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Smoky Dawson - A Life


In his memoir, SMOKY DAWSON – A LIFE, Smoky chronicled his rise to fame after enduring the trauma and deprivation of a cruel childhood – and then the love he shared for six decades with the rock of his private and professional existence, his indefatigable wife Dot. Now, in honour of both Smoky and Dot, this updated book fills in the 23 years of activity between the release of Smoky’s memoir in 1985 and his death in 2008, with a comprehensive, brand new chapter.

“The Final Round-Up” delves deep into the twilight years of the entertainment legend who remained an active figure in country music right to the end. It is the fitting biographical finale for a performer and character who deserves to be remembered as a genuine Aussie icon.

Smoky Dawson was a legend in the world of Australian country music. He made it to the national and international stage, broke through in America in the 1950s – something that was unheard of at the time – and became a household name back in Australia with the Smoky Dawson Show on national radio. At its peak, there were almost a million youngsters – including future Prime Minister Paul Keating – registered in his Kellogg’s Wild West Club, proud “Deputy Sheriffs” sworn to uphold “The Code of the West”, a staggering percentage of the country’s population.

Smoky was a trailblazer in every way, a unique entertainer of unrivalled versatility, the total showman. His prolific songwriting and recordings, superb horsemanship, Outback exploits in tent shows and rodeos, death-defying knife and axe-throwing act, huge media profile and so many other achievements created the indelible, magic persona of Australia’s very own singing cowboy. Smoky was the man who rode into the hearts of an admiring nation on his famous Palomino, Flash “The Wonder Horse” – and they were inseparable.

This updated publication, fully illustrated, also includes tributes to Smoky from a cross-section of prominent Australians in the entertainment industry and other walks of life.    

‘Never have I known a more positive and encouraging man than Smoky. Always planning and looking ahead, and always so gracious in his support of young Aussie talent. We loved him so much.’ – Keith Urban.

‘What an honour it was to know you, Smoky. What a wonderful man. What a brilliant career.’ – Lee Kernaghan.

‘He taught us peace ... and any man who can say they taught another man peace has really achieved something in life.’ – John Laws.

Smoky Dawson was a pivotal figure in the development of the country music industry in Australia who earned hero status in his unflagging commitment to the famous Tamworth Country Music Festival over decades of involvement into his nineties. He made it to the national and international stage, broke through in America in the early 1950s – something that was unheard of at the time – and became a household name back in Australia with his national radio show that ran for more than a decade. He was a born storyteller, praised by his great mate, the Outback entrepreneur R.M. Williams, who declared that Smoky’s autobiography was “a valuable record of an important part of our history by one who has talked with kings, and lived with the gypsies of the road – and always remained true to himself”.

Glenn T., author of The Final Round-Up, is a playwright, actor, published writer and award-winning production designer who was Smoky and Dot’s confidant and loyal companion in their later years. No other author could hope to match the microscope Glenn has applied to the lives of this beloved couple. Glenn rewrote and staged the multi-million-dollar live show, Leader of the Pack – The Ellie Greenwich Musical, in Sydney and Melbourne. He also created the one-man play, An Audience with Smoky & Herb, which explores the inspiring story of Smoky, his childhood hero. It has been a project of dedicated research and passion for Glenn to pay tribute to the Dawsons in this updated edition of Smoky’s memoir.

* SMOKY DAWSON – A LIFE will appeal to readers who have an interest in Australiana and exploring our rich heritage. Smoky was one of our great entertainment pioneers, who found a way to forge an amazing career from the Outback to the big city by doing it his way, the hard way, living on the road and on his creative wits, and attracting a mass following before the days of television.
* The new chapter, “The Final Round-Up”, brims with facts, anecdotes and previously unpublished insights into Smoky’s private and professional life, and underscores the love and respect that embraced him from his music industry peers and virtually else who came into contact with him.  
* Fans of country music in particular, both Australian and American, will find special interest in the book. Smoky strode the stage with his guitar from Tamworth to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry, and countless places in between – and was still singing at the age of 90, when he recorded what is regarded as his best album of all, Homestead of my Dreams.
* A celebrity book launch in Sydney and nationwide publicity campaign will mark the Christmas release.
* The author of the new chapter, Glenn T, was a confidant and companion of Smoky and Dot. He has a marvellous storehouse of material to share in media interviews.
* In January 2022, the Tamworth Country Music Festival (where Smoky was a fixture for decades) celebrates its 50th anniversary. The publisher of SMOKY DAWSON – A LIFE will capitalise on this landmark event with a follow-up book launch and associated promotional activity in Australia’s country music capital.
* The book will be widely distributed to book reviewers.
* Online marketing will feed off a dedicated website, Facebook pages, and extensive social media support for the book.
* There will be opportunities to adapt selected Smoky Dawson songs with extracts from the book for channels such as YouTube.  

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