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Easy Listening: Instrumental Pop Spiritual: Instrumental Gospel Country: Traditional Country Easy Listening: Mood Music Moods: Featuring Guitar

By Location
AUSTRALIA - New South Wales

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Lindsay Butler

Over forty years as a professional musician, over twenty successful solo albums and over a thousand recording projects enlisting the services of the Lindsay Butler guitar sound, his talent has well and truly been recorded.

Such an illustrious career has earned Lindsay Butler, the title bestowed upon him, ‘The Master of Country Guitar’.

If you ask Lindsay, there’s still that shy edge about the Tenterfield Lad. He considers himself lucky to have spent his life making a living out of something that he loves – simply playing his guitar.

However, there is an undisputed determination and strength of character. He’s a strong but gentle man, driven but loyal and above all stands for what he believes in. He may well be one of the nice guys in country music but he has never been a push over.

There is very little that Lindsay Butler hasn’t achieved within the Australian Country Music Industry from all the major awards to working with the best in the business. He’s a capped producer, respected personality, successful businessman and sought after musician.

His story began in Tenterfield NSW, where Lindsay was raised on his families dairy farm and according to his sisters, did all he could to avoid his daily chores with the cows, to hide away and play his guitar. It’s a standard joke within the family that his siblings covered for their baby brother on many occasions as they always knew he was different. Lindsay was never going to be a farmer or even remain in their hometown.

Like many aspiring artists and musicians of that era, he was invited to perform on the Athol McCoy show as it was passing through town. Lindsay was then asked to tour with Athol and his wife Eileen in 1968. That tour went all around Australia from missions to towns, cities to the outback and cemented the foundations for his career in country music.

In 1969, Lindsay joined the Buddy Williams Show as Buddy’s lead guitarist touring all of NSW, Victoria and South Australia. The following year Buddy offered Lindsay his national tour of Australia which traveled to the remotest areas of the country. That same year he purchased the famous white Fender Jazzmaster guitar which established his trademark sound.

Lindsay continued to tour with Buddy until ’71, in which time he was invited to record an EP with Ross Murphy’s Opal Records label from Tamworth. This launched his recording career.

A couple of years later, Lindsay and good mate Norm Bodkin decided to move to Tamworth to become regular session musicians for Hadley Studios and Opal Records.

It was at this time Slim Dusty came to Tamworth looking for a guitar player as Barry Thornton was finishing with Slim’s show after a 20 year stint.

On John Minson’s advice, Slim enquired about the young Lindsay Butler and this was the beginning of several years, touring and recording with Slim as a member of The Travelling Country Band.

During this period Lindsay played on many of the great hits including Things I See Around Me, Three Rivers Hotel, Old Gilbert and Catchin’ Yellowbelly.

Whilst on tour with Slim, Lindsay released his first LP ‘Slim Dusty Favourites’ and secured his first Golden Guitar win with ‘Closest Thing To Freedom’. This track was adopted as the theme song for Nick Erby’s Country Music Jamboree which aired nationally for many years. This album was also the very first solo instrumental album to be released by an Australian country guitarist.

Lindsay also established a concurrent career as a Producer alongside his career as a musician.

In 1978, he became the in-house producer at Ken Cameron’s CM Studio in Dubbo where his debut production was Stan Coster’s debut album ‘My People’.

A short year later he returned to Tamworth to work as a guitar salesman at Cheapa Music for Peter Harkins and in 1981 he accepted a position as house producer for Hadley Studios, recording some of his best known albums for Hadley and Opal.

It was also around this time that Bill May and Lindsay designed the Lindsay Butler special Maton ‘Tamworth Guitar’. Lindsay recorded his self-penned instrumental of the same title. This instrumental became Lindsay’s signature tune and was also the title track of his new album released that year.

During this period he formed the ever-popular ‘Lindsay Butler Band’ with Harold Williams, Norm Bodkin, Geoff Clapson, Jazzer Smith and Stephan Bunz. The band toured extensively throughout NSW and Qld providing the backing for many important concerts including The Golden Guitar Awards and The TSA National Salute Awards since its inception and continues to reform the band annually for this show over 25 years later.

In 1988, Lindsay folded the band to join The Slim Dusty Bicentennial Tour. This show was taken to every major and regional city in Australia.

Lindsay’s last tour with Slim was 1989 and was also when he played on his final Slim sessions including ‘West of Winton’ which won Slim his last Golden Guitar.

That year Lindsay introduced his LBS label to the country music scene and began devoting his time to promoting artists including Brian Letton. This union became highly sought after on the country music and club circuit for many years to follow.

Whilst touring with Brian, Lindsay also continued to record albums in his new studio at Kootingal including a special instrumental album with long-time friend Barry Thornton. The album ‘Buts ‘n’ Baz’ was one of the most popular country instrumental albums ever to be released. Lindsay and Barry later recorded one with guitar mate Charley Boyter ‘The Legends of Country Guitar’ also for Selection Records and due to public demand Buts & Baz reunited to record Barry’s final album, released on LBS, appropriately titled - ‘Once More For The Road’.

Lindsay continues touring Australia annually with business partner and wife, Shaza Leigh, their musicians and friends Ashley Cook, Peggy Gilchrist and young son, Lachlan. Production and touring commitments are balanced to give a well rounded lifestyle.

Though he has achieved so much, his love is still the music, the travelling and his family and he still thinks he’s a lucky man to make a living out of doing what he loves.

We all think we’re lucky to have known ‘The Guitar Man’ - Lindsay Butler.

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