Updated: May 7
✦ Off the back of a #1 ARIA Australian Country Album and 3x #1 radio singles, Angus Gill nabbed the Golden Guitar Award for Bush Ballad of the Year for his song The Easy Way, co-written with Manfred Vijars, at the 50th CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia.
It's been a dream of Angus’ since he can remember, and now the Mid North Coast singer-songwriter and producer can call himself a Golden Guitar winner.
"I was just speechless. I couldn't believe it," a beaming Angus said of his glittering Tamworth Country Music Festival moment. "It means so much to me to pick up a Golden Guitar. We don't do it for that, we don't do it for the awards. I’m totally lost for words and for me, this is a first! This has been seventeen years in the making and I am so grateful that I won my first Golden Guitar for Bush Ballad of the Year.
"This was the style I started playing as a seven year old, after being inspired by local entertainers William Lane and Ken 'Chainsaw' Lindsay. I got my first gig singing bush ballads at the Timbertown Heritage Theme Park, in my hometown of Wauchope. I’d sing for four hours every Saturday for twenty five dollars and a meat pie. The four years I did at Timbertown taught me so much about stage craft and how to captivate and entertain audiences of all different sizes. And now to win a Golden Guitar for Bush Ballad of the Year, it’s a very special 'full circle' moment for me.”
"My first teacher William Lane and his wife, Coral Lane — Bill lit the spark in me and I will always be indebted to him for that. This one's for you Bill."
As well as performing The Easy Way on the awards show and delivering what some declared as “one of the most memorable Golden Guitar Awards speeches”, Angus was praised by Australian Country Music legend John Williamson, who described him as “a breath of fresh air” and “a bronze statue in the future” of Australian Country Music.
His latest single “The Scrapbook” is on the radio now. It reached #1 on the Country Songs Top 40 Australian Airplay Chart last week, marking the second #1 song for Gill in 2 weeks.
Where did Angus’ love of music come from?
“I think the love of music was built in me as a kid. I would always be singing around the house and I'd often take my father's old nylon string guitar out of the case and tinker with it,” he told us. “ I got guitar lessons at the local music shop in Wauchope called Jivebird Music and I realised this (playing guitar) was something I enjoyed and had a bit of a knack for.
”Shortly after, Dad got talking to a neighbour, William Lane, who was a retired professional Country singer and Bill offered to come around to the house and show me a few guitar chords. He taught me how to play guitar and sing and I was very inspired by his work. His songs were among the first I learnt, in addition to Slim Dusty's Leave Him Out There in the Longyard. The music that my Nan and my Grandma listened to also had a big impact on me too. Artists like Slim Dusty, Graeme Connors, John Williamson, Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey. They both had great taste in country music.”
Who has helped Angus further his career?
Angus has always been self motivated and self driven, which he said he can thank his Dad for. “My parents have never been 'stage parents' and whilst they were incredibly supportive of me growing up, they never did the work for me. I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for the phone to ring, I’ve always been one to get in and get things done.”
Angus told us that he learnt from an early age that he had to wear many hats, from artist, songwriter and producer to manager, booking agent and publicist. “I developed business and communication skills the hard way, by 'doing' and I'm grateful that my parents let me learn and never took over the reins. I’ve been blessed to have had some great mentors over the last 17 years. People like William Lane, who taught me to play guitar and sing when I was 7 and artists like Ken 'Chainsaw' Lindsay, Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole, Jim Haynes, Allan Caswell and Graeme Connors. All of these people have inspired and encouraged me over the years and I’m very grateful for their friendship and support.”
Mum and Dad's reaction to the award…
“They were both as chuffed as I was. I think Dad still believes the Golden Guitar is his. Although he probably deserves it, putting up with all of my antics for the last 24 years,” Angus quipped.
What does the award mean to Angus?
“It's something I've been aiming for ever since I first picked up a guitar as a kid. To finally hold one of my own Golden Guitars in my hands, is quite an incredible feeling. This is the highest accolade you can receive in Country Music in this country. That said, I don't write songs because I want to, I do it because I have to and because I love to. There is simply no other option. Passion will always be the driving force behind everything I do, but awards are nice,” he says with a laugh.
What does the future look like to Angus Gill?
“Busy! I've got a lot of writing and production projects on the cards. I'm always working on and thinking of the next project. I'm also looking forward to touring towards the second half of this year, playing to people that aren't family members (laughs). It's been a long 2 years sitting at home - I think I'm going a bit stir crazy!”
With four critically acclaimed studio albums, four #1 radio singles, a Golden Guitar award, a #1 ARIA Country Album and an ARIA Awards nomination under his belt, Angus Gill is one of the most exciting and prodigious acts on the Australian Country Music scene. He's not only a musical chameleon, a gifted producer, a songwriter's songwriter and a consumable performer, he's also a comedian with a natural, dry sense of humour. Gill is one of the youngest Australians to have performed on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville TN, alongside Nashville TV star, singer/songwriter Charles Esten.
Gill's fourth studio album has received critical acclaim in both Australia and the US, as well as producing two hit radio singles 'Always on the Run' and 'Whittling Away', featuring multiple Grammy winning bluegrass icon Jim Lauderdale. The album reached #1 on both the ARIA Australian Country Albums Chart and the AIR 100% Independent Albums Chart, as well as debuting at #19 on the ARIA Top 50 Albums Charts.
Rhythms Magazine declared The Scrapbook "one of the most authentic bluegrass albums ever recorded in Australia." US publication Mother Church Pew said, "With The Scrapbook, Gill's plethora of talents are in the spotlight; he amply proves he's not only a prodigious creator, but a gifted storyteller that puts his heart on the line in every turn of phrase."
Gill has been delighting audiences with his distinctive voice, razor sharp wit and multi-instrument
proficiency for over 15 years. In addition to The Scrapbook, he has released two solo albums 'Nomad' and 'Welcome To My Heart', as well as 3 Minute Movies, a collaboration record with the members of Paul Kelly's band, dubbed as Seasons of Change. Gill was nominated for an ARIA Award for his work with Melbourne comedy legend Bev Killick in 2020 and won his first Golden Guitar award in 2022 for Bush Ballad of the Year, for his song The Easy Way, co-written with Manfred Vijars.
The Wauchope wunderkind has supported US Country Music superstar Kris Kristofferson and collaborated with music legends including Steve Earle, Jim Lauderdale, Charles Esten, Jerry Salley, James Blundell, Gina Jeffreys, Diesel, Adam Harvey and many more. He has also had in excess of 25 songs recorded by other artists in the last year, including a cut Darwin Nights on Adam Harvey's Golden Guitar winning album Songs From Highway One. He also co-wrote and produced the sound track for the Sydney Royal Easter Show 2021, featuring performances from Bec Lavelle, James Blundell and Lindsay Waddington.
"Gill's song craft betrays a precocity that blooms" - The Australian