The new single from country sister act The Sunny Cowgirls - Green and Gold - is not only a taste of the duo’s soon-to-be-released fifth album, but also a love-song to Australia.
“I guess writing songs about Australia comes really naturally to us,” says Sophie Clabburn, the elder of the sisters. “It’s something we both love to do – there’s no limit to the amount of songs we can write about this country.”
It’s true, too. The Clabburn sisters are about as dinkum as you can get. They were born in Dunkeld in Western Victoria, moved to Perth for a few years, and then headed back east as adults, where they worked on the land while learning the music trade. Sophie lives on a few acres outside Tamworth, and Celeste balances performing and touring by working on a 2000-head sheep farm in Hamilton.
Green and Gold was written by Sophie. The inspiration for it, she says, came as she glanced out of an aircraft window. “We were flying over Broome, in the north-west of WA, and I looked down,” she says. “I saw the blue ocean, the red dirt, the sunset – a million different colours – and I realised that we truly are living inside a rainbow, which became a recurring image in the song. Then the title just sort of popped out of my head – it wasn’t a clichéd patriotic thing – and it just sort of stuck.”
When Sophie played the finished composition to her sister, both knew they were onto something special. “The first time I heard it I thought, wow!” says Celeste. “It’s not a typical comical Sunny Cowgirls song; it’s more about the serious side of the Sunnys. I think Sophie’s one of the best songwriters out there.”
Both Sophie and Celeste contribute songs to The Sunny Cowgirls – composing happy crowd favourites such as Acting Stupid, Six Pack Short, Grog Monster and Bags Not Driving – but that doesn’t mean they’re strictly a song-writing partnership. “I have to write about my own experiences,” says Sophie. “So I’m not good at co-writing. In fact, I consciously avoid it, because I find it really, really hard. Even with each other, we don’t write well together. We each have a clear idea of what we want, and it’s much harder to get that across when there’s somebody else in the room, wanting to put their two bob in.”
With four albums under their belts, a fifth on the way – due for release in January 2013 - and an average of six months every year spent on the road, the Clabburn sisters admit that their personal and professional lives bring occasional special challenges. “It can be full on, but, honestly, we’re very lucky,” says Celeste. “We’re best mates, always have been. We fight sometimes, of course, a little bit, every now and then, but when we get off the road we get to go back to different States – and that helps!!”
All in all, though, The Sunny Cowgirls are a happy pair: happy to be singing together, happy to be on the land, and happy to call themselves Australians. Just one listen to Green and Gold will convince you of that.
Green and Gold is released to radio today (Monday 19th November 2012)
The Sunny Cowgirls’ fifth album What We Do is due for release on Friday 11th January 2013.
For more information, please visit www.sunnycowgirls.com