When Sam McClymont was growing up in the Northern NSW town of Grafton, she and her sisters had big dreams of country music stardom. Together, they took their band The McClymonts all the way to country music’s mecca, The Grand Ole Opry, and now in their 20th year of performing the group are still going strong. Sam now calls Canberra home and we caught up with her to chat about her new home, her involvement with Coastrek and the story behind how The McClymonts once shared a stage with the most unlikely musical partner, Ozzy Osbourne!
What has led you to call Canberra home?
As many Canberrans know, there is a large community of Defence Force members here, and my family and I fit into that category. My husband, Ben, has been a pilot in the Australian Air Force since finishing school. We have lived in Sydney and Brisbane with two overseas postings in America and Germany, and all roads eventually led to Canberra.
Are you and your sisters now living in different parts of Australia?? How do you still make it work, writing and producing music?
Over our 20-year career, there has never been a time where we all lived in the same city, state or even country! Because music involved so much travelling and performing around Australia and America, we still spent more time together than apart because we were on the road more than we were at home.
Before we all had children, it was generally easy to get together to practise, write and organise the year ahead. However, after we all started to have our children, it became more of a juggling act.
You’re an Ambassador for Coastrek – a new hiking event coming to Canberra. What was the appeal for you to get involved?
It was the perfect way to get out into the community, get fit and bring awareness to a great cause. Coastrek is a magic combination of doing something that benefits your health and the health of others by raising money for the Heart Foundation. I’m a runner, but I’m looking forward to slowing down the pace and enjoying a long endurance hike, and as it’s a team event, I’ll be spending some quality time with my teammates, which include my sister Mollie and some new friends I’ve made in Canberra.
You’ll be doing lots of training with your team in the lead up to the event – have you planned to check out some walking trails around Canberra?
Absolutely, as a family who moves around so much (my six-year-old has lived in four different cities), it is a massive part of settling into a new place, getting out and exploring. We love to adventure, and we also love hearing from the locals about all the secret spots and must-see destinations.
What have been some of the ‘pinch me’ moments throughout your career?
To have released an EP and six albums has always been something we are so proud of. Music has opened up many opportunities for us and created lifelong friendships. Awards are also the icing on the cake – two Arias and 15 Golden Guitars. It’s a privilege to be part of the Australian country music scene.
Just how did it come about that the band were on the same bill as Ozzy Osbourne?
I feel like this was a lifetime ago! It was pretty bizarre to see our names on the same bill as his – it was at the world’s largest motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota USA, and a unique blend of country meets heavy metal! Backstage, you could barely see him behind his team of bodyguards, so we didn’t get to meet him, but it was one of those surreal moments.
What else is keeping you busy these days?
For the last seven years I have been very fortunate to be part of the hosting team at Channel 9’s travel show ‘Getaway’. Travelling around Australia and overseas has been a thrill, exploring hidden gems.