Thirteen is lucky for some, and for Luke O’Shea, it’s brought plenty of gold his way at the 49th Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth.
The Sutherland Shire singer-songwriter picked up his 13th Golden Guitar on Saturday night, January 23, after winning Traditional Album of the Year and Heritage Song of the Year.
This marks O’Shea’s seventh win in Heritage Song of the Year and his first Album of the Year category Golden Guitar.
Fellow multi-Golden Guitar winning singer-songwriter Kevin Bennett shared the Heritage Song of the Year win with O’Shea, for their collaboration, Happy Australia Day, while O’Shea’s album, There In The Ochre, won Traditional Album of the Year.
“This album, There In The Ochre, has been without a doubt the hardest and most rewarding album I have ever made,” he said.
“It was started more than three years ago and then life just got in the way – three teenage daughters and a complete house renovation saw all my creative juices and finances focused on other things. But, through the shared passion of some of my all-time favourite musicians and people on the planet, it finally came together.”
O’Shea recorded There In The Ochre across more than 12 different studios over three different states with the skills and ability of people including Lyn Bowtell, Ashleigh Dallas, Kevin Bennett, Brad Butcher, Amber Lawrence, Chris Matthews, Bill Risby, Michel Rose, Clare O’Meara, Stuie and Camille French, Damien Cafarella, Lachlan Bryan, Luke Herbert, Benjy and Soni Pocock, Phil and Lana Doublet, and Sean Rudd who pulled it all together.
“I have always loved the craft of making an album – the light and dark, the ebb and flow, and even though that doesn’t get as appreciated in this world of digital downloads, this album is dedicated to those who love to listen to the whole story – the book,” O’Shea said.
“That is you, you magnificent country music audiences and for that I am eternally grateful and determined to keep on creating music and stories that might entertain, console and challenge, so thank you for letting me be me.”
In terms of challenging songs, the award-winning Happy Australia Day is meant to educate and encourage listeners to think about the significance of January 26.
“Without doubt, the Heritage Award is the category that inspires me the most,” O’Shea said.
“The Heritage category gives you the opportunity to tell stories, to sing up our distinct and unique past, our history and its people – warts and all.”
O’Shea said songwriting allowed him to celebrate the pride he has for our country and share the love and inspiration it provided and wanted others to feel it too.
“To be given the honour of this award means so much to me because that means somewhere, somehow, through some line or melody I was able to connect with you,” he said.
“Happy Australia Day is not a pretty song but, like it or not, it is our history and we have to own it. It was written with the great Kevin Bennett – a Kamilaroi man – not to shame or embarrass, but to educate.”
O’Shea is a school teacher and wanted more facts known about our pre-European history and our shared history, both black and white.
“Through learning about these remarkable Indigenous Australians, it is our hope that you might gain a new and valuable perspective of our past so that you might better understand where we are at currently so that, together, we might make better informed and more compassionate decisions about our future united – as one, and perhaps one day get to share a true Happy Australia Day.”
O’Shea has also just released a new single with Golden Guitar-winning Tamworth singer-songwriter Ashleigh Dallas called Long Way ‘Round.