INTERVIEW: John Williamson on being an Australian, Honest People and his latest tour

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When John Williamson walks on stage in the Hunter next month, with his trusty Maton guitar, he does so with almost 50 years of Australian stories under his belt. We recently chatted with John about some of those tales and the show he’s brining to town. 

Regarded by many as “the voice of Australia”, we started our chat by asking John if he felt a sense of responsibility to that moniker.

“I feel responsible regardless of being a songwriter. I think we all should feel responsible. I suppose because I’m a songwriter that’s my way of expressing it. I don’t feel the pressure because it’s the way I feel” he tells us over the phone.

Very few artists have experienced or earned the longevity of such a career as John Williamson. His music has continued to capture the hearts and minds of Australians for forty- four years. During this time he has toured continuously and in 2014, released his 50th album, ‘Honest People’.

“I guess with every bunch of new songs I put out, I like to keep my foot in all camps. There’s a traditional kind of country song that Buddy Williams and Slim Dusty and their ilk sort of established and I like to keep in touch with that. It’s almost a message to the young ones that we don’t want to lose touch with it because it’s an Aussie kind of a style that is ours” John says.

“I guess I’m trying to spread my wings a bit and hopefully spread peoples ears a bit too” he says on the new album.

John’s performed at some of Australia’s most historic and nation-stopping events, to battlers across this vast country and people who attend his shows always walk away with a lasting memory and the inevitable ear worm.

“I don’t know how some of these other artists do it, but if I don’t play for at least 2 to 3 hours, I miss songs and people complain” he laughs.

Johns plays Nelson Bay Diggers on 20 October and Belmont 16s on 21 October. Tickets are on sale now.

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