Blaxland-based country singer Jayne Denham is celebrating after her new album, Wanted, claimed the number one spot in the ARIA Australian Country Album Chart for the week beginning August 23.
Wanted, Denham's fifth album, knocked Keith Urban into second place on the charts, while two singles from the album, Better Make It A Double and Better Settle Up, have also performed well in The Music Network's Country Top 50. Her third single, the title track from Wanted, is out now.
The achievement is no small feat given the limitations Denham has faced during lockdown, such as not being able to support the album by performing live. Creating the album through COVID-19 with her Nashville-based producer, Brian White, also proved to be a challenge.
"I was a week off flying to the US to perform at what was going to be the biggest event I had played in the States up to that point, before the first lockdown put paid to that," she says. "It was disappointing, but I thought, 'Let's get busy and use the time,' so I ended up songwriting via Zoom with friends both here and in the USA. Wanted is the result and it has exceeded all expectations."
Wanted is Denham's fifth album, and marks a certain pivot in style for the singer, who is a three-time Golden Guitar nominee at Tamworth Country Music Festival. The album is inspired by the soundtracks for Spaghetti Westerns, all the while maintaining her signature country rock sound.
"We meshed together modern-day country rock with an old-school Western movie theme and even added sound effects in-between songs to bring it to life as you listen," she says. "So if you like upbeat country and Western movies, this one's for you."
Alongside her music career, the former Blaxland High student has also branched out as an entrepreneur to serve the local community's fashion needs in the Lower Blue Mountains. In partnership with her sister Liesel, she has established the fashion, gifts and homewares store, Sista Styling, in Springwood. Setting up the store had long been in the pipeline for the siblings, with the pandemic fast-tracking the enterprise in the absence of Denham's touring commitments.
"We were both confident that it would work, but it just took off like a shot out of a gun. It got so busy we employed local girls to help us keep up with the demand. Our dream was to make it a fun environment for women of all ages, shapes and sizes to come in and let us style them with the latest fashions, but at a price point that was not too over-the-top; and a place where you could buy quality gifts, from bags, books and jewellery to newborn baby things."
Of course, the latest lockdown has closed Sista Styling's doors (though an online store has been set up), to go alongside the pause in Denham's performing life. But Wanted reaching number one has proven to be the perfect tonic as she waits for things to reopen.
"To achieve a number one for me is a game-changer," she says. "To get this support with zero gigs to sell albums is something I will never forget. I'm still finding it hard to believe what has happened."