Australian country music fans will no doubt be aware of the recent release of the documentary film Slim & I, which tells the story of Joy McKean, who won the first ever Golden Guitar award for her song ‘Lights on the Hill’, which was recorded by her husband, Slim Dusty. Slim and Joy spent decades touring Australia in their caravan; Joy provides a fascinating account of this in her book Riding This Road, and there’s a photo somewhere of Joy sitting by the side of the road writing lyrics on a manual typewriter which seems to sum up the constant creative output of this incredible force in Australian songwriting.
Joy was also a performer, appearing with Slim, and their daughter, Anne Kirkpatrick, became a country music artist. Anne’s son, James Arneman, is one half of the duo Small Town Romance, with Flora Smith. ‘I Don’t Believe You’ is a song Joy began writing the song after Slim died which she then entrusted to Flora and Jim to finish. They’ve now recorded it, with Anne, and it appears on the soundtrack for Slim & I. They could not have done a better job at finishing the song, or honouring this extraordinary family legacy, or simply producing a wonderful country music track that evokes the past while sounding crisply contemporary. This should be a new classic to rank with Joy’s existing canon – a tribute and a gift all at once.