Living in the Country by Shavonne Staines

Country sounds! Musician taps into small town tunes

JOSH Arnold knows that some of the best songs are found not on city streets, but in the smallest of country towns.

It's with that confidence that he's headed out west to produce music with schools and communities, and has now started a music label, Small Town Culture, with the University of Southern Queensland.

Mr Arnold said performing built pride and confidence in young people.

"We do some with individuals, some small groups, some with whole communities.

"I'm so passionate about all the towns out west, and the pride in the community."

Josh Arnold with Shavonne Staines, a student at the Tara Shire State College, performing her song Living in the Country.
Josh Arnold with Shavonne Staines, a student at the Tara Shire State College, performing her song Living in the Country. Dave Noonan

USQ marketing and student attraction director Helen Nolan said the university had received funding to help raise the aspirations of rural students to attend university.

"When I heard about what Josh was doing, I thought what better way to connect with kids than through music?

"It's about helping to raise aspirations and an interest in university - so it's not such a scary place.

"If your esteem levels aren't high, you can build up your esteem through music."

Eleven-year-old Tara musician Shavonne Staines said Josh's presence at her school had started her on the songwriting path.


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