The dining hall and shearers’ quarters at DAG Sheep Station, nestled in the ‘Hills of Gold’ around Nundle in north-east New South Wales, has become a music mecca for dozens of country, established and emerging artists.
The DAG is owned by John Krsulja, or Johnny K, as he is known among friends. It hosts retreats for country musicians, where they can meet and grow creatively.
It’s the “songlines” that pass under and through the DAG that seem to seep into the minds of participants, Krsulja said.
“There’s no internet access for guests, no TVs in the rooms, without all these distractions people are very quickly stripped bare.”
While the closures have interrupted the retreat calendar, Krsulja hopes the events will soon return regularly and provide more magical moments.
- Hear John Krsulja talk about the magic of DAG retreats in our new podcast. If you already have Spotify on your phone and are reading this on your mobile, click the banner below. Alternatively, download the Spotify app on your phone and search for Celebrating Aussie Country. For more instructions, click here.
“There are a lot of times when we witness the DAG as a song is born,” Krsulja says.
“One of those times should be sing me a story. [Luke O’Shea and Felicity Urquhart] co-wrote this story on stage in front of us.
“We did it as a David Attenborough story, where we just watched. We weren’t allowed to participate…they just had to stumble over this song process.”
sing me a storylater recorded by O’Shea and Lyn Bowtell, won a Gold Guitar at the 2020 Tamworth Country Music Festival for Heritage Song of the Year.
Krsulja has her own country music aspirations, releasing her debut album, To travelproduced by the late Karl Broadie.
One of the tracks The Old Man’s Shedco-written with Luke O’Shea, received the Heritage Song of the Year award in 2017.
The song is about the legacy of relationships. Broadie died before the song received this accolade.
“Karl was a tutor at DAG for at least three or four years before his untimely death from pancreatic cancer,” Krsulja said.
“The number of connections he made through the DAG was so high… [he was] such a powerful presence.
“There are so many memories we have of Karl in retirement and we always keep a picture of him on stage. There are a lot of people who come into retirement who know Karl Broadie but have never met him. I I certainly feel his spirit remains.”
Krsulja has been spending her time during the COVID restrictions for the past two years creatively, writing songs.
“I enjoy new songs that I write. They’re influenced differently by some of the artists I grew up with, and before my time. They’re always stories that mean something to me, they have to have a personal attachment for me.”
Listen: New Country Music Podcast
To mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic Tamworth Country Music Festival, ACM (publisher of this website) has created a new podcast, Celebrating Aussie Country.
The podcast was recorded and released before the recent spike in coronavirus cases which forced the festival to be postponed. We are sure you will always enjoy the interviews and the music. Just keep in mind that all references to performance dates are outdated. The Tamworth Country Music Festival has been postponed to April 18-24.
In the 10-part series, available only on Spotify, you’ll hear from established and emerging artists and their music.
To listen you will need to download the Spotify app on your mobile phone and search for Celebrating Aussie Country. If you already have Spotify – and you’re reading this story on your mobile – click the banner below and your phone will take you straight to the podcast.
Each podcast episode includes an interview with the artist and some of their music. People with a free Spotify subscription will hear a 30-second sample of the song, while those with a premium Spotify subscription will be able to enjoy the full version.
- This article was first published on January 18, 2022 but has been republished for the rescheduled Tamworth Country Music Festival