Like many in Griffith, Lee Kernaghan has some fond memories of the Yoogali Club.
The country music star has been performing at the city’s iconic location since the 80s and 90s, first with his father and then later as his success grew, on his own.
“The thing I remember the most about the Yoogali Club is there was always a huge country crowd,” he said.
“The carpark was always filled with the finest array of of four wheel drives and utes in at least a 300 mile radius.”
Now with 34 number one hits under his belt Kernaghan is set to revisit those memories as he hits Griffith as part of his The Boys from the Bush 25th anniversary tour.
For the iconic Australian singer it is difficult to believe a quarter of a century has passed since he first recorded his debut album Outback Club.
But he said what is even harder to grasp is the way it has cemented itself as an Australian anthem.
It was something he never dared to dream as he stood in a Surry Hills studio surrounded by some of Australia’s best musicians.
“I just felt as a young kid up from Albury making his first record that I was way out of my depth,” he said.
“Now it is a bit surreal.
“Looking back it all started when I started to write songs about my mates and the paddock bashing we would do around the Riverina, chasing girls and fixing fences.”
But those themes and experiences clearly resonated with many across the nation, one of the many reasons Kernaghan enjoys going on tour so much.
“It is why I love it so much – getting to see so many parts of Australia and to talk to and meet so many different people, that is where I get most of my songs,” he said.
“That is what I have been doing for the last 25 years and I love it.
“When I am on stage and ripping into those songs, I don’t feel like I am singing to my fans, it’s like I am singing to my family.”
Kernaghan prefers to call his many enthusiastic fans his mates, a feeling they seem to reciprocate regardless of their age.
15 years ago, as he played the Yoogali Club someone in the crowd handed him up a handpainted picture by three-year-old Kathryn Northill from Carrathool.
“There are people who come along to my shows from three to 103,” he laughed.
“I love them all and I appreciate it all so much.”
This time around Kernaghan has promised a show to remember as part of a return to Griffith he says is “way overdue.”
“It is a spectacular show,” he said.
“There will be big screens to incorporate the video….and there will be lots of the old songs as well as some brand new ones.”
Tickets to see Lee Kernaghan, supported by The Wolfe Brothers, Tania Kernaghan and Christie Lamb are on sale now.
Kernaghan will perform at the Griffith Yoogali Club on Thursday, April 20 from 7.30pm.
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