AS the dust settles on 2020, Border musician Dean Haitani will hit the new year running.
Having recently mixed and mastered his new album, Red Dust, it will be launched early in February.
North East-based Nicky Bomba (Melbourne Ska Orchestra and former John Butler Trio drummer) recorded, produced and played on the new album.
Legendary soul singer Jo Jo Smith sang on three tracks too.
Haitani said the pause in live gigs and touring amid the COVID-19 crisis changed the course of the year.
He said he had scrapped a tour, which should have finished up only recently.
"It was the year that wasn't," he said.
"It came on top of the bushfire crisis too.
"But we've all made the best of it in the music industry even though for many of us all of our savings got wiped out this year."
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Corowa-born-and-bred Haitani said his 14th album, Red Dust was an original 10-track work, narrating his travels and life on the road.
He said the title track was a rootsy/catchy tune dedicated to the joys of travelling with a new family, his love of nature and the Australian desert.
"I wrote the title track in Broome during a road trip with my family in 2017," Haitani said.
"We went down the Murray, across the Nullarbor Plain to Esperance in Western Australia.
"My daughter was born there and we'd booked a Airbnb for six weeks. My son was 18 months at the time, he's travelled a lot and even seen cassowaries."
Haitani said while his musical projects had always been self-funded, he had reached out for support from the community for the first time this year.
He raised $8300 through a crowd-funding campaign.
"I really appreciated the support in these uncertain times," he said.
"I was able to cover the mastering and artwork; we couldn't have finished the album without the community support."
Haitani will hit the road for a national tour to promote Red Dust from next month until October.
He said with two young children on the tour, they would hire a motorhome this year.
"We'll go to Adelaide, Coober Pedy, Katherine, Darwin and Cooktown," he said.
Haitani has two upcoming gigs at The Vine Hotel at Wangaratta in February.
He also does regular Thursday night jams at Two Fingers Bar in Albury.