It’s always hard to walk in your parents’ footsteps, especially when the parent belongs to the category of an icon. But Anne Kirkpatrick, daughter of Australia’s country music legend Slim Dusty and his equally renowned wife, Joy McKean , has traced her parents’ path with a steady stride, in the process carving for herself a unique identity.
A talented songwriter with a unique vocal style, Anne has been recording since she was 12 years old, and 1st appeared on stage at age 10 in her parents’ travelling country music show, before rising to prominence as a solo artist in the mid 70’s.
Tagging along with her parents on the tour circuit from the age of 2, she had the ultimate insider’s view of life in show business. Until she was 11 , her life was a carney’s life, spent under the carnival tent, and her neighbours, people who swallowed razor blades, jugglers and clowns. She helped her parents setting up to 24 sets a day at shows in Australia’s capital cities, and rural ones as well. She looks at the Showman’s Guild, of which her father was a lifetime member , as ‘family’. Then , having outgrown her correspondence courses, she was sent off to school, catching up with the show every school holidays.
Starting with her 1st album ‘Down Home’ , which was released in 1974 while she was studying at university, her career was one upward rung after another towards country music fame. Even with her deep roots in traditional country music and the huge and impeccable influence of both parents Slim and Joy, Kirkpatrick cast her talent net farther afield. Fondly referred to as the “godmother of new country” , her songs have blended traditional country with country rock and bluegrass, inspired by the likes of Linda Ronstadt and Gram Parsons. In the 70’s she formed the Anne Kirkpatrick Band, making the rounds of the inner city pubs. She recorded some tracks for a series of children’s albums leading to her signing up with ABC Country. Her first release for the label, “Out Of The Blue”, featured songs giving traditional country her unique contemporary feel and was heralded as a watershed album in Australian country music.
To date, Kirkpatrick has released 14 albums earning for her awards and accolades. Along the way, she has won 6 Golden Guitars at the Tamworth Country Music Awards and several Mo Awards, given to artists for their achievement in live entertainment. In 1991, she won the ARIA Award for best Country Album for ‘Out Of The Blue’, besting top stars like Keith Urban, Graeme Connors and John Williamson. .
The torch that Slim Dusty lit has not only passed on to Anne. In 2008 the album “Slim Dusty Family Reunion” featured tracks with her brother David and Anne’s 2006 release of ‘Showman’s Daughter’ had contributions from her son James Arneman, who carries on the family tradition with his own musical line-ups, ‘Small Town Romance’ and ‘Indian Pacific’.
As a board member of the Slim Dusty Foundation, Anne is heavily involved in the continuing development of the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey which opened in November 2015—as well as working alongside her mother, Joy McKean, to preserve the legacy of her late dad, Slim.
In 2010 Anne became the 39th artist to be inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown, of which her father was one of the earliest members.