Adam Brand has a number of regional festival appearances upcoming.
Country star Adam Brand released an album on Black Friday in March 2020 – the same day the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled in Melbourne. "It wasn't one of our best marketing moves," Brand laughs.
While COVID has upset the standard release/ tour cycle for all artists, Brand didn't even try to push the album, 'Speed Of Life’, with the channels he did have at his disposal. "At that time I just felt like, 'you know what, we're all nervous'," he says.
"So I felt the last thing they needed was me trying to push an album down their throat that they didn't need.
"The last thing I felt was they don't need to buy my hat and t-shirt and stubby cooler just because my life has been impacted, because everybody's life has been impacted.
"I didn't feel like going out and being a salesman, you know, and trying to push my stuff. So I just put a few posts out of just me and the family, and how we were dealing with what we were all going through."
Despite the lack of active promotion, the album peaked at number six on the ARIA charts. For Brand, though, this was the one album where commercial success didn't have much impact.
"It didn't really matter to me in one way because that album is really personal to me," he says.
"It's the first album I've made knowing I'm going to be a father. There's a lot of myself in those songs that talk about how I really view the world, and how I felt at that time.
"They're going to be pretty special, and whether it was a commercial success or not had no bearing on that for me, so it was a personal thing, you know?"
Brand, who hadn't toured since before the birth of his daughter Pepper, seized the opportunity of an extended COVID break to pack the family into their motorhome and do the travelling so many Aussies talk about but never end up doing.
"We ended up heading up north, then across to the Northern Territory and then out to WA," Adam says.
"We spent four months out in the goldfields in WA, just prospecting and basically playing 'Aussie Gold Hunters', apart from the bit where you find lots of gold. But it was more about the adventure, you know?
"When you find a little bit of gold in the ground that no one has ever seen in the world before, you feel like you've – well, I've never won Lotto, but I can imagine it's the same feeling.
"You just go, 'Wow!'; and this little speck is worth, like, 22 bucks or whatever it is but the feeling of discovering gold is a lot of fun.
"I'm not retired from any gold [finds], but had an amazing time with my girls out there, and there was a lot of other gold apart from the shiny stuff."
Now back on the Gold Coast, where Brand has called home "on and off" since the age of 17 and has "very firmly dug roots now", he is looking forward to performing a 'home town' festival when Groundwater Country Music Festival hits Broadbeach in November. "I think it's just such a great thing for fans, and the artists alike," he says.
"For fans to be able to come down there, wander around for free, see multiple artists on heaps of different stages at all different times during the day, the streets are blocked off, you can stay in apartments looking down at it – I mean, I don't even know how many hundreds of different restaurants and eating things there are, but, everything is there, at your fingertips.
"You couldn't get a better scenario for a festival. I just think it's amazing."
For Brand, headlining a festival with the likes of The Sunny Cowgirls and The Wolfe Brothers will be a reminder of just how much of an industry veteran he is. "The Wolfe Brothers are good mates of mine, I'm looking forward to catching up with the boys," Adam says.
"Probably about a year and a half or so ago I got a text from Tommy [Wolfe] with a photo of him when he was 15, getting a photo with me at a signing line at one of my gigs down in Tassie.
"First and foremost, now that I'm telling you this it makes me feel old. But second of all, it makes me feel incredibly proud that these artists that are just taking the ball and running with it, taking country music into the future, that I may have had a little influence back then when they were younger.
"So that makes me incredibly proud, and just so proud watching what all of these young artists are doing as they're just changing the face of country music, really."
As humble as he is, Brand was instrumental in launching The Sunny Cowgirls' career. "I gave this talk at the Country Music College, and they were attending the college, years ago," he says.
"So I gave this talk about working hard and seizing opportunities, and networking and all this kind of stuff; straight after the talk they waltzed up to me, bold as brass, these two young sisters, and said, 'Hi Adam, we're The Sunny Cowgirls, here's our CD, we'd love to go on tour with you.'
"I sort of thought, 'well I had that coming' because I'd just talked about it for an hour. So I went away, listened to their CD, showed my manager, and two days later signed them, and I took them on tour all around Australia later that year."
Brand has famously had some hits and misses in his own career – the Black Friday COVID album release just the most recent. It begs the question – is there anything he would change, if he had the opportunity?
"Hmm. . . It's a hard question to answer, because obviously there's things where you go 'Oh, if I had've done this, or if I had've done that'; but I'm also a great believer in you're at where you're supposed to be," Brand says.
"I'm also a huge believer in my mistakes were my most valuable lessons. So, I could take away some of the most glaringly obvious mistakes that I made, that you wish you didn't do, but then, if I hadn't done that, would I be where I am right now? I don’t know.
"So I guess my answer to that is, all those bumps in the road I was probably meant to take, and that's the way it is and here I am."
In terms of that album release: "I don't regret that. . . I'm not sorry for it from a commercial sense, it is what it is," he says.
"For me that was the right thing to do at the time. For the people that follow me, I felt like I just needed to be a calming voice and just showing what I was doing with my little family during that time, rather than being on the sales pitch."
If there is one thing about Adam Brand, he walks the talk. His advice to all young artists is: "Just do what you believe in with your whole heart and soul.
"Don't do things because 'oh, we're going to make lots of money'; or 'oh, I want to sell more tickets'; or 'I just want a number one hit'; do what you really believe in," he says.
"Create something that's great, that's authentic and genuine. If you do that, then your career has a really strong foundation.
"It's not 'what's happening with country music this year? Okay, I'll make an album that sounds like that.' Or 'everyone's wearing this so I'll wear that too'.
"Do what's true to yourself, you know? I think if you do that, you can have as long a career as you want. If you don't do that, you're just going to get discarded with the fashion, just like last year's clothes."
Brand's fans can expect his Groundwater set to be as familiar and comfortable as their favourite pair of jeans – don't expect too many tracks from 'Speed Of Life', though. "Here's one you’ve never heard of before, but it came out three years ago," Brand jokes.
"I haven't been touring much so people coming to see me will want to hear older stuff, and to be perfectly honest, I'm going to have a hard enough time remembering the words to the songs I've sung a thousand times, let alone any new stuff!"
Adam Brand 2021 Tour Dates
1-3 Oct - Savannah In The Round @ Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds (Mareeba, QLD) Sat 23 Oct - Wandering Camp Out Weekend (Wandering, WA) Fri 12 Nov - Groundwater Country Music Festival (Gold Coast) Sat 20 Nov - Mathinna Big Country Jam (Tasmania)* sold out Sun 21 Nov - Longley International Hotel (Tasmania) Sat 4 Dec - Norths Leagues & Services Club (Kallangur, QLD)
Groundwater Country Music Festival (Gold Coast) takes place 12-14 November.
Groundwater Country Music Festival 2021 Line-up
Adam Brand Catherine Britt Casey Barnes Kaylee Bell Mick Thomas' Roving Commission Brad Butcher The Audreys Halfway Melanie Dyer Darlinghurst Lily Grace SaltbushSix Brook Chivell The Bakersfield Glee Club Sammy White Natalie Pearson The New Graces Arlington Michael Carpenter and the Banks Brothers Aaron D'Arcy These Idle Hands Haystack Mountain Hermits The Mason Boys The Colonel's Country Cottage Disco
Who join the already announced
The Wolfe Brothers Adam Harvey Sara Storer Gina Jeffreys Andrew Farriss Sunny Cowgirls Tami Neilson Felcity Urquhart & Josh Cunningham McAlister Kemp Jayne Denham Blake O'Connor Melody Moko Lachlan Bryan And The Wildes Roo Arcus The Wilson Pickers Raechel Whitchurch Round Mountain Girls Southbound Matt Ward Cass Hopetoun Hinterland