About this time last year, the then 22-year-old won the 39th Toyota Star Maker talent quest launching him into a year he describes as a rollercoaster.
“My brain is complete mashed potatoes,” Brad laughs.
“But it’s been great, I’ve been on the road all year, played I don’t know how many shows with a heap of cool artists, and had a trip to Nashville to do some writing.”
Brad returns to Tamworth having been nominated for two Golden Guitar Awards, Australian country music’s highest honour.
At the awards ceremony on Australia Day (January 26) Brad is up for Contemporary Country Album of the Year and New Talent of the Year.
His self-titled debut album that sprung from Star Marker includes the hit single Lake House, a song about a woman Brad met but never saw again.
“I don’t know her and I hardly know her name,” Brad sings.
“I can’t seem to get her off my brain, I’d like to find her and ask her to dinner…maybe some time take her to the lake house, maybe some time ask to be her man.”
Since releasing the song and winning Star Maker, Brad has found love for the first time, albeit short-lived.
“That didn’t go so well so that’s at the forefront of my writing at the moment,” Brad smiles.
“There are a few lyrics streaming out about. I’ve never had a broken heart before so this might be interesting.”
There is an easy, loveable larrikin spirit about this native of the Snowy Mountains that is no doubt part of his appeal and connection with fans. This big man also has a big heart, something that might easily be overlooked by those who just take a passing glance, and is perhaps something that he only usually shares through his music.
In accepting the Star Maker gong last January, an emotional Brad paid tribute to his 14-year-old friend Amy ‘Dolly’ Everet who took her life on the back of relentless cyberbullying.
“She was a beautiful little girl,” Brad told his audience.
“Hug your family, kiss your loved ones and make sure everyone is OK … I know it’s off topic, but I’ve been thinking about that little girl a lot lately.”
Before arriving in Tamworth in recent days, Brad played local gigs including back home in Jindabyne as part of the Great Australian Caravan Park Country Music Showcase with Andrew Swift and Greta Ziller.
Apart from the High Country, the trio’s caravan convey played at Mallacoota, Eden, Tathra, Bermagui and Murramarang – all on the way to Tamworth.
“It seems weird to say – up against,” Brad says, pulling me up.
“It’s more – in with. I never think about it as a competition, it’s just cool to get a bit of recognition.”
After Tamworth, Brad says he is disappearing for a while before returning to the studio in March to produce album number two and “do it all over again.”
Brad Cox is playing at the Albert Hotel in Tamworth on Friday, January 25 between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 and available now via Eventbrite and at the door.
You can watch the Golden Guitar Awards live on 26 January and cheer Brad on HERE.