STEVE Deal’s first job was delivering the Cootamundra Herald.
From age 12 he earned $3 a week delivering the paper around town before getting a promotion to delivering milk for a whopping $14 a week.
Life has since taken Steve around the world and he has spent half his years in the United States of America, but there’s no question Cootamundra still holds a special place in his heart.
On Monday Steve released his debut single Four Rivers from the album of the same name.
The song shot to #1 on the Australian iTunes country chart overnight.
Now country music fans all over the world have heard Steve literally sing the praises of the Murrumbidgee River, Jugiong, and 19 Thompson Street, Cootamundra.
As the name suggests, the song has four verses about four rivers that represent different times in Steve’s life.
“They speak about where I’ve been and the people I associate with those places,” Steve said.
“They are four places I love full of rich friendships.”
Steve reluctantly left Cootamundra at age 15 when his parents’ marriage broke down.
By 18 he was hitch hiking across Oregon and Idaho.
It was living in a tent by the Snake River that he first learned to play the guitar.
Steve met his wife and they started their family in Australia, but they moved back to the States for 15 years while Steve worked as a church music director, song writer, musician and producer.
Now back in Sydney and working as a part-time bus driver, Steve has dedicated his time and energy into his first country album.
He has produced around 30 gospel albums in the last 20 years and so he considers this new endeavour “quite refreshing”.
“I am a Christian and I love Jesus but it’s nice to sing about driving down the road in my car,” he said.
Steve thinks Cootamundra fans will be most interested in his song Southern Aurora, named after the train now known as the XPT.
That song is in contention for the Heritage Song of the Year category at the 2016 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
He is planning on producing a professional film clip for that song, but for now, enjoy the clip above featuring Steve’s own photography from his favourite four rivers.
Steve’s album Four Rivers is available on iTunes now.