After the incredible national chart success of his first two singles Dirt Kids and Dance On, Tony Smith continues to bring us songs full of Australian colour and characters with his latest release The Ghost of this Guitar, inspired by the great Slim Dusty. Taken from his forthcoming album Stir the Embers, it’s a rollicking country tune that captures the true Australian country spirit in the style of Henry Lawson.
“When I was young Dad used to play Slim Dusty every night while he had a beer on the verandah and one song in particular was a favorite of mine, Where Country Is, a song about an old ringer sitting outside the Birdsville hotel singing songs about Australia. I wrote this song as an ode to the old ringer and his cracked and battered Gibson guitar,” says Tony.
Tony’s songs capture the Australian country way of life. Born and raised on the lower Darling Murray Basin region at Balcatherine Station, 45 kilometres from the historic town of Wentworth NSW, he lived and breathed the land through the good times and bad, as every farmer does. From droughts, floods and fires, to epic lake bed wheat crops, booming wool and sheep prices and back again, to shooting stock and wondering why the hell any sane person would try to make a living off the land.
Working far and wide to make ends meet, Tony went from mustering buffalo in the NT to shearing sheep in most states of Australia and more recently, in the mining industry as an all-rounder, meaning “drives anything”. His life experiences are recorded in his music with songs such as Shearer, recorded by James Blundell on his Portrait of a Man album, and Little Desert.
Tony fell away from the music scene for more than 20 heart-breaking years when he lost his nearly full-term baby, and was diagnosed with cancer. His natural instinct was to focus on and protect what he held most dear, his loving wife and children. His return to country music is a welcome one. His songs echo the spirit of John Williamson, delivering the story of his life and the people around him in songs he crafts.