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Lee Kernaghan OAM

b. 1964

Lee Kernaghan (b.1964) is a country music singer and songwriter. Born in Victoria, son of travelling country music artist and impresario Ray Kernaghan, Lee Kernaghan grew up in the Riverina area of New South Wales. Although he first sang on the wireless in 1969, winning the Starmaker Quest in Tamworth in 1982, he performed for ten dispiriting years in country pubs before releasing The Outback Club (1992), which won him the Australian Recording Industry Association award for Album of the Year.

Scoring his first No. 1 hit with the drought-relief single release ‘Boys from the Bush’ in 1995, he has since sold over two million albums, each of them bearing a cover photograph of Kernaghan in his signature hat. He has won 33 Golden Guitars – a tally second only to Slim Dusty’s.

Since 1986 he has worked closely with co-writer and producer Garth Porter, formerly of 1970s band Sherbert. A collaborator with stars including Slim Dusty, Smoky Dawson, Troy Cassar-Daly and Olivia Newton-John, Kernaghan has also performed with his sister, Tania Kernaghan.

Over many years, Lee Kernaghan has worked to raise funds for country communities affected by drought and other natural disasters. In 2015 he was inducted into the Roll of Renown at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. When naming him Australian of the Year, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that Kernaghan’s music ‘resonates with every Australian … [giving] hope and pride to those on the land when they need inspiration most’.

Updated 2018
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