Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020 

Bec Reid

And here we are with the one and only James Blundell. James, where are you today?

James Blundell

I’m on the veranda of the quarters of the refurbished shears quarters that I put together when I lost my last house in the land sale.

Bec Reid

And, James, you can almost smell the lanolin from the wool shed where you shared that beautiful song.

James Blundell

You can almost smell the lanolin because the wool shed is almost 100m to my left and I was thinking yesterday there’s probably anywhere between, you know, 100 and 250 sheep shorn in that shed in its life because its been there a long time.

Bec Reid

Would you say that, throughout your illustrious career, you’ve been influenced by renegades and game changers?

James Blundell

Bec, throughout my career, my influence has been the renegades and rule breakers. When - I was born in 1964 and the only music we had coming into the house that we didn’t put on the turntable came from the radio and that was ABC and in late ‘60s and ‘70s, the ABC used to play Bob Dylan then Joanie Mitchell then The Animals and, you know, the Vietnam war was sort of winding down and everything was political and outspoken and it’s one of the things that I had a problem with throughout my career was that I think if you were going to take up 3 and a half minutes of someone’s time, you want to try to give them something to listen to that either inspires or stimulates a reaction because, what you don’t want, is indifference. So, very much the renegades and rule breakers are the ones that inspires me.

Bec Reid

And, who’s been the biggest game changer in your life, James?

James Blundell

Musically, the biggest game changer in my life has been Kris Kristofferson for a number of reasons. He is the perfect warrior poet. A very masculine guy but incredibly sensitive in his writing but it’s important to draw an illustration in as much as that the other huge influences in my life isn’t anything to do with music. I worked with three amazing cattlemen around Australia and Papua New Guinea. A guy called Russell Pearson in North Queensland. I guy called Peter Murray in Western Australia and a man called Bruce Jeffcott, who was wound up being knighted. Cerberus Jeffcott and his wife, Barbara, in Papua New Guinea and he actually pioneered the beef industry in Papua New Guinea and, so, all those men and their philosophies and, again, in being involved and witnessing first-hand the immense amount of work that they did is very inspirational. I still use all of it every day of my life.

Bec Reid

And, James, how do you balance your love of the land with your love of music?

James Blundell

Balancing the love of the land and being active in the music industry has been the biggest problem in the last thirty years. To run a property properly, you need to be there all the time. You’ve got to keep an eye on your livestock all the time. Fencing is a – I say, I don’t have a list of things to do on the farm. I have a scroll and I peel off a metre and just see how I go with that and move to the next metre of scroll but to tour and be an effective musician, you have to be away from home a lot. So, getting that balance together, has been very difficult. Funnily enough, this period of time, with the lockdown, I’ve been at home more in the last eight weeks, than over the last twenty five, twenty six years. It’s going to be very hard to go back to touring as my primary workplace, because it just – it takes you off the property.

Bec Reid

Your son is in that beautiful video that you created. Would you say that you are from – and a part of a musical dynasty now?

James Blundell

Musical dynasty? [laughter] Totally unintentionally. At this stage of the game, Dad will still play the harmonica if you give him a couple of rums. All my children play, sing and my daughter dances. You can’t stop her dancing. It’s a bit like the Von Trapps. We’re going to hit the road and we’ve got a bus too. So, you never know. We might turn up in your town sometime.

Bec Reid

And, James, can you tell us about that fantastic song and what it means to you?

James Blundell

The song, Old Man's Town, is actually about my paternal grandfather, Peter Lee Blundell, and he was a character born in 1911, survived the Second World War. He - his father's a financier in Brisbane and bought sight unseen a property here, right down on the Seven River. And it’s spelt SEVRN and it's beautiful, but it's rough country - sight unseen. The ad read 10000 acres of undulating hills, three miles of river frontage. The river frontage is all cliff. About the smallest drop is 20 metres and the undulating hill is about the smallest angle is 45 degrees. They had a go at that for a while and then sold it and bought another place next door, pretty much and that was where we've been. We started there in 1936 and he had nothing and had two big paddocks, fenced the whole lot, built the house and he was a huge character. A wonderful man. We were very close. He could be curmudgeonly, but he had a great sense of humour and loved his black bottle brandy.

Bec Reid

And would you say, James, that Peter Lee himself was a bit of a renegade and a game changer?

James Blundell

I would say, without doubt, Peter Lee was a renegade. He - he he – he was wonderful. He would follow any rule that made sense and completely disregard any that didn't – he, as his parameters closed down as he aged, he used to sit in front of the television and scream at the politicians and, having fought the war and survived to keep everything free, he reckoned the introduction of provisional tax was the nail in the coffin for regional Australia and sometimes I think he's right [laughter].

Bec Reid

And, is that what inspired you to write the song, James, as a dedication to your grandfather?

James Blundell

The inspiration for the song just came from the fact that, as he was aging, he was an avid photographer, amateur photographer, and kept beautiful photograph albums and, going back through all that pictorial history, made me realise what an immense amount of work he'd done that in the song, there's reference to a mole board plough and it's a single furrow plough and he ploughed a seven acre loosened patch with that. He reckoned, by the time he'd done that, ploughed up and crossed ploughed it with one draught horse, he'd walked six hundred miles. Righto, I'm James Blundell.

Briar Blundell

I’m Briar Blundell.

James Blundell

And we're in the Mount Malakoff wool shed in south east Queensland and this is for the renegades and game changers segment. This is about Peter Lee Blundell. Survived the Second World War and pretty much chipped this place out with his bare hands.

[James Blundell and Briar Blundell, singing and playing guitars]

The old man bought a mole board plough. It was back ’39.

Two pound down, two to pay, he began to build the line.

Sow the seed of a strong man's dream when the plan was straight and true.

Work hard for each and every yard. No exceptions to the rules.

Now the old man's gone but the wheel turns still with the furrow heading right up hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle of change in the treasurer's tin.

His dream was good. His plan was simple.

He just wanted to raise a family.

Have a boy to sit on his knee and follow in his fall.

When wool came good, he made a handful just enough to pay his tax bill

in the mail that followed man, they sent him off to war.

Now the old man's gone but the wheel turns still with the furrow headed right up hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle to change in the treasurer's tin.

When he attacks the land, he break the country, he bleed is dry and leave us empty

Screw the folk who spend their lives following your laws. Your twisted laws.

We closed the old man's eyes last night. It's better that we hid from sight.

The sad affair that it's become, man. The death of all his dreams.

For he would never understand how people could be so demanding.

Holding out their hands and giving nothing in return.

Now the old man’s gone but wheel turns still with the furrow headed right up the hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle of the change in the treasurer's tin.

The old man's gone. The wheel turns still with the furrow headed right up hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle to change in the treasurer's tin.

Da di da, da di da, da di da, da di da.

For the rattle of change in the treasurer’s tin.

 

Bec Reid

Well, that's so great, James, and we look forward to hearing and seeing much more from the wool shed and hearing about life heading forward into the brave new world. Thanks, James.

James Blundell

My great pleasure. Beck, great to talk to you and there’s more locations to shoot from the series, so we'll keep them coming.

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Singer songwriter James Blundell had never considered turning his love of music into a career, until being stomped on by a bull. 

 

Visit James Blundell's website:http://www.jamesblundell.com/

Read his Performer Profile.

 

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An online Festival is completely new for us and we hope you enjoy the performances.

Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020 

Bec Reid

And here we are with the one and only James Blundell. James, where are you today?

James Blundell

I’m on the veranda of the quarters of the refurbished shears quarters that I put together when I lost my last house in the land sale.

Bec Reid

And, James, you can almost smell the lanolin from the wool shed where you shared that beautiful song.

James Blundell

You can almost smell the lanolin because the wool shed is almost 100m to my left and I was thinking yesterday there’s probably anywhere between, you know, 100 and 250 sheep shorn in that shed in its life because its been there a long time.

Bec Reid

Would you say that, throughout your illustrious career, you’ve been influenced by renegades and game changers?

James Blundell

Bec, throughout my career, my influence has been the renegades and rule breakers. When - I was born in 1964 and the only music we had coming into the house that we didn’t put on the turntable came from the radio and that was ABC and in late ‘60s and ‘70s, the ABC used to play Bob Dylan then Joanie Mitchell then The Animals and, you know, the Vietnam war was sort of winding down and everything was political and outspoken and it’s one of the things that I had a problem with throughout my career was that I think if you were going to take up 3 and a half minutes of someone’s time, you want to try to give them something to listen to that either inspires or stimulates a reaction because, what you don’t want, is indifference. So, very much the renegades and rule breakers are the ones that inspires me.

Bec Reid

And, who’s been the biggest game changer in your life, James?

James Blundell

Musically, the biggest game changer in my life has been Kris Kristofferson for a number of reasons. He is the perfect warrior poet. A very masculine guy but incredibly sensitive in his writing but it’s important to draw an illustration in as much as that the other huge influences in my life isn’t anything to do with music. I worked with three amazing cattlemen around Australia and Papua New Guinea. A guy called Russell Pearson in North Queensland. I guy called Peter Murray in Western Australia and a man called Bruce Jeffcott, who was wound up being knighted. Cerberus Jeffcott and his wife, Barbara, in Papua New Guinea and he actually pioneered the beef industry in Papua New Guinea and, so, all those men and their philosophies and, again, in being involved and witnessing first-hand the immense amount of work that they did is very inspirational. I still use all of it every day of my life.

Bec Reid

And, James, how do you balance your love of the land with your love of music?

James Blundell

Balancing the love of the land and being active in the music industry has been the biggest problem in the last thirty years. To run a property properly, you need to be there all the time. You’ve got to keep an eye on your livestock all the time. Fencing is a – I say, I don’t have a list of things to do on the farm. I have a scroll and I peel off a metre and just see how I go with that and move to the next metre of scroll but to tour and be an effective musician, you have to be away from home a lot. So, getting that balance together, has been very difficult. Funnily enough, this period of time, with the lockdown, I’ve been at home more in the last eight weeks, than over the last twenty five, twenty six years. It’s going to be very hard to go back to touring as my primary workplace, because it just – it takes you off the property.

Bec Reid

Your son is in that beautiful video that you created. Would you say that you are from – and a part of a musical dynasty now?

James Blundell

Musical dynasty? [laughter] Totally unintentionally. At this stage of the game, Dad will still play the harmonica if you give him a couple of rums. All my children play, sing and my daughter dances. You can’t stop her dancing. It’s a bit like the Von Trapps. We’re going to hit the road and we’ve got a bus too. So, you never know. We might turn up in your town sometime.

Bec Reid

And, James, can you tell us about that fantastic song and what it means to you?

James Blundell

The song, Old Man's Town, is actually about my paternal grandfather, Peter Lee Blundell, and he was a character born in 1911, survived the Second World War. He - his father's a financier in Brisbane and bought sight unseen a property here, right down on the Seven River. And it’s spelt SEVRN and it's beautiful, but it's rough country - sight unseen. The ad read 10000 acres of undulating hills, three miles of river frontage. The river frontage is all cliff. About the smallest drop is 20 metres and the undulating hill is about the smallest angle is 45 degrees. They had a go at that for a while and then sold it and bought another place next door, pretty much and that was where we've been. We started there in 1936 and he had nothing and had two big paddocks, fenced the whole lot, built the house and he was a huge character. A wonderful man. We were very close. He could be curmudgeonly, but he had a great sense of humour and loved his black bottle brandy.

Bec Reid

And would you say, James, that Peter Lee himself was a bit of a renegade and a game changer?

James Blundell

I would say, without doubt, Peter Lee was a renegade. He - he he – he was wonderful. He would follow any rule that made sense and completely disregard any that didn't – he, as his parameters closed down as he aged, he used to sit in front of the television and scream at the politicians and, having fought the war and survived to keep everything free, he reckoned the introduction of provisional tax was the nail in the coffin for regional Australia and sometimes I think he's right [laughter].

Bec Reid

And, is that what inspired you to write the song, James, as a dedication to your grandfather?

James Blundell

The inspiration for the song just came from the fact that, as he was aging, he was an avid photographer, amateur photographer, and kept beautiful photograph albums and, going back through all that pictorial history, made me realise what an immense amount of work he'd done that in the song, there's reference to a mole board plough and it's a single furrow plough and he ploughed a seven acre loosened patch with that. He reckoned, by the time he'd done that, ploughed up and crossed ploughed it with one draught horse, he'd walked six hundred miles. Righto, I'm James Blundell.

Briar Blundell

I’m Briar Blundell.

James Blundell

And we're in the Mount Malakoff wool shed in south east Queensland and this is for the renegades and game changers segment. This is about Peter Lee Blundell. Survived the Second World War and pretty much chipped this place out with his bare hands.

[James Blundell and Briar Blundell, singing and playing guitars]

The old man bought a mole board plough. It was back ’39.

Two pound down, two to pay, he began to build the line.

Sow the seed of a strong man's dream when the plan was straight and true.

Work hard for each and every yard. No exceptions to the rules.

Now the old man's gone but the wheel turns still with the furrow heading right up hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle of change in the treasurer's tin.

His dream was good. His plan was simple.

He just wanted to raise a family.

Have a boy to sit on his knee and follow in his fall.

When wool came good, he made a handful just enough to pay his tax bill

in the mail that followed man, they sent him off to war.

Now the old man's gone but the wheel turns still with the furrow headed right up hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle to change in the treasurer's tin.

When he attacks the land, he break the country, he bleed is dry and leave us empty

Screw the folk who spend their lives following your laws. Your twisted laws.

We closed the old man's eyes last night. It's better that we hid from sight.

The sad affair that it's become, man. The death of all his dreams.

For he would never understand how people could be so demanding.

Holding out their hands and giving nothing in return.

Now the old man’s gone but wheel turns still with the furrow headed right up the hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle of the change in the treasurer's tin.

The old man's gone. The wheel turns still with the furrow headed right up hill.

He broke the back of a strong man's dream for the rattle to change in the treasurer's tin.

Da di da, da di da, da di da, da di da.

For the rattle of change in the treasurer’s tin.

 

Bec Reid

Well, that's so great, James, and we look forward to hearing and seeing much more from the wool shed and hearing about life heading forward into the brave new world. Thanks, James.

James Blundell

My great pleasure. Beck, great to talk to you and there’s more locations to shoot from the series, so we'll keep them coming.