A chat with Australian troubadour and songwriting pioneer William Crighton

A chat with Australian troubadour and songwriting pioneer William Crighton

Crighton spills the beans on what he’s up to and what we can expect from his upcoming show at Howler.

For those who aren’t acquainted with William Crighton, tell us a bit more about yourself and the music you create.

I’m an Australian singer, songwriter and musician. Punk, psychedelic, folk and country music are my influences, as well as the soundscape of the country around us. The songs are from the context I know best, being here, growing up here and exploring life. I released my first album in 2016.

You have just arrived back from successful four-week run of shows in Europe. How did the tour go and how was it received? 

By the most part, I really enjoyed it. We are breaking new ground, meeting new friends and the band is playing better than ever.

You released the album Empire to widespread acclaim in 2018. Over a year on from its release, what is your reflection of the record? What have you learned from it?

I don’t really know, it was a jump from my first release. More experimental musically, lyrically it explored other themes too. It’s still in limbo to me, people are still discovering it, especially with international touring, which makes it still feel present (that year and a half has gone quick!) – although there are times when it feels a lifetime ago… I think I’ll be able to better gauge what it’s taught me when I’ve finished my third album.

What can we expect from your upcoming show at Howler?

It won’t be like anything else you’ve seen this year. For better or worse.

Tell us a bit more about The Family Band you will have alongside you. Who makes up the group and what do they bring to the stage?

The Family Band is family, by blood or not. This is our only Melbourne show for the year and the band is my brother Luke Crighton on bass, my wife Julieanne Crighton on vocals, percussion and FX. Reuben Alexander is on drums and new member William Barton is on didgeridoo. We’re at our best when we play together, it’s wild and free and that feels great to be a part of. It’s an absolute honour to have William Barton come on board too, he’s a legend.

You will be supported by 20-year-old Irish singer-songwriter Amy Montgomery who recently performed at Glastonbury. How did you come into contact with her?

I heard her from across the park at Black Deer music festival in the UK and was immediately drawn to her voice. We have some good mutual friends who filled me in and I reached out to Amy online and she was up for it! She’s an incredible performer. So is Ahlia Williams and Melbourne’s own Allara.

Any upcoming shows or new music on the horizon that William Crighton fans should keep an eye out for?

I’ve got the year off from touring after these shows so going to work on a new album and build the veggie garden back up!

William Crighton performs at Howler on Wednesday October 2, Brisbane’s The Zoo on Thursday October 3, the Dashville Skyline Festival in the Hunter Valley on Saturday October 5 and The Vanguard in Sydney’s Newtown on Sunday October 6. Head to the respective venue and festival websites for more info.