Busby Marou supports Dolly Parton today and tomorrow at Hope Estate Winery. The shows are sold out.
BUSBY Marou are two laid-back ‘‘Rocky boys’’ who have the uncanny ability to make magic happen on stage.
Their acoustic fusion of folk, country, blues and pop is striking a chord with listeners and the music industry, and has the potential to be this summer’s soundtrack.
Singer Thomas Busby, 30, and guitarist Jeremy Marou, 28, recorded their debut EP, The Blue Road, with Pete Murray in 2007.
In 2010 they released their debut self-titled album and won a Deadly Award for Most Promising New Talent In Music, as well as a Q Award for a song from that album, the beautiful Paint My Cup.
They were also asked to contribute to He Will Have His Way, a tribute to the music of Neil and Tim Finn, and have just signed with Warner Music Australia.
‘‘The past 12 months have been out of control,’’ singer Thomas Busby told H2 Review.
‘‘It feels like we’ve come out of nowhere but really, it’s been a seven-year success story.’’
When Busby speaks about Rockhampton and Marou, it is apparent he holds both in high regard.
‘‘Jeremy is a Torres Strait Islander and we’re both from big, loving families on the opposite sides of town,’’ he said. ‘‘It wasn’t until I left school and went to university in Brisbane that I met Jeremy.
‘‘He was playing guitar in my mate’s band, and I’d go home during the holidays and take my little guitar and jump up and sing my originals before these blokes. That’s how it all started.’’
When he finished his law degree, Busby returned to Rockhampton to save money for an overseas trip.
‘‘I thought, ‘here’s my chance, I’m going to pinch Jeremy from my mate’s band’. He jammed with me and the connection was instant,’’ he said.
‘‘Anyone who sees Jeremy play knows he has talent. He’s got this amazing ability on most instruments but the guitar is where he just fires. With his country and gospel and blues influence, and my folky style, it just worked.’’
Busby ended up staying in Rockhampton for 10 months and played five gigs a week with Marou, five hours a night.
‘‘Back then there was no acoustic music in Rocky, just a couple of old men with a beatbox machine and an electric guitar, and a drum machine in the background. The younger kids were screaming out for something more.
‘‘Rocky has been very loyal to us all the way.’’
Memories of growing up around Rockhampton and Yeppoon are rich fodder for their lyrics and sound.
‘‘Everyone has their favourite local spot, for us it’s the central Queensland environment, such as Five Rocks and North Keppel Island,’’ Busby said.
‘‘Jeremy and I still try to go camping as much as we can. He’s a keen fisherman.’’
As for the infectious and heartfelt Biding My Time, which is enjoying radio airplay, it nearly didn’t happen.
‘‘Biding My Time was the last song written. I was sitting there at Yeppoon, strumming, and this melody came from nowhere. We were in a good place,’’ Busby said.
Marou has three children and tries to see them as often as possible.
‘‘We only get two days off here and there at the moment,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s all getting quite hectic. Jeremy is asking now for a week off in October next year, and I’m thinking ‘my goodness, has it got that busy?’’’
They’re about to support KD Lang while kicking off their own national tour, then there’s the Dolly Parton support gig, a tour with Icehouse and Josh Pyke, all in the same month.
In January they play the coastal surf trail, in February they tour the regions, and in March they head overseas. The band will also play at Lizotte’s in Newcastle on January 29.
‘‘What happens is, we plan our own route, say ‘this is the way we’re going to do it’, and then out of nowhere come offers we can’t refuse,’’ Busby said.
‘‘But right now is the time to just go for it, and we’re going for it.’’