Country music singer Katrina Burgoyne made her way back to Gunnedah for her Nashville-to-Australia tour and it was Baan Baa’s Sarah Leete and Gunnedah’s Sam Snape who opened for her at the town hall on Saturday, January 6.

Katrina had posted a call to action on social media for musicians in the area to pick up their instrument of choice and audition to be a part of the show.

In the end, it was Sarah and Sam who caught Katrina’s attention.

Katrina had met Sarah five years ago at her previous Gunnedah show and was aware of her talent from social media.

“I knew she was from Baan Baa and I knew she had started playing shows from around town, just from Gunnedah social media,” Katrina said.

“As much as I had heard about her, I wanted to make it a fair playing field for everyone.”

Katrina had said there were plenty of talented people among the auditions and from about 10 submissions the two were chosen.

“I think we had a really strong support act and these guys are at that cusp of stepping to the next level,” Katrina said.

“So hopefully to have them experience a bigger level of production, it might light a little fire under them, so that they can go, ‘I’m going to do that one day’.”

Originally from the Central Coast, Sarah had moved to Baan Baa 12 years ago and now jokes about almost being a local.

“I have been gigging locally for about 10 years and I have toured around Australia and done a few things but Baan Baa is definitely home. I love it.”

“It’s a really good little community and it’s definitely home now.”

Sarah Leete.

Sarah had been a fan of Katrina’s music so when people tagged her on Facebook to audition, she gave it a go.

“We had only just had the fires out at home with the Pilliga [fires], so we were in a bit of strife for a little bit but once that had calmed down and I had a chance to get my guitar, I jumped online and uploaded a video,” Sarah said.

“Luckily, she picked me and Sam, which I think Sam is great.”

The two often cross paths at music events or shows but the Saturday night gave her an opportunity to see him perform for the first time.

“It’s really great to have events like this. We really benefit from the success of others,” Sarah said.

“Sometimes people can find the music industry quite competitive but having events like this only would encourage people to come and see live music.

“People really support each other by putting these on and then it gives the community something to come out and do.

“When I do shows at Baan Baa, people come out and support [me]. They are there to see everyone and have fun and support local music and that is really important, so it is good to be a part of it.”

Her original music is described as pop country with an early 2000 influence.

“I get inspiration from all kinds of stuff, all the songs that I have written that I have released have been my own,” Sarah said.

As she experiences life, she finds more inspiration to write music in her “little house” in Baan Baa.

She performed Girl Next Door which captured the feelings and experiences of returning home after some time.

“[It is about] how [the town] can stay the same but you will come back different which I think is kind of really relevant to Katrina’s trajectory, being over in Nashville and then coming home and sharing her stories,” she said.

Sarah had her first headliner tour in 2022, where she performed in NSW, ACT, VIC and QLD but most importantly was able to play the song back on the Central Coast.

She is also a regular performer at the Country Music Festival in Tamworth.

“I play a lot of pop covers but to be able to play your own music and have people come and enjoy that, [it is great],” she said.

“Obviously, where we are it is quite geographically challenging to get to the places.

“Trying to get that off the ground and to be able to make my music and be able to do it for a living is the dream.”

Sam Snape was born and raised in Gunnedah and is a country boy through and through which is even more evident in the covers he plays.

His style of choice in music usually involves country music and plenty of crowd pleasers.

Sam walked onto the stage knowing his wife and newborn were in the crowd to cheer him on along with friends and family.

He has a history of playing in local areas for weddings, parties, pubs and clubs.

Towns such as Gunnedah, Boggabri, Narrabri, Tamworth, as well as towns on the coast a couple of times, make up the areas where his playing is concentrated.

“I’m a live DJ I suppose you would call it,” he said.

He is inspired by the big artists, which he said “looks like they have a lot of fun” but singing his own music for an audience is a goal he is itching to reach.

“I would like to start singing my own songs shortly but I have not quite got around to it yet,” he said.

“It is great to play cover songs but to play your own song means so much more.”

Readers may recognise the last name Snape, which just so happens to also belong to Sam’s cousin, Anthony Snape.

Anthony is another country music sensation from Gunnedah who had also helped Katrina make her way to Nashville.

“He writes all this own music and he sort of inspires me as well to be able to write my own music,” Sam said.

Sam Snape.

“I have always loved playing music, always wanted to be able to get up in front of a crowd and play.”

Similar to Sarah, Sam had family and friends tagging him on Katrina’s social media posts which had encouraged people to submit auditions to open the show for her.

“I thought ‘I will definitely have a crack at this, being something in Gunnedah’,” he said.

“Things like this do not really happen that often in our local area.

“You have Tamworth Country Music but that is sort of a different scale.

“So when there is an opportunity like that you just get in and have a crack at it. That was really cool.”

The Gunnedah Times asked Sam how it felt to have been chosen with Sarah to perform.

“I was pretty stoked, I imagine there would be quite a few people who probably had an audition in it and for her to pick me that is really good. I’m pretty chuffed.”

“I never, ever thought I would be able to make a few dollars doing something like this … that is why I love doing it.

“A very big thank you to Katrina for actually putting this shout-out out and picking us to get up and sing a few songs,” he said.

“It’s a great opportunity.”

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