Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Casey Barnes – Bryan Adam, So Far So Good(1993)
Well, who would have thought Christmas day of 1993 would end up being such a pivotal moment in my life that, in more ways than one, wouldn’t become apparent until some 12 years later.
I remember clearly how old I was at the time, the ripe old age of 15 and up until that point I’d always been the one diving into mum and dad’s old record & CD collection and had never actually owned my own album. This was a BIG moment for me, ripping open the wrapping paper to this little 14 track gem of an album.
From day one it was on repeat and at the time I was playing drums in my high school rock band so I remember spending hours on end trying to learn how to play every track. My next-door neighbour at the time was a night shift worker so this didn’t always go down too well. I soon shifted my focus instead to guitar so the next challenge was working out all of Keith Scott’s famous guitar hooks in songs like ‘Run To You’, ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’ and ‘Cuts Like A Knife’, and if I really had enough courage singing along in the bedroom too.
You wouldn’t think it now, but back in the day going through high school I was pretty shy, so the thought of ever singing live in front of people was something I used to only dream about, maybe one day getting to play my own shows but at the time had no idea where my life was going to end up heading.
There’s a lot that went on in between but let’s fast track now to late 2004 and I’d been lucky enough to have been gigging by this stage as a full-time musician for a few years and had just come off the back of recording my very first independent album.
No idea how I jagged this at the time but I ended up landing a bunch of acoustic solo gigs around OZ for ex-Wallabies rugby captain John Eales, who is deadset one of the nicest humans you’d ever wish to meet. I got chatting to John at the end of one of the gigs and gave him a copy of my little indie album as a thank you for the opportunity and honestly thought that’d be the end of it.
A week later my phone rings, John had somehow tracked down my number and was giving me a call just to let me know how much he’d enjoyed listening to the CD and that he might know a few people in the industry that may be able to help me.
So here’s me thinking firstly how much of a bloody champion bloke is John Eales, but also how was he going to be able to help little old me in the music industry? So in a business where you often get your hopes up about stuff, I didn’t give it too much more thought until my phone rings again a week later, the lady on the other end explains that they’ve heard the album and would like to offer me an opportunity. I’m pretty sure at the time the old radio ‘crazy call’ was at its height so I thought it was a bit of a joke and went to hang up only to realise she was actually fair dinkum.
So where this little ‘love letter to a record’ ties itself in was this opportunity was to open for none other than Bryan Adams on his upcoming 2005 tour for A Day On The Green! Of all people! So not only was Bryan Adams my first ever album that I owned and loved but also 12 years later my first real BIG break in music.
I could go into so much more detail but that opportunity really kick-started EVERYTHING for me. The shows couldn’t have gone any better, Bryan proved to be one of the biggest legends you’d hope to meet. Man, he even got my wife, who’s also a singer, up on stage during the last show of the tour to sing with him which to this day is still one of the coolest things I’ve see.n
I have so much to thank this record for. I think we sometimes underestimate the power of music and how it shapes our lives. I still to this very day throw the album on and am instantly transported back to 1993. I don’t think there’s a record that I’ve owned since that has impacted my life more than this one.
Casey Barnes’ new album, ‘Town of a Million Dreams’, is out Friday 17 April. New single Sparks Fly is out now.