Country & Western Singer James Blundell wins Meredith
By Russell Luckock Australian bushlife and folklore run deep in singer-songwriter James Blundell’s arteries. And this came across to his audience in the small rural town of Meredith where Royal Hotel proprietors’ Damian and Claire Kelly had built an amazing array of stage lighting and effects for just such an occasion. While he is advertised as “the original Urban Cowboy”, Blundell’s roots go deep into the Australian style of horsemanship and bush sense.
Born and raised a Queenslander on a farm outside Stanthorpe by father Peter, an accomplished horseman, and mother, Marjorie originally from England, James had the freedom and obligations of farm life. The freedom to run wild in your childhood, but you had to help with the daily chores any animals in your care came first and must be looked after. Such themes run through Blundell’s music both in the lyrics and the passion in his voice. While the Queenslander may now live in the city, he’s still a bushie and relates easily to country audiences. But it hasn’t always been easy and Blundell’s songs tell of harder times as do his anecdotes told with that calm Queensland manner in a smiling voice. Times when, as a twenty-something’d adventurer loose in London,he had to escape on fast feet after he had crossed swords with four huge ‘heavies’ emerging from a large black limousine after convincing themselves that Blundell was an undercover cop for they had seen him writing furiously in a notebook. He was, however, scribbling the lines for a song about this rapidly unfolding misadventure in Portobello Road. And he spoke of his mother’s battle with dementia and of a last walk with her down by their favourite creek when she told him of the importance of his friendship in her life. Important last words and feelings expressed. Blundell is a prolific songwriter who is not frightened to write and sing about the difficult aspects of loss, love, closeshaves and worse.
For James Blundell approaches the highs and lows of life with a smile on his face and in his heart – and his audience found this infectious.