An enthusiastic reception to the release of his first two original songs earlier this year has Lake Macquarie singer-songwriter Aaron Jurd keen to share them with country music lovers in Port Stephens next month.
Jurd, from Toronto, and The Banned will make their Bluewater Country Music Festival debut with a headlining show at Shoal Bay Country Club on Saturday, June 8.
"I'm stoked to be playing my first Bluewater Country Music Festival at such a great venue like Shoal Bay Country Club," Jurd said.
"I look forward to seeing plenty of country music fans there and enjoying the other artists as well.
"It's not far from home, so it'll be great to play to a hometown crowd, mixed with visitors who are in town for the festival."
After years of paying his dues in cover bands, Jurd released his debut original single, Set Me On Fire, in September 2018, which shot up the iTunes Country Songs Chart to number five.
He followed this up with the release of Hard To Breathe, which debuted in the top 20 of the same charts in April.
The talented artist graduated from the CMAA Academy of Country Music in January and, along with his fellow graduates, performed at the official opening concert of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Jurd was selected to perform at the 2018 Golden Guitar Awards alongside Karen O'Shea, who is a Bluewater veteran and no stranger to Port Stephens music audiences.
During his time at the academy, Jurd worked with country music stars Amber Lawrence, Kasey Chambers and Kevin Bennett. Jurd also co-wrote a song with seven-time Golden Guitar winner Allan Caswell.
"I have spent years writing my own music," he said. "But, I'm such a perfectionist that none of my songs were ever heard because I was scared of the reception they would get.
"Releasing Set Me On Fire and people's reaction to it has me in a state of euphoria.
"I have been listening to talented artists releasing their own material for so long and I need to pinch myself to believe that my song is being played on the same radio stations as the artists I look up to."
After Bluewater, Jurd and The Banned will play at the Hats Off to Country Festival in Tamworth in July and the Deni Ute Muster in October.
"I'm looking forward to hitting the road with my band and performing to new audiences this year," Jurd said.
"The positive reaction to my original songs has been far beyond what I dreamed, so I'm also excited to release more music later in the year."