Taken from Tropic Now (Jan 29, 2021)
John Butler ready to bring a new sound to Cairns
by Annabel Bowles
John Butler. Courtesy Image
It's been a while since John Butler Trio's been in town, but those who were at their last local show wouldn't forget it any time soon.
In March 2015, their gig at Kuranda Amphitheatre was almost cancelled as Cyclone Nathan swept over the Far North, but it went ahead at the last minute - gumboots and all.
Punters can leave their ponchos at home this time, as John Butler's set to take the CPAC stage over two big nights next week.
On Thursday 4 and Friday 5 February, the band's guitarist and vocalist John Butler - who's taken to performing solo, sans trio - will kick off the city's Summer Sounds series.
The modern Australian bluesman told Tropic he's looking forward to being back in Cairns and touring again.
"At my last show in Kuranda, one of my favourite venues worldwide, some amazing fans came through despite the weather ... they were real troopers," he said.
"So I'm really excited to be back in Far North Queensland. It's such a beautiful place."
Next week's shows - which will include all the Trio's drawcard songs like Zebra, Better Than and Groovin' Slowly - will be the start of John's national tour; something he's had "bloody heaps of time" to prepare for.
"Last year my industry did what coal should have done - basically shut down," he said.
"I built a studio at home in WA and I've been teaching myself how to record, to produce this thing going on in my head.
"I've been moving in this solo direction for a while, slowly putting together an album.
"It's very idiosyncratically me - with a lot of instrumentation too, not just that folk, acoustic kind of sound.
After 25 years in the game - from busking on Fremantle streets to playing packed out festivals all over the globe - John Butler has established a sound that Australians of all ages know and love.
"There'll often be families in the crowd that have grown up listening to my music, people that have been to my shows as kids and as adults now. It's a beautiful thing," he said.
"My Australian audience is the engine room to my success, they've given me that momentum."
It isn't hard for Australians to support live music when we have some of the world's best in our backyard.
Joining John Butler in CPAC's Cairns Summer Sounds series is Tones and I, Bernard Fanning and Amy Shark - each doing two big performances across February.
Tickets for all eight shows are on sale now via ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835.