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Graham Rodger



Since resigning as a Queensland Ambulance Officer and becoming a fulltime professional entertainer, Graham has made a huge impact on the country music industry. His name has become synonymous with the writing and recording of high quality Australian ballads.  Keeping Australia and Australians as the major themes for his ballads ensures that Graham will always uphold the traditions cemented into our culture by the late Slim Dusty.  Slim was one of the many within the industry who acknowledged Graham's exceptional writing skills and was pleased on several occasions to record his material.  One of the most notable was “You Can’t Take Australia From Me”.  The message in this ballad so impressed Slim that the family requested Dick Smith to recite it as a poem at his funeral.  Graham has always greatly appreciated this gesture and has never under-estimated this acknowledgement.


In 2012 on his eleventh album “Stronger For It All” Graham wrote and recorded the ballad “I Am”.  There is a line in this ballad, which says ‘We are the artists, poets and the scribes who keep our heritage alive’.  It is for this that we should be ever so grateful to Graham and his fellow balladeers because it is they, who are keeping our history and traditions alive.  For centuries, right across the world, history has been handed down through the generations by story and song.  Without these artists, as a nation, we lose our day to day contact with our past, and with no past we have no soul, and with no soul we have no future.  In what he has penned, Graham has given us a window through which we can view the history of our people.  He tells of monumental events and every day occurrences, all of which blend together to make us what we are today.


Graham is an incredibly gifted entertainer with a highly developed natural flow and as a result you only have to sit back and listen to one of his CDs or a live performance and you will fully appreciate the depth of this man’s talents.  The quality of Graham's voice is reflected in the numerous “Male Vocalist of the Year” awards which he has won (these include numerous “People’s Choice Awards” from Tamworth).  The conviction and the emotion with which he sings his ballads are some of the tools he uses to whisk you away into his world.  Like any good storyteller he encapsulates you so you feel and live the story he is telling.


If you are not into country music you may be asking “Who is this Graham Rodger?”  So let me tell you a little about the achievements of this incredibly talented Australian entertainer.


In 1998 as a full time entertainer Graham released his first album.  In just over 20 years Graham has amassed 100 major country music awards, including the Hands of Fame and Golden Guitar.


A brief summary of his achievements include:-

·      Hands of Fame recipient.

·      Golden Guitar winner (plus another 17 nominations in finals have been achieved).

·      Numerically the leading recipient of Tamworth People’s Choice Awards.

·      The leading holder of Tamworth Songwriting Association Awards, with a total of 28.

·      He has released 18 CDs and 4 full length DVDs.


If you are a lover of good Australian music, you will not be disappointed in an evening spent with this entertainer.


Graham Rodger’s Tag-Along Tours.

Graham in his own words explains the development of his tag-along tours.

In 2014, we were organising an outback tour.  I was really keen to take good quality country music out to people living in very remote parts of Australia.  As the word got out as to what we were doing, I discovered there were other musicians and a considerable number of Australian country music fans keen on joining me.  Through a small touring company, Austrak Music Tours, an invitation went out for people wishing to join us.  In May 2014, five musicians and 82 supporters took to their caravans as we meandered our way from Miles to Birdsville doing 13 shows along the way.  It was voted such a huge success by both the travellers and the residents of the towns we visited that it was obviously something we had to do again.


In 2015, I had 5 musicians and with Austrak Music Tours 95 caravaners joined me as once again we started our adventure at Miles and over 4 weeks did 17 shows as we worked our way through outback Queensland and into the Northern Territory, concluding our tour at Ross River, just out of Alice Springs.


In 2016, we set off on our third tag-along with 180 people in 95 vans.  We started at Miles and over 3 weeks snaked our way through many of Queensland’s tiny towns to end up at Innamincka in South Australia.


Our fourth tag-along in 2017, saw us starting at Swan Hill, travelling through some beautiful and historic parts of South Australia, up to Broken Hill and then across northern NSW to end up at Lightning Ridge.


Each tag-along taught us a little more about organising something special.  By the beginning of our fourth trip in 2017 we had concluded that our previous numbers were exceeding the capabilities of the small country towns we were visiting, hence from 2018 we endeavoured to restrict our numbers to 140 people and 75 caravans.


In 2018, our fifth outback tour took us from Miles to The Cape via The Gulf, ending up at Cooktown in far north Queensland.  This journey was a real eye-opener for our people as the vast majority had not been to The Gulf or as far north as Cooktown.


In 2019, we had yet another very successful tour through the outback of Queensland – from Lightning Ridge to Birdsville.


In 2020 due to COVID 19 restrictions, plans for our 7th tag-along were placed on hold and a smaller version accommodating the rules re state borders allowing only Queensland residents and Queensland towns was held.  Safety was still a high priority and all travellers needed a negative COVID test result to participate.


The eighth tour took place in 2021 when we travelled from outback NSW (Broken Hill) to the red centre of Australia, taking in Uluru and ending up at the MacDonnell Ranges in Alice Springs.  Graham was still organising a wonderful array of musicians to entertain us on each trip.


After being a main-stay on the first seven trips, Queensland entertainer, Laura Downing had retired and Graham extended an invitation to husband and wife couple, Gus and Sherri Olding to fill her shoes.  Sherri and Gus have talent and personality in abundance and after several tag-alongs they proved to be an example of entertainers going from obscurity to popular thanks to the encouragement and opportunities organised by Graham.


In 2022, we began our ninth tag-along in the NSW opal mining town of Lightning Ridge.  From there we headed north, crossing the border into Queensland, where our travel plans were altered due to roads we were planning to use being flood effected.  We had an extended stay in Cunnamulla before changing our original route to get to our final destination, Winton.


In 2023 we enjoyed two very different trips, one north, the other south. Early in the year. starting at Anakie and travelling through to The Cape, ending up in Cooktown. Come August, we travelled south down to Mt Kosciusko , across the border and through the snowfields of Victoria and down to Nicholson.  This virtually brought our tag to its conclusion.  Graham was booked in to perform at the RV Muster in Omeo, Victoria.  This meant that we had five free days to investigate the geography and history of a very important part of Australia that unless you are a skier, we tend not to know very much about.  As spectacular as this area was, for most of our travellers, the most incredible part of this entire tag, was a concert held in the depths of a cave at Wee Jasper.


There is a lot of work involved in organising a tour such as these, but the rewards for the outback residents, tourist and the musicians are quite incredible.  Since our first outback tour, Graham and several other artist have written and recorded songs which have been directly influenced by experiences gained during their travels and visiting places with a difference, like Toompine- the pub with no town


Fifty years ago, Slim and Joy relished the opportunities to visit remote Australia and take their music to the people of the outback.  It was their actions that inspired Graham  to do his outback country music tours, but he carried it one-step further by allowing others to join him and share the joy.



“I honestly think the tag-along outback concept is one of the best ideas I have ever had.”


To view pictorial memories from past our tag-alongs,
please refer to the archives page.



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