Hugh McDonald, a member of Australian band Redgum, has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 62.
Hugh was the violinist co-vocalist for the politically charged Redgum with John Schumann, Michael Atkinson and Verity Truman. The original band formed with Michael Timms when they were all students of Flinders University in Adelaide. Hugh replaced Timms for the second album.
As a songwriter Hugh wrote ‘The Diamantina Drover’ from the band’s 1982 EP ‘Cut To The Quick’.
Redgum stood alongside Midnight oil with songs of biting political commentary in the 80s. The band’s best-known song was ‘I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green)’. It was a first-hand account of the horrors of the war in Vietnam from the perspective of a returned soldier, scarred by the psychological affect of the war and lack of support from the Australian government.
‘I Was Only 19’ had resurgence by Australian hip-hop group The Herd in 2005.
Hugh took over as lead singer for Redgum in 1986 when John Schumann left the band until the band disbanded in 1990. After Redgum he opened his own studio in Melbourne and worked with the Geelong Music College Orchestra.
Hugh remained a life-long friend with John Schumann and in 2005 the two collaborated with John on the Vagabond Crew and the albums ‘Lawson’ and ‘Behind The Lines’.
In a statement John Schumann said, “Most people will know by now that my dear dear mate, music accomplice, wingman and backstop for more than half my life, Hugh McDonald, died last night after a long, courageous and inspirational battle with cancer. It’s all too hard right now – but my unfathomable grief will be nothing alongside that of his family. You get a mate like Hugh once in a lifetime – if you’re lucky. I was blessed – we all were. More later when my screen doesn’t look like a fish shop window from the 1950″s.
Hugh McDonald also released four solo albums. The most recent was The Land in 2014.
Hugh leaves behind seven children, six grandchildren, two step-children and wife Rebecca.