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Sat 11 Aug 2012, 7:00pm

Where: The J, 60 Noosa Drive, Noosa Heads, Queensland

Restrictions: 18+

As a singer-songwriter whose name is synonymous with Queensland, Graeme Connors has his roots firmly planted in the North, and is embarking on a Queensland run of concerts in August with his North To Now tour. The dates will see Graeme and his band take audiences on a journey through 25 years of critically acclaimed recordings, beginning in Cairns and heading down the coast to Noosa.

For Graeme, who has long called Mackay home, the title of the tour continues a geographic and philosophical theme that has characterized his work for almost three decades. His breakthrough hit in 1988 was the unofficial North Queensland anthem A Little Further North, from the platinum-rated album North. Images of Far North Queensland continue to run through his repertoire. As with all great writers, his sense of place is also his persona.

“To me, ‘North’ is a metaphor for the good things in life,” Graeme says. “’North’ is a metaphor for ageing gracefully, and attaining a little wisdom. North is the place you want to be, and where you idealize your life. Given the choice I think you’d rather go north in your life than the alternative. It’s a very Australian thing – heading north means heading towards the warmth – sunshine, lush landscape, golden beaches.”

It also means living in Queensland – a fact that Graeme welcomes every day. And the regard seems to be mutual – in 2009, to mark the State’s sesquicentennial, he was included in the official list of 50 Q150 icons – along with the Bee Gees and the Great Barrier Reef.

“To be honest, I felt a little embarrassed to receive the accolade,” he says. “It felt like I hadn’t earned it. I’m a creative person, and I think when you do this kind of thing for a living you tend to wake up each morning with a sense that your best work is still ahead of you. You tend to think achieving that goal is yet to come. You think: today, I will do better. But then my wife, who is far more sensible than me, tells me to stop worrying and simply celebrate the achievements along the way.”

And, indeed, he has much to celebrate. To date, he has released 17 albums, with another, Kindred Spirit, due for release later this year. He has won a staggering 14 Golden Guitars, and been inducted into the Tamworth Walk of Fame. He has also won an ARIA award, two APRA songwriting awards, two American Song Festival Awards, two MO Awards for live performance and 12 Tamworth Songwriters Association Awards. He received a Centenary Medal for his contribution to the entertainment industry and is a Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow.

More importantly than all this, however, he has a legion of fiercely loyal fans and he is looking forward greatly to once again having the opportunity to entertain them, backed by a red-hot group of sidemen and a specially designed lighting show. The North To Now tour will find Graeme revisiting many of his signature songs, with a particular emphasis on those that resonate with the experience of living in Queensland. Audiences can expect powerful renditions of old favourites such as Let The Canefields Burn, Before The Wet, Cyclone Season, Mango Shade, and, of course, A Little Further North. There will also be songs from his most recent album, At The Speed Of Life (2011), such as The Mouth Of The River and Mosquitoville, as well as new material from his forthcoming collection.

Graeme Connors will be taking some of the most respected musicians from the Australian industry on the road with him for the North To Now tour, including Tim Wedde (keyboards) and Scott Hills (drums), Rex Goh (guitars), Chris Haigh (bass), and Gary Carruthers (mandolin, banjo, guitar). This is a tour not to miss and all Queenslanders will find something in Graeme’s repertoire that makes them feel proud to be part of the Sunshine State.

For more information please visit Graeme's website (link above).