Cowboy country for Ellen's debut

BOOTS MADE FOR WALKING: Pirie singer-songwriter Ellen Tefanis has put a country swing on a iconic tune written 19 years ago for her debut single. Photo: supplied.
BOOTS MADE FOR WALKING: Pirie singer-songwriter Ellen Tefanis has put a country swing on a iconic tune written 19 years ago for her debut single. Photo: supplied.

Several years after rocking out with Keith Urban in front of a crowd in Brisbane, local guitar maestro Ellen Tefanis has launched her debut single - "More Than a Hat".

The lyrics of the song were composed by Pirie songwriter Brian Sickle 19 years ago in California, and Ellen decided to put her own spin on the tune for her debut.

"I heard about 30 seconds of his demo and I knew I wanted to do it ... the catchiness of the lyrics and the hook in the chorus pulled me in," she said.

"There is a difference bertween the two, his was more 4/4 time rock, while mine is a two-step, country, upbeat song - but the lyrics are all the same."

At the heart of the song is the message that it takes more than just a hat to be a cowboy, as Ellen says "you can become one and slowly work at it, but you can't just dress like it to make everyone think you are".

"That meaning can go to anything, you can't just walk in and be a teacher, you have to have the qualifications," she said.

While Ellen is known locally for her prowess on the strings it was after her performance with Keith Urban that she decided to take up his advice on learning to sing and write songs.

"Keith said if I have a passion for music I should sing, so I started to sing a bit more with my cover band and had some lessons," she said.

Her connection to Keith doesn't stop there as she actually recorded More Than a Hat with Arlo Sim, a member of Team Keith on this year's The Voice Australia season, who featured on backing vocals.

Ellen admits to being nervous to release the song since it was going to be the first time many had heard her sing an original, but the feedback since it dropped on November 5 has been very positive.

"Everyone has been so fantastic, so supportive of me ... I got so many messages, everyone was sharing it and tagging me," she said.

"It's great to see so many people from Port Pirie backing it, I even had some people from the US say they heard it on the radio."

You can check out Ellen Tefanis' new single (complete with music video filmed at the Federal Hotel in Port Pirie) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4XvV4RGE7s.