porter. “Matt was travelling the country and dropped into Katherine in the NT on a Sunday afternoon,” divulges Curtain. “I mentioned the idea of writing a song and his eyes lit up, so we gave it a crack, and nearly had it finished before he was on his way again.”
Garth Porter would be the man to produce the new single. Having worked with countless big names, like Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell, Gina Jefferies, Sara Storer and so many more, Curtain knew the song was in more-than-capable hands. It was within the storied walls of Porter’s Rancom St Studios that Curtain and Scullion’s draft found its final legs. “The recording process was amazing,” recalls Curtain. “You have this idea of what the song sounds like and then when all the musicians begin to play the whole song comes to life and it just feels totally mind blowing.”
Curtain doesn’t just perform country music – he lives and breathes it. After discovering his passion for songwriting, while working in the stock-camp of Mt Sanford Station, NT, he released his first album, Smack Bang, in 2004. He toured with some of Australia’s biggest – Sara Storer, The Sunny Cowgirls – but eventually stepped away from music to establish his business and support his young family.
When he finally returned in 2017 (a decade later), with his third album, Territory Time, it was to many accolades. The album debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Albums charts, while his duet with Luke O’Shea, ‘Never Never Land’, scooped up two Golden Guitar awards for CMC Video Clip of the Year and Toyota Heritage Song of the Year. But it didn’t stop there. Curtain also won the prestigious Australian Independent Artist of the Year at the 2018 Southern Stars Australian Independent Country Music Awards in Mildura, together with Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
Curtain now splits his time between his music and the Katherine Outback Experience – an outback show that he says, “combines the training of working dogs, wild horses, infused with a little country music”. KOE is operated by Curtain in Katherine, NT from April to the end of October, then for the summer, he hits the road. “The last 5 years we have toured for 6 months over the summer, right around the country performing to a lot of different crowds in amazing towns and venues. We head off again on the East Coast Tour in October, heading to Cairns and down the coast to Victoria.”
Tom Curtain’s ‘Why We Live Out Here’ regales us with the simple pleasures found in rural living. Its direct message is beautifully communicated through Australian imagery, reminding us of Curtain’s unquestionable authenticity. It’s clear this much loved and awarded, singer-songwriter still has some of his best work ahead of him.