Town Hall set to rock for anniversary tour

There is no doubt that Tania Kernaghan was born to be a country music star.

Daughter of famous country musician Ray Kernaghan and sister of Lee, she grew up in a family that was musically minded.

Having just released her seventh album All Australian Girl in February, the singer and songwriter will perform at the Swan Hill Town Hall on April 23 alongside her brother for his Boys from the Bush 25th Anniversary Tour.

Ms Kernaghan said music was something that was always encouraged by her parents from a young age.

"I was four the first time I got up on stage at the Boomerang Hotel in Albury," Ms Kernaghan said.

"I sang some songs, had a few claps from the audience and told my parents that I wanted to go back there the next week."

She said she had always loved to sing and perform, even as a child.

"I guess it was dad who got us into music," she said.

"But in saying that, it was actually mum who got us piano lessons when I was about eight.

"Dad was of course making records and touring, so music was always in our home."

Ms Kernaghan recalled fond memories of touring with her father from the age of 13.

"While other kids were having their school holidays, I was out travelling around Australia with my dad," she said.

She said growing up in a musical family was something she had always known.

"I think we're very conventional, but I guess we're not really when you're an outsider looking in," she said.

"What family packs up their kids and heads out on the road for eight months travelling around clubs, pubs and town halls?"

Ms Kernaghan and her siblings often did their schooling by correspondence and sometimes had a school teacher tour with the family.

"We spent more time singing on stage than sitting under a gum tree learning about Pythagoras' theorem," she said.

"I think it's important to have a good education, but music was always something that I wanted to pursue and something I loved from a very early age."

In the 1970s, the Kernaghan children had their own band called Angels in the Blue Desert.

"We have been performing together for a long time," she said.

"Even though Lee and I have had our separate careers, to come back to celebrate and be a part of his 25th anniversary celebrations is a real highlight for me.

"I think people really love to see families performing together.

"But I probably get just as much enjoyment and pleasure out of performing on stage with Lee as the audience does."

After high school she formed her own band which toured the club circuit around the Riverina.

It was 1992 when Ms Kernaghan recorded her first song, a tune that she had written with her sister Fiona called I'll Be Gone.

"ABC Records in Sydney picked it up and wanted to release it as a radio single," she said.

"They then offered me a record deal."

Ms Kernaghan said she and her sister had been writing songs together for more than 20 years.

"She has been really instrumental in shaping the career I've had," she said.

"We collaborate really well together and we just know each other so well.

"When it comes to writing songs and making records, Fiona just knows exactly the type of music that I want to sing and write about."

Throughout her career, Ms Kernaghan has been involved with various charities, including Riding for the Disabled.

"I have met some wonderful people as I've travelled around the country," she said.

"Seeing Australia and meeting the characters has been a highlight for me.

"I'm such an advocate for seeing your own backyard and seeing what Australia has got to offer."

She said the most rewarding thing as a musician was learning that her music had made a difference to someone's life.

"I always say, it's not what you can get out of the music business, but rather what you can give back," she said.

"It's so much more rewarding when you can put a smile on someone's face because you recorded a song that connected with them.

"That to me is true success and what it's all about."

To read more about this story, grab a copy of Friday's Guardian (April 21).