Mackay, Queensland/Yuwi singer-songwriter Brad Butcher has released four albums, won a Golden Guitar and been nominated for three Queensland Music Awards – but once the pandemic and its lockdowns started that pedigree did not insulate him against the fate befalling every other touring artist, which was the immediate cessation of work. So Butcher turned his hand to something else: cutting grass. Literally, not figuratively – as he makes clear in his new single, ‘Cutting Peoples Grass’.

It makes sense that the lockdown and its effects on musical artists and their work would start to appear in song – country music artists, in particular, write stories and this was the only story going. Amber Lawrence thought her single ‘Bring it Back’, which was about the return of live music, would no longer be relevant only to see it released as Sydney went back into lockdown in 2021. Brad Butcher has approached that story from a different angle, and in a different way: ‘Cutting Peoples Grass’ is two minutes of short, sharp entertainment, and that’s just the music. Butcher does not sugarcoat what happened, nor is he looking for pity.

What he’s done is given us a memorable document of a difficult time, as well as a lesson in how to get up and dust yourself off when you’re down for the count. But, then again, fans of his very fine albums will know that he’s never been one to shy away from life’s hard lessons: Butcher has, for the past few years, been one of the most articulate, direct storytellers in Australian music. Let’s just hope, for his and all our sakes’, he can leave aside mowing lawns and take his music to the people once more.

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