8 Ball Aitken

The Aitken family, originally from Scotland, settled in the Atherton Tableland area of Queensland's Deep North and felt no reason to leave for several generations. 8 Ball Aitken inherited the family's distinctive shock of bright red hair, but not that desire to stay in the one place. At the age of 19 he gave up his life picking fruit and living in a tobacco shed, and hitchhiked south to the city of Brisbane with his guitar to make it as a country musician. At an early gig in a rowdy pub a fight broke out over a pool table and the 8 Ball was knocked onto the stage, leading the band to give him his nickname and the title of his first recording, Behind the 8 Ball, released in 2004. Its acoustic mix of country, roots, and distinctively Australian subject matter made Aitken the choice of Brisbane's mayor to head the inaugural Grass Roots Music Festival. Aitken also won a grant in the form of one of musician John Butler's JB Seeds, which he used to travel to Sydney and study pedal steel with legendary session guitarist Michel Rose. His second album, Odd Ball In, was released in 2006, followed by Rebel with a Cause in 2008. ~ Jody Macgregor

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