LAST Thursday night William Crighton should have been on stage at the Warners Bay Theatre.
Instead, he was laying in Maitland Hospital hooked up to intravenous drip battling a nasty infection after he had accidently stabbed a tomato stake an inch into his left wrist.
Earlier that day Crighton announced the gig's cancellation by posting on social media, "a bizarre gardening accident has taken place and to ensure I don't go the way of the late Spinal Tap drummer I'll be spending the afternoon here at Maitland Hospital instead of playing a show for you lovely people."
However, the injury proved more serious than first thought. An afternoon at Maitland Hospital turned into four nights and five days due to the nasty infection which depleted the Bellbird singer-songwriter.
It blew all up and it was a dicey little situation there for a little bit.- William Crighton
After suffering the injury Crighton initially visited the Cessnock Hospital for treatment and returned home. But overnight his wrist became badly swollen and his temperature soared.
The next day he visited Maitland Hospital and was placed on IV antibiotics.
"It blew all up and it was a dicey little situation there for a little bit," Crighton said after leaving hospital.
"I'm on the mend now, but it still hurts. I'm on the antibiotics and off the IV. But it certainly saps your body an infection like that."
The Warners Bay Theatre show was to be Crighton's first since the last COVID lockdown and there were fears the wrist injury could cause further cancellations to his tour in support of his latest single Keep Facing The Sunshine.
Just like the positive message behind the track, Crighton has declared he'll be ready to perform on Friday night at Melbourne's Corner Hotel.
"I should be fine to get through a gig," he said. "It's gone down 95 per cent from what it was."
Keep Facing The Sunshine was unveiled last Friday and is the third single released from Crighton's forthcoming third album Water and Dust due out on February 11.
It follows the political rocker My Country and psych-pop ode to Cessnock, This Is Magic.
Crighton and his wife and collaborator Julieanne wrote Keep Facing The Sunshine in a day during a recording session at a studio near Mullumbimby just weeks before the COVID pandemic shut down the music industry, and most of the world, in March 2020.
In a bid to capture the track's spontaneity most of the recording, which also features acclaimed Indigenous artist William Barton on didgeridoo, was also tracked the same day.
Blues-folk maestro Jeff Lang then added his Irish bouzouki the following day.
Crighton describes Keep Facing The Sunshine as "almost a premonition" of what was about the occur with the pandemic.
"The darkness was at bay for a second while we were writing that," Crighton says.
"Even though it deals with coming to terms with life's truths, it is hopeful."
Hope has always been a message that's resonated within Crighton's music ever since he found critical acclaim with his self-titled debut in 2016.
Among the darkness of songs like Priest and Riverina Kid, which deal with child sexual abuse and suicide, Crighton's yearning for love, life and understanding are alive in tracks like Smile, Woman Like You and Love Is Hard To Find.
"I think all of my songs have a bit of hope in them, otherwise it's too depressing," he said.
"Hope is one of those things that hangs around in all of the songs in one way, and I think it definitely has an energy to it."
Lang, an acclaimed guitarist and songwriter and three-time ARIA Award-winner in his own right, appears on every track on Water and Dust and is joining Crighton's band for the tour.
"I've always loved his playing and for a long time I've been thinking of trying to get him in the band, so it was great to have him play on them," Crighton said.
"He brings a whole new element to it, due to his field of reference and his field of playing is so wide and he can draw from all different influences from around the world and he's such a master on his instrument.
"When he's in an environment where you push him and he pushes himself, you really get some inspiring music."
Outside of music and gardening mishaps, Crighton has had plenty keeping him busy with the arrival of his son Jack on August 31. Crighton also has daughters Olive and Abigail.
Even the wrist injury hasn't stopped Crighton from changing nappies since getting home from hospital on Monday.
"No, I was back into that as soon as I got home," he laughed. "I don't mind changing nappies. You've got to do the work in those early years to cement those bonds because that's where you make them. You can build on them later, but now is where you make the bonds."
The new year is also promising to be a dynamic one for the whole Crighton family.
There's several gigs planned for the summer, including Dashville Skyline on February 25 to 27, and Crighton hopes to take the family on a tour overseas, pandemic permitting.
William Crighton plays Dashville on December 10 with Jeff Lang and Imogen Clark and has rescheduled his Warners Bay Theatre show for January 27.