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THE LIVE FILES: Catherine Britt

Country singer/songwriter Catherine Britt commenced her recording career in 1999 when, aged just 14 years old, she released her first EP In The Pines

In 2001, aged 16, she released her debut album, Dusty Smiles and Heartbreak Cures.

At 17, Britt made the brave move from Newcastle to Nashville in the US for six years to pursue her dreams. In the early 2000s, Elton John was touring Australia and came to hear Britt. So impressed was he that Elton took her albums back with him to America where he helped her secure a record deal with major label RCA.

But Catherine Britt is an independent woman full of strength and courage. She is a survivor not only in the tough music industry but also of cancer, something she is now free of, celebrating that freedom with the release of 2015’s Boneshaker album.

That is the defining element of Britt’s music. She consistently draws on real life experience in her songs. It can be confronting, thought-provoking, heart-breaking at times and full of joyous moments at others. Her soft, sweet voice conveys the emotional sensibilities in each song with such power and truth that one can’t help being affected by the tales of growth, tragedy and optimism.

Her track, ‘Charlestown Road’ from her 2012 album Always Never Enough is a beautifully crafted song, a tale of reminiscences that evokes the warmth of childhood memory in a way few songwriters can. And, of course, it is a nod to her hometown, the place where she was raised, encouraged and supported to become the star she is today.

And a star she is. She remains the youngest Australian ever to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, at just 17. She has won multiple CMAA Awards, including Female Artist Of The Year several times. She has also been nominated for APRA and CMC Awards. And, outstandingly, six of Britt’s albums have received ARIA Award nominations for Best Country Album, a first for any Australian country music artist. In 2010, she was presented with the CMA Global Artist Of The Year Award.

Britt’s most recent solo album, Home Truths from 2021, presents us with an array of different perspectives and situations, all intensely personal, from her love of country music in ‘I’m A Country Song’  through to a touching confessional on ‘Mother’ and a celebration/ apology/plea about motherhood in ‘Gonna Be A Mumma’. The stand-outs though are ‘Hard To Love’, the duet she performs with acclaimed singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale and ‘Long Way Around’, where her controlled falsetto in the chorus is just sublime.

While Britt has released seven studio albums and a Best Of collection, she is now introducing her new combo The Pleasures to the world. Here Britt teams up with fellow singer/songwriter Lachlan Bryan to create an earthy yet polished country sound full of kickin’ licks and sweet melodies. Check out the catchy single, ‘The Beginning Of The End’. And catch them live this week, right here in Newcastle – details below.

For someone who is still so young, Catherine Britt has achieved and endured a lot. She has handled heartbreak, despair, longing, sexual assault, motherhood, cancer and more, all while maintaining a career that has built a legion of dedicated fans and a body of work that needs to be heard. There’s a depth and honesty in Britt’s music that can arrest you, make you think and, most of all, prompt a sense of admiration for a woman who has packed a rainbow of experiences, good and bad, into her life and music. She is clearly strong and resilient and this comes across in every note. And she’s a Novocastrian – gotta be proud.

with The Pleasures – Stag & Hunter Thursday March 16. Get your tickets here.




INTERVIEW: (The Pleasures)