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April 2008


Urban Country Festival this weekend

Thousands of eager country music fans are expected to descend on Caboolture this weekend (Queensland's May long weekend) for the biggest ever QUT Urban Country Music Festival.

The festival, which is expected to attract more than 30,000 day visitors, is celebrating its fifth birthday with a host of country music superstars including Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan.

Lee is the first-ever country music artist to receive the prestigious title and will headline the festival’s Main Concert on Saturday (May 3) at Caboolture Showgrounds.

He will perform alongside country stars such as Troy Cassar-Daley and Beccy Cole and rising stars Kirsty Lee Akers, Travis Collins and The McClymonts.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said the QUT Urban Country Music Festival had quickly become a highlight of the country music calendar.

"The most popular artists from years gone by have been brought back for the festival’s fifth birthday," he said. "The Main Concert is the signature event of the festival, but almost all other concerts and activities are free, so bring the family to Caboolture on the May long weekend for some country fun!"

This year’s festival will feature more than 500 country music artists across 11 stages as well as four days filled with free events including concerts, bush poets, the Beaut Ute Show, Songwriter’s Café and much more.

Festivities kick off with the free Burbs 'n' Bush Party on Friday which will feature the reigning Rising Star winners of the Australian Independent Country Music Awards Markus Meier and Casey Watt.

"Take in the Urban Blaze Concert around moonlit campfires on Sunday with performances by Rob Black, Tom Curtain and Jetty Road followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

"The ever-popular Urban Country Farewell Concert in the Town Square will close the festival on Monday.

"A host of new events have been added to this year’s festival such as the Urban Country Warriors concert, a New Zealand country music showcase and the Next Generation Station featuring performances from our young rising stars.

"Children will also enjoy the festival, with the introduction of Dusty’s Kids Corner in the Town Square offering stacks of fun activities."

Tickets to the festival’s Main Concert cost $64.90 (adults) and $20 (children) and are available through the festival’s website (see below), Ticketek (13 28 49 and, Caboolture Sports Club, Club Caboolture and Norths Leagues Club Kallangur.

Further information available by telephoning 1800 810 400, emailing or by visiting the website at


NSW Governor to visit Hall of Fame

NSW Governor Marie Bashir will visit the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth this Friday.

Her Excellency will view Hall of Fame exhibits as well as the extensive archive and collections under the management of the Australian Country Music Foundation.

During her time in Tamworth, Governor Bashir, who will also be acting Administrator of the Commonwealth of Australia in the absence of the Governor-General, will also visit the Australian Defence Force Basic Flight Training School, Hillvue Public School, the National Equine and Livestock Centre and Tamworth’s new Meals on Wheels kitchen facility.

She will also attend a Civic Reception and visit the Tamworth Hospital, Tamworth Regional Botanic Gardens, Calala Cottage, The Waler Memorial and the Walk A Country Mile country music interpretive centre.

Announcing the visit, local State Member of Parliament Peter Draper said Governor Bashir was visiting Tamworth as the official guest for the Tamworth RSL Sub-branch 90th Anniversary Ball on Saturday night.

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Country acts among SA Folk Awards finalists

A number of country acts feature among finalist nominees in the South Australian Folk Awards to be presented during the state's long weekend of May 9 to 11.

Alex from The Borderers is nominated for Most Outstanding Vocalist while The Borderers (pictured) album A Time For Change is nominated for Most Outstanding CD Release.

Trev Warner is nominated for Most Outstanding Instrumentalist and Eric Bogle is up for the Most Outstanding Contribution to SA Folk Music honour.

The SA State Folk Convention hosts seminars, workshops and discussions for emerging artists and semi-pro musicians, including workshops on business, getting gigs, promo packages and APRA royalties. There will also be sessions for folk clubs, festivals and other folk organisers.

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CMC Top 50 – Kasey & Shane take over the top spot

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson (pictured) have taken over the number one position on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the first single and video and title track from their duo album Rattlin' Bones which also debuted at number one on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) mainstream albums chart on Monday.

Australian acts featuring in the top 10 of the CMC playlist are Catherine Britt with What I Did Last Night up six places to number four, Travis Collins' Rip It Up, entering at number six, and The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue at seven.

Bullet performers this week include Ronni Rae Rivers' Cowboys Come Home (14 to 11), The Slim Dusty Family's Old Purple (22 to 16), The Noll Brothers' A Country Heart (23 to 17), Kirsty Lee Akers' new single The Territory (debuting at 18), Troy Kemp's Throw Away Day (44 to 39), Billy Bridge's Everything I Needed To Say (47 to 42) and Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (re-entering the playlist at 44).

This week's CMC Country Pick is Adam Brand's tribute to the classic Cold Chisel song Khe Sanh with Comin' From / Khe Sanh from his new album Blame It On Eve.

The full playlist can be viewed at


MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2008

Keri recuperates following electric shock

Australian country music performer Keri McInerney is recuperating after suffering a severe electric shock while performing at a corporate event during the Anzac Day long weekend.

A lighting rig began to spark developing quickly into a larger electrical fire threatening the on-stage equipment, staging, Keri and her fellow musicians of The River Band.

In attempting to remove the nearby lighting plug from the power source, Keri was flung backwards to the floor receiving a major jolt of electricity.

She was assisted by medical attendants at the scene for burns to her left hand, damage to her left shoulder, heart arrhythmia and shock.

Keri is recuperating at home in Hervey Bay.


Ealesy to play International Rodeo

Steve Eales, or Ealesy as he is better known, is to feature in the opening ceremony of the State of Origin International Rodeo at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne this Saturday (May 3) to a crowd expected in the order of 15,000 people.

"Girls On Horses seems to have captured the imagination of the international audience especially those associated with rodeo," Steve said.

The State of Origin International Rodeo is billed as the biggest ever rodeo event in Australia featuring "Australia’s best riders" taking on "the world’s best including riders from Canada, New Zealand, Brazil and United States of America".

Performances by the world’s funniest rodeo clown’s and animal acts will coincide with saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, barrel racing and bull riding.

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New album from The Distance

The Distance have released their new album titled Grounded.

With 12 new originals, written by band members Gavin Leadbetter and Mitchell Dean, the album was launched during a performance at The Kinross Woolshed at Thurgoona, southern NSW.

The first single to be lifted from the album is Country Life and features Australian Crawl frontman James Reyne joining Gavin on lead vocal. The video clip for the song has also just arrived on the small screen via CMC (Country Music Channel).

In another announcement, the band reports that that One Stop Country has taken Grounded into their stable which means the album will be available in stores right around Australia.

"It's been non stop of late," the band says. "The past month has seen us fly to Queensland to play the Eramanga Rodeo, then return home to play our album launch followed by a set at the Between the Bays festival and then up to the Barmah Muster.

"But that's how we love it! If we haven't dropped by your front door lately rest assured it wont be long. We have a big second half of 2008 in the planning."

After closing the Deniliquin Ute Muster festivities last year, the band has been invited back to take part in the 10th anniversary celebrations.

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Stephen invited to be part of Aussie music event in America

Broken Hill's Stephen Rowe has been invited to be part of a special Australian music event taking place in America.

Hopkins Music and Advance LA will be presenting "Oz City Gets A New Groove" – a night of networking, discussions and a showcase of Australian music at Nettwork Records in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on May 6.

Stephen will join rock artists Porcelain, Leroy Lee and Late Nite Access for the showcase.

Industry speakers will include Peter Cohen (from Austrade's LA office), Cameron Daddo, Leslie Frank (legal advisor to Jet and Silverchair) and artist manager Dianne Meyer who will be discussing changes in the North American music industry due to the impact of the digital age.

For a new artist, Stephen has been generating quite a buzz since the release of his debut album Broken Hill last year. His latest hit, Let's Fall In Love Again, is a duet with Tania Kernaghan.

His new single, Don't Kick My Dog, has just been released with an accompanying video featuring cameo appearances from actors Stewart Finlay McLennan ("National Treasure") and Becky O'Donohue ("I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry") and Troy MacCubbin, lead guitarist for international group t.A.T.u. (and who also used to play in Ken Forster's country band in Traralgon).

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Opal Blue European hit for Jeanette

The title track and first European single release from Jeanette Wormald’s album Opal Blue has jumped 60 places to number 26 in two weeks since entering the European Country Music Association (ECMA) Top 100 Country Radio Airplay Chart.

The song first entered the charts at number 86 two weeks ago and this week jumped to number 26. Inclusion on the charts is based strictly on an airplay playlist report basis.

Singer/songwriter Jeanette said the radio success was a huge boost and confirmed growing international appeal for her music.

"This a huge response and even more special since it is the first time I have released my music into the European market," she said. "When I released the single through Hillcrest last year I received an overwhelming response from European broadcasters who were particularly fascinated by my story and my passion to celebrate contemporary Australia through original music."

The news that Jeanette had entered the charts came as she travelled to the Aboriginal community of Oak Valley in the Great Victoria Desert to continue her Maralinga Inma project which aims to celebrate cultural identity and build self esteem among musicians through the writing and performing of original music. She returned last week after almost three weeks in the community.

"I was out of range near Yalata when the call from Ross Allen in Canada came through on my mobile," Jeanette said. Ross runs the Hillcrest Radio Distribution service.

Jeanette shared her news with the Maralinga Desert Band, who were also excited for her. "One of our dreams is to get me and the band to play in Europe. There is a huge interest in Australian music and indigenous music overseas," she said.

Opal Blue has now delivered five radio hits for Jeanette including two top 10 and two top 20 hits in Australia and a Golden Guitar nomination. The title track reached number six in Australia last year.

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More European airplay chart news

Meanwhile, a number of other Australian country artists continue to enjoy success on European radio as reported via the ECMA playlist chart for her single Wildflowers.

One of the most significant this week is Clelia Adams (pictured) who is dominating airplay reports in countries including Belgium and Poland where Wildflowers was at the top of the "most played" reports, Austria, Denmark and The Netherlands where it was second highest.

Others featured in the playlist include Connie Kis Anderson's Gone Wishing, Melissa Bajric's Blue Mountain Melody, Jayne Denham's Chick Ute, Shaza Leigh's Teach Your Children, Alby Pool's In My Arms Tonight, Mel Sommers' Roll With The Punches, John Williamson's Blues Sometimes, Rob Wilson's You're My Home and Brian Young & Troy Cassar-Daley's Big Fella Wudumbah.

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New single from Bryen

Singer/songwriter Bryen Willems has released the third single from his Too Cold From Home album, Baby Are You Runnin’.

The 2008 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards multi-finalist's musical interest was sparked only after settling down in Australia, having moved from his Louisiana home with wife Karen.

Bryen’s musical influences are of bayou heritage with an Australian flavour, which he calls "the perfect blend".

His debut album is distributed nationwide through The Planet Company and features hit singles Honky-Tonk Song and Deep Down I’m Shallow as well as the duet As Long As I Live with Nicki Gillis.

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Barb notches up 27 years

Australian country broadcaster Barbara Morison celebrates 27 years on air at Sydney's 2SER today.

One of the station's longest serving volunteers, Barbara has become a leading figure in the Australian country music industry.

She started broadcasting on 2SER as a school student going to air for the first time on April 26, 1981.

And Barbara has been on air at the station ever since doing a wide variety of shifts. Her current show "All kinds of Country" goes to air every Saturday from 5-8am.

During her time on air, Barbara has interviewed some of the biggest names in country music and is widely respected by industry players.

She was one of the inaugural inductees into the Australian Country Music Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame when it was introduced in 1997 and has participated in judging numerous awards like the Golden Guitars, the "MO" Awards, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Awards and the Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA) Awards.

Barbara also has some amazing stories about her early days in radio (as a teenager) and the way she has been welcomed into various Aboriginal communities who share her love of country music.

This morning's "anniversary show" is set to be a very special event.

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Chart update – Adam's second week at the top

Adam Harvey retains the number one position on this week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with his latest hit I'm Doin' Alright.

The Flood's Can't Work No Longer is steady again at number two while Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue jumps two more places to be at number three and Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow is steady at four.

America's Kenny Chesney and George Strait are at five with their duet Shiftwork, Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time jumps two places to six while Markus Meier's The Beating Heart is up three to seven.

Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' zooms into the top 10 at eight, Catherine Britt's former number one Little Wildflower is at nine and Tom Curtain's Heatwave is also new in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (17 to 14), Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (23 to 19), Clelia Adams' Wildflowers (24 to 21), Jetty Road's City Lights (25 to 22) and the Kasey Chambers/Shane Nicholson duet Rattlin' Bones (debuting at 27).

Other new entries to the chart for the coming week include Shea Fisher (pictured) with Everyday Girl (in at 29) and The Noll Brothers with A Country Heart (new at 30).

The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.

The full chart can be viewed at



Lee to run in Olympic Torch Relay

Reigning Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan will run in tomorrow's Beijing Olympics Torch Relay in Canberra.

Lee will be among the up to 80 selected runners including many Olympic athletes past and present such as Libby Tricket, Ian Thorpe and Ron Clark and Paralympians Amanda Fraser and Louise Savage.

Canberra is the only Australian city (and one of just 21 cities worldwide) to take part in the relay along a 20 kilometre route taking in Canberra's major icons and landmarks.

"To me, running with the torch is all about supporting our Australian team and acknowledging the incredible efforts they have made over many years to represent our country at the highest level," Lee said.

"Despite the rights and wrongs of this world, my hope is that the Olympic spirit will continue to unite people and countries now and in the years to come."


Matt joins Red Rebel

Matt Scullion – one of Australia's hottest country acts – has signed with Red Rebel Music for management.

Matt is the latest country act to join the roster which also includes Lee Forster, Drew McAlister and Stephen Rowe.

Red Rebel Music's Karen Waters said: "Matt is a great artist who is part of an exciting new breed of country stars coming through. What he's achieved so far is nothing short of impressive. He's a great recording artist and his live shows are just awesome! I'm stoked to be working with him."

It's been a big year already for Matt being nominated for a Golden Guitar in January and just last week he had a song he co-wrote with Anthony Snape featured in the US version of the television program "The Biggest Loser" which was heard by more than 15 million people.

Matt's latest single – Luckiest Man Alive – is currently at 26 on the Country Tracks National Singles Chart.

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Amber releases Good Girls

Good Girls is the third and latest single from Amber Lawrence’s album The Mile which peaked at four on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Australian Artist Country Chart.

The first single – Things That Bring Me Down – hit number one on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 30 Countdown and three on the Country Tracks Top 30.

The second single – Gonna Fly – reached greater heights at number two on the Country Tracks Top 30.

Good Girls is described as "a lively and sassy song with an addictive chorus that is bound to have listeners and audiences alike singing along in no time.

"It seems most girls have a good, squeaky clean side and a naughty, mischievous side to their nature and that sums it up for Amber Lawrence and this song," said a spokesman for the artist.

The video clip for Good Girls – "a fun and playful clip depicting not one but two Ambers, the good and the not-so-good!" – was shot by Golden Guitar winning director Glenn Wilson.

In the past year, Amber has been busy, touring extensively, including a visit to East Timor in November where she performed with a group of entertainers for the Australian troops.

She has also performed alongside the likes of James Blundell, Travis Collins, Adam Harvey and The McClymonts and is currently touring as part of the successful "Chic Frontier" group with Kirsty Lee Akers, Dianna Corcoran and Aleyce Simmonds.

So far, 2008 has seen Amber nominated for numerous accolades including two Golden Guitars. In the past year, Amber was also voted in the top five for Independent Entertainers of the Year at the Australian Country Music Achiever Awards, had two finalist nominations in the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards and was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the Southern Star Australian Independent Country Music Awards.

Amber’s latest video clip can be viewed here.

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More innovation for Blue Water Country Music Festival

Details have been announced for another innovation at the Blue Water Country Music Festival coming up at Nelson Bay (NSW) in June.

Organisers have arranged for a series of Double Decker Grape Escape Country Music Tours to run in conjunction.

The excursions – designed to provide broader appeal to the Blue Water Country Music Festival – will run to Divers Luck Winery and will take place on a number of occasions during each day of the Festival.

"Patrons will have a real Taste of the Bay by boarding the Double Decker at the Visitors Centre in Nelson Bay and heading south to Divers Luck winery on a hosted panoramic journey complemented by an on board glass of wine and a cheese platter on arrival at the winery 15 minutes later," said a spokesman for Festival organisers.

On-board country music will be a feature of the southern journey and also on arrival at the winery. Hosts Helen and Damien will greet guests and will provide the opportunity for tastings of their vintages accompanied by a Hunter Valley Cheese Platter with a background of country music entertainment.

Patrons will be welcomed back on board by the Red Double Decker hostess and returned to Nelson Bay 15 minutes later with another glass of complimentary wine and a last burst of on-board country music.

Cost for the tours will be $18 and tickets can be purchased from Nelson Bay Town Management at 24 Donald Street, Nelson Bay, telephone 02 4984 4751 or book online at

The 2008 Blue Water Country Music Festival runs from Wednesday June 4 to Monday June 9.


Blood, sweat and cheers

Singer/songwriter Tamara Stewart has combined her gifts of life and love of music to win the Red Cross Calling Country Spirit song-writing contest.

The "Hills Shire Times" reports that Tamara has been a blood donor for several years and always wanted to help promote the good work of the Red Cross.

"When I found out about the competition, it was just divine timing," Tamara told the paper. "And when I got the call to say I had won, it just so happened to be my birthday and I could not have got a better birthday present."

The 33-year-old said she drew on her own personal experiences to write her winning song I Won't Let Go.

"I don't tend to spend a long time working on a song and I know if I wake up the next day and can remember that song word-for-word it is a keeper," she said. "When I do my songs I usually sit down with my guitar and it all tends to come out at once."

The award caps off a great year for Tamara who released her third album – Love Laughter Lessons – during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

She will get the chance to perform her song to good friend and 2008 Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan at the World Red Cross Day dinner at the Log Cabin in Penrith on Thursday, May 8.

Other guests for this dinner will include competition runner-up David Agius and compere and triple Logie award-winning actor Grant Dodwell.

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CMC Top 50 – Alan at number one

America's Alan Jackson has taken over the number one spot on this week's CMC Top 50 playlist with his song Small Town Southern Man.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson jump two places to number two with Rattlin' Bones while last week's number one – Shea Fisher's Everyday Girl – drops to number five.

Catherine Britt's new single – What I Did Last Night – moves up four places to number 10 while Travis Collins' Rip It Up is at 11 and The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue debuts in the playlist at number 12.

Other bullet performers this week include The Slim Dusty Family's Old Purple (30 to 22), The Noll Brothers' A Country Heart (27 to 23), Beccy Cole's What's Up (36 to 28) and Mark O'Shea's Look At You Now (43 to 38.

This week's CMC Country Pick is The Territory by Kirsty Lee Akers.

The full playlist can be viewed at


MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2008

Government commitment to Slim Dusty Centre

Despite a report in a Sydney newspaper that suggested progress of the Slim Dusty Centre project at Kempsey (NSW) may be slowed due to delayed State Government funding, the Slim Dusty Foundation says nothing could be further from the truth with Federal Government funding affirmed by the new Government in writing.

Speaking from the Slim Dusty Foundation office in Kempsey today, General Manager of the Foundation Kathryn Yarnold said she was in receipt of a letter from Gary Gray, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia, stating that the $6 million pledge made in November by former Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile would be honoured by the new Government.

The letter, received on Friday, says: "The Australian Government will deliver on its 2007 election commitments to regional Australia made under the Better Regions initiative. The Government’s $6 million commitment to the Slim Dusty Centre project is to be managed by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government."

"Whilst we always remained confident that the new Federal Government would continue the support of this mighty Australian initiative, it is comforting to see their commitment to the Slim Dusty Centre, in writing," Kathryn said. "The Centre will certainly be about Slim and his life, but it will also depict the heritage of Australia and its people, and we believe that the Government’s support echoes the voice of the people in getting behind the Slim Dusty Foundation."

The $6 million commitment made by the Federal Government is in addition to their initial pledge of $1.5 million made in 2004. While the Slim Dusty Foundation is still awaiting an announcement from the State Government to match this initial Federal pledge, there was absolutely no reason to doubt that the State Government, too, would continue their strong support of the project, Kathryn said, with an announcement expected in the very near future.

"The State Government were the very first to recognise the tremendous community benefits that the Slim Dusty Centre will generate into the future, economically and socially. Previously the State has funded our business plan and website, and opened up a 12 hectare site under lease for the Slim Dusty Centre to be built on the Pacific Highway at Kempsey.

"The entire Slim Dusty Foundation team remain fully optimistic that the State Government will follow the Federal Government’s indication of support with a strong financial commitment that will be an investment into the future of regional New South Wales."

Head of the Foundation Joy McKean said: "While confirmation of the level of funding at times seemed slow, we have been quietly confident of forthcoming support. Given the State Government’s past assistance and encouragement, we have been sure that this critical funding would eventually be made available, in order to advance a project of such importance nationally, and to the Macleay River district and its people," she said.

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Call is out for the next Voice of Urban Country

The call is out for the next Voice of Urban Country, winner of this year's major talent search being staged for the second year at the Urban Country Music Festival in Caboolture, Queensland.

Entries close this Friday (Anzac Day) for both the emerging semi-professional and amateur talent quests.

Claye Middleton (pictured), winner of last year's inaugural Voice of Urban Country talent search said his win might be just the boost an up-and-coming country performer needs.

As entries opened for this year’s talent search, which will be judged during the QUT Urban Country Music Festival, Claye was about to head into the recording studio to start work on an EP which he hopes will be ready for release at this year’s festival where he will be performing during the Burbs ‘n Bush Party in Caboolture’s Town Square on Friday, May 2.

Claye said winning Voice of Urban Country last year had helped him take his music to the next level. "It’s a fantastic opportunity that can really boost your career," he said.

The competition’s cash prize helped him with the costs associated with touring during the year, recording time is helping with the EP production and there has been some extra exposure for him through some organised gigs.

Both levels of competition are open to solo artists, duos, trios and bands. Those who are keen to see the acts will be able to watch the heats free at Town Square in Caboolture on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 and 4. The grand final, hosted by sponsors Club Caboolture, will be a ticketed event beginning at 8pm on Sunday, May 4.

First prize for this year’s semi-professional competition is worth about $10,000 and includes recording time, a referral to a major management company, Ellaways Music Gift Voucher, advertising and marketing package, cash and four performance bookings.

To qualify as a semi-professional performer, artists must be 18 or more, earn more than 25 per cent of their income from the music industry and must have recorded an independent release (single or album).

The amateur competition offers a cash prize, an accommodation package for the long weekend of the 2009 Urban Country Music Festival and an invitation to play at the 2009 Voice of Urban Country finals.

Entry numbers for both sections will be limited.

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Charters Towers Festival recognised by national awards

Meanwhile, a little further north (thanks, Graeme), the Charters Towers Country Music Festival has been named among 28 finalists selected from 225 national entries received in the inaugural Music in Communities Awards.

Run by the Music Council of Australia's music advocacy program – "Music. Play for Life" – the Awards are all about recognising and rewarding people and places helping to spread the music-making bug throughout Australia.

Finalists include the Dandenong Ranges Music Council in regional Victoria, the Sydney Street Choir for homeless people, the Cairns Municipal Band and the Bosnian Women's Choir.

"These inaugural Awards have helped show that Australia's hills, valleys, beaches and cities are truly alive with the sound of music," said Awards organiser Tina Broad. "The 28 organisations and groups which have been selected as finalists clearly punch above their weight in terms of the impact they have on the cultural life of their local communities. They are all inspiring examples of the power of music to connect people and to activate a community's creative life."

A full listing of finalists can be found at

The shortlisted entrants will move on to the next phase of the Awards, the national judging, in early May. The Music in Communities Awards are run with the support of NAMM - the international music products industry association.

The 2008 Charters Towers Country Music Festival will be held during the long weekend in May (2 to 4).

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Shari releases debut album

Shari Williams has released her debut album titled Sunny.

Produced by Barry Gale of Galeforce Productions and mastered by Herm Kovac, the album is billed as "a collection of songs you're bound to fall in love with."

All songs on the album were written or co-written by Shari who has been performing since she was a child on various stages including the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Entertainment Centre.

The first single from the new CD– Out Of Here – has been released to radio and is already gaining airplay.

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More country for Melbourne

Melbourne’s Stereo 974 launched a new country music programming initiative last Monday (April 14) bringing more country to city dwellers.

The Radio Rumours website reports that each weekday between 9am and 6pm the station will be playing country music with an emphasis on promoting Australian country music artists and the industry.

Station manager Rod Boyd (pictured) said: "For quite some time now Australian country music in Melbourne has not had a vehicle to receive the airplay that it deserves.

"Stereo 974 will now become this vehicle. So now country music has a home - Stereo 974."

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FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008

Dianne performs special tribute

Fifty-two years after her mother and father, Heather McKean and Reg Lindsay, performed their first show at the Nabiac (NSW) Showground Hall, Dianne Lindsay returned to the same venue a the weekend as a tribute to her parents.

A proud mother (Heather) sat in the audience and sang along with Dianne, her sister Sandra and her band during the performance.

Talking with Heather, she said this was the first time she had seen both daughters on stage together. The hall was decked in memorabilia from Reg and Heather, including Reg's old brown guitar case where all three girls slept when young and on tour with their mum and dad.

The evening started out with the band playing an instrumental, then they were joined on stage by Dianne who was supported by husband Peter Simpson, Jay Podger, Ken "Chainsaw" Lindsay and John Sutherland with Dennis Bradley on drums.

Also "at great expense to the organisers", the Soggy Bottom boys made the trip in from the mountains around Nabiac to perform after the break.

Making the trip also was newly elevated Roll of Renown recipient Geoff Mack.

For trivia fans, the first Reg and Heather show was in January 1956 with a five week old Dianne in attendance.

"The atmosphere on the night was such that everyone walked away knowing that they thoroughly enjoyed the evening," Dianne said. "There is talk that this may become an annual event."

Photo: Dianne Lindsay performs with sister Sandra at the Nabiac Showground Hall.


Sara on "Sunrise" Monday

Sara Storer will appear on the 7 and Prime networks' "Sunrise" program on Monday.

She will be performing her hit single Long Live The Girls – a song inspired by her nieces and one that has enjoyed widespread positive reviews including the Bernard Zuel from the "Sydney Morning Herald" who said: "Long Live The Girls wouldn't be out of place on a Waifs album and includes the earthiness that is, surprisingly, so rarely heard in local country."

Sara's performance on Monday is scheduled for 8:30am.

After taking out two more Golden Guitars in January, recently, Sara has been doing shows with the likes of Kev Carmody, Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly, Suzanne Vega and The Waifs.

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NT song finalists announced

Finalists have been announced in the Northern Territory Country Songwriting Awards and Country Songwriting Competition.

In the Songwriting Awards, finalists are...

For Bush Ballad... Banjo And Henry by Peter Coad, Born And Bred In The NT by Ben Jacobs & Shaza Leigh, One Of A Kidman's Men by Buddy Thomson, Our Women Pioneers by Ray Rose and Woman On The Land by Graham Rodger.

For Contemporary Song... Dreamland by Danny Hooper, Free To Be Me by Michelle Little & Patricia Cruzado, Long Gone by Rodney Auld, Jay Collie & Jasper Somerville-Collie, Thank God by Jay Collie, Tim Dutton & Jasper Somerville-Collie and Wild Flowers by Clelia Adams.

For Comedy/Novelty... The Boobs Song by Rita Schneider & Kath Fleming, Down On The Farm by Rita Schneider, Postman Kangaroo by Nathan Charlton, There's A Hole In The Mozzie Net by Graham Rodger & Deidre Wilmington and We're Real Aussies by Craig Stewart.

In the Songwriting Competitionm finalists are...

In the Professional Section (for unreleased material)... I've Done It by Brent Lillie, Manabadgerie Run by Graham Rodger & Mark Kleinschmidt, Manarichie Rails by Johnny Kaye & Tom McIvor, Million Miles by Leah Briggs and Temporary Loan by Lola Brinton.

In the Amateur Section... Box Of Kisses by Lauren Brede, Coming Home by Edward Everingham, Island River by Mary Flynn, Katherine Through The Ages by Lindy Lou and Rip It Up by Christie Lamb.

In the Lyrics Only Section... The Fire At Granite Creek by Lindy Lou & Zac Finden, How Two Bys Lived Their Dream by Merv Webster, The Old Brindle Bull by Lindy Lou, The Pride Of The Stockman by Alex Raymer and Strum by Manfred Vijars.

Winners will be announced during the 2008 Katherine Country Music Muster being staged from Friday to Sunday, May 2 to 4.


Back to Basics 2008

This year's Back to Basics Music Session & Campfire Festival will feature the talents of Karen Lynne (pictured) & Acoustic Shock.

The festival welcomes all folk, country, blues and bluegrass music lovers and music makers, according to organisers, "those who enjoy the simple things in life, such as singing, camping, campfires and living with nature.

"You're welcome to a special weekend of relaxation, music and merriment."The Back to Basics Festival venue is located on Muffets Road, Quialigo, half an hour from Goulburn, "follow the signs from Windellama Road, Goulburn, Marulan, Tarago or from Bungonia".

It will be held over the weekend of May 2 to 4 (including a Friday night campfire) as a fundraiser for the Windellama Rural Fire Brigade.

Saturday will feature walkup entertainment from 11am till campfire time.

Further information, including ticket prices, can be obtained by emailing


Chart update – Adam takes over at number one

Adam Harvey (pictured) takes over the number one spot on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with his latest hit I'm Doin' Alright.

The Flood's Can't Work No Longer is steady at number two while Catherine Britt's number one from the last four weeks – Little Wildflower – slips to three and Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow jumps two places to number four.

Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue jumps two places to number five, The McClymonts' My Life Again is at six while the duet by America's Kenny Chesney and George Strait – Shiftwork – is at seven.

Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time edges up one place to eight while Adam Brand's Get On Down The Road is at nine and Markus Meier's The Beating Heart enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' (14 to 11), Tom Curtain's Heatwave (19 to 15), Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (20 to 17), Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (27 to 23), Jetty Road's City Lights (29 to 25) and Matt Scullion's Luckiest Man Alive (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart for the coming week include The Slim Dusty Family's Old Purple (in at 30).

The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.

The full chart can be viewed at



ABC Music artists feature on major TV show

In what has been described as "a great boost to our local industry", ABC Music artists Catherine Britt (pictured), Shea Fisher, Steve Forde and Jasmine Rae were recently profiled on US television program "Country Music Across America".

The program was put together by host Storme Warren when he visited Australia to cover last month’s CMC Rocks The Snowys Festival and features interviews with all four artists.

The program aired in America last month on cable channel GAC (Great American Country) which, as one of the most popular country music programs on US television, goes into more than 50 million homes in the States.

"It’s such a great boost to our local industry for a program like this to be giving this kind of exposure to our young stars and this fantastic new festival," said Tim Holland, Manager ABC Music Country Label. "It’s also another demonstration of the very genuine commitment the US industry has in supporting Australian artists."

Locally, the Country Music Channel is now airing the special... Wednesday April 16 @ 4:00pm, Thursday April 17 @ 10:00am, Saturday April 19 @ 5:00pm and Sunday April 20 @ 9:00am.

Shea Fisher and Jasmine Rae will also perform at the 2008 CMA (Country Music Association) Global Artist Showcase and CMA Music Festival in Nashville in June.

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Steve in the US

Meanwhile, after a successful 07/08 Summer tour, Steve Forde is currently in Nashville songwriting and recording tracks for his next album due to be released late this year.

Steve’s self-titled album, released through ABC Music, debuted at number four on the ARIA Country Charts, and his first single – Metropolis – hit number one on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 30.

Steve has taken advantage of new mobile and digital technology. In the week of release, his album took out the number one position on the iTunes country charts.

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Wolverines Middle East update...

The Wolverines have completed all their shows in the Middle East.

Darcy, Chris & John say they are physically and emotionally drained – none of them had any real idea of how important this Middle East Tour de Force would be for so many people… "and we won’t hear the real stories until they are back on home soil".

In the past few days, they’ve been on "All Kinds Of Country", "Australia All Over" and "The Ray Hadley Show" (listen at

"We’ve had some lovely calls and emails," the boys said. "Here are a few snippets:

** " husband is currently deployed to Iraq with the Australian Army... he called me today after seeing the Tour de Force show... he really enjoyed the show. It was great to hear him so animated and excited about going back again tonight as he is the medical support. It has been a long tour for him (his second tour) and he has been very flat. Your show and the fact that you guys are there supporting the troops really made a difference to him."

** "Full marks to you for what you are doing. Take care and stay safe."

** "Wow! What a great experience."

** "Great to hear from you guys - and pretty mindblowing that the boys are over in ME> Wow!  Suppose they'll be mistaken for locals??  Naaaaaahhh. Huh."

** "Sounds like any other gig for the boys."

** "I hope they have a great time and don’t scare the locals too much."

** "Very cool – thanks for the news – keep 'em coming! I just heard your John speaking to 'Maca' on the ABC roughly 6.20 am – hope you had prior warning so you were up and listening. Excellent interview. They are doing a great job for the troops and Australia."

The Wolverines will be back on deck next week full of stories and photos from the Middle East Tour de Force.

Photo: the Wolves Darcy LeYear entertains the troops in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan, as part of the tour visit to Camp Holland with Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Kicsak playing bass guitar.

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CountryGreen partners with The Noll Brothers

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that Country Energy will be powering The Noll Brothers with countrygreen® renewable energy on their regional NSW concert tour this month and next.

The 10-date concert tour of regional centres includes Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Parkes and Taree.

Country Energy Central West Regional Manager Chas McPhail said the concert tour was a great opportunity to promote countrygreen® renewable energy.

"Adam and Damian approached us to help them make their tour a green event and we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to promote the benefits," he said.

"Through Adam and Damian’s tour, we are able to reach thousands of people in regional NSW. Their careers are at an exciting time with the recent and successful release of a debut album and their association with their high profile brother."

Country Energy is a major purchaser of solar, hydro and wind energy and will purchase an equivalent amount of countrygreen® renewable energy used at the venues during each concert.

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Yesteryear Truck Show & Country Music Shindig

On the weekend of the April 26/27, the Timbertown (NSW) Steam & Oil Engine Club will host the fourth annual Yesteryear Truck Show & Country Music Shindig.

The weekend will include displays of old vintage trucks, tractors, vintage cars, steam and oil engines, chainsaw carving and more.

At 11am daily, the Timbertown Bullock Team will demonstrate an age-old method of loading logs onto a log truck for transport. This will be followed by the grand parade through the Timbertown Heritage Village.

Entertainment will be provided from 2:30pm to 10pm on Saturday night with artists including Rob Breese, Mike Casey, Ken "Chainsaw" Lindsay and Michelle & David Styles.

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Jasmine getting ready to release debut single

This year's Telstra Road to Tamworth winner Jasmine Rae has been busy recording with US producer Richard Landis in Sydney.

She has recorded four tracks, one of which will be released as her debut single next month.

In June, Jasmine will head to Nashville to record the balance of her debut album with US based Aussie producer Mark Moffat. The album is due for release in late August/September.

While in Nashville, Jasmine will perform at the Global Artist Showcase, Songwriters Night at the Bluebird Cafe and Riverstage as part of the 2008 CMA Festival.

Dates for the 2009 Telstra Road to Tamworth heats, meanwhile, are expected to be announced shortly.


"Capital News" April edition

Memories of Slim Dusty surface in the April edition of "Country Music Capital News" with a story about the new album Reunion from The Slim Dusty Family.

Three generations of the family come together for a tribute to Slim... his wife Joy McKean, children Anne and David Kirkpatrick and grandchildren James, Kate, Daniel and Hannah who have joined forces to capture the essence of what Slim and his music were all about on the new album.

Kevin Bennet, lead singer and songwriter from Golden Guitar winning band The Flood, talks about their new album Everybody’s Favourite which is already living up to its name.

From the overseas side, this month’s issue catches up with superstar Alan Jackson’s first mainstream country music release since 2004. Good Time is a 17 track outing with all songs written by Alan, the first album to be written entirely by him.

Canadian band Emerson Drive also feature this month, together with Australian talents including veteran Johnny Greenwood, rising stars Sharon Lane and Dane Sharp and The Yeehaa Boys.

And Australia’s favourite song, Waltzing Matilda, gets an honourable mention with the impending release of a new compilation CD from the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Western Queensland, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. It features recordings of Waltzing Matilda from some of the leading lights in Australian country music including the Bushwackers, Lindsay Butler, Slim Dusty, Dave Reynolds and John Williamson.

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CMC Top 50 – Shea at number one

Shea Fisher Everyday Girl is number one this week on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist.

Other Aussies in the top 10 are Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson with Rattlin' Bones at four (up three places from seven), Jonah's Road at eight with All Mine and Ronni Rae Rivers at 10 with Cowboys Come Home.

Adam Harvey and Keith Urban are just outside the top 10 with, respectively, I'm Doin' Alright and Everybody while the clip of Catherine Britt's new single – What I Did Last Night – debuts in this week's playlist at 14.

Bullet performers for the week include Travis Collins with Rip It Up (20 to 16), The Noll Brothers with A Country Heart (30 to 27), The Slim Dusty Family's Old Purple (46 to 30), Lou Bradley's Too Far Gone (34 to 31), Beccy Cole's What's Up (47 to 36), Mark O'Shea's Look At You Now (49 to 43), Billy Bridge's Everything I Needed To Say (new at 45) and Troy Kemp's Throw Away Day (new at 46).

This week's Country Pick is Finally Over Blue by The McClymonts.

The full playlist can be viewed at


MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2008

Melinda walks and sings with Olivia

Melinda Schneider will join Olivia Newton-John on "The Great Walk To Beijing 2008" which commenced stage one earlier this week.

Melinda has committed to complete stages five and six of "The Walk" which takes place late April and will see a team of high profile international celebrities, Olympians, business leaders, corporate partners and cancer survivors take part to help Olivia raise funds for the global fight against cancer.

The trek itself covers 228 kilometres over 21 days and is something Melinda says she is thrilled to be a part of:  "When Olivia asked me to join her on 'The Great Walk' and I learned how the monies raised would be used, I said yes straight away. I lost my dad to lung cancer four years ago and the fight against cancer is very close to my heart. I’m in training now and hope that as many family, friends and country music fans sponsor me so that I can really contribute to Olivia’s mission."

Each step of Melinda’s trek can be sponsored at and all funds will be driven back through the ONJ Foundation to build Australia’s first Wellness Centre, providing complementary therapies to support patients on their cancer journey.

Melinda and Olivia have formed a special bond, recording Melinda’s new song Courageous as a duet to be featured on Olivia’s album Songs Of Hope And Inspiration: Olivia And Friends, which is being released as a charity album to coincide with The Great Walk, all proceeds going to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre.

Following Melinda’s successful start to the year, winning her fifth Golden Guitar (for Top Selling Album with Stronger) will be the release of her new album, Be Yourself. The title track and first single will be released to media later this month.

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Tommy named "Best Acoustic Guitarist"

Tommy Emmanuel has been named "Best Acoustic Guitarist" by readers of the leading American based "Guitar Player" (GP) magazine.

GP’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards let readers play editor, and "shout out the guitarists who thrilled, astounded, and inspired you throughout the past year..."

The reader's ballot was published in the December issue of the magazine and readers could also vote online.

Tommy's award is one of many related to guitar playing and content in the magazine itself.

The "GP" award is the most recent public acknowledgement of Tommy’s skill, a talent that sees him touring around the world to satisfy demand for his music.

Other awards this year includes Pat Metheny (Best Jazz Guitarist), Brad Paisley (Best Country Guitarist) and Zakk Wylde (Best Metal Guitarist).

The Awards and award winners will be highlighted in next month's issue of the magazine.

Tommy is currently touring Europe, Canada and the US and is planning to tour Australia next year.


FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008

Christmas With Connor CD raises funds

A cheque presentation has been made to Westmead Children's Hospital following successful fund-raising inspired by 11-year-old Connor Mclean who is described as "no ordinary boy".

Despite a medical condition that has necessitated 40 operations already and requires multiple procedures every day to keep him alive, Connor has realised his dream to be a "rock star".

Connor was born with full spectrum Vacterl Syndrome, a rare condition that has affected just about every part of his body – vertebrae, spine, heart, trachea, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, bladder, kidneys, liver, hearing and limbs.

A patient of The Children's Hospital at Westmead since he was only three hours old, Connor is described as a true inspiration to his healthcare team and anyone who meets him.

From November 2007 to January 2008, Connor has raised $30,000 for chronically ill children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. His Christmas CD (Christmas With Connor & Friends), Rock 4 Connor concert (Coffs Harbour) and a donation of $7,000 from Smartline Home Loans all contributed to the amazing total.

Connor's dream is to be a "rock star" – and with the hard work of many people, including Rod Dowsett and singer/songwriters Casey and Michelle Barnes, he realised this dream with the Rock 4 Connor concerts at the Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour.

Connor and his mother Cheryl extended thanks to everyone who purchased the CD and the professional artists who generously donated their songs and time. These included Casey & Michelle Barnes, Jay Collie, Rod Dowsett, Delta Goodren, Hi-5, Gina Jeffreys, Human Nature, Lee Kernaghan, The Lost Dogs, Rob Robertson, Felicity Urquhart, The Wiggles and Marty Worral.

Appreciation was also expressed "to the many people behind the scenes who put it together" – MAD CDs for manufacturing and producing, Toni Fuller of TONES Photography for artwork, Jeff McCormack for mastering and mixing and to all media who promoted the CD.

"The Children’s Hospital at Westmead would like to say a big THANK YOU to Rod Dowsett and friends from the country music scene for helping pull the CD together and to everyone who bought the Christmas With Connor CD," said the Hospital's Fundraising Manager Lisa Cheng.

"We have been so touched by the number of people who got behind Connor and his Mum Cheryl with his Christmas CD project, we all know how special it was to him," she added

The Hospital has already allocated the funds to three areas that support chronically ill children to maintain their health. Connor specified where he wanted the money to go, making sure that chronically ill children, like himself, were looked after.

"Connor is always thinking of ways to raise money for 'his' Hospital that has saved his life many times over. It’s very hard not to be drawn in by Connor’s enthusiasm for music, humour and life – so I make sure I’m there to help him with all his projects and quests!" said his Mum, Cheryl.

"Connor and I are going to make the concert and the Christmas CD a bi-annual event for people to support chronically ill children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Each time we'll add another act and just get bigger and bigger – this is Connor's plan! – we are hoping for some big names to perform at our concerts and be on the CDs."

A single featuring Connor and Casey Barnes, can be obtained on-line at

The Christmas CD can be purchased on-line at

Photo (from left): Rod Dowsett, Connor MacLean, Lisa Cheng and Gilly Paxton Director of Funding, Westmead Children's Hospital.


Deni Ute Muster segment on "The Great Outdoors"

Deni–Play on the Plains Festival & World Record Ute Muster organisers have announced that a special segment will be aired on "The Great Outdoors" Channel 7/Prime tomorrow, Saturday April 12, at 6.30pm.

"The Great Outdoors" film crew, led by host Tom Williams, attended the Festival last year and spent two days filming every aspect from learning to crack whips, chatting to the crowds and basically getting into the spirit of the event.

Festival Director John Harvie said he couldn't wait to see the segment. "This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Deni and our Festival especially being its massive 10th Birthday this year. Again Deni is on the map both nationally and internationally."

This year's Muster will be held on Friday and Saturday October 3 and 4 and will feature more than 30 hours of entertainment including Kasey Chambers (pictured), Steve Forde, Lee Kernaghan, The Songbirds (Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys and Sara Storer) and The Sunny Cowgirls.

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Wolverines Tour de Force Middle East update

Direct from the band on tour...

The Wolverines, along with fellow entertainers Angry Anderson, Ami Williamson, Brielle Davis, comedian Fred Lang, MC Tania Zaetta and the 12 piece RAN (Royal Australian Navy) Band, have completed all their shows in the Afghanistan section of the tour.

It was tough – long hours, difficult conditions and all the security measures that go with working in a war zone.

Despite the effort and inconvenience, Darcy, Chris and John have been just blown away with the whole experience...

The response and gratitude from the audiences, both Australian and International...

The job our forces are doing, the sacrifices they are making and the conditions they have to cope with every day...

The popularity of the Australian troops with all the other nationalities.

The Hercules trip from Afghanistan was long (definitely not First Class seats) but they sound relaxed and relieved to be back in Kuwait. Most of their luggage (i.e. clean clothes) was left in Kuwait... although, according to Darcy, as you don’t perspire in that climate you can keep on wearing things for much longer… (good theory, Darce!).

Somewhere along the way they got to play a few boys’ games - target practice actually, and it was a major highlight for them! They have all talked about it – John is boasting that he scored 97/100... and was told he should join up!!!

It’s ironic that John and Darcy were finally prompted to take out Australian citizenship to be part of this tour... their song Proud To Be Australian is part of the show finale and right now the guys are sounding very "proud to be Australian"!!!

Photo: The Wolves' John Clinton and members of the Royal Australian Navy Band play for the troops during the tour visit to Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.


Natalie wins third place in International Songwriting Competition

Nashville based Aussie Natalie Howard has been recognised by one of the world's most prestigious songwriting contests placing third in the International Songwriting Competition.

Natalie's song Paint Me Blue, co-written with James Dean Hicks, won the placing in the Country category and gained an Honorable Mention in the Performance category. The song is to be included on Natalie's upcoming sophomore album.

Another song, Emotional Day, was nominated as a semi-finalist in the Country category.

Australian songwriters and artists dominated the current ISC, with a staggering 34 finalists and 32 semi-finalists.

Other honourable mentions included Australians Harmony James and Jonah's Road in the Country category with, respectively, Somebody Stole My Horse and Thank God, Jane E Robertson in the Childrens category with Rainbow (Inside Of You), Brent Lillie & Paul Harris in the Comedy/Novelty category with I've Done It and Paul Hicks in the Performance category with Making My Way Back Home.

This year's competition was the largest yet, with the biggest growth coming from entries outside the USA.

Finalists and semi-finalists in each of the 19 categories were selected from more than 15,000 entries, making Natalie's triple nomination quite an achievement.

The high profile judging panel announced the 59 winners who share in a cash and prize pool of US$150,000 and had their music heard by an impressive group of judges from a variety of industry backgrounds.

Natalie is a previous ISC finalist in the Country category with The Long Night from her debut Australian album Yesterday's Makeup and US self-titled release and says she was proud to be nominated once again among the Australian and overseas songwriters and artists.

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Chart update – an impressive fourth week at number one for Catherine

Catherine Britt (pictured) strengthens her hold on the number one position for the fourth week in succession on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Little Wildflower.

The Flood's Can't Work No Longer jumps another two places to be in second position while The McClymonts' My Life Again slips one place to number three and Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright bounds up another three places to number four.

Adam Brand's Get On Down The Road drops to five, Drew McAlister is steady at six with Somewhere Somehow while Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue zooms into the top 10 at number seven.

Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French's All I Ever Need Is You drops to eight, Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time debuts in the top 10 at nine and Troy Cassar-Daley's former number one Last Mile Home is at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include Ronni Rae Rivers Cowboy Come Home (15 to 12), Markus Meier's The Beating Heart (17 to 13), Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' (19 to 14), Lou Bradley's Too Far Gone (20 to 17), Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (23 to 20), Clelia Adams Wildflowers (29 to 26) and Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart are Jetty Road's City Lights (in at 29) and Matt Scullion's Luckiest Man Alive (at 30).

The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.

The full chart can be viewed at



Slim Dusty Family to hit the road

The three generations of the Slim Dusty Family involved in the number one charting Reunion album are set to continue another family tradition by heading out on tour to support the release.

It has been announced that the first leg of the Family tour will get underway on Thursday July 3 in Wollongong and will cover 20 different locations through to Albury on July 27.

The concerts will not only be a first, but very likely the one and only opportunity for fans to see the various generations of the Slim Dusty Family performing live together on stage.

Joy McKean, Family matriarch and driving force behind the Reunion project, confirmed this week that the line-up for the upcoming shows will include Slim and Joy's son and daughter David and Anne Kirkpatrick, as well as their children Kate and James Arneman and Hannah and Daniel Kirkpatrick.

Joy says she is thrilled to also confirm that Slim's long time record producer and tour musical mirector Rod Coe has managed to get Slim's legendary Travelling Country Band (TCB) back together especially for the historic tour which will be presented by the Country Music Channel.

"We are very proud of the new album," said Anne Kirkpatrick. "Of course, we were all hopeful that Slim's many fans would accept and embrace the new songs, but we were truly overwhelmed by the support shown to our family on the release of the album.

"We are so excited about the response and now all of us are just looking forward to getting out on the road to perform the Reunion album material live and singing quite a few of the old Slim Dusty classics as well."

Young rising star, Golden Guitar winning bush balladeer Amos Morris will be a special guest on the "Reunion" Tour concerts.

Reunion is number one again on the mainstream ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) country charts for the fifth week in succession and sits this week at 21 on the broader mainstream ARIA albums chart.

Tickets for the "Reunion" Tour will go on sale this coming Monday (April 14) at the venue box offices.

Photo (from left): David Kirkpatrick, James Arneman, Anne Kirkpatrick, Joy McKean, Hannah Kirkpatrick, Daniel Kirkpatrick and Kate Arneman.

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Urban Country Concert

The fifth QUT Urban Country Music Concert on Saturday May 3 will be a nine hour star-studded spectacular on the Main Stage at the Caboolture Showgrounds and the highlight of the three-day festival, according to organisers.

"You’ll be country rockin’, kickin' back and lettin' loose with a ute load of premiere acts and their own bands in concert length sets, introduced by larrikin raconteur Jim Haynes," organisers say.

The concert line-up, in order of appearance, will be 2008 Toyota Star Maker winner Talia Wittmann, 2008 New Talent Golden Guitar winner Kirsty Lee Akers, Travis Collins, The McClymonts, Beccy Cole, Troy Cassar-Daley and 2008 Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan.

Tickets for the concert are available from Ticketek on 132 849 or on-line at and


Wolverines Middle East update

The Wolverines are reportedly doing well in the Middle East on their tour as part of the Forces Entertainment troupe.

Most significant moments of the trip over seem to have been one lost boarding pass, one passport left at the customs desk and a case of CDs found (two days later) ßßin the Darwin International Terminal ("we won't mention which Wolverine...") and that was all before they left Australia!

Initially they seemed more concerned with their personal comfort ("or lack thereof..."), apparently a Hercules ride in full armour and helmet isn't very comfortable... "and the beds aren't quite like home!"

But now, four shows into the tour, they are talking enthusiastically about the performances and how receptive their audiences have been. They have played to less than a 100 somewhere remote and to a huge multicultural crowd somewhere big... sounds like they were quite surprised at how much the Dutch, French, Turkish concert goers enjoyed their part of the show.

Having packed for heat and sun in the desert, they've found themselves in less than 10 degrees with snow on the surrounding hills. One particularly hairy Wolverine is not letting his leather jacket out of his sight or off his back... good thing he took his wife's advice when he was packing!


Announcing the "new" Golden Saddle Awards

Some major changes to the Galston Country Music Festival's Golden Saddle Award have been announced by new director Donna Boyd (pictured).

The first change is that the award scheme is being expanded to awards plural with the addition of two new sections, one for people's choice and one "a performance award".

"I was honoured to be asked to take over the role as Director of the Golden Saddles," Donna said. "I'm always up for a new challenge, and I have tried to put my own stamp on the awards. As today's indie artists are responsible for their own marketing and advertising as well as their music in this very competitive market, I felt it was time to include those elements in the awards criteria.

The awards are now open for entry by the artists themselves who must be residenta of NSW at the time of entry.

Three finalists will be announced on July 1, and they will perform at The Golden Saddle Awards on Saturday, September 13 at The Galston Club.

The awards scheme will now be structured with three awards...

First, the Golden Saddle Award for the the overall winner, judged by a panel of five on a combination of recorded material and marketing/promotional material. The judges will be announced over the coming weeks.

Second, the Golden Saddle People's Choice Awardcalculated on a combination of on-line voting through the Galston Country Music Festival website and audience votes on Saturday September 13 at the Awards night at The Galston Club.

And third, the Golden Saddle Performance Award, judged by a panel present at The Galston Club for the Awards night.

The three finalists will also perform on Sunday September 14 at the Galston Country Music Festival.

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Grand Junction re-form

After 27 years, the most successful lineup from award winning band Grand Junction, which included Dave Tyne, Lance Clarke, Alan Stewart, Doug Rowe and John Fraser, have reunited to release a new single for radio airplay.

This will be followed up by a re-release of their first vinyl album on to CD with live bonus tracks from various venues including the Gympie Muster.

The band first put together in the early '70s, had a close association with Smoky Dawson, performing with him regularly out at his ranch and on The Super Flying Fun Show on Channel Nine for a number of years.

At Smoky's insistance, and a lineup change, the band went to Tamworth in 1979 and won the Capital Country Music Association Talent Quest, following up with the first Star Maker win, then a Golden Guitar for Best Group and a "MO" award.

By the late '80s, after a number of years travelling the road, band members decided to call it quits and follow their own paths which included more time spent with family and friends. They have all continued to be involved in performing and recording over the years.

Photo (top row): Dave Tyne, Alan Stewart, Doug Rowe; (bottom row), John Fraser, Lance Clarke.


"CMC Rocks The Snowys" specials

CMC (Country Music Channel) will air through April and May two special programs filmed as part of the recent Country Rocks The Snowys.

The first is a one-hour documentary simply titled "CMC Rocks The Snowys" which goes behind-the-scenes of the creation of Australia’s newest roots and country music festival.

Featuring the highs, lows, joys and dramas involved in bringing the festival to life, the documentary will include some live performances from the festival, exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the artists, and history-making vision of music lovers and fans in attendance.

This program will premiere at 7pm on Thursday April 10 with screenings throughout April and May.

The second – titled "CMC Rocks The Snowys – Music Edition" – a one-hour concert highlights show from the main stage of the event, premieres at 7pm Thursday May 15 with screenings through May.

A CMC spokesman said the programs were "for those who couldn’t be there in person... and for those who were there and just want to relive all the great music all over again."

The event featured stars including the Catherine Britt, John Butler Trio, Brian Cadd, Mia Dyon, Morgan Evans, shea Fisher, Steve Forde, Adam Harvey, The McClymonts, Shannon Noll, and international guests Garty Allan, Patty Griffin, Jim Lauderdale and Sugarland.

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Pick Of The Crop

The new trial weekly country show at Cessnock in the NSW Hunter Valley called the "Pick Of The Crop" has been extended until June following positive response to the event.

It is held every Sunday at Cessnock Ex-Services Club from 6.15 until 10pm.

The show features Rob Wilson as the host, the Honky Tonk Swing Band (Peter Figures on drums, Rod Coe on bass, Brad Rose, lead guitar and vocals and Chad Plane on keyboard and vocals) as the backing band and a special guest artist each week.

"So far we've had a great response to the show," according to co-ordinator Keri Hennessey, "and the local fans are loving it although the crowd numbers aren't too great (around 50 plus).

"In April we had Jason Lee on the 6th and have coming up Tamara Stewart (pictured) on the 13th, Daniel Thompson on the 20th and Nicki Gillis on the 27th."

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Sort of dunno...

Peter Denahy's new single Sort Of Dunno Nothin' is gaining widespread rave reviews and airplay.

It is currently the number one most downloaded song on Australia's iTunes Country Store and has registered 300,000 hits on YouTube (

Today (Wednesday) Pete will be appearing on Channel 9's "Today Show" at 7.20am to promote the single.

In addition to current appearances, Pete has also appeared on television's "Rage", "Sunrise", "Spicks & specks" and "The Morning Show" in addition to numerous radio guest spots and major press articles.

Pete's upcoming major upcoming appearances include the Deniliquin Ute Muster and Main Stage at the Toyota National Country Music Muster.

And the rave? For one, ABC 702's Richard Glover: "Sort Of Dunno Nothin' is possibly the funniest song ever written."

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Mother's Day release

ABC Music has released a special compilation album to co-incide with Mother's Day titled Country's Most Beautiful Songs Ever.

"Country music and its artists have been responsible for some of the most beautiful songs ever written," said a spokesman for the record label, and "ABC Music are celebrating and highlighting this music with the release of this new compilation.

"Country’s Most Beautiful Songs Ever features 20 of the most beautiful contemporary country songs ever recorded," the label says.

The collection features tunes from the likes of Lou Bradley, Catherine Britt, Mike Carr, Travis Collins, Shea Fisher, Felicity Urquhart and John Williamson plus international artists like John Denver, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers and Trisha Yearwood.

The album will be released this Saturday (April 12).

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Beggars' successful European tour

The Beggars have returned from what they describe as a very successful, if brief, tour of Europe where crowds were good, and receptive to the band's music.

Manager Quinton Dunne left for Europe to check the "groundwork" after the Tamworth Festival in January and also attended Midem in Cannes where he signed an European distribution deal for the band, started negotiating an Asian release for the Beggars "and made some great contacts".

Click here for Quinton's detailed report from the tour.

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Murraylands success

Despite the heat wave over South Australia, last weekend’s Murraylands Music Festival at Tailem Bend drew more than 1200 people over its three day duration and attracted a high standard of entrants in the talent quest.

"The overall comments praised the friendly atmosphere, the community spirit and the professional organisation of the festival," said Co-ordinator Noel Kneebone.

Festival co-Founder Les Scott said artists were ringing up to appear in the now nationally renowned music festival. Artists and tourists had particularly commented that the festival had the best atmosphere and organisation of any other little festival in Australia, he said.

Participants and audience members came from across the state as well as NSW and Victoria. Noel, who is also Chairman of the organising committee, said about 80 per cent of the 1200 people who attended were from out of town.

"The Friday night’s cabaret set the scene for the weekend’s regular huge program. Local bands Heartland and Arkive were superb acts providing a mix of country and classic rock and roll. The bands kept the crowd dancing and singing along to their favourite hits with a great blend of music," he said.

"All artists can be proud of the performances they gave to the appreciative crowd and Sunday’s recovery session proved successful with people travelling up for the day from Adelaide. We will certainly continue this again.

"Eric Bogle, Trev Warner, Jim Hermel, Greg Champion (pictured) and The Borderers showed they are class acts, stunning the crowd with their brilliant stage performances.

"Proven crowd favourites, The Beggars, The Sherrahs, Dave Prior, John O’Dea, Brendan Beleski, Mark Tempany & Alison Hams (pictured) and newcomers Danny Hooper, Dave Verral and Tiffney Stroh were fantastic performers. They freely mixed with the crowd in an informal capacity and lent a helping hand whenever it was needed.

"People appreciated the fact that they mingled with the crowd and encouraged talent entrants during the day. The quality of the festival was superb," Noel added.

The Murraylands Music Festival is a unique festival in that the local school and community run it. "The whole school and community get involved in making the day happen including the students running various stalls, craft activities and activities to entertain families throughout the day," Noel said. "The volunteers that provide their time are appreciated."

School Students were an integral part of the festival organisation as well as running various stalls and other enterprising activities throughout the day including Karaoke and kite making.

Noel praised the efforts of chief judges Fred Hams, Wally Sparrow and the SA Council for Country Music representatives. The judges helped make the talent quest run smoothly, gave constructive feedback and received many comments on how professional yet friendly the talent quest was.

"Organisers really appreciated the community workers, sponsorships and donations and the efforts of Teusner Wines, South Australian Tourism Commission, AMP, Marc Maddaford Financial Services, Dynamic Delivery, PIRSA, Fairmont Homes, River City 88.0 FM, Tailem Bend Rotary Club, Coorong District Council and 40 individual sponsors," Noel said.

The local business people and district council continue to support the festival and accommodate the changes necessary to allow the festivities to take place in the main street area of the town. All accommodation at the caravan parks, motels, and hotels was fully booked. Local businesses reported an increase in takings indicating that the festival was a great success.

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New single for Ruckus

Victorian band Ruckus have released their first single to radio, a Charlie Daniels cover, Devil Pub.

"The single takes the classic track into a uniquely Australian setting," said a spokesman for the band, "the pub, giving it a devilish twist driven by superb fiddle playing.

"It’s a fun offering that will delight country radio."

The 2008 Tamworth Festival was very successful for the dynamic five piece Victorian outfit who took home the Country Music Challenge Band Search title and were instrumental finalists in the Golden Guitars and the TIARAs for Black n’ White, written by award-winning fiddle player Marcy.

The single comes from the band's latest album – The Other Side.

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Chart update – Catherine's third week at the top

Catherine Britt is at number one for the third week running on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her latest hit Little Wildflower.

The McClymonts and Adam Brand are steady at two and three, respectively, with My Life Again and Get On Down The Road while The Flood's Can't Work No Longer jumps four places to be at number four.

Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French are also steady at five with All I Ever Need Is You, Drew McAlister jumps three places to six with Somewhere Somehow while Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright bounds into the top 10 at seven.

Troy Cassar-Daley's Last Mile Home slips to eight, Josh Turner's Firecracker is down to nine, Kirsty Lee Akers' Goin' To The Beach is at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue (14 to 11), Nicki Gillis with Honey, I Don't Have Time (15 to 12), Markus Meier's The Beating Heart (20 to 17), Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' (23 to 19), Tom Curtain's Heatwave (24 to 21) and Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (26 to 23).

New entries to the chart are Clelia Adams (pictured) with Wildflowers (in at 29) and Tracy Killeen with All Kinds Of Beautiful (at 30).

The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.

The full chart can be viewed at



Special project to salute Hall of Fame Patron Smoky

The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame has launched a special project in recognition of its long-term Patron the late Smoky Dawson.

Smoky (pictured in his earlier days) was the Patron, since inception, of the Australian Country Music Foundation which administers the Hall of Fame which is focused on the heritage of Australian country music, its history and development.

Smoky died on Wednesday, February 13, aged 94, and as a tribute and to ensure his legend lives on, the Hall of Fame will set up a special archive to focus on an important contribution Smoky made to Australian life – his Wild West Club promoted through his nationally successful radio program in the 1950s and early ‘60s.

In its prime, hundreds of thousands of young Australians, with the support and approval of their parents, joined the Club. They received a badge, identification card and copy of the “Code of the West” from “Sheriff” Smoky. The Code covered health, citizenship and good behaviour.

It is understood almost a million people were members of the Club at one time or another, an amazing figure given that Australia's population at the time would have only been around the 10 million mark.

The Hall of Fame is asking former Club members, the "Deputy Sheriffs", to write to the Hall of Fame (PO Box 1842 Tamworth 2340) noting their Club experience. Submissions can also be made via the Hall of Fame website (see below).

That may include details of where and when they were a member and incidents related to that membership. Also what was the impact of being a “Deputy Sheriff”? Photos with a label identifying the time and place the photo was taken together with details of who is in the photograph and what is happening, or happened afterwards, will also be welcomed.

Alternatively, relatives or friends of former members may be able to tell the Club story of a brother or son or close childhood friend or relation.

Contributions will be retained and recorded for a special exhibition on the Club as part of Smoky’s exhibition in the new Country Music Hall of Fame. The possibility of preparing special exhibitions and publications based on the material submitted will be explored.

The Hall of Fame is asking young “Deputy Sheriffs” (and now older “sheriffs”) to make a donation to the new Hall of Fame building in Smoky’s name when they send in their stories. Cheques and/or money orders may be sent with the Club member’s story. Web users may make a donation through the Hall of Fame website (see below, click on the “make a donation” button”).

"What Smoky Dawson achieved himself as an entertainer, songwriter, actor, supporter of charities and good causes is on the public record," said a spokesman for the Hall of Fame. "His activities are noted in our history. But another part of Smoky’s legacy is how he influenced others, especially children.

"This project focuses on giving the opportunity for individual Australians to identify and record what Smoky Dawson did for them as children through their membership of the Wild West Club."

Details and further information available from the Hall of Fame in Tamworth.

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Song Summit kicks off tomorrow

The Song Summit Sydney (S3) takes place over three days from tomorrow to Saturday at the Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park, Sydney.

More than 30 sessions are included in the Summit featuring international keynote speakers, panel discussion and interactive workshops.

Performances by leading artists and emerging artists will be a highlight from a variety of genres each day across the three days within the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park.

An exhibition area will include workshops, seminars and clinics that extend the reach of S3 beyond the Conference delegates to the wider community.

Yesterday, organisers announced that Federal Environment, Heritage and Arts Minister Peter Garrett (pictured) would feature as a keynote speaker at the Summit. His presentation – "The Politics of Art" – will take place at 3.30pm tomorrow, Thursday.

Song Summit Sydney, presented by APRA/AMCOS together with the NSW Government, is described as a unique event dedicated to the art and craft of songwriting. "It will see music creators, managers, publishers, technicians, marketers, lawyers and deal makers get together for three dynamic days of learning, networking, workshops and, of course, performances," a spokesman for the organisers said.

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New album for Graham

Multi award-winning songwriter Graham Rodger has just released his seventh album.

The Fire Within Me is being introduced to enthusiastic audiences during a tour around south east Queensland this month.

"I feel this album is the closest we've come to capturing on disc what is really me," Graham said. "It took quite a while to come up with the final batch of songs, eight of which were written by myself and the other five sourced from various writers.

"There is a good mix of songs including Australiana and bush ballads. The opening song A Saddle For A Throne, has already taken out the National Songwriting Contest of Australia. Producer Michael Fix did a great job in capturing on to the CD exactly what I wanted," Graham said.

"I think it's good to have a change. Every musician plays a little differently and interprets things his own way. This comes out in the end product.

"We contemplated for ages on the album name until we finally came up with The Fire Within Me. The words are taken from a song on the CD which captures exactly what I feel whenever I'm performing or writing about this great country of ours. The passion I feel is like a fire burning inside me."

The Fire Within Me is now instore or available through Graham's website


More country acts entertain our troops

The Wolverines are among the latest group of entertainers heading out to entertain Australian troops posted overseas.

The next Forces Entertainment tour to the Middle East is about to leave with the Wolves and entertainers Rose Tattoo’s Angry Anderson (on his third visit), Brielle Davis (who went to the Solomon Islands last year), Ami Williamson (who just returned from the Solomons where she travelled with her father John) and television personality Tania Zaetta.


Slim Dusty family rededicates plaque

The official rededication of a plaque which will celebrate the recent refurbishment of the new East West Plaza (formerly the Credit Union Plaza and Mayfair Theatre) in Kempsey, will be performed by Joy McKean (pictured), Slim Dusty's wife and partner of more than 50 years.

The original commemorative plaque was unveiled by Slim in September 1986. The new plaque will be located next to the original one to celebrate the history of the Plaza in Clyde Street, Kempsey. It also celebrate’s Slim’s beginning as a performer with his first live performance in Kempsey being at the Mayfair Theatre. It was in 1942, when, at 15 years of age, he and childhood mate Shorty Ranger appeared as the Yodelling Boundary Riders.

Two glass-fronted red cedar display cases will pay tribute to Slim and the history of the Plaza where a permanent exhibition will be housed featuring a display of historical Slim Dusty news items and unique memorabilia celebrating his strong connection to Kempsey and the Macleay Valley.

The Macleay River Historical Society will develop and provide the rare materials for the displays. Nearby will be a large screen that will play Slim Dusty songs and feature concert footage from his popular DVDs.

At the official rededication ceremony, to take place next Thursday (April 10), Joy will be joined by daughter Anne Kirkpatrick who will sing several of her Dad’s songs for the large gathering expected to attend the occasion.

Joy, also speaking on behalf of the Slim Dusty Foundation, expressed their thanks to Dr and Mrs Tiong Ting, Plaza owners, for taking care to retain the historical original plaques for remounting. "All concerned strongly appreciate the Ting family's recognition of the popularity and significance of the Slim Dusty heritage and of Kempsey Shire as Slim's boyhood home."

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Denis stands down as ARIA Chairman

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that SonyBMG (Australia/New Zealand) boss Denis Handlin (pictured) is stepping down from the Chairman's role at ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association) after an unprecedented 10 consecutive years.

He served on the board for 25 years and announced his decision saying he wanted to devote more time to his company's diversification including the setting up of a television/online production company and the development of a new touring division.

Ed St John, President and Chief Executive of Warner Music Australasia, takes over the ARIA Chairman's role on May 1. Accepting his new role, he said "the biggest challenge for (ARIA) is to change how music is valued, as distinct from how it is priced. Music has a huge cultural benefit.

"It is interesting that as the music industry becomes global, the sales of local acts increase." Australian acts now make up 28 to 30 percent of annual sales, up from 15 percent 10 years ago.

Others on the ARIA board are George Ash, Managing Director, Universal Music Australia; Sebastian Chase, CEO, MGM Distribution; John O’Donnell, Managing Director, EMI Music; Marcus Seal, CEO, Shock Records; and David Vodicka, director, Rubber Group Of Companies.

Meanwhile, EMI's John O'Donnell has been re-elected for a fourth year as Chairman of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).

The PPCA has been providing licenses for public performance and broadcasting for audio and video tracks on behalf of record labels and their artists since 1969.

Also joining the board as licensor representative was Sebastian Chase, indie guru and founder and CEO of Sydney-based MGM Distribution. He replaces David Vodicka, Managing Director of Melbourne-based Rubber Records.

Former Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison was returned as artist representative for 2008 and 2009. Unlike the other board positions, this role is for a two-year term. Lindy has held that seat since it was created 14 years ago.

Others on the board include George Ash, Managing Director, Universal Music Australia; Paul Christie (artist representative); Bill Cullen, Co-director of One Louder Entertainment; Denis Handlin; and Ed St John, President & CEO, Warner Music Australasia.

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Col's TV appearance

Due to the non rating period over Easter, the scheduled episode of "A Real Seachange" with Col Finley sppearing was held over till today (Wednesday April 2, 2008).

"The Real Seachange" is an Australian reality television series narrated by actor John Howard. It follows families, couples and singles who leave "the big cities" behind in search of a better life.

A good friend and former Airforce colleague of Col’s, Max embarked on the challenge along with his wife and three children. They moved from Adelaide to the small country town of Georgetown in South Australia to run the local pub. After a few altercations with the locals, the town grew to like Max and his family.

Max and Col were Police Dog Handlers in the RAAF and this week, Col pops in to catch up with his "old mate" and play a couple of tunes at the pub for the locals.

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