The boy from the bush and the stories that started it all
COUNTRY music legend Lee Kernaghan has released his outback memoir. The 33-time Golden Guitar winner recalls the stories behind his songs and life on the road in Boy from the Bush.
The 50-year-old spent the past year and a half working on the book as well as the new album Spirit of the Anzacs, his first to reach No 1 on the ARIA albums chart.
"A book was something I hadn't really given a lot of thought to," he said.
"I'm usually focusing on what I've got to do today and tomorrow, so writing the book made me stop and take a deep breath and go right back to the beginning.
"Some of it I'm proud of, some of it I'm not."
The memoir covers the doubts that nearly ended Lee's career before it began.
Lee reveals he nearly called it quits before writing his life-changing hit Boys from the Bush.
"I won Star Maker in 1982, and it was huge. I was only 18 years old at the time," he said.
"You think now that you've won Star Maker, off you go - nothing can stop you now. It was actually 10 years of really hard knocks and two-bit gigs that seemed to be a road to nowhere.
"At the end of that 10-year period, I said to my band, 'This is our last show. I'm giving it away'. But I was saved by a song, and that song was Boys from the Bush. That reignited my career."
In the early 1990s, Lee was part of a new generation of country music stars, including Keith Urban, Troy Cassar-Daley and James Blundell.
"It was such an exciting time," he said. "James was kicking down doors left, right and centre.
"It was almost like there was a revolution going on out there in the bush and all these kids were getting into country music."
Lee said it's over to the readers now to "see if they like it". He hopes to have captured the ups and downs of his career on the page.
"There were parts of it I got a bit choked up and other parts when I was reading it back I was laughing my head off," he said.
"I had to call a friend and my family every now and then to double check I had the facts right. I think it's pretty close to the mark. If not, then I'm sure everyone will tell me."
He wrote the book with his long-time songwriting partner Colin Buchanan.
"Buco has been with me through much of the touring," he said.
"It was a natural fit to do this project together. He was on the Outback Club Tour in '92. He was with me when we wrote She's My Ute and Hat Town."
Boy from the Bush is published by HarperCollins and is available from book stores and online outlets now.