“ Meet Angus Gill, the dynamic, determined and dedicated musical Wauchope youngster. Chrissy Jones caught up with the busy 14 year old upon his return from the CMAA Academy of Country Music in Tamworth. ”
Tell us a little about yourself, Angus. What are some of the instruments you play?
I am a singer songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist. The instruments I play range from acoustic, electric and 12 string guitar to dobro, harmonica, drums, banjo, mandolin and keyboard.
My musical interests are as diverse, ranging from traditional Country music, through to Country Rock and Southern Rock genres. I first picked up my dad’s old guitar when I was eight. Mum and Dad’s music collection, which includes artists Keith Urban and Beccy Cole, has influenced me, and my mentor and guitar teacher, William Lane, has given me plenty of advice and the benefit of his experiences.
I have performed by invitation with multi Golden Guitar winning country artist Adam Harvey and 2010 Female Artist of the Year Catherine Britt, and also appeared in Felicity Urquhart’s 2010 film clip titled The Girl in the Mall.
In July, you were a graduate of the 2012 Australian CMAA Academy of Country Music in Tamworth, the Country music capital of Australia. Sounds like a lot of fun!
Sure was! I was selected by the Australian Bush Balladeers’ Association to attend the academy, where I worked alongside 21 other like-minded young musicians from across Australia and New Zealand during the unique seven day intensive music workshop.
My tutors included Felicity Urquhart, Amber Lawrence, Lee Bowman of Jetty Road, Simon Johnson and other recording and songwriting industry greats.
On Friday 29 June, Mum and I turned our Prado into a tour bus, as we loaded up my musical instrument collection (banjos, dobros, mandos, guitars, harmonicas etc …) everything including the kitchen sink and headed down the New England Highway bound for Tamworth.
We rocked up with absolutely no idea what the time at the academy would entail, but whatever it was, we knew it was going to be good. There was a warm welcome from the academy staff, and then we had a great introductory jam in the common room. After tea, everyone except me headed to the Carrie Underwood Concert, but I was treated to a private songwriting lesson from Jim Haynes.
The next day we all had our first songwriting session with Tamara Stewart. We did these fantastic title workshops that are designed to trigger our creative minds and also create a great starter for a group song.
After lunch, we had no idea what treat we were in for, as we were taken down to Plush Hair Studios to be pampered and have a professional urban photo shoot.
You had some great tutors at the academy and covered a multitude of subjects. What did that involve?
Throughout the rest of the week, we had amazing master classes, such as Recording, Chart Writing, Colour Your Sound – Multi-Instrumentalist, Working with the Band, Performance, Guitar, Vocal, Music in the Digital Age. These master classes were tutored by none other than Laurie Minson, Felicity Urquhart, Rod Motbey, Amber Lawrence, Lee Bowman, Simon Johnson, Brad Bergen and Peter Winkler.
We also had tutor sessions in which we got to closely work with our peers, hone our skills and musicianship. I was lucky enough to have Troy Cassar-Daley’s bass player and Hillbilly Hut Recording Studio Manager, Simon Johnson. Simon was an amazing tutor, very approachable and had heaps to offer. He spent much of the tutor sessions helping us get our songs up to speed for the graduation concert at Blazes Auditorium.
At the graduation concert, I played mando on some of my group members’ songs, a guitar solo in the finale group piece, and I sung my song Trails of Crime for my solo section.
The graduation concert sounds exciting. I heard you were asked to be a part of the Catherine Britt show … how exciting was that, and did you perform anywhere else during your visit to Tamworth?
On Friday 7th, the day after the graduation concert, we were asked to support Catherine Britt at her show at Blazes that night. We were all honoured to be a part of the show, although some people had to go home; we were able to make do with who we had.
Taylor Pfeiffer and I paired up to do a duet called The Balladeers, where we played a medley consisting of her Daddy was a Yodelling Cowboy and my Trails of Crime.
At the end of the concert, Catherine invited us onstage to sing a Hank Williams Medley, in which I sung a verse of Move it on Over, which was an absolute thrill. Finally, to conclude at the Hats off Festival, I performed at the Reg Lindsay Bronze Bust Fundraiser, which was great fun – it’s always a thrill to catch up with members of the Association.
It was a very memorable experience, and I would like to thank the team at A.B.B.A for giving me this wonderful, life changing experience.
Apart from being involved in the Academy, what’s your biggest achievement – one you are most proud of?
My proudest achievement to date was winning the ‘lyrics only’ song writing section of the 2011 Australian Children’s Music Foundation National Awards for my original song entitled Names Upon the Wall.
The St Columba Anglican School student now plans to continue to develop his musical talents and songwriting with his newly acquired academy skills by performing locally and looking beyond, to the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Congratulations on your achievements to date, Angus, and all the best for your future career – which I’m sure will be a long and fruitful one.
This story was published in issue 82 Port Macquarie