ROCK ON: Burleigh bottle slide performer Jackson 'El Mariachi' Dunn opened the show at the Kalpowar Festival of small halls.
ROCK ON: Burleigh bottle slide performer Jackson 'El Mariachi' Dunn opened the show at the Kalpowar Festival of small halls. Mackenzie Colahan

One-man band living his dream on the road

MUSIC is in Jackson Dunn's blood.

His mother, a talented guitar player, would sing to him when he was young and her artistic flair seems to have rubbed off.

The Burleigh-based artist visited the North Burnett on Saturday to kick off the Kalpowar Festival of Small Halls.

Dunn now spends most of his life on the road, touring the east coast with the essentials crammed into a converted Ford SUV: his guitars, surfboards and a swag.

The larrikin performs under the stage name 'El Mariachi' - a moniker given to him many years ago by his mates - which translates to wandering musician.

He describes his sound as "a cross between Ben Harper, John Butler and Led Zeppelin - with a bit of Jimi Hendrix.”

The guitar extraordinaire developed a unique style he calls 'bottle sliding' which has become his signature and wows audiences around the country.

The wandering musician 'El Mariachi' said a life on the road as your own boss comes with a unique set of challenges.
The wandering musician 'El Mariachi' said a life on the road as your own boss comes with a unique set of challenges. Mackenzie Colahan

"I've never seen anyone else do it,” Dunn said.

"I was jamming with friends at a party and a mate was mucking around using a lighter as a slider.

"It was really cool but I couldn't let him get all the attention so I grabbed a beer bottle.

"Everyone was frothing on it and it went from there.”

A one-man band in the truest sense of the word, the travelling performer's career has grown organically, booking gigs through word-of-mouth and self-promotion online.

He's living the dream, but admitted that being his own boss had its challenges.

"I've always done everything myself from the ground up,” he said.

"I do all my own marketing using social media - it's a great tool.

"Now I regularly travel from Cairns down to Melbourne doing shows and I'm touring extensively in 2019.

"The only hard thing it's easy to take time off. The bills keep coming in so I can't just go surfing every day.”


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