Townley's time

CHRIS CHILTON
Last updated 14:02 23/08/2013
Bryan Townley
RACHAEL KELLY/Supplied
Bryan Townley.

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It's Bryan Townley's turn now.

The Invercargill country singer who won the nation's hearts on the TV show The X Factor this year has fulfilled a long-held ambition to record an album.

My Turn will be released next Sunday with a show at the Ascot Park Hotel, supported by a strong cast of family and friends.

The album was 13 years in the making.

Townley won the overall Gold Guitar award at Gore in 2000. Conventional practice has it that the winner usually follows up with a recording but family life got in the way.

He and his wife, Annette, were raising a young family and he was working as a hospitality tutor at the Southern Institute of Technology, a precursor to his career as an Invercargill Licensing Trust hotel manager. Music took a back seat.

"The timing wasn't right for me at that stage," he says. "[Daughter] Maggie had just been born and we were busy at work."

Annette's sudden death just over a year ago changed Townley's world and forced a rapid review of his priorities. One of the new priorities was to do things he'd never have done before.

Entering the TV talent show The X Factor was one result, and his hymn to Annette, Tim McGraw's heart-rending ballad You Get Used To Somebody, gave him a stint in the national spotlight.

The exposure Townley received as a result of The X Factor convinced him that the timing was right now to pursue his album dream.

"That was definitely the turning point," Townley says. "I thought 'if you're gonna do it, you've gotta do it now and make the most of that extra bit of attention that was out there'."

At last count, the video of his emotional performance of You Get Used To Somebody during The X Factor auditions had been viewed more than 137,000 times on YouTube, considerably more than postings of McGraw's original song.

The album was recorded in July at Craig Allott's Studio 49, using a cast of Southland musicians who jumped at the chance to work with Townley, and was mastered at Studios 301 in Sydney.

Townley is thrilled with the final product.

"Now that I see it as a complete package I'm bloody stoked. It's actually still surreal to think that it's actually mine, that I've got ownership on something I wanted.

"It's exceeded my expectations.

"I was never going to do a recording unless I felt that I could do it to the best of my ability.

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"It's your name you're putting on it, so you've got to be proud of it and satisfied with it."

He said it was exciting to be a part of the collaboration between Allott, all the musicians involved, the photographer Rachael Kelly and the album artwork designer Dave Goodall.

"Everyone just jumped in and did their part. It's a community product, I reckon."

The album's 12 tracks all have personal meaning for Townley. Naturally, You Get Used To Somebody is one of them and there are also two songs he wrote himself, the title track My Turn and Our Three Kids.

The rest are an eclectic mix of country styles and pop crossover songs, easy on the ear and slickly produced.

"Those songs were really easy to choose because they're all songs I was comfortable with, so it was easy to put together," Townley says. "They are who I am in my music style."

ALBUM RELEASE

Bryan Townley's My Turn album launch is at the Ascot Park Hotel on Sunday, September 1, starting at 2pm.

Support artists are Bonnie Turner, Cheryl Anderson, Bev Townley, Beth Walker and Jack, Harry and Maggie Townley.

Tickets $10 from the Kelvin Hotel and Ascot Park Hotel. The album will be available for sale, cost $20.

- The Southland Times

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