Home Features Small Town by James Johnston – Behind The Scenes Video Shoot (Exclusive)

Small Town by James Johnston – Behind The Scenes Video Shoot (Exclusive)

by Mallory Arbour
James Johnston

To celebrate the release of the killer new single (and our Song of the Day!), Small Town by singer-songwriter (and our Artist of the Week!), James Johnston, we bring you an exclusive behind the scenes look at the making the accompanying music video.

Produced by Justin Wantz in Nashville, Small Town is a song of yearning for James: to return to his roots, away from the bright lights of the city skyline to the endless starlight of the bush. The music video, produced by Elijah Cavanagh of Cavanagh Films, was shot on the outskirts of Gatton in Queensland and captures the simple pleasure of a country bonfire party.


“Let’s just build a big bonfire, get lots of beer, invite a bunch of friends and capture the magic”

James says, “When I sat down with my long-time friend and talented film maker, Elijah Cavanagh, I said I wanted to capture the feeling of how I used to spend my weekends when I was growing up in my small town of Wingham. After going back and forth Elijah said, well let’s just do that! Let’s throw a big country party and I’ll just bring my camera and capture it. So that’s what we decided to do. I had 3 stipulations. 1: It needed to be cinematic, 2: it needed to feel EPIC 3: We needed to have fire cannons. We shook hands and got to work.”

Picture 1: Getting ready

“After a full day of work, over 20 ute loads of wood and a few lunch time beers we had ourselves a bonfire worthy of a celebration. We were ready to invite some friends and get this thing lit.”

Picture 2: Lighting it up

“If you’ve ever spent time in the bush, you will know that when a bonfire is ready to get lit up everyone around suddenly become a professional pyrotechnician. The perfect ratio of diesel to petrol, the chero soaked flower to create the perfect trail, it was all up for debate but after discovering one of our guests was a fire fighter, we decided to leave it up to the expert and pretty soon we had ourselves a roaring fire.”

Picture 3: Little hotter than we expected

“After spending some time getting the band set and figuring out how far would be a “safe:” distance to shoot from the blaze, we somewhat underestimated how hot this thing was going to get! A few singed hairs later, we did get ourselves some pretty epic shots.”

Picture 4: Time to party

“Once the flames had calmed down a little, we gathered the crowd got the band all set and cranked up the music! If you’ve ever been involved in a video shoot before you will know it normally involves listening to the same song 1000 times and trying to stay excited, but this was no ordinary shoot! So, in between takes of Small Town, the band and I went into full swing playing some of our favourite party tunes and getting all our friends singing along.”

Picture 5: It takes a crowd

“One thing about this music business is that trying to make it on your own is impossible. It takes an army of great people to help you on your way and the Small Town video shoot was no exception to that rule. From everyone that gave up their Friday night to make a crowd, to the legend that is Robby for letting us take over her farm and throw a party, to Riley and Dave for helping get that bonfire built, to Elijah and Dean for the magic behind the camera, to David for capturing some amazing images, to my band mates Michael, Emily and Dave for making sure everyone had some great music to rock out to, to big Louie for ensuring the eskie was stocked, lights were hung and everyone knew what was going on, to my beautiful wife, even though she is 7 month pregnant, manning the BBQ to ensure everyone didn’t go hungry, to Andrew for trusting me enough to drive your new truck and lastly to the hero of the clip Mitch for being the organiser, the bonfire builder and the actor without you this whole thing would not have been possible. Thankyou.”


Keep up to date with James Johnston on his Facebook page here.

For more great content from CountryTown, check out here.

Images: Supplied

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