Graham Rodger
Graham Rodger

Rodger makes Golden Guitar finals

ONE of Gympie’s favourite sons, country music songwriter and recording artist Graham Rodger, has scored two final berths in the prestigious Golden Guitar Awards, to be held in Tamworth in January.

The announcement comes after Rodger won the Arts and Cultural Award at the Regional Community and Achievements Awards in Rockhampton.

Rodger scored a finals’ nomination in the Bush Ballad of the Year with his song The Cooper Coming Down. His second final nomination is in the Heritage Song of the Year with his current hit single Angels Without Halos. This song is in honour of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels during the Second World War.

The song sparked interest from the Kokoda Trail Foundation, and the AFL Hawthorn Football club, to have Roger perform at next year’s Anzac Games and the Kokoda Games for 2011.

“I feel very honoured to be representing the Australian Balladeers in such a prestigious award, as well as maybe singing before more than 80,000 people at the AFL,” he said.

Rodger, who was born in Gympie and spent his early childhood there, said he had a strong bond with the town.

“I have great memories of growing up in Gympie. I had a wonderful childhood with the free life of this township, and must admit that I skinned my knees a few times hurtling down the hills on my bike," he said.

“Dad worked in the forestry before moving to a job with the railway.”

Rodger began songwriting when he was 12, and said he always found the ballads of our country the most enjoyable to write.
“My favourite poetry I devoured at school was by Henry Lawson, and I suppose that influenced me in the direction of my songwriting.
“My songs tell stories of Australian people, our country life, and embrace our heritage. Most of my songs are based on true stories people have shared with me. Current events like the Afghanistan war prompted me to write a hugely popular song called Give This Hug To Daddy.

Rodger said his Golden Guitar finalist song Angels Without Haloes was inspired when the grandson of the original Fuzzy Wuzzy attended one of Graham’s concerts with the grandson of the man his grandfather assisted on the Kokoda Track.

One of the proudest – and saddest – moments of Rodger’s life was listening to his song You Can’t Take Australia from Me recited at Slim Dusty’s funeral.

But Slim, who recorded a number of Graham’s songs, would have been just as proud of the way this new-generation Australian songwriter/performing artist was carrying the long tradition of the Aussie country songs forward into a new era.

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