It’s been a whirlwind of couple of years for the Wolfe Brothers! Since their second place finish on Australia’s Got Talent in 2012, the band has taken home two Country Music Channel Awards (New Oz Artist of the Year in 2014 and Group or Duo of the Year in 2016 respectfully), recorded with Brad Paisley, and their third album release has been newly ARIA-nominated for Best Country Album. They’re about to hit the road on the This Crazy Life tour – being branded as a mini country festival alongside Canadian, Gord Bamford; New Zealand’s Jody Direen; and Australia’s own Troy Kemp, Craig Heath, Caitlyn Shadbolt – it’s a unique tour not to be missed!
Firstly, congratulations on your ARIA nomination for Best Country Album!
Thank you very much. It’s pretty damn cool. To be nominated, we must be doings something right. I’m really happy about that. There’s a lot of stuff going on so we haven’t had time to [celebrate]. I’m hoping once this weekends done, Saturday night, I might celebrate a bit. That’s the plan anyway.
The tour kicks off tomorrow in your state of Tasmania. How are rehearsals going?
Yeah, tour starts tomorrow in Hobart and it’s going to be great. It’s home and we’ve got a great following down here so it’s going to be a really big show. We’re heading towards my two favourite words – which is sold out, so let’s hope we keep heading that way. (laughs) We’re not quite there but we’re going to keep going. Fingers crossed. One more day of rehearsals here today and then we actually get to do some gigs with it. It’s been a long time coming. We’re looking forward to getting on stage.
What can you tell me about the tour?
It’s seven acts from 3 different countries – it’s this crazy life tour. It’s our third album and in all honesty we talked about what we could do for this tour, what we wanted to do and we really wanted to do something big, something different and get into some bigger venues and showcase what country music is about – and that’s exactly what we’re doing! That’s how it all came about.
From the rehearsal yesterday people are really going to enjoy what this is all about. Hopefully they’ll discover some new music as well. Which is something we’d really like to see happen. We’re trying to change the mindsets of certain people. A lot of people we talk to still think [country music all sounds like] Slim Dusty, so the whole concept of this tour is to try and bring people up to speed [on] what country music’s about in 2016.
I hear you’re also going to be playing on stage with all the acts?
Yeah, being a band, we can double up and do both. So we thought, let’s play these guys songs … and then it plays into our tour as well. We’re bringing all these artists for people to see and on top of all that, they’re really fun songs to play. Christie’s got some great stuff. Troy’s got some really fun stuff. It’ll be really fun live. People are really going to get a kick out of it and [it’s] something really different from what we’ve done before. Variety is the spice of life so it’ll be good.
I think it also plays into that comradery kind of spirit in country music.
Yeah, absolutely. We learnt pretty early on that if you don’t help each other out and work with each other, you’re never going to go anywhere yourself. We try and work with lots of artists [and] be supportive of everyone. If you put that out there – you’re going to get that back. That’s been our thoughts since day one. And it seems to be working so far.
Lee [Kernaghan] took us when we were on Australia’s Got Talent, but really we were just a bar band who’d been doing rodeos and BNS balls and stuff so he took a bit of a risk and really worked with us to make sure we were able to do it. It’s worked out so good and now it’s the same thing.
There’s guys on this tour – like Craig Heath, he’s a really new act [and] Jodie’s just released her first album. This is Jodie’s first ever tour around Australia – so no one would have seen these guys before. But seeing them live, they’re fucking great. They’re really good. I’m excited to take these guys out to the fans and show them what they’re about!
Do you accredit Lee for a lot of your successes?
Working with Lee and touring with Lee – it’s like the best apprenticeship we’ve ever got. You learn so much. He really is this talented guy – and it’s an honour to play with him on stage every night. We’re a team – we’ve got his back [and] he’s got our back and we’re there to support each other; and I think that’s why it’s gone so well and we’re still working together. We still enjoy it. He’s just asked us to record his next album so that’s really excited for us as well. We’ve played a lot live with him, but we’ve never been in the studio. So we’re really looking forward to getting into the studio with him.
Have you toured with any on the This Crazy Life tour before?
We did some shows with Troy when he was in McAlister Kemp and we’ve toured with Christie before. Christie is really great. Christie’s got some really good songs happening and I think she’s going to be a superstar, that girl! I hope she remembers me when she’s the next Carrie Underwood (laughs).
What defines country music?
For me, as long as it’s coming from the heart and it’s real – that’s country music. It doesn’t matter if it’s pop, rock, got rap, R&B, whatever – if it’s true and from the heart that’s what country music has always been about and will always be about.
It’s just a genre. We don’t get too bogged down – it is what it is. It’s music. And If it’s a good song – it’s a good song. And if not, people will listen to something else (laughs).
Are there any chances of collaborating – either on stage or song writing – with any of the artists during the tour?
Yeah, we’re going to be. You never know what’s going to happen on the tour. You start at night one by the time you get to the last show it’s completely changed – so I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows. Who knows what will come out of this. I’m really looking forward to going on the road with it!
Do you think you have a crazy life?
Oh, yeah! Absolutely (laughs) This year we spent almost four months in America, we come home to do the Gympie Muster, we come home for three days after that, and then were back to America to finish the tour. I got home last Wednesday, went back out on the road Friday, I come home Monday night, and I went into rehearsals Wednesday morning. My life is just go, go, go go. It is an absolutely crazy life! (laughs) It’s pretty appropriate for everything that’s been happening in our life right now! We wouldn’t have it any other way though!
How was America? How’d the Americans take to you?
They loved it. We were actually really surprised at how well it went over. It was testing new waters for us to see whether they enjoyed it. [We] sold out of CDs, and all sorts of stuff, so I think we’ll go back next Summer and see where that takes us.
Were you headlining, supporting or something else?
Doing lots of different things – did some opening shows with Dustin Lynch, Eli Young Band … we did a big festival with Dierks Bentley, Eric Church and opened up for Big and Rich. Then we did some of our own shows in theatres, pubs and venues – so it was a real mixed bag. We’re kind of starting again over there. What we have done in this country definitely helps us out over there. Our songs went over great, that was the thing we were most happy with – they really really dug the music.
Do Americans act differently to Australian audiences?
Oh, they’re into it! Australians can be sometimes a little reserved in crowds. But [American audiences] just went crazy! We went and did our own show on a Tuesday night, we had 500 come and they were just wild. We were just like, “man, I don’t know what’s happening right now.” (laughs) But in all honesty, [they’re] pretty similar. They love their country music. They love beer. They love going out and having a good time. It wasn’t too different for us.
Did you get some extra female attention because of the Australian accent?
Yeah, pretty much. (laughs) When we were doing meet and greets afterwards people would come up and be like, “sorry, can you just say my name?” and they were like “oh my god, that is so beautiful.” (laughs) It was really funny to be a part of it.
And you’ve just announced you’re doing a show in Tamworth with Shannon Noll. Can you tell me a little about that?
Yeah, we’re doing Tamworth with Nollsie. We’ve known Nollsie a while now. He actually come down to our farm and stayed a few days. We wrote some songs with him, hung out and we just got on really well. He’s a great bloke and we thought, well, Australia Day Eve, there’s not much more Australian than Shannon Noll (laughs) so let’s do a show with Nollsie and hopefully we’ll make it a sell out – that’s our plan.
He’s great. He cops a bit of flack from people every now and then. He came into our house and sat down, him and his guitar, and he played this song he wrote for us and it was just like, “man, you are so good!” It blew us away. I’m looking forward to hearing his new album and seeing what he does with everything.
So, what else do you have planned for the future? What comes next?
Next, I’m going to go in and rehearse this crazy life tour, Tamworth, and then next year’s going to be just another crazy year. I think we’re going to be back on the road with Lee a bit. We might try and hit the road with Nollsie a bit. We’d like to do some more Crazy Life tour stuff, and then we’ll probably be back to America next summer. It’s go go go. Busy busy busy. We don’t really stop for too long. We might get Christmas off this year – that’s our plan. We haven’t had a Christmas home in a couple of years, so it’d be good.
Best of luck with everything, Tom. I hope it goes well.
It’s people like you who are helping push it along. We appreciate it.