James Blundell (born 8 December 1964) is an Australian country music singer. Born in Stanthorpe, Queensland, Blundell first rose to prominence after being named "best new talent" at the 1987 Country Music Awards of Australia. He has since released several albums in both Australia and the United States, with his most successful album This Road (released in 1992) selling more than 145,000 copies in Australia. Blundell was an unsuccessful candidate for the Senate in Queensland at the 2013 federal election, running for Katter's Australian Party.
Early life and music career:
Blundell was born in Queensland town of Stanthorpe, and was brought up on a sheep and cattle station near the town. As an adult he worked as a station hand across various locations in northern Australia. After a back injury sustained while working on a farm in Papua New Guinea he turned to music. and he subsequently won a Golden Guitar Award as the "best new talent" of 1987. Blundell released his eponymous first album in 1989, which was followed by "Hand It Down", which was released in the United States in 1990 following its success in Australia. Successive albums were This Road and Touch of Water. This Road, which sold more than 145,000 copies in Australia, included the hit Way Out West, a collaboration with James Reyne. Blundell's first works reflected his background as a jackaroo and his love of that lifestyle.
Although his next albums were less successful commercially, Blundell continued to play regularly at folk and country music festivals around Australia. In 1997, Blundell featured in a Qantas commercial, singing "I Still Call Australia Home", and in the lead-up to the 1999 Australian republic referendum, Blundell recorded the official song for the "No" campaign, despite being in favour of a republic. In 2003 Blundell garnered media attention for his song "Postcards From Saigon" and speaking out against the war in Iraq.
In June 2013, Blundell was selected as Katter's Australian Party's lead Senate candidate for Queensland in the 2013 federal election. This was largely at the urging of Bob Katter, the party's founder and only federal member of parliament. Blundell had previously been approached to stand in elections by the Liberal National Party (LNP), but declined. His selection was controversial within the party, in part because he had not been a party member before his candidacy was announced, and contributed to a former vice-president, Kevin Brown, resigning his membership. Some of Blundell's political positions have been controversial within the party, notably his support for same-sex marriage and the abolition of penalty rates.
Blundell has been married twice--firstly to Louise, a former manager, and secondly to Lidia, with whom he had two sons. He left his second wife in August 2007 for Jesse Curran, a singer who he had met at one of his concerts, and he and Curran have since had a child together. In May 2010, Blundell filed for bankruptcy, having gone into debt attempting to finance his albums, as well as having lost money on the sale of an investment property the previous year. The bankruptcy was discharged in April 2013--had it not been, he would have ineligible to stand as a candidate for election. Blundell's brother, Peter Blundell, is the current mayor of the Southern Downs Region, which includes Stanthorpe.