Ange Boxall – Performer, Songwriter & Recording Artist
Co-written and recorded with:
J.D. Souther (Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor)
Jim Lauderdale (George Strait, Elvis Costello, Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill)
Shannon Wright & Adam Wright (Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, John Legend)
Johnny Took (DMS’s)
Performed live with and/or supported live:
Bones Hillman (Midnight Oil)
Tim Freedman (The Whitlams)
'Songwriting is my therapy, my psychologist.
Sometimes it takes a long time to finish a song. My longest took five years! Others come pouring out instantaneously, almost as though they were already written and you’re merely the transcriber.
Songs can be like a lover. You can be obsessed with a newly penned song, wanting to play it all the time. In time you might realise that it’s not your finest work, maybe it’s even a crap song, ha! Maybe your friends sing along and it’s an instant a keeper. Others grow on you and become favourites over time.
I write songs differently each time - sometimes a melody pops into my head. This often happens when I’m driving or doing menial tasks. Other times it’s a rhythm that comes. Sometimes it’s a poem and the writing first. Sometimes just a title. And sometimes it happens simultaneously. There isn’t one particular right or wrong way. It’s whatever works and feels right at the time.
I started writing songs seriously when I was around 21. I’d been performing cover music around Hobart bars and clubs for a couple of years during Uni, earning money. I grew tired of this. I was bored of expressing other people’s words. I could play guitar, although I hadn’t had the confidence to do so around the clubs.
One day, I picked up my guitar and started writing. So much poured out of me. It was very autobiographical and personal but it felt good to get it out. I had no idea what the reaction of others would be but my friends, my flatmates, my boyfriend liked the songs. I was worried the bars and clubs wouldn’t want original music, it was pretty rare in the late nineties in Tassie, especially from a young woman. But, I didn’t lose a single gig AND they paid me the same fee. I wrote and soon recorded a full album. A year later, I wrote and recorded a second album.
Soon after, I relocated to Melbourne, and before too long, took off on an adventure overseas. This adventure lasted for over a decade! I was based in London but spent much of my last five years overseas living between London and Nashville. It was the perfect town to base myself when touring in the US. Nashville is known as ‘Music City,’ and more importantly, the home of songwriting and in particular, co-writing. Everybody there does it.
Co-writing is a great way to extend your songwriting skills and learn new tricks, by soaking up all of the different methods. Collaborations open you up to new ideas and each person in the room brings a different energy, dimension, or idea to the table. No idea is a bad idea. It is all about throwing them out there and seeing what sticks, what gels.
I was fortunate over those years in Nashville to write many times with some of the best, including J.D. Souther (Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor - Heartache Tonight, Best of My Love, New Kid in Town, Her Town Too, Prisoner in Disguise, to name a few).
And with multi-Grammy Award winner, Jim Lauderdale (George Strait, Elvis Costello, Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless). That’s just a couple, there were so many more.
I was also lucky to work with Midnight Oils’ Bass player, the recently late and great, Bones Hillman. Firm friends, Bones played on my records and with me at live shows in Nashville. It was an incredible and hugely memorable, informative, and wildly fun time.
I have also supported other great artists live in concert, including, Icehouse, Paul Kelly, Tim Freedman (Whitlams), and Ron Sexsmth, among others.
I look back over my songwriting and can almost break it down to decades. As mentioned, the early years in my twenties was very autobiographical. My thirties were all about love and relationships. My forties have seen more of an outer perspective,, looking at and responding to the world. I’ve even written a couple of protest songs!
In 2011 my husband (also a Tasmanian) and I moved ‘home’… to Melbourne. I was seven months pregnant and had been touring the UK, Ireland, and the US for nine weeks straight, having a ball. We gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Hattie, and thought that Melbourne was the right place for creatives. However, we didn’t feel like we were properly ‘home’.
A couple of years went by and an opportunity that had passed us by nine years earlier, due to being overseas, came up in the form of an historic property for sale on the east coast of Tasmania. We dropped everything, bought the rambling old country property and moved in, rats et al. NOW we were home. It felt great. It felt right. Oh, and we got rid of the rats (mostly)!
Tasmania, ‘home’, brings out a different writing style in me. It is more raw. It has more energy. Perhaps it is being closer to family. Perhaps it is the wild landscape, closeness to the sea and mountains. Perhaps it is in the air.
Whatever it is, I like it. No, I totally and utterly love it. I feel inspired, and dare I say it, I feel so free here.
Song writing is an eternally evolving, fascinating and forever-learning experience. I hope that you find your own inner muse and enjoy the journey, too.'
I acknowledge the Pakana / Palawa people as the traditional and ongoing custodians of Lutruwrita. They are the original storytellers and singers of songs. I pay my respect to Elders past, present, and future.