many of the Australian folk songs on these albums it was the first time
they had become known to the public at large even though some had been
recorded earlier (e.g. on the Wattle label in the late '50s). Many,
such as Put A Light In Every Country Window (written by Don Henderson) and The Springtime It Brings On The Shearing have become staples of bush bands and country music performers all over Australia, even to this day.
had become popular enough to return to television with his own national
folk music program 'Just Folk' on the Seven Network. He was now also
writing his own songs. In 1965 Peter, Paul & Mary were on tour in
Australia and heard him perform his own song Sometime Lovin' which they subsequently recorded on their Album LP and invited him to go to America.
In 1967 he returned to Festival Records for the Abreaction LP. On this album he moved away from his folk roots to incorporate elements of jazz and rock into his music. Unfortunately Abreaction
was considered to be too avant garde and did not sell anywhere near as
many copies as the earlier LPs. Shearston decided it was time to move
on, expand his horizons and head off to the USA. However, US
immigration officials were not impressed by this Aussie folk singer who
had acquired an ASIO file because of his opposition to the Vietnam war
and his involvement with the Federal Council for the Advancement of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and instead he waited in London
for a year.
1968 he made it to the US and spent four years on the East Coast. The
visa problems meant that he was unable to work (in terms of public
performance) and a full album he recorded for Warner Brothers remained
unreleased. (Several of these songs were subsequently re-recorded in
London for the Dingo album).
returned to England in 1972 and performed widely both within the UK and
on the Continent. He tasted success again with a deadpan interpretation
of the old Cole Porter song I Get A Kick Out Of You (in late
'74) and two albums on the Charisma label. Over the following years he
became involved in various research projects with the film industry
(e.g. "Burke & Wills") and wrote articles for music magazines as
well as continuing to perform live and write his own songs.
He then spent 18 months writing a lengthy novel entitled Balkenna
which was published on his return to Australia in 1989. Somewhat to his
surprise he found that despite an absence of twenty two years, people
still remembered him from the halcyon days of mid 1960s folk and offers
to play various folks festivals came in.
CBS and Larrikin reissued some of his old material, and an album of new material entitled Aussie Blue was released to critical acclaim. A song from this album, Shoppin' 0n A Saturday, won the "Bush Ballad of the Year" award at the 1990 Tamworth Awards. He also wrote a song The Newcastle Earthquake which was used nationally to promote the Lord Mayor's Appeal for the earthquake's victims.
after this the Gary Shearston story took an interesting turn - he made
a decision to undertake studies to enter the Anglican priesthood.
had been baptised and confirmed in the Church of England, which
subsequently became the Anglican Church of Australia. During the '60s
Gary flirted with other faiths such as Tibetan Buddhism but became
re-involved with Christianity on his return to England in the early
'70s. Gary was ordained in July 1992 and served as an Anglican minister
in Hay (NSW), then Bangalow (NSW), and finally in the Tenterfield
(NSW)/Queensland border region.
in retirement, Gary still performs occasional concerts and is perhaps a
more prolific songwriter than he has ever been, as his recent CD
(Updated May 2011)