8 Ball avoids life's banana skin to head up Airlie bill
SINGER 8 Ball Aitken's best mate is his music.
Music took over his world while living in a rundown tobacco shed when he was a teenager.
"It has made my life a lot more interesting than it might have been if I'd stayed on as a banana picker."
He said music has allowed him to think about the world in a much more meaningful and humorous way.
His first gig was a Johno's Blues Bar in Cairns and he hasn't looked back.
"It has also taken me to many corners of the earth - I've been on tour for 10 years now. I feel very grateful that music has allowed me to avoid getting a haircut (and a regular job) for a long time," he joked.
Aitken is known for his honk, stomp, and Aussie swamp music with strong ties to blues and roots and has been affectionately called "the redneck preacher at the shotgun wedding between country and blues".
Aitken now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, but will return to our shores for the Airlie Beach Music Festival on November 8, 9 and 10.
He will share the stage with some of the country's most iconic performers in the Whitsundays such as James Reyne, Mental As Anything, Kasey Chambers, Ross Wilson and Ian Moss.
One thing he is looking forward to with the festival, is rocking out with the true music lovers of North Queensland, under the Queensland sun.
"North Queenslanders are my kind of people. My ancestors go way back - as early settlers in this region - and it is nice to come home and play to a bunch of people who I am probably related to.
"I have been touring in the USA and Canada for most of this year. I can't wait to visit my local Queensland mates, and to play the songs from my brand new album," he said.
Having Golden Guitar and APRA nominations under his belt and having achieved his aim to make a living from his music, Aitken still remembers his earliest memory of playing for an audience.
Sitting on the kitchen bench was where he would make songs up about rain and sing to his mum while she cooked dinner.
"According to my Mum, I was three or four years old at the time. I do remember it quite vividly, but that was before I really registered about the whole birthday thing."
At present Aitken is currently working on finishing off his new album, Both Kinds of Music, that he has been recording in Nashville.
A renowned workaholic, he believes it's his best work yet.
Tickets are on sale now for the Airlie Beach Music Festival and can be purchased at the MECC or dial n charge 4961 9777.
You can also log on to airliebeachmusicfestival.com.au or type Airlie Beach Music Festival into YouTube to get a sneak peak at the musicians and what you can expect from them at the festival.