Beccy Cole can't wait for the 2012 Optus Gympie Music Muster.
Beccy Cole can't wait for the 2012 Optus Gympie Music Muster.

Beccy Cole plans Muster surprise

THE darling of Australian country music, Beccy Cole, has a big surprise in store for the Gympie Music Muster.

Best mate Kasey Chambers will join Cole on the main stage on Friday night to sing their duet, Millionaires, which won best vocal collaboration at this year's Tamworth's Country Music Awards.

Cole is a crowd favourite among Muster faithfuls. From her first festival appearance in the early '90s, they've seen her develop into the dynamic live performer and successful recording artist she is today. And they would have watched with particular interest as she publicly revealed she was a lesbian on Australian Story this week.

These revelations about Cole's private life have nothing to do with her new songwriting style.

While her trademark electric energy is still captivating audience, there is something more personal about her music now.

Cole said her latest album, Songs & Pictures, released last year, was a musical "come-out".

"Songs and Pictures is much more personal, music I love to perform," she told The Gympie Times.

"The whole thing about coming out was part of turning 40. I have a list of things I wanted to achieve before my birthday (in October).

"I want to make more music and continue on with age appropriate singer songwriter stuff rather than poor man's Nashville."

As her own biggest critic, Cole reckons she's only just found herself musically.

"Up until now I've been trying to fit in, but the music I listened to didn't match the music I was playing," she said.

"Now I'm finding out who I am and until all the pieces of the puzzle are in place it's a very hard thing to achieve.

"Which is why I made this move (to come out)."

Another major change to Cole's life has been taking control of the business end of her music.

As the director of Beccy Cole Music, Cole now has full control of her own product - her music and image.

"If you told me I would be a company director and running my own business by now I wouldn't have believed you," she said.

She said taking control of the business side of original music was a really important part of the evolution of artists adapting to the digital age.

"We are not as dumb, drunk or drugged up as we used to be," she said.

"And we're not giving anyone 20% off the top like we used to. I've paid a lot of people a lot of money over the years."

While the Gympie Muster would normally be one of Cole's favourite shows on tour, this year will be trumped by a special concert with Kenny Rogers in her hometown of Adelaide.

"It still blows me away that I get to open for Kenny," she said, having toured with Kenny on his recent visits to Australia.

Cole has a great level of respect for the American country music greats.

She opened for Glen Campbell and saw Dolly Parton seven times in concert when she toured Australia.

"Watching her at 66 inspired me to continue doing what I'm doing for the rest of my life," Cole said.

Cole has been touring solidly for the past nine months since releasing her seventh studio album, Songs & Pictures. The album was produced by Shane Nicholson and features her close friend Kasey Chambers, who co-wrote two songs and sang on four tracks, including the award-winning duet, Millionaires.

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