WILLIAM Crighton wrote his call-to-arms single Your Country as he reached "fever point" in his anger at the treatment of Australia's natural environment.
It's a rage that's also resonated with the Hunter Valley-based singer-songwriter's expanding audience.
Almost two years since the track's release, Your Country is one of 20 songs short-listed for the inaugural Environmental Music Prize. The publicly-voted award attracted 205 entries and carries a $20,000 prize.
Other finalists include Paul Kelly (Sleep Australia Sleep), Lime Cordiale (Addicted To The Sunshine), Briggs & Tim Minchin (Housefyre), Eskimo Joe (Say Something), Jack River (We Are The Youth) and King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard (If Not Now Then When).
Your Country features Julieanne Crighton on backing vocals, didgeridoo master William Barton and guitar maestro Jeff Lang and was the lead single from Crighton's album Water and Dust.
"Your Country was me reaching fever point," Crighton says. "It came out in two takes, lyrics and song. It was about taking your position as part of it, no matter who you are or what you're doing and really doing whatever you can and that there's a future and if the bush and water is looked after and we can move forward is some regenerative way."
Crighton says Your Country carries the same message as the Environmental Music Prize, which is to motivate people into seeking real change.
"It doesn't matter where you're from, we are of this place and we need to look after it," he says. "We can't continue having modern civilisation and not listening to age-old truths about looking after the place."
Crighton is preparing to take his message overseas next Monday when he heads to Europe for a run of dates across the northern hemisphere summer. This includes five gigs supporting Midnight Oil on their final European tour.
"The Oils shows for their last tour in a different country will be really special, not only to open up for them, but to watch the show too," he says.
Visit Environmental Music Prize's website to vote for your favourite three tracks. Voting closes on Sunday.
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