GROWING up on the Border it took JD Smith a while to warm to country music.
The international singer said the genre was on high rotation in his family's home at Thurgoona.
"My dad loved country music and I hated it to begin with because no one thinks their parents' music is cool," he said.
"Then I really got into it and appreciated the storytelling in the songs."
One-tenth of the popular ensemble The Ten Tenors, Smith was thrilled the upcoming Australian tour, The Highway Men, paid homage to classic country songs and artists.
He said previous shows had explored songs from the world of pop, rock and classical.
"It shows how diverse the range of vocals we have in the group in that we're able to celebrate all of the different genres," Smith said.
"This show came about from a 14,000 mile tour across the US, and we have returned with incredible arrangements of songs from the likes of Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Charlie Daniels, Keith Urban and some of country's first ladies.
"A highlight is a really beautiful version of Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell and we finish with a fun number by Shania Twain."
Since their inception in 1995, The Ten Tenors first toured Australia in 1997 before they took their show to Europe in 2001.
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In February they were one of the first Australian tours to return to the international stage, with a 40-city, 47-show tour across the US.
Having joined the act in 2015, Smith said his first tour was to the US.
"It feels like a second home for us," he said.
"It was pretty amazing and pretty emotional to go back in February for the first time since the pandemic. We appreciated what we had been missing out on!"
Smith said the Australian tour - and Albury in particular - were always highlights.
"I lived at Thurgoona my whole life until I left at 17 to study musical theatre," Smith said.
"The Ten Tenors put on such professional, powerhouse shows. I'm looking forward to having my family in the audience in Albury."
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