Musicians rally to contribute to bushfire relief efforts
Pop charttopper Conrad Sewell wishes he could write a Healing Hands for everyone who has been affected by the Australian bushfire disaster.
That uplifting anthem will be one of the unifying songs Sewell performs at the epic Fire Fight Australia concert at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on February 16.
"That is one of those songs which is a gift that keeps giving," he said.
"I knew it would be a special song when I wrote it and those are the songs I want to write for my second album, songs that can move people and mean something to them.
"It's going to be amazing to perform it on that day."
Like dozens of musicians who felt compelled to add their voices to the relief effort as Australian communities were devastated by the fires, Sewell immediately decided to contribute proceeds from his merchandise sales on the Big World regional tour, which kicks off in Dubbo on Saturday.
Country music star Fanny Lumsden is one artist who found themselves in the middle of the disaster.
She is staging her own benefit concert in March to launch her new album for her family, friends and neighbours in the town of Tooma near the Snowy Mountains, which was trapped between the Walwa and Dunns Road fires.
Lumsden recorded her new record Fallow in a stone hut on her property, the collection of songs capturing the beauty of her green valley which is now scarred by black and brown.
She had to evacuate with her toddler son Walter as her husband Dan and parents stayed to protect their home.
The singer and songwriter was struck by more climate calamity as she drove to Tamworth earlier this week to kick off her concerts at the annual country music festival and became trapped in a dust and lightning storm.
"We evacuated the valley twice; we kept sneaking back in to help because people couldn't get into our area to help because of its location," she said.
"So we spent a bit of time getting supplies back in and helping to protect property, preparing for the fires and getting generator fuel.
"There's still no power in my area; there hasn't been since New Year's Eve."
Lumsden said the fires came within 500 metres of their property.
"For some reason, it didn't burn but a lot of my family, friends and community in the valley have lost the lot. A lot of vineyards, dairy farms and pine forests have gone and that's a lot of jobs gone too.
"We were lucky to have a little bit of feed left but now that's all been burnt."
Lumsden was towing a horse float to Tamworth, with her son in the car, when they became enveloped by a dust storm a few days ago.
"That was just as terrifying as the fires, to be honest," she said. "We didn't know it was coming because it was night time when it hit us.
"It was apocalyptic to be in the middle of that, there was so much lightning and I had Wally in the car with me so it was concerning. But we got through it."
Hilltop Hoods, who are also one of the big drawcard acts for the Fire Fight concert, are personally invested in supporting the South Australian Country Fire Service.
MC Suffa, known as Matt Lambert when he's not rapping or singing, said he and his little girls wave to the fire trucks which continue to patrol the Adelaide Hills area near his home.
"It came within 10 minutes of our place but it hit hard at Cudlee Creek and of course on Kangaroo Island which is just devastated," he said.
"We were there last year and the place where we stayed is gone."
Lambert said the concert was the music community's attempt to give a "big response to a big disaster and a big issue (of climate change)."
"I live in this community, in the Hills community which is way out and in a bushfire danger area, so I get it, and we care that one billion animals have died and this event has hurt our country," he said.
"We need to show people we care. The money is important but so is showing people we give a s …"