RAECHEL Whitchurch had a few non-negotiables when she came back to playing music: be true and be brave; and moving back to Parkes as well as releasing her debut album, Finally Clear, has shown she is just that.
She's grown up in country music: immersed in it from family band, The Lees, and feverish songwriting ahead of her 2016 debut EP, as well as her 'day job' as a booking agent for a host of big country names who happened to be friends and colleagues.
And that just didn't sit right with her - Raechel wanted to show the way for her young family.
"I can't stand here and raise brave, forward-thinking, secure children but at the same time be a walking contradiction - I have to show them, I have to model to them, what it looks like to take risks and maybe fail," she says.
"That became a big catalyst for me to make this record: at the end of the day to tell them I tried."
She's more than tried; she's put everything into Finally Clear, a debut album which captures not just her homecoming, both in the literal sense of moving to Parkes, but also the spiritual sense that has seen her rediscover her sound.
"We are so excited to be back in Parkes; we were originally set to move back in May 2020, and even boxed up 75 per cent of our stuff and sent it to Parkes - then COVID-19 hit so we were stuck in Sydney without most of our stuff," Raechel laughed.
"My son walked into our back yard when we got here and said, 'Oh wow Mum, we have our own park in the back and front!' so it's safe to say he is loving the extra space."
"It's such a beautiful place to live and everyone has been so supportive now I'm back; they're stopping me on the street and saying how much they love the music, and for them to show enough care to say that has been wonderful."
Raechel has also been embracing a different sound for this album as she seeks a style that is more authentically her.
"I really wanted it to be a very clean record. I've always erred on the side of a bit dirty, a bit gritty; that's been the style of music I played, but I think I've done that because I thought I wasn't good enough to be clean and crisp and tight.
"When I went to [multi award-winning producer] Matt Fell, I said I really wanted this album to be softer, and a lot more authentic, because I felt that I had presented myself in a way that wasn't always who I am."
Fitting right back in seamlessly in Parkes was easy done, and as Raechel sings in her very personal track 'My Father' she is just a chip off the old block, and the song just oozes with the authencity she was craving.
"My dad and I are very similar; we both have an entrepreneurial spirit, are very hard on ourselves and think about the world similarly.
"I've been trying for a very long time to write this song for him - it's obviously something you want to get completely right and I wasn't sure whether anyone would invest in a song that was so personal.
"But I finally wrote it and sent it through, and Matt Fell listened to it and said we absolutely have to put this on the album.
"It was the last song we put down on the track, and when i played it to my label, they said they wanted it to be the next single off the album and I thought, wow - really?!
"It's so personal, but they, and everyone else has just loved it and Dad and I also had a great time filming the video for it out on his Mandagery farm, which was really special for both of us.
The song went to number nine on the Country radio charts and has had over 250,000 streams on Spotify, making it one of Raechel's most successful songs and a powerful testament to how she has engaged her listeners with such a special and emotive song.
Raechel is grateful for the Parkes community rallying around her and Finally Clear, and is keen to get into the top 10 of the ARIA Country charts - something she hopes the community can help her achieve.
She will be playing a 75 minute set at the Hart Bar (located at the Railway Hotel) this Wednesday, April 21, from 8pm.
You can purchase tickets for the event at https://www.ticketebo.com.au/sure-thing-agency/raechel-whitchurch-finally-clear-album-launch-tour.html.
Please visit www.raechelwhitchurch.com for more information, and be sure to stream away all your favourite Finally Clear songs!