Country music royalty primed for Gympie Muster

ANNE Kirkpatrick might be in her mid-60s but she is in terrific shape and still performing as though she was a 20-year-old.

When you consider she is the daughter of Australian country music legends Slim Dusty and Joy McKean, it should be no surprise.

The singer/songwriter who has a unique vocal style will be a highlight at the Gympie Muster this month.

Anne has been recording since she was 12 and first appeared on stage at the age of 10 with her parents in their travelling country music show. She rose to her own prominence as a solo artist in the 1970s going on to release 14 albums and garnering multiple accolades as well as six Golden Guitars, two Mo Awards and an ARIA award.

Described endearingly as the 'Godmother of Australian new country" Anne says she is still honoured and privileged to be performing at the Gympie Muster.

"I am lucky to have been performing at the Muster on and off since it first started in the late 70s," she said. "Over the years I've seen the festival grow from a small festival on the Webb brother's property to this iconic and all-encompassing event for country music lovers. It is held in such a spectacular setting."

Walking in her parent's footsteps has been second nature to Anne who has never thought of any career other than in the music industry.

"It's in the blood," she said. "I grew up surrounded by my parents' musical life. I set off with my parents on an adventure in 1954 when hitting the road with your own country music show was a gamble for my parents. They hooked up the old car Betsy to the caravan and started travelling. My childhood was a mix of being on the road, playing country halls, showgrounds and rodeos."

When Anne outgrew schooling by correspondence she went off to boarding school but always caught up with her parents on the road every school holidays.

"I was singing with my dad since I can remember," she said.

Now Anne's musical journey is still unfolding and she says even though she is now a woman of 'mature' years she still loves being on the road.

"It is where I feel most at home," she said. "I have happy childhood memories of being on the road with my mum and dad and brother David. But these days the longest tours I do are a couple of weeks as I mainly do shorter hops, a weekend or gigs or I fly somewhere for a festival."

Taking care of her health and wellbeing is of paramount importance to Anne.

"You do have to pace yourself on the road and eat well," she said. "I learnt from watching my parents who toured when they were well into their 70s. When you are performing most nights and then travelling the following day you need to make time for that afternoon kip for an hour or so. Also, we would always have a main meal at lunch time so we would only need a snack before the show. Much better to sing on a light stomach."

As well as performing, Anne is a board member of the Slim Dusty Foundation involved in continuing the developing of the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey. She works with her mother, Joy McKean and brother David to preserve the legacy of her famous father.

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