Australian country musician, Angus Gill, has a baby face but an aged soul. The 22-year-old, award-winning songwriter first began making music at six-years-old. By the age of 11, Gill had contemporary music heroes like Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash while other kids were donning Batman costumes or playing peewee soccer. Later, Gill began to regularly play at his own high school assemblies with his self-titled three-piece. He’s been rife with ambition since listening to his grandmother’s favorite twangy records as a boy. For his whole life, Gill has been focused on becoming an established artist. And he’s off to a fast start. His latest in this effort is the new 11-track LP, 3 Minute Movie, which will be released Friday and features the legendary songwriter, Steve Earle.
“It wasn’t in my nature to be doing push-ups and all that stuff,” Gill says. “But I had a friend in grade school and she was taking shared guitar lessons at a local music shop. She said to me, ‘You should come along and see if you like it.’ I went to a couple lessons and thought, ‘This is something I’m taking to. I feel as though I’m good at it!’”
From then, Gill never looked back. Music has become his passion, livelihood and his lifestyle. After those first shared lessons, Gill began to absorb songwriting elements and tricks from whomever he could, including a retired Australian country musician who would stop by Gill’s family house every Sunday to teach the boy how to sing and play. At 11-years-old, another songwriting hero brought Gill on stage to sing a duet together, which thrilled the aspiring artist. Gill also participated in choir as a student. But his biggest break came when he played a regular gig at a local heritage them park in his hometown of Wauchope.
“I played there four hours every Saturday,” Gill says. “All for $25 and a meat pie. But I really learned how to entertain people there. Each week would be so different even though I was playing the same place. I learned how to entertain one hundred people and two people. It taught me a lot.”
Gill has always gravitated to time-tested things. Older generations, well-worn aesthetics and hard-earned ideas excite him. He enjoys surrounding himself with established people who know things and he doesn’t feel shy about asking them for their advice, wisdom and insight. Gill learns by inquisition and by osmosis – listening and absorbing answers. Perhaps above all else, though, Gill maintains an open mind when he works. It’s the key to his success and the prolific number of songs he’s amassed as both a recording artist and as a song producer. Using the money he earned at an early age from gigs, Gill bought his own recording equipment and he’s since become a respected engineer, recording both himself and others.
“To be able to do these crazy things,” Gill says, “to possibly experience success – it takes a risk.”
Gill, who has been enjoying the home life during quarantine these days, was named Male Rising Star at the 22nd Australian Independent Country Music Awards for his debut record, Livewire, released in 2014. He has since released two other LP’s, 2017’s Nomad and 2019’s Welcome to My Heart. He has played and collaborated with dozens of prominent players in those years, including famed Australian performers, Adam Harvey and Gina Jeffreys. On 3 Minute Movie, Gill presents a more pop-oriented side of his songwriting. It’s less “three chords and the truth” and more Americana romp. The record is clean, propulsive. Standouts include the track, “Skin Story,” which displays Gill’s skill for storytelling, and, of course, “The New Old Me,” which features the gravely and grizzled Earle. The bond between Gill and Earle, which formed years ago, began after Gill attending Earle’s songwriting camp at 15-years-old. It’s persisted over the years.
“Steve Earle taught me three things,” Gill says. “Writers must read, the job is empathy and writing is punch-in and punch-out. Meaning, you can’t always wait for inspiration to strike.”
There are likely countless songwriters in the world who would like Earle’s experienced ear when it comes to honing and refining their own batch of songs. Few have that opportunity. But Gill is one of them. That fact is a testament to both Gill’s forward-thinking appreciation for life and curiosity, his inability to worry about over stepping bounds (to a degree, of course) and his passion for creative self-improvement. While anyone can say they are interested in getting better, Gill believes it, lives it. He cares about the idiosyncrasies, the small things in songwriting that make a big difference in what he brings to the world.
“I love telling stories,” Gill says. “That’s why I do it. I’m really such a geek when it comes to words. I’m fascinated with little character details and metaphors. I love all those interesting things.”