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His songs offer an honest and raw perspective on war
These 12 songs have a singular power and emotional honesty, because Smith was actually there. W McFadyen, The Saturday Age 30 July 2011
Over the last 15 years, Smith has worked on peace keeping missions in Australian theatres of war in the South Pacific and Afghanistan. After completing a second stint in Afghanistan, followed by widespread tour of 50 regional theatres of his highly acclaimed Dust of Uruzgan Show this singer, songwriter, comedian, public speaker and Australian diplomat has set off again around the country promoting his latest album, Home.
For details of performances at Church of the Trinity and The Singing Gallery please see below.
Modern day war-poet and former diplomat to our troops in Afghanistan, Fred Smith continues the tradition of insightfully influencing Australians-at-war-ballads that include such memorable songs like And the band played Waltzing Matilda (Eric Bogle), Khe Sanh (Cold Chisel) and I was only 19 (Redgum).
Smith has released 8 amazing albums, which reflect the times and countries he has experienced. In July 2009, he was the first Australian diplomat to be posted to Uruzgan province, Afganistan where he was responsible for building relationships with tribal leaders as a means to improve cooperation and understanding between the local people and the Coalition Forces. During his 18 month tour of Uruzgan province on the Multinational Base in Tarin Kowt and in the Chora Valley, Smith played regular concerts in Tarin Kowt where his songs were in such demand, everyone had his songs on their iPod.
Weaponry by Military Artist, Barry Spicer
His songs were popular also with the Dutch infantry, especially his funny ditty Niet Swaffelen op de Dixi, which urged the Dutch soldiers not to do unmentionable things in the portaloos around the base. This song became so well-known that on the strength of it, Smith toured Holland in 2010.
Smith's sharp wit and funny sense of humour is nothing new, considering he began back in the late 90's performing satirical ballads in bars and festivals. He was often described as a cross between Noel Coward and Louden Wainwright. Soapbox his first album sold over 3,000 in Canberra, his home town and gained cult status. and approximately 7 copies in the rest of the country.
During his time in Afghanistan, Smith was so affected by the deaths and the horrific injuries Australian soldiers suffered fighting the Taliban he wrote a number of powerful songs, which were released on an album entitled Dust of Uruzgan. about the difficulties and bitter realities these soldiers experienced through this horrific war.
Smith said, "Most boys go over there, and they live their dream, the military experience, they get paid well, and they come back, they get medals, and it's all good. But a handful don't. And what sorts them out, it seems to me, is luck. Story telling helps you organise events in retrospect. You learn to do that, to make sense of your world after the fact."