Australian diplomat and author turned singer-songwriter, Fred Smith, will be touring around a dozen regional Queensland towns (including Toowoomba and Goondiwindi) from March until May this year.

Raised in an unorthodox life style, his father was also a diplomat and this saw Smith’s family travel constantly.

These experiences led him to learn Hindu in India, classical guitar in Manila and become a student at a Christian Arab School.

Smith eventually followed in his father’s footsteps, being the first Australian diplomat sent to work in Uruzgan Province, Southern Afghanistan, and the last to leave.

Colonel Jason Blain said, “He’s actually walked in the same footsteps as those soldiers. He ate, he slept, he bathed, he worked, he lived with them and when soldiers died, he mourned with them.”

Never without his guitar, Smith used his music as a bridge to troops, people and tribal leaders of this war-torn region.

The title track on his latest album, Dust of Uruzgan, has captured the hearts of many and recently been covered by Australian country music icon Lee Kernaghan. While his song, Sapper’s Lullaby has become an anthem for soldiers and their families alike.

His wry wit and larrikin spirit, have prompted critics to label him, “an

exceptional songwriter and certainly the equal of Bogle, Walker and Shuman.”

Smith’s performances combine storytelling, song and projected images by military photographers in order to transport audiences to the frontline in Afghanistan.

As part of the tour, Mates4Mates liaison officers will be in attendance at performances in Ipswich, Ayr, Mackay, Gympie, Bundaberg, Noosa, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and Maleny.

The two-hour performance is recommended for audiences over 12 years old, with parental guidance advised due to war themes throughout.