LYRICIST: Finch Hatton writer Dave Oliver has just released 15-track album Free My Mind.
LYRICIST: Finch Hatton writer Dave Oliver has just released 15-track album Free My Mind. Contributed

True tales from experiences inspire country music

ALL of Finch Hatton country songwriter Dave Oliver's songs are based on "fact," in some shape or form.

"Anything that catches my mind, something will trigger something and I'll write about it," he said.

Years ago, Oliver spotted an article in the newspaper about a woman looking for her lost daughter around Christmas time.

"She just said, 'Can you give us a ring?' And the paper said. 'Anyone out there, pick up the phone and give her a ring,'" said Oliver.

"It stuck in my mind, so I wrote (Pick Up The Phone). It was a very sad song."

This week Oliver released a 15-track country music album Free My Mind.

One of the songs on his album - Cleaning Houses for the Rich Folk - was written about his daughter's cleaning work.

Another is about marriage, written for the wedding of one of Oliver's friends.

Though he's penned lyrics on all of the tracks, Oliver doesn't describe himself as musician.

"I can play 'Home Sweet Home' on the accordion, that's about it," he said.

Oliver has recruited the help of local musicians to turn his stories into tunes - Mackay region musicians Sharon Heaslip and John Quinn sing all the tracks on the album.

Guitars and bass are played by John Quinn, Nathaniel Andrew and Glenn Gospel.

The record was produced by Sunnyside Studios at Sarina.

Oliver's writing is old school - he describes himself as stuck in the '50s and '60s.

"I can't do it other than rhyming. A lot of the contemporary stuff, I couldn't even hope to understand it," he said.

Oliver said though he makes little money off his writing, he's got hope that one day his songs will be picked up by "somebody with a big name".

"I'd rather be known, rather than just a name and a number on a gravestone, (I'd rather) someone came along and said, 'Oh, that's Dave Oliver, that's the bloke who thought he could write songs,'" he said.

"Just so you're not known for nothing."

Oliver, a retired cane farmer and harvester, finished school at the age of 12.

"I wrote limericks and stuff like that, like most kids do," he said.

"But I never learnt nothing much about writing at school. I spent most of my time trying to learn how to not learn too much. I succeeded well in that.

"I really wish I'd learnt a lot more at school."

Yet after school he began writing.

"A lot of it you couldn't print. I thought I could write until a cousin of mine rewrote a song I'd written, I changed my style from then on," he said.

"That was probably when I was in my late 20s or 30s, I kept writing from then on and gradually think I've got better."

The song his cousin, award-winning Mackay songwriter Tom Oliver, helped Oliver rewrite, appears on the album.

"Tom has passed on but in his memory I have included (The Moors Are Calling)," Oliver wrote in the album jacket.

Free my mind

Album details

Features 15 country tracks.

Recorded, sequenced and mastered at Sarina musician John Quinn's Sunnyside Studios.

Featuring Mackay region country singers Sharon Heaslip and John Quinn.

The album is available at the Marian newsagent, Criterion Hotel in Finch Hatton or through Oliver at dave.oliver@live.com.au


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