The phone crackles with a nasally, yet kind voice: “G’day Belinda, how are you?” Shannon ‘Nollsy’ Noll has just arrived home after spending his Easter fishing and motorcycling in Condoblin with the family. He’s currently working through a long line of press and checking off odd jobs in preparation for the Unbroken tour, which will see him play everywhere from Sydney’s revered Oxford Art Factory to the dirty and delightful Dapto Leagues Club.

It’s been seven years since the release of his previous studio album, A Million Suns, and the recording hiatus has allowed the singer to sit and reflect. His new 13-track Unbroken combines rock and roll with the odd ballad and is sprinkled with his O.G. country identity throughout. “Listening to the album now I can really get a sense of where I was emotionally and my headspace over those years,” explains Noll.

Unbroken even features a protest song against Sydney’s lockout laws and the unfortunate loss of country balls in an acoustic guitar-led track titled ‘No B&S’. “Do you know what a B&S is?” asks Noll. When queried if he’s referring to the word ‘bullshit’, he responds excitedly “Yeah yeah, but it’s also this thing called a Bachelor and Spinster Ball that they used to have out in the bush. I think the state of NSW has gone from having 40-odd to two or something; they were a big staple when we were growing up. It’s just a great opportunity for young people to go and camp and have a really big night and just have a really great time.”

Noll grew up motorbike riding and camping down the river of the family farm, what he describes as “typical farmboy stuff.” It’s a childhood he’s fond of, but he missed out on seeing live bands and now makes a conscious effort to bring his shows out west. As for the B&S, he says, “A lot of them were not-for profit, charitable committees that they put on in their local towns just for young people. I think a lot of them now can’t afford to pay the insurance, that’s why it’s gotten too expensive to put on.”

Unbroken also sees Noll realise the truth of his inevitable mortality on the track ‘Invincible’. The now-43-year-old had an emergency spinal surgery while living in Melbourne and the ongoing condition forced him to forfeit his position on Dancing With The Stars after rehearsing a Dirty Dancing-styled lift. “That song is all about when you felt you used to be invincible, but you’re not anymore,” he laughs.

People will quite willingly spend your money when they’re not spending their own.

When asked if he could give his 2003 emerging Australian Idol self one piece of advice, he pauses to think. “The industry itself is chock-full of people that want to make money off the back of an artist or a talented person when they probably haven’t got an ounce of music in their body at all. I think the biggest advice I would give myself again now is to not trust anyone.”

After Idol, most of Noll’s winnings went back into paying off debt from the family farm, which was originally cared for by his father before he passed away in 2001. “In this industry the biggest thing you’ll hear from everybody is, ‘You just do the music and we’ll worry about running the business side of things’ and I think that lots of people will quite willingly spend your money when they’re not spending their own,” Noll says.

You’ve always got to have a sense of who you want to be and the artist you want to be.

Having worked with the three top dog record labels at different points in his career – Warner, Sony and Universal – his main words of wisdom to young Australian artists feeling out deals revolves around self-awareness. “I think you’ve always got to have a sense of who you want to be and the artist you want to be. I think you’ve got to go in there with a clear plan and hope that your plan lines up with their plan. That is the biggest one, because a lot of the time music execs can see what they want you to be, whether you are that or not,” explains Noll.

For a while now, Noll has been known to all as the ‘boy from the bush’, marketed to Channel Ten audiences as the stereotypical True Blue Aussie Bloke – a seemingly simple and patriotic white ex-farmer who loves to throw around ocker slang. When his strong sense of patriotism is brought up, Noll defends himself, “Yeah look, I am very, very patriotic. My first consideration in saying that is to recognise the sacrifice that many men and women made to protect this country … [they fought] in wars that we probably didn’t need to be a part of really.”

We discuss the difficulty of holding onto patriotic values when our country is responsible for refugees being forcibly held in dire living conditions on Nauru; Noll agrees that we are living in a time of crisis. “The future of our country depends on the decisions we make as a public so that we can leave something for future generations down the track, because the way things are going there’s not going to be much left of anything worth holding onto. “I think people have got to take notice a little bit more and step up a little bit and get a bit more involved to try and right some of the wrongs that are happening day-to-day at the moment.” This, to Noll, includes staying curious and engaged. “Yes, get more educated; become more aware; become more invigorated and get involved more.”

Admittedly, these are unexpected words from a man that has become synonymous with Australian reality TV and who is current riding out a resurgence built on internet meme culture – but perhaps that makes it more of a welcome surprise.

When it comes to his passion, career and plans for the future, Noll says, “to be able to perform live and to do it to the best of my ability – that’s what drives me.”

Shannon Noll plays the Oxford Art Factory on Friday, May 4. Unbroken is out now through Warner Music Australia.