8 Ball Aiken 2014

8 Ball Aitken

From the backwoods of Mareeba to the bright lights of Nashville, Tennessee, 8 Ball Aitken has been plying his craft to willing audiences for 11 years, but he maintains it is his love for Far North Queensland that keeps him coming back.

“I really love coming home to FNQ,” he enthused. “It’s kinda like playing to a bunch of people I’m related to in a way. I’m one of 12 children from Mareeba and a lot of my old school friends and banana picking mates come to see me play, it gets a bit wild!”

Aitken, with his blend of country, roots, blues and rock, is no stranger to touring, having played all around the world, with his work ethic placing him among the touring elite.

“I did 220 shows last year!,” he said proudly, “and I’ve been on the road for the last 11 years across 15 countries. It’s amazing getting to tour with my music and see the world doing what I love.”

After touring so extensively and seeing more of the world than any country boy should, Aitken decided to settle in Nashville, Tennessee, and says musically it is the best decision he has made.

“I ended up in Nashville because of song writing and recording,” he explained, “and that place is my new home and it’s the most exciting place to live and work. I’m in the studio every day that I’m not on the road. I feel like since I’ve been there I’m writing better songs and the players I’ve been working with are mind blowing! I’ve got members of Lynard Skynard’s band and Robert Plant’s band playing on my new album so my music has become a fusion of rock, blues and country.”

“Being based in Nashville you just run into people and get to know them in an organic way, it’s just that kind of city. I was playing a gig about two weeks ago, just before I came here for this tour, and Kid Rock was there and he went away singing one of my songs! It’s amazing how many musicians – all the rock guys, all the blues guys, and all the country guys – they’re all in Nashville and if they don’t live there then they come through on tour so it’s the most exciting music scene I’ve ever experienced.”

8 Ball is also one of the most prolific artists doing the rounds, with a total of 8 albums in 11 years, and this tour sees him unveiling yet more work from an upcoming album.

“I’ve been releasing an album every year for the last four years,” he said, “and my latest is coming out in about six weeks. It’s called ‘The New Normal’. I had a number one hit in the Australian Country Charts about this time last year off my album ‘Southern Hemisphere’ called ‘She’s Going to Mexico, I’m Going to Jail’. We actually cut the video for that in Boggo Road Jail in Brisbane and it’s a spooky place, I was glad to go home for the night! Some of the writing on the walls there….. it’s incredible.”

With such an exhaustive touring schedule it would be easy for a person to lose focus and become tired with the lifestyle, but not so Aitken who uses the time on the road to his advantage.

“I play different songs every night and never do the same show twice,” he offered.

“I get a lot of ideas from conversations with people and you can imagine how many stories I get from the amount of people I meet each year. You never know when it’s going to strike. But the main thing I get inspiration from is a really good title for a song. Like my song, ‘I’m Going to Jail’, when I put that out I got a massive amount of messages on my e mail and facebook from people actually thinking I had gone to jail haha. You know you’ve got a good title when it gets people talking.”

Kris Peters

8 Ball Aitken Bouncing Back To FNQ

October 9 – Down Under Bar, Cairns, 8pm – 11:00pm
October 10 – Dougie’s Backpackers, Port Douglas, 7:30pm – 10:30pm
October 11 – Kuranda Hotel, Kuranda, 3pm – 7pm
October 11 – Rydge’s (Blues Lounge Series), Cairns, 8:45pm – 10:30pm
October 12 – Tablelands Music Lovers INC (The Shed), Aterton, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

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