After three full-length albums and numerous hits, Amber Lawrence could almost now be considered a veteran of the Australian country music scene. The Sydney-sider, whose album (titled 3) earned her a Golden Guitar nomination for Best Female Artist this year, spends much of her time on the road, but recently found time to release what will surely be the most talked-about country music video of the year.

“All of the credit has to go to Glen Wilson,” says Amber, speaking from her home in Sydney just prior to a co-writing session with songsmith Luke O’Shea. “He shot, produced and directed the whole video, but I did do my own stunts”.

The stunts she speaks of are rather impressive. Drawing heavily on the influence of the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie action movie Mr & Mrs Smith, the clip sees Lawrence leaping, diving, kicking, punching and shooting her way around a postmodern bedroom and hallway set, crouching behind benches as she is fired upon by co-star Tom Oakley. “I’ve been doing boxer-cise for the past six months”, says Lawrence, when asked if the clip required much training, “and Tom is an experienced actor who was able to help me make sure our punches looked real.

“It was a really different way to shoot a video”, she continues. “Normally there’s a lot of standing, singing into a camera, trying to look pretty – but this time round I actually ended up tired and worn out and with real bruises at the end of it”.

Lawrence is a frequent visitor to Victoria, and in August will be heading our way as part of her Islands in the Stream tour with Jason Owen. Keen reality TV observers will be aware that Owen was runner-up on X-factor, and has released an album of classic covers. “Jason is really young and energised about the music business”, says Lawrence, “he’s a country boy that actually really likes doing country music, and is about to release a country album”.

The pair will be sharing a band on this tour, and joining each other for some songs, including the Bee Gees penned Islands in the Stream, made famous in country music circles by the pairing of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. For Lawrence’s part, she’ll be performing the singles from each of her albums, including recent hits The Man Across the Street and Everybody’s a Mess. I asked her if there were new songs, or a new album on the horizon.

“I went on my first writing trip to Nashville in April”, she says. “I co-wrote every day for three weeks and left with twenty new songs. I was really inspired by the way of working over there – the nine to five approach – and it actually taught me a lot”.

The new album, though, appears to be a while away. “I’m unlikely to get it out this year” Lawrence confesses. “It takes so long to get it all ready and raise the money and get people behind it – I don’t think I’ll be ready for that until 2014”.

Amber Lawrence and Jason Owen perform at the Hallam Hotel on Friday, August 9th. You can book tickets by visiting www.hallamhotel.com.au or calling (03) 8786 0200.

LACHLAN BRYAN

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