The Gunnedah Conservatorium has kicked off its yearly program with former resident and country music star Katrina Burgoyne returning home to perform in her Nashville-to-Australia Tour at the Gunnedah Town Hall on Saturday night.
Opening the performance was Baan Baa’s Sarah Leete singing original songs from her repertoire. Sarah was followed by Gunnedah’s Sam Snape who took to the stage to play covers.
Katrina was introduced in style with a cinematic short film of her and husband Steve Kinney travelling through the countryside to Gunnedah.
She made her entrance by running past the rows of people seated, many of whom had shared with her memories of a time before she moved to Nashville.
Children, in particular, enjoyed the hype and excitedly joined in by dancing at the back of the hall before making their way to the stage by the end of the night.
The country musician dreams of a future where she plays in stadiums so performing at the town hall was a great place to be.
“Dream big, right,” Katrina told the Gunnedah Times.
She was eleven when Gunnedah musician Steve McCauley had encouraged her to perform on stage with him and on Saturday Steve played right behind her on electric guitar.
The band also featured Trevor Stacy on bass, Brett Graham on drums and Steve Kinney on electric guitar.
The show marked five years since Katrina’s last in Gunnedah, but more importantly five years since being home.
“COVID happened and then lockdown restrictions, flying restrictions, and then by the time the borders had opened I had visa restrictions. So, I wasn’t allowed to leave the USA and enter Australia,” Katrina said.
She was legally working in the USA but hurdles with her visa had meant returning was delayed.
“I [hadn’t] seen my mum in five years,” she said.
Fortunately, she was able to celebrate the festive season with her family in Australia.
“I had some family surprise us and show up and we had an amazing Christmas. We had Christmas Day on the 27th but it was awesome. It filled my cup up.”
Returning to Gunnedah with Katrina was her partner on stage and in life, husband Steve Kinney.
He was previously introduced to the town five years ago when the couple were in their dating stage.
“The last time I was here, we had dated for three weeks and flew out to Gunnedah and he actually came to the last Gunnedah show at the town hall that I did five years ago,” she said.
He was the mastermind behind the opening of the show, being a music producer and cinematographer but also epic on stage with a guitar.
“It is incredible what he has done,” Katrina said. “I got lucky.”
The show was made even more memorable with not only the opening film but also a gender reveal for her soon-to-be-born baby. It’s a girl.
The idea came to her in a dream last year in which she announced her baby’s gender at the Gunnedah event.
Ironically, she was not even pregnant at this point.
Katrina’s mother had encouraged her to make that particular dream a reality when the show drew closer.
Her music style and experience continued to evolve while making a life for herself in Nashville.
“I think my music has even changed since 2020,” Katrina said.
She has been finding the balance between what performances best suit live shows and those suited to online streaming platforms.
“We have kind of gone back to our roots,” she said about what influences her music.
Katrina adored Shania Twain growing up while Steve was inspired by Def Leppard, AC/DC and Bryan Adams.
The two found their connection in Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who is a producer for those artists.
Now Katrina is in town and she wants to give back to aspiring musicians.
Katrina in association with the Gunnedah Conservatorium presented a question-and-answer workshop at the town hall on Thursday.
“The Gunnedah Conservatorium does a great job and giving back the way that Steve McCauley gave back to me is so important to me,” she said.
She believes it is an Australian virtue to return to your roots.
“Sometimes you have to balance dreaming big and being humble,” she said.
“Anthony Snape moved to Nashville from Gunnedah, and he moved to Nashville because of Tommy Emmanuel who also used to live in Gunnedah. So, Anthony helped me get to Nashville and it’s just the thing. You help pass it on to the next person. I’m just doing my little part.”
She now has three shows left to perform in Australia: Newcastle this weekend, Brisbane on January 19 and in Tamworth on January 22.
“Thank you so much to everyone who came. I appreciate it and I just want to encourage ‘Gunnedahrians’ to support local music coming through,” Katrina said.
She encouraged people to buy tickets for shows they are interested in early, to help musicians keep their dreams alive and avoid show cancellations.
Supporting Katrina and other musicians can be as simple as streaming their music – even if it is while sleeping.
“After 400 streams I get one dollar. So, if you stream me while you sleep for the rest of your life, you might buy me a coffee. So, I’d appreciate that,” she said.
Photo gallery: Katrina Burgoyne Gunnedah show | Gallery – Gunnedah Times
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