Even with the rise of such Aussie superstars as Keith Urban, the country music scene down under is still a burgeoning one. It was for this reason that Tasmania native Audrey Auld made the move to Nashville a decade ago and finally found her niche.
“I’ve lived in America 10 years now, and I think country music has evolved in that time frame,” Auld said. “There’s a commercial country aspect in Australia that’s more popular, but I know that there are a lot of Australians living in Nashville because it’s the only place to come to start their music careers.”
Auld believes this is because of a fundamental difference between audiences: while Australian audiences tend to have more of a sit back and say, “Alright, what have you got for us?” attitude, Americans are more willing to be emotionally connected to a performer.
“Americans just know that they’re part of the performance,” Auld said. “For me, playing music is an energetic thing, and there’s a connection that occurs through songs with the audience. And Americans, on a subliminal level, understand that. They’re ready from the start of the show to engage and are open about their enthusiasm. It’s playing music to people who enjoy it, listen to it and connect with it. A good gig is due to a good audience, and Americans are a great audience.”
Auld brings her rootsy country and raucous honky-tonk tunes to the Performing Arts Studio in the Norman Santa Fe Depot as part of the Winter Wind Concert Series. She is currently touring in support of her latest critically acclaimed album, Tonk, co-produced by Kenny Vaughan, an Oklahoma City-born guitarist widely regarded as one of Nashville’s “secret weapons.”
“We recorded 15 songs in two days, live with the band in the studio,” Auld said. “I think Tonk really captures all that energy that was really fun — the kind you get with a really great band. These guys just totally know the music and know what they’re doing. It was so much fun to play these songs, and I think that’s really captured on the album and just as much when play live.”
Auld added that what makes her songwriting different is she only writes when she has “something to say” instead of “just sitting down and making stuff up.”
Having played Oklahoma numerous times before at venues like The Blue Door, the Sooner State is a stop Auld said she always looks forward to, and the show at the Performing Arts Studio will be no different.
“There’s always a ‘before the show’ and an ‘after the show,’” she said. “Before the show, they say hi, but after the show, they always come up and hug me. They laugh, they’re moved, sometimes they cry, but they always feel uplifted and connected. It’s a journey through the human experience, I guess.”