Deep in the heart of the D’ Entrecasteaux National Park in Western Australia runs the dark brown and meandering waters of the Donnelly River which sweeps past huts and soaring limestone cliffs before trickling into the Southern Ocean.
Western Australian singer-songwriter Julie Kember releases her second single from her Gypsy Woman EP to radio today. Written on an emotional day sitting by the Donnelly River, Kember says, “I wrote Donnelly in the late afternoon. It had been a long, sombre and not so sober day, drifting slowly down the river behind a barge carrying equipment and supplies needed to knock down and rebuild my father in laws fifty year old hut, a condition that had to be met in order to enable a new 45-year lease.At the time, my father in-law Pat, who had a brain tumour was in hospital fighting for his life. Sadly, this was one fight he couldn’t win. Left on my own to pack up Pat’s things, a lifetime of memories flooded in. I picked up an old nylon string guitar, perched on an esky and let the words flow. The Donnelly was written in one take and recorded on my iPhone.”
The song mirrors the emotions of the day and her euphoria as she witnessed her boyfriend carrying on his father’s legacy and the beauty and mystique of the Donnelly and its free and peaceful campfire tradition.
The following year Donnelly was recorded in Nashville Kember’s producer Matt Coles who loved the song and thought Donnelly was a man, in context to the song Donnelly was a man Patrick Gray , Thanks to Pat, his love for the Donnelly and his vision for the shack, they we will enjoy the peaceful tranquillity of the Donnelly for many years to come.