The tap dripped in the apple green and woodgrain country kitchen like a metronome keeping meticulous time, a rhythmic tempo, something you'd expect in the home of a gentleman focused entirely on music.
Hidden down a road in the Bega Valley that questioned the legitimacy of map directions, and across a riverbed that jumbled the contents of his 1986 banana-yellow ute, nestled an eclectic house.
It's the home of 76-year-old singer-songwriter Michael Menager.
"This is my place, tin roof, mudbrick and rammed earth," Michael said with his American twang and a smile, as he hopped out his "indestructible workbench" of a vehicle.
"I'm not really anything, I'm not really a plumber, a carpenter or a farmer, but I kind of manage it...I am a musician, that's for sure."
Before the aroma of previously ignited incense greets guests at the skinny front door requiring a sidewards step to enter, the walls alongside the entry reflect how a multitude of 100-year floods have distressed the render and brickwork, adding a notch into the property's 30-year history.
On a mezzanine level, reached only by a wooden ladder and bouts of confidence, sat his workhorse Gibson 1959 sunburst vintage guitar, alongside a bookshelf filled with inspiration and a desk containing scribbled poetic drafts.
Hunched and leaning forward across a wooden dining room table, a candleholder in front of him almost hidden by a build up of coloured wax from "ceremonial home dinners alone", Michael projected prose in spoken word, and explained precise rhythmic choices.
In 2014, Michael's partner of 20 years, Judith passed away from a battle with cancer, and shared how during the last year of her life, he made his first album 'Clean Exit', which she had the opportunity to admire during a small house concert.
"[It taught me] you don't have forever to live out your heart's desire," Michael said, who has been writing music ever since, even waking up with ideas only to jot them down before falling asleep once more.
"When a song's got a hold of me, I'll just take it around with me for days, you know, anywhere I am," Michael said.
"I could be out in the field and I just pull it out and think of a word or something, sort of like the song's got a hold of you and won't let you alone until it's finished."
Having released his third album 'Line In The Water' in November 2023, the singer-songwriter and guitarist said he was thankful people were listening to his stories.
"It's really great to be able to share your story anyway, and have people actually listen, that's another big bonus, and to get paid on top of it, is really nice," he said.
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