Pic: Renae Saxby
It’s been a solid year for singer/songwriter, William Crighton. The country-NSW artist released his second album, Empire, back in May and has since built on his Australian following with a just-completed tour through Europe, with a handful of dates to round it off in the US and Canada.
“It’s just beginning,” he says, barely off the plane and finally on home ground. “This was our first time in Europe and the UK. Thanks to a few major music festivals having faith in us initially, we are beginning to develop a family of followers.
“It was a great experience and I can’t wait to return. Good to be home for now, though.”
The themes in Crighton’s songs are universal, but are also very Australian in experience. His presence is intense, and his songs have a deep social conscience. One wonders if there is there a different response to the songs depending on where he’s performing them and where the audience is from?
“I’ll always see things through an Australian lens to some degree,” he notes. “It would be impossible for me to do any different and I’m okay with that.
“In Australia people can hear themselves in the songs, I suppose, because we all grew up here together. I guess the overseas audiences miss a few references here and there, but they pick up on other things.”
Crighton is straight-forward when asked what drew him into music as a youngster. “My mum and nan,” is the reply, adding that he delved deeper as he got older because, “it led me and continues to, and I try and follow as true to the path as I can.”
In previous years Crighton had gigged around Australia and the US with a few bands, then went solo, releasing his self-titled debut album in 2016.
“Circumstances changed,” he says of the decision to forge ahead on his own, “and I felt different about things. I heard a call which made me want to go another way. I don’t do all of this on my own, though. I have a team of incredible people around me.
“I’m learning to trust the music and let it lead me rather than the opposite.”
Crighton says that what motivates his creative spirit most these days, is the world around him. The words ‘hope’ and faith’ resonate a lot in his work.
“I discuss them a lot in the songs,” he notes. “There’s not much else to say; they’re just feelings and states of being that I like to explore.”
Writing for The Saturday Paper back in May, Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) described Empire as ‘my favourite Australian album of the year thus far, but I think that may be underselling it. This is the best album I’ve heard this year, from anywhere’. It was produced by Matt Sherrod (Crowded House/Beck), who also manned the desk for Crighton’s debut release. The pair first met in Nashville in 2011 and Sherrod also played drums and keyboards on the new LP.
“Unpredictable, focused and sometimes frenzied,” Crighton says of their working friendship. “We’re on the same page with a lot of things, but we’re different enough to have it always be exciting to play and keep each other on our toes and moving.”
Crighton’s current touring cycle takes him to the end of October. Looking into 2019, his work simply continues forth…
“I’m planning to tour a lot more,” he notes, “maybe put out some more music. Just hoping for a good year for all.”
William Crighton performs at Creatures Nextdoor with support from Timothy Nelson on Friday, September 21. Full details at www.facebook.com/events/916967668504658/