With guitar in hand, James Blundell and partner Jesse Curran have left the hustle and bustle of city life and returned to the family property west of Stanthorpe in Queensland.

Story By Annabelle Brayley

Adjusting the straps on his father’s stirrup irons before they head out to muster a mob of sheep is just one of the many little things country-music star James Blundell is enjoying about coming home to “Mt Malakoff”, the Blundells’ wool-growing property in the hilly traprock country west of Stanthorpe, Qld. His father, Peter, is obviously delighted he’s here. “At 74, I’m getting too old to be on a horse on my own in this country,” he says. “So Jamie coming home means I’m back in the saddle.” And loving it, if the smile plastered across his face is anything to go by.
While riding, James hums the chorus of a yet-to-be released song about life in the city and, for the 1000th time, he appreciates being home.

Let’s all move into the city
And breathe each other’s air
Get to know your neighbour
Much more than you might care to
Live in little boxes way up in the sky
Go to work and come back home
Go to work and come back home
Go to work and come back home
Until the day you die.

Back on the family property since mid-2009, James has returned to the life he once knew, bringing an awareness honed by the sharp edge of experience and an evolving maturity. He has an appreciation for his parents that he didn’t recognise as a young man. His mother, Marjory, was diagnosed some years ago with Alzheimer’s disease and lives in a nursing home, but his father still lives on Mt Malakoff and James is keen to make the most of it. Peter wants to stay on the property doing what he loves best: riding a horse behind a mob of sheep, running his hands through a fine fleece, enjoying a rum at the end of the day and writing bush ballads. James and his partner Jesse Curran are focused on giving him the opportunity to do just that.
James is happily offsiding for his father who, technically, still runs the property although James does most of the heavy, hands-on work. In this arena, his only concession to his music career is the leather working gloves he always wears, protecting the fingers that strum the guitar that supports his voice and the music he continues to make in the wool room of the Mt Malakoff shearing shed.

This story excerpt is from Issue #73

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2010