At 28: time for a 'best of' album

SITTING on the tender side of 30, the concept of a greatest hits album came as a bit of a bolt from the blue for Australian country musician Catherine Britt (pictured) when it was suggested by her record label.

It's no surprise then that her current release of prime cuts tracing her career from beginning to now has it in its title the words "so far".

"Hopefully, it's chapter one and there are many more to go," she joked.

"It kind of freaks me out a little to be honest. When they approached me about it I said 'No! What are you talking about? I'm 28! You don't release best-ofs at 28!' I said 'I'll do it as long as it says 'so far'."

The album, The Hillbilly Pickin' Ramblin' Girl So Far . . . more than proves age is no barrier to good-quality output.

Including tracks from her five albums, from the 2001 debut Dusty Smiles and Heartbreak Cures, to the specially recorded new cut, Who Cares, the set serves as a perfect retrospective for a performer who's spent half her life to developing her craft.

"Hopefully, there'll be songs on it people will recognise and remember," she said. "I've been releasing singles for 14 years so it's kind of a lifetime for some people. It's nice to have it on one CD and all together."

For Catherine, the process of going through the material and reassessing old ground was quite an experience.

"It's funny because when we were putting it together I had to listen through the discs when they were finished to make sure the track listing and everything was right, so being forced to have to listen to myself for a long period of time made me reminisce and it was very bittersweet," she said.

"It brought back a lot of memories. It was cool to listen from day one to now because it's in chronological order. It was really special to see how things have changed sonically — songwriting and everything throughout the years.

"There are definitely moments when you think you probably could've done it better, produced it better or written it better, but I try to remind myself when I'm listening to 14-year-old me that I was 14."

When it comes to the next phase of her career, Catherine admits her to-do list still has much to tick off.

"I'd love to take everything to another level obviously in Australia and worldwide as far as my career goes and I'd love to do some acting," she said.

"I've always wanted to get into that. I think it'd be so much fun!

"I grew up doing drama as a kid and I'd love to do some of that at some stage, even if it's a musical and I play a singer in a show or whatever.

"And there are a few people I'd still love to work with. I'd love to do a duet with Nick Cave at some stage — I love his stuff. And also I'd love to work with Daniel Johns from silverchair. I think he's brilliant — he's such a dude when it comes to music."

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