THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2013
Double the country in the Clarence Valley
Country music fans in the NSW Clarence Valley region are in for a double treat this year with the return of the Grafton Fair Dinkum Country Music Round-Up in July and the launch of a new festival – the Clarence Valley Muster – in November.
Designed to showcase the best of Australian country music talent, both events are promising to bring in tourist dollars for local businesses.
The Muster will run over three days during Grafton's Jacaranda Festival from Friday November 1 to Sunday November 3.
Well-known country music industry identity Wendy Gordon is one of four organisers behind the new festival which will be held on her 25-acre property near Ulmarra. She says the idea has been almost three years in the making.
"We've already had very good indication of support from the community and we think this will be very good for the Valley as a whole, helping to promote the area, especially to the grey nomads," Wendy said.
"After a pretty tough year, Grafton and the region really needs something like this to celebrate."
Meanwhile the Grafton Country Music Round-Up has been moved forward and will run from Monday July 29 to Sunday August 4 at a new venue.
"This year, the festival will be held at the dog track," said Bob Vickers, a spokesman for the organisers. "I think the acoustics will be better and there will be plenty of sites available for vans," he said, adding if the demand was there, additional campers could be accommodated at the showgrounds or racetrack.
"The first year we had 32 vans and last year there were 80. If we can bring in 100 this year I'll be more than happy."
Bob said he welcomed the announcement of a new country music event for the region, saying there was more than enough interest for both.
"The more we can promote country music the better," he said. "I hope the new festival goes well."
Artists confirmed so far for the July event include Greg Bain, Alice Benfer, Lynne Bennett, Zeta Burns & Ian Hands, Len & Jeanne Connors, Bob Easter, Bec Hance, Slim Jones, Ken "Chainsaw" Lindsay, Reg Poole, Charmaine Pout, Buddy Thompson and Merv Webster.
Weblink – graftoncountrymusic.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2013
Rise and Shine Queensland
Rise and Shine Queensland is the title of a special tour currently underway in the sunshine state to raise the community spirit of Queenslanders after the severe weather that affected the state earlier this year.
The series of free community events features a range of family activities, a free barbecue and live entertainment with some of Australia’s favourite performers.
The drug and alcohol free events have already visited Biloela, Bundaberg, Gympie and Rockhampton with performances from stars including Sahara Beck, Beccy Cole, Ash Grunwald, Ella Hooper, Gina Jeffreys (pictured), Karma Eebels and Texas Tea.
Upcoming events (in date order) are at...
Gayndah, Friday May 17, at the Gayndah Showgrounds, with Gina Jeffreys, Rachel Koster, Andrew Morris and Sue Ray.
Gatton, Saturday May 18, at the Queensland Uni Gatton Campus, with Halfway, Mental As Anything, Sue Ray and Karl S Williams.
Maryborough, Sunday May 19, at the Maryborough Showgrounds with Halfway, Mental As Anything, Sue Ray and Swing Alive.
Ipswich, Saturday May 25, at Limestone Park, with Deborah Conway, The Jungle Giants, Surfari Krishnas and Classik Nawu.
Tamborine Mountain, Sunday May 26, at Tamborine Mount Sports Association Grounds, with Deborah Conway, James Morrison, Margy Rose and Karl S Williams.
And Gladstone, later this year during the Queensland Music Festival’s 2013 program.
The Rise and Shine Queensland tour is an initiative of the Queensland Government and the Queensland Music Festival and supported by ABC Radio.
TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2013
Lee's new single a tribute to Slim
Lee Kernaghan's latest single from his Beautiful Noise album is Flying With The King, a personal tribute to Australia's late King of Country Slim Dusty.
The release marks the 10th anniversary year of the passing of the iconic Australian country music legend and also comes in the form of a music video.
Flying With The King tells the story of one of Lee's most cherished memories with Slim... the story of an unforgettable Ansett flight from Sydney to Perth in the mid 1990s. Slim, who was by complete co-incidence seated alongside Lee, shared classic stories with him about his life and career.
The release co-incides with the launch of a petition to have Slim's June 13 birthday proclaimed as National Slim Dusty Day and a tribute concert – the Slim Dusty Birthday Bash – at Rooty Hill RSL.
On what would have been his Slim's 86th birthday, artists such including Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey, The McClymonts, Shane Nicholson and The Wolfe Brothers will come together to perform at a special charity event to raise funds for Slim's final legacy, the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey, NSW.
Members of the public are being encouraged to sign the National Slim Dusty Day petition at www.slimdustycentre.com.au.
The Birthday Bash will be hosted by radio identity Ray Hadley and will also provide those attending with a "once in a lifetime" experiences to mingle with the stars.
"Inside each town that I visit, as I tour around this great country of ours, there is an undeniable spirit of Slim Dusty… in my heart, I feel Slim's spirit is still out there… travelling those country miles," Lee said.
Together with the release of the Flying With The King single is the announcement of the upcoming release of the Beautiful Noise – Deluxe Tour Edition with 18 tracks and nine videos on a combined CD/DVD package which will also feature special guest appearances from The Wolfe Brothers and other others.
The special release will be out on Friday, May 24.
Weblink – www.leekernaghan.com.
Chart Update – Zac Brown Band's second week at the top
America's Zac Brown Band hands on to the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with their hit Goodbye In Her Eyes.
O'Shea's Thank You, Angels edges up one place to number two, as does the Troy Cassar-Daley/Craig Campbell duet The Sunshine Club to three while America's Tim McGraw is at four with One Of Those Nights.
Up two places each are The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart to five, Kaylens Rain's Don't Even Go There to six and Paul Costa's Big End Of Town to seven.
America's Carrie Underwood and The Band Perry are at eight and nine, respectively, with Two Black Cadillacs and Better Dig Two while Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Amber Joy Poulton (pictured) with Lovin' Is The Easy Part (15 to 12) and Kristy Cox's I Hate That I Still Love You (18 to 15).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013
Karen's 10th album
This year marks another milestone for Blue Mountains (NSW) singer/songwriter Karen Lynne with the release of her 10th recorded album project Shine Your Light.
Karen's style has spanned country, bluegrass and Australian folk music across the years but has always been rooted in the tradition of the three.
Shine Your Light returns the artist to the heart of bluegrass but also shows a new side to her, that of her faith.
"It is a wonderful example of traditional 'bluegrass gospel' music and sets a new benchmark in Australia," said a spokesman for the artist. "The album was recorded in Nashville at the studios of iconic country singer Tom T Hall and his songwriting and life partner Dixie Hall, following an invitation from them after becoming the first official Australian "Daughter of Bluegrass".
Karen received that honour after contributing a song to the recently released US Pickin' Like A Girl project which has been a landmark in her recording career so far.
On recording in America for the first time, Karen saud: "It was a wonderful experience and yes, I have had a few sly quips from Australian industry people about not supporting our recording industry but hey, I've recorded nine albums here, so if that's not supporting them then I don’t know what is!
And dare I mention that the big Australian record companies have been doing it for years. It's mostly Australian independent artists, not the recording companies, who have been keeping Australian recording studios in business to date and it's not fair to expect them to keep paying the big bucks when they can get a world class product for half the price.
"It's simply good business practice, and besides, in my case, it makes perfect sense to record bluegrass music where they know it best."
For Karen, finally making Shine Your Light has been a lesson in patience. "I have been wanting to make this album for a while, I even went so far as to put a deposit down years ago to ensure that it did happen. I lost that money, some self confidence and a lot of faith in the Australian CM Industry, but as usual I'm never down for long... forgiveness is very liberating and dwelling on the past is just a waste of energy!
"I've made a great record, with the best people and for all the right reasons," Karen said, and she is proud of her 20 plus years in the business.
Weblink – www.karenlynne.com.
FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013
Star line-up for Slim's birthday bash
Hot on the heels of Wednesday's news of the push to have Slim Dusty's birthday proclaimed as Australia's National Slim Dusty Day comes the announcement of a celebration Birthday Bash for the King of Country.
The "bash" will mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of the iconic legend of Australian music and industry friends aren't letting the occasion pass without recognising the milestone and assisting in bringing the multi-award winning artist's dream – the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey – to life.
On what would have been Slim's 86th birthday, artists including Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts and The Wolfe Brothers will come together on Thursday June 13 to perform at a special charity event in aid of raising funds for the Centre.
The Slim Dusty Birthday Bash will be held at Rooty Hill RSL and hosted by radio identity Ray Hadley. The gala event will not only contain memorable one-off performances by some of the biggest names in Australian country music but will also provide those attending with a once-in-a-lifetime experience to mingle with the stars.
"Platinum" corporate tables of eight are available with each table receiving a guitar signed by all the artists performing plus other Australian artists who are unable to be there on the night but who are supporting the on-going program to assist the Slim Dusty Foundation.
In addition to the guitar, each person at a "Platinum" table will receive an autographed album from each of the artists with some of the artists on the bill visiting tables throughout the night. "Gold" tables that provide other special benefits and rewards are also available. An auction of priceless items will be held at the event.
Non-corporate tickets are also available at $120 each as well as other ticketing options on offer. Tickets for the event are now on sale and can be bought by telephoning (02) 9625 5500 or by logging on to rootyhillrsl.com.au.
The event will be linked to multiple clubs around NSW and Queensland via a new system called Clubs Network Live. All licensed clubs are being invited to participate. This will enable people from all over Australia to join in on the night and clubs can run their own events and receive a live feed from Rooty Hill RSL Club to put up on the big screen in their auditoriums.
Fans from the Clubs Live Network will be able to participate in the auction live from their site. Interested clubs are asked to visit www.clubslive.net.au for more information or contact Ben Kelly on 02 9660 6969 or email@example.com.
Weblink – slimdustycentre.com.au.
THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2013
ABC releases Women In Song compilation
The ABC Country record label has released a new compilation album, Women In Song, dubbed "a celebration of great Australian female artists".
Inspired by the Golden Guitar-winning track of the same name, the album "celebrates the brilliance of our great female Australian country music singer/songwriters in all their glory," according to a spokesman for the label.
Women In Song features tracks from leading Australian artists Kirsty Akers, Catherine Britt, Beccy Cole, Dianna Corcoran, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, The McClymonts, Sara Storer, Jasmine Rae, Tamara Stewart and Felicity Urquhart.
Also included is a selection of tracks from up and coming stars Baylou, Kristy Cox, Jayne Denham, Stephanie Jansen, Kristy James, Tracy Killeen, Amber Lawrence and Aleyce Simmonds are also included.
Weblink – shop.abc.net.au.
Taylor down under again
American country superstar Taylor Swift will play another set of dates in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
The visit will be part of her "Red Tour" which is currently selling out in North America.
Australia and New Zealand are the first international markets outside of the USA to be announced for tour and will be the first time in 20 years that a solo female artist had headlined at "stadium" events in Australia (Madonna being the last in 1993).
The shows will play capital cities only... Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Red Tour performances feature two multi-level stages, elaborate costumes, dancers, aerialists and changing sets in a concert event that provides non-stop action and state of the art technology, according to a spokesman for promoters Frontier Touring.
"Taylor constantly moves around the venue and uses different stages, giving every audience member a great seat. Taylor plays electric guitar, banjo, piano and acoustic guitar and changes costumes 10 times over the course of the evening. Her set features several songs from her record-breaking Red album, as well as new takes on several other fan favourites."
The seven-time Grammy winner writes all of her own songs and is the youngest winner in history of the American music industry’s highest honour, the Grammy for Album of the Year. She is the only female artist in music history (and just the fourth artist ever) to twice have an album hit the one million first-week sales figure, and the first artist since the Beatles (and the only female artist in history) to log six or more weeks at number one with three consecutive studio albums.
Taylor has an album on Rolling Stone magazine's prestigious "50 Greatest Albums of All Time By Women" list. Time magazine has named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world and she is Billboard magazine's youngest-ever Woman of the Year.
The young star has career record sales in excess of 26 million albums and 75 million song downloads worldwide and has had singles top both the country and pop radio charts around the globe.
Pre-sale tickets for Taylor's 2013 down under tour will be available via frontiertouring.com/taylorswift this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14 and 15 (or until pre-sale allocation is exhausted).
Weblink – www.taylorswift.com.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2013
Stars unite for National Slim Dusty Day
The campaign centres around a petition which will be presented to members of the nation's Federal Parliament.
Music historian Glenn A Baker said: "Slim Dusty Day is a day to celebrate our musical heritage. Slim Dusty articulated the very essence of Australia for a great many Australians."
With 2013 marking the 10th anniversary of Slim's passing (September 19, 2003), identities from across Australia and around the world have united to pay tribute and support the proposed National Slim Dusty Day initiative.
Stars already backing and supporting the proposal include Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, Ray Hadley, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan, Dick Smith and Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman.
Dick said: "I urge everyone who shares my admiration of Slim, to get behind National Slim Dusty Day, to honour the man who etched our history into song. We must ensure that the legend of Slim Dusty and his Australian story – our story – is never forgotten.
"Slim Dusty is not only the voice of Australian country music, but the voice of the spirit of Australia," said Keith. "I was honoured to not only know him, but to call him a mate. We toured together, we recorded together, and I was forever changed by his passion for the music, the people, and the country he loved so much. Smart as a whip, funny as hell, as loyal as the day is long, and the perfect personification of what an Aussie is all about! Nic and I are both proud to add our voices in support of recognising June 13, nationally, as 'Slim Dusty Day'."
Lee said: "In the steps of Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, Slim Dusty embedded our culture and heritage into history. For over half a century Slim touched our hearts and minds through the music he made and the life he lived. National Slim Dusty Day is a way for all Australians to come together to celebrate our musical heritage, the people's King of Country and the everyday Australians who make our country great."
Australians are asked to register their support seeking the favourable consideration of the Australian Government to mark Slim's birthday – our story – as "National Slim Dusty Day".
The petition can be found here... slimdustycentre.com.au/signupforslim.htm.
The petition is hosted by The Slim Dusty Centre, a unique community project with national significance, primarily developed as a living museum, governed by a trust fund and designed to showcase more than 60 years of recording, performing and touring by Slim Dusty and preserving the valuable Dusty Family collection gathered from Australia throughout his lifetime.
Chart Update – Zac Brown Band at number one
Another foreign act has hit number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week... the Zac Brown Band with their hit Goodbye In Her Eyes.
America's Tim McGraw is at number two with One Of Those Nights while O'Shea is at three with Thank You Angels and the Troy Cassar-Daley/Craig Campbell duet The Sunshine Club is at four.
America's The Band Perry is at five with Better Dig Two, Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is at six and The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart is at seven.
Kaylens Rain's Don't Even Go There bounds into the top 10 at eight, as does Paul Costa's Big End Of Town at nine and Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat is at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Amber Joy Poulton's Lovin' Is The Easy Part (18 to 15).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013
Vale – Greg Quill
Australian born singer/songwriter Greg Quill has died in Canada from complications from pneumonia after suffering health issues for a number of years. He was 66.
Paul Cashmere on Noise11.com reported that guitarist Sam See, who played with Greg in the band Southern Cross, had posted on Facebook: "Very sad to hear of the passing of Greg Quill. A significant hole has been left".
Greg was best known for the hit song Gypsy Queen, a major hit in Australia in 1972. He left Australia in the late '70s, moving to Canada where he was working as the senior arts columnist for The Toronto Star.
He began his career in Sydney in the late '60s, putting Country Radio, his first band, together in 1970.
The group signed to Infinity Records in May 1971 and recorded its debut Listen To The Children. In 1972, Kerryn Tolhurst joined the group and began a songwriting partnership with Greg. Together they wrote Gypsy Queen which reached number 12 on the Australian Top 40 in 1972.
Country Radio also had a second hit with Wintersong in 1973.
Paul further reported a message from Greg's family...
"As many of you know, Greg passed away suddenly... from complications due to pneumonia and a recently diagnosed case of sleep apnea. We appreciate all the messages of sympathy and support. We loved Greg very, very much and it is clear that many of you did too. Thank you for keeping Greg in your thoughts."
Greg died on Sunday afternoon. He is survived by his wife Ellen Davidson, daughter Kaya and a grandson.
New album from Grant Luhrs
This year, renowned country singer/songwriter and funnyman Grant Luhrs, has a new album release.
Full Moon Tonight is Grant's 13th album and he is celebrating with festival performances around the country and radio appearances.
The album features Grant's new single A Farming Man and Take Me To the Backyard which he wrote for the upcoming Australian movie "The Backyard Ashes" which stars Andrew Gilbert, Lex Marinos, Felix Williamson and John Wood.
This past 12 months has seen Grant perform at the Gympie Muster, Batlow Apple Festival, Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Cowell Ute Muster & Country Music Festival, Wagga's Stone The Crows Festival and last weekend's Charters Towers Country Music Festival.
He heads to Canberra this weekend to guest on ABC Radio's Ian McNamara's live show at the Canberra Theatre on Saturday night, Macca's highly-rated radio show "Australia All Over" on Sunday morning and then later that night another of Macca's live shows at Nowra's Shoalhaven Performing Arts Centre.
The Wagga Wagga local follows that up with an appearance at his hometown festival on Friday May 17 and then in October at the Parkes Country Music Festival and the Mary Gilmour Cultural Festival at Ariah Park.
Weblink – www.grantluhrs.com.au.
MONDAY, MAY 6, 2013
Australian ISC winners
Four Australian country writers have been announced as winners in the 2012 International Songwriting Competition.
And Paul Cowderoy, David Carter and Jane E Robertson won the People's Choice Award with their song Coming Home.
Weblink – www.songwritingcompetition.com.
Canterbury Country anniversary
The long-running Canterbury Country at Sydney's Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club will celebrate its 13th birthday this Thursday.
Stephanie Jansen, "Big" Ted Simpson and Ami Williamson (pictured) are the featured acts with Nicki Gillis and Bob Howe playing hosts and backing by the Hillbilly Heaven Band.
The show kicks off in the Club's Starlight Auditorium at 8pm and is free to Club members.
Weblink – www.shownet.com.au/canterburycountry.html.
FRIDAY, MAY 3, 2013
Third Gympie artist announcement
Classic folk/pop group The Seekers head the third artist announcement for this year's Gympie Muster.
In December, The Seekers celebrated 50 years since the four original members – Judith Durham, Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley – first met and performed together.
Also announced as joining the Muster line-up are Busby Marou (pictured), the Australian country duo that has made a big mark on the contemporary music landscape since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2011.
"Busby Marou is a perfect fit for the 'Muster'," according to organisers. "Tom Busby's cheeky on-stage presence and Jeremy Marou's freakish musical ability on all instruments combine to deliver a distinctly Australian way of sharing stories."
Damian Howard, front man and songwriter for The Ploughboys, has also been added to the 2013 artist roster. He recently recorded his second solo album – Out Of My Hands.
Others to join this year's line-up are Muster favourite and recent Golden Guitar winner Peter Denahy, 2012 Gympie Talent Search winner Jessica Jade-Bruce, highly respected musician and singer/songwriter Brendan Radford, 2012 Muster People's Choice Winner Lance Friend, Brisbane party band Kelly's Heroes and America's John Stone.
Marco Gliori returns in 2013 to host the Muster Poets' Breakfast and new to this year's event will be performances from The Muster Ukes (aka the Brisbane Ukulele Music Society) who will also will conduct workshops.
Weblink – www.muster.com.au.
THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013
The legendary Jimmy Little will be honoured at a special show in Moruya on Saturday May 18 as part of the Eurobodalla River of Art Festival on the NSW South Coast.
This rare tribute gig will feature Jimmy's talented grandson James Henry (pictured) as lead singer. James grew up with Jimmy, touring with him and learning his music from a young age. Described as an established indie pop, folk rock singer/songwriter/guitarist, James was nominated in 2004 for Most Promising New Talent at the Deadly Awards.
James will be joined on the night by original band member Cyril Green plus Tony Green on bass and long-time collaborator Kenny Kitching on pedal steel. Guest drummer will be Jimmy's manager Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup from the Angels and Gang Gajang. A special treat will be country music star Emma Hannah on vocals.
Jimmy's original band – the Jimmy Little Trio – was formed in 1963 and consisted of guitarist Cyril Green, Doug Peters on drums and bassist Neville Thorne. They toured for more than 10 years and were the first Aboriginal country music band to release an album, to feature on Australian TV and to perform at the Sydney Opera House.
Jimmy, who died in April last year, performed at Prices Cafe in Moruya and the Moruya Golf Club during his 50 year career.
The May 18 tribute show will be staged from 7:30pm at the Moruya Golf Club, Further information can be obtained by telephoning (02) 4474 2300.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2013
Canberra festival name change
The annual Canberra Country Music Festival has changed its name to Canberra Country Blues & Roots Festival.
And there are good reasons, according to organisers...
"We have always had the full diversity of country with bluegrass, blues, gospel, roots, swing, traditional, contemporary, mountain, country rock, honky tonk, rockabilly and yes, even western," said a Festival spokesman, "but we could not get that message across" especially in the local market.
"Even to local media and more importantly the ACT government who have not financially assisted since we started. Funny how the name change has also widened perceptions and the doors are now opening," the spokesman said.
"Whilst travelling campers knew the scope of the Festival our reviews of the Canberra urban market indicated that they had very limited understanding or interest in what they perceived as a historic country event."
Organisers have also released their first list of performers for the Festival.
Golden Guitar winners Carter & Carter (pictured) have been booked, together with blues singer/player Anni Piper and indie country rock artist Mark Shay.
A highlight of this year's event will be the release of a new album – Heavenly Eyes – by Country Belle of the Yass Valley Louise Saint John.
Mark Shay is also the Festival's official Ute Muster Ambassador.
Weblink – www.canberracountry.com.
TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 2013
Mayworth underway Thursday
Australia's largest line-dancing event – Mayworth: Australian Country Dance Festival – kicks off in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, this Thursday.
Featuring line dancing, clogging, rockabilly, swing, rock & roll "and more" Mayworth dancing and other activities will centre on one the city's major venue, West Tamworth League Club.
As well as the dancing, the festival will have workshops, socials, choreography, demonstrations and vendors all leading up to the Australasian Line Dance Championships.
Special guests this year include Nicola Lafferty from he UK, Rachael McEnaney from America, Niels Poulsen from Denmark and Simon Ward from Australia.
Weblink - www.mayworth.com.au.
Chart Update – Tim's second week at number one
America's Tim McGraw hangs on to the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with his hit One Of Those Nights.
American acts hold down the next two places... The Band Perry at two with Better Dig Two and the Zac Brown Band at three with Goodbye In Her Eyes while Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is steady at four.
Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat is up one to five, Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell is at six with Unglamorous and O'Shea's Thank You, Angels is up two to seven.
The Troy Cassar-Daley/Craig Campbell duet The Sunshine Club is also up two to eight, America's Gary Allan is at nine with Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain) and The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (15 to 12), Natalie Howard (pictured) with Hit The Hay (24 to 21) and Catherine Britt & Tim Rogers with Troubled Man (29 to 25).
New entries to the chart this week include Baylou with Hoedown (in at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2013
Statue fund-raiser for Reg
A fund-raising concert for the proposed Reg Lindsay statue will be held at Sydney's Rooty Hill RSL on Saturday May 11.
Some of Australian country music's favourite entertainers will donate their services to provide a night of music and pay tribute to the legendary artist.
Billed as "A Night With The Stars" the concert is one of a series of concerts and special events devised to pay homage to Reg, a pioneer of Australian country music who plied his craft over four decades at home and overseas.
Leading songwriter Allan Caswell, Tamworth songbird Jodie Crosby and Australia's "honky tonk queen" Wanita (pictured) are part of the star line-up which will also include Bob Morton & the Summerland Kings with Ross McGregor and George Boyer and a special "surprise guest".
During the evening there will be an auction of some exclusive Reg Lindsay memorabilia, including a pair of his stage boots and one of his guitars.
Award-winning photographer John Elliott has also donated a large framed photograph of Reg to be auctioned.
Tickets are $22 and can be purchased from the club by telephoning (02) 9625 5500, or on-line at www.rootyhillrsl.com.au.
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013
Vale – George Jones
American country music pioneer George Jones has died at age 81.
Described as "the definitive country singer of the last half-century" George died today at a hospital in Nashville.
He was hospitalised on April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure, his publicists said in announcing the death.
Jones, who was nicknamed "Possum" for his close-set eyes and pointed nose, and later "No-Show Jones" for the concerts he missed during drinking and drug binges, was a legendary figure in country music. His singing, which was universally respected and just as widely imitated, found vulnerability and doubt behind the cheerful drive of honky-tonk.
From the 1950s into the 21st century, he was a presence on the country charts, and as early as the 1960s, was praised by listeners and fellow musicians as the greatest living country singer. He was never a crossover act; while country fans revered him, pop and rock radio stations ignored him. But by the 1980s, he had come to stand for country tradition.
Country singers through the decades, from Garth Brooks and Randy Travis to Toby Keith and Tim McGraw, learned licks from Jones who never bothered to wear a cowboy hat.
George Glenn Jones was born with a broken arm in Texas on September 12, 1931. His father, a truck driver and pipe fitter, bought George his first guitar when he was nine, and with help from a Sunday school teacher he taught himself to play melodies and chords. As a teenager he sang on the streets, in Pentecostal revival services and in the honky-tonks in the Gulf Coast port of Beaumont. Bus drivers let him ride free if he sang. Soon he was appearing on radio shows, forging a style modeled on Roy Acuff, Lefty Frizzell, Roy and Hank Williams.
Why Baby Why, released in 1955, became his first hit. During the 1950s, he wrote or collaborated on many of his songs but he later gave up songwriting. In the mid-1950s he had a brief fling with rockabilly, recording as Thumper Jones and as Hank Smith. But under his own name he was a country hitmaker. He began singing at the Grand Ole Opry in 1956.
In 1962 he recorded one of his signature songs, She Thinks I Still Care, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Another of his most lasting hits, The Race Is On, appeared in 1964. He was part of the first country concert at Madison Square Garden, a 10-act package in 1964 that also included Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe and Buck Owens. At the first show of four performances, Jones, who had been allotted two songs like the other acts, played five before he was carried offstage.
In April 1980, He Stopped Loving Her Today, a song about a man whose love ends only when his life does, was particularly popular in Australia, and began a resurgence for the star who became a consistent country hitmaker again, with number one songs including Still Doin Time in 1981 and Always Get Lucky With You in 1983.
Until he was critically injured in an accident on March 6, 1999, when his car hit the side of a bridge while he was changing a cassette tape, Jones was performing more than 150 nights a year. A half-empty bottle of vodka was found in the car and he was sentenced to undergo treatment.
George Jones maintained his career into the 21st century, touring steadily and recording. He received a lifetime achievement Grammy Award last year.
In his last years, Jones found himself upholding a traditional sound that had largely disappeared from commercial country radio. "They just shut us off all together at one time," he said in a 2012 conversation with the photographer Alan Mercer."It's not the right way to do these things. You just don't take something as big as what we had and throw it away without regrets."
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2013
Entries extended for Qld Music Awards
Entries for the 2013 Queensland Music Awards have been extended to midnight on Monday (May 6).
Published and unpublished original songwriters are encouraged to enter in a range of categories, including Country, Music Video, Pop, Folk/Singer Songwriter, Schools (Grade 6–12), and Children’s Music.
The judging process for the Queensland Music Awards is a two-tiered process. Music industry professionals comprising of media, managers, A & R representatives, label directors and publishers from around Australia take part, with finalists announced in June. This year also sees the return of The Courier-Mail People's Choice awards, opening to public voting in July.
The awards ceremony itself will take place at the Tivoli Theatre in Bowen Hills on Tuesday August 13, the eve of the Royal Queensland Show People's Day public holiday.
More details and entry information can be found at www.queenslandmusicawards.com.au.
The Queensland Music Awards is produced by QMusic and presented by the Courier-Mail, with support from Mission Australia and APRA|AMCOS.
Photo: Harmony James, last year's Country winner.
TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2013
Kasey and Shane split
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson have separated after eight years of marriage.
The couple, who are long-time music collaborators, have two children together, son Arlo and daughter Poet.
A statement appeared on the pair's joint website this week saying they have been "living apart for some time now".
"However they remain close friends and have a strong family unit," the statement from their management said.
Last year the two released their second collaborative album, Wreck & Ruin, with all 13 tracks credited to both.
Chart Update – Tim takes over the top spot
Tim McGraw – another overseas act – has taken over the number one spot on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with his hit One Of Those Nights.
The Band Perry's Better Dig Two is at number two while this year's Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell is at three with Unglamorous and Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is at four.
America's Gary Allen is at five with Find Me A Baby, Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat is at six and America's Zac Brown Band is at seven with Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain).
The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold is at eight, O'Shea's Thank You, Angels is at nine and Troy Cassar-Daley's duet with Craig Campbell, The Sunshine Club, is at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (16 to 11), Kaylens Rain's Don't Even Go There (17 to 14), Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (18 to 15).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013
Legends prepare to entertain for New Zealand's "Kidney Kids"
On Sunday June 16, five Legends of New Zealand country music – Gray Bartlett, Brendan Dugan, Dennis Marsh, Jodi Vaughan and Paul Walden – will perform at a one night only concert in aid of Kidney Kids of New Zealand, a charitable organisation that supports about a thousand NZ children (and their families) who have kidney disease and/or urinary tract disorders.
Taking place at The Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna, Auckland, the Legends will be joined by an all-star band and support acts. All proceeds will go to Kidney Kids of NZ which provides emotional and practical support to children and their families who live with kidney disease, ranging from minor illness, albeit debilitating, through to end stage renal failure requiring treatment such as dialysis and/or a kidney transplant.
Kidney Kids of NZ say they are thrilled that some of New Zealand’s most iconic country legends have been so eager to get on board. "We're incredibly grateful that these stars have given up their time to perform and to help raise funds for Kidney Kids of NZ," said Acting Chief Executive Keith Mackenzie.
"Most New Zealanders don’t realise how prevalent kidney disease is among children and how quickly it can sneak up on families. Often, the symptoms are mistaken for other things, such as general childhood illnesses and the child simply being out of sorts. Anything we can do to raise awareness of kidney disease as well as bringing in more funds to assist with supporting these children and families will be of enormous value."
The five entertainers involved are all looking forward to helping raise funds for the charity, as well as bringing attention to kidney disease in children, which can have devastating consequences.
"I am really looking forward to this wonderful event for Kidney Kids of NZ," said Gray Bartlett. "To work with such outstanding artists, the very cream of New Zealand's music industry is really an honour. Collectively they have sold millions of records, and played to millions of fans... I can't wait to play at this superb evening concert."
"I am looking forward to being part of the concert as I am aware of what sufferers of kidney disease go through," said Dennis Marsh. "If I am able to contribute anything towards lessening the trauma for kids, I am very happy to do so and look forward to a magic event."
Tickets for the True Legends for Kidney Kids concert can be purchased from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.nz) or via The Bruce Mason Centre.
Award winning country artists to launch new Sydney music venue
Multi Award winning country singer/songwriters Tori Darke and Aleyce Simmonds are joining Roo Arcus and Ben Ransom to create a show that will launch a new music venue in Sydney.
Tori and Aleyce have been dubbed two of the most promising singer/songwriters in the Australian country music industry today while Roo Arcus has been described as one of the finest voices in country and Ben Ransom has a reputation as a "powerhouse performer".
The afternoon launch concert will take place at The King St Brewhouse at The Promenade, King's Street Wharf, Darling Harbour, from 2 o'clock this coming Sunday, April 28.
Last year, Tori achieved chart success on radio nationally, embarked on a successful songwriting trip to Nashville, performed to Australian troops in the Solomon Islands and performed at all the major Australian country music festivals, including a sell-out ticketed show at this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Winning the award for Female Rising Star at the 2011 Independent Country Music Awards of Australia made the masses again stand up and take notice of the 2005 Telstra Road to Tamworth winner Aleyce Simmonds. Gaining three finalist berths at the 2012 Golden Guitar Awards confirmed what many key industry people have been predicting... "Aleyce is a talent not to be ignored".
Both Tori and Aleyce recently performed at CMC Rocks The Hunter alongside America's The Band Perry, Big & Rich, Rascal Flatts, Chris Young and more.
Roo is one of country's "new traditionalists" with a string of awards and Golden Guitar nominations and a new album This Here Cowboy.
The afternoon launch concert will be hosted by Ben whose debut album Slow Burn has just been released including the hit singles Truck Stop Honey and Bourbon & Sunsets.
Weblink – www.kingstbrewhouse.com.au.
FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013
Nominations open For National Indigenous Music Awards
Nominations have opened for the 2013 National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMA).
Billed as "a celebration of Indigenous music that honours contemporary and traditional artists" the NIMAs went national in 2011 and have since been firmly placed at the forefront of recognising excellence in Indigenous music from across the country.
The Awards have been embraced by both the national industry and the wider Indigenous community being seen as a key platform for the celebration of talent from Australia's leading Indigenous musicians and songwriters.
NIMA 2013 promises to build upon this vision and present a special concept show, organisers say, celebrating what has been and what is to come.
Categories are Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, New Talent of the Year, Cover Art of the Year and Film Clip of the Year. And again this year, NIMA will partner with triplej "unearthed" to undertake the only national Indigenous unearthed competition.
"NIMA has come a long way in a short time," said music industry veteran Michael Chugg, "and is exceptional fertile ground for finding and breaking new indigenous artists. NIMA is gathering much respect both nationally and overseas for the professionalism it is bringing to the indigenous music scene."
Northern Territory artists will continue to be awarded and nominations are now also open for School Band, Traditional Music and the G R Burarrawanga Memorial Award.
A new category being introduced this year is the NT Community Music Project Award, a special category to acknowledge the role that music plays in Indigenous communities. This year the genre is "community music clip" where innovation and merit in the musical performance of the video is the major criteria for the award. The Director/Producer does not have to be resident of the Northern Territory.
"These awards are becoming more significant every year," said singer/songwriter Shellie Morris (Best Female Musician 2004 & 2005 NT Music Awards). "It's a great time for Indigenous talent to gain recognition for their efforts. Artists and their management should use this as an opportunity that is knocking on their door right now."
Culminating in a spectacular awards ceremony in Darwin on Saturday August 10, this year's line up of guest artists will represent the past, the present and the future, organisers say, "all with a common thread that promises an emotional musical experience that should not be missed.
"The NIMAs recognise excellence, dedication, innovation and outstanding contribution to the Indigenous Music Industry."
Nominations can be made via nima.musicnt.com.au up until "close of business" on Friday June 15.
The National Indigenous Music Awards are presented by MusicNT in partnership with the NT Government.
Michael heads off for European tour
Golden Guitar winning instrumentalist Michael Fix heads off for an extensive European tour next week after appearing at this weekend's Maleny Music Weekend.
The tour takes in Austria, Germany and Luxembourg and will be followed up later this year (from September) with a return to Europe including a concert in Amsterdam.
Michael is widely acclaimed as one of the world's finest acoustic guitarists. He has won three Golden Guitars and numerous other awards in Australia and tours widely throughout the world, particularly Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
This year, he made his first trip to South Africa where he performed to standing ovations in every venue.
Over the past two decades, Michael has released 13 albums, together with several singles and EPs, and has established himself globally as a leading performer.
His latest release is Time Lines featuring a collection of new pieces inspired by his travels over the past few years as well as experiences closer to home and unique arrangements of some of the songs that have inspired him over the years.
Michael is also an internationally recognised composer whose music features in television shows and documentaries all over the world.
Weblink – www.michaelfix.com.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013
Beccy signs with a new label
Beccy Cole has signed a new record deal and will release her career retrospective album Beccy's Big Hits with new country music label Ambition Country.
"What better way to celebrate 20 years since bursting onto the national country music scene and a 40th birthday than the release of Beccy's Big Hits," a label spokesman said. The album will have 14 of Beccy's most popular tracks and is described by the star herself as "a country music version of a box of Cadbury favourites!"
"From the heartfelt Australian hit Poster Girl, the award-winning duet with Kasey Chambers about a lifelong friendship, Millionaires, to the side-splitting live version of Beccy's divorce song, Lazy Bones, this album is sure to delight Beccy fans old and new."
Over two decades, Beccy has won nine Golden Guitars, two Entertainer of the Year awards, seven songwriting awards, chalked up three gold records and peaked at number one on the radio chart 14 times.
"It's time to release my greatest hits album for what I like to call Act 1," Beccy said, "before I commence the next chapter of my music career with a new studio album I am writing for release in 2014. It's wonderful to put together a collection of songs that have all been part of this wonderful journey and feel so good about looking back and of course looking forward."
The album will be released on Friday May 17 to coincide with a national tour.
Label head Robert Rigby from Ambition Country said: "Beccy is a wonderful songwriter, recording artist and entertainer who we are very proud to have joining us on our new country label. We are thrilled that she chose to be with us. She is a woman who many people admire for believing in who she is and not afraid to say it. She is also an artist with a great sense of humour and we can't wait to help spread the music of Beccy Cole."
Ambition Country is a division of Ambition Music Group and will have the involvement of both Greg Shaw (former manager of Keith Urban) and Brian Harris (former Chairman and Senior Vice President of Warner Music Australasia) who originally signed Keith Urban to EMI when he was Managing Director in the early 1990s.
Weblink – www.beccycole.com.
Bouldy Bush Ballad Bash
Details have been announced for the Bouldy Bush Ballad Bash which will run from Monday May 13 to Sunday May 19 at Bouldercombe, Queensland.
Bouldercombe is on the Burnett Highway half an hour south of Rockhampton.
The Bash will feature walk-up performances until the Friday with bush poets led by Ray Essery and Gary Fogarty to kick in on both Saturday and Sunday mornings and featured guest artists over the weekend including Johnny Greenwood, Sharon Heaslip, Ged & Trudy Hintz, Caitlyn Jamieson, Keith & Alisha, Allan Luscombe, John O'Dea, Reg Poole (pictured).
Other guest artists will include Ally & Rocket, Nell Carter, Ned Dodd, Col Edmonds, Brian Jendra and Ken "Chainsaw" Lindsay
Camping is available with catering provided from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.
Further information can be obtained from Jammo on 0427 731 088. Information on walk-up performances can be obtained from Allan on 0429 130 613. Camping, John & Margaret Staunton on 0427 091 644.
GPS co-ordinates for the event are S 23-34255 E 150-27963.
Click here to download event flyer.
MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2013
The 2013 Widgee Thornside Country Music Muster is on the weekend after next – Friday to Sunday April 26 to 28.
Organised and staged by the Widgee Country Music Club, the Muster is raising money for Queensland Flood Victims and the local community.
It will be held at the original site of the "4KQ Webb Brothers Country Music Muster" from 1982 to 1984, which eventually became the Gympie Muster, at the Webb Brothers Thornside property at Widgee, Queensland, 34 kilometres west of Gympie.
The Webb Brothers started their Muster back after their Golden Guitar for their song Who Put The Roo In The Stew.
Widgee Country Music Club, a not-for-profit organisation, was established in 2012 after a "chat" at the local Widgee General Store (Widgee has a population of some 700).
The first Widgee Muster was held in August last year with the Webb Brothers performing for a crowd of 450 people.
"The response following our stepping stone event was enormous and the disappointment from people who didn't know about our small event and the chance to see the Webb Brother’s perform once again prompted us to hold a larger historical event back at the original Muster site," said a Club spokesman.
Artists appearing at this year's Muster are Glen Albrecht, Adi Burgess, Brett Clarke, Travis Collins, Graeme Connors, Don Costa, Nicole Cross, Jack Deake, Jayne Denham, Neil Duddy, Ray Essery, Gary Fogarty, Sharon Heaslip, Lance Friend, Jade Hurley, Ronnie J, Graeme Jensen, Tania Kernaghan (pictured), Markus Meier, Aidan Patrick, Dean Perrett, Graham Rodger, Ryan Sampson, Terry Simon, Noel Stallard, Mitchell Steele, Stone Crazy, Karen Thomsen, the Webb Brothers, Mike Webb and Paul Wilson.
Students from the Australian Institute of Country Music (AICM) will also perform.
And the event will feature a talent quest which will run non-stop over the weekend. Talent quest enquiries can be directed to Sam Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0403 059 588.
A bush service will run from Gympie to the Muster at various times during the three days.
Tickets and more information can are available from the website www.widgeecountrymusic.com.
Chart Update – third week at the top for The Band Perry
America's The Band Perry are number one for the third week this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their hit Better Dig Two.
This year's Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell is up two to number two with Unglamorouswhile America's Tim McGraw is at three with One Of Those Nights and The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold is up four places to number four.
Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is at five, America's Zac Brown Band is at six with Goodbye In Her Eyes and Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer are at seven with Women In Song.
America's Gary Allan is at eight with Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat is at nine and Jayne Denham's Shelter rounds out the top 10 at 10.
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013
All-star Slim Dusty tribute for Gympie 2013
In its 32nd year running, the Gympie Muster will host a special tribute to the late great Slim Dusty called Missing Slim this August.
The tribute will include James Blundell, Catherine Britt, Jeff Brown, Colin Buchanan, The Bushwackers, Graeme Connors, Anne Kirkpatrick and Sara Storer.
The tribute will join a raft of stars so far announced for the 2013 Muster including Kirsty Akers, Roo Arcus, Luke Austen, Chelsea Basham, The Bostocks, Lou Bradley, Daryl Braithwaite, Adam Brand, Camille & Stuie, Troy Cassar-Daley, Bill Chambers, Greg Champion, Peter Coad & The Coad Sisters, Diana Corcoran, Kristy Cox, Dozzi, Morgan Evans, Forever Road, Bec Hance, Damian Howard & The Ploughboys, Harmony James, Kaylens Rain, Amber Lawrence, Diane Lindsay & Peter Simpson, McAlister Kemp, Mental As Anything, Luke O'Shea, Reg Poole, Rick Price, Graham Rodger, the Round Mountain Girls, Simply Bushed, Tamara Stewart and Jonny Taylor.
In the latest artist announcement, American star country group The Mavericks was announced as appearing together with the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, New Zealand's Topp Twins and America's Kevin Welch.
Also a part of 2013's festivities will be an all-new New Zealand showcase called From Across The Ditch featuring Kaylee Bell, Camille & Stuie, Aly Cook, Tami Neilson, Kylie Price, The Sou'Westers and Billy TK Jnr.
Another special presentation will be On The Road Again: Willie & Roy The Musical, a theatrical tribute.
Bluegrass and bush music to be featured will include the Hillbilly Goats, The Perch Creek Jug Band and Quarry Mountain Dead Rats.
The Muster takes place at the Amamoor Creek State Forest Park south of Gympie from Thursday August 22 to Sunday 25th.
Weblink – www.muster.com.au.
Catherine to support Don
Catherine Britt has been announced as the support act for international star Don McLean on his upcoming tour down under in August.
Catherine will be the support at nine of Don's shows including the first concert in Wollongong on Thursday August 15.
Don is best known for his iconic hit from 1971, American Pie.
Catherine, who has enjoyed success in Australia and America, will miss the Rockhampton and Tweed Heads performances.
THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013
Jason to release debut album
X-Factor runner-up Jason Owen will release his debut album, Life Is A Highway, on Friday, April 26.
Sony Music Australia, who will release the album, say the work marks the start of a new journey for Jason who, at 19 years of age, has moved from his home town of Albert near Dubbo in NSW to Sydney, and is now ready to embrace a full time career as a recording and performing artist.
The songs Jason has chosen for Life Is A Highway are a collection of songs he performed on the X-Factor, mostly with a strong country theme.
The first single from the album is the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton hit Islands In The Steam which he recorded with label-mate and award-winning country star Amber Lawrence.
Jason will join Amber for an upcoming tour which will take in venues as varied as Sydney's Rooty Hill RSL and The Royal Theatre at Castlemaine in Victoria.
Weblink – www.jasonowenofficial.com.
American Hall of Fame inductees
America's Country Music Hall of Fame has announced this year's inductees.
Bobby Bare (left), "Cowboy" Jack Clement (centre) and Kenny Rogers will all be honoured in 2013. Bobby is being inducted un the Veteran Acts category, Jack in the Non-Performer category and Kenny in the Modern Era category.
Bobby had his first hit by accident when he recorded a demo of his song All American Boy for singer Bill Parsons. Fraternity Records liked his version better and put it out under Parsons' name. In 1962, he signed with RCA and had his first country hit, Shame On Me, that same year.
Over the next two decades, he would score numerous country hits including Detroit City, 500 Miles Away From Home (both of which crossed to the pop top 20), Daddy What If and his only chart topper, Marie Laveau.
"Cowboy" Jack is a recording artist but his biggest impact was as a producer and executive. Jack found and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records, wrote hits for Johnny Cash (Ballad Of A Teenage Queen, Guess Things Happen That Way), owned the publishing company Jack Music and was a high profile producer for RCA where much of the country world recorded during the 1960s.
Kenny started his career in the 1950s as a rockabilly performer and, in the early '60s, as a member of The Bobby Doyle Trio and The New Christy Minstrels. In 1967, he formed The First Edition and went on to have hits like Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town and But You Know I Love You. Going solo in 1976, he scored a long list of chart toppers in both country and pop including Lucille,The Gambler, She Believes In Me, You Decorated My Life, Coward Of The County and his biggest hit, Lady.
Steve Moore, Chief Executive of the Country Music Association (CMA) which owns the Hall, said: "The highest musical honour achievable for a country music artist or industry leader is to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and these are all outstanding and highly deserving individuals.
"'Cowboy' has been responsible for producing many of the iconic songs in country music. Bobby pioneered the country concept album and was one of the first artists to take the format to Europe, and Kenny's crossover success throughout a lengthy career introduced country music to a much wider audience.
Weblink – www.countrymusichalloffame.org.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2013
Entries open for Australian Independent Music Awards
Entries are now open for the 2013 Australian Independent Music Awards (AIMAs), presented by Musicoz.
"Now is the time to create your profile if you haven't and add all your songs to receive the recognition and exposure you deserve," say Awards organisers, "not to mention the largest prize pool in Australia."
Award winners will be announced in Sydney on Thursday November 7.
Principal sponsor of this year's event is HTC.
Tim Dixon, CEO of the Musicoz Foundation charity, said: "It is fabulous to have HTC come on board and recognise the value of the independent music community in Australia and we look forward to working [them] to maximise the recognition, reach and promotion of all our artists."
HTC Marketing Director Jeremy Matthews said: "This is a truly exciting opportunity for HTC. We see this as a great fit for our brand..."
The Musicoz Foundation is a not for profit organisation. Its charter is to promote and encourage all artists (other than those signed by the four major labels) through an Awards event, songwriting feedback, mentoring programs and education. Musicoz has been promoting independent music from all over Australia since 2000.
Photo: last year's Musicoz Country section winner, Mustered Courage.
Chart Update – The Band Perry hang on to number one
America's The Band Perry hangs on to the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their hit Better Dig Too.
Tim McGraw, another overseas act, is steady at two with One Of Those Nights while the former number one Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer at three and 2013 Toyota Star Maker winner Kaylee Bell up one to number four with Unglamorous.
McAlister Kemp is at five with A Good Idea, The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold is up one to six and Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is up three places to number seven.
America's Gary Allen is steady at eight with Find Me A Baby, as is Jayne Denham at nine with Shelter while America's Zac Brown Band is at 10 with Goodbye In Her Eyes.
Bullet performers for the week include Troy Cassar-Daley's duet with Craig Campbell, The Sunshine Club (18 to 15), O'Shea's Thank You, Angels (20 to 16), The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (22 to 18), Kaylens Rain's Don't Even Go There (23 to 19), Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (24 to 20), Amber Joy Poulton's Lovin' Is The Easy Part (27 to 23), Kristy Cox's I Hate That I Still Love You (28 to 25) and Natalie Howard (pictured) with Lovin' Is The Easy Part (29 to 26).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
TUESDAY, APRIL 9, 2013
First single from Troy and Adam duet album
The Slim Dusty classic Lights On The Hill is the first single from the new duet album – The Great Country Song Book – from Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey due for release on Friday June 14.
"Lights On The Hill is one of my favourite Slim Dusty songs," said Adam. "Coming from a truck driving background and being raised on Slim Dusty records, it was a real honour to get Joy McKean's blessing to record it. The fact that Joy won the first ever Golden Guitar for writing the song just makes it even more special.
"To me, Lights On The Hill is a part of the fabric of our nation," said Troy. The song is "very special to me, and to get to sing it with a mate like Adam Harvey shows our mutual respect for traditional country music. We wanted to pay homage to an iconic man, his wife and her amazing song."
New from Reg
Reg Poole, meanwhile, one of the great storytellers of Australian country music, has released the first single from his upcoming new album.
The three-time Golden Guitar winner and Roll of Renown inductee who has been working in the art of entertainment for almost 40 years received an Order of Australia Medal in 2006 and doesn't seem to be slowing down.
One of Australia's best known bush balladeers, Reg is also a talented award-winning songwriter who has toured throughout Australia many times over.
The new album, Life, is described as a "great cross section of country music performed in traditional Reg Poole manner" and is due for release next month to celebrate the star's 40 years in Australian country music.
Grandpa's Little Girl – the first single – is from the pen of Isla Grant and features the debut of his two year old granddaughter, Macey, singing with her Poppy! Well sort of!!
Weblink – www.regpoole.com.
MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013
Kev wins Australia's richest music award
Golden Guitar winner Kev Carmody has been awarded the most valuable individual music award in Australia... the Australia Council Don Banks Music Award for his outstanding contribution to Australian music.
The award, which is given yearly to one artist over the age of 50, is open to artists of all disciplines, though recent years have seen the areas of classical and jazz music dominate.
Kev's music very much serves as a vessel for stories about his life, indigenous culture and historical themes with a political, religious and socially conscious bent, said a report on themusic.com.au website.
He began using music as a method of presenting essays when enrolled at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (now the University of Southern Queensland) instead of presenting his work in traditional essay form.
It was as a 42-year-old that he released his first album, Pillars Of Society, in 1988. It was quickly heralded as one of the finest protest albums to come from this country and to this day his songs cut deep; they’re unpretentious, sometimes desolate, but never bitter or cantankerous.
His songs are important tales that speak of a shameful history and ought to be used to elicit change in the future.
In 1994, together with another Australian music icon Paul Kelly, Kev win the Heritage Golden Guitar for From Little Things Big Things Grow now an iconic tune for its commercial use as a superannuation advertising theme.
Kedron-Wavell, leading country venue
Brisbane's Kedron-Wavell Services Club is one of country music's best known venues.
The modern, three-level, multi-million dollar complex located in the suburb of Chermside just north of Brisbane and is probably best known outside the Queensland state capital for its involvement with, and support of, Queensland's Champion of Champions for many years.
Apart from that involvement, Kedron-Wavell often features both international and national touring artists and the club says it is proud to host many Brisbane-Only shows.
Upcoming entertainment at Kedron-Wavell includes Adam Brand & Travis Collins, Beccy Cole, Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey, Charlie Landsborough, Songwriters in the Round (with Lyn Bowtell, Michael Bryers and Luke O'Shea, pictured) and John Williamson.
SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2013
Vale – Bev Daniel
Bev Daniel, a long-serving committee member and past president of the Tamworth Songwriters' Association, lost her battle with Motor Neurone Disease yesterday morning.
Close friend and TSA member Wendy Wood said Bev was an amazing woman and with the help of husband Ron virtually ran the Association for many years.
"Not only was she president/membership co-ordinator/publicity officer she was much more more. I was honoured to call her my friend."
A funeral service is due to be held in Nerang (Qld) next week with a memorial service the following week in Bundaberg.
FRIDAY, APRIL 5, 2013
Bob and the band on tour
Led by 2012 Toyota Star Maker Bob, the group also comprises Robbie Long, Dave Carter and Sue Carson, the band is a mixture of vocal harmonies, guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, dobro and percussion.
"A country hall resonates the history of a town from weddings, dances, plays and meetings to weekly martial arts and yoga sessions," Bob said. "It's the place you drive past when you come to town. Just by standing there it represents the generations. From a music stand point they offer great acoustics for our performances. I see no need to leave the memories of these halls in the past. Let's keep making new ones."
"Roo Grass" is the name given to Bob’s style of music and unique sound, not to be described by any well known genres. "His fresh take on Australian country and folk has been performed across Australia and North America," according to a spokesman for the artist, "impressing audiences with a mixture of stories, fun, humour and deep thought, all melded into both traditional and contemporary music."
"Performing in country halls is a great way to bring the Roo Grass Band to rural Australia." Bob said.
"The tour offers an excuse for everyone in town, regardless of age, to have a get-together and share the joy of our music." Robbie Long added. "Our musical influences range from old to new, so playing in century-old halls in 2013 seems perfect to us."
Bob kick-started his already extensive career after winning the 2012 Toyota Star Maker competition, the most prestigious country music talent search in Australasia.
"I have wanted to do a tour like this for a long time," he said, "but the reality of getting a band around the country at the moment is something else all-together. If it were not for Toyota's massive contribution of a new Prado as our official vehicle this tour would still be a dream. It's a great show of support for Aussie country music and rural Australia."
Over the years, Bob has produced five award winning albums, undertaken four national tours and performed at many major music festivals in Australia and the USA. He has scored three Golden Guitar finalist nominations and won nine Newcastle ABC Radio Music Awards.
Five dollars from every ticket purchased for concerts during the tour will be donated to Melanoma Institute Australia.
Weblink – www.bobcorbett.com.au.
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
Round Mountain Girls' album launch
Fresh from career defining shows at two of Australia's premier festivals, RMG are heading back to their home patch to launch their third original studio album title Getting There Is Only Halfway Back.
Demand for the band's live performances at the recent Bluesfest and Port Fairy Folk Festivals saw them play to sell-out crowds, adding to their growing national profile. Having scooped a "Best Band" title for the second consecutive year at Tamworth and a Dolphin Award for Best Folk Song, the Round Mountain Girls say they are now ready to offer up what is tipped to be their finest studio effort to date.
The new 11 track album features cameo performances from Felicity Urquhart on vocals and Jack Thompson, one of the nation's most beloved actors, on harmonica.
Support acts for the launch night will include Mat Brooker, Mr Cassidy and Scott Owen and his wife Emilie. MC for the night will be Pixie Jenkins.
Weblink – www.roundmountaingirls.com.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 2013
We The Ghosts win Urban Country battle of the bands
Southeast Queensland band We The Ghosts have won the Urban Country Music Festival's Play the Main Stage YouTube competition by 42 views.
The competition, which closed at midnight on March 29, saw We The Ghosts YouTube video rack up 1653 views with Penny Rides Shotgun a close second with 1611 views. Sinister Obsession, the third semi-finalist, accumulated 362 views.
We The Ghosts is made up of John Cesar on vocals, Alex Tomlins on guitar and Alex's twin brothers Nic on bass and Jake on drums. Band members say they are looking forward to accepting their prize, opening the Main Concert at the Urban Country Music Festival on Saturday May 4.
"The whole band is really excited about winning the competition and playing the main stage this year," said Alex. "We are all really grateful and humbled by the chance to play the main stage of a festival which is in our backyard. It was a pretty good race to get the views up... well done to all the other artists but we just got there in the end thanks to our amazing fans and friends!"
We The Ghosts will open the Main Concert for country music greats Troy Cassar-Daley. Lee Kernaghan and John Williamson as well as the Chelsea Basham, 2013 Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell and Amber Lawrence.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the popular Urban Country Music Festival which will run from Friday to Sunday May 3 to 5.
In addition to the Main Concert, the Festival includes the Urban Rodeo and Tribute Show, the Urban Blaze Concert and Beaut Ute Show as well as performances at the McCormicks Songwriters' Cafe, Village Stage and Village Hotel.
Country music icon John Williamson says he is looking forward to his appearance at the 10th annual festival.
"It's great to know that the Urban Country Music Festival has survived this long," he said. "Col Watson, Musician of the Year at Tamworth, and I are looking forward to bringing my old and new songs to the enthusiastic crowd.
"As I am always writing new material, I promise some surprises!"
As for We The Ghosts, they are looking forward to showcasing their own material at the concert.
"The win represents a chance for the band to get our music out to a much wider audience than we would ever normally have a chance to," said Alex.
Weblink – www.urbancountry.com.au.
Leading Australian independent country music artist Nicki Gillis has achieved immortality after having her music added to the Australian Music Collection of the National Film & Sound Archive in Canberra.
At the National Folk Festival in Canberra in late March, Australian music legend (and fellow LockHouse Productions artist) Frank Ifield presented Nicki's album collection to the Curator of the Collection, Graham McDonald.
"It is so nice to receive Nicki's albums," Graham said, "she really has made a name for herself here and overseas in the last few years. These will be a wonderful addition to the national collection."
Including the albums Lucy's Daughter, On The Mountain and Woman Of Substance, the EP Always On My Mind and single I Remember You (with Frank) the CDs will be kept forever in the Archive.
Frank was at the National Folk Festival with LockHouse Productions Managing Director Tracy Dann to present a spoken word show where he tells stories from his career as a massive pop star interspersed with songs that are meaningful for him being sung by contemporary artists. The show at the festival and another one at the National Library of Australia both played to full houses and were organised by Rob Willis from the National Library.
Nicki, meanwhile, is preparing for her fifth UK tour in June this year which will also include a short leg into Germany where her single The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan has experienced remarkable success. She will return to Australia in July with her new stage show "Nicki Gillis – All Woman which will be hitting the theatre circuit.
Photo: Frank Ifield presents Nicki Gillis CDs to Graham McDonald, Curator of the Australian Music Collection at the National Film and Sound Archive.
Weblink – www.nickigillis.com.
Chart Update – The Band Perry takes over at number one
For the first time in quite a while an overseas act has topped Australia's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with The Band Perry's Better Dig Too at number one this week.
Another overseas act, Tim McGraw, is at two with One Of Those Nights while the number one for the last four weeks – Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer – is at three and McAlister Kemp are up two to number four with A Good Idea.
Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous is also up two to number five, America's Josh Turner is at six with Find Me A Baby and The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold edges up one to seven.
America's Gary Allen is at eight with Find Me A Baby, Jayne Denham's Shelter is new in the top 10 at nine while Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way is also new in the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include O'Shea's Thank You, Angels (23 to 20), The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (25 to 22), Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (27 to 24) and Amber Joy Poulton's Lovin' Is The Easy Part (30 to 27).
New entries to the chart this week include Kristy Cox with I Hate That I Still Love You and Natalie Howard with Lovin' Is The Easy Part (at 29).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2013
Vale – Ernie Bridge
"The Singing Politician" Ernie Bridge has died at age 76 after a battle with asbestosis and mesothelioma.
The former stockman, politician and country music recording artist hailed from the far north Kimberley region of Western Australia and served as a state member of parliament from 1980 until 2001, first as a member of the Australian Labor Party (until 1996) then as an independent.
Ernie's part time country music career saw him release five solo albums, most via the EMI label... Sings Kimberly Favourites (in 1979), Helicopter Ringer (1980), Live At The Concert Hall (1982), Sings It Australian (1983) and Great Australian Dream (1990).
He was a regular visitor to country music events, as his political career allowed, including the Tamworth Country Music Festival. He was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 1995.
During his time in Parliament, Ernie served as Minister for Water Resources, Northwest & Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Agriculture & Small Business, and improved the delivery of water to remote towns and communities across the state's north, advocating a pipeline to cart water from the Kimberley to Western Australia's southwest, a proposal later championed by current WA Premier Colin Barnett.
Born in Halls Creek, Ernie launched his political career in 1965 when, at the age of 23, he became President of the Shire of Halls Creek. He became a foundation member of the WA Aboriginal Lands Trust and served as an inaugural member of the Commonwealth Aboriginal Land Fund Commission. He was also called on to serve as a Royal Commissioner inquiring into controversial events at Skull Creek that highlighted problems with relations between Aborigines and the police.
He revisited this work many years later, modernising the initiative, by recruiting and training Aborigines to move into the Police Department, as regular police officers. And he was also pleased to see many of his recommendations implemented, including the first ever recruitment and training of Aboriginal people by the police department to serve as police aides.
After politics, Ernie established the not-for-profit Unity of First People of Australia organisation to run programs that prepared Aboriginal people for employment and to promote healthy lifestyles in remote regions. His work with indigenous children, which pioneered breakfast programs, had a special focus on diabetes prevention and detection.
This month, he launched Supreme Court action against the State government, the Shire of Ashburton and companies CSR, Midalco, Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting and Angela Bennett's Wright Prospecting, claiming damages for personal injury and loss suffered as a result of contracting diseases including malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis while overseeing the winding down of Wittenoom.
Ernie's wife Mavis predeceased him in 2009. He is survived by their four children Kim, Noel, Cheryl and Beverly.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 27, 2013
Jasmine wins Global Artist Award
America's Country Music Association (CMA) presented international awards to two Australians during the recent CMC (Country Music Channel) Rocks The Hunter.
Jasmine Rae was presented with the Global Country Artist Award while David Burton received the CMA's International Country Broadcaster Award.
Jasmine has one of the fastest rising careers of any local artist in Australia. Her debut album Look it Up yielded three number one singles, and she was the first locally-based country artist to achieve one million song plays on MySpace. The CMA Global Country Artist Award recognises outstanding achievements by a country music artist in both furthering the popularity of country music and bringing attention to the country music format in their foreign based territory.
David has been an on-air country radio personality in Australia for the last nine years. Based in Toowoomba, he appears on country station 4GR where he is responsible for the programming and content of that station and all other country stations for Southern Cross Australia, one of the country's biggest radio networks.
The CMA International Country Broadcaster Award recognises outstanding achievement by radio broadcasters outside the United States who have made important contributions for the development of country music in their country.
New from Keith
Keith Urban has been working on a new album in recent weeks, set to be his first release of new music since Get Closer in 2010.
"I've been here [in Nashville] for the last four days, in the studio every day, back in again today. Then I leave to head back out to LA tomorrow," Keith told USA Today.
"It's taking a long time, mostly because I'm working with people I've never worked with before. Most of the length of time on this record has been, simply, people's schedules, and not just my own. When you work with one producer, you can block out your time and your album's finished. Working with various people, I've been at the mercy of [lining up] everybody else's schedules and mine," Keith said.
Although the forthcoming album won't be complete by the time his "Light the Fuse Tour" commences in July, Keith revealed that fans would likely hear new music at the shows.
"Even if the record is not out at the beginning of the tour, we will be doing songs off the new album on the tour," he said. "So, in a strange happening, we may end up playing songs that people haven’t heard yet. So the first time you’ll hear them will be live."
The American leg of the tour is set to kick off on Thursday July 18 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Weblink – www.keithurban.net.
Chart Update – fourth week at the top for Tamara, Felicity & Sara
The hit Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer scores its fourth week at the top of the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.
The overseas influence remains for the next four places with a slight change in order... The Band Perry with Better Dig Two at number two, Tim McGraw with One Of Those Nights at three, Josh Turner with Find Me A Baby at four and Brad Paisley with Southern Comfort Zone at five
McAlister Kemp are steady at six with A Good Idea and Kaylee Bell jumps two places to seven with Unglamorous.
The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold is also up two places to eight while two more American acts, Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea and Gary Allen are at nine and 10, respectively, with It's Friday and Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain).
Bullet performers for the week include Jayne Denham's Shelter (14 to 11), Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (15 to 12), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat (16 to 13), John Williamson's Prairie Hotel Parachilna (20 to 17), Lee Kernaghan's Ute Me (21 to 18), Troy Cassar-Daley's duet with Craig Campbell, The Sunshine Club (24 to 20), O'Shea's Thank You, Angels (27 to 23), Kaylens Rains' Don't Even Go There (28 to 24), The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (29 to 25) and Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (30 to 27).
New entries to the chart this week include Amber Joy Poulton (pictured) with Lovin' Is The Easy Part (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2013
A big Easter weekend of festivals
The Easter weekend is always a big one for country music with a number of major festivals taking place.
In Queensland, events include Bundaberg's Easter Roundup, Rathdowney's Heritage Festival Bush Poetry Competition and Roma's Easter In The Country.
In NSW, activities include the Coastal Country Music Festival at Nambucca Heads, the Hartwood Campfires & Country Music Festival at Tambar Springs, the Monaro Country Music Muster at Cooma and the Byron Bay Blues Festival.
Canberra has the National Folk Festival and the Smithton Country Music Festival is on in Tasmania.
Dates and links (in most cases) to websites with more information can be found on our Festivals & Events page.
Videos release from Amber
For the first time in her nine-year country music career, Amber Lawrence has released a DVD, simply titled The Videos.
The hour long DVD takes viewers chronologically through Amber's 13 video clips, from the very first I've Got The Blues made in 2005 to the moving Try, and includes the number one hit clips Wrecking Ball, Good Girls and Everybody's A Mess.
In addition to the clips, the DVD includes a number of bonus features, including the documentary 3 – The making of (a behind the scenes look at the making of Amber's 3rd album 3 plus a bloopers reel from the Everybody's A Mess clip and a look at how the special effects were added to Wrecking Ball.
Finally, the DVD finishes with a humorous scene called The Worst Interview billed as "a real interview or is it a set up?"
Amber Lawrence – The Videos is available for purchase online at www.amberlawrence.com.au, via Songland Records (telephone 02 6293 4677, or at Amber's live shows.
MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2013
Morgan wins Country PDA
Newcastle based singer/songwriter Morgan Evans has racked up another career milestone being named winner of the APRA|AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association/Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) Professional Development Award (PDA) in the Country category today.
Morgan's win at the 2007 Telstra Road to Tamworth Grand Final propelled his already fast-rising career into high gear. The prize included a trip to Nashville where he was invited to perform in front of 68,000 fans at the CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival and touring performances with the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Toni Childs, Shannon Noll and Taylor Swift.
In 2008, Morgan received two Golden Guitar finalist nominations, for New Talent of the Year and Video of the Year, and threw himself into a relentless touring schedule. His most current release is a five-track EP titled Live Each Day.
Almost 40 judges were involved in determining the 2013 PDAs choosing eight songwriters and composers from a talented pool of almost 2000 music artists across eight music genres.
"The high calibre of artists entering the PDAs this year has been incredible across all genres," said APRA|AMCOS Chief Executive Brett Cottle.
"It's great to know that through the PDAs we are able to harness and support such a high level of musicianship, creative talent and artistic creativity in this country. I am very confident our winners this year will go on to do great things for the Australian music scene, both at home and abroad."
Each of the eight winners receives an invaluable career boost with $30,000 worth of prizes including $12,000 cash by courtesy of APRA.
Weblink – www.apra-amcos.com.au.
Jonny releases song about domestic violence
Jonny Taylor's new single You'll Never Break Me tells the shocking but true story of an amazing woman who survived against the odds and turned her life around after suffering domestic violence.
"The lyrics create images of love, passion, and unknown addictions that bring the unforeseeable fate of what was ultimately a failed 'Romeo & Juliet' setting in the aggressors mind," according to a spokesman for the artist... "intertwining this tragic circumstance with an upbeat tune the song concludes with a powerful message of hope."
With The Australian Bureau of Statistics recording in 2006 "every week at least one woman is killed by her current of former partner" Jonny said it was vital that people were aware of organisations to better prevent incidents and to know where to turn for help.
In support of the White Ribbon Organisation and other local organisations, Jonny's aim with the single is to raise awareness and fundraise for these charities through donating iTunes profits of the single in the lead up to his album release and provide a communication channel at his single launch.
As winner of the 2013 Best Male Artist award at the WA Country Music Awards, Jonny is already gearing up to hit the road again for another national tour coinciding with the June release of his new album.
Weblink – www.jonnytaylormusic.com.
FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013
Horsham festival on now
The 2013 Horsham Country Music Festival kicked off yesterday and runs through to and including Sunday (March 24).
Guest artists this year are Connie Kis Anderson (pictured), Rick Bartlett, Peter Coad & the Coad Sisters, Laura Downing, Dwayne Elix, The Hoffmans, Trevor Keilar, The Lazy Farmers Sons, Amber Joy Poulton and Tom Routledge & Patsy McCallum.
The program includes a busking competition, walk-up poets, a gospel marathon and a country music spectacular.
Local artists appearing include Big Bad John, Barry Crewther, Doin' Time, Ally Harper, Stephen & Marina Johns, Lois Johnson, Christine Johnston, Cynthia Lawrence and Conrad Winfield.
Weblink – www.horshamcountrymusic.com.au.
Hillbilly Killers announce tour dates
After their successful debut performance at the 2013 Telstra Road To Discovery and a sold out show during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Hillbilly Killers have announced east coast tour dates.
Featuring Bill Chambers (right), Catherine Britt & Tim Rogers (plus friends), The Hillbilly Killers has been two years in the making, a time during which they have been songwriting and completing demos... clearly not a process to be rushed, according to a spokesman for the trio, "but nurtured until the band felt they had a bunch of songs that deserved to see the light of day".
They entered late last year with the first recording – They Call Us The Hillbilly Killers – released online in early January. The single "was met with immediate praise and anticipation of what is to follow," according to the spokesman.
"The band will have available at all shows a 'limited edition' three-track sampler which will be the first official release from the band."
On the sampler will be January's first release plus Calamitied Anatomy and Roadhouse Blues.
Queensland dates which had been planned for May have been postponed and will be rescheduled later in the year.
Follow the band at facebook.com/TheHillbillyKillers.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013
Urban Country to showcase "stars on The Rise"
Five emerging country music artists will have their chance to shine alongside headline acts at the Urban Country Music Festival's main concert on Saturday May 4.
Jesse Davies, Jess Holland, Seleen McAlister (pictured), Sista Burley and Nathan Williams will entertain the crowd on an all-new second stage named The Rise inside the Festival's main concert arena.
The up-and-comers will perform acoustic sets in the breaks between headliners Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, John Williamson and this year's New Talent Golden Guitar winner Chelsea Basham and 2013 Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell.
Troy, who is also the Festival's 2013 Ambassador, has expressed his support for The Rise.
"It's fantastic to see that this year the Festival will be getting behind emerging talent in the country music industry by introducing The Rise stage to the Main Concert," Troy said.
"Music can be a tough industry to crack, and this stage will give these gifted young artists the opportunity to showcase their talents and give country music fans a sneak peek into what the future of country music will look like."
Seleen, who will be launching the first single off her upcoming album Work In Progress on The Rise stage, is looking forward to the event.
"Urban is one of my favourite Festivals," she said. "It's home to me and has really been pivotal in my career. Playing The Rise stage will be exciting, it's a great line-up."
Urban Country's main concert will run from 2.30pm to 11pm on Saturday May 4 at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre, Caboolture.
The Urban Country Music Festival runs from May 3 to 5 and will feature three days of family fun with additional highlights including the Urban Rodeo, Beaut Ute show, free Urban Blaze Concert and the Voice of Urban Country talent search.
Weblink – www.urbancountry.com.au.
Chart Update – third week at number one for Tamara, Felicity & Sara
The hit Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer hangs on to the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for the third week this week.
Overseas acts unusually hold down the next four places on the chart this week... The Band Perry with Better Dig Two at number two, Brad Paisley with Southern Comfort Zone at number three, Tim McGraw with One Of Those Nights at four and Josh Turner at five with Find Me A Baby.
McAlister Kemp jump four places to number six with A Good Idea, America's Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea are at seven with It's Friday and Adam Brand is at eight with I Was Here.
Two new entrants to the top 10 are at nine and 10, respectively... Kaylee Bell with Unglamorous and The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold.
Bullet performers for the week include Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (18 to 15) and Lee Kernaghan's Ute Me (24 to 21).
Only one new entry to the chart this week, Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013
Winners of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Awards were announced in the NSW Hunter Valley at the weekend with The McClymonts taking out the major – Oz Artist of the Year – award.
McAlister Kemp won Oz Video of the Year for Country Proud and rising star Morgan Evans was named New Oz Artist of the Year.
Keith Urban won both the International Artist and the International Video of the Year awards while pioneering ex-patriate Australian duo The Le Garde Twins were presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.
The awards ceremony was staged as part of CMC Rocks The Hunter and featured performances from Baylou, Adam Brand, Travis Collins and Jasmine Rae.
Mark and Jay O'Shea were Awards hosts.
Weblink – www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013
Stephanie wins Spur Award
Frank made the presentation during Canterbury Country in Sydney last night.
The Spur Award is organised in association with the Rotary Club of Galston and Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL.
It was also announced last night that Frank had released Stephanie's single Shoes off her 2012 Australian debut EP Risky to more than a thousand radio stations across the United Kingdom and Europe.
And Stephanie was delighted to hear the news that the single had, on its first week of release, entered the UK and European Country Music Charts debuting at number nine.
Stephanie joins a long list of awardees... Emma Hannah (2012), John Stephan (2011), Johanna Hemara (2010), Nicki Gillis (2009), Kirsty Akers (2008), Karen Lynne (2007), Travis Collins (2006), Stacey Morris (2005), Graham G Toole (2004), Donna Boyd (2003), Wayne Law (2002), Karen O'Shea (2001), Wayne Horsburgh (2000), Melinda Schneider & Michael Carr (1999) and Colin Greatorix (1998).
Photo (by Mark Turnbull): Frank, Stephanie and Tony Page (of Galston Rotary).
Please credit photographer: Mark Turnbull
Weblink – www.stephaniejansen.com.au.
THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2013
CMC Rocks this weekend
The 2013 CMC (Country Music Channel) Rocks The Hunter festival is this weekend at the Hope Estate in the NSW Hunter Valley.
As part of the event, winners of the annual CMC Awards will be announced.
Pre-determined finalists for the main award, Oz Artist of the Year, are... Chelsea Basham, Adam Brand, Doug Bruce, Lachlan Bryan, Catherine Britt, Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Tori Darke, Morgan Evans, The Harmonators, Adam Harvey, Natalie Howard, Harmony James, Jetty Road, Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, McAlister Kemp, The McClymonts, Craig Morrison, Shane Nicholson, Luke O'Shea, O’Shea, Jasmine Rae, Tamara Stewart, The Sunny Cowgirls and John Williamson.
Finalists for New Artist of the Year are... Emma Barlow (pictured), Chelsea Basham, Baylou, The Bostocks, Lachlan Bryan, Busby Marou, Morgan Evans, Benn Gunn, Harry Hookey, Stephanie Jansen, Kaylens Rain, Christie Lamb, Seleen McAlister, Chris E Thomas and Adam Toms.
Winners will be announced in three other categories... Australian Video, International Artist and International Video.
The star line-up of this year's event includes 8 Ball Aitken, The Band Perry, Chelsea Basham, Baylou, Big & Rich, Bluegrass Allstars, Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Dean Brody, Jackie Bristow, Doug Bruce, Cadd & Morris, Travis Collins, Bob Corbett, Tori Darke, Morgan Evans, The Farm, Rascal Flatts, Buddy Goode, Paul Greene, Adam Harvey, Harry Hookey, Jack Ingram, Aaron Jury, Kaylens Rains, Amber Lawrence, the Le Garde Twins, Travis List, Corb Lund, McAlister Kemp, Peter McWhirter, Craig Morrison, David Lee Murphy, Jasmine Rae, Aleyce Simmonds, Mark Wells, The Wolfe Brothers and Chris Young.
Weblink – www.cmcrocks.com.
TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2013
Central Coast Festival "a huge success"
The Central Coast Country Music Festival at the weekend has been hailed "another huge success" by organisers.
The festival is estimated to have injected more than $3million into the local economy with tens of thousands of visitors from coming to the region "to enjoy country music at its best".
Paul Barnes, The Entrance Town Centre Manager, said: "This event is a wonderful boost for the local economy. We are delighted to welcome visitors to our town and the region each year for this event which is now starting to rival other large country music festivals in Australia."
The festival celebrated its 13th year this year.
"It is not only for our local community to enjoy, it is beneficial to the local economy through job creation," he said. "Picture perfect weather for the entire three days saw huge crowds gather on the foreshore of The Entrance and venues were mostly fully booked throughout the weekend. Accommodation properties recorded extremely high occupancy rates."
Major names featuring this year included 2013 Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell, Camille & Stuie, Jetty Road, McAlister Kemp, Craig Morrison, The Pigs, Melinda Schneider, Simply Bushed and the Wolverines.
Other highlights of the weekend included the junior and senior busking competitions which attracted record entries and provided free entertainment through out the township. "Audiences were thrilled with performances on the Sails Stage by Kristy James, Bryce Sainty, line dancing, Liam Brew, Kelly Hope, Christie Lamb and the Brothers 3.
The poet's breakfast on Sunday morning was successful again, as was the Lucky Country Stage in the Bayview Mall hosted by Lucky Starr.
Rob Wilson saw record crowds at The Entrance Surf Club and the weekend wrapped up with the traditional wind-up party on the Sails Stage Sunday night.
Organisers thanked "all the sponsors who made this event possible" especially Wyong Shire Council, the Central Coast Express Advocate, NBN, Macron Music, Radio 2GO,The Grove Studios, Country Music Capital News and The Entrance Town Centre Management.
Chart Update – Tamara, Felicity & Sara still at the top
The hit Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer remains at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.
America's The Band Perry and Brad Paisley are at two and three, respectively, with Better Dig Two and Southern Comfort Zone and Catherine Britt's former number one Charlestown Road is at four.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life is steady at five, Adam Brand's I Was Here is at six and America's Tim McGraw is at seven with One Of Those Nights.
Another two overseas acts – Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea and Josh Turner are at eight and nine, respectively, It's Friday and Find Me A Baby and McAlister Kemp enter the top 10 at 10 with A Good Idea.
Bullet performers for the week include The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (16 to 13), Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (22 to 18) and Troy Cassar-Daley & Craig Campbell's The Sunshine Club 29 to 25).
New entries to the chart this week include Kaylens Rains (pictured) with Don't Even Go There (new at 28), O'Shea's Thank You, Angels (at 29) and The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
FRIDAY, MARCH 8, 2013
New from The McMenamins
Sand And Stone is the title of the fourth album from far north Queensland folk/alt-country duo The McMenamins released today.
"In their own quiet way, siblings Fleur and Simon McMenamin are monster talents," said a spokesman for the artists.
"With a recent invitation to perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest topping off a period that has seen appearances at major festivals such as the International Folk Alliance in Memphis and Queensland’s BIGSOUND, attention-grabbing tours of North America and rave critical reviews, The McMenamins seem set to cement their place in the global folk market."
The songs on Sand And Stone extend across European and North American roots forms, the spokesman said, while still retaining an over-arching harmony. "There are echoes of Americana here, of southern states spirituals, of Irish folk and, underpinning it all, a sensibility that grows from a very Australian understanding of time and place."
"I feel that our music has evolved a lot since we released our first, self-titled album in 2005," said Fleur. "I think we've really started to find our own sound. We've become clearer in the sort of music we want to make. I think the sound of The McMenamins is settling into its own place now."
A place, Fleur said, informed by a very strong regard for family, ancestry and geography. Fleur and Simon both live in small towns in far north Queensland, with their respective partners and children. Family life, community and, as Fleur puts it, "the cycle of the harvest", underpin the music on the new 11-track album.
Sand And Stone was recorded at Applewood Lane Studios, an old converted chapel near Brisbane (owned by multi ARIA Award winning producer Magoo). The album was engineered and mixed by Benjamin McCarthy who co-produced with Fleur. All songs were written by Fleur and Simon, who were joined by Benjamin McCarthy on piano, electric bass and percussion and Steve Pope on drums.
Weblink – www.themacswebsite.com.
News has come through of winners in this year's Western Australia Country Music Awards.
Sponsored by Go for 2&5, the Awards were held as part of this year's Boyup Brook Country Music Festival.
Best Male Artist was taken out by Jonny Taylor while Kate Linke won the Best Female Artist award (both pictured).
Jonny also won Independent Single Of The Year with Never Look Back.
John Bennett won Independent Album Of The Year with his self-titled release.
Spoonful Of Sugar took home the Best Group or Duo award and, Karin Page won Best New Talent and Jennifer Renee was named Best Teen Vocalist.
Jennifer also won Best Junior Songwriter with My Little Nightingale.
Wise Up by Ruby Boots won Video Clip of the Year (production by Paul Komandina).
Terry Bennetts & Keith Lethbridge won the Senior Songwriter award with Little Irish Mother with Derry Doyle runner-up with Ballad Of Mary Johnston.
THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2013
APRA PDA finalists
Lachlan Bryan, Brad Butcher, Peter Denahy, Morgan Evans and Matt Scullion (pictured) have been announced as finalists for the 2013 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Country Professional Development Award (PDA).
Two other country acts – Nathan Lamont and Warren H Williams – are among the finalists for the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander PDA.
A total of 36 songwriters and composers have been announced as finalists in the Awards and are now one step closer to winning. The other genre awards are Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Classical, Film & Television, Jazz and Popular Contemporary.
A panel of high profile judges, including Troy Cassar-Daley, has given their initial verdict to arrive at the list of composers who are in the running to receive one of eight PDAs when they are announced on Monday, March 25.
With a total prize pool value of $240,000, this year's winners will take home a life-changing package to the value of $30,000 including $12,000 cash courtesy of APRA.
Winners will also receive a "Music Industry Consultancy Package" that involves one-on-one sessions with managers, publishers and music industry business teams.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2013
ACE Awards finalists
Finalists in the 15th annual ACE (Australian Club Entertainment) Awards have been announced.
For the Country Performer award, finalists are Adam Brand, Kel-Anne Brandt (pictured), Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Melinda Schneider and John Williamson.
For Country Group award, the finalists are Buckshot, Feral Swing Katz, Bob Howe & Hillbilly Heaven, The McClymonts, The Sunny Cowgirls and the Wolverines.
Perennial favourite Darren Carr, who has a big following in country music circles, is again up for a number of awards... Sight Act, Versatile Variety Artist, Comedy Act and the big one, Club Performer of the Year.
Winners will be announced at The Juniors, Kingsford (Sydney) on Wednesday, March 20.
Weblink – www.aceawards.com.au.
'MO' Awards finalists
And finalists for the 2013 'MO' (or Australian Entertainment) Awards have also been announced.
For Country Act of the Year, the finalists are Kel-Anne Brandt, Beccy Cole, Nikki Gillis, Wayne Horsburgh (pictured), The McClymonts and Melinda Schneider.
Other finalists of country interest include Aubrey & Martin (finalists for Best Harmony Vocal Group), Darren Carr (finalist for Best Specialty Act, Best Versatile/Variety Act, Stand-Up Comedian of the Year and Comedy Act of the Year, Cate (finalists for Best Harmony Vocal Group) and Bob Howe (finalist for Best Versatile/Variety Act).
Finalists for this year's 'MO' Hall of Fame induction are Lonnie Lee, Reg Lindsay, Kenny Kitching, Geoff Mack and Noel Talbot.
'MO' Award winners will be announced in Sydney on Tuesday, May 28.
Weblink – www.moawards.com.
TUESDAY, MARCH 5, 2013
Central Coast festival this weekend
Organisers of this weekend's Central Coast Country Music Festival in NSW are expecting crowds in the order of 40,000 plus over the event's three days.
The 13th annual Festival will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Entrance.
It's estimated that more than 45,000 people from all over NSW and interstate enjoyed the three day festival last year.
Entertainment will be held at Memorial Park as well as at local venues within the Wyong Shire and Gosford City with most shows being free attendance.
The weekend’s line up includes Camille & Stuie (pictured) , Jetty Road, McAlister Kemp, Craig Morrison, The Pigs, Melinda Schneider, Simply Bushed, the Wolverines and 2013 Toyota Star maker winner Kaylee Bell.
"These artists will perform free concerts on the Memorial Park Stage," said a spokesman for the organisers. "Other country artists will be performing on The Entrance Sails Stage, The Entrance Surf Club and The Lucky Country Stage hosted by Lucky Starr in the Bayview Mall over the weekend."
Other inclusions in this year's festival are the Poet's Breakfast, Busking Competition, line dancing displays, stalls and amusement rides.
Further information can be obtained from The Entrance Town Centre Management on 1800 335 377 or via the website: www.theentrance.org.
Chart Update – Tamara, Felicity & Sara at number one
The hit song Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer has bumped Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road from the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.
Catherine's former number one drops to second place while Doug Bruce's Made That Way is at three and America's Brad Paisley is at four with Southern Comfort Zone.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life is at five, America's The Band Perry is at six with Better Dig Two and Adam Brand's I Was Here is steady at seven.
O'Shea's The Swimming Song is at eight, America's Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea and Josh Turner are at nine and 10, respectively, with It's Friday and Find Me A Baby.
Bullet performers for the week include McAlister Kemp's A Good Idea (16 to 12), Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous (17 to 14), The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (19 to 16), Jayne Denham's Shelter (20 to 17), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat (23 to 19), The Wolfe Brothers' It's On (24 to 20), Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (25 to 22), John Williamson's Prairie Hotel Parochial (26 to 23) and Lee Forster's Quiet Night In (30 to 27).
New entries to the chart this week include Lee Kernaghan's Ute Me (new at 28) and Troy Cassar-Daley & Craig Campbell's The Sunshine Club (at 29).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, MARCH 4, 2013
Graeme releases homage to "the great Australian singer/songwriters"
After 35 years and 16 albums filled almost exclusively with his own work, multi-award winning Queensland singer/songwriter Graeme Connors has chosen to break the mould and release an album entirely devoted to the works of others.
The album, Kindred Spirit, comprises 12 reinterpretations of songs originally written by 16 Australian singer-songwriters. The songs, chosen through extensive consultation with Graeme's friend rock historian Glenn A Baker, range from the well-known to the obscure. They were penned by a wide variety of writers, from household names to newcomers.
Selecting the songs took more than 12 months, Graeme said, and their provenance didn't matter. "They just had to be great songs," he said. "Not hit songs, necessarily, but great songs. They had to be songs that have a sense of Australianness, without being too overt about it – and they had to speak to me – their subject matter had to resonate personally."
Diligent research by Graeme, Glenn and several of their musical friends, unearthed some "absolute beauties" including rare gems co-written by Brian Cadd, Paul Kelly and Broderick Smith. John J Francis's 1970s classic Play Mumma Play receives a reworking, as does Shane Howard's Flesh And Blood, Glenn Cardier's She Flew Away and Richard Clapton's Capricorn Dancer.
Kindred Spirit also contains fresh discoveries in the form of under-appreciated songs from boutique songwriters like Brian Baker, Paul Greene, Sam Hawksley and "master craftsmen" like Kevin Johnson who had a huge hit in the '70s with his signature Rock'n'Roll (I Gave You All The Best Years Of My Life).
One song, The Love I Leave Behind, was written especially for the project by country music powerhouse team Allan Caswell and Drew McAlister. Released recently as an album taster, the song quickly started chart topping reaching number two on the National Country Tracks Singles Chart.
It was described as "a sweet achievement for Graeme" demonstrating that, a quarter century after his breakthrough hit A Little Further North smashed the Aussie charts, his instincts when it comes to great songs are still well and truly intact.
"There's a prevailing attitude in the music industry today that a singer must be involved in the writing of every song he or she performs," Graeme said. "I don't think that’s particularly healthy. In golden periods of the music industry, singers – even singer/songwriters – regularly performed other people's songs.
"It was about doing the best version, the definitive version of a song, regardless of who wrote it. Some people have a gift for songwriting and some have a gift for interpretation. Some do both equally well though naturally there is often an ebb and flow between the two. Think Harry Nilsson and Frank Sinatra! One was an amazing singer songwriter whose greatest success came with other's songs, and the other never wrote a song in his life, but, both of them were incredible interpreters."
Kindred Spirit finds Graeme teaming up again with talented producer Matt Fell at Sydney's Love Hz studio. Matt produced Graeme's previous two albums – Still Walking (2010) and Speed Of Life (2011) – and the pair have developed a deep and trusting creative partnership, despite being, as Graeme observes "one to two generations apart".
Joining Graeme and Matt in the studio was "a distinguished cast of performers", many of whom featured on the past two albums. They included Rod McCormack (guitar, banjo), Bill Risby (piano), Michel Rose (pedal steel), Josh Schuberth (drums), Tim Wedde (keyboards) and Suzy Connolly and Darren Percival on backing vocals.
The album was recorded over a three month period in sporadic two week blocks. In between sessions, Graeme was either on the road performing or back home in the North Queensland town of Mackay where he helps out with the family business. "My life at home is very busy," he said. "We have a very successful family restaurant and catering business.
"One of our sons is the chef and creative force behind the restaurant, my wife Lyn is the business manager, and, well, I take care of the alcohol. I'm kind of an honourary sommelier. I used to regard going into the studio or on the road as work – now it’s more like a holiday!"
Kindred Spirit includes an eight page insert containing an educative and entertaining essay by Glenn A Baker, in which the historian not only summarises Graeme's career to date but also provides fascinating detail on the songwriters.
Weblink – www.graemeconnors.com.
FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2013
Album collaboration for Troy and Adam
Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey have announced they will release a collaborative album in June.
Titled The Great Country Songbook, the album is scheduled to be released on Friday June 14 and will be followed by a joint national tour by the two stars from August.
The project has been described as one of the most exciting country music ventures of the year while the songs on the album are described as "a collection of timeless country music classics, some sung individually and others as duets".
Renowned for their showmanship and engaging live performances, Troy and Adam have earned the respect of their peers and fans alike for their vocals, musicianship, songwriting skills and their individual record releases.
Over the years, Troy and Adam have become great friends, and it was out of that bond (plus the odd jam session now and then) came the decision for the two to get together and hit the road at least once a year to perform their favourite country classic tracks for their fans.
It has not been easy for the two to juggle their diaries and make the project happen, according to a spokesman for the artists, but somehow they have managed.
"Although often rivals when it comes to music industry awards, you only have see Troy and Adam on stage together with their witty banter and genuine admiration for each other's talent and music to realise their commitment to the country music industry and its fans," the spokesman said.
"You get a real understanding how the friendship has flourished. [And] once you've seen their show, you'd also understand why after being asked by every second person during the after-show signings when they were going to produce an album with all the songs they enjoyed belting out to eager crowds nightly, Troy and Adam decided the time was right now."
The Great Country Songbook is described as "top-heavy" with the pair's biggest personal influences: "Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Hank Williams, Glen Campbell, and Aussie country icon Slim Dusty. Simply, all the songs they both could not live without included on their first ever, highly anticipated combined album".
Included is a medley of Thank God I'm a Country Boy, On The Road Again and Before The Next Teardrop Falls, which has just been released as a forerunner to the new album.
Aussies among international song comp finalists
A number of Australian writers feature among the just announced finalists in the 2012 International Songwriting Competition (ISC).
Leading the charge are Kirsty Akers (pictured), Lee Bowman, Paula Bowman, Julian Sammut, Simon Ross & Jason McCoy, Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Cowderoy, David Carter & Jane E Robertson up for the Country section gong.
Kirsty's finalist song is It Gets Me, Lee, Paula, Julian Simon & Jason (aka Jetty Road) are there with their hit I'm A Dreamer, Troy made the cut with his song Home while Paul, David & Jane are featured with their composition Coming Home.
Also featured in the competition finals, in the Americana section, are Catherine Britt, Matt Ellis, David Garnham, Kieran Glasgow and Harry Hookey... Catherine for her songs All I Recall and Sally Bones, Matt for Dangers Of The Night, David for Love Inside A Jar, Kieran for Learn Those Lessons and Harry for Audrey's Song.
Harry is also among the finalists in the Unsigned Only category with his song Misdiagnosed, as is Luke O'Shea with his song Same Small Town.
The International Songwriting Contest experienced a huge increase in entries in 2012, according to a spokesman, receiving more than 20,000 entries in 22 categories of contemporary music from 119 countries worldwide.
These were narrowed down to 324 finalists who hail from 45 countries throughout the world, from Pakistan to Latvia, from Ecuador to Tanzania, from Trinidad to Ukraine, and everywhere in between.
The finalist songs have now been sent to the panel of ISC judges who will select the final winners who will be announced in April.
In addition to the judged winners, the ISC opens voting to the public to pick their favourite song. Voting – at www.facebook.com/internationalsongwritingcompetition, is open this month only.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2013
Songs, stories and singers
The Songs, The Stories, The Singers is the name of a special "songwriters in the round" collaboration by three of Australia's most entertaining and awarded songwriters.
Lyn Bowtell, Michael Bryers and Luke O'Shea take to the stage together this Saturday at the Capella Cultural Centre as part of a Queensland-wide tour, with nothing more than a song and a guitar.
Lyn is a two times Golden Guitar winner and Star Maker winner, Michael has won numerous awards, including for new talent and as a "new songwriter) while Luke has had substantial recent success including winning a Golden Guitar this January.
The three tell the stories behind their songs and deliver them in "a most intimate setting".
"The audience will be taken on a journey of laughter, imagination and sadness, as each artist relates the stories and inspiration behind the songs, before performing them live," according to a spokesman for the three.
"The 'Songwriters In The Round' show plays to full houses at the Tamworth Festival each year, as well as a weekly show at Menai and Rooty Hill RSL in Sydney, but this is the first time the songwriters have taken the show 'on the road'.
"If you love great original music from some of Australia's most respected songwriters and singers, this is an experience not to be missed."
Weblink – www.songwritersintheround.com.au.
First artists announced for Gympie 2013
Organisers of the Gympie Music Muster have announced the first round of artists for this year's event.
In alphabetical order, they are Roo Arcus, Chelsea Basham, James Blundell, The Bostocks, Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Troy Cassar-Daley, The Casuarinas, Graeme Connors (pictured), Kaylens Rain, Anne Kirkpatrick, Amber Lawrence, The Mavericks, Mental As Anything, Graham Rodger, Reg Poole, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Tamara Stewart, Sara Storer, the Topp Twins, Kevin Welch and The Wilson Pickers.
The Muster will run on it's own dedicated site at Amamoor, near Gympie, from Tuesday to Sunday August 22 to 25.
Weblink – www.muster.com.au.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2013
New from Ted
Stalwart of the independent Australian country music scene Ted Simpson has released his first solo album Runaway Train.
Well known for his 14 years and two albums with the band Tall Timbre, Ted says all 11 songs on Runaway Train are all meaningful to him.
Ted plans to continue performing with Tall Timbre but has released this album as a solo project as it is something he has always wanted to do.
With some of Australia's best country musicians featured on the recording – Stuie French, Jake Lardot, Ian Lees, Michel Rose and Glenn Wilson, "this album is sure to be a popular buy for all country music fans."
From the title track, written by Aussie rock legend Russell Morris, through to the "chugging" self-penned Outback Girl "the album takes you on a journey of reflection and retrospectivity," the spokesman said, "an ideal album for chilling out at home or calming the nerves in the morning or afternoon traffic."
The first single from the album is the title track which has been distributed to media.
Weblink – www.talltimbre.com.
Chart Update – Catherine continues to dominate
Catherine Britt's latest hit Charlestown Road sits at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the six straight week.
Doug Bruce and O'Shea are steady at two and three, respectively, with Made That Way and The Swimming Song while Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer jump two places to number four with their collaboration Women In Song.
America's Brad Paisley is at five with Southern Comfort Zone, Adam Brand's I Was Here is up one to six and A Quiet Life, the latest single from Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson is up three to number seven.
America's Little Big Town and The Band Perry are at eight and nine, respectively, with Pontoon and Better Dig Two with Amber Lawrence's Try at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include McAlister Kemp's A Good Idea (19 to 16), Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous (20 to 17), The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (22 to 19), Jayne Denham's Shelter (24 to 20), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat (26 to 23), The Wolfe Brothers' It's On (27 to 24), Chelsea Basham'sI Learned The Hard Way (28 to 25) and John Williamson's Prairie Hotel Parochial (30 to 26).
New entries to the chart this week include Lee Forster's Quiet Night In (new at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2013
Kempsey tourism association looks to Slim Dusty Centre future
The Macleay Valley Coast Tourism Association has thrown more weight behind the almost complete Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey (NSW) to help consolidate what it sees will be a major attraction at the gateway to the mid north coast city.
Kempsey, the birthplace of Slim Dusty, will soon lose much of its highway traffic when the Pacific Highway Upgrade Kempsey Bypass opens with a projected loss of a significant percentage of the 20,000 or so vehicles that travel the highway daily and the Association says much planning and work has been undertaken to ensure the town continues to prosper after the bypass opens.
"Tourism has long been recognised as a lifeline to continue to attract visitors to this pretty valley," the Association says, "and the [we] believe that the Slim Dusty Centre will be a key to a brighter future for business."
So strong is this belief, that at its general meeting this week, the Association presented a $20,000 donation to the Slim Dusty Foundation.
Association President Michael O'Neill said the benefits of the Centre being positioned at the "gateway" to the town, and as a major cultural NSW attraction, would stand to not only help retain visitation numbers, but attract new tourists looking for variety in their holiday experience.
"The Slim Dusty Centre has the potential to have a massive impact on tourism here in Kempsey," he said. "I am delighted that the Macleay Valley Coast Tourism Association has been able to make this contribution to assist in funding the final stage [of the Centre]. We are looking forward to an opening."
Accepting the cheque on behalf of the Foundation, Chief Executive Kathryn Yarnold (pictured with Michael O'Neill) thanked the Association for their generosity and belief in the project, and congratulated them on their forward-thinking.
"They have recognised the Centre's value to the local visitor economy since the word go, giving unwavering support. From a broader tourism perspective, the Centre will contribute to the State Government's aim to double overnight visitor expenditure to NSW. It will also help grow the economy by supporting tourism in the region, and by hosting conferences and events. Kempsey is extremely lucky to have an iconic landmark at their front door, with a name that is recognised across the nation and beyond," she said.
The Slim Dusty Centre building stands completed at the gateway to Slim's hometown. Funding is needed to complete access roadwork and exhibition fit out, which will be the heart and soul of the experience. It will house and preserve the rare artefacts from Slim's own collection, along with modern interactive displays depicting his Australian story.
An iconic tourism drawcard, it is also designed as a multipurpose facility to accommodate functions, events and travelling exhibitions, along with a cafe, retail area and visitor information centre.
Recently, it was announced by Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast, that the project had received number one priority in the region via an Expression of Interest for Funding. A full submission will be made in the hope of securing the funds required for completion, which, if successful, will allow a full opening by mid-2015.
Today's $20,000 donation from the Macleay Valley Coast Tourism Association will be dedicated to the co-funding required for the submission, to assist the chances of success," Kathryn said.
Weblink – www.slimdustycentre.com.au.
John O'Donnell is new EMI Australia chief
John O'Donnell, described as one of the nation's most highly regarded music executives, has been appointed Managing Director for EMI Music Australia it was announced today by Universal Music Australasia President George Ash.
In his new position, John will be responsible for the EMI, Capitol and Virgin labels as well as overseeing the creative direction for their roster of Australian artists. He will be based at the company's head office in The Rocks, Sydney, and will take up his new role early next month.
The move is described as a homecoming for John, who ran EMI in Australia from 2002 to 2008.
He first began his career as a music journalist, including stints as Music Editor at Rolling Stone Australia and Editor of Juice magazine, before joining Sony in 1994. In 2002, he left Sony to become CEO of EMI Music Australia/New Zealand. In addition, John was a member of the ARIA Board and also served as chairman of the PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia) from 2005 to 2008.
He left EMI in late 2008 to start his own music consulting business. In 2010, he co-authored the highly acclaimed and best-selling book "The 100 Best Australian Albums" and its accompanying gold-selling compilation album and is also the co-manager of Cold Chisel.
Max Hole, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group International, said: "Everyone who has ever worked with John knows that he is synonymous with great artists and great music. Developing and investing further in our Australian artists is a key international goal for us. I'm thrilled that John has agreed to return to EMI to play such a crucial role."
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013
JW and the "Big Red" join forces for charity
John Williamson will deliver one of his most memorable concerts yet when he performs atop the 40-metre high Big Red sand dune to raise funds for type 1 diabetes research in July.
John will perform a special sunset concert in the Simpson Desert 30 kilometres west of Birdsville with the iconic dune, the biggest of more than a thousand dunes in the Simpson, as his stage on Monday July 8 as part of a major new charity running event called the Big Red Run.
Based out of Birdsville from July 8 to 13, the Big Red Run will become the annual fundraiser of the Born To Run Foundation, a new charity founded by amateur runner Greg Donovan whose son Stephen was diagnosed with the potentially fatal type 1 juvenile diabetes at age 14.
John, who has written and recorded Australian classics such as True Blue, Cootamundra Wattle, Rip Rip Woodchip and Raining on the Rock, said he was happy to lend a hand to support people living with type 1 diabetes and excited to perform in an iconic Australian location.
"I've performed at Wilpena Pound, I've performed at Uluru, I've performed in Birdsville itself, but never on top of a sand dune. As far as I'm concerned, you don't really know Australia or feel Australia if you don't go to the centre, to the outback. It's really what this country is all about," John said.
Happening on the eve of National Diabetes Week, the Big Red Run also has the support of ultra-marathon champion Pat Farmer, who is serving as event ambassador, and Outback Queensland Tourism Association and Tourism and Events Queensland, who are developing a high profile media campaign to assist in the promotion of the event.
The Big Red Run will give runners and walkers the chance to tackle the famous red sands of the Simpson Desert, participating in either the Big Red Run, a 250 kilometre six-day stage race, the Born to Run 100 kilometre or the Big Red Dash at 42 kilometre.
Those who aren't competing are still invited to come for the concert, share in an unforgettable outback experience and support the more than 130,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes.
Concert tickets, which include a souvenir concert photo signed by John, are $100 for adults, $50 for 12-18 year olds and free for children under 12.
All money raised from the concert and the Big Red Run will go towards type 1 diabetes research. The Born To Run Foundation will work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a charitable organisation dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, to identify promising research projects for funding.
"With six new cases diagnosed every day and around a quarter of Australians affected directly or through family and friends, type 1 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease amongst Australian children," Greg said. "I know this first hand due to my son Stephen being diagnosed with the disease and I know the best thing I can do to help him is support clinical trials, improved lifestyles and awareness through initiatives such as the Big Red Run.
"We're thrilled to have a legend like John Williamson supporting our event in its inaugural year and I can't wait to sit atop Big Red with a cold drink and take in John's concert as the sun sets over the Simpson."
In an impressive career spanning more than 40 years, John Williamson has been inducted into the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame, secured three ARIA Awards, 24 Golden Guitars, Platinum and Gold albums and sold almost five million albums. In 2012, he released his first all-original album in almost four years, appropriately called The Big Red.
Concert ticket bookings and more information on the Big Red Run, which is open to all runners, walkers and their family and friends as supporters, can be obtained from www.bigredrun.com.au.
Adam's a Rich Man
The title of Adam Toms' new single and upcoming album is Rich Man but, as Adam says, the title has little to do with monetary value and plenty to do with personal riches...
"When I sing about 'being rich without the money' I can definitely relate."
The Benalla-based artist cites his family – wife Jo, two boys Mitchell and Riley – and being able to play music for a living as things money just can't buy.
Rich Man was co-written by Drew McAlister and Tamara Stewart and recorded with backing vocals by Chris E Thomas and is the first time Adam has released a track written by anyone other than himself.
Single number two from his sophomore album, which will be available in early March, was produced by the award-winning Matt Fell.
The album will come packaged with a "real-life documentary" titled "Are We There Yet – On The Road With Adam Toms" DVD which tracks the highs and lows of nine months on the road with his wife and two young boys. The DVD will also include Adam's six video clips to date.
Shine On Me, which also features on the new album, has recently been released as a digital download with all profits going to Aussie Helpers to assist Australians affected by recent fires and floods. The track can be purchased here. The linked video clip by Ross Wood has been added to the Country Music Channel's playlist and can be viewed here.
Weblink – www.adamtoms.com.
Chart Update – Catherine's five weeks at number one
It looks like Catherine Britt may be heading for the record books with her fifth week at number on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with her latest hit Charlestown Road.
Doug Bruce jumps another two places to number two with his latest hit Made That Way while O'Shea's The Swimming Song is also up two places to number three and America's Little Big Town is at four with Pontoon.
Amber Lawrence's Try is at five, Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer bound up four places to number six with their collaboration Women In Song and Adam Brand's I Was Here is steady at seven.
Christie Lamb's Invincible Me is at eight, America's Brad Paisley is at nine with Southern Comfort Zone and Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson are new in the top 10 this week at 10 with A Quiet Life.
Bullet performers for the week include McAlister Kemp's A Good Idea (22 to 19), Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous (24 to 20), The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (25 to 22), Jayne Denham's Shelter (27 to 24), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat (29 to 26) and The Wolfe Brothers' It's On (30 to 27).
New entries to the chart this week include I Learned The Hard Way by Chelsea Basham (pictured, new at 28) and John Williamson with Prairie Hotel Parachilna (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
APRA in Nashville
APRA – the Australasian Performing Right Association – recently held a networking reception in Nashville.
Milly Petriella, APRA's Sydney based Director of Membership, hosted the event, that was attended by industry executives, writers and performers.
Pictured (from left): Mark Moffatt (record producer and APRA's Nashville Ambassador), Sam Hawksley (musician/songwriter), Phil Barton (songwriter), Milly and Jeff Walker (AristoMedia CEO/President).
Tamworth and Deniliquin win national tourism crowns
Tamworth and Deniliquin have come up trumps at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards announced in Hobart on Friday night.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival, judged on the 2012 40th event, was crowned winner of the Major Festivals & Events category while the Deni Ute Muster was announced as winner of the Festivals & Events category.
Canberra's 2011 Floriade was named runner-up in the "Major" with the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in Queensland taking out the bronze award.
Victoria's Suzuki Night Market and the Cellar Door Wine Festival in Adelaide, SA, were named second and third, respectively, in the smaller category.
The citation for Tamworth's win said: "In 2012, Tamworth Country Music Festival, an iconic annual event recognised as one of the top 10 music festivals in the world, celebrated its 40th year... with more than 55,000 people travelling to Tamworth from all around Australia and the world to attend. Tamworth Regional Council has carriage of the event, however the Festival is a truly community-based, organic festival. The 2012 TCMF was bigger and better than ever, with over 2,500 events and 4,000 different performances or gigs in 80 different venues.
The citation for Deniliquin's win reads: "The Deniliquin Ute Muster and Play on the Plains Festival is one of Australia's largest rural and Australian themed festivals. The idea for a festival celebrating the Australian icon of the Ute, and Australia's rural identity was created in 1999 to encourage tourist visitation on the NSW Labour Day Long weekend. In 2011, despite being severely rain affected, the Festival was hugely successful when it attracted almost 20,000 people to the two-and-a-half-day event.
In a report in Saturday's Northern Daily Leader, Tamworth Mayor Col Murray was quoted as saying the thing about the (Tamworth) is fairly unique and fitted the criteria very well. "It was certainly great to win and good for all the people who put in all the hard work. We were up against some pretty serious events so it was bloody good to win.
There were 27 categories in the Awards in total.
Councillor Murray said the award was very important to the festival and its organisers. "There are two really important things – a recognition of all the good, hard work that so many different people and organisations do, particularly the founders of the festival and those who've put so much energy into it in coming up with the concept and vision to make it what it is today.
"Equally importantly, it's a really good testament to why we have great sponsors like Toyota, Qantaslink and Telstra and those really well-known brands, and the award is a great attribute when you go to negotiate with those people because it’s been named the best major festival or event in Australia.
"When you look at the people who put a lot of energy into the event like Barry Harley and the Rural Press Events team, The Pub Group, Wests Entertainment and all the pubs and clubs around town, Peter Greenaway who was the festival co-ordinator for that year, all the press that keep the thing alive and keep it on the national agenda, this just consolidates and strengthens the brand."
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013
Catherine to host "Saturday Night Country"
Catherine Britt will be taking over the reins of "Saturday Night Country", ABC Radio's national country music program, for an extended period while her friend and permanent host Felicity Urquhart has a break to have her and husband Glen's second child.
As the host of the nationally broadcast "Alt Country" every Sunday night on the Country Music Channel (CMC), Catherine said being asked to host "Saturday Night Country" was not something she needed to think about twice.
"I grew up listening to the show and the great voice of John Nutting so to be asked to host the show while Fliss has a break is a huge honour and I really can't wait to start."
Catherine will be on air and hosting the program from Saturday, April 6.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Success for fifth annual Gladstone festival
The fifth annual Elders Gladstone Country Music Festival was held last weekend at the Gladstone Entertainment Centre (GEC) Marquee at the Marina and has been hailed by organisers as the most successful ever.
Entrants in the festival's talent quest came from Brisbane, Broxburn and Sarina, "as well as lots of local talent competing," according to spokesman Rob Hopkins.
"This was especially pleasing given the recent flood conditions and the difficulties and extra travelling time involved in getting into Gladstone," he said.
"The GEC Marquee at the Marina complex was hot but worked well for our type of festival and the whole event ran very smoothly thanks to the professionalism of our team of volunteers and the in-house staff."
Contestants vied for trophies and cash prizes in 26 sections, including a new category for this year, "the Peewees" (for children under nine years of age).
Festival Musical Director Frank Collimore said the entrants were able to gain valuable experience working with a great backing band.
"The band we put together for this Festival were some of Australia's best country musicians," he said, "which meant the contestants received top class backing for their performances. Experience like this is really important for them to understand how the industry works should they choose to pursue a career in music.
"Opportunities like this are rare outside of the capital cities and we're pleased we could bring that to Gladstone for this event," Frank said.
The big winners for this year were local Gladstone boy Athol Gilson who took home four first placings and one second place, gaining him the award for Senior Festival Champion as well, and Brisbane's Hope Ashleigh who won the Junior Festival Champion title following her first placings in five sections.
Karina Kellie from Bundaberg won five of the juvenile sections and had to be separated by points countback for the Junior/Juvenile overall award.
Sydney entertainer Savannah Sharpe was this year's head judge and said the standard of competition was exceptional.
"The senior competitors were very impressive," she said, "and the scores in some instances were less than a point apart, so our jobs as judges were not easy. It was great to see so many juveniles and juniors entering and doing so well. The future of country music in this region is certainly in good hands."
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2013
Smithton announces new festival
The town of Smithton in Tasmania has announced details for a new country music festival.
The inaugural Smithton Country Music Festival will be an all-day even on Saturday March 30 and will feature "great country artists from all over Australia, including a number of local talents," according to organisers.
In alphabetical order, the line-up of visiting artists includes Jeff Brown, Camille & Stuie, Clare O'Meara, Luke O'Shea (pictured), Dean Perrett, Dave Prior, Chris E Thomas and Gina Timms.
Two live bands will also feature together with a number of local artists. A special award presentation is set to be made to a "local country legend".
"This is an RV-friendly event," the organisers said," with a cheap self-contained camping area available across town next to the golf course. Enjoy Tasmania, the music and the golf!"
Weblink – www.smithtoncountrymusic.com.
Chart Update – Catherine's fourth week at the top
Catherine Britt has a stranglehold on the number one place on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week as her Charlestown Road hit dominates for a fourth week in succession.
America's Little Big Town is at two with Pontoon while Amber Lawrence's Try edges up one place to number three and Doug Bruce jumps three places to number four with Made That Way.
O'Shea's The Swimming Song bounds up four places to five, Christie Lamb's Invincible Me edges up one to number six and Adam Brand's I Was Here jumps three places to number seven.
Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind is at eight, Jetty Road's Wrong is at nine and Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer enter the top 10 at 10 with their collaboration Women In Song.
Bullet performers for the week include Toyota Star Maker 2013 Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous (27 to 24) and The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (28 to 25).
New entries to the chart this week include Driver's Seat by Tracy Killeen (new at 29) and It's On by The Wolfe Brothers (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013
Toyota and Tamworth raise record funds for Melanoma research
More than $26,000 was raised by Toyota for the Melanoma Institute Australia at last month's Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Toyota Australia issued a media release today thanking and congratulating festival goers for donating $26,319.75 to the cause... "the highest amount ever raised by Toyota at the annual event".
Peter Hampson, Toyota Australia Senior Manager said: "This is an excellent result for Melanoma Institute Australia. On behalf of Toyota, I'd like to thank the thousands of country music fans who donated so generously throughout the festival to support the incredible work of the Institute to reduce the incidence of melanoma cases in Australia.
"Fundraising is a vital element of our festival sponsorship," he said. "It helps support rural and regional communities in Australia. Every year we raise funds through the Toyota Festival hats and the Concert for Rural Australia... Over the past six years we have helped to raise more than $120,000 for a range of worthy causes. The 2013 festival attendees have really set the bar for future efforts with the funds raised this year."
Melanoma Institute Australia's Lisa Sampson said the organisation was thrilled and touched by the generosity shown by Tamworth festival fans.
"We would like to thank each person who donated so generously during this year's Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth. The funds raised will allow us to continue our efforts in preventing and finding a cure for melanoma, which affects many Australians working on the land being greatly exposed to the sun."
Toyota Ambassador and 2012 Toyota Star Maker Bob Corbett recently announced his Lucky Country Hall Tour as an awareness and fundraising initiative for Melanoma Institute Australia.
In the spirit of the old Slim Dusty touring approach, the national country hall tour will visit a vast number of regional and rural community halls across Australia in 2013. Bob will donate $5 from every ticket sold to the all-ages events to Melanoma Institute Australia and will also raffle a Fender guitar signed by a plethora of country music stars including Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts and The Wolfe Brothers.
Further information about the Lucky Country Hall Tour can be found at www.bobcorbett.com.au.
24th annual Bunyip Festival goes indoor
For only the third time since its inception, this year's 24th annual Bunyip Country Music Festival, on Sunday February 24, will be an indoor event.
"The difference being that this time it has been planned that way," according to organiser Joy Batchelor.
"Re-sowing and drainage works to our main oval necessitated a rethink as to how we could run this year's event," she said. "In the end we came up with the concept of a four hour fully ticketed concert with a limited but exclusive bill of artists. A sort of 'indoor day on the green', if you like.
"Making his Bunyip debut will be the extremely talented and experienced entertainer Rodney Vincent... a real wag, Rodney's mix of music and comedy has built him a huge following throughout Australia," Joy said.
"Returning for his third appearance at Bunyip is Harry Hookey, one of Australia's fastest rising stars of country music. This year Harry is bringing along his entire family as his backing band. Coming from a family of seven offspring, as well as his parents. The Hookey family could almost qualify as an orchestra rather than a band!
"Our third artist need's little introduction to Bunyip regulars even though he has not appeared here for several years. As a little known artist on the rise, Adam Harvey (pictured) was booked early to appear at our 1997 Festival and the rest, as they say, is history!
"Adam remains a household name in country music and his deep booming voice has seen him win eight Golden Guitars including multiple Male Artist of the Year awards."
The Bunyip Country Music Festival will run from 1pm at the Bunyip Auditorium, Bunyip Recreation Reserve.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2013
Australian record sales increase
ARIA – the Australian Recording Industry Association – has announced a four percent increase in total industry value, the first since 2009.
The increase, in total value of annual wholesale figures in 2012, was to $398.1 million.
In what ARIA described as "a monumental year for the Australian recorded music landscape", the continued uptake of digital music combined with a host of new streaming services entering the local market, resulted in more than 46 percent of the market’s value coming from digital products in 2012, compared to 36.7 percent in 2011.
The number of physical products sold in 2012 dropped only 6.42 percent on the previous year, "a vast improvement" on the 13.85 percent drop in 2011 as physical products continued to remain the industry's dominant revenue earner, accounting for a 53.7 percent share of the market.
ARIA said this signaled a continued demand for CDs, DVDs and vinyl among a large portion of the Australian music buying public.
ARIA Chairman Denis Handlin was enthusiastic about the positive results released yesterday: "It is very pleasing to see the industry achieve growth in 2012. The record industry has revolutionised over the past decade and has led the way in new business models, in particular licensing digital services, whilst strongly supporting traditional CD retailers.
"While our work with Government and (internet service providers) to ensure artists and their record labels are properly rewarded for their creative efforts is still far from finished," he said, "the demand for music is as strong as ever and Australian music fans are embracing the many legitimate platforms where an incredible range of local and international music is widely available.
This is testament to the continued creative work of our brilliant artists and the innovative approach of our local industry in marketing and taking music to fans across the country."
Photo: The McClymonts' Two Worlds Collide, named Australia's top selling album country album at thhis year's Golden Guitar Awards.
Weblink – www.aria.com.au.
New from The Apprentices
The Apprentices – Kaylah Anne, Makaylie Foodey, Hannah Smith and Georgia White – release their second album this month.
Titled Light A Match, the album release follows successful appearances at the just concluded Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The quartet, described as four of Australia's finest young singer/songwriters, are backed by Core Music and Sony Music Australia.
Friday February 22 is the album release date.
Weblink – www.theapprentices.com.au.
Lions country music community award
South Australia's Murray Mac has been named winner of this year's Lions Club of Peel Valley Community Service Award.
Nominations are called from Lions Clubs throughout Australia and this year Murray Mac was selected to receive the 20th award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. He was nominated by the Lions Club of Gillies Plainc in South Australia.
Peel Valley Lions Club president Terry Hill announced Murray's win live on air on Tamworth Toyota Festival FM on Tuesday January 22.
Murray has given many years of volunteer service to many causes including the Royal Society for the Blind, Flying Doctor Service, Convoy for Kids, many cancer organisations, Relay for Life, the Adelaide Line Up for Crippled Childrens Association, Variety Bash and helping to develop South Australia's up and coming young country music talent.
Murray received a distinctive mounted "Tamworth Dunny" created by local Tamworth renowned ceramic artist Fred Hillier and a cheque for $500 which he will donate to Angel Flight.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2013
Beccy changes her Adam "brand"
Following a number of recent successful tours with Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole will team up with Adam Brand for a tour from this Friday.
Beccy is joining Adam on his "I Was Here" tour that will launch at the Mundaring Weir Hotel in Western Australia and conclude on Saturday March 9 at the Lismore (NSW) Workers Club.
Adam will be performing songs from his current hit album There Will Be Love.
Travis Collins and Matt Cornell will also feature on the tour which will also take in shows at Albany and Drakesbrook in WA, Broken Hill and Thurgoona (Kinross Woolshed) in NSW, Hahndorf and Mt Gambier in SA, Ballarat, Mildura, Shepparton and Warragul in Victoria, and Ipswich and Maryborough in Queensland.
Weblink – www.adambrand.com.au.
Chart Update – Catherine at number one for a third week
Catherine Britt retains the number one place on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for the third week this week with her latest hit Charlestown Road.
Amber Lawrence's Try jumps two more place to be at number two while America's Little Big Town and Graeme Connors are at three and four, respectively, with Pontoon and The Love I Leave Behind.
Jetty Road's Wrong is at five, while America's Alan Jackson is at six with You Go Your Way and Christie Lamb is steady at seven with Invincible Me.
Doug Bruce is also steady at eight with Made That Way, O'Shea's The Swimming Song edges up one place to be at nine and Adam Brand's I Was Here enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include McAlister Kemp's A Good Idea (27 to 24).
New entries to the chart this week include Jayne Denham (pictured) with Shelter (new at 29).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2013
Bush ballad winners
Winners of this year's Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards were announced during the Bungendore (NSW) Country Muster on Saturday.
Male Vocal winner was Brian Letton (pictured) with That's The Way They Were, Female Vocal Trudy Hintz with My Heart Is Where The Roper River Flows Tonight.
New Talent went to Ginger Cox with Rusty It's Goodbye while Lawrie Minson & Lindsay Waddington took out Group/Duo with The Warrumbungle Mare.
Tom McIvor won Album of the Year with Son of the Southern Cross and the Songwriter award with We Make Things To Last In The Bush.
Comedy Song was presented to Terry Gordon for Dr Day's Green Pills and Sami Cooke was named winner of the 2013 Track to Tomorrow award.
Universal absorbs EMI... and then there were three
The music news website Noise11.com reports there are now three major music labels in Australia following the absorption of EMI into Universal Music last week.
Universal, already the world's biggest record company with a 2012 market share of 32.41 percent in the USA, has automatically added EMI's 6.78 percent to start the year with an almost 40 percent of music sales.
Sony Music is second with 30.25 percent of the market, Warner has 19.15 percent and independentss make up 11.42 percent combined.
Although the EMI take-over took place late last year, staff were advised of their futures just last week. In Australia, 20 staff were retrenched from EMI, mainly from the Sydney head office.
Noise11 says it understands that remaining EMI staff would relocate to the Universal offices in each state but the Promotions teams would remain separate at this stage, only crossing over to assist while either side had people away on holiday or on sick leave.
Two weeks ago, Mark Poston, EMI Australia's Chairman and Senior Vice President of Marketing, announced he was stepping down from his position and leaving the company.
In Australia, Universal Music Managing Director George Ash will head the combined operation.
The take-over of EMI does not mean the end of the brand. EMI will still exist as a label within Universal, just like A&M, Motown and Island.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2013
New from Roger
Roger Knox, the Koori King of Country as he is known, is to release a new album titled Stranger In My Land.
Described as a collection of songs originally written by Aboriginal artists who were Roger's peers and predecessors, the album will be released on Saturday, March 9.
"It is powerful and moving material, heartbreaking and hilarious, downtrodden and uplifting, suffused with longing, alienation, resilience and hope; universal themes arising out of largely unexplored context," according to a spokesman for the artist.
Stranger In My Land features guest vocals and instrumental performances from Bonnie Prince Billy, Kelly Hogan, Dave Alvin (X, Blasters), Sally Trims and Jon Langford (Mekons), the Sadies, Andre Williams, and perhaps the last known recording from Charlie Louvin of the Louvin Brothers.
"All this star power is backed by The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, a loosey-goosey musical collective plus Australians Neville Anderson, Buddy Knox (Roger's son), Jason Walker and Steve Newton.
"This is an album about a man and a people's struggles in their own place of origin, and the experiences in a journey that such a complex life path can take," the spokesman said.
"Knox is the conduit for these stories and these songs, but this isn't ancient history and these songs are not museum pieces. The place names and characters are different, but the humanity remains common."
Weblink – www.bloodshotrecords.net/rogerknox.
Penrith truck show
Details have been released for the 26th annual Penrith Working Truck Show to be held on Sunday April 7.
Country stars on the bill this year will include Adam Brand (pictured), Chelsea Basham, Darren Carr, Buddy Goode and Dan Murphy.
In addition to the musical entertainment, the full day program will have amusement rides, games and competitions, trade stalls and displays, and "some of Australia's finest trucks on display".
The day gets underway at 8am and runs through to 5pm.
Weblink – www.pwts.com.au.
Blackened Billy winners
Tamworth's Northern Daily Leader has reported that winners of the 2013 Blackened Billy Verse Competition were announced in Tamworth last Friday.
First place went to Milton Taylor (pictured) for his humorous poem, The Passing Of A Legend.
Because of ill-health, Milton could not be in Tamworth for the presentation but poet Melanie Hall stood in for him and gave a reading of his winning poem.
Second place went to three-time Blackened Billy winner David Campbell of Beaumaris in Victoria.
Third place went to Val Wallace of Glendale, NSW.
Judge Keith Jones, of Tamworth, who has judged the Blackened Billy for many years, applauded the entrants for "their creativity and construction of wonderful narratives, ballads and historical subjects".
The competition is sponsored by the Australian Bush Poets' Association and supported by AM Printing.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2013
This year's Hohner Golden Harmonica Championship at Tamworth was won by Jamie Symons from Kingscliff (NSW).
Event organiser Lawrie Minson said it was "another great show" held at The Family Hotel with himself and PJ Kevo as judges.
The event was compered by State Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, a musician himself.
Jamie won a gold plated harmonica mounted on a trophy made by Tamworth craftsman Noel Smith.
Runner up was Ray Lechminka from South Coogee while the audience prize once again went to James Norton from Grose Vale (NSW) and the encouragement prize was won by James Higgins from Nowendoc (NSW).
Tamworth Cavalcade honours
Judges voted the Parmalat Food Products float winner of the best commercial or business float category.
Second place went to the Tamworth City Dance Academy with the JoHanna Dance Studio and Parry Logistics in third place.
The best non-commercial or community entry went to Don't Waste Tamworth with second going to the Tamworth Business Chamber and third to Tamworth Songwriters' Association.
Northcott Disability Services and Fire and Rescue NSW were highly commended.
King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge was named best equine entry with the Australian Miniature Horse Association in second place.
Photo: part of the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards float with (from left) 2013 Best Video winners Dozzi, former finalist Johanna Hemara and Best Album and Best Vocal Event (with Amos Morris) winner Dale Duncan.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013
More Tamworth winners...
Catching up on the Tamworth Country Music Festival just concluded and more winners from various talent quests and other activities.
One of the Festival's biggest stakeholders is Rural Press Events (RPE). Apart from running Toyota Star Maker and the festival radio station Festival FM, RPE runs numerous activities at Hands of Fame Park.
First and foremost is the Yamaha Battle of the YoungStars which has been running for a number of years now.
This year's winner was Joshua Needs from South West Rocks (NSW) – who also won the Busking Championship (see Monday's story) while Dakota Lee of Young (NSW) took out the Intermediate section and Jayden TJ was named junior winner.
Murdena (pictured, runner-up in the Busking Championship) from Geelong won the Coca Cola Battle of the Bands with The Trade-Ins in second place and Will Day & The Alibis from Sherwood (Qld) came third.
A new competition introduced this year was the Coca-Cola Battle of the Bluegrass which saw George Jackson take out the senior category and Georgia Rose the under 17 category.
Keith concert now re-scheduled
Keith Urban's third Brisbane concert, which was to be held Monday night after it was postponed from Sunday night because of the on-going flood emergency in Brisbane and surrounding areas, has now been re-scheduled for Tuesday February 5.
The Monday postponement was halted alltogether because of continuing severe weather and devastating conditions being faced by those in affected areas.
"Keith was very disappointed [the concert] could not proceed on either night and he's been working to shift his Los Angeles commitments to make this reschedule possible," said promoter Michael Chugg.
Just over 2,000 tickets are now available for the February 5 concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and will be on sale as of 9am today, Queensland time, from www.ticketek.com.au.
"Tickets to either of Keith's originally scheduled Sunday night or postponed Monday night concerts remain valid for the new date and patrons do not need to do anything except turn up on Tuesday."
Patrons needing to refund can do so immediately from ticketek.
Chart Update – Catherine still at number one
Catherine Britt hangs on to the number one place on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with her latest hit Charlestown Road.
Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind and Jetty Road's Wrong remain at number two and three, respectively, while Amber Lawrence's Try edges up one to number four.
America's Little Big Town and Alan Jackson are at five and six, respectively, with Pontoon and You Go Your Way and Christie Lamb's Invincible Me is steady at seven.
Doug Bruce's Made That Way jumps two places to number eight, The McClymonts' Two Worlds Collide is at nine and O'Shea's The Swimming Song enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Adam Brand's I Was Here (15 to 12).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2013
New Zealander honoured as best solo fiddle player
Popular New Zealand fiddler Marian Burns has added to her current winning streak by being named the Best Fiddler Soloist in Australasia at the ninth annual Golden Fiddle Awards, held at the Tamworth Town Hall on Wednesday.
On top of that, a CD album she recorded in France last year, called Fresh From France, Marian a second Golden Fiddle Award for best CD by a Fiddler as a Soloist. Marian had returned to the contest after an absence of three years. At her debut appearance at the Golden Fiddle Awards in 2010, she was honoured with the lifetime achievement award for her work in encouraging fiddle playing in New Zealand.
Marian has travelled widely in the last two years, recording albums in France and playing with New Zealand tour groups in the USA and Ireland. Her work in France was a result of chance connections with a leading recording studio, but was initially driven by her lifelong desire to play her fiddle on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Marian was honoured last year with the Benny Award, the highest honour possible for an entertainer in New Zealand, in recognition of a lifetime of excellence in her field. Regarded as an excellent teacher, she has brought fiddle music to thousands of children over the years.
Another top performer this year was the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club as well as several of its key players, who collectively took out two of the three categories in which they nominated.
Scottish Club founder Judy Turner and her husband Neil Adam won the award for Best Fiddle Composition, St Athalie's Waltz. The Club's fifth and latest CD, Of An Island was named Best CD by a Band featuring a Fiddler.
The Golden Fiddle Lifetime Achievement Award went to Greg O'Leary, mentor, teacher and mainstay of the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club in Victoria. He founded the Newport Bush Orchestra, now in its ninth year and regarded as an institution for its work keeping alive early Australian fiddle tunes.
The northern NSW band The Round Mountain Girls (in which there are no girls) won the category for Best Band featuring a Fiddler for the second year running. The band's fiddler, Paul "Rabbit" Robinson scored impressively in 2012 by taking home the Golden Fiddle trophies for Best Teacher and Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to music.
Classically trained Brisbane duo Rhiannon & Monique won this year's Youth Achievement Award. Violinist Rhiannon Fenn and cellist Monique Bartkowiak last year received the annual Youth Folk Award of the Folk Alliance Australia at the National Folk Festival and since then have played across the country.
Golden Fiddle Chairman and head of the Australian-made Epoch Strings which sponsors the awards, Mark Mitchell, saved his best praise for the Tamworth Town Hall audience. He called on Plato to describe the appreciation of good music: "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."
"All players need listeners," Mark said. "Even the greatest players, composers and producers of all time are redundant without listeners, their work useless and futile unless somebody is prepared to listen and appreciate their creations."
He also paid tribute to the musicians who were keeping alive the Australian musical tradition.
For the third year running, the Golden Fiddle founder lamented that it had been another difficult year in music. "For the players, it's hard to get gigs and money is tight, but I implore you to hang on to the music. I agree with Plato: it gives life to everything."
Weblink – www.goldenfiddleawards.org.au.
ARIA chart action
The Wolfe Brothers and O'Shea have debuted on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Australian Country Chart this week at one and two, respectively, with their latest albums It's On and One + One.
Keith Urban's "best of" The Story So Far is at three while the Golden Guitar Awards The Winners 13 is at four and Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise is at five.
The Sunny Cowgirls' What We Do, which debuted last week at number one is at six on this week's chart with Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wreck And Ruin at seven, The Very Best Of Slim Dusty at eight, Lee Kernaghan's Ultimate Hits at nine and McAlister Kemp's Country Proud re-enters the chart at 10.
Check the full listing here.
MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2013
Fifteen-year-old guitar player Joshua Needs of South West Rocks (NSW) has been named winner of the Australian Country Music Busking Championship staged during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Murdena of Geelong (Vic) – comprising Bridget Chappell, Annie-Rose Maloney, Hugh Maloney, Daniel McKoy and Alister Turrill, were runners-up.
A people's choice award was presented to Tia Golstelow of Mackay (Qld).
In addition to the winners and runner-up, nine other finalists each played two songs at the city's Bicentennial Park to vie for the Championship title... The Back Up, The Buckleys, Kristen Lane & Band, Jon O, Pete O'Brien, Postal, Pumpkin Juice, Danni Stefanetti and WNB.
Keith Brisbane concert postponed to tonight
Keith Urban's third Brisbane concert last night was postponed to tonight because of then worsening weather conditions in the Queensland capital.
Following discussions yesterday with the weather bureau and advice that conditions were worsening, the decision was taken to postpone the concert to a time when the predicted weather would have calmed, said promoter Michael Chugg.
"Keith's priority is his fans and we want everyone to be safe," he said.
While they hoped last night's concert could have proceeded as planned, the weather circumstances had trumped their best intentions.
All tickets for last night's concert remain valid for tonight.
Patrons in extreme circumstances should contact via the website www.ticketek.com.au or telephone 132 849.
After Brisbane, Keith's "The Story So Far" mini-tour of Australia plays two nights in Sydney and two in Melbourne.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2013
CCMA Talent Quest winners
Kylie won the Senior Female Vocal section of the talent quest and was then named the Overall Senior winner before being announced s the Overall Talent Quest winner.
South Australia's Nathaniel O'Brien was named Overall Junior winner after being announced as winner of the Junior Male Vocal section of the talent quest.
In addition to these sections, the following section winners were announced at the CCMA's 47th Jamboree Spectacular in the Tamworth Town Hall yesterday afternoon...
Juvenile Female Vocal – Josephine Rains; Juvenile Male Vocal – Kasey Kilsby; Senior Male Vocal – Terry Clarke; Junior Female Vocal – Sami Cook; Junior Group/Duo – The Back Up; Senior Group/Duo – Will Day & The Alibis; Junior Instrumental – Tangled Strings; Senior Instrumental – George Czender; and Songwriting – Megan Williams.
Winners of special awards from this year's talent quest were Kylie Price – winner of the TSA (Tamworth Songwriter's Association) Award for Best Performance of an Australasian Composition, Georgette Berry – winner of the Jeffery Dallas Memorial Award for Best Performance of an Alt Country Song, Chloe Nott – winner of the re-instated Ron Sutton Memorial Encouragement Award for Instrumentalists, and Hannah Cosgrove – winner of the Best Performance of a Bush Ballad.
Other special presentations at this's year's Jamboree were Life Membership of the Capital Country Music Association to Joan Douglas and Eric Scott and a Very Special Appreciation Award to long-serving committee member Dot Gilchrist.
Photo: Nathaniel and Kylie with CCMA President Steve Newton.
Weblink – www.ccma.net.au.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2013
Troy's night at the Golden Guitars
It was Troy Cassar-Daley's night at the 41st Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth tonight with the much loved, highly respected and hugely popular singer/songwriter taking four of the major awards.
His was the first award to be announced, Single of the Year for Country Is.
Song of the Year for Home was his next major gong, complemented at the end of the night when he was announced as Male Artist of the Year followed shortly after by the announcement that his album Home had won Album of the Year.
Oh, yes, and there were some other awards!
Catherine Britt was widely tipped to win Female Artist of the Year, and she did, with her song Charlestown Road.
Another popular win was Heritage Song of the Year going to Like O'Shea with The Drover's Wife, co-written with Peter Gabrielides.
Graham Rodger's win of the Bush Ballad Golden Guitar, with Looking Back, was also very popular, especially with his ever increasing fan base. Graham has won many awards so far in his career but this is his first at the Country Music Awards of Australia.
Vocal Collaboration of the Year was won by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer with Women In Song and Camille & Stuie took out the first Alternative Country Album of the Year award with Big Days And Little Years.
The McClymonts won two awards... for Top Selling Album of the Year (Two Worlds Collide) and Video Clip of the Year for Piece Of Me, directed by Duncan Toombs.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson were named Duo of the Year for Adam & Eve, Pete Denahy won Instrumental of the Year with Yackandandah 1852 and Chelsea Basham took out New Talent of the Year with Laugh It Off.
The second of the two new awards announced this year, Top Selling International Album of the Year, went to Blown Away by Carrie Underwood.
Winners of Achiever, or industry, Awards were also announced during the night with Shane Nicholson winning Producer of the Year, Jeff McCormack Engineer of the Year and Colin Watson Musician of the Year.
Photo (from left): Graham, Pete, Stuie, Camille, Tamara, Felicity, Luke, Chelsea, Duncan, Troy, Catherine, Kasey, Shane.
Weblink – www.country.com.au.
OAM for Dobe
Long time member of The Bushwackers and music industry identity Dobe Newton has been recognised for his service to the performing arts as an entertainer and advocate with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
Front man, vocalist, dance caller and lagerphone player with The Bushwackers since 1972, Dobe co-authored "The Bushwackers Australian Songbook" in 1978 as well as "The Bushwackers Band Dance Book" in 1980.
He is also recognised as co-author (with Bruce Woodley) of the iconic song, I Am Australian.
Since 2009, Dobe has been Project Manager/Ambassador for Sounds Australia and was an executive member of the Country Music Association of Australia for 10 years.
Other significant roles Dobe has held include Executive Director of the Western Australian Music Industry Association, CEO of the Victoria Rock Foundation and he is a founding member of the Australian Recording Industry Association's Industry Expert Panel.
He has been a teacher of music business at TAFE, since 1996.
Kaylee wins Star Maker
Kaylee Bell has taken out the 2013 Toyota Star Maker talent quest.
It's the third time lucky for the New Zealand born now Bathurst, NSW, based rising star as she competed in the grand final the last two years being pipped at the post both times.
The 2013 Star Maker grand final was staged last night during the Toyota Concert for Rural Australia at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, with Kaylee beating fellow grand finalists Sarah Head, Christie Lamb and Nathan Lamont to take the crown.
Kaylee joins a prestigious roll call of winners which includes the likes of James Blundell, Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban that have used the title to launch their professional careers in country music since the quest began 34 years ago.
Commenting on her victory, which includes a prize pack of a recording deal and a brand new Toyota vehicle with an unlimited fuel card for 12 months, Kaylee said: "It's a truly amazing feeling to be the next Toyota Star Maker – the competition has kicked off the careers of some of the biggest names in country music, so I'm very excited to be given the chance to launch my career with the backing of such a prestigious title."
At just 23 years of age, Kaylee already has an impressive list of accolades to her name including New Zealand's Gold Guitar award that she won at age 18.
Andrew Wearing, Toyota Manager Events, Promotions & Sponsorships (pictured with Kaylee), said during the presentation: "We're very excited by the prospect of working with Kaylee – a worthy and extremely talented winner of Toyota Star Maker. We look forward to supporting Kaylee throughout the next steps in her career as we celebrate 20 years of association with the (Tamworth) festival and Australia's rural community – a milestone we’re immensely proud of."
The 2013 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final was judged by a panel of industry experts, with a public SMS vote contributing to 50 percent of the decision.
Kylie wins Entertainer of the Year
New Zealander Kylie Price has won the 2013 Aristocrat Country Entertainer of the Year title at Tamworth.
Staged annually by the Wests Entertainment Group and held in Diggers' Showroom, this year's talent search final was supported by a capacity crowd.
Victorian Jordy McMillan won the junior entertainer of the year title.
Event co-ordinator and judging panel chairman Gina Timms said the talent this year was outstanding.
"It's very exciting to have both heats full prior to the event commencing," she said. "New Zealand was strongly represented this year with young Liam Kennedy-Clarke taking out second place in the junior section.
"After six years of competing, Jordy McMillan was a very deserving winner of the junior entertainer crown. She's grown into a seasoned performer and has an amazing vocal quality that would be the envy of many female singers."
Four-piece band Something In Latin, took out third place in the junior section with their "rockin' country" style.
Other placegetters in the senior section were Emily Markham, who won $1,000 cash, and George Czender, described by Gina as "a true gentleman of country music", securing $500 for third place.
Aristocrat Leisure Industries, a longtime sponsor of the quest, was represented by Peter Henderson who was more than impressed with the quality of finalists.
He has confirmed the company's continued sponsorship of the event and said he looked forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary in 2015, when a major concert would mark the occasion.
Guest judge Beccy Cole, who has been part of the grand final panel for the past 10 years, said she was delighted with the quality of performers and agreed the future of Australian country music was in good hands.
Photo: Aristocrat's Peter Henderson and 2013 Aristocrat Senior Country Entertainer of the Year Kylie Price (back), runner-up Emily Markham and third placegetter George Czender. Photo: Robmac.
CCMA Talent Quest finalists announced
Following two days of intense competition, 50 finalists have been announced across the 11 sections of the 2013 Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) National Talent Quest.
This year sees the 47th talent quest and Jamboree Spectacular which gets underway at the famous Tamworth Town Hall this afternoon from 1:30.
Section winners will be announced early in the show, all of whom will then perform in the winners' showcase to determine the talent quest's overall winner.
And the finalists are (all in alphabetical order)...
For Juvenile Female Vocal... Tayla Alcock, Kay-Lea Brown, Klaudia Douglas, Jade Gibson and Josephine Rain.
For Juvenile Male Vocal... Cody Gunton, Kasey Kilsby and Jayden Jesudhass.
For Senior Female Vocal... Tania Cornish, Hannah Cosgrove, Kylie Price, Lane Sinclair and Debz Standen.
For Senior Male Vocal... Terry Clarke, Ethan Crosby-Wolfe, George Czender, Brad Marks and Tony Pellattiero.
For Junior Female Vocal... Sami Cooke, Dakota Lee, Jenny Mitchell, Jamie-Lee Turner and Ebony Wickham.
For Junior Male Vocal... Liam Kennedy-Clark, Judah Kelly, Cameron Luxton, Callan MacGregor and Nathaniel O'Brien.
For Junior Group/Duo... Aston Row, The Back Up, Judah & Katelyn, Playback and The Two Js (New Zealand).
For Senior Group/Duo... Georgette & Jordie, Mac 2, Nathaniel & Tania, Vixen and Will Day & The ALibis.
For Junior Instrumental... Bec Holdorf, Jayden Jesudhass, Chloe Nott, Aidan Patrick and Tangled Strings.
For Senior Instrumental... George Czender and Jed Gaze.
In the songwriting section, Sami Cooke, George Czender, Hannah Cosgrove, Olivia Nolan and Megan Williams are finalists.
As well as the talent quest winners concert, this afternoon's Jamboree Spectacular will also feature performances by Rex Dallas, Anne Kirkpatrick, Wayne Horsburgh, Sally-Anne Whitten and Codee-Lee & Jonny Taylor, last year's overall winner of the talent quest.
Tickets for the show can be purchased here... over the phone on 6767 4300 or in person at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre... or at the door, subject to availability.
Weblink – www.ccma.net.au.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25, 2013
2013 People's Choice winners
Winners were announced in the 2013 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards in Tamworth last night.
Dianne Lindsay was named the Best Female Vocalist while last year's Most Promising Future Star winner Paul Cowderoy took out the Best Male Vocal award.
Brothers3 firmed their stranglehold on the Best Group award when they were announced as winners of the accolade for the third year running.
Best Song went to Home, a song written by Don Walker, recorded by McAlister Kemp.
Graham Rodger won Best Bush Ballad with his song Looking Back while rising star group Dozzi took out their first People's Choice Award with Love Away The Bad Days winning Best Video Clip.
Most Promising Future Star was won by Christie Lamb who tonight also competes for the chance to become this year's Toyota Star Maker (coincidentally, fellow Star Maker grand finalist Sarah Head was also up for the People’s Choice “new talent” gong).
Dale Duncan figured in two awards, first, Best Album for his Family Values, and also with Amos Morris for the new award for Best Vocal or Musical Event with their duet recording of You're A Real Good Friend.
In in the broadcasting categories, Sgt Ron of todayscountry94one on the NSW Central Coast was named Most Popular Country Music DJ while Hot Country Radio Queensland was recognised as the Most Popular Country Music Radio Station.
An almost capacity crowd attended the Awards night to witness the presentations and performances by a raft of finalists and hosts Connie Kis Andersen and Greg Champion.
This year's Awards were sponsored for the first time by Trans-Help Foundation and Iveco.
Voting for the 2014 Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards will get underway around mid year at www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.
Photo: Dianne Lindsay and Paul Cowderoy with their People's Choice awards.
Special guest acts revealed for Toyota Concert for Rural Australia
The line up of Tamworth stars performing at the annual Toyota Concert for Rural Australia is now even bigger and better, according to organisers, with two more special guest acts revealed for the highly anticipated free event tonight.
Toyota Ambassadors The McClymonts will give a special performance before the trio embarks on their Acoustic Harmony Tour around Australia and also new to the bill are The Wolfe Brothers who will also perform as Lee Kernaghan's backing band on the night and on Lee's 2012 Beautiful Noise Tour.
The McClymonts and The Wolfe Brothers join the Men of Country quartet featuring former Star Maker winners Luke Austen, Liam Brew, Travis Collins and Luke Dickens and 2012 Toyota Star Maker Bob Corbett with compere Colin Buchanan at Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park) from 6:30 this evening.
The event will also play host to the 2013 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final which will see four of Australia's most talented country music artists compete for the crown... Kaylee Bell from Bathurst (NSW), Sarah Head from Robina (Qld), Christie Lamb from Kirkham (NSW) and Nathan Lamont from Wagga Wagga (NSW).
Reigning Star Maker Bob Corbett will also perform.
The Toyota Star Maker grand final will also be streamed on-line for fans across the world at www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.
Entry to the event is free, with fans encouraged to donate to Melanoma Institute Australia, Toyota's chosen charity throughout the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Over the last six years, Toyota has helped raise more than $120,000 for worthy causes through its involvement with the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Lipstick, Lyrics & Laughter
One concert creating plenty of interest during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival is Lipstick, Lyrics & Laughter set down for West Tamworth League CLub this afternoon at 3.
The show brings together The Harmonators, Tracey Killeen and Sally-Anne Whitten and is billed as "a musical journey from the traditional to the contemporary through to a swampy blues fusion but all distinctively country".
Tickets will be available at the door, subject to availability.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2013
People's Choice release CD
Organisers of the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards are releasing a CD album featuring finalists from the 2013 Awards.
The album, simply titled People's Choice has been produced as a fund-raiser for the Awards sponsor the Trans-Help Foundation.
The CD features 13 tracks (for the 2013 Awards!)... in alphabetical order... by Brothers3 – Slow Joe, Paul Cowderoy – Need To Need You, Dale Duncan – Family Values, Forever Road – Woohoo, Sarah Head – Nothing Left To Play, Rachel Jillett – Memories Of Tent Hill, Christie Lamb – Mr Wrong, Dianne Lindsay – Old Tobacco Tin, Luke O'Shea – Rig, Amber Joy Poulton – Taking Goodbye and Graham Rodger – Looking Back, and two tracks nominated for Vocal Event of the Year... Dale Duncan & Amos Morris – You're A Real Good Friend and Graham Rodger & Chris E Thomas – Stronger For It All.
Trans-Help, who is sponsoring the People's Choice Awards this year supported by Iveco, is the national transport support service, helping truckies and families of truckies who have lost loved ones.
Among their numerous activities, Trans-Help operates a national call centre from Tarcutta, NSW, together with respite facilities, training, counselling and support services.
The CD will be launched at the Awards tonight (Thursday January 24) and will be available for $20 a copy. All proceeds after costs go to Trans-Help.
All of the artists involved on the CD are donating their royalties from the CD to the cause.
Weblink – www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.
Kasey & Shane attract 4,000
SkyNews reported that about 4,000 people packed out Tamworth's Bicentennial Park to see the married duo perform their open-air show which was originally set to take place in Peel Street but was moved when it was feared crowd numbers would overwhelm the street venue.
The couple told the crowd the free show was a thank you to all their loyal Tamworth fans who had paid for gigs for so many years.
"We wanted to say thank you by giving it back for free this time," Kasey told the crowds. But it's going to cost you double next year," Shane joked.
They began the show performing together and sharing anecdotes of their lives with the crowd singing several songs individually from their solo albums before joining up to perform songs from their collaborative work, including their first ever track Rattlin' Bones.
Chart Update – Catherine takes over the top spot
Catherine Britt takes over the number one spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with her latest hit Charlestown Road.
Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind edges up one place to number two as do Jetty Road to number three with Wrong while The McClymonts' number one from the last five weeks – Two Worlds Collide – is at four.
Amber Lawrence's Try is up one to five, America's Little Big Town is at six with Pontoon and Christie Lamb's Invincible Me jumps two places to number seven.
Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise is at eight, America's Alan Jackson is at nine with You Go Your Way and Doug Bruce enters the top 10 at 10 with Made That Way.
New entries to the chart this week include The Sunny Cowgirls Green And Gold (new at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2013
Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA) award and competition winners were announced in a gala presentation at Country Music Capital's Longyard Hotel last night.
Ged Hintz was named winner in the Traditional Bush Ballad category for Grandad's Memories while Graham Rodger took home the Contemporary Song award for Stronger For It All and Bill Crosbie & Keith Jamieson won the Country Ballad category for My First Rodeo.
Allan Caswell won the Comedy/Novelty section with Skin, Alita Fahey the Children's Song with I Should Have Listened and Dean Perrett was named winner of the Gospel Song category with The Shepherd's Fold.
The songwriting team of Kalesti Butler & Gretta Ziller took out the New Songwriter Award for The River, Chad Morgan was presented with this year's Songmaker honour and Brian Howard was named winner of the Tex Morton Award.
In the TSA's National Songwriting competition, Ian List won Amateur Traditional with This Land Australia, James Donnelly took home the Amateur Contemporary category with Her Kiss and Angus Gill (pictured) was named winner of the Junior section.
Stan Lenz won the Blues, Roots & Bluegrass section with Picking The Blues, Merv Webster took out the Lyrics Only section with The Dingo Scalper's Daughter and John Walsh & Mike Carr were successful in Professional Traditional with The Comfort Of A Stranger.
Weblink – www.tsaonline.com.au.
Gina and Melody win Telstra Road
The grand final of the competition was staged in Tamworth's entertainment centre last night with a big crowd witnessing the 10 grand finalists competing for the major prizes.
Genevieve Chadwick from Canberra was voted the people's choice winner.
Morgan Bain, Sarah Raine Dyson, John Lingard, Karin Page, James Sidebottom, Gabrielle Wright and Gretta Ziller were the remaining finalists.
Gina (pictured at right) and Melody each win a 12 month music mentorship, a return trip to Nashville including a showcase gig at the Americana Festival plus local gigs in Australia and "face time" with some of the biggest names in Australian music.
Kasey & Shane move to a bigger venue
The free Kasey Chambers/Shane Nicholson concert that was to be staged in Country Music Capital's main street today has had to be moved to a bigger venue.
What organisers now expect to be one of the biggest concerts of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2013 is set to get even bigger with the move to the city's Bicentennial (or Toyota) Park from 8 o'clock tonight.
Tamworth Regional Council's Festival Coordinator Kate Baker said the move was prompted because of the number of enquiries for the event at Council's Festival Headquarters.
"Council received so much interest in Kasey and Shane's concert this week that it was felt that Peel Street simply would not hold the volume of fans that were likely to show up," she said.
Festival bush dances
On Monday night at West Tamworth League Club, Simply Bushed played to a packed house for their Big Family Bush Dance (photo - click on the image for a bigger pic).
The event had grandparents dancing with their grandchildren, mothers dancing with sons... "so much joy, happiness, smiles and laughs," according to the band – "an experiment that went better than any expectation".
Today, The Bushwackers have their third annual Giant Family Bush Dance in the city's historic Town Hall from 10am.
"It's ideal for music lovers of any age," said long-time Bushwacker Roger Corbett, "and it's especially fun for families with members of all ages. It's a wonderful sight to see the generations dancing together with big grins from ear to ear."
TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2013
Australian Bush Laureate Awards – 2013 winners
Leading Australian bush poet Carol Heuchan of Cooranbong, NSW, was the biggest winner taking out Album of the Year for her current work Partners which also won her the Single Recorded Performance of the Year Golden Gumleaf for the album’s title track. Partners is a live recording of Carol and her poetry.
Published Poem of the Year went to The Truth About Waltzing Matilda by David Campbell of Beaumaris, Vic.
Children’s Poem of the Year winner was named as Stephen Whiteside of Glen Iris, Victoria, for The Sash, a poem about a young Ned Kelly’s “sash”.
The winner of the Judith Hosier Heritage Award – for outstanding achievement in nurturing Australia’s heritage of verse – was named as Jan Morris of Tamworth for her long association with bush poetry especially as a judge and administrator of the Blackened Billy poetry competition and Golden Damper Awards.
A new award, for Recorded Australian Song Lyric of the Year, went to Luke O'Shea from Sydney for The Drover's Wife. Luke wrote the lyrics to this meaningful and widely recognised song which is also up for the Heritage Golden Guitar this Saturday night.
This year was the 17th year for the Bush Laureate Awards which were established in 1997 to recognise excellence in published and recorded Australian bush poetry.
The Australian Bush Laureate Awards will be held in Tamworth again next January, with nominations scheduled to open in August.
Full details of finalists and nominees can be obtained from the website www.bushlaureate.com.au.
Michael's Acoustic Guitar Spectacular
Multi Instrumental Golden Guitar winner Michael Fix will present his Acoustic Guitar Spectacular in Tamworth tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd).
The show, scheduled for 3pm at The Longyard Hotel, will feature a number of special guests including iconic singer/songwriter Mike McClellan, young guitar guns Joey McCoy, Sam Shepherd and Andrew Toner, studio ace Brendan Radford, fellow international travellers Hussy Hicks, singer/songwriter Nadia Sunde, and one of Michael's oldest friends, guitarist Justin McCoy.
A Tamworth Festival regular since 1991, and winner of the Instrumental Golden Guitar three times, Michael is no stranger to Tamworth, or The Longyard Hotel. In fact, Michael remembers performing at the Longyard in the early 1990s, playing guitar with Graeme Connors, and making his solo Festival debut there.
"They were great times," he said. "I'll never forget those first few years of experiencing the Tamworth Festival, and especially the hospitality of June Smyth, who ran The Longyard in those days."
This year's Michael Fix show is going to be "action packed" according to the guitar maestro.
"There'll be so much incredible talent on one stage, and an unrivalled variety of performances will be seen by those lucky enough to grab a ticket," he said.
Michael will duet with all of his guests, as well as playing a selection of tracks from his latest CD Time Lines.
"It won't be just instrumental music either," he said, "of course there'll be plenty of hot guitar picking, but there'll be some beautiful singing courtesy of Mike McClellan, Hussy Hicks, Nadia Sunde and Brendan Radford – all fantastic artists."
Last year, Michael recorded an album of duets titled Two Timing, and he says he is thrilled that four of the guest players from that project are a part of the Longyard concert.
Tickets can be ordered on-line through oztix here, purchased at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre, or at the door.
Weblink – www.michaelfix.com.
Norma's solo concert
Another Tamworth Festival regular is leading singer/songwriter Norma O'Hara Murphy who will feature in her own solo concert this year at Tamworth's Capitol Theatre.
Norma's show is set for tomorrow also, Wednesday 23rd, from 10am.
The star's latest CD is The Celtic Collection, described as "a collection of some of my more folky songs from over the years!" with three new tracks and an old classic – Forever & Ever from the forties.
"We are filming a video for that next month," Norma said.
The new release also has "a very Irish track" – Ring Around The Barley Oh plus Candlelight Wine & Roses, a song Norma co-wrote with renowned Country Music Capital based photographer June Underwood.
Tickets for Norma's concert can be obtained here.
Weblink – www.normaoharamurphy.net.
MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2013
Toyota Star Maker grand finalists
The four 2013 Toyota Star Maker grand finalists were announced in Country Music Capital last night following their performances among the final 15 at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre.
They are... Kaylee Bell of Bathurst (NSW), Sarah Head of Robina (Qld), Christie Lamb of Kirkham (NSW) and Nathan Lamont of Wagga Wagga (NSW). Kaylee, Christie and Nathan were all chosen by the Star Maker judges while Sarah was voted for by fans during the event via SMS, a first in the competition's 34 year history.
The grand final of the 2013 talent search will be staged this Friday evening (January 25) as part of the Toyota Concert for Rural Australia in Tamworth's Bicentennial Park.
In a significant shakeup of the traditional Star Maker format, more than 70 entrants were whittled down to just 15 who battled it out for a place among the final four.
Toyota Star Maker is organised and staged by Rural Press Event and supported by Capital News.
Photo – the four Star Maker finalists (from left): Sarah,, Nathan, Kaylee and Christie.
Weblink – www.capitalnews.com.au.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2013
"Gifted Country" exhibition
"Gifted Country" – an exhibition by leading photographer John Elliott – is running until this coming Friday, January 25, in Country Music Capital.
Sub-titled "John Elliott's Portraits of People who make Australian Music" the exhibition was officially opened on the first day of the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival at Festival Headquarters, the foyer of the Tamworth Regional Council building in the city's centreal business district.
John has 30 years experience as a self-employed writer, photographer and documentary maker and was Slim Dusty's preferred photographer for many years. His work has focused on Australian culture, the bush and music and he has compiled Australia's most extensive country music photo library.
Special guest artists including Chad Morgan, Graeme Connors, 8 Ball Aitken and Dean Perrett will join John at 9am daily to present "the story behind the picture".
Photo: Tamworth Mayor Col Murray after the opening of John's exhibition, with 8 Ball Aitken posing in front of one of John's photos of him.
Enrec Showcase tonight
Country Music Capital recording studio Enrec will stage it's annual Studio Showcase in Tamworth tonight.
Guest artists on the show will include studio owner/operator Steve Newton and his Dad, Roll of Renowner Slim Newton, together with "Pixie" Jenkins (pictured) , Larkham & The Crosby Sisters, Megan Williams, Sally-Anne Whitten, Chris Callaghan, Samantha Bellamy, Deanna Rose, Bec Hance and Kira Newton.
Artists will be supported by session musicians Alwyn Aurisch, Andrew McMahon and Matt Parnell.
The Showcase gets under way at 7pm at The Family Hotel, Bridge Street, Tamworth. Tickets are $12 and available at the door.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 19, 2013
Wayne Horsburgh elevated to Australian country music's highest honour
Born near Benalla in Victoria, Wayne is recognised as one of Australia's most successful international entertainers.
After establishing himself locally, he visited America in 1984, the first of many regular periods he spent performing overseas during the next 25 years
His big break came with an acclaimed performance at the giant Hodag Festival in Wisconsin in 1989, which firmly placed him on the festival and county fair circuit in the USA.
In 1991, Wayne represented Australia at the International Fan Fair, working from Nashville for several years before basing himself in Branson, Missouri. He has also performed regularly in Europe and the UK.
In Australia, Wayne has won two ACE (Australian Club Entertainment) and no less than five "MO" awards for excellence in live entertainment.
He has released 26 albums.
For almost three decades, Wayne Horsburgh, also recognised for his distinct talent as a yodeller,, has been a trailblazer for Australian artists in international markets.
Wayne joins (in order of elevation) Tex Morton, Buddy Williams, Smoky Dawson, Slim Dusty, Shirley Thoms, Tim McNamara, Gordon Parsons, The McKean Sisters, Reg Lindsay, Rick & Thel Carey, Johnny Ashcroft, Chad Morgan, John Minson, The Hawking Brothers, Stan Coster, Barry Thornton, Nev Nicholls, Shorty Ranger, Jimmy Little, Ted Egan, Dusty Rankin, John Williamson, Rocky Page, Brian Young, Rex Dallas, Arthur Blanch, The Schneider Sisters, Frank Ifield, Kenny Kitching, The Webb Brothers, Athol McCoy, The Singing Kettles, Reg Poole, Lindsay Butler, Kevin King, Geoff Mack, Jean Stafford, Slim Newton, Anne Kirkpatrick, Phil & Tommy Emmanuel and Terry Gordon on the Roll.
The official unveiling of Wayne's plaque will take place at the Roll on the lawns of the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre at 10.30am on Wednesday (January 23).
Four new hands will be cemented into history this coming Saturday following the announcement of their induction during the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame's Roll of Renown Concert this afternoon.
They are entertainers Frankie and Karen Johns and Debbie Parry and long-time broadcaster and supporter of Tamworth and the Capital Country Music Association Alan Clement.
The Hands of Fame imprinting ceremony takes place at 10:30am next Saturday (January 26, Australia Day).
Two additions to Broadcasters' Hall of Fame
Two additions were announced to the Australian Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame this afternoon.
First was the posthumous induction of Stuie McInnes, long time Queensland based broadcaster who worked both in commercial and national radio.
His biggest input into country music broadcasting was while he worked out of the Townsville officer of the ABC, including on "Saturday Night Country" with John Nutting.
The second was Bill Beerens (pictured), a 20 plus years veteran of community broadcasting in Australia, most significantly with the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's national network breakfast program Good Morning Country which he has been involved with from the outset.
Max receives Eric Watson award
The award has only been presented twice before, the first time to Eric Watson himself and secondly to the late James "Jazzer" Smith.
It was awarded to Max for his significant and continued contribution to the reporting and presentation of the heritage of Australian country music through the written word.
Apart from being recognised as a highly thoughtful wordsmith in such things as plaque and presentation writing over the years, from the Hands of Fame to the Roll of Renown, and scripting of so many important, now historic, documents, Max publishes the website historyofcountrymusic.com.au which plays an extremely important role on the preservation of Australia's country music heritage and history.
He has also written countless articles and feature pieces for country music, and other, publications, and last year wrote and published, via Rural Press Events, the definitive history of the Tamworth Country Music Festival to date – "Stars, Hoorahs & Golden Guitars".
Photo: Max with the award, presented by the General Manager of Rural Press Events and long time friend and associate Barry Harley.
Opening night success
Thousands packed into the city's Bicentennial Park to be entertained by a big line-up of artists.
This year was a little different from previous as the Tamworth Regional Council had switched around the park layout to have the performers looking in a southerly direction rather than west.
And the changed layout seemed to work well for fans and services as well with a much more comfortable feel to the set-up including viewing perspectives.
Council is sure to get many accolades from this change.
Meanwhile, day one of the Festival was significant for a number of special events including the sashing of the 21 entrants in the Country Music Festival Queen of Country Music Quest.
Under the direction of Chamber President Tim Coates, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, Member for New England Tony Windsor, Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Advertising Manager of The Northern Daily Leader Kylie Ticehurst presented the girls with their sashes and hats on the stage in the new Toyota FanZone in Fitzroy Street.
The sashing was the beginning of a busy 10 days for the girls who will visit a number of events, meet visitors and help to promote the city for the duration of the Festival.
A large crowd gathered to be part of the sashing.
The 2013 Queen and Princess of Country Music will be announced at a gala dinner next Sunday, January 27, and will win a trip to Gore, New Zealand, to attend the Gore Country Music Festival.
They will spend the next 12 months acting as roving ambassadors for the Tamworth region.
Photo: a number of the 21 entrants await the sashing with Deputy Premier Stoner, 2012 Princess Shae McIntosh and Queen Dimity Chaseling.
The Wolfe Brothers' debut album
The Tasmanian based Wolfe Brothers yesterday released their debut album, It's On.
It's been a big year for band which is made up of brothers Nick and Tom Wolfe and their friends Casey Kostiuk and Brodie Rainbird.
The band burst into the national spotlight after finishing second on the 7/Prime Network's "Australia's Got Talent".
"Excellent musos, excellent songs, excellent showmanship, it's just real Aussie country rock… you deserve to be on this stage," said recording artist and "Australia's Got Talent" judge Brian McFadden.
Weblink – www.thewolfebrothers.com.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 2013
Tamworth Festival kicks off
Today is the official start of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2013 with everything reportedly "in place" for another major event, the 41st since the festival was established in 1973 with the inaugural staging of the Golden Guitar Awards by Radio 2TM.
The Awards became the second major activity to take place on the then January Australia Day long weekend, joining the six year old Capital Country Music Association's annual staging of its National Talent Quest and Jamboree Spectacular, all of which have run continuously, and successfully, since.
Country Music Capital's camping grounds, caravan parks and motels (including those in the district and further afield) are filling up as are numerous private homes that are leased out during the 10 day festival as well as the numerous temporary accommodation facilities.
The first major event during the Festival will be the official Opening Concert (see story below) but the heart and soul of the festival, the hundreds and hundreds of performances that take place in the many pubs, clubs and other venues, all swing into gear in a big way today.
Officials from various venues, event organisers and the overall co-ordination body, the Tamworth Regional Council, are all upbeat about what is shaping up to be another very successful Tamworth festival.
And if the early crowds are any indicator, it looks like they will be right.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival Official Opening Concert is a giant free concert in Country Music Capital's Bicentennial Park.
It gets underway this evening at 7pm and will begin with the festival's official opening declaration by Mayor Col Murray and the raising of the official Festival flag.
A bevy of artists will then perform for the crowd which usually numbers in the thousands.
Artists on the lineup this year includs Chelsea Basham, Adam Brand, Kalesti Butler, Toyota Star Maker 2012 Bob Corbett, Damian Howard, Kelly Menhenett (Telstra Road winner), O'Shea, Andrew Redford (Telstra Road winner), Melinda Schneider and Aleyce Simmonds with visiting acts Craig Campbell, Elizabeth Cook (USA) and Jenny Mitchell (NZ).
Roll of Renown Concert
The second major event of this year's Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth will be the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame's Roll of Renown Concert.
This takes place in the famous Tamworth Town Hall from 2pm tomorrow afternoon (Saturday).
The Roll of Renown Concert, as the name suggests, is where the annual inductee or inductees to Australian country music's highest honour are announced.
It is also where the Hall of Fame announces who will be inducted this January into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame and Broadcasters' Hall of Fame and where the winner of the Eric Watson Australian Country Music Literary Award will be made known.
The concert also has a big list of special guests performing during the two hour or so show.
Golden Guitar winner and Roll of Renown inductee Jean Stafford (pictured) will make her first Tamworth performance appearance in many years at the concert.
She will be joined by last year's Roll of Renown inductee Terry Gordon, together with Kate Cook, Jim Haynes, Dianne Lindsay, Luke O'Shea, Craig Robertson, Graham Rodger, Sally-Anne Whitten and Warren H Williams.
Event compere will be country music writer/broadcaster Jon Wolfe.
Weblink – www.countrymusichalloffame.com.au.
Bushfire appeal concerts
A number of fund-raising activities are being organised for the Tamworth festival to support those adversely affected by recent, and current, bushfires.
First cab off the rank will be a major event to be staged at 12:30pm on Thursday January 24 under the name Australian Country Music Stars unite for "Country Relief – a fundraiser for the Red Cross Tasmania 2013 Appeal.
The one-off "all star" concert will be held at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre (TRECC) and will welcome some of the most recognised names in the industry as they take to the stage during the two hour event which is supported by Tamworth Regional Council and the donation of time and talent by performers.
Stars who have agreed to appear, to date, include Morgan Evans, Lee Kernaghan, Markus Meier, New Zealand's Topp Twins and The Wolfe Brothers (pictured) who gave up their TRECC concert spot in favour of the fund-raiser.
"When we see country communities affected by natural disasters like these bush fires it is overwhelming," said Lee. "We want to let those families know we are thinking of them and we want to support them as much as possible."
Tom Wolfe from The Wolfe Brothers added: "We've just been told of the list of artists who are performing and confirmed and we are completely blown out. We have many friends who have been affected by the fires here in Tasmania and to be able to help in our own small way feels right, and to be a part of such a massive line up is a real honour for us."
Mayor Col Murray said: "I would like to congratulate and offer my full support of the wonderful efforts of all those involved in the organisation of the 'Country Relief' concert."
Tickets for the show are available from www.tcmf.com.au, over the counter at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre or by telephoning 02 6767 5300.
Tamworth "Festival Showbag"
One of the Tamworth Country Music Festival's biggest stakeholders, Rural Press Events (RPE), has launched a "Festival Showbag" for 2013.
Billed as having a value of $80 yet selling for only $30, the "Showbag" was launched at a function in the city on Wednesday.
The "Showbag" is, in fact, a fully insulated and "Country Music Capital News" branded cooler bag.
Highlight of the product is a series of three CDs... The Birds At Tamworth, The Blokes At Tamworth and The Bands At Tamworth containing a total of 45 tracks.
The "Showbag" also comes with a personal, portable fan, the "monster" January issue of Capital News, and a complimentary bottled drink from Coca Cola.
As well as being a key organiser of events and activities during the January country music festival, RPE has a number of publications, including Capital News and the Official Guide to the Festival.
Fans who have bought the Official Guide can claim a $5 discount off the price of the "Showbag" at Toyota FanZone in Fitzroy Street.
Photo: Dianna Lockwood of Rural Press Events presents Tamworth Mayor Col Murray with the first Tamworth Country Music Festival Showbag.
Weblink – www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2013
CCMA showcases "young guns"
Country Music Capital's Capital Country Music Association (CCMA)will stage its annual Young Guns Concert as a curtain-raiser tonight to the giant Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Seven up and coming country singer/songwriters will take the stage at Tamworth's Light City Church from 7:30pm in an annual event that has been described as inspirational.
Sami Cooke, Ethan Crosby-Wolfe, Stephanie Jansen, Stephanie Penrose, Lane Sinclair, Jack Trow and Megan Williams will star in the two-hour show.
Golden Guitar winner and not-so-long-ago "young gun" himself Steve Passfield will compere the event.
The Young Guns Concert is one of a number of events staged by the CCMA including the National Talent Quest and Jamboree Spectacular, activities that pre-date the official Tamworth Country Music Festival by some half dozen years.
Photo: Stephanie Jansen, a "young gun going places" – Stephanie's latest single release The Life You Made, debuted in the Australian Country Tracks Top 30 national singles chart this week.
Weblink – www.ccma.net.au.
Hot on the heels of the release of her third album 3, multiple award winner Amber Lawrence will headline her 2013 Tamworth show at Blazes Showroom at the West Tamworth League Club next Thursday, January 24.
Amber is a finalist for the Female Artist Of The Year Golden Guitar and also Best Female Vocal at Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards, a title she took out in 2009.
Such accolades have cemented Amber's status as one of Australia's most popular country entertainers and recording artists.
Following a sell out show at the Capitol Theatre during last year's Tamworth Festival, and top charting singles Everybody's A Mess, The Man Across The Street and her current single Try from the album 3, Amber will be supported at the show by special gust Bob Corbett, the 2012 Toyota Star Maker winner.
The past year saw Amber tour extensively with Adam Harvey nationally, along with the release of her current album which, described as her most personal to date, features collaborations with Colin Buchanan, Mike Carr, Sam Hawskley, producer Rod McCormack and Axle Whitehead.
Try features members of the Special Olympics, who Amber has been involved with for many years, and is the official anthem for the group of talented athletes.
In addition to her People's Choice award, Amber has been presented with the Country Music Association of Australia's Horizon Award, accumulated five Golden Guitar finalist nominations, six number one songs, and toured and performed with artists like Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan and Melinda Schneider.
Amber is also an ambassador for Walk Of Life and will be taking part in the activities for the Festival.
The sell-out success of her 2012 Tamworth show prompted her move to the larger Wests venue due to popular demand. Tickets can be purchased here.
Weblink – www.amberlawrence.com.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2013
Golden Fiddle finalists
Fiddlers from Perth to New Zealand have thrown their hats into the ring to contest seven categories in the annual Golden Fiddle Awards being held at the Tamworth Town Hall on Thursday January 24.
Now in its ninth year, the popular Golden Fiddle show will again feature "the cream of Australasian fiddle playing talent" on stage. The show has now become well entrenched as an alternative feature of the Tamworth Country Music Festival attracting crowds of more than 500 people.
Some of Australasia's leading amateur and professional talent have nominated, many of them already holders of Golden Fiddle trophies from previous contests.
Among them is the northern NSW band, the Round Mountain Girls (in which there are no girls) who will be trying for a winning double in the category for Best Band Featuring a Fiddler, which they won in 2012. They are also hoping their latest album, Cover Girls, will impress the judges in the Best CD by a Band category. The band's fiddler, Paul "Rabbit" Robinson, scored impressively in 2012 by taking home the Golden Fiddle trophies for Best Teacher and Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to music.
Returning to the contest after an absence of two years is the bubbly and widely travelled fiddle player and teacher from Auckland, Marian Burns who was honoured in 2010 with the Lifetime Achievement award for her work in encouraging fiddle playing in New Zealand. Marian will be shooting for Best Solo Fiddler at this year's Awards and has also submitted a song she wrote while sitting on the back deck of a Murray River paddle boat, called Murray River Princess, in the category for Best Fiddle Composition.
A high profile Perth group, Ruby Boots, has entered the contest for the first time, nominating their latest album At Last for Best CD by a Band and will be up against a strong field for Best Band Featuring a Fiddler. They have also nominated in the Youth Achievement category. The band has achieved great exposure on radio and stage, as well as a national tour and supporting gigs with international bands.
The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle band is back in force, being selected as finalists for Best Band, Best CD by a Band and Best Composition. They will be hoping to repeat their 2010 performance, when they took home Golden Fiddle Awards for Best CD by a Band and Best Fiddle Composition.
Quatro, the string quartette from Bundaberg who won the hearts of the last two Golden Fiddle show audiences (pictured performing at the Golden Fiddle Awards), is making good progress in their young musical careers, having reached the finals this year in Best CD by a Band and the Youth Achievement category, which they won last year. In 2011, at their first major public outing in Tamworth, the Golden Fiddle jury gave the band a highly commended certificate in the youth section.
In the Showcase category, Best Fiddle Player in Australasia, there are three contenders... Adrian Keating (principal violinist for Opera Australia), Emma Nixon (Brisbane-based Scottish fiddle expert and three times Golden Fiddle winner) and Marian Burns (New Zealand fiddler and teacher and Golden Fiddle lifetime achievement winner).
Tickets for the Awards show can be purchased here.
The Golden Fiddle Awards are sponsored by Epoch Musical Instruments.
Weblink – www.goldenfiddleawards.org.au.
Chart Update – five weeks at the top for The McClymonts
The McClymonts' stranglehold on the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart, with their latest hit Two Worlds Collide, enters its fifth week this week.
Jetty Road have edged up one place to number two with Wrong while Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind is at three and Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road is steady at four.
Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise jumps two places to number five, Amber Lawrence's Try is at six and America's Lady Antebellum is at seven with Wanted You More.
America's Little Big Town is at eight with Pontoon, Christie Lamb's Invincible Me is up one to nine and America's Alan Jackson is at 10 with You Go Your Way.
Bullet performers for the week include O'Shea's The Swimming Song (16 to 12), Adam Brand's I Was Here (20 to 17), Doug Bruce's Made That Way (17 to 13), Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer with Women In Song (23 to 20), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life (25 to 22) and Craig Morrison's Stay Up Late (27 to 24).
New entries to the chart this week include Stephanie Jansen with The Life You Made (new at 29) and Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous Way (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2013
Clel hits number one in Europe
Clel Adams' River Valley Express has scored the north coast NSW based artist another chart hit in Europe.
With the Countdown to the Tamworth Festival in full swing, Clel is in the process of getting the news out and about about her Festival shows, all free shows during the 10 day main event.
"If you're heading out, please drop in to one of my shows and come say g'day," she said. "It will be great to meet you in person.
Performing with Clel will be River Valley Express, the band... Kathryn Jones on vocals/guitar/uke, Rod Coe on bass, Adrian Davis on guitar and vocals, Jason Caspen, drums and Garry Steel – piano and accordion.
Clel plays the South Tamworth Bowling Club at 1pm Wednesday January 23 with special guests Stuie & Camille, on Thursday 24th, Clel plays at the Bush Poets Breakfast at the Longyard Hotel from 8am with Kathryn Jones and Adrian Davis, while and Sunday and Monday, 27th and 28th, Clel will play Wests Diggers Courtyard with special guests Kathryn Jones (Sunday afternoon) and Ray Essery, "the Mullumbimby Bloke" (on Monday afternoon).
Clel's current single is "a rockin' re-make" of Hank Williams' Baby We're Really In Love.
Weblink – www.cleliaadams.com.
New single from Lee
Lee Kernaghan has released the latest single from his Beautiful Noise album, Ute Me.
The single was partly recorded live at last year's Gympie Muster while its accompanying video clip was shot at the Deni Ute Muster.
"The audience reaction has been amazing," Lee said. "We recorded the crowd singing along to the 'Ute Mes' and the 'Bump bump bumps'. Then we took the track to the Deni Ute Muster where we shot the music video both on stage, in the arena and out in the car park."
Ute Me was a last minute addition to the Beautiful Noise album and was co-written with country hit makers Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter.
"It was our last day of songwriting in Sydney and as I walked into the airport it hit me… Ute Me!... it was an instantaneous kind of thing... the title and the music just hit me there and then and by the end of the afternoon the song was written.
"We had a lot of fun in the studio with Ute Me and experimented with some grooves and sounds that you wouldn't normally expect to hear in our genre of music. It's definitely going to test out the subs on a few speakers out there… some people have even said this song should come with a classification rating of 'U' for 'Ute Me'!"
Lee is touring Australia throughout 2013 with special guests The Wolfe Brothers and will host the giant free concert in Country Music Capital's Bicentennial Park on Friday January 25.
Weblink – www.leekernaghan.com.au.
MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2013
FanZone new for Tamworth
An initiative at this year's Toyota Country Music Festival will be the launch of Country Music FanZone – a physical place to go during the Festival and an on-line experience for fans year-round.
Tamworth's Northern Daily Leader reported the Toyota FanZone is to launch on Friday January 18, the first official day of the 2013 festival.
The physical presence of FanZone will be in Fitzroy Street where the central business district traders are normally located (it is understood these are moving to a space in the city's Brisbane Street, still in the CBD).
As an activity that will be on-line and running 24 hours a day all year round, FanZone is also being promoted as bringing "some of the fun of Tamworth to fans all over the world".
Country music artists and fans can come together any day of the year with news, announcements, nation-wide gig guides, exclusive launches, merchandise, trivia and, most importantly, that coveted artist/fan interaction, The Leader reported.
Fans would also be able to directly interact with their favourite stars in real, on-line time via social media "hubbing".
The website is to have four key areas – "Launch Pad" (including record releases, artist interviews and video clips), "Country Music News", "Live Beats" (gig guide) and "Social Stage" (social media interaction).
The Toyota FanZone marquee will be open for nine days of the Festival from 9am to 6.30pm January 18 to 26.
Weblink – www.countrymusicfanzone.com.au.
Troy announced as Urban Country Ambassador
Country star Troy Cassar-Daley has been named as the 2013 Urban Country Music Festival's Urban Country Ambassador.
The announcement was made by Moreton Bay Regional Council, organisers of the Festival in Caboolture.
Mayor Allan Sutherland said he was pleased to secure the iconic Australian country music star as the ambassador for the 10th annual festival.
"I can't think of a better person to promote the Urban Country Music Festival as ambassador. Troy, whose career has so far included 21 Golden Guitars, eight Deadlys and four ARIA awards, is renowned for his country music and his humble beginnings, something we wanted to capture and remind people of as we celebrate a decade of Urban Country," Allan said.
"Not only will Troy support the Festival but he'll also perform alongside some of the hottest names in Australian country music at the 2013 festival."
Troy said he was looking forward to helping the Festival celebrate its 10 year significant milestone: "I'm really looking forward to the Festival and with the new year upon us there has never been a better time to grab a ticket.
"Over the past nine years, the Urban Country Music Festival has brought a great mix of both urban and country music and free family fun to Caboolture and you can be guaranteed 2013 will be no exception," Troy said.
The Caboolture Urban Country Music Festival will run Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 3 to 5 (Queensland's Labor Day weekend) and will feature three days of "free family fun" with highlights including the Urban Rodeo, Beaut Ute show, free Urban Blaze Concert and the Voice of Urban Country talent search.
Tickets are $60 for adults and $20 for children and are available for purchase online at www.urbancountry.com.au by phoning 07 5433 3222 or by visiting a Moreton Bay Regional Council Customer Service Centre.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 13, 2013
The Borderers' Tamworth
Leading Scottish/Irish/Aussie band The Borderers will play five shows at Tamworth 2013 in three different venues.
Billed as "fun times absolutely guaranteed" The Borderers concerts this year will run at The Family Hotel, 11.45am Wednesday January 23, Tamworth Services Club's "Dungeon" 2pm Thursday January 24 and 3:30pm Saturday January 26 and at Wests Diggers 7pm Friday January 25 and 7pm Sunday January 27.
Since The Borderers were last in Tamworth, they've had what they describe as a sensational year at home and abroad.
They have played for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, been signed to a Los Angeles record company and went home from the South Australian Fowler's Live Music Awards with two gongs – Most Popular SA Release for their Tales Of Love And Loss album and Most Popular SA Band/Artist.
Very popular in Europe, The Borderers returned during the year to appear at several major festivals.
The year before, on Bastille Day, The Borderers played to huge crowds at the Mirande Festival in southern France – Europe's largest country music festival.
And as parents themselves, Jim and Alex say they always strive to present family-friendly shows where any age group feels comfortable being in the room.
Special guests on the The Borderers Tamworth concerts include funnyman Greg Champion and Jim and Alex say surprise guests could drop in at any time.
Weblink – theborderers.com.au.
New from Chris
Chris Staff will release his new album – Different Road – in Tamworth during the upcoming Festival.
The launch will take place at The Square Man Inn in Peel Street at the Jewry Street roundabout at 3pm on Tuesday January 22.
Australian producer and long time friend Michael Flanders oversaw the recording of Different Road in Nashville in May last year.
Chris has been a professional musician in the Australian country scene for more than 10 years playing with stars including Col Finley and The McClymonts.
Now 2013 has arrived, Chris says it's time for him to travel down a "different Road".
Leading up to the album launch, Chris will be playing at Country Music Capital's Tudor Hotel at 12noon and Tamworth City Plaza at 4pm on Friday the 18th, the Tudor again on Saturday the 19th and Sunday 20th at 3:30pm and Southgate Inn Monday 21st at 5pm.
Weblink – www.facebook.com/chrisstaff.official.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2013
New from The Sunny Cowgirls
The new album by sister act The Sunny Cowgirls – What We Do – was released yesterday.
Recorded in Nashville, Perth and Sydney and described as "the perfect representation of what country music is all about... a powerful and engaging testament to the grit, talent and determination of Celeste and sibling Sophie" – the new work contains 14 songs, all originals.
"We've never done anything we didn't want to do and this album is no exception," said Celeste.
"Soph and I had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted this album to be. I think we've both grown up in the past few years, and it shows in our songwriting and the content of our songs. We wanted this album to be real, organic, natural and true to us. We wanted great players and amazing musicianship, but at the same time we didn't want a sparkly, shiny Nashville-sounding record."
"It is a mark of the Clabburn sisters' determination that in What We Do they have achieved exactly that," according to a spokesman for the duo.
"Despite being joined by some of Nashville's finest talents – such as dobro player Dan Dugmore (who has plated for James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt) and drummer Shawn Fichter (Peter Frampton) – the new album is as dinkum Aussie as its first single, Green & Gold, suggests.
"The idea of recording in the USA came from The Sunny Cowgirls' producer Sam Hawksley (The Whitlams, John Farnham, Adam Brand). At first, Sophie and Celeste were not at all keen on the idea."
"Sam's a great friend of ours and just brilliant at what he does," said Sophie. "We've always been big fans, but never thought in a million years we'd be recording an album with him in Nashville! We actually laughed at the idea when he first suggested it, because Nashville isn't really what we're about. We've always recorded here in Australia. We were worried that our Aussie sound might get lost in a big American studio."
"Those fears proved unfounded, however," the spokesman said, "in part because the stellar American talents who joined Sam and the sisters in the studio were balanced by an equally stellar Australian contingent, including bluegrass guitarist Jedd Hughes (Patty Loveless, Sarah Buxton) and, later, keyboardist Matt Fell (Tim Freedman, Sara Storer). The sisters' down-to-earth no-nonsense attitude was more than matched by the businesslike approach of their American collaborators."
"We recorded 14 tracks in two days!" Sophie said. "Actually, not even – they were only six-hour days, so 12 hours all up. They don't muck around over there."
Once the music recording was completed The Sunny Cowgirls left Nashville and flew to Perth, where they spent their childhoods, and laid down vocals under the guidance of band manager Mark Donohoe. Backing vocals were provided by former Australian Idol heavyweight Courtney Murphy. The final elements – including a toy piano – were added at Sydney's Love HZ studio under the watchful eye of Matt Fell.
"And thus, more than two years after the first songs for it were written in 2010, What We Do is finally ready for release," the spokesman said.
"The immediate success of the first single suggests the collection will be an early, strong contender for many awards. In the minds of the Clabburn sisters, however, it is already a triumph – of the will."
"This is the first album we have released independently," said Sophie. "There is no record company calling the shots. We really took control of this record and made the album we wanted to make."
Weblink – www.sunnycowgirls.com.
Bush Laureates' Australiana concert
The Australian Bush Laureate Awards presentation will take the form of a major Australiana concert this January.
To be staged in Tamworth on Tuesday, January 22, this year's Awards will once again recognise the best of Australia's bush poets in published and recorded form and will be presented amid more than a dozen performances by poets and special guest country music artists.
The line-up of bush poets, most of whom are also finalists in this years Awards, in alphabetical order, will be Jim Brown, John Davis, Jack Drake, Carol Heuchan, Bessie Jennings, Bill Kearns, Christopher Kessey, Peter Mace, Greg North and Manfred Vijars.
Leading the line-up of country stars appearing will be Amber Lawrence, Wayne Horsburgh, Luke O'Shea, Tamara Stewart, Graham Rodger, Allan Caswell, Dianne Lindsay and Grant Luhrs.
Also appearing will be Mick Fetch, Grant Luhrs, one of Australia's most promising new rising stars Katelyn O'Donoghue and, of course, compere Jim Haynes.
A number of "surprise" special guest presenters will also appear.
Bush Laureate Awards – in the form of the highly prized Golden Gumleaf – will be presented for Book of the Year, Album of the Year, Published Poem of the Year, Single Recorded Performance of the Year, Children's Poem of the Year and the new this year Recorded Australian Song Lyric of the Year.
An additional recognition, the Judith Hosier Heritage Award – named in honour of the Awards founder – will also be announced.
A full listing of Awards finalists can be found at www.bushlaureate.com.au.
Tickets for the gala Awards presentation concert can be obtained from the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Peel and Murray Streets in Country Music Capital, by phone on 02 6767 5300 or online here.
Tickets will also be available at additional ticket sales outlets when the 2013 Toyota COuntry Music Festival Tamworth gets underway next Friday.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2013
It's on - Tamworth 41
The Toyota 41st Country Music Festival Tamworth is underway – or at least the seven day Countdown to the Festival to the main event that kicks off officially NEXT Friday, January 18.
Media reports of earlybird visitors arriving, some as early as pre-Christmas, continue to be made and the Country Music Capital is well and truly decked out with most of its Festival colours.
Through this seven day period, there will be plenty of entertainment with more than a hundred events and activities taking place in "a quieter time" in the lead up to the Festival proper.
The first three days sees a host of well-known artists "on the bill" including Aaron Bolton, Rob Breese, Chris Callaghan, the Dally Croft Band, Rex Dallas, Lynette Guest, Patti Morgan, Dan Murphy, Alby Pool & No City Limits, Doug Rowe, Lane Sinclair, Shane Teinaki, Those Gals and Sally-Anne Whitten... just among those we know about.
Country Music Capital's well-known permanent attractions – Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Big Golden Guitar and Walk A Country Mile exhibit – all open their doors, some for extended hours.
The Hall of Fame will run its regular Countdown events the Sausage Sizzle with guest stars at the Harvey Norman retail complex tomorrow morning from 10am and Country in the Courtyard with walk-up artists from 6:30 Sunday evening.
Tamworth Balladeers & Friends are running their annual Westpac Rescue Helicopter fund-raiser at the Kootingal & District Bowling Club on Sunday from 11am (see story here) and Chris Watson and Dare 2 Dance have organised a Line Dance Social Sunday afternoon from 2 at the Longyard Hotel.
A unique activity on Sunday evening from 6 will be the January edition of the regular Big T Jamboree live-to-air webcast from Enrec Studio in Calala. This month's show features artists including Chris Callaghan, up and coming performer Lane Sinclair and Sally-Anne Whitten.
More information and bookings for the Jamboree can be made via the website www.bigtjamboree.com.
Full details of most events are available in the Official Guide (see story here).
People's Choice line-up announced
Organisers of the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards have announced the line-up of guest artists that will perform during the gala awards presentation during the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The line-up is... Brothers3 (finalists for Album, Group, Song, Video and Bush Ballad), Paul Cowderoy (finalist for Male Vocal, Album, Song and Vocal Event), Dale Duncan (Male Vocal, Album and Vocal Event), Forever Road (Group Video and Most Promising Future Star), Sarah Head (Future Star), Rachel Jillett (Future Star), Christie Lamb (Female Vocal, Video), Amber Lawrence (Female Vocal), Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson (Dianne for Female Vocal, Dianne & Peter for Song and Bush Ballad), Amos Morris (Vocal Event), Luke O'Shea (Male Vocal, Bush Ballad, Vocal Event), Amber Joy Poulton (Female Vocal) and Graham Rodger (Male Vocal, Album, Song, Bush Ballad, Vocal Event)
Comperes for the evening will be Connie Kis Andersen and Greg Champion who will also both perform during the evening.
And a number of special guest presenters will appear.
Awards are to be presented in 11 categories, all determined by public vote with no restriction on who voters can vote for.
Performance categories are Male and Female Vocal, Group/Duo, Album, Song, Bush Ballad, Video, Vocal Event and Most Promising Future Star.
Two categories are dedicated to the important country music broadcasting sector with one for Most Popular Country Music DJ and one for Most Popular Country Music Radio Station or Program.
The full list of finalists can be seen on the website – www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.
This year for the first time, the People's Choice Awards has two major sponsors in the Trans-Help Foundation, the organisation that supports Australian truck drivers and their families) in conjunction with support sponsor Iveco.
New bluegrass competition
A new competition for bluegrass players – the Coca-Cola Battle of the Bluegrass – will be staged as part of the 2013 Coca Cola Concerts in the Park during the upcoming Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth.
The new "foot-stomping talent quest" (according to organisers) Heats will be staged on Tuesday January 22 and Wednesday January 23 from 12 noon to 1pm with the grand final scheduled for Thursday January 24.
Aim of the competition is "to discover and present an opportunity for acoustic musicians from all over Australia to test their musicianship in banjo or fiddle playing".
The competition has two categories and two sections in each category... Banjo, Junior (under 17) and Senior and Fiddle, Junior (under 17) and Senior.
Those who wish to enter the new competition can call the organisers, Rural Press Events, on 02 6768 5800 or email email@example.com.
Coca-Cola Concerts 2013
The bluegrass competition is one of numerous activities that make up the popular Coca-Cola Concerts in the Park program which is recognised as one of the most important free artist walk-up opportunities of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth.
This year, the series will be celebrating its 35th anniversary at its original home – Hands of Fame Park that becomes known as Coke Park during the annual January Festival. Originally known as the Mr Juicy Twilight Concerts, the Coke Concerts in 2013 will offer country music fans "free, fun entertainment," according to organisers, "that they can listen to and participate in".
"It's a rare opportunity for all artists and emerging talent to perform on stage at Coke Park in front of an enthusiastic audience,” said Barry Harley, General Manager of organisers Rural Press Events.
The Coke Concerts offer 10 minute "walk-up" spots for performers. "So here's your chance to perform at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and make your dreams come true," Barry said.
Each artist has the opportunity to be supported by the accomplished Alwyn Aurisch Band and is provided with sound, lighting and specialist audio engineer. Each day, the free concerts are compered by Mal Winckle.
"So call into Coke Park to register to perform and walk the same stage as Lee Kernaghan and countless country music stars," Barry said.
"As a Tamworth local and a keen supporter of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, I find it really exciting that Coca-Cola has been such a long-standing supporter and sponsor of a festival that is great not only for country music but also for the local economy," said John Eggins, District Sales Manager, Tamworth, Coca-Cola Amatil.
The Coca-Cola Concerts run from 10am to 5pm every day from Saturday January 19 to Saturday January 26 with special features including the Coca-Cola Battle of the Bands, Yamaha Battle of the YoungStars, the new Coca-Cola Battle of the Bluegrass and twilight concerts including the South Australian Tamworth Showcase starting at 6pm on Wednesday January 23.
"We're really looking forward to another great year here at the 41st festival," said John Eggins. "It will be a highlight for us in terms of introducing new young stars of country, new bands and continuing to modernise the Park itself.We're hoping we can continue enticing festival goers in 2013 with the exciting activities on offer in Coca-Cola Park for musicians and country music fans alike."
The program also includes the Queensland Champion of Champions Showcase each day from 12noon to 1pm Saturday January 19 to Monday January 21 and a performance by this year's Toyota Star Maker grand finalists on Wednesday January 23 from 2pm.
Weblink – www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
A major fund-raising concert for the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey will be staged during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.
All For Slim will be staged at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre on Wednesday January 23 at 11am.
The official 2013 Slim Dusty tribute concert will feature the Slim Dusty Family (pictured) and special guests performing many of Slim's classic songs.
Tickets can be purchased form the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Peel and Murray Streets, by telephone – 02 6767 5300 – or online here.
Chart Update – The McClymonts' fourth week at number one
The McClymonts' latest hit Two Worlds Collide remains at number one for the fourth week this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.
Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind edges up one place to number two, Jetty Road's Wrong is at three and Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road is up two places to number four.
Amber Lawrence's Try is at five, America's Lady Antebellum is at six with Wanted You More and Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise is at seven.
America's Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town are at eight and nine, respectively, with Blown Away and Pontoon while Christie Lamb's Invincible Me debuts in the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Doug Bruce's Made That Way (17 to 13), Beccy Cole's Hello Happiness (19 to 15), O'Shea's The Swimming Song (20 to 16), Carter & Carter's To The Moon And Back (21 to 18), Adam Brand's I Was Here (23 to 20), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life (28 to 25) and Craig Morrison's Stay Up Late (30 to 27).
New entries to the chart this week include McAlister Kemp (pictured) with A Good Idea (new at 29).
The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2013
Kathy wins at the ASAs
NSW Hunter Valley singer/songwriter Kathy Coleman has picked up another award, an Australian Songwriting Association award for her Dunedoo Station.
The song was joint winner of the 2012 ASA National Songwriting Awards section with Anzac Morning by Justin Linkins of Victoria.
Kathy was also judged second in the Ballad section with her song He Still Remembers, about Dementia/Alzheimers
John Greenwood & Jason Greenwood from Victoria won the Country section with I'm Missing You with Tahlia McGahey of NSW in second place with Why Don't We Meet Half Way.
Kathy's Dunedoo Station, that also won the Australiana section at the Canberra Country Music Songwriting Awards in 2011, is described as a song about the history of the railway coming to Kathy's home town back in 1910. Kathy released the song in November 2009 on second album, Hot & Bothered.
A highlight of the ASA Awards night in Sydney in December was a performance of Dunedoo Station by Kathy with an accompanying slide show of old photos from Dunedoo from 1910 to 1917.
Dunedoo Station and He Still Remembers are up for more awards this month at the Tamworth Songwriters' Association Songwriter Salute Awards, together with another song, Til The Cows Come Home, while Dunedoo Station and Til The Cows Come Home are also in the finals in the Country/Australiana section of The SongComp, the Songsalive songwriting competition with winners also due to be announced this month.
Photo: Kathy performs at the ASAs.
Weblink – www.kathycoleman.com.au.
Tamworth Official Guide out now!
The Official Guide to the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2013 is "out now".
Deliveries of the Guide, sponsored by Destination Tamworth and boasting "a bumper" 268 pages, started with the first copies being delivered to the Tamworth Information & Visitors Centre.
The Guide highlights new events and features the Official Daily Program for the Festival including the exclusive A to Z Artist Directory that allows fans to follow their favourite artists during the festival with details of where they are appearing, times and dates as well as numerous artist photos and biographies.
A venues map, Tamworth town map, bus routes and timetable are all included together with country music points of interest and helpful visitor guide information to Country Music Capital and the district.
RPE General Manager and Publisher of the Official Guide Barry Harley said this year the daily program is showcasing 2,443 events and activities to be staged over the official 10 days of the Festival, including the seven-day countdown period with 463 individual artists performing in 106 different venues.
"It's come a long way since our first issue in 1975 that boasted eight pages," Barry said, "with the headline 'Tamworth calls the tune' along with a photo of 'Mr Hoedown' John Minson resplendent in top hat promoting the then Australasian Country Music Awards sponsor Wrangler Jeans. The program contained a total of 11 scheduled events...
The Official Guide will also be on-line with the pending release of a 2013 version of an accompanying smartphone app.
In celebrating the 41st year of the Tamworth Festival, the Official Guide features historical facts and inside stories about foundation events like the Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitar Awards), Toyota Star Maker talent search, Hands of Fame, Roll of Renown, Capital Country Music Association National Talent Quest and Jamboree and the Toyota Cavalcade as well as information about new music product releases, artist CD launches, more about key events and insightful stories into the famous festival.
The Official Guide, which also includes a Capital News souvenir 20 track music CD reflecting the 41st festival year valued at more than $25, is available from Tamworth newsagents, selected newsagents throughout NSW, the Tamworth Information & Visitors Centre, the Big Golden Guitar Gift Shop and will be available during the Festival at the Capital News Shop at Toyota FanZone in Fitzroy Street and Coca-Cola Concerts in the Park (Hands of Fame Park).
Anyone who would like to get a copy prior to arriving in Tamworth can contact RPE on 02 6768 5800 or buy online via www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2013
Kasey and Shane to present free Tamworth concert
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson have announced they will stage a free concert at this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The concert will take place in the heart of the city's Peel Street (or "Boulevarde of Dreams") and is scheduled to be their only dedicated Tamworth show.
It will be somewhat of a return to years prior as Kasey performed a giant free concert for a number of years on the main Friday night of the Festival in the city's Bicentennial Park.
"We want to thank all our fans for their ongoing support, not only for (supporting the album) Wreck & Ruin, but for all our music over so many years. We can't think of a better way to say 'Thanks' than to perform a very special 'live & free' concert with the Wreck & Ruin Band, right where so many of Australia's favourite country music stars got their first break – downtown Peel Street in Tamworth at the annual Country Music Festival.
"We'll be playing all the old favourites, as well as some of the new stuff. We can't wait to get there and see you all," the couple said.
Kasey and Shane received five finalist nominations for Wreck & Ruin at upcoming Golden Guitar Awards including Album of the Year.
Wreck & Ruin was released in September and debuted on the national ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) charts at six and on the National Country Music album charts at number one and continues to chart strongly some four months later.
The free concert will take place at 8pm on Wednesday January 23.
Bush balladeers will come together for their annual fund-raiser for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in Country Music Capital this Sunday (January 13) as one of the first major events of the Countdown to the January Festival.
The Northern Daily Leader reported that the Tamworth Balladeers & Friends concert would be held at the Kootingal & District Bowling Club just north of Tamworth from 11am to 4pm.
Artists who will volunteer their services on the day include Rex Baldwin, Col Behan, Trevor Coombes, Rex Dallas and family, Dubby, Lynette Guest, Jim Hartley, Patti Morgan, Jared & Rowan Scott and Those Gals (pictured).
Entry to the show will be by gold coin donation and, in addition to the entertainment, the day will also host a barbecue, "mega raffle", morning tea and a lucky door prize.
A courtesy bus will run from the Tamworth Rugby Union Club at 9am, North Tamworth Sporting Grounds at 9:15, BP Service Centre "between the bridges" at 9:30, Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at 9:45, Caltex opposite the Austin Tourist Park on the Armidale Road at 10am and the Matilda Service Station at Nemingha at 10:15am.
MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2013
Special tributes announced for 2013 Golden Guitar Awards
This year's Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) will host two special tributes saluting Australian pioneer country music artists.
The first will be a Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar to be awarded to "Tangletongue" Geoff Mack who celebrated his 90th birthday on December 20.
Geoff, the writer of the Australian classic I've Been Everywhere and a veteran of outback tent shows and the Tivoli circuit, is already honoured on the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown.
He began performing professionally in 1944, touring with the late Slim Dusty from the late 1970s and still attends the Tamworth Country Music Festival every year with Tabby, his wife of 59 years.
Lucky Star, the father of current rising star Craig Morrison, recorded the first hit version of I've Been Everywhere in 1962. It has since been recorded by more than 130 artists including Johnny Cash.
The second tribute by a host of star presenters will be to the late Jimmy Little who died in April last year.
New to the Awards in 2013 will be executive producers Nik Goldsworthy and Ean Thorley who have created some of Australia's most watched cultural events, awards shows and television broadcasts including Sydney New Year's Eve, pay television's ASTRA Awards, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, World Youth Day and MTV Australia's Video Music Awards.
"We are thrilled to be producing the 2013 Country Music Awards of Australia," Nik said. "This is such an important Australian music and cultural event, and we plan to put on one hell of a show.
The Awards will be presented at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre on Australia Day, January 26. Tickets can be purchased here.
Weblink – www.country.com.au.
Vale – Patti Page
American star Patti Page, who turned the country song Tennessee Waltz into a monster pop hit in 1950, died on January 1 at age 85.
Though she wasn't terribly familiar to contemporary music fans, Patti had been a staple of the easy listening and adult contemporary pop worlds since she started recording in the 1940s.
She had hits early on with songs such as Confess, With My Eyes Wide Open and I'm Dreaming, but it was Tennessee Waltz that turned into the smash and became not only her signature song, but one of the best-selling songs of the 20th century.
Tennessee Waltz was already a hit song by 1950. Country bandleader Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart had written and recorded it a few years earlier (it was Pee Wee's signature song, too).
The song went on to be covered by numerous artists across genres, including Patsy Cline, Leonard Cohen, Sam Cooke, Norah Jones and Otis Redding.
When Patti appeared on The Johnny Cash Show, "the Man in Black" called the song "one of the prettiest songs heard anywhere".
Patti's career didn't slow down after the success of Tennessee Waltz. She went on to earn many more hit songs, including Allegheny Moon, Come What May, Detour, (How Much Is That) Doggie In the Window and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte. She even had her own TV show in the 1950s.
Though she was best known as a pop singer, Patti also recorded country music throughout her career. In fact, her last charting single was the 1982 country song My Man Friday.
She continued to perform some 50 shows a year up until her death. A previous recipient of the Academy of Country Music's Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award (in 1979), Patti was set to appear this coming February in Los Angeles to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2013
Roo tops Country Tracks for 2012
Roo Arcus has come in at number one on the Country Tracks Year End Singles Chart for 2012 with his hit This Here Cowboy.
The McClymonts are at number two with Piece Of Me, Jetty Road is at three with Sweet Goodbye and Beccy Cole is at four with Waitress.
Adam Harvey is at five with Dig Two Graves, Troy Cassar-Daley at six with Home and Harmony James is at seven with Emmylou's Guitar.
The McClymont's take their second top 10 place for the year with their Two Worlds Collide at number eight, Luke O’Shea & Dianna Corcoran hold ninth place with New England Sky and Christie Lamb rounds out the top 10 with Mr Wrong.
Other artists featuring in the top 50 for 2012 include Chelsea Basham, Kaylee Bell, The Bobkatz, Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Doug Bruce, Camille & Stuie. Carter & Carter, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Travis Collins, Graeme Connors, Paul Costa, Kristy Cox, Morgan Evans, The Harmonators, Lee Kernaghan, Lee & Robbie Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, McAlister Kemp, Craig Morrison, Jasmine Rae and Tamara Stewart.
Through 2012, a total of 125 tracks entered the chart, 83 of which were by Australian acts. Fourteen were first time hitmakers, including Chelsea Basham, Adi Burgess, Corey Colum, Aly Cook, Bob Corbett, Paul Cowderoy, Stephanie Jansen, Christie Lamb and The Wolfe Brothers.
There were a total of 15 number ones during the year, all by Australian artists... in chronological order: Troy Cassar Daley's Home (in February), Amber Lawrence's Everybody's A Mess (March), The McClymonts How Long Have You Known (March), McAlister Kemp's Country Proud (April), Beccy Cole's Waitress (May), Troy Cassar-Daley's Live And Learn (May), Adam Harvey's Dig Two Graves (June), Jetty Road's Sweet Goodbye (July), The McClymonts' Piece Of Me (August), Catherine Britt's Always Never Enough (September), Paul Costa's Tractors & Bikes (September), Harmony James' Emmylou's Guitar (October), Roo Arcus' This Here Cowboy (October), Troy Cassar-Daley's Home (November) and The McClymonts' Two Worlds Collide (December).
Full details of the year-end charts can be found at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.
Red Hill Festival gears up
Organisers of the annual Red Hill Country Music Festival in Victoria are gearing up to present one of the year's first major events.
The one-day festival runs from 9am on Sunday January 13 at the Red Hill Showgrounds Reserve, Arthurs Seat Road, Red Hill south east of Melbourne.
The local Lions Club puts the annual festival together with activities including "ute muster" and "hot rod show & shine" in addition to the entertainment.
This year's festival will star The Cartwheels, Paul Costa, Kristy Cox, Adam Harvey, Jillian Lampkin, Chris "Boots" Lee and The Shadowriders, Mama's Mountain Jug Band, Nia Robertson & Bill McMartin and Adam Toms with compere Gary Turner.
Weblink – www.redhillcmf.org.au.
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