Six-time winner Luke O’Shea says it’s an important part of his job as a musician and performer to put his Golden Guitar where his mouth is.
Just after picking up three Golden Guitars at Tamworth Country Music Festival, Luke O’Shea and his father Rick locked on to a mining pump drawing water from the Namoi River, just metres from the farmhouse where Rick was born in Boggabri, in an effort to highlight the issues that farmers are facing in many parts of country Australia as mining companies slowly eat the planet.
A singer-songwriter, Luke O’Shea picked up three gongs including Male Artist of the Year for his album Sing You Up. His song Three Brothers (The Great War) won both the APRA Song of the Year and Toyota Heritage Song of the Year awards.
O’Shea says it’s hard to explain but he feels a deep connection to the place where his ancestors lived and toiled. Seeing the land of his forefathers being ravaged has prompted him to stand up.
‘In country music our role is to “sing up” the people and the land’, says Luke O’Shea. ‘When you can feel that through the song or the lyric, then that’s a job well done. At the moment, if you are listening to the people and the land, it’s crying out for help. Sing You Up is a response to that cry.’
For farmers and community members across North West NSW, the threat of coal seam gas fields and big new coal mines is becoming more real by the day.
‘To see how much pain there is within the farming community, and frustration, I think it would be the absolute height of hypocrisy, if I am lucky enough to win a couple of gongs with Sing You Up, if I didn’t do something with that little bit of media attention I might get.’
‘We’ve got a gift in this country, we’ve got some of the richest agricultural land just sitting out there on the Liverpool Plains and the Breeza Plains. We’ve got to feed this world and here we are with just enough water to sustain those crops out there, and we are allowing these massive multinational companies to come in and take our best agricultural land, and just abuse our water system.
‘We need to unite. We need to say “no” because the people we vote in are the ones allowing this to happen.’
‘I think the greatest enemy we face now is apathy and ignorance. I think we have to sing it up.’
As the countdown to the NSW State Election begins, the North West locals are taking the opportunity to hold a regional event demonstrating their collective voice.
This Sunday March 15 they are holding a ‘Celebrate Gasfield Free North West and Protect Our Food Bowl’ event where they plan to stand together as one, to celebrate the regional results of the Gasfield Free Surveys and create a human sign to carry their message out into the world.
Luke O’Shea, along with Gamilaroi songwriter Jamie Smith and activist muso Paul Robert Burton will entertain those gathered at the event which will be held at the Donnelly Playing Fields, Namoi River Flats, Maitland St, Gunnedah from noon.
Organisers say that there will be a free BBQ, and ask people to BYO chair, rug and drinks. Contact Megan for more information, 0427 476 232.