Singing for the farmers

By Olivia Duffey

When Travis Collins took to the stage at the Deni Ute Muster on Saturday night, he just wanted to give people an opportunity to take their hat off and leave their troubles at the door.

It was his sixth time at the Deni Ute Muster, but the first time he's been asked to come back in consecutive years.

“It is an honour to be asked back. We had a bloody great time last year and it was one of the best nights of our tour, so we jumped at the chance when we were asked to come back,” he said.

As a property and stock owner himself, said his intention was to "sing to the back row" and give everyone the opportunity to take a break.

“My heart really does goes out to the farmers and what they are going through at the moment.

“I know a big part of the Muster is being able to switch off, even for just a night, to come in and leave the drought at the door to have a good night, catch up with a couple mates and have a good laugh which is all really important. And that is what I wanted the concert to be about.

“But it is not just this weekend, that is kind of what my mission statement has always been.”

As a touring country artist, Collins has come through Deniliquin several times and called it a "beautiful small town" he looks forward to visiting.

“I love it, it has a charm about it and it is just a beautiful little place. And then it gets nice and loud, packed to the rafters and rowdy on the Muster weekend which is good for the town too,” he said.

“In fact one of my mates who used to live in the Hunter Valley, where I am from, lives here now and is a photographer - he does professional photography for the Muster, so I was able to see him which was great.”

Collins said he was inspired to get into music by his father, because of the "guitars all around the house and singalongs happening all the time".

“Because we were a pretty poor family growing up, we had to find something to kill time and for me that was my dad's old guitar. I would just sort of wrap my hands around that and found that I enjoyed doing that,” he said.

“So, that led to busking as a kid which led to doing my first few gigs and by the time I left High School, I was doing enough gigs and just getting by enough, making the same kind of money my friends who were working at Maccas or who had an apprenticeship or something like that.

“I remember thinking that I was actually keeping my head above the water with everybody else, so I may as well see how much I can get out of music and all these years later here I am still doing it.”

And he wouldn't trade it for anything else, saying music could express not only his feelings but become something others could relate to.

“I love the connectivity and the fact that people can come together and relate on the same thing,” Collins said.

“I could be on stage, or anyone can be on stage, and sing about a certain thing that is special to them and then feel that come back multiplied from the audience.

“It's just something that really blows my mind and I never ever get sick of that. I never take it for granted either."