Canberra-based musician Jack Biilmann is kicking off a new national tour right where it all began at Club Sapphire Merimbula on April 23.
Not only was the blues/roots guitarist excited to play in his home town, but thrilled to announce his third solo record, Full Circle, would be released on the same day.
"Having it first up in Merimbula is really nice because when I was starting out, my first real gig was up on that stage so it's nice to come back with three albums under my belt," Biilmann said.
"Getting back to where it all started, reflecting on the last 10-odd years it's been since I grew up and left the area, I'm really excited to get back and see everyone and play on the stage that I have some of my fondest memories of."
This tour is a bit of a bounce back for Biilmann as the national tour he had planned for 2020 was cancelled right as it began.
"This is a brand new rock record that I released last year, March 24, which was just as COVID hit the country, I didn't make any revenue back on the investment of the album which was really heartbreaking."
As a result of venue restrictions, Biilmann said organising the tour was a lot more challenging than usual.
"Booking this tour was harder than actually doing the album. So many venues were scared to lock things in with the current climate and I completely understand,
"But I thought if we don't try, we're not going to get anywhere and we've got nothing to lose, so let's go for it."
Biilmann has had a very positive outlook on the setbacks he has experienced in the last 12 months, saying it helped him develop some new skills.
Some of these include his PR and communication skills as well as focusing on other aspects of his music, like live streaming gigs.
"I just look at it from a different perspective and went 'right well I got to do something, what am I going to do?'
"I spent time working on myself."
Biilmann said that, like other artists, he was depending on people heading back out again to enjoy live music.
"I'm really hoping now that things are coming back and people sort of get kick started to go out and see a gig," he said.
Another Far South Coast musician to get involved in the tour is Sam Stevenson, who will be contributing his skills in acoustic soul blues.
Stevenson has been heavily involved with the community as a firefighter in the Merimbula RFS.
"He's done a lot of great work during the fires, he's a local legend so I'm looking forward to having him on board," Biilmann said.
One of the exciting highlights in recording his third album was collaborating with one of Biilmann's childhood idols, Michael Barker, who played in the John Butler Trio.
Biilmann said the whole thing started when he reached out to Barker for his brother's birthday.
Joe Biilmann had been part of the band playing the drums but had to step down due to suffering from arthritis.
"He is a phenomenal drummer himself and and he's got really bad arthritis meaning he can't drum at the moment which is really sad."
Biilmann said he had asked if Barker could send a video for Joe's birthday as Joe was also a big fan.
"Within five minutes he'd sent this beautiful message basically saying keep your chin up, work on it, I've had problems myself, you can beat it!"
Out of this communication with Barker, Jack told him about how he was producing an album and Barker offered to record some of his drumming to match Biilmann's songs and said he was 'just blown away'.
"Since then I've been on the phone to him regularly and I call him a friend now, I have plans to go to NZ and meet Mike, record some stuff in his studio."
Doors will open to the show at Club Sapphire Merimbula on Friday April 23, at 8pm and the show will start at 8.30pm. Free entry for ages 18 and over.