The plight of Australian rural towns where homes are being rented for $1 a week struck a chord with Cessnock singer Travis Collins.
Central-western NSW towns like Cumnock, Yeoval and Molong (his mum’s hometown) inspired Collins to write his Golden Guitar-nominated song, Hometown Calling.
The song is in the running for the heritage song of the year award – a category for songs about “Australia, its people, history, geography, attitudes and ideals”.
Co-written with fellow Hunter singer Troy Kemp, Hometown Calling draws attention to the ‘ghost towns’ where shops, schools are services are closing down, all around the nation.
“It’s about every town that’s struggling,” Collins said.
“If the town had a voice, what would it say?”
A video for the song was shot in and around Cessnock in December.
Vincent Street, Rover Coaches, Lifeguard Tyres, Cessnock Fire Station, the PCYC and the Khartoum Hotel are among the places that feature in the film clip.
“I love to make my videos are personal and authentic as I can,” he said.
“It’s so much more meaningful to me.”
Collins grew up in Campbelltown but has called Cessnock home for 10 years, since moving here to be closer to his now-wife Rebecca.
He said the local community fits him “like a glove” and he’s proud to call Cessnock home.
With six nominations, Collins leads the 2017 Golden Guitar finalists’ field (which also includes Kurri Kurri’s Kirsty Lee Akers and Greta’s Lyn Bowtell).
Along with heritage song of the year, Collins is also in the running for album of the year (the self-produced Hard Light), male artist of the year, song of the year (Call Me Crazy, with Damien Leith), video of the year (Call Me Crazy) and single of the year (Just Another Girl).
Since winning the renowned Starmaker talent quest at Tamworth in 2004, Collins has been nominated for multiple music industry awards – but is yet to take home a Golden Guitar.
“It’s always a great night, and it would be lovely to bring one home,” he said.
He said he’s looking forward to the Tamworth festival not only as a performer but as a fan of country music.
Collins will play at the Albert Hotel on Australia Day. The Golden Guitars will be announced on January 28.
See the Hometown Calling video in the post below.