Emma Dykes is a singer-songwriter from Port Macquarie, New South Wales, who carefully crafts heartfelt, articulate songs about a range of different human experiences. Dykes is unafraid of emotion, detail or reality, and the specificity of her lyrics brings the listener closer.
Her latest single, ‘The Drovers’, comes from Dykes’s own experiences. She has worked on mine sites and learnt about rodeo first hand as the president of a local rodeo committee in Cape York – and has also worked as an emergency nurse in rural and remote towns. It’s the latter occupation that has seen her rely on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to transport seriously ill patients. She
Dykes once asked to take part in a fundraiser as the performing artist for the event, which was a 4500 km off-road 4WD adventure named ‘The Drovers Run’ was raising money for the rescue helicopter. She wrote the song ‘The Drovers’ in Arkaroola, South Australia, on the back of a restaurant menu while on that tour. With co-writer Matt O’Leary she asked each of the people on that tour to write down what the rescue chopper meant to them, and those responses inspired the song.
The track was produced by Matt Fell at Love Hz Studios and unites the hard yakka of the fundraising Drovers with the importance of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter itself. It also draws on the work of the drover as we usually know it, mustering cattle across expanses of countryside.
‘The rescue service is there when it is needed, free of charge, all thanks to these fundraising efforts,’ says Dykes. ‘It’s a worthy cause and one that we want to be ready and waiting, though we hope we’ll never need to use it.’
Listen to ‘The Drovers’: