Australians love a good yarn and The Sunny Cowgirls are supreme storytellers.
The music and original song-writing of Sophie and Celeste Clabburn have struck a chord not just with country music fans but Aussies all over.
The Sunny Cowgirls' songs are authentic stories of outback life and bloody hard work, coupled with universal themes of longing for love and romance while keeping your favourite Ute on the road - all told with their unique, sisterly sense of humour.
Their debut CD Little Bit Rusty raced onto the country charts in the week of its April 2005 release.The latest album, Long Five Days shows the lessons learnt as full-time professionals on the road but still featuring their sharp, polished harmonies and insightful lyrics.
The Sunny Cowgirls kept the same producer and a similar line-up of Australia's best musicians for Long Five Days. Eldest cowgirl sister, Sophie commented that the second album was “taken a lot more seriously and much more work and effort was put into it but… pizza and Minties were still the key elements in making this album!” they laugh.
It is a brilliant sequel that the girls deliberately engineered to have a “live” feel, many of the tracks were first or second “takes”, so what you hear on the album is as spirited and lively as their stage performances.
With the music turned up full blast it's easy to imagine yourself in an outback pub with a crowd of jackaroos and rousabouts determined to have a good time.
Ever since the sisters loaded up their Utes in Perth and drove the long haul across the Nullarbor Plain, guitarist, singer and songwriter Sophie, and bass-player, singer and songwriter Celeste have faced a lot of changes.
The Clabburn sisters were raised on “Sunninghill”, the family farm at Dunkeld near Hamilton, Victoria, before the whole family moved to Perth, WA when they were primary school kids. “The farm was in Dad's family for a fair while and that's where the “Sunny “in our name came from,” Sophie explains.
“Dad's a big country music fan, particularly Slim Dusty and it was always on around the house, so we got a solid grounding in music when it came time to play in public.”
“We both went to high school in Perth but as soon as school was over we headed back to the bush, I guess we just loved growing up in the country”, Sophie says.
“While we were living in WA, we travelled a lot to perform at agricultural shows and rodeos across the state,” She continues, “since we left school we pretty much got out of the city and went bush – jillarooing, rousabouting, fruit picking (or just anywhere we could take our dog, Jo). Less and I have a Ute each, both Holden V8s. They've done a lot of km's in their time, been across the Plains and up to Queensland, right behind each other. They're good, old girls and have done very well… so far!
After four years of working around the country and doing the occasional gig, they raised enough cash to approach well-known Perth record producer Mark Donohoe to showcase their writing and music.
“Soph and I always wanted to record an album with musicians we admired, and we had some of Australia's best on that session,” Celeste said, ”We just wanted a CD we could sell at gigs in WA and thought that our first album would be a way of earning a bit of extra cash, but that all changed at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2005”.
The Cowgirls lives and careers changed forever in early 2005 when they secured places as aspiring artists in the CMAA College Of Country Music, held before the Tamworth Country Music Festival each year.
After a seminar conducted by singer Adam Brand, they made a forceful impression both on Adam and his Compass Bros Records boss, Graham Thompson. Known in the music industry for finding new artists and getting the best out of them, Thompson says, “We were at the CMAA College and right after Adam Brand finished talking about networking and meeting people, the girls presented us with copies of their CD - they had been paying attention”.
They subsequently signed with Compass Bros Records and their first album Little Bit Rusty reached No3 on the ARIA country charts. “It all happened so quickly and we really weren't expecting anything like that! We had a meeting, a few interviews with the media, and the next day it was in the papers! It really was a dream come true for us. Live dates followed, including a national tour with Adam Brand and big festivals such as The Gympie Muster and The Deniliquin Ute Muster.
The girls say their career highlight so far was receiving 2 nominations for the 2006
CMAA Golden Guitar Awards and presenting two awards on the night. Or maybe
its the frequent requests they're getting for autographs these days. The girls have
developed a huge fan base in such a short amount of time, and they can't believe
it. “We're almost bloody famous”, they chuckled.