Ben Ransom; singer and nurse

By Olivia Duffey

Before Ben Ransom's fame as a singer, the 27 year-old worked as an anaesthesia nurse in Australia and Europe.

The country singer, who still "dabbles" a nurse, opened the Deni Ute Muster main stage on Saturday night. It was later closed by American music legend Tim McGraw.

While he always wanted to be a musician, Ransom said his parents pressed him to go to university and set himself up for a more mainstream career.

“When I left school, mum and dad were not very supportive of me having a career in music,” he said.

“I didn't even put my university application in, but my parents said I had to do something.

“So when the final round of offers came in, I put a whole heap of science based stuff down. I have always liked science and science based things.

“Health science was one of them, and I got into it, so I did that, got my degree and worked in hospitals for a couple of years and worked in operating theatres doing anaesthetics.

“I ended up leaving to live overseas in London for about two and a half years touring around playing music, but to earn money I was doing casual work in various hospitals through various agencies.

“So, my nursing background kind of helped in a way. I think having that helps to keep you grounded because sometimes the music industry is a bit crazy.

“I still actually dabble in it so I can keep my ticket and my qualifications and skills, and I still do little jobs here and there around various hospitals.

“I like to do that because it is very interesting; you're helping people and you are keeping your skills up, so it's pretty cool. So, look out, you never know who's going to be in your theatre,” Ransom added with a laugh.

This year was Ransom's fifth muster appearance, but his first performing on the main stage.

“I have been to five Musters and played at three. I was also a guest when Keith Urban headlined in 2016,” he said.

“But this is my first year on the main stage, let alone opening main stage which I have been very excited about. I actually get a little bit starstruck.

“Tim McGraw is arguably one of the biggest artists in the world, so to be opening main stage for him is an amazing feeling. I did get very nervous, but not only because of him; the calibre of artists that performed in the line-up are all incredible.

“To be able to share the stage with them is pretty cool.”

Ransom visited Deniliquin in the early 2000s, before the Ute Muster was as big as it is today, and told the Pastoral Times he has enjoyed seeing it develop.

“I remember coming to Deniliquin for a wedding in about 2002,” he said.

“We went to the tourist information centre and at the time the Deni Ute Muster was advertising out of there, so the ladies were telling us about this Ute Muster, and we are going 'what is this Ute Muster?' I was curious.

“From that to a sell-out show of more than 20,000 this year, to see it develop and grow like that is incredible.

“Deni is a beautiful town too, I thoroughly enjoy every single time I come down here because the locals are warm, welcoming, happy and awesome.”