"Well, late last night a little late, I missed the driveway and drove the car right through your flower bed at least I picked a rose out of the headlight and now you swear it's me or drinkin' can't I get it through my head."
'I'll Drink To That'
Adam Harvey-Rod McCormack-Matt King.

Former Geelong truckie Adam Harvey has played the famed Grand Ol Opry, sung to 60,000 country fans at a Wisconsin fest and written with some of the best tunesmiths in Nashville. But here in Harvey's home state the lanky larrikin is almost unknown - except for hard core country fans.

So the sardonic singer-songwriter bit the bullet and drove north on Highway One from his Terang home to the NSW Central Coast. He financed his music driving trucks and dozers in Geelong but moved to support his wife Kathy and son Conway, named after the late Conway Twitty. "You have to be near the record companies, management and booking agents and go to the industry functions which are mainly in Sydney," Harvey, 26, told Nu Country. "Terrigal is really central, only an hour from Sydney, and it gives me more time to be with Kathy and Conway. It was a three hour hike from Terang to Melbourne with air travel on top of that. I was flying up every weekend so we moved."

He did a three week Queensland tour with Kasey Chambers to promote fourth album 'Working Overtime' and played the Hallam Hotel on Sunday October 30 with Beccy Cole and headlines the 13th annual Bunyip Country Music festival on Sunday February 24.
The singer penned seven of the 13 songs with Central Coast neighbour, producer and multi-instrumentalist Rod McCormack. Co-writers included recent Australian tourists David Lee Murphy, Dean Miller (son of Roger), Sonny Tillis (son of Mel), Jerry Salley, Matt King and Rick Price. "It's pretty awesome when you walk in the room and realise they've written some of the best country songs of recent times," Adam revealed, "especially songs I've always loved. Next thing I know I'm sitting there writing songs with them, it's amazing."

And, one of those songs 'I'll Drink To That', was inspired by an accident in Terang in his trusty Ford Falcon. "It was loosely based on that real incident," Harvey joked, "back in the old days when I was playing up there used to be parties, late nights and drinking that makes me tired. I had a car prang and Kathy got upset with me. Kathy was working night shift and I decided to go and see her. It was really late and sure enough I crashed the car. I took the front end off. It was a tow job. I hit a couple of rubbish bins and a school crossing sign. It hurt my pride more than anything. Now my insurance premium is about $2,000 a year.'

Harvey's creativity soared, but not airplay, in the unlucky radio country where his major exposure is on community and ABC stations. "There has been no breakthrough in commercial radio," says Harvey, "but touring with Kasey helped a lot. A lot of stations play her stuff - they don't know it's country. They won't play mine because they don't play country. Folks would dig my music if they only got a chance to hear it." The stone country message is important for Harvey - the cover of 'Working Overtime' carries the warning "This album contains 100% genuine country music."

Harvey's previous disc Sugar Talk - featuring the Red Rivers penned title track - was produced by Joe Camilleri at his Woodstock Studio with no Harvey originals. This time he rejected a raft of covers - American and Australian - including one from a fellow artist who criticised his album in a review. "There are a lot of cheating and drinking songs on this record," Adam says proudly, "that's country music, mate. I think the country music fans are starved for real country music. A lot of young acts want to be Shania Twain and crossover artists. It happened in the U.S until Randy Travis came along. That's why I recorded real country - much more country and much more me. I love performing live, better than I ever have."

They include a revamp of the Chuck Wagon & The Wheels hit Beauty's In The Eye Of The Beerholder, Two Steppin' Fool, One & One & One, The House Jack Built, Harlan Howard's She's Gone, Gone, Gone and evocative Chris Wall penned finale I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight.

Harvey says he resisted the trend to target specific niches in the music industry. "A lot of artists, including myself, tend to worry about appealing to a certain market," Harvey revealed, "record companies are really big on that. They say you've got to appeal to this market, young people, people in utes. They spend time worrying about how you are going to appeal. If you just do what you really want to do they'll come to you. Kasey Chambers is the perfect example - she has done what she wants and people are coming to her."
Adam will be appearing at the Bunyip Country Music Festival on Sunday February 24, 2002.


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