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FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010

Urban Country kicks off today

The 2010 Urban Country Music Festival kicks off in Caboolture today.

Although there are only a few events listed on the program for today, the event gets under way big time tomorrow with numerous activities leading up to and surrounding the main concert which starts at 2.15pm.

Toyota Star Maker 2010 Luke Austen is first on the main stage followed by, in order of appearance, Harmony James, Amber Lawrence, Diana Trask, Beccy Cole, John Williamson (pictured), Troy Cassar-Daley and Kasey Chambers (pictured).

Other major activities tomorrow include bush poets and bush balladeers, rising star showcases, Songwriters' Cafe, dance activities and the Voice of Urban Country Talent Search.

The talent search competition has more than $15,550 in prizes up for grabs.

Last year's winner, Woodford's Katrina Burley, said the talent search helped not only her own musical career, but that of her twin sister Rebecca who joins her on stage as the other half of their duo Sista Burley.

The Voice of Urban Country Talent Search is sponsored by the Caboolture RSL Club.

Sunday gets underway with more from the bush poets and bush balladeers with highlights including a number of Saturday activities continuing plus Bluegrass Brunch, Grass Roots & Gospel, the Voice of Urban Country Talent Search finals, a New Zealand Showcase and fireworks.

Monday's Queensland public holiday activity includes Bush Poets' Breakfast, Grass Roots & Gospel, Songwriters' Cafe and the Farewell Concert.

The 2010 Urban Country Music Festival, organised by Moreton Bay Regional Council, is supported by major sponsors, the Caboolture Shire Herald and Grand Prix Mazda.

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Queensland Awards announced tonight

Still in the Sunshine State and excitement and anticipation are building for the inaugural Queensland Country Music Awards being staged as part of this weekend's McDonalds Charters Towers Country Music Festival.

Known as The Queenslanders, the Awards will be presented from 7.30pm as part of a concert featuring finalists Michael Fix, Left of Center and Dean Perrett with singer and comedian Jim Haynes and the legendary Chad Morgan (pictured).

The show will be hosted by country music broadcaster Nick Erby.

Winners will be reported here as soon as they are known.

The Charters Towers Festival runs throughout the Queensland May long weekend with numerous activities programmed.

These include a country music princess competition, street parade, talent quest, tribute shows, bush poetry, talent workshops, line dancing and much more.

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Annethology release

Country star Anne Kirkpatrick will release her next album, a "best of", in August.

To support the launch, Anne, who was elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown in January, is undertaking a series of shows showcasing songs from the album.

Anne has so far released 13 albums, achieved Gold sales, been awarded an ARIA for Country Album of the Year and won six Golden Guitars.

The new CD will be released on the Slim Dusty Family label Nulla Records.

Anne and her band will "take fans on a truly musical journey back through the highlights from a long and tremendously successful career which has already spanned nearly four decades," said a spokesman for her label.

Tour dates can be seen here.

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Troy on tour

Another major Australian country music name – Troy Cassar-Daley – has announced dates for his "I Love This Place" tour through South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia this year.

Last November, Troy was presented with his fourth career ARIA award for Best Country Album (I Love This Place). During 2009 Troy was also awarded the Q Music award for Single of the Year with Big, Big Love and the "MO" Award for Male Entertainer of the Year.

He was also selected in the top 20 artists for the CMC Oz Artist of the Year award.

In January, already with 14 Golden Guitars to his credit, he was presented with another six in an almost clean sweep of the 2010 Awards bringing his career total to 20, fourth only behind Slim Dusty, John Williamson and Lee Kernaghan.

Troy's tour dates can be seen here.

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2010 APRA Music Awards

Winners in the 2010 APRA Music Awards will be announced at the Sydney Convention Centre on Monday June 21 as part of this year's Song Summit.

In a number of changes to this year's Awards, a new category – Rock Work of the Year – will be introduced, "reflecting the ever-evolving nature of the Australian musical landscape," said Sally Howland, APRA|AMCOS Director of Member Services.

Also new in 2010, APRA will announce five nominees for the Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year award and Jazz Work of the Year will be moved to the the Classical Awards program which will return in 2011 "with a fresh new program".

APRA has also announced that from 2011, the data used to determine nominees, and ultimately, the winners, will include digital and online performance statistics.

Brett Cottle, APRA|AMCOS Chief Executive said: "We have restructured this year's APRA Awards to take into account the digital space as we realise the importance that online performance has upon the reach and listenership of Australian music."

Nominees for this year's Awards are expected to be announced late in May.

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Australia’s only country dance festival starts today in Tamworth

Australia’s only Australian country dance festival gets underway today in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, with non-stop dance action running through four days.

The 2010 Mayworth Australian Country Dance Festival runs until Sunday at the West Tamworth League Club with competitions, socials, street dancing, dance workshops, partner and two step workshops and clogging with the major attraction featuring competitors vying for the title of the Ashby Cup Challenge.

Bootscooters and dances of all types will be highlighted in the Line Dance Championships starting tomorrow (Friday) with the Ashby Cup presented to the overall champion on Sunday.

Dance competitors from Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wollongong all travel to take part in Australia's premier dance competition to battle it out for the prizemoney and prestigious trophy.

"The Australian Line Dance Competition is challenging for all competitors involved including spectators," said Chris Watson, Event Director and 2009 Line Dance Personality of the Year.

"Through this strong dance competition and with the support from West League Club, many local businesses and moteliers, this event is now in its sixth successive year."

International and national Line Dance Champions and country music artists will be making special appearances including renowned line dancer from the USA, Scooter Lee who is coming to Australia as part of her 2010 world tour and will be performing at Wests on Sunday (May 2) from 7pm.

"Scooter Lee is very excited to be returning to Australia and will perform all of her classic hits catered for lovers of country music, rock & roll dancers and line dancers," Chris said.
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Sara releases "best of" album

Sara Storer this week released a "best of" album titled Calling Me Home.

The album includes a number of new recordings as well as live tracks and couple of re-workings, together with many of Sara's hits and audience favourites since the release of her landmark album Chasing Buffalo in 2001.

It's been a big week for Sara who also announced her engagement to partner David O’Hare (the couple has a son, Harry, who turned one last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Sara's latest film clip for her hit single Calling Me Home hit the number one spot on the Country Music Channel (CMC) Top 50 playlist. The single is at number two on this week's Country Tracks Top 30.

Sara will be appearing on the TEN Network television show "The Circle" tomorrow (April 30) and with Richard Glover at 5pm next Friday (May 7) on his "Thank God It's Friday" radio show on Sydney's 702 ABC (and statewide).

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Kris departs Compass Bros

Compass Bros Records publicist Kris Katsanis will depart the label tomorrow (Wednesday April 28).

Kris joined Compass Bros in 2005 co-ordinating publicity for all label artists including James Blundell, Adam Brand and The Sunny Cowgirls.

"KK has been an integral member of the Compass Bros family for five years," said Compass Bros founder and Managing Director Graham Thompson. "She's made a significant contribution to the success of the label and will be sorely missed.

"It's no news to anyone that CD sales have decreased significantly over the last few years and no secret that this on-going trend continues to take its toll on the record industry, in particular independent labels.

"The impact of this shrinking market is forcing Compass Bros to evolve from the traditional model of a record company that funds, produces, markets, promotes and distributes music to one that assists artists to market and distribute recordings funded by other means," Graham said.

"Unfortunately there isn't a role for a full time publicist at this stage in the evolution of the company.

"The good news is that Kris has established her own independent publicity company KrisKat Publicity and will continue to work within the country music industry."

Kris can be contacted at email or by mobile 0414 334 348.

From Thursday, all general Compass Bros enquiries should be directed to Graham at email, telephone 02 4284 2002.

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Chart Update – Dianna – five weeks at number one

Dianna Corcoran achieves five weeks at number one this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 chart with her hit Thank You For Cheating On Me.

Harmony James is steady at number two with Pretty while Sara Storer's Calling Me Home jumps two more places to number three as does Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Mall to number four.

Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere is up three places to number five, Lianna Rose's Angels is at six and Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In is at seven.

America's Alan Jackson and Josh Turner are at eight and nine, respectively, with It's Just That Way and Why Don't We Just Dance while The Lees' It Ain't Me Babe is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include The Bobkatz' The Writer (16 to 13), Victoria Baillie's Mr Yesterday (19 to 16), Caroline Taylor-Knight's Are You There (23 to 20), Keith Urban's Til Summer Comes Around (24 to 21), Sarah Kay's Feel The Rain (26 to 23) and Tracy Coster's Not 40 (29 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week include Tracy Killeen with Brave (in at 30).

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Back To Basics

This year's Back To Basics Music Session & Campfire Festival will be staged from Friday April 30 to Sunday May 2 at Quialigo NSW, half an hour's drive from Goulburn.

The Festival features folk, country, blues and promotes to "those who enjoy the simple things in life such as singing, camping, campfires and living with nature."

A fundraiser for the Windellama Rural Fire Brigade, the Festival is held the first weekend of May every year.

Telephone 02 4844 7118 or email for more information including ticket prices.


Lee releases Australian Boy

Lee Kernaghan has released the second single from his Planet Country album, Australian Boy.

Planet Country surpassed Gold sales before Christmas last year.

The new single celebrates great Australian heroes, a spokesman for Lee's record label said. It was written by Lee together with his songwriting partners Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter.

"This song is about growing up down in the Riverina, cars, mates, girls and the footy," Lee said. "It's about blokes from different walks of life with one thing in common – we're all Australian boys.

"As this song was being written, our troops were on active service in Afghanistan and this song goes out to all who serve, along with their family and loved ones at home."

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Tracy's Brave release

The first single from award winning singer/songwriter Tracy Killeen's forthcoming new album is Brave.

"It follows the story of an individual having the courage and strength to move onwards and upwards in life," Tracy said.

"The video clip for the track, directed by Golden Guitar winner Duncan Toombs, focuses on a young woman's struggle to be brave and have the courage to move on from her relationship.

"The track could easily reflect any individual's journey, whether it be leaving a relationship, leaving a job, or moving to a new town."

Tamara Stewart and Jenny Landis wrote the song.

"(It's) really poignant to me," said Tracy. "I felt that anyone can relate to it. Every day millions of people all over the planet dig deep inside themselves and take the leap.

"It seems that the biggest fear for so many people is simply taking the first step. The major step of being brave and moving on with life."

The new album, titled Drivers Seat, will be released through One Stop Entertainment and launched on Thursday May 20 at Rooty Hill RSL, Sydney.

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Barbara's 30th!

This month, Barbara Morison celebrated her 30th year as a volunteer at Sydney community radio station 2SER.

To mark the milestone, the station dedicated the entire Saturday morning program on April 24 to a full seven hours of Barbara's program "All Kinds of Country".

"What a fantastic effort 30 years at 2SER is," said 2SER Program Manager Anthony Dockrill.



"MO" finalists

The 34th annual "MO" Awards will be staged in Sydney next month and finalists have been announced.

Up for this year's Country Performer or Band "MO" are Donna Boyd, Kel-Anne Brandt (also a finalist for Female Vocal Performer), Nicki Gillis (pictured), Wayne Horsburgh, The McClymonts and Melinda Schneider.

"MO" nominees of country interest in other categories include Aubrey & Martin (finalists for Duo Performer), Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL, Rooty Hill RSL and Twin Towns Services Club (for Best Venue), Darren Carr (for Comedy Performer, Specialty Performer and Australian Performer of the Year), Cate and The Robertson Brothers (for Vocal Group), Bob Howe and Mary Schneider (both finalists for Instrumental or Vocal Instrumental Performer).

The Awards will be announced and presented at Bankstown Sports Club on Tuesday May 11.

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What Are They Marching For...

What Are They Marching For – the song composed by country singer/songwriter Pete Gervasoni to commemorate Anzac Day – will be launched today in Canberra.

The song was developed by Pete (pictured), features the Sydney-based Australian Army Band and will be distributed to all schools nationally during the next 12 months.

Today's launch will feature an address by Major General Angus Campbell representing the Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force.

The not-for-profit commemorative song project was funded by Pete with "generous support" from the Australian Army Band Corps, Defence Public Relations, Veterans Affairs, Australian War memorial and BearCage Productions.

"This package is the definitive collection of music required for schools and community groups to conduct their own commemorative service and is a constant reminder of our veterans and what they are marching for," Pete said.

The supporting music video features unprecedented access to the Australian War Memorial's archivesdonated and supported by the Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel the Hon Alan Griffin. "The video is a fitting tribute to the Australian Defence Force and provides a visual interpretation of the Anzac spirit and the courage shown by the men and women that serve our country."

"The Australian Army Band Sydney conducted by Captain Rod Mason have performed an amazing soundtrack," Pete said, "that was orchestrated by Captain Dave Thompson of the Band of The Royal Military College Duntroon and have raised this song from a little country ballad to a song of national importance.

"This is a project of national significance and is the only song of its kind to pay tribute to men and women from all theatres of conflict. This is why What Are They Marching For is a unique Anzac Day song, written for our veterans and ensuring the next generation of Australians learn the traditions of Anzac Day and the stories of the men and women who have served our country and continue to serve us today."

Pete wrote the song in April 2001 following his attendance at his local Anzac Day parade in Ballarat, Victoria.

"I remember standing around as these guys were marching by and kids of all ages asking their Mum or Dad, Nan or Pa, what are they marching for? Right there and then I decided to write a song to help my generation understand and generations to come, the sacrifices these brave men and women made for all of us."

The experience took Pete back to an event that took place when he was 14 when he was invited to represent his high school at a special Anzac Day service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

"I remember being asked to take a wreath into the Shrine on behalf of all the Ballarat secondary high schools. As I made my way up the long staircase and into the Shrine, I was greeted by this tall, old, tired looking man; I handed him the wreath and he said just two generous words that stayed with me for the rest of my life; he said 'Thank you'.

"That afternoon, I went home and my parents asked me what I thought and I said, yeah it was cool, I met this really old guy called Weary something. They said you mean Weary Dunlop and I said yeah that's him."

Not realising the significance of this meeting, Pete began researching the life of Sir Edward Weary Dunlop, discovering the hero behind this gentle giant and the hope he gave to so many Australian soldiers during World War Two.

"As I matured, and began learning about Sir Weary, I realised it should have been me saying thank you to him and to all these brave men and women who sacrificed so much for all of us and when I wrote this song the memory of that chance meeting was in the back of my mind."

Since writing the song, Pete's objective was to produce a song and music video to assist young Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society.

"It has taken almost 10 years, several reinventions of the song, an appearance at the Victorian RSL Hall of Fame evening and the unforgettable version performed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 80,000 people in 2004 to finally start down the last road of his incredible journey," Pete said.

All proceeds from sales of What Are They Marching For will be donated to the War Widows Guild of Australia.

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Country's rising stars lend a hand for the Red Cross

In support of recent disasters around the world, some of Australian country music's rising stars have joined forces with a group of entertainers to support a gala variety show at the Blacktown Workers Club early next month.

Rockin' for the Red Cross promises to be an event to remember, according to a Club spokesman, with entertainers including Craig Morrison and his band (pictured) who will also be donating signed CDs for the afternoon's raffle.

Country artists Brad Cole, Dianna Corcoran, Jetty Road and Amber Lawrence are also supporting the event with donation of signed CDs for fund-raising.

Other performers on the day include TV and theatre star Rachael Beck and Australian Idol's Paulini.

Mike McClellan, one of Australia's best known singer/songwriters, will be performing while Elvis impersonator Chris Drummond will also appear as will the band Rock Monster,Sydney's Rock'n Soul Choir and Candice Loh.

All proceeds from this fund raiser concert, to be held on Sunday, May 2, will go to The Red Cross.

Tickets for the gala show are available by telephoning 02 9830 0600.


Lameroo's first festival

The first of May sees the small South Australian country town of Lameroo go country with their inaugural country music festival.

Conducted by the Lameroo Hall Committee in conjunction with Big River Entertainment, the Festival will run from 11am on the day with "two venues under one big roof".

The alcohol free event will feature artists including Rick Bartlett, Allan Carroll, Kristal Collins, David Croser, The Cruisers, Luke Fristch, Craig Giles (pictured), Heartland, Graeme Hugo, the Texettes, Wild Card and Chooka Williams.

Entertainment will also include poetry readings and whip-cracking displays.

Roz Giles of Big River Entertainment said: "I had a look at the Memorial Hall and thought it would be ideal for an indoor country music festival." Roz co-ordinates many festivals and events Australia wide and can see no reason why the Lameroo event can't become an annual event.

A farewell breakfast for performing artists will be held on the Sunday and will be open to the public with light entertainment 9.30 and 11.30am.

Enquiries can be answered, and tickets purchased, by telephoning 08 8576 3395.



Junior Saddles on again

Golden Saddles organisers have announced that the Junior Saddles competition will be back this year, kicking off with the first heat in Wagga Wagga on May 1 and 2.

A total of five heats will be staged, in Armidale, Dubbo, on the NSW Central Coast and in Sydney. The grand final will be held in conjunction with the Golden Saddles during the 2010 Rooty Hill RSL Total Country Weekend on October 9.

The Junior Saddles competition is open to aspiring country music stars aged between 13 and 18 and living in NSW.

In addition to the competition, Junior Saddles is introducing music business and performance workshops this year.

Overall winner of the Junior Saddles competition 2010 will win $1,000 and will perform at the Golden Saddles.

Entries in the Golden Saddles, open to professional independent Australian country music recording artists who are residents of the ACT, NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania, will be invited from June 1.

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The Golden Saddles and Junior Saddles are presented in partnership with Country Music Capital News, Rooty Hill RSL and Southern Cross Television.


Special benefit concert

A special benefit concert for Barbara Tomkins will be staged at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club in Sydney on Thursday night, April 29.

Barbara, the wife of well-known Australian guitar maker Allan Tomkins, was diagnosed with cancer at Tamworth festival time this year and has since undergone intensive radiation and chemotherapy.

Artists booked to appear on the concert (at last report) include Darren Carr, Allan Caswell, Beccy Cole, Dwayne Elix, Sharnee Fenwick, Makaylie Foodey, Wendi Jackson & Glen Bain, Christie Lamb, Luke O'Shea, Steve Passfield, Alby & Melody Pool, Lucky Starr,Tall Timbre, Chris E Thomas, Urban Stone and Rob Wilson, together with dozens of musicians and surprise guests.

The night will be hosted by Nicki Gillis and Bob Howe with the Hillbilly Heaven band.

Tickets are $20 if pre-booked (on 02 9559 0000) or $25 on the night.

Photo: Barbara and husband Allan.


8 Ball to tour three countries

8 Ball Aitken will be performing a range of tour dates in the Northern Hemisphere during the Australian winter (and northern summer), supporting the release of his new single and music video Black Swamp Creek.

Travelling to Europe and North America, he will be continuing his 2010 promotional tour supporting the video release... the video is being broadcast within Australia on the Country Music Channel, "Rage" on ABC-TV and on Channel 10's "Landed Music" program.

It will be officially released in North America in June.

8 Ball's previous video, Outback Booty Call, was broadcast to more than seven million homes in the USA in 2009.

"Black Swamp Creek is a song which I wrote about a real life swamp in Queensland," 8 Ball said, "where gold was stolen by bushrangers in the Gympie gold rush. The song is also a metaphor for the greater world, but I am still inspired by the wild conditions of the far north of Australia, and my days growing up there in the bush."

The red-headed country musician has only just returned to Australia from playing in Nashville (photo) and Memphis throughout February, and an East Coast plus Darwin Australian tour in March.

Tour highlights have included performing at the prestigious Folk Alliance International Festival in Memphis to standing ovations and packed crowds and, on the Australian leg of the tour, watching an over-excited bikie driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle right through the pub and up to the bar during his show in Humpty Doo, NT.

8 Ball is enthusiastic about returning to North America and Europe to play. He heads out with the news that his song Yellow Moon has been named a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) – out of more than 15,000 entries world-wide.

The ISC winner will be announced on April 28.

"I am very happy to be acknowledged by the world-wide songwriting community and Nashville industry players," 8 Ball said. "Yellow Moon is a song I wrote about a fellow whose girlfriend has been taken by a crocodile in North Queensland. It feels good to know that the judges like it, especially because it's an Australian song with uniquely Australian content."

With a career which takes him continually on the road across Australia and overseas, 8 Ball has performed in Australia, North America, and several countries each within Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. His current schedule sees him touring the world for 10 out of every 12 months.

Within the past year alone, he has gigged in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, done two tours of Canada and three of the USA. In between long-haul plane trips, he's criss-crossed Australia, playing throughout the ACT, the Northern Territory, NSW,Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia within the past year.

He heads to Germany next month, and then touches down in Australia for a week, where he gets to do his washing and have a nap before he returns to Nashville for yet another tour.

"I still love Australia, and it's my favourite place in the world to come back to," the Far North Queensland banana-picker turned guitar-player noted. "It's always so great to come home to Oz!"

With his "sizzling hot style of original honk, stomp, Aussie swamp" country, the larrikin guitar wrangler gets audiences up and dancing everywhere he goes.

For his European and North American audiences, he will take a dose of Australian sunshine to the international stage during his live gigs, and the Aussie legend of Black Swamp Creek to the world's loungerooms (via their TV sets) as well.

The video can be viewed here.

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SUNDAY, APRIL 18, 2010

Vale – Rick Aitchison

Leading Australian bush balladeer Rick Aitchison has died.

Ken Lindsay reports that Rick passed away last Thursday afternoon (April 15) peacefully in his sleep.

"He had battled bad health for a long time and had trouble breathing for some months," Ken said.

"Ricko was not only a mentor to me but a special friend.  He was a great singer/songwriter and was awarded the accolade of 2006 Songmaker (by the Tamworth Songwriters' Association).

"He  had three songs recorded by Slim Dusty and numerous songs recorded by artists such as Reg Poole, Glenn Jones, Lindsay Butler, Charley Boyter just to mention a few.

"Rick gave a lot of our well known country music artists their first start in Tamworth," Ken said.

"He was also well known as a radio announcer in many areas of the country. He will be sadly missed."

Rick leaves behind his wife Coral Rose and his beloved pets Matey and Jacko.

His funeral will be held at Lake Innes Memorial Gardens Cemetary, Oxley Highway, Port Macquarie at 11am this Friday (April 23).


FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 2010

Adam takes his music to the world

Rising country star Adam James is kick starting a mini international tour next month by headlining the 10th annual Australia-Feeling festival in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Aiming to bridge the cultural divide between Australia and Switzerland – showcasing the best in Aussie culture, music, travel and all things tourism, the May weekend event will also provide a platform for Adam to perform songs off is highly anticipated second album, Children Of The Sunrise.

The concert is the first in a series of three international live shows – a further two scheduled for the US (taking in New York and Arizona). Upon his return to Australia, Adam will commence a two month national tour to launch and promote his new album which is scheduled for release in June.

Adam first appeared on the Australian country music scene in 2006 at the Gympie Muster Talent Search and then went on to duo performances at the Muster in 2008. He's also been a finalist for the Deadly Awards and the Toyota Star Maker Quest.

The first single from the new album will be released to radio next month.

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Not Forty keeps spinning

Tracy Coster's latest single Not Forty is getting plenty of spins on country music radio, airplay which sees the single re-enter the national Country Music Tracks Top 30.

After originally reaching the top 10, response to the light hearted "coming of age song" is being met with avid enthusiasm amongst country fans, according to Tracy's record company.

"To all my friends in radio land, I would like to say a big thank you for playing my latest single, let's keep it spinning, 'cause forty is the new twenty," Tracy said.

Tracy performed in a "Highways & Heartaches" show hosted by Canterbury County last week.

"Her stories and songs have been collected over many years of travelling the highways and country back roads, playing music and keeping the spirit of Australian country music alive and well," her record company said.

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Harry to enter SA Country Hall of Fame

Port Lincoln musician Harry Letton (pictured), father of country star Brian Letton, is to be inducted into South Australia's Country Music Hall of Fame in June.

The Port Lincoln Times reported when Harry was notified late last month of the induction he said it was an honour to be included in the Hall of Fame.

"I didn't expect it at all," Harry said.

His love of country music started at a young age; he grew up listening to artists such as Tex Morton, known as the father of Australian country music.

Harry picked up his first guitar at the age of 14 and now, at 80-years-ol,d still performs with his band, Boston Country (consisting of members Leigh Povey, Alan Bryam and Ross Walton, as well as Harry).

Over the years, Harry said he was "mesmerised by the likes of Barry Thornton and Lindsay Butler, who are both legends of the Australian country music industry".

He has played for many years at the Riverland Country Music Festival in Barmera, as well as in Tamworth. Harry also released two CDs about five years ago, Country Style and Country Picking.

Harry's induction into the SA Country Music Hall of Fame will tale place on Saturday June 12 during the SA Country Music Festival and Awards in Barmera.

His handprint will be placed into a cement guitar with an inscription and his name.


Chart Update – Dianna's fourth week at the top

Dianna Corcoran retains the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 chart with her hit Thank You For Cheating On Me.

Harmony James and Lianna Rose are steady at two and three, respectively, with their hits Pretty and Angels while Kristy Cox jumps two places to be at four with That's Where The Faith Comes In.

Sara Storer's Calling Me Home jumps two to number five, Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Mall is steady at six and America's Josh Turner is down to seven with Why Don't We Just Dance.

Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere jumps two places to number eight, The Lees' It Ain't Me Babe enters the top 10 at nine, as do Darren Colston & Victoria Baillie with Will You Stay.

Bullet performers for the week include The Bobkatz' The Writer (19 to 16), Victoria Baillie's Mr Yesterday (22 to 19), Caroline Taylor-Knight's Are You There (27 to 23), Keith Urban's Til Summer Comes Around (28 to 24) and Sarah Kay's Feel The Rain (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week include Tracy Coster's Not 40 (re-entering the chart 29 after reaching number eight previously) and Col Finley's Paradise (in at 30).

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Keith's ACM

Keith Urban will be feted at the upcoming Academy of Country Awards in America with the Jim Reeves International Award.

Past recipients of this award include Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Buck Owens and Dolly Parton.

Keith is also a finalist for Entertainer of the Year at the Awards up against Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and the Zac Brown Band and Top Male Vocalist of the Year against Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and George Strait.

The ACMs will handed out in Las Vegas on April 18.

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Hank awarded Pulitzer citation

Hank Williams (pictured), the country pioneer who is among the most influential singer-songwriters in music, has been awarded a special Pulitzer Prize citation.

The Pulitzer board awarded the late singer for his lifetime achievement, based on a confidential survey of experts in popular music. "I don't think any country artist cast a longer shadow than he does, both as a songwriter and a performer," said Jay Orr, Vice President of Museum Programs at the American Country Music Hall of Fame.

"His songs are master works. But there's a mystique about his character that still fascinates the people who have come after him... he was the romantic ideal of the hillbilly Shakespeare and his cultural legacy continues to grow."

The citation notes Hank's "craftsmanship as a songwriter" and his "pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life."

Hank joins other recent special citation recipients including Bob Dylan on a short list of American masters.

Hank died on January 1, 1953, at the age of 29, cutting short a career that forever changed popular music. Hits such as Your Cheatin' Heart, Cold Cold Heart and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry have been covered by hundreds of musicians across several genres.

More than 55 years after his death, he remains a central figure in country music.

Born in Alabama, Hank grew up during the Depression, dreaming of playing country music. His first big break came when music publisher Fred Rose offered him the chance to record his own songs. His first release for MGM Records, Move It On Over, was a hit in 1947 and he went on to record 11 number one songs.



Kristy signs to One Stop

Rising country star Kristy Cox has signed with One Stop Country, hot on the heels of her current single (That's Where The Faith Comes In) entering the top five and announcing a tour with The Sunny Cowgirls.

The signing with One Stop is for the company to hold exclusive Australian distribution rights for Kristy's new album Breaking New Ground which will be available in stores next month.

Kristy launched the album on to the Australian folk scene in Canberra at the National Folk Festival during Easter, performing to a crowd of more than 3000 people.

Later this month, she will hit the road as the opening act on the Victorian leg of The Sunny Cowgirls 2010 national "Summer" tour.

Kristy's single has also had good success on a number of other charts and major playlists around the country including the Country Music Channel (number nine) and Kix Country's Top 20 (number 16).

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Arthur's song sent to troops overseas

The title track from Arthur Blanch's new album How Can I Thank You has been sent by the Department of Defence to all Australian armed forces personnel serving overseas.

Arthur says he is delighted with the news for the single – a tribute to Australian armed forces – which has been gaining "lots of airplay all over Australia and should continue to do well leading up to Anzac Day".

The album was launched in Brisbane on Easter Sunday and Arthur says it's full of "great original songs and the best album I've recorded to date".

This year marks Arthur's 60th year as a recording artist.

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Chart Update – Dianna still at number one

Dianna Corcoran is at number one for the third week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 chart this week with her hit Thank You For Cheating On Me.

Harmony James and Lianna Rose hang on to the number two and three places, respectively, with their hits Pretty and Angels while America's Josh Turner at four with Why Don't We Just Dance.

Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In edges up one to number five while Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Mall is up two to six, as is Sara Storer's Calling Me Home at seven.

Amber Lawrence's Wrecking Ball is at eight, McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough is at nine and Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Darren Colston's duet of Will You Stay with Victoria Baillie (15 to 11) and The Bobkatz' The Writer (22 to 19).

One new entry to the chart this week is Sarah Kay (pictured) with Feel The Rain (in at 30).

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Today's Country gains licence

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has allocated a long-term community broadcasting licence in Gosford to Coast Community Broadcasters, the operators of Today's Country on FM frequency 94.1 MHz. 

"Today's Country currently provides a temporary community broadcasting service in Gosford," the ACMA said.

Two applications were received for the Gosford licence, the second from Radio Yesteryear which was ultimately granted a licence but to service the Lake Macquarie are.

Both applicants proposed to serve the country music community interest.

"Having had regard to statutory merit considerations, the ACMA decided that Today's Country would be better able to provide the proposed service," the ACMA said.

"In addition, Today's Country has established solid links with the country music community and demonstrated an active engagement with the country music community interest in the licence area."

Three other long-term community broadcasting services are available in Gosford: 2CCC (serving the general community interest), 2GCB (serving the Christian community interest) and 2SNR (serving the community interest of people aged 50 or more).

Among those involved in programming Today's Country are country music identities Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey (pictured), Gina Jeffreys and Rod McCormack.

Station Co-ordinator Carmel Pickup said she was delighted a decision on the permanent licence had finally been reached.

"The board, presenters and myself are thrilled that all our hard work has finally paid off.

"We look forward to providing the Central Coast with lots more great country music."

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Amber named Urban Country Ambassador

Amber Lawrence (pictured) has been named the 2010 Urban Country Music Festival ambassador.

The announcement caps a remarkable rise for the 29-year-old who, just two years ago, was a starry-eyed singer performing in Caboolture's town square.

Fast-forward to 2010, and the country music industry's female artist of the year is considered a sensation. Three Golden Guitar nominations, an award for her work as a young ambassador for Australian country music and numerous chart hits, including a number one hit with Don't Do Lonely Well, have shot Amber to fame.

Now she is heading back to Caboolture to stamp her mark on the Urban Country Music Festival, sponsored by the Caboolture Shire Herald, to be held from Friday April 30 to Monday May 3.

Amber will perform in the Festival's main concert alongside Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole and John Williamson.

"It's a great feeling to see my name under Kasey Chambers," Amber said. "I've always looked up to her.

"Two years ago I played Urban Country and I remember thinking how much I wanted to play on that main stage, and now it's happening."

This year's Toyota Star Maker winner Luke Austen, from Margate, and legendary singer Diana Trask are also taking part in this year's event.

Amber, meanwhile, was invited back Amber back on the Nine Networks "Getaway" program last week for their billionth Viewer episode.

And she has released a new single titled Women Like Me with an accompanying "fun" video due out soon.

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Chart Update – the ladies dominate!

The "ladies of country" dominate this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 chart with eight of the top 10 places held by Australian female country stars including Dianna Corcoran who hangs on to the number one spot for the second week with her hit Thank You For Cheating On Me.

Harmony James' Pretty edges up one to be at number two while Lianna Rose's Angels is also up one to three and Amber Lawrence's Wrecking Ball is down to four.

Kristy Cox is at six with That's Where The Faith Comes In, Felicity Urquhart bounds into the top 10 at eight with Girl In The Mall while Sara Storer's Calling Me Home enters at nine and The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer is at 10.

The only two male representative tracks in the top 10 are America's Josh Turner at five with Why Don't We Just Dance and McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough steady again at seven.

Bullet performers for the week include Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere (18 to 14), Darren Colston's duet of Will You Stay with Victoria Baillie (19 to 15), Clelia Adams' Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy (24 to 21), The Bobkatz' The Writer (25 to 22), Victoria Baillie's Mr Yesterday (28 to 24) and Caroline Taylor-Knight's Are You There (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Keith Urban with Til Summer Comes Around (in at 29) and Kate Cook's Make You Stay (at 30).

Pictured (from top, from left): Dianna, Harmony and Lianna, Amber, Kristy and Felicity, Sara and The Sunny Cowgirls.

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