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Byron Shire
January 28, 2021

Interview with William Crighton

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William Crighton at Lismore City Hall on Saturday 28 Nov.

The Change is Coming…

William Crighton’s latest release My Country speaks to environmental degradation in the pursuit of profit. It’s a subject close to his heart. Crighton is the kind of man with dust on his boots, and in his heart.

‘I have been an environmentalist for a long time, and having kids, it makes you realise what’s happening with the land and the future. For me it’s about unity and everyone taking responsibility for the land where we live, and the water – we have to take it on ourselves, the land doesn’t belong to anyone, it is all of our home, it’s for us to look after’ says William.

So how does someone so passionate about his country and about the environment, maintain belief in the face of cynicism and the disheartening lack of positive political progress?

‘Yes you feel like change can’t occur, you realise your own hypocrisy as well, and you realise that you are part of the problem, you have bought into the system that is ruining the joint as well. Now I have to draw a line – I have to prioritise. We haven’t invested enough in renewable energy or in sustainable or regenerative farming.’

Crighton was also disheartened around some of the unusual responses and the polarising views around Trump being some sort of liberator of the people.

‘It broke my heart a bit when I saw some of the self-proclaimed environmentalists buying into the whole Donald Trump thing.’

He believes it’s never been more important to be a critical thinker. 

‘Everyone has to think now, mechanics, supermarket attendants – we should be critically thinking, listening to the science that has been there for 50 years at least, the Aborigines who have been doing this for tens of thousands of years – but in saying that, my daughters, and the new generation of kids fill me full of hope. If we can set ourselves on a new path, I have massive faith in their ability to make change.’

Being in nature is something Crighton does regularly – he finds it restorative, he’s also found a way to keep a little of the magic for when he’s back in the city.

‘I love going up to the Watagans National Park and just sitting and quietly taking it all in – we are in the bush, even if you are in the city in the middle of George Street you are still in the bush, it exists and will always exist. Birds and snakes, lizards and wallabies, you feel immersed and you feel part of that. When you come back to town it’s different – it’s our habitat and it’s up to us how we keep it – it means you can connect with the bush wherever you are – I love that. I didn’t grow up near the ocean so I don’t have that affinity – a lot of people have that connection – for me it’s mountains.’

Crighton performs with his wife Jules. They met when they were teenagers and have been together since he was 21. Their musical affinity on stage is as unique as the way they sing together – not facing out to the audience, but singing to each other. For an audience it’s a profoundly intimate way to be drawn into a performance.

‘It just feels natural to do it that way – our singing has evolved. It’s like second nature, we don’t plan anything. We have full trust in each other musically – to the point where we rarely rehearse, we sing and we practise, we just work on our individual things – and then we play a little bit together at home.’ 

William and Jules are hoping to announce some special guests for their show at Lismore City Hall. They are just awaiting more news on the changes in border restrictions!

Although tough for artists, Crighton believes that COVID has been a time of learning.

‘The way we have managed it gives me hope – that we can stop everything and change – the environment [climate change] is so much more of a threat than covid.’

William Crighton with support by Mykaela Jay – a Great Southern Nights gig at Lismore City Hall on Saturday 28 Nov at 7.30pm.

Tix via lismorecityhall.com.au

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