Australia’s best loved banana picker (turned full-time guitar picker) 8 Ball Aitken has recently released his award winning third album, ‘REBEL WITH A CAUSE’, which is available now through MGM Distribution, recorded on vintage analogue equipment and produced by notable producer Garth Porter (ex-Sherbet).
8 Ball Aitken is authentic -- a real-deal Aussie character who rattles the roof, stomps the planks, and gets his audiences whooping and hollering along in a frenzy of pure exuberance. He plays a sizzling hot blend of original country, blues & roots music. 8 Ball’s material delivers a fresh serve of honk, stomp, Aussie swamp music, straight from the Mareeba Delta -- roots music with balls.
The red-headed Queenslander’s singles ‘CYCLONE COUNTRY’ & ‘HANDS ON TOP OF THE WHEEL’ have both been top 10 country hits around Australia in 2008 / 2009. ‘CYCLONE COUNTRY’ earned 8 Ball a 2009 Golden Guitar nomination for ‘Best New Talent’.
The first single ‘COWBOY MOVIE’ (from album ‘REBEL WITH A CAUSE’) has received radio airplay right around the world in twenty-six countries, including charting in the European Country Music Top 40. Another song, ‘YELLOW MOON’ has won the 2008 EMI Music Blues & Roots Song of the Year at the Q Song Awards. He has also been awarded the 2008 Southern Stars ‘Male Rising Star’ Award.
8 Ball has performed several international tours, travelling to nine different countries. He is returning to Australia fresh from the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas in the USA. During his recent North American tour, he performed as a featured artist at Canadian Music Week. He’s toured in Japan four times, where he headlined the popular Rokko Sun Music Festival. In 2008, he has played a string of dates in Singapore, the UK (including a live appearance on the BBC), Poland, and Finland. He has also recently returned from his third tour of Fiji, where he was employed by the Australian government, performing music as a cultural ambassador on behalf of DFAT and Austrade.
8 Ball is touring Australia throughout 2009 in support of ‘REBEL WITH A CAUSE’, playing a wide range of festivals, clubs, pubs and special events. Highlights of his Australian touring so far include the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival in Byron Bay, the Woodford Folk Festival, the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Gympie Muster, the Australian National Blues Festival in Goulburn, Blues at Bridgetown, Mud Bulls & Music, Coastfest, Peats Ridge Festival, as well as the Melbourne & Adelaide Fringe Festivals.
Coming from a farming community in Far North Queensland, 8 Ball Aitken is the oldest son of an impoverished family of twelve children. 8 Ball spent his adolescence on a banana plantation, living in a rough tobacco shed with resident rats, bats, snakes, and spiders as his sleeping companions. He started work as a farm labourer aged fifteen, doing back-breakingly hard work on the mango and banana plantations of the Atherton Tablelands, a man's work for a boy's pay. He had to help support his family with these wages.
When 8 Ball was nineteen years old, a radical conversation altered his life path. “I used to work on a farm all week, then party all weekend,” he explains. “An Aboriginal elder from Townsville was visiting my town, and we were talking on Sunday morning after he had been watching me play guitar all weekend. He sat me down and told me off sternly – ‘I will be really disappointed if I visit next year and see you still here drinking and smoking, just wasting your talent and your life away,” explains the ex-farm worker, recalling his labouring in the Atherton Tablelands fruit plantations as a young teenager. He packed his bags, grabbed his guitar, and hitch-hiked south to the Big Smoke of Brisbane. “This was a ‘time stands still’, life-changing experience”, adds 8 Ball. “From that point on, I have stayed true, and followed my dream of making music and taking it out to the people”.