Keely floods Kynuna with kindness

Keely Johnson offers free Kynuna show for north west flooding


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Burdekin country rock singer, Keely Johnson, is set to put on a free show at Kynuna next week. Photo supplied.

Burdekin country rock singer, Keely Johnson, is set to put on a free show at Kynuna next week. Photo supplied.

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The tiniest town on Burdekin country rock artist Keely Johnson's current tour might just turn out to be the biggest show on her three-week trip around Queensland.

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The tiniest town on Burdekin country rock artist Keely Johnson's current tour might just turn out to be the biggest show on her three-week trip around Queensland.

Launched at the first North Queensland Cowboys home game on March 30 before a crowd of 18,000, Keely is now showcasing her debut album, Fierce, at 16 locations across the state along with fellow country singer Amanda Faulkner.

While they're visiting Ingham, Cairns, Atherton, Normanton and Mount Isa in the north, Kynuna could turn on the best night.

The Blue Heeler Hotel managers Christine Standley and Chris Roberts have decided to put on the second of five planned graziers' gatherings on and are personally inviting every station resident in for the free evening.

"We put one on ourselves, just a free roast and a catch-up to let everyone know they were supported after the flooding, but the Western Queensland Primary Health Network has donated the money for another four," Christine said.

"We had 40 in for the first one - considering they were still burying their cattle and propping up fences, that was pretty good.

"We're open seven days a week again and just happy to be providing a neutral ground for anyone to come in for any reason."

Related: McKinlay mayor's message of hope

Those attending next Monday will get to hear one of Keely's new songs written with their favourite watering hole in mind.

"I have a special reason to sing at the Blue Heeler Hotel," she said. "One of the songs on my album called Cowboys and Angels is written about that pub."

She had heard stories about the region from her father, who worked in the area for some years, which got her started on a song about a man who fell in love with one of the hotel's barmaids.

Following the country music tradition, they moved to a station together but are now meeting at the pearly gates rather than the rodeo gates.

"This concert is going to be amazing and hopefully it will put a smile on these guys' faces that have done it so hard," Keely said.

She will have lots of giveaways for the children of the area from the Golden Octopus Foundation, the charity she founded to combat childhood cancer.

Keely was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of cancer, central nervous system Langerhans cell histiocytosis, which involves the abnormal proliferation of certain white blood cells, and a tumour on her pituitary stalk has halted her growth since she was 10.

She has been mentored by Australian country music legend Lee Kernaghan and faced crowds of 32,000 on stage with him at the Tamworth Country Music Festival but this is the first time she's undertaken her own tour.

Read more: Keely's ode to Kernaghan

Accompanying her is fellow musician Amanda Faulkner from south east Queensland, who follows more of a bush ballad path than Keely.

"My mum saw one of Amanda's videos and loved her sound," Keely explained. "We thought, what better person to co-tour with."

Keely described her as a story-teller but not a traditional country artist because she played country rock as well.

"Neither of us really fit a genre," she said. "I'm more country rock and Amanda's country alternate."

Amanda's album is called Bush Kid and she plans on giving $2 from every album sold to Drought Angels, while $2 from each of Keely's Fierce albums sold will go to the Golden Octopus Foundation.

Starting at the Dalrymple Hotel at Townsville on March 31 and finishing at the North Gateway Hotel in Airlie Beach on April 21, they will also play at Ilfracombe, Morven, Injune, Oakey, Bundaberg, Emerald, and Rockhampton.

People affected by drought and flooding will have free entry to her shows as a mark of goodwill.

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