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Helen calls it a day

Leading Sydney based country music broadcaster Heken Kay is calling it a day after almost two decades in the business.

Helen says she has loved doing what she has done but needs to stop and attend to some family matters which must take priority for a while.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends within the country music industry, and you ALL know who you are. I have had a wonderful time. I have met so many people and have been truly blessed to have been part of such a wonderful family.

Helen's last radio program will be this coming Monday September 3. Her last "gig" will be this year's Galston Country Music Festival (of which she is a director) the following weekend.

"I want to thank all the fantastic guests that I have had over the years for their input on my radio shows and the industry for supporting me from the beginning. I will miss you all but looking on a more positive note. I should just about have a place in every city in Australia by now to stop for a 'cuppa' and a chat with a friend or two or three."

Chart update – Spirit Of The Bush – third week at the top

The Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde hit Spirit Of The Bush remains at number one on the coming week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart for the third week in succession.

George Strait's Wrapped is at two, Amber Lawrence's Things That Bring Me Down jumps to number three and Gina Jeffreys' Stepped Right In It slips to four.

Dianna Corcoran's Stepping Stones is down to five, American country star Toby Keith is at six with High Maintenance Woman while Melinda Schneider's Stronger is down to seven.

Alison Krauss & John Waite are down to eight with Missing You while America's Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts are at nine and 10 respectively with Ticks and Stand.

Bullet performers for the week include Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Gonna Be Alright (16 to 11), Shea Fisher's Just The Excuse (15 to 12), Donna Boyd with Angels Fly Close To The Ground (18 to 15),Graham Rodger with Woman On The Land (19 to 16), Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things (20 to 17), Nicki Gillis with Remember Me (21 to 18) and James Blundell's Ring Around The Moon (22 to 19).

One new entry to the chart for the coming week, Travis Collins (pictured) with Yeah She Does (in at 30).

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

The full chart can be viewed at

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2007 CMA Awards finalists announced

Finalists in the 41st annual CMA (Country Music Association) Awards were announced on Wednesday.

For the main categories, finalists are...

For Entertainer of the Year... Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, George Strait and Keith Urban (pictured).

For Male Vocalist of the Year... Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Josh Turner and Keith Urban.

For Female Vocalist of the Year... Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood.

For Vocal Group of the Year... Alison Krauss & Union Station Featuring Jerry Douglas, Dixie Chicks, Emerson Drive, Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts.

For Vocal Duo of the Year... Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland and The Wreckers.

For the Horizon Award... Jason Aldean, Rodney Atkins, Little Big Town, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift.

For Song of the Year... Anyway by Martina McBride, Brad Warren & Brett Warren, Before He Cheats by Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, Give It Away by Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon & Jamey Johnson, Lost In This Moment by John Rich, Keith Anderson & Rodney Clawson and Stupid Boy by Dave Berg, Deanna Bryant & Sarah Buxton.

For Album of the Year 5th Gear by Brad Paisley, It Just Comes Natural by George Strait, Long Trip Alone by Dierks Bentley, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing by Keith Urban and These Days by Vince Gill.

A full list of finalists can be found at

Award winners will be announced in Nashville on November 7.

Garth sets new record

Garth Brooks has set another music industry record as he became the first artist to open at number one in the history of the R&R (Radio & Records magazine) Chart with the debut of his latest release, More Than A Memory.

R&R's Director Of Charts and Operations/Nashville Wade Jessen also noted that Garth now replaces Buck Owens and Kenny Chesney as the all-time-high debut leader.

Prior to Kenny's bow last week, Buck's number 16 opener with My Heart Skips A Beat in March 1964 was the chart's highest since it expanded from 30 to 50 positions in January the same year.

Jessen notes one more factoid for Garth to paste in his memory books: Memory opened at a record high number four on America's Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems most-played tally on US radio.


2007 Q Song Award winners announced

Winners of the second annual Q Song Awards for Queensland songwriters were announced this month in Brisbane.

Organisers say the state’s music community was out in force to celebrate Queensland’s established and emerging artists as winners of the 2007 Awards were presented with their accolades.

The night belonged to Cairn’s teenager Emma-Louise Lobb who took out both the Secondary School Award and the Courier-Mail People’s Choice Award for her song Kim’s Song and moved the audience with her heartfelt rendition of her winning song.

Ellaways Song of the Year went to Tim Steward for Not The Same.

Kev Carmody was recognised for his lifetime commitment to songwriting taking out the Grant McLennan Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Blues and Roots award was won by Mason Rack (Mason Rack and Steve Balbi) for Dust.

The Country category was taken out by Chris Pickering (pictured) with The Humming Song.

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Musicoz public vote

Organisers of the annual Musicoz Awards have introduced a publicly voted award this year which is being determined by SMS voting.

One winner will be chosen from entrants in 17 categories. The country category alone has 65 individual entrants including many well-known recording artists.

A number of country artists also feature in other categories.

Voters visit the Musicoz website (see weblink below) where they can listen to artists' music and decide who to vote for by sending an SMS message according to specific instructions there including a brief reason why voters think their choices should win.

Described as a game of skill (because the most creative answer given will be judged) a winning voter will take home a Maton MS 503 electric guitar valued at $1,500.

The Musicoz Artist with the most votes when voting officially closes on November 21 will be awarded the National Musicoz People's Choice Award for 2007, an award which will be announced at the Musicoz awards ceremony on November 22 at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney.

Meanwhile, organisers have issued a final call for entries in this year's awards which close on Friday (August 31).

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New album for Billy

The long awaited follow up to Billy Bridge's Post-It Note Proposal album is currently in production.

To be titled Doin' OK, the album is scheduled to be released at Tamworth 2008.

The first single from the album will be Everything I Needed To Say to be released following the album launch together with a video clip.

"I am looking forward to this album in 2008," Billy said.

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Scripture Union presents night of Gospel music

A taste of the January atmosphere of country music will come to Tamworth in October in the form of a night of country gospel music.

The event kicks off at 7.30pm on October 13 at Southside Uniting Church, Goonoo Goonoo Road, Tamworth, and promises to be an unforgettable night of top family entertainment, with a message, according to organisers.

"Headlining the program will be the band Higher Ground who have been working hard on a collection of new songs especially for the occasion," a spokesman said.

"The nine-piece band features harmony singing with first class musicianship on a wide variety of instruments including guitar, dobro, fiddle, piano, banjo, mandolin and pedal steel guitar.

Higher Ground's Bruce O’Hara said the evening was designed to support the Scripture Union Tent Mission located on Kable Avenue during each January country Music festival.

"Scripture Union have been an integral part of the festivities since 1994," he said. "This is where a hardy group of volunteers from a number of different churches come together to share the message of the Gospel through music and a friendly chat over a cuppa, or cool drink."

Bruce said Scripture Union had significant expenses associated with staging such an undertaking each year. "So once again, (we) have decided to try and raise some much needed financial support by staging a night of top country gospel music”, he said.

Admission is free, however, there will be an opportunity to contribute to the work of Scripture Union and, in particular, the up-coming Country Music Mission.

Tamworth has hosted the annual country music festival for the past 34 years, and it seems as if each year, more and more people come from all over Australia and beyond, to enjoy the 10 days of music.

Photo (from left back): Garry Adams (guitar/vocals), Craig Davis (drums), Kym Beare (bass/vocals), Mark Moulynox (guitar/dobro/banjo/pedal steel guitar/vocals) – (seated): Steve Martin (keyboards/vocals), D J Konz (mandolin/vocals), Louise Konz (fiddle/vocals), Dianne Cameron (vocals) and Bruce O’Hara (guitar/vocals).



Liam wins Muster Talent Search

Liam Brew has taken out the 2007 talent search staged as part of the Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie.

The 17-year-old from Palmview in Queensland who is currently completing Year 12 at Caloundra High School, has been racking up some significant achievements of late including winning the Rockhampton heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition earlier this month and graduating from the Camerata youth school of country music in July.

Liam beat fellow finalists Danny Hooper and Tiffney Stroh, both from South Australia, to take the title which earns the winner a prize package including $4,000 cash, a scholarship to the Australian College of Country Music and an appearance on the main stage at the Toyota Muster in 2008.

He also took home the special prize of his choice of a $2,000 Maton guitar.

Total prizes in the talent search are valued at $25,000.

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"Cook Bluey" fires up his ocker humour

Glenn Jones has always been a country kid stuck in the city. He grew up in Sydney's western suburbs but knew it just wasn't for him.

"I had to get out," said the performer who plays Bluey in the "Australian Outback Spectacular" on the Gold Coast. "I was about 15 when I began writing and singing country music.

"My dad always told me stories about him being a knockabout lad in the bush, he had heaps, and they sounded a lot better than what I was used to."

Today, Glenn is as ocker as they come and plays "Bluey" for nightly crowds of more than 1,000 at the Warner Village attraction.

And Glenn has been nominated in the entertainment category of the Gold Coast Honours Awards, a glittering gala, black-tie event which recognises the efforts of Gold Coast residents across a wide section of community interests.

"The best thing about 'Bluey' is that he is really just me, Jonesy," Glenn said. "They call him 'Bluey' because he likes to fight, that's not really me, but he is this great character who thinks he has been everywhere and done everything when he really hasn't done anything but be a cook.

"I love the role because it really isn't a departure from who I am."

Glenn has recorded and released 10 country music albums, performed with Slim Dusty, wrote and sang a tribute song at Aussie legend R M Williams's funeral and has been nominated for several Golden Guitar awards at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

"I spent 20 years travelling the bush and singing," he said. "That's been my life and I am proud to be able to bring the bush to the beach every night. I can use all my ockerisms and slang, and the audience loves it."

Gold Coast Award winners will be held announced on Friday September 5 in the grand ballroom of the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort.

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Jeanette celebrates widespread airplay and surviving the Muster!

Jeanette Wormald is celebrating widespread airplay for her latest single – Pukulpa Days – and surviving the just concluded "wet" Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie.

"Initial feedback from the single's release has put it in high rotation across the majority of radio stations tracked through NFS Publicity," Jeanette said. The single is the third from the singer's album Opal Blue which has enjoyed a string of successes since its release last year.

The previous two singles, Boundary Rider's Daughter and the title track were top 10 hits for Jeanette who is based in South Australia's Northern Mallee, with Boundary Rider's Daughter reaching number four on the Country Tracks National Top 30 Chart.

Pukulpa Days celebrates the Pitjantjatjara language and was inspired by Jeanette's work in the Anangu community of Oak Valley in the Maralinga Tjarutja lands.

Meanwhile, Jeanette has returned home from "a successful and very wet Gympie Muster" – "although the flooding saw my 2WD hire car marooned at the Muster site and travel plans home delayed for 24 hours!" she said.

"I did say I wanted an excuse to wear gum boots and to see the Amamoor (Creek State) Forest site wet. Well I got my wish!"

Jeanette and husband Dean crossed the final creek bed at 4.30am in the morning on Friday to be at the site to help host the ABC Radio breakfast show with Wayne Shearman. Hours later, the crossing was completely blocked to all traffic by a deluge of water. They were only able to leave the site later that night when Muster organisers sourced a special 4WD bus from Fraser Island which was to able to ford the rising creek crossings.

Nevertheless, Jeanette said she enjoyed her third Muster experience. "It was wonderful to see the drought breaking rain and also to hear the feedback from Muster audiences who cheered as I began to sing Boundary Rider's Daughter and when I dedicated my song Never Give Up to locals fighting the damming of the Mary River."

Photo (by Jim Zenner, Wildshots Photography): Jeanette performing at the 2007 Muster Club.

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New single from Steve

Steve Passfield has released a new single – A Man Will Risk It All.

Co-written and produced by Rod McCormack, the single is the second from Steve’s debut album Goin’ It Alone. The video clip of the first single, the title track from the album, reached number seven on the CMC (Country Music Channel) countdown.

"In the tradition of all great country music, Steve takes on the role of storyteller," said the release announcing news of the new single. "Most of us know the tale of Australian explorer Robert O’Hara Burke’s ill-fated expedition to cross Australia from south to north in 1860, but A Man Will Risk It All reveals the little-known and very human motives behind the expedition."

"It was all about a girl," Steve said. "Now that’s something the history books won’t tell you."

As lead singer of the successful Handpicked Band, Steve is no stranger to the country music touring scene. His years on the road and in independent studios across Australia helped build the confidence in his music and in himself to break into the solo scene.

"I’m a building consultant by trade, so walking away from that secure lifestyle and commiting myself full-time to a solo music career was no small thing," he said. "With the support of my family, I quit my job and started to work on the songs that would become the Goin’ It Alone album."

Wanting to make sure that his debut would make it’s mark, Steve turned to Rod McCormack to help him shape the album. Producing all the tracks, Steve said Rod took a particular interest in the A Man Will Risk It All demo.

"The story of Robert O’Hara Burke and the fact that it was his love for an actress which drove him to blindly lead an expedition that he wasn’t qualified to lead is the stuff of bush-legend," Rod said. "I couldn’t resist co-writing the final version of the track with Steve."

"Rod’s contribution to writing (the song) was invaluable," Steve said. "Together, we took a solid piece of music and turned it into something really special that I hope will stand the test of time.

"The stories of our land are, to me, what country music is all about. I reckon this is a damn good one."

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Now, where’s that horse?

Somebody Stole My Horse is single number two for Tennant Creek (NT) based singer/songwriter Harmony James.

The former ringer and Australian College of Country Music graduate, who now works with the Department of Primary Industry in the Northern Territory’s Barkly region, has followed her top 10 success with Tailwind by unleashing her Horse. Tailwind remains one of CMC’s Top 50 most viewed clips. And the song has provided Harmony with a finalist placing in the upcoming Australian Independent Country Music Awards (the Southern Stars) at Mildura (for Single of the Year).

Just one day after Somebody Stole My Horse was released to radio, it appeared on playlists of major stations across the country which delighted Harmony no end.

"I’m really pleased people are responding so warmly to the songs I’ve written," she said. "When they’re your own, it’s hard to know if other people will relate to them and love them as much as you do. Horse is a real favourite of mine and I’ve had some wonderful support with that particular song from the Northern Territory Government."

This has been a momentous month for Harmony with her signing a distribution agreement with One Stop Country. This will see her self-titled EP in stores Australia wide.

From her home in the Territory, Harmony has managed to cover most eastern Australian states, starting with her attendance in Melbourne at esteemed international songwriter Pat Pattison’s workshops. Then it was northwards to Brisbane, to film the new clip for the new single. Australia’s Top End was next on Harmony’s dancecard for a series of Darwin Festival appearances. With three great shows to her credit there, plus her surprise live radio guest appearances on Darwin ABC, Harmony won more fans than she bargained for.

The next few months will be busy for Harmony with gigs booked as far afield as Toowoomba in Queensland and Alice Springs Rodeo in the Territory.

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8-Ball seeking funds

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that Queensland based roots player and graduate of the Australian College of Country Music 8-Ball Aitken is working on his third album – Rebel With A Cause – in Sydney with producer Garth Porter, and is still raising money to fund the recording.

His fans have already chipped in with funds but he needs $30,000 to finish off the sessions (by September 15) and another $10,000 to market it globally. If you want to help, you can make a tax deductible donation to ABAF, the Australia Business Arts Foundation, specifying that you'd like your donation to be directed to 8 Ball's new CD production via ABAF's Australia Cultural Fund.

The Australia Cultural Fund is a unique facility which enables people to make tax deductible donations to ABAF and nominate an individual artist as the recipient of the gift. ABAF has enabled many artists to raise funds for the development of their work.

Contact 8-Ball's manager Bird Jensen (, mobile 0408 075 959, for more information..

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CMC Top 50 – Amber at number one

Amber Lawrence (pictured) has taken over the number one spot this week on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of her hit The Things That Bring Me Down.

Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Going To Be Alright edges up one more place to number two while last week's number one, Just The Excuse by Shea Fisher is at three and Travis Collins jumps two places to four with Yeah She Does.

Miranda Lambert is steady at five with Famous In A Small Town while Brad Paisley is at six with Online and Emerson Drive are at seven with A Good Man.

Reba McEntire is steady at eight with Because Of You while the Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde hit Spirit Of The Bush is down to nine and Adam Brand moves into the top 10 at 10 with That Changes Everything.

Bullet performers this week include Jetty Road at 12 with Real Smooth Cowboy, Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things at 16, Jonah's Road with Counting Down The Days (20 to 17), Keith Urban's Stupid Boy (25 to 19), Aaron Bolton with Rockin' Up (39 to 36) and The Yeehaa Boys with Shake Baby (44 to 41).

CMC's Country Pick for the week is Steve Forde's Metropolis, the first single from his self-titled album due for release on September 22. Parts of the clip were filmed near Steve's home in Grenfell, NSW.

The full playlist can be viewed at



Wet Muster

The Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie has reportedly been suffering some due to heavy rain which has fallen in the area over the last few days.

Yesterday (Friday) there were reports that the site was not accessible for a time but official road condition bulletins said although one of the primary entry routes, the Traveston Crossing Road, was closed due to flooding, Muster traffic was being advised to travel to Gympie and use the Gympie-Brooloo Road to gain access.

The Sunshine Coast area recorded heavy rainfall mid week. The coastal town of Rainbow Beach (the Muster site is inland about 90 kilometres by road from Rainbow Beach), reportedly recorded 820 milimetres (or more than 32 inches on the old scale).

Conditions on site were such it is understood the Muster's main stage area had to be re-located.

Though conditions might be considered less than desirable, it appears the thousands of fans in attendance are coping and, in true Muster style, making the best of the situation and still having a good time.

Anyone travelling to the Muster on Saturday and Sunday and wanting to check road conditions should call RACQ Road Info on 1300 130 595 or the Queensland Government's Department of Main Roads Traffic Reports line 13 19 40 (also accessible via the internet,


New album for Adam

Adam Harvey will release a new album, I'm Doin' Alright, next month, his first since signing a worldwide deal with Sony/BMG last year and follows on from three consecutive gold albums on ABC Music.

And he will hit the road around the same time in Queensland to promote the new release, the beginning of what Adam plans to be a national tour for the next 12 months and, he says, he is excited to be playing to Queensland audiences first on this long trek. After recently filling in hosting the KixCountry breakfast radio show for Larry Cann ("The Larrican"), Adam is also looking forward to meeting all the listeners at his shows while in "the sunshine state".

First single from the album – Someone Else’s Dream, one of nine songs on the new 13-track work that Adam wrote – will be at radio on Monday. The song was co-written and produced by multi award-winning songwriter and leading producer Rod McCormack.

Adam has only recently returned from Nashville where he was awarded the Country Music Association Global Artist Award for his efforts and dedication to country music through his career, recognition of his talent and enthusiasm for country music from around the globe, and follows on from a huge amount of touring from NZ to Ireland since the release of Can’t Settle For Less in 2005. That album was certified gold with three number one singles and received five Golden Guitar finalist nominations.

Over the last few years, Adam has scooped the pool at Tamworth winning the coveted Golden Guitar for Male Vocalist of the Year in 2005, 2004 and 2002 and Album Of The Year in 2002 along with numerous other accolades including "MO" Awards and ARIA Award nominations. His success has been further established with certified gold sales of his albums, Workin’ Overtime and Cowboy Dreams and numerous number one singles and video clips.

Adam has also been working as the official Ambassador of the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search for the last two years. "I am really proud to be the ambassador for this contest as country music can’t move forward without programs such as Telstra Road to Tamworth," he said. "I only wish this competition had been around when I was an unknown kid trying to make it in the country music game. The competition reflects the growth of country music as a popular genre and will help identify and foster aspiring country music artists."

In recognition of the success the competition has achieved so far, Adam’s special guest for his upcoming tour will be Telstra Road To Tamworth 2007 Winner Morgan Evans. The Newcastle-based singer, songwriter and guitarist travelled to Nashville to perform and record his debut single Big Skies due for Australian release on Sony/BMG later this month.

Adam's I'm Doin' Alright will be released on September 22. His national tour kicks off in the Murgon Town Hall on Tuesday, September 11.



Sara's new album set for release

Australian country star Sara Storer will release her long-awaited new album in November with a first single due out early next month.

And it's bound to be a different direction for country music's "golden girl" as she sets sail with a new record company and producer.

Sara, who has shown herself to be a leading chronicler of life in the bush, came to fame after attending the first Australian College of Country Music in Tamworth in 1997 and teaming up with legendary record producer Garth Porter and ABC Music. The partnership worked well as Sara released three landmark albums including the multi Golden Guitar winner Beautiful Circle.

The new album will be released via EMI and co-producer Matt Fell and The Waifs’ Josh Cunningham have worked with Sara "to embrace some refreshing new sounds," according to a spokesman for the record company.

Silver Skies is the name of the forthcoming album while Land Cries Out will be the lead single, "carrying on a tradition of writing intelligent and uniquely Australian songs from the rural heartland," EMI says.

On the new single, "electric guitars and drums add a powerful sense of foreboding to Sara’s tale of an imagined conversation between a farmer and the land he is being forced to leave. This is a unique perspective on an all too common situation in Australia, sprung from a conversation Sara had with her mother – herself a farmer’s wife – at her kitchen table.

"The women were bemoaning the effects on all parties when families are forced to leave properties that have been theirs for generations."

"Who will come and will they treat it with the love and respect the previous family did?" Sara asks. "There’s a connection. When he looks after his land, the land returns the love by producing good things. I wanted the song to talk about the land having a soul. I wanted to sing it from the point of view of the land, to be able to call 'don’t give up'."

"Land Cries Out is a timely reminder both of how tough life is on the land, and what a talent we have in Sara Storer," the spokesman said.

The single will be released to radio on Monday September 3. It will be available for digital download from Saturday September 15.

Silver Skies will be released on Saturday November 3.

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Noll Brothers to release debut single

The Noll Brothers – singer/songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Adam and Damian – are about to make a splash in the country music scene by releasing their debut single.

Their younger brother Shannon burst into the spotlight through "Australian Idol" and went on to become the only Australian male performer to have 10 consecutive top 10 hits. The three brothers grew up singing in bands together for more than 20 years. Adam and Damian played in Shannon’s band (respectively guitar and drums) for the past three years and Damian wrote a song called The Way That I Feel for Shannon which sold a million copies.

The Noll Brothers debut release, the single, will be Shining Star on Sydney based Emporium Music through Shock Records (the duo's debut album – A Country Heart – is due out in November).

"It’s a very country music sentiment," said Damian, "which is not surprising because we’re born and bred country folks. It’s about people you enjoy being around because they make you smile. As the song says, we’re friends, so you don’t have to pass any test with me."

"Country music is about simple folks passing their feelings to others through a story," said Adam. "Shining Star is a tale that people can make a difference. The guy digging trenches to feed his kids is just as important as the rock star flying around the world in jet planes. Both are doing it for their families."

In the accompanying video, the Noll Brothers featured people of many colours, races and religions.

The b-side Give A Little is based on a philosophy the brothers' parents Sharyn and Neil imparted to their sons – "don’t expect to get anything out of life until you put something in".

Adam and Damian grew up in Condobolin, a small town 600 kilometres west of Sydney. The Nolls are fifth generation farmers, running sheep and cattle and growing cereal crops for 100 years since their ancestors the Knowles came from Prussia. Neil Noll was an outstanding sportsman who passed those skills on. Adam and Damian played football for the state, and have single figure golf handicaps. As a drummer and singer, Neil Noll encouraged his kids to express themselves.

"When you live in a remote area, most of the music you hear is on the car radio," says Damian. "We grew up singing along in the back seat to John Williamson and Randy Travis."

In his late teens, Adam formed Scandal. The three Noll brothers then formed Cypress (named because they rehearsed in a timber mill) and toured the outback and all along the East Coast.

"We learned as we went along. We developed our harmonies, you know it’s the Noll Brothers when you hear us. We played some interesting places. At a horse race day we played on a hay trailer and halfway through the first song, it started to roll away from the crowd!"

After Neil Noll died in an accident in 2001, the brothers ran the farm. But the ravages of drought saw them sell it. They stayed on in Condobolin to raise their young children, remain with their mother, and work on the music. Damian is a sharefarmer and contractor and Adam runs Nolls Bakery, which makes "the best pies in the state".

"I’m a musician by trade," he said. "I expect to be coming home at 4 in the morning – not go to work at the bakery at that time!"

Three years ago, Emporium Music boss Dimitri Pavicevic approached them to make an album. The Nolls said they weren’t ready. "That was a wise move," said Damian. "In the past three years, we have written our best songs."

“Shining Star” comes from The Noll Brothers’ debut album A Country Heart which is due out in the first week in November. The Noll Brothers will tour with their band behind the album’s release.

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Warren "beats around the bush"

Bush legend Warren Fahey has been collecting and performing folk songs, city ditties, stories, poems and yarns for nigh on 40 years, and carries a virtually bottomless swag of folklore that he dips into, pressing nostalgia buttons wherever he travels.

And, during September, Warren will be touring his show – "Beatin' Around The Bush" – to northern NSW.

Author of over a dozen books including "Tucker Track – the curious history of Australian food", "Classic Australian Yarns", "Ratbags & Rabblerousers – political parody in the 20th century" and his 2006 Heritage Book of the Year "Old Bush Songs – the centenary edition of Banjo Paterson’s classic work".

This year, Harper Collins is publishing "The Big Fat Book of Australian Humour". In addition to his books, Warren is also well known as an ABC broadcaster having scripted and presented countless radio series on Australian folk music and history. As a folklore collector he has interviewed many Australian life stories including many singers of old songs.

He has been honoured with the Order of Australia and, in 2004, the Australian Bush Laureate Awards Judith Hosier Heritage Award for his contribution to Australian bush poetry.

Warren has many recordings of bush songs and poetry including A Panorama of Bush Songs (ABC), Larrikins, Louts & Layabouts (ABC) and Classic Bush Poetry (ABC Audio). This year, he embarked on an ambitious program to record nine albums tracing the history of Australia in its formative pioneering era of the 19th century. He has already completed five of the albums: Rare Convict Broadside Ballads, Colonial Life, Rooted in the Country (bush romance and dalliance), Shearers and Station Life and Stockmen and Skallywags.

Joining Warren on his tour are his "fellow larrikin mates" – who also worked on the recording project – Marcus Holden (one of Australia’s most sought-after fiddle, mandolin, guitar and viola players) and Garry Steel (a remarkable virtuoso player of the accordion).

A typical performance on the "Beatin' Around The Bush" tour takes the audience through an entertaining and enlightened potted history of Australia – its ups and downs from convict barracks to colonial expansion, digging on the goldfields to riding high on the sheep’s back, boundary riding with drovers, avoiding cranky station cooks, down coal mines, going snowdropping and cadging with "roads" scholars during the lean times, visiting the "big smoke" and saluting the flag at Federation. "We also go to war with the Diggers," Warren says, "into the frustration of the Great Depression, and look at life in the 20th century. All told and sung with a keen eye on Australia’s laconic sense of humour through songs, poems, toasts, curious history and yarns."

The current "Beatin' Around The Bush" tour kicks off at Maitland on Friday September 7 and concludes in Barraba on Sunday September 16, taking in Tamworth, Armidale, Glen Innes, Inverell, Gunnedah and Bingara.

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Music Council Assembly

The Music Council of Australia will conduct its 14th annual General Assembly in Sydney in September.

The Assembly will cover topics relevant to many different sectors in the music community including "The Fight for Australian Music Education", "Challenges and Opportunities for the Music Industry", "Research: Live Music in Licensed Venues", "Music in Australia Knowledge Base" and "Conservatoria in Context".

An arts policy address will be presented by both Federal Arts Minister George Brandis and Labor Shadow Arts Minister Peter Garrett (subject to special campaign contingencies).

A special underlying theme of the Assembly will be "Music: Brain, Body, Health – An overview of brain research, occupational hazards for musicians,
and the many roles of music therapy".

The Assembly, which will be open to the public, will be held in the Dixson Room, State Library of NSW, on Sunday and Monday, September 23 and 24.

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Chart update – Lee, Adam & Steve hang on to number one

The Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde hit Spirit Of The Bush remains at number one on the coming week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart.

The next three places also remain the same as last week... Gina Jeffreys' at two with Stepped Right In It, Dianna Corcoran at three with Stepping Stones and Melinda Schneider with Stronger at four.

George Strait's Wrapped is at five, Amber Lawrence's Things That Bring Me Down is up two to six while the Alison Krauss/John Waite duet of Missing You is steady is down to to seven.

The Casey Watt/Brendan Radford duet If I Needed You drops to eight as does Harmony James' Tailwind to nine while American country star Toby Keith enters the top 10 at 10 with High Maintenance Woman.

Bullet performers for the week include Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Gonna Be Alright (20 to 16), Markus Meier's Walk In The Rain (30 to 26) and Carter & Carter's The Best Things In Life Are Free (new at 27).

Other new entries to the chart for the coming week are Amos Morris (pictured) with Sign Of The Times (in at 29) and Kerri McInerney, Michael O’Rourke and Steve Eales with their cover of Stuck In The Middle With You (at 30).

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

The full chart can be viewed at



Toyota Muster '07 – "having fun never felt so good!"

That's the catch-cry of Toyota National Country Music Muster organisers this week as the giant country music celebration gets into full swing on the dedicated Muster site just out of Gympie, Queensland.

Acknowledging Australia's "worst drought in a hundred years", Muster organisers say: "We see the stories and really want to help... but how? By getting to the Muster and having a ball that’s how!

"Muster patrons will be helping out their mates... just by having a great time! A portion of each dollar spent at the Muster or on Muster merchandise will go directly to our mates in the bush!"

Along the way, the Muster is giving financial assistance, a new Toyota and "time out" to some rural communities who are doing it tough. Rural community groups from across Australia were invited to apply for financial assistance from the Muster. An independent selection panel looked at applications from rural community groups throughout Australia and have chosen 11 to receive assistance.

Representatives from the winning community groups will also be able to take some time out at the 2007 Muster. One deserving family from each group has received complementary tickets to kick back and relax for a few days.

The 11 winners take to the Muster's Main Stage on Sunday August 26 at 4pm, when Toyota will present a new Toyota Hilux to one of the successful community groups. Toyota Australia wanted to help ease the pain of drought and they’ve donated a new Toyota Hilux SR 4 litre V6 manual petrol pickup including air conditioning and on-road costs valued at $27,000.

"So you know when you go to the Muster you’re not just there for a good time... you’re flat out helping out your mates... it never felt so good!"

The 2007 Toyota National Country Music Muster runs through until Sunday with 100 acts, 170 shows and 227 hours of music on 14 stages.

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Bush Laureate Award for children’s poetry

A Golden Gumleaf trophy will be awarded for verse for children in the next Australian Bush Laureates Award to be presented in Tamworth in January 2008.

A spokesperson for the organisers of the Awards, which are now in their 12th year, said it was important that bush poetry catered for all ages.

"There has always been a strong tradition of bush verse written for children and the Bush Laureate Awards feel this should be encouraged. Poets such as C J Dennis and Banjo Paterson were famous examples of this tradition and it is hoped that with a special category in the Awards, more poets will consider verse of this type."

The Award will initially recognise bush poetry in book or CD form with the nomination form reading: Children's Book or CD of the Year. The Australian Bush Poetry book or CD judged to have the most appeal to young people. Content of CD or Books may include original verse or re-released material.

Other changes for the next Australian Bush Laureate Awards include a clarification of Book and CD of the Year. Both categories will be now open to original and re-released material (published or released during the eligibility period) but when the winner does not qualify as original verse, another Award will be presented for Book or Album of the Year Original Verse.

Nominations for the 2008 Australian Bush Laureate Awards are now open with forms currently being distributed to previous nominees and enquirers.

A nomination form is also available for download from the Awards website (see weblink below). Nominations close on Wednesday, October 31.

The 2008 Australian Bush Laureate Awards will be staged in the famous Tamworth Town Hall on Tuesday, January 22. Tickets will go on sale in October.

Nomination forms can also be obtained by telephoning 02 6762 2993 or by emailing

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Rudy Brandsma Award finalists

The Australian Songwriting Association (ASA) has released finalists for the Rudy Brandsma Award to be announced as part of the Association's awards night in Sydney next Thursday, August 30.

They are Donna Boyd & David Carter with Luckiest Girl Alive, Susie Davies-Splitter & Phil Splitter with Hearts In Harmony, Brenda-Lee Heathcote (pictured) with So This Is Life, Danny Hooper with She's The One, Paul Jamieson with Reindeer On My Roof, Matt Larsen with Spoken For, Anni Piper with Love's Truly Blind, Jo-Kelly Stevenson with Deep End, Daniel Thornton with Hope's Holding On To Me and Peter Tonna with Oh Baby.

All entries submitted by ASA members (including members joining with contest entry) are eligble for the Rudy Brandsma Award, presented in recognition of Association co-founder Rudy Brandsma.

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The Rustlers sign with Hardrush

Progressive Australian country band The Rustlers have signed with Hardrush Music.

The Adelaide-based four-piece group's critically acclaimed Sad Dark Lies album is set for full commercial release on the Hardrush label in September and the boys are celebrating.

The Rustlers burst on to the scene in June 2001 with the release of their Broken Pieces' album at the Barmera Country Music Festival. After the album was sent to the United States in May 2006, the band sought commercial distribution and a new release.

Hardrush CEO Kelvin Fahey said: "The Rustlers are a unique act that effortlessly blend the best of melodic pop with progressive country. A bit like Elvis meets the Beatles somewhere west of Tulsa. In addition, the boys have got that something special that will endure and get the crowds responding."

The band comprises Garry Burrows (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), John Murphy (lead guitar and vocals), Gary Cailes (drums, percussion and vocals) and Derek Manning (bass and vocals). Between them they cite their music influences to include The Beatles, Del Shannon, Travelling Wilburys, Hank Williams, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Elvis and Chad Morgan.

The Rustlers' main songwriters are Garry and John... Gary provides the country pop hooks while John is "a technical genius as a composer and performer of great lead riffs"

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New single for Jetty Road

Jetty Road’s new single I Wanna Go Home has just hit the airwaves.

The Jetty Road journey has been a remarkable one, the group says. Having achieved national chart success with three hit singles, including the recent hit Real Smooth Cowboy and a multitude of award nominations, the band is beginning to reap the rewards of their hard work.

Jetty Road’s Lee and Paula Bowman, Julian Sammut and Simon Ross have been out on the road touring extensively promoting their new highly anticipated second album Dirt Roads ~ City Lights.

They are currently on tour with Australian country music legend James Blundell, Travis Collins, Dianna Corcoran and 2007 Toyota Star Maker winner Kirsty-Lee Akers.

Jetty Road are also appearing at this year’s Toyota Gympie Muster.

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APRA 06/07 performance returns

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that APRA's Live Performance Return cut off is August 31 (for all gigs in the 2006/07 financial year).

All composers need to lodge their submissions in order to obtain their performance royalties in November.

APRA (the Australasian Performing Right Association) is holding a Connect & Live Performance Return Workshop for members today at 3-5 Sanders Place, Richmond, Victoria, from 6.30pm. Con Kalamaras and Sibylla Stephen from the Melbourne office will officiate and Jonathan Williamson, Program Manager for Victoria Rocks – Arts Victoria will also give a talk about the New Arts Vic Funding Program. RSVP to or telephone 03 9426 5200.

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Wolverines Sail For Kids raises $35,000

The Wolverines have completed their Sail For Kids Tour and left more than $35,000 behind with the communities in the towns where they played.

Along the way, the band say they heard some very sad and touching stories, "like Jesse from Eumundi who at 15 has a life expectancy of just two more years, or the Rocky Special School which had its only bus smashed and then in Gladstone there was the Bradley Wolf Brave Heart Foundation, and in Cairns, sisters who lost their Mum just before we arrived… we hope we have helped a little.

"On the sailing front, conditions (and temperatures) slowly improved as we came north. From freezing cold on the NSW coast, we can now enjoy ideal conditions in the Whitsundays where we perform at Airlie Beach & Hamilton Island Race Weeks.

"We would like to thank everyone who rocked up to the concerts, especially those who dug deep to help the kids & Kids’ Charities in each town."

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New single for Steve

Steve Forde returns to the radio airwaves this week with the first single from his highly anticipated self-titled album release on September 22 through ABC Music/Warner Music Australia.

Titled Metropolis, the "powerful ballad" is the first Steve Forde track to be serviced to media since his signing to ABC Music and it demonstrates his growth as a recording artist, according to a spokesman for his record company.

The song is produced by mutli-platinum selling US producer Richard Landis whose track record is impressive having produced high selling albums with the likes of superstars Vince Gill, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Eddie Rabbitt and Ronnie Milsap, just to name a few.

A video clip for Metropolis, directed by Matt Bourke who produced the Shea Fisher clip Just The Excuse as well as Aussie Philosophy for Steve in 2006, has been completed and will hit media this Saturday.

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Ngawara wins Telstra Road to Tamworth Bairnsdale heat

Ngawara Madison (pictured) from St Kilda won the Bairnsdale, Victoria, heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition at the local RSL on Saturday night.

Ngawara (pronounced Na-wara), 21, originally from Christchurch in New Zealand, calls herself a "singing backpacker" having performed in Europe, the UK and Nashville during her travels over the last four years. She is currently balancing her musical aspirations with part-time study for her law degree.

Saturday's heat judges said Ngawara was a stand out performer with her strong vocals and vibrant stage presence. "Performing two self-penned songs for the 360-strong crowd, Scratch and Lonely Alone, Ngawara strode on to the stage with a confidence that belies her 21 years."

Classically trained during her school years, Ngawara now describes her sound as "rock 'n' roll country with a bit of blues thrown in for good measure!"

"I've been wanting to perform in Tamworth since I was little, so I’m really excited about the opportunity to be there in January," she said.

Ngawara will join fellow finalists in January for the talent search during the Tamworth Country Music Festival presented by Telstra to compete for "the ultimate prize" – an all expenses paid return trip to Nashville and a full album deal with ABC Music, distributed by Warner Music Australia.

A separate prize, with an additional trip to Nashville, the Telstra Road to Tamworth Songwriters Award is also on offer with the winner afforded a number of songwriting appointments with some of the industry’s best.

All 20 heat winners receive $1,000 to assist their travel to the finals series.

Entries are now open for heats to be held at St Arnaud, Vic, on Sunday September 9; Cairns, Qld, on Sunday September 16; Mudgeeraba, Qld, on Saturday September 22; Western Australia's Harvey Dickson Festival on Sunday September 30; and Canberra, ACT, on Saturday October 6.

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Musicoz prize pool value passes $100,000

Value of the prize pool for winners in the 2007 Musicoz Awards is now well over $100,000, organisers say.

Entries in the Awards close on August 31.

For the first time since the Awards commenced, artists can now enter their music online, which is then showcased live for the public to listen and vote for their favourite artists. The Musicoz website is interactive and user-friendly.

The Musicoz Awards provide vital recognition, exposure and development opportunities to Australian artists. The Musicoz judging panel are some of the music industries finest, organisers say, including major labels, independent labels, booking agents, artist managers and record producers.

Some of the prizes include the opportunity to record in studios like Studios 301, Level 7 Studios, Velvet Sound Recording Studios, BJB Studios, Damien Gerard Studios, The Sound Academy, Trackdown Studios, Main Street Studios, Turtlerock Mastering, Schollum city Records and Tonemarket Music.

Awards organisers have also announced that this year's Musicoz People’s Choice Award will be determined by a public vote via SMS, with one lucky voter taking home a Maton MS 503 Electric Guitar valued at $1,500.

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Finalists for 2007 Deadlys released

Finalists for the 2007 Deadly Awards – the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander awards – have been released and online voting is now underway.

Country music or country-related artists feature in a number of categories...

Patrick Davies and Shaz Lane for Most Promising New Talent; Sharnee Fenwick (How ‘Bout Never) and Dan Sultan (Your Love Is Like A Song) for Single Release of the Year; Kev Carmody (Cannot Buy My Soul) for Album of the Year; Black Image for Band of the Year; Troy Cassar-Daley, Jessica Mauboy and Dan Sultan for Artist of the Year.

Sharnee (pictured) and Troy both took home awards from last year's Deadlys, Sharnee for Most Promising New Talent Award and Troy, gongs for Single Release and Artist of the Year, an award he also won in 2004 and 2003 (adding to a number of previous wins in preceding years).

As well as music, Deadlys are also presented in arts and sporting categories.

Voting in the 2007 Deadlys closes September 14. Winners will be announced at the Awards presentation on Thursday September 27 at the Sydney Opera House.

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Little Things lead to big things

Little Things, the debut album from 2007 Toyota Star Maker winner Kirsty Lee Akers, has debuted in the Australian Recording Industry Association Top 20 Australian Artist Country Albums Chart at number seven.
Released last week, the album will be officially launched at this week's Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie.

Little Things is the first ever album to be recorded by any winner of Star Maker as part of the talent search prize and was the first for Australian country music.

"When Kirsty won Toyota Star Maker last January, the eyes and ears of the industry were upon this petite vocal dynamo," said a spokesman for her record company, Compass Bros. "She’s now been added to more than sixty radio stations nationally, the video clip (for the title track single) is currently at 19 on The Country Music Channel Top 30 Countdown, and she’s heading out on a national tour with Compass Bros stable mate James Blundell.

"The pocket rocket from Kurri Kurri is certainly setting the bar for future Toyota Star Maker competitors."
The album launch will take place on Wednesday (August 22) in the Muster Club at 4.40pm and, in addition to Kirsty, will feature Toyota Star Maker '99 winner Brendon Walmsley and competition grand finalists Rob Black, Katrina Burgoyne and Rose Carleo.

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The Last Supperteers

What happens when Graeme Connors meets the Fiddlers Feast?

In a surprising collaboration, Graeme Connors has teamed up with the Fiddlers Feast to deliver one of the most exciting releases of the year.

"The Last Supperteers, as the project is cheekily called, delivers 13 distinctive new Connors songs in the vibrant and lush musical setting of the Fiddlers Feast," said the media statement announcing the release.

The album will be on sale at this week's Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie and there will be a special launch performance by The Last Supperteers in the Muster Theatre on Sunday (August 26) at 3.30pm.

The album was recorded in early December last year over five days at The Whitehouse Studios in the Southern Highlands of NSW. The project was the brainchild of producer Andrew Richardson. The recordings were a first-time musical meeting between Graeme and the band and a reunion of sorts for Graeme, Andrew and Keith Walker, the legendary studio engineer. Andrew, Keith and Graeme last met in Nashville 1993 to create The Return.

Photo: John Elliott (click on the pic above for a larger image).

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UK songwriting success for Natalie

Songs from Natalie Howard's successful albums Yesterday's Makeup and the USA/Canadian self-titled release have achieved high placings in the UK Songwriting Contest 2007.

Four tracks received high scores, with finalist nominations for I Don't Want To Live Like That in the Folk/Country Category, I Want To Get Out in the Pop Category while I Can't and The Long Night were semi-finalists in the Folk/Country Category.

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An acoustic version of 'I Want to Get Out' has already won a Runner-Up nomination in an IAMA (International Acoustic Music Award).  It was co-written with Nashville songwriter Brian Maher.

Natalie's musical style is country mixed with pop and rock as demonstrated in I Don't Want To Live Like That which was co-written with Nashville artist and hit songwriter James Dean Hicks. This US 2006 IMA (Independent Music Award) Country Song of the Year is a top five hit on the Independent Music Network (Los Angeles/New York) Country Top 30 Countdown. This week it is sitting in the number nine spot and was also recently a finalist in the 2007 Singer/Songwriter Awards.

Video clip of the song The Long Night, a duet with James Dean Hicks, was a number one hit on the Country Music Channel Top 30 Countdown.  It was co-written with Nashville songwriters Terry McBride and Tommy Lee James and was a finalist in the ISC (International Songwriting Competition) Country Category as well as being voted into the number eight spot of the ISC People's Voice Awards. 

I Can't, co-written with Brian Maher, won the Australian National Musizoz Best Country Artist Award in 2005 for Natalie and was an Australian radio hit.



Greg releases Star Quest prize single

Winner of this year's Australian Bush Balladeers Association (ABBA) Star Quest, Greg Bain, has released his prize winning single, Can I Sing Trumby.

Greg won the Star Quest title at Tamworth in January and, as the winner, receives the opportunity to perform on major festivals and events throughout Australia and recording time for a single.

Storyline of the Ian Quinn song Can I Sing Trumby is built around the song Trumby written by the legendary Joe Daley and recorded by Slim Dusty in the late '60s. Ian's song reflects on the ongoing popularity of Trumby.

"The song showcases Greg’s vocal perfectly and is a standout release from this popular Star Quest winner," said a spokesman for ABBA.

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CMC Top 50 – Shea hits number one

Shea Fisher (pictured) gains her first number one this week with the clip of her hit Just The Excuse at the top of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist.

Amber Lawrence edges up one more place to second place with The Things That Bring Me Down, Troy Cassar-Daley bounces into third position with Everything's Going To Be Alright while the Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde number one from last week – Spirit Of The Bush – is down to four.

America's Miranda Lambert is at five with Famous In A Small Town while Travis Collins moves up one to six with Yeah She Does and Brad Paisley is at seven with Online.

Reba McEntire is new in the top 10 with Because Of You at eight, as is Emerson Drive with A Good Man at nine while Big & Rich are down to 10 with Lost In This Moment.

Bullet performers this week include Adam Brand with That Changes Everything at 11, Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things at 19, Jonah's Road with Counting Down The Days (new at 20), Keith Urban with the Stupid Boy (33 to 25), Matt Scullion with Feels Like Sunday (36 to 31), Gemma Doyle with All I Want Tonight (37 to 33), Casey Watt & Brendan Radford with If I Needed You (38 to 34), Aaron Bolton with Rockin' Up (43 to 39), The Yeehaa Boys with Shake Baby (49 to 44) and Harmony James with Tailwind (48 to 45).

The full playlist can be viewed at


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Carrie breaks another record

Reigning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist and double Grammy winner Carrie Underwood broke multiple records with the blockbuster radio and sales success from her debut disc Some Hearts... now she's done it again with the release of So Small, the first single from her upcoming album.

The single exploded on to the Billboard/R&R country airplay chart at number 20, marking it the highest chart entry by a solo country female in American chart history. (In its second week, So Small is now at 17.)

Written by Carrie with Luke Laird and Grammy-winning songwriter Hillary Lindsey (who co-wrote three tracks on Carrie’s debut disc, including the chart-topping Wasted and Jesus, Take the Wheel), So Small debuted as the week’s most-added new single at Billboard/R&R and Country Aircheck.

The track also earnt the distinction of becoming the highest debuting single of any country artist this year.

Carrie’s yet to-be-titled new album, which will include So Small, will be released in Australia on October 20.

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New album from Steve

After a rare three year break from recording, Grammy Award winner Steve Earle has released a new album – Washington Square Serenade – which will be released in Australia next month by Shock Records.

The longtime Nashville (via Texas) resident has called New York City home for the past year and this will be his first release produced there. Recorded at the city's legendary Electric Lady Studios, Steve says the introspective album was inspired by "the big apple".

A deluxe CD/DVD version of the album will be available with bonus artwork plus an exclusive documentary about the inspiration behind Washington Square Serenade, including a walking tour of Greenwich Village with Steve and noted journalist Mark Jacobson ("New York Magazine"). The album will also be available as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl record.

Tennessee Blues, the first song on the album, brings Steve full circle as he sings about leaving the "guitar town" he first wrote about 20 years ago.

In addition to recording and preparing for live shows, which already include performances in Seattle and Austin, Texas, Steve will appear in his recurring role as "Waylon" in the final season of the cable TV channel Home Box Office "The Wire".

Steve is also writing his first novel for the Houghton Mifflin publishing company.

A protege of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Steve quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others.

His debut recording – Guitar Town – was released in 1986, shot to number one on the country charts and immediately established the term "new country". What followed has been described as an exciting and varied array of 11 releases including "the biting hard rock" of Copperhead Road (1988), "the minimalist beauty and perfection" of Train A Comin' (1995) as well as "the politically charged masterpieces" Jerusalem (2002) and the Grammy Award winning The Revolution Starts... Now (2004).

Washington Square Serenade will be released on September 22.

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Eleven IBMA nominations for Rhonda

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, whose recent Rounder CD All-American Bluegrass Girl proved a critical and commercial triumph inside and outside bluegrass circles, has garnered 11 International Bluegrass Music Award (IBMA) nominations at Thursday’s announcement ceremonies at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

Vincent (pictured) & The Rage are nominated for Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year (All-American Bluegrass Girl) and Album of the Year. They are also among nominees for Entertainer of the Year, with Vincent being a Female Vocalist of the Year contender and band member Hunter Berry a Fiddle Player of the Year nominee. Vincent and Kenny Ingram were also tabbed in the Recorded Event of the Year category for their contributions to Jerry Salley’s New Songs, Old Friends and Tony Trischka’s Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular.

Legendary bandleader, vocalist and instrumentalist Doyle Lawson (who read the contributions of the two newest inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame) and his band Quicksilver earned nine citations, among them Song of the Year for Sadies’s Got Her New Dress On, Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of The Year and Album of the Year for More Behind The Picture Than The Wall. Lawson is also vying for Mandolin Player of the Year, plus Recorded Event of the Year for his participation on Salley’s CD and Gospel Recorded Event of the Year (the songs We Shall Inherit and He Lives In Me).

Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, The Del McCoury Band and Ricky Skaggs received seven nominations each.

Carl Story – frequently billed as "The Father of Bluegrass Gospel Music" – and Howard Watts aka Cedric Rainwater, famed as the bassist in the greatest edition of Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys, were named as 2007 inductees to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. It was also announced that the name had been changed from Bluegrass Hall of Honor at the behest of previous inductees and others within the industry.

Guitarist Mike Auldridge, the publication "The Bluegrass Breakdown", Czech bluegrass pioneer Marko Cermak, Happy and Jane Traum of Homespun Tapes and California event producer and philanthropist Warren Hellman were named winners of the IBMA’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

This year’s 18th annual IBMA awards will be hosted by acclaimed instrumentalist and multiple award winner Sam Bush and held at the Grand Ole Opry on October 4 and will be the centerpiece event during the World of Bluegrass week, which runs from October 1-7 in Nashville and includes the industry’s Business Conference and Bluegrass Fan Fest.

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Garth offers Memory to radio

Garth Brooks is delivering a newly-recorded single to country radio in America on August 27 as part of the initial media push to promote the November 6 release of his new CD/DVD package, he confirmed on Saturday during a press conference in Nashville.

The Ultimate Hits will feature two CDs containing four new recordings and 30 of the most popular songs from his 18-year recording career, along with a DVD of 33 music videos. Garth said the package was likely to be discounted for a retail price of US$ 11 to 14.

The new single, More Than a Memory, was co-written by Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs and Billy Montana. Garth co-wrote another new song, Midnight Sun, with Jerrod Niemann and Richie Brown, co-writers of his 2005 single, Good Ride Cowboy. Garth and Huey Lewis are featured on a duet remake of one of Huey's rock hits from the '80s, Workin' For A Livin'. Leave The Light On, written by Randy Goodrum and Tommy Sims, is designated as a bonus track.

The release of The Ultimate Hits marks the end of Garth's exclusive deal with Wal-Mart which made the retailer and its Sam's Club stores the only place his music could be purchased. Although he will be selling his CDs through all retail outlets, Garth is still refusing to make it available for digital downloads, noting that he has always approached his albums as cohesive works, he says he will not authorise digital downloads if the songs are sold as individual tracks.

Through the years, Garth has compiled his music in various greatest hits and boxed set packages, but he said he has no qualms about once again including the previously-released tracks on The Ultimate Hits.

"All I can think of is my love for James Taylor," he said. "Do I have every one of James Taylor's records? Yes. Do I have the Greatest Hits album that's just the white cover. Yeah. ... Do I have his latest greatest hits (CD) that has those same things on it? Yeah, I do. And, for me, the reason why James is worth it is because his music is the soundtrack of my life."

Garth said the low price point for The Ultimate Hits was another reason he'd decided against downloads. "If you want to go online – if you want to pay 99 cents (per track) for all of them – at 33 bucks, the math's pretty easy. So I feel really good about this."

Although he will be actively promoting the project through TV, radio and print, he insists he is not planning a concert tour or even a major concert event. However, though he was thin and appeared to be in excellent physical shape at the press conference, he said he's merely trying to remain competitive.

"I don't know if you have your eyes open... but Keith Urban is a beautiful guy," Garth said. "He can play the hell out of a guitar, he can sing his butt off, and he's a great entertainer. Well, that's just one of about 50 out there that you're gonna go face-to-face with this fall. And if you're not gonna bring your A-game, you're gonna get run over. So I'm gonna do my best, at 45, to try to represent myself the best I can."




ABC's "Saturday Night Country" for Central Coast

Country music fans are in for a treat on September 22 when the ABC’s "Saturday Night Country" is broadcast live from the NSW Central Coast for the launch of Bob Pigott’s latest album Wallaby Hill.

The popular Central Coast singer/songwriter is fast building an international fan base with his singles reaching number five on the charts of 103.9 FM Essex in the UK and 17 on the Hotdisc European Country Charts.

Bob will be playing some of his hits as well as songs from the new album at the 8pm Davistown RSL launch before rushing off to guest star on the Saturday Night Country from 10pm.

"I’m looking forward to launching Wallaby Hill next month with John Nutting at what will be a great show for local country music fans," Bob said.

"Scott Levi, the host of ABC Central Coast, lent his considerable musical talents to my new album and has convinced John to host Saturday Night Country live from the ABC’s Central Coast studio after the launch."

Bob has been recognised with a swag of awards in the 2003, 2005 and 2006 ABC 1233 Newcastle Music Awards including the coveted ABC/APRA Songwriters and Composers Recognition Award last year.

ABC Music Publishing recently signed Bob to their writers roster.

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On "Saturday Night Country" tomorrow night, reigning Toyota Star Maker Kirsty Lee Akers joins John to chat about her just released prize album Little Things.

Unusual duo Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan call from their home in Florida to chat about their big 1971 hit Tennessee Birdwalk and the new Australian sourced album, Weird Scenes Inside The Birdhouse.

And Michael Fix joins John in the SNC studio to launch his new album Rewind.

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Craig to launch new album

Following the success of his debut album The Spirit of Australia (including the release of the title track on ABC Music's debut Heartland CD), Craig Stewart is set to release his second album – Bellbirds & Blackboys – at next week's Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie Muster and month's Mildura Festival.

"Carrying on Craig's commitment to tell Australian stories in song, Bellbirds & Blackboys focuses on a trip out to the New England region of NSW where much of his family reside," said the release accompanying the launch announcement. "With 10 original tracks and Craig's first cover – a "rocked up" version of Raining On The Rock – the album covers a wide range of topics, from stories of the first settlers and bushrangers to up-tempo tracks about rural life in general.

"A song Craig feels will hold great appeal to many within the country community is There's Only The Two Of Us Here Tonight - a tribute song to Slim which has been done a bit different. Inspired by his grandfather's love of playing the harmonica to Slim's music late at night, Craig decided to tell the story of an old cocky whose 'old bush mates have gone' through the use of Slim's song titles. Over 30 of Slim's song titles have been interwoven to tell the cocky's story from Slim's perspective.

"Craig wanted someone a bit special to sing harmonies for the album, and who better to turn to than his good friend from Bella, Kate Ballantyne. Kate generously contributed her talent for which we are truly thankful. On top of that, the album features a full range of instrumentation, with Craig's regular band lineup (bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums, harmonica) being assisted by keyboard, piano, pedal steel, banjo, dobro and even a bit of didgeridoo to create something we feel is quite unique."

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Marie features as "Cashbox" indie number one

South Australian based country entertainer Marie has scored a number one on the American "Cashbox" Indie Country Picks.

"Cashbox" was revived last year as an internet-only publication after ceasing as a printed publication in 1996.

The song Marie recorded is a cover of the Gabrielle hit Out Of Reach, theme song of the film "Bridget Jones' Diary". It was number two last week and has so far spent a total of five weeks among the "picks" which are selected by Cashbox from independently released CDs and singles on a criteria of quality songwriting, performance and production.

Marie, who was born and grew up in New Zealand, is now living in Port Augusta and is promoting herself as "Australia's Country Songbird".

During her career to date, accomplishments have included playing support for Daniel O'Donnell and Foster & Allen on tours "down under".

She has a band called Deep River and also performs in a duo. In 2002, she produced an album which contained the remake of Out Of Reach with "a country feel".

Marie is delighted her recording has been recognised by the Cashbox organisation.

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Pegasus in America

International music publishers Ginny and Errol Peters of Pegasus Music New Zealand have a busy four weeks scheduled for their USA trip when they leave next week.
First stop on their itinerary will be the rural Missouri Valley in Iowa to attend the Farm Folks Music Fest over the weekend. The festival in the Old Farm Museum raises funds for the flood aid fund where the Missouri Valley had disastrous floods earlier this year.

Then it’s on to the National Traditional Country Music Association (NTMCA) Old Time Country & Bluegrass Festival for almost a week until September 2 with artists appearing including veteran performers Jeanne Pruitt, Stonewall Jackson, Red Steagall and Lacy J Dalton to name a few.

Ginny will host and also appear at a Kiwi Invasion Show which features many New Zealand country artists including Jenny Blackadder (NZ Queen of the Banjo), Anne George, Heather Holland, The Johnny Possum Bluegrass Band and Marcie Alexander.

An accomplished singer/songwriter herself, Ginny will receive two awards honouring industry achievements. First, an induction into the NTCMA Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in recognition of her lengthy involvement in country music in the USA which began with her first record releases in Memphis in 1972, to her charting singles in 1988 and successes with country music legend Cliffie Stone and her several NTCMA appearances in the '80s.

Perhaps the award that Ginny will treasure the most will be from the Rural Roots Music Commission, the International Original Song of the Year award for her song In The Arms Of A Memory, recorded 12 times around the world including in Australia by Brian Letton and in the US by Cliffie Stone.

Following their Festival involvement, Ginny and Errol will visit Nashville for a number of meetings with industry specialists, management groups and artist representatives promoting their Pegasus Music catalogue.

High on the list of songs they will be promoting will be those by writers in the Aussie Independent Music catalogue.


Chart update – Lee, Adam & Steve hit the top

The Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde hit Spirit Of The Bush bounds into the number one spot on the coming week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart.

Gina Jeffreys' number one from the last two weeks – Stepped Right In It – slips to number two while Dianna Corcoran's Stepping Stones is steady at three and Melinda Schneider's Stronger is down to four.

The Alison Krauss/John Waite duet of Missing You is steady again at five, as are Casey Watt & Brendan Radford with If I Needed You at six and Harmony James' Tailwind at seven.

Amber Lawrence's Things That Bring Me Down edges up one to eight, George Strait's Wrapped enters the top 10 at nine and Jonah's Road is steady at 10 with Counting Down The Days.

Bullet performers this week include Graham Rodger with Woman On The Land (22 to 19), Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Gonna Be Alright (25 to 20), James Blundell's Ring Around The Moon (28 to 23) and Drew McAlister's Along For The Ride (29 to 25).

New entries to the chart for the coming week include Markus Meier's Walk In The Rain (in at 30).

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

The full chart can be viewed at



Debut single for Christy

Toyota Star Maker finalist from January Christy Kilpatrick releases her debut single Wishing You Were Here this month.

Described as "a gifted storyteller with a passion for pure unpretentious melodies," Christy "walks the line between roots country folk and bluegrass," according to the release accompanying the single announcement.

"Her live performances have taken her to Melbourne Fringe Festival, Gympie Muster and the Noosa Jazz Festival."

No novice to songwriting, Christy's had her By The River placed 11th in the Musicoz Awards Country category and Like A Man used as the theme song for the pilot of a TV series.

Her album, now only a matter of weeks away, is described as "the soundtrack to a dusk road trip adventure – chasing a warm spring sunset through grassy winding dirt roads – with the windows down. Maybe not in a ute though."

Christy assembled an enviable ensemble to perform on her debut, borrowing the likes of Lee Fielding, Ben McCarthy and Pete Williamson from Pete Murray's band The Stonemasons, Tim Webb and Dave Sanders-Acre and Mal Winckle.

With a music degree from the Queensland Conservatorium, Christy is no slouch on the instruments herself, "but making a record is so much more fun with a posse," she said. "And the richness of that vibe comes through in the finished product."

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And Tom to release another

Leading bush balladeer Tom Maxwell will release the first single off his latest album in September.

Launched during the recent Hats Off To Country Festival in Tamworth, On The Road Volume 2 is Tom's seventh album.

The single release will be Born And Bred In The Northern Territory, the opening track from the album, a song co-written by Ben Jacobs and Shaza Leigh.

Tom originally hails from Warren in the Central West of NSW and now resides in Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital. 

Prior to becoming a recording artist, he experienced various occupations in the bush and also in the city but is now recognised as one of Australia's leading young balladeers and has, to his credit, a number of well deserved major awards and achievements.

Tom is currently undertaking an extensive tour covering all the eastern states plus South Australia.

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Liam, Annalea and Michelle win Telstra Road To Tamworth heats

Liam Brew, Annalea Mitchell and Michelle Murphy (pictured) are the most recent winners of Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search heats.

Liam won in Rockhampton, Annalea in Shepparton and Michelle in Darwin on Saturday night.

All three will now compete in the competition's finals series at the Tamworth Country Music Festival presented by Telstra in January.

Liam, 17, from Palmview, Qld, is currently completing Year 12 at Caloundra High School. He performed Travis Collins' She Took The Ring and Garth Brooks' The Storm to win his heat. He names Keith Urban as his country music idol.

"Getting through to the Road to Tamworth finals is such a fantastic opportunity to start gaining the experience I need," he said. "The trip to Nashville for the overall winner is the ultimate goal to work towards."

Annalea, 26, from Rochester, Vic, works as a personal banker with the ANZ but also as a share farmer and solo performer. She names Dianna Corcoran as one of her major influences.

Michelle, 18, grew up living and working on Idracowra Station 270km south of Alice Springs and is currently boarding at St Philips College in Alice Springs, completing her Year 12 studies. During the final, she performed a self-penned number – It Makes Me Up – and When I Die by well known Australian band, The Waifs.

"I had a really good time performing in the heat," Michelle said. "Performing in last year’s competition was such an exciting experience for me, so I’m really looking forward to giving it another shot."

Multi-Golden Guitar winner and 2008 Telstra Road to Tamworth Ambassador Adam Harvey said the competition offered an unbelievable career start for aspiring artists with "a fantastic pool of prizes" including an all expenses paid return trip to Nashville and full album deal with ABC Music, distributed by Warner Music Australia.

A separate prize, with an additional trip to Nashville, the Telstra Road to Tamworth Songwriters Award is also on offer with the winner afforded a number of songwriting appointments with some of the industry’s best.

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Muster 2007 bigger than ever

The 2007 Toyota National Country Music Muster will run over six days from next Tuesday (August 21) to Sunday (August 26) at the Amamoor Creek State Forest Park near Gympie, Queensland.

"It’s a phenomenal experience that celebrates the spirit of country Australia, an experience rooted in music and community, far removed from ties and clocks, suits and schedules." said a spokesman for the organisers.

"Over the years, the growth of the Toyota Muster has enabled the entertainment line up to diversify into an exciting mix of musical genres while still maintaining its strong country focus – 170 shows total over 227 hours of pure country! As well as traditional and modern country, entertainment within 13 other stages and venues includes an aural collage ranging from folk, bluegrass, balladeers and gospel, to blues, bush poetry, clogging, linedancing, swing and rock ‘n roll and the serious competition of the Maton Talent Search where future careers are established."

More than a hundred artists will tread the boards at this year's Muster, including most of Australia's major country music stars... so many to name, it's best to point readers in the direction of the Muster website – – where the full listing and program details can be viewed together with all the information Muster visitors need to know.

In addition to the country entertainment, Muster organisers have arranged a number of other special guest appearances, including staging of the musical "Grease" performed by the Zodiac Players.

"But it’s not only the spectacular entertainment that attracts thousands of patrons each year to this great event," the spokesman said, "it’s the phenomenal atmosphere, the bushland setting laced with inviting whiffs of campfire cooking and fresh bush eucalypt, the easy camaraderie created by convivial patrons all set to simply enjoy themselves... there are no strangers at the Muster, just friends you haven’t met yet."

The Muster's picturesque forest site becomes a mini-city every August with a general store, plenty of food and bar outlets, phones and other essential services. Well maintained campgrounds are within easy walking distance to the entertainment precinct. The site, two hours drive north of Brisbane, 40 minutes from Noosa and an hour from heritage listed Fraser Island, is easily accessible by large vehicles. Alternatively, accommodation is available within an hour's drive both on the Sunshine Coast and in the Cooloola Region.

More than 50 community groups and 2,000 volunteers annually help the event organisers, Gympie Apex Club, to stage this non-profit community-based festival to raise funds to assist charities Australia-wide. Since it’s inception in 1982, the Muster has raised more than $10 million for charities. The Muster’s Rural Aid Appeal annually raises up to $100,000 for it’s nominated charity.

"The Rural Aid Appeal was initiated 15 years ago to assist rural Australians who were suffering due to Australia’s worst drought for decades. In 2007 the drought is back, but the suffering in many places is worse.

Photo: a shot of Muster Main Stage last year.


The Pigs to launch debut album at Gympie

Festival favourites The Pigs – known for their exceptional live performances – will launch their debut album at Gympie next week.

When they decided to record an album, The Pigs say they were determined to approach the studio with the same "no-limits" attitude as their live performances spending months in the studio with engineer and co-producer Steve Newton.

“The quality of the original songwriting on this album will see The Pigs become a major force in the Australian record industry," said a spokesman for the band. "The Pigs debut self-titled album combines great down-home bluegrass sounds with glorious pop/rock/country energy."

The Pigs – "Par, Stretch, T-Bone and Cousin Billy-Bob" – achieved ARIA chart success and featured as "single of the week" on CMC in January this year with the release of their EP Crazy and an animated video clip.

The album The Pigs will be available in stores this Saturday (August 18). It will be officially launched at a function during this year's Toyota Muster.

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Music Conference hits 600 mark

This week's Australasian Music Business Conference at Sydney's Acer Stadium has hit the 600 registrants' mark – well over what organisers IMMEDIA! expected.

A few tickets are still available for the Conference which opens at 8am tomorrow and runs for three days.

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Music on discs

Music and technology retailer JB Hi-Fi has dismissed a warning that sales of traditional music formats such as CDs will be halved within four years as digital downloads take over, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

JB Hi-Fi Chief Executive Richard Uechtritz said local music sales were "as strong as they've ever been" and there was no indication shoppers would stop buying their music in hard copy.

He was responding to a prediction by PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Paul McNab that digital music sales were slowly squeezing out old-fashioned formats such as CDs. McNab said the "physical" formats, which include CDs and DVDs, accounted for about 81 percent of sales in 2006, but this would drop to about 40.5 per cent in 2011.

Uechtritz rejected McNab's contention that music suppliers stood to lose money as part of the inevitable shift from high-margin CDs to cheaper digital downloads. "I dare to disagree with him completely," he said. "Our sales [of traditional] music are going up by 30 per cent a year and we are gaining market share.

"The physical retailers who do it well will survive, because there will always be a physical market," he said.

JB Hi-Fi recently snared the title of top music retailer from Sanity which is owned by privately owned Brazin Group. Uechtritz said his company had about 25 per cent of the music market, but he declined to reveal the value of music sales. Music and DVD sales are estimated to make up between 15 and 20 percent of JB Hi-Fi earnings.

Market research company Gfk says DVD sales had increased 15 per cent by value over the past year and 25 per cent by the number of units, bringing total sales to 71 million DVDs worth $1.3 billion in 2006-07.

Foresight Securities' Todd Guyot said warnings about the decline of the traditional music industry were not a concern for JB Hi-Fi because most of its profits came from technology-driven consumer electronics including televisions.

Australian Recording Industry Association Chief Executive Stephen Peach also disagreed with McNab's findings, saying the sales volume of traditional CDs had increased in the past year. "There's no indication that people are losing interest in the album format, and the album continues to be supported in CDs," he said.

"It may well change over time, but it's still way too early to call the death of the CD. Lots of people are trying to forecast the future, but the drop of CDs predicted [years ago] doesn't seem to be happening yet. Digital has made real inroads into CD singles but it hasn't made much of a dent in the albums market."


A number one for Jean in Ireland

Jean Stafford’s Don’t Bet Your Boots has made number one in Ireland this week on the ECMA European Charts.

Named "Single of the Week" and number one in May on the major independent artists charts on the international Warner Bros Records sponsored Joyce Ramgatie MIAOTW charts, the single is reportedly charting on playlists in most countries.

"Don’t Bet Your Boots – popular with listening audiences in Germany, Switzerland and Italy – is another radio favourite following in the tracks of its award-winning predecessor Steelin’ The 2 Step," a spokesman for Jean said.

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Vale – Bob Plummer

By Barbara Morison

Facing the loss of a person in your life can feel so overwhelming, hopeless, fearful, lonely, and sad. That is definitely the case with Bob Plummer – community radio broadcaster and helpful friend – who lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday July 31 aged 64.

Bob became involved with country music by doing what he did best, helping someone out. Bob always helped out where he could and when he could, Once you had Bob as a friend he was pretty hard to get rid of which is a good thing.

Bob Plummer started his own program on 2RDJ-FM in Burwood, Sydney, on the May 29, 1996 and soon built up quite a fan base due to his quirky sense of humour and diverse country music collection. Mind you, Bob not only knew his country music but he was definitely a walking encyclopaedia pretty much on a various collection of styles and formats of music.

Bob joined me on All Kinds of Country on 2SER-FM, Sydney, in December 2000 until late last year when, due to health problems, he stopped coming in, But that didn’t mean he still didn’t help out when he could. That friendship and support continued for seven years. Bob Plummer was the first voice the people heard on a Saturday morning before they went to air with me. He was also the voice on the airwaves that filled in for me when I took the occasional Saturday morning off.

There are only a handful of people who come into your world and touch your life in a dramatic fashion. Some of the people are just flickers of light during a long life, while others are consistent glows for years. Bob Plummer was one of those consistent ones always on hand to help out not only in the promotional side of country music but also on the personal side.

This was the case with one of Bob's childhood idols – Smoky Dawson and his wife Dot became great mates, they knew they could always call upon Bob and his wife Jill whenever they needed assistance driving them somewhere to assisting with odd jobs around the place. It was also the case for the Schneider Sisters (Rita and Mary) who often had assistance from Bob for the odd job or two.

We shared some wonderful times together. I will never forget them. I can honestly say that there are only a few people who have walked into my life and changed it forever. Not only my life and my family but a lot of country music personalities, country music listeners, and country music industry identities. Bob taught me that life is short, and the most important part of life is the people in it.  I will be grateful for his friendship forever.

Like many of us involved with community radio, it’s not only the voice on the air but it’s the back-up staff that ensures the country music word is spread around, and a lot of the time it’s a thankless job. But it’s due to your passion for the music that you do it. This is just my little way of making sure Bob Plummer is thanked and acknowledged for the many years he and his wife Jill contributed to the country music industry.



Tania and all-star line-up "Discover Downunder"

Tania Kernaghan last week invited fellow country artists Lee Forster and Drew McAlister to join with her to celebrate the season final of "Discover Downunder" – the Nine Network program she co-hosts.

The multi-award winning stars performed a secret live concert which featured a number of their own original songs along with some "old favourites" to a lucky crowd of fans at One Mile Beach Resort at Port Stephens, NSW.

Tania – who joined the program as co-host earlier this year alongside Dean Allen Craig and Paul Cronin – has helped make "Discover Downunder" the top rating program in it's timeslot.

She also recently enjoyed four weeks at number one on the Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart with her latest hit Life Don't Get Much Better Than This and has just picked up two finalist nominations in the Australian Independent Country Music Awards (or Southern Stars) for Female Vocal and Single of The Year.

The season final of "Discover Downunder" goes to air this Saturday at 4pm on the Nine Network and affiliates.

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Carter & Carter "on the money" (to "coin" a phrase!)

Australian country star duo Carter & Carter have added another string to their bow with the announcement that they are the first independent artists to be featured in the commemorative coin program of the Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie.

Merelyn and David have been (star) "struck" as the 2007 official commemorative coin, joining an eminent list of commemoratees... James Blundell, Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Graeme Connors, Slim Dusty, Adam Harvey, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan, Jimmy Little, Ian McNamara, Melinda Schneider and John Williamson.

The commemorative coin program, part of the Muster's extensive merchandising effort – all raising funds for worthwhile causes aiding rural Australia – commenced in 1993 with James.

In other news from Carter & Carter, the duo has notched up two more finalist places at this year's Australian Independent Country Music Awards (see news, Friday August 10), have been named as finalists with Donna Boyd in the 27th Australian Songwriting Contest for their compositions Angel Fly Close To The Ground and One More Dance and have been named again among the finalists for the Australian Country Music Achiever Awards Independent Entertainer of the Year (an award they have won on three previous occasions).

"It has certainly been a whirlwind year with the release of our new album (Leap Before You Look), moving house and touring most of the year," Merelyn and David said. "It is fantastic to be nominated for these awards and we feel very privileged to be the first independent artists to be included on the Gympie Muster commemorative coin.

"We have just finished a hectic tour of 15 shows in 17 days with Dianna Corcoran and Brendon Walmsley and had an absolute ball. Thanks to everyone who came along and made the whole tour so successful. Touring really brings you back to the reasons that we do what we do. Thanks also to all the radio presenters and media who helped promote the tour and also our brand new single The Best Things In Life Are Free."

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A new project for JW

John Williamson has announced his involvement in a new project – "a brand new family musical" to be staged using John's songs and with a special appearance by the country superstar in February next year in Sydney.

"A wonderful script has been written by Simon Heath who is originally from Bourke in NSW and who, for the past 25 years, has been involved in musical theatre in the United States," a statement on John's website reads.

"Casting is about to commence and we will have further details concerning that and the title of the show in the near future."

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ABC Music launches Heartland series
ABC Music is launching its new Heartland album series with a compilation celebrating Australian heritage and the Australian spirit.

"Twenty of Australia's finest recording artists and storytellers will appear on this fantastic new compilation," said label spokesman Tim Holland.

"ABC Music takes very seriously its role of supporting and propagating music which celebrates Australian heritage, values and spirit," he said. "This new series is designed to do just that.

"With Heartland, we have brought together a group of Australian recording artists and storytellers who all have a strong connection with the people, themes and issues which directly relate to life in regional Australia."
Artists included on the first release (in alphabetical order) are James Blundell, Adam Brand, Katie Brianna, The Bushwackers, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Tom Curtain, the Davidson Brothers, Kane & Walmsley, Paul Kelly & The Stormwater Boys, Lee Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, Bob Pigott, Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel, Craig Stewart, Sara Storer, The Sunny Cowgirls, Felicity Urquhart, Brendon Walmsley and John Williamson.
The album will be released on September 15. In 2008, ABC Music will release four further Heartland series albums from individual recording artists.

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Nanango Muster 07

Details, including artist line-up, have been announced for the 2007 Nanango (Qld) Country Muster.

Performers will include Jeff Brown, Ernie Constance, Laura Downing, Stuie French & Camille Te Nahu, Glenn Jones, Brian Letton, Dianne Lindsay (pictured), Tom Maxwell (pictured), Julie Perandes, Dean Perrett, Ian Quinn, The Lindsay Waddington Show Band and The Young Balladeers.

The Muster is set to run from September 6 to 9.

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Marton Festival '08

And details have been announced for the 2008 Marton Country Music Festival to be held at Wilson Park, Marton, New Zealand on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 18, 19 and 20.

The Friday evening and Saturday morning programs will highlight walk up concerts while invited artists will be featured during Saturday afternoon and evening and a walk-up gospel concert is scheduled for Sunday morning.

In addition to the entertainment, market stalls will be on-site and camp sites are available.

New to this festival will be an acoustic busker's competition to be held on Friday during the day in the main street of Marton from 10am to 3pm.

The 2008 Marton Country Music Festival line-up includes Rewa McGregor (pictured, right), Old Dogs, Ann Pascoe (pictured), Phoenix, Shotgun, Trevor Stevens and Roger Tibbs from New Zealand, Laura Downing, Dale Hooper, Dennis Morgan and Patti McKinnon from Australia and Bob & Sheila Everhart from America.

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CMC Top 50 – Spirit Of The Bush still at the top

Spirit Of The Bush – the video clip of the collaboration between Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand and Steve Forde remains at the top of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week.

Shea Fisher is steady at number two with Just The Excuse as is Amber Lawrence at three with The Things That Bring Me Down. Big & Rich edge up one more place to four with Lost In This Moment.

Troy Cassar-Daley also moves up one to five with Everything's Going To Be Alright as does Miranda Lambert to six with Famous In A Small Town while Travis Collins bounds into the top 10 at seven with Yeah She Does.

Brad Paisley is at eight with Online, Kasey Chambers' Sign On The Door is down one to nine and Melinda Schneider's Stronger drops to 10.

Bullet performers this week include Adam Brand with That Changes Everything (16 to 13), Jetty Road with Real Smooth Cowboy (20 to 17), Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things (31 to 22), Felicity Urquhart with No Mistakes (37 to 26), Keith Urban with the clip of his latest single Stupid Boy (new at 33), Matt Scullion with Feels Like Sunday (new at 36) and Casey Watt & Brendan Radford with If I Needed You (41 to 38).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include The Yeehaa Boys (pictured) with Shake Baby (at 49).

This week's "CMC Country Pick" is Counting Down The Days by Jonah’s Road

The full playlist can be viewed at


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America's Country Music Hall of Fame to induct Ralph, Vince and Mel

The Country Music Association (CMA) has announced that influential radio and television personality Ralph Emery, multi-award-winning entertainer Vince Gill and legendary singer/songwriter Mel Tillis are to become the newest members of America's Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ralph (left) will be inducted in the "Non-Performer" category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the "Career Achieved National Prominence Prior to World War II" and "Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980" categories.

Vince (centre) will be the third artist inducted in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present" category which was created in 2005.

Mel will be inducted in the "Career Achieved National Prominence Between World War II and 1975" category.

“Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the highest musical honuor a country music artist and industry veteran can attain," said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. "All three of these extraordinary men are highly deserving of this honor.

"Ralph Emery brought more than just country music into our homes via radio and television. His entertaining and thought-provoking interviews have always provided a unique glimpse into the personal side of our favorite performers.

"As a singer, songwriter and performer, Mel set a high standard for all entertainers. His presence in movies and TV alongside the top actors of that time gave country music a higher profile in the '70s and made Mel a pop culture icon.

"Vince is the ultimate triple threat: a singer with the voice of an angel, a songwriter who conveys the joys and heartbreaks of life with every word he writes, and a consummate musician who is equally at home playing guitar with Chet Atkins or Eric Clapton. As the longtime host of the CMA Awards, Vince also represented country music with dignity and humor for 12 years."

The three will be officially inducted in October during the traditional, invitation-only Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

"It is with great pride that CMA will induct these three outstanding artists and personalities into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where they will join a small yet monumental group of entertainers and industry veterans whose influence on country music is enormous," Tammy said.


Fan wants to turn Elvis' California home into a tourist draw

An Elvis Presley fan wants to refurbish Elvis Presley's old desert home in Palm Springs, California, as a tourist attraction.

Reno Fontana and his wife Laura bought the home sight unseen in November.

"I want this to be Elvis of California," he said.

The Spanish-style white stucco home has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms with a sunken tub and a pool. Elvis and Priscilla Presley bought the home in April 1970. The family, including daughter Lisa Marie, lived there part-time.

After his death, Elvis' lawyer took control of the estate. It was not immediately known whether anyone lived in the house before the Fontanas bought it.

The house is already a bit of a tourist draw. "I get asked probably six times a day to see the inside of the Elvis house," said Bill Davis, owner of Celebrity Tours in Palm Springs.

Reno, a lifelong Elvis fan, says he'll provide a look to anyone who knocks on the door. Right now, there's not much to see in the unfurnished home. He plans to decorate it in elaborate Elvis style and build a chapel, banquet hall and recording studio to attract weddings and recording business.

"We may have our names on the deed, but we are the caretakers," he said. "This house belongs to Elvis fans around the world."




Two-timers dominate Independent Awards finalists

In what organisers of the 2007 Southern Stars – the 11th Australian Independent Country Music Awards of Australia – are calling one of the most even and competitive fields in memory, eight individual artist or duos scored two final nominations each for the 2007 event.
Members of the "two times" club are Lou Bradley, Carter & Carter, Paul Costa, Tom Curtain, Tania Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French and Felicity Urquhart.

Finalists for the prestigious Independent Album of the Year are Lou Bradley with Love Someone, Carter & Carter with Leap Before You Look, Paul Costa with Restoration and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French with Recovered.

Finalists for Female Vocalist of the Year are Lou Bradley with One Shoe, Tania Kernaghan with Life Don't Get Much Better Than This, Amber Lawrence with Things That Bring Me Down and Felicity Urquhart with Big Black Cloud.

For Male Vocalist of the Year, Paul Costa with A Lover's Question, Drew McAlister with Along For The Ride, Nik Phillips with Postcard and Travis Sinclair with Rockin' The Rig.

For Group/Duo of the Year are Carter & Carter with Runaway, Jonah's Road with Counting Down The Days, Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel with Ragged Bloody Heroes and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French with Let's Make A Family.

For Rising Star, the finalists are Jayne Denham, Nellie Donovan, Gemma Doyle and Casey Watt for Female, Aaron Bolton, Tom Curtain, Markus Meier and Jason Ryan for Male.

Single of the Year finalists are Big Black Cloud by Felicity Urquhart, Life Don't Get Much Better Than This by Tania Kernaghan, Tailwind by Harmony James and Things That Bring Me Down by Amber Lawrence.

For Heritage Track of the Year, Bush Girl's Heart by Anita Ree, Can't Cut Gidgee by Ian Quinn, Days Roll By by Tom Curtain and Woman On The Land by Graham Rodger.

Awards Coordinator John Arnold described the list of finalists as a level playing field. "Often we do have artists with multiple finalist nominations," he said, "but nothing as even as this year.

"It was a tough year for the judges," he added, (with) "238 individual entries received for the eight judged categories, representing recorded product from 93 individual artists and groups."

Previous Independent Award winners reaching finals in 2007 include seven time winners Carter & Carter, multiple winners Paul Costa, Ian Quinn, Travis Sinclair and Felicity Urquhart.

In all, 24 individuals, duos and groups made the various finals categories and John was quick to point out that the majority had achieved significant success in the past 12 months.

"Of the  finals contenders, 17 had Top 30 chart success with radio singles in the past year, four made it to the Top 10, five had songs in the Top 5, and three (Tania Kernaghan, Travis Sinclair and Felicity Urquhart) reached the coveted number one position."

Award winners will be announced during the 21st Mildura Country Music Festival which runs from Friday September 28 to Sunday October 7. The Awards will be stagedat 5.30pm on Saturday October 6 at the Mildura Arts Centre Theatre. Tickets are available by calling 1800 039 043.
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Lianne signs with Mushroom Music Publishing

Lianne Rose has signed with Australia’s largest independent publisher, Mushroom Music.

With her debut album due for release in January, Lianne says she had not even finished recording when Mushroom heard her music and travelled to Sydney to see her performance opening for Daryl Braithwaite.

Lianne has been travelling and performing for more than 15 years now, opening shows for the likes of Shannon Noll, Sarah McLeod and Mondo Rock and as a backup singer for Russell Morris, Max Merritt and Stevie Wright of Easybeats fame.

Winner of Outstanding Songwriter, Bush Ballad, Tamworth 1999, the Musicoz Country award in 2001 and the Canberra Blues & Roots Song of the Year, Lianne says she is excited and relieved that hard work truly does pay off.

"I have had a dream for almost 20 years now and I have never given up. This deal has come at just the right time for me and I feel honoured that Mushroom Music love my songs!! As a writer this could not be a better match and I am truly excited about working with Mushroom in the future."

Bill Page, Mushroom’s Creative Manager, said: "I only needed one listen to Lianne Rose’s songs and I knew I wanted to sign her to Mushroom Music Publishing. Lianne is a singer/songwriter of tremendous potential and covers country, roots and rock territory with ease. She writes from the heart with raw honesty, but can make you smile as well."

Lianne will be releasing her first single in the near future via radio and CMC.

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Jeanette heads north for Queensland tour

South Australian based country star Jeanette Wormald heads north next week for her first ever tour of inland Queensland.

The tour follows on from the release of Jeanette's radio single Pukulpa Days last month, which is already enjoying strong radio support around the country.

"The song, which celebrates the sense of family in the Anangu community, incorporates the Pitjantjatjara language (pukulpa means happy) and places Jeanette in a unique position as one of very few Australian songwriters acknowledging Australia's rich heritage of indigenous language and culture," said a spokesman for the artist.

"This song has always been a favourite with audiences live," Jeanette said. "It gives such a positive view of life in indigenous communities who have so much to be proud of."

The single is the third from Jeanette's benchmark album Opal Blue which has already spawned two top 10 hits and earned her a Golden Guitar Awqards finalist nomination in January.

Jeanette, who is based on a wheat farm in the Northern Mallee of South Australia, said she was looking forward to performing songs from the album at her concerts in Toowoomba and Maidenwell before appearing at the Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie.

"I love performing at the Muster," she said. "I haven't seen it rain in the Amamoor Forest yet but I will be packing my farm boots this time in the hope that I will be wading through mud."

Jeanette will be appearing with Queensland based singer/songwriter Tom Curtain at the concerts prior to the Muster. Tom is also enjoying widespread success following the launch of his album Heatwave in January.

"Tom and I performed together in Tamworth. The audience loved it and I am looking forward to catching up again," Jeanette said.

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Chart update – Gina still at number one

Gina Jeffreys retains her hold on the top spot on the coming week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart with her current hit song Stepped Right In It.

Melinda Schneider's Stronger is steady at number two while Dianna Corcoran's Stepping Stone edges up one more place to three and the Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde hit Spirit Of The Bush jumps six places to number four.

The Alison Krauss/John Waite duet of Missing You is steady at five, as are Casey Watt & Brendan Radford with If I Needed You at six and Harmony James' Tailwind at seven.

Tania Kernaghan's former number one Life Don't Get Much Better Than This is down to eight while Amber Lawrence enters the top 10 at nine with Things That Bring Me Down, as does Jonah's Road (pictured) at 10 with Counting Down The Days.

Bullet performers this week include Shea Fisher's Just The Excuse (21 to 19), Graham Rodger's Woman On The Land (25 to 22), Nicki Gillis' Remember Me (26 to 23), Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things (27 to 24) and Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Gonna Be Alright (28 to 25).

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

The full chart can be viewed at



Mike to be special guest at Galston '07

Organisers of the Galston (Sydney) Country Muic Festival have announced that Song And Dance Man Mike McClellan will be the special guest at this year's event.

Mike will be on hand on Sunday September 9 to make the presentation to the winner of the 2007 Cooper’s Golden Saddle Award. 

Multi award winning songwriter, performer and host of "Mike McClellan’s Country Music" for ABC Television and the National Star Quest during the '70s will also perform during his visit.

Mike's songs have been heard in many countries of the world and covered by stars such as Rick Nelson (Rock’n Roll Lady) and John Farnham (Saturday Dance) and he has toured with many world stars.

The Galston Country Music Festival starts on Friday September 7 with a gala dinner at the Dural Country Club featuring Donna Boyd and Kevin Johnson. A concert featuring this year’s Golden Saddle grand finalists – Lee Forster, Nikki Gillis and Markus Meier – will be held at the Galston Club on the Saturday night (September 8) with the Festival proper running throughout the Sunday at Fagan Park.

In addition to a big entertainment program, Sunday's activities will also include a poets breakfast featuring Blue Mountains Poet Brian Bell, Ray Essery ("The Mullumbimby Bloke"), Graeme Johnson ("The Rhymer from Ryde") and multi award winning poet Carol Heuchan.

Main stage artists appearing this year, in addition to Mike McClellan and the Golden Saddle grand finalists, include Kirsty Lee Akers, Greg Bain, Debra Byrne, Travis Collins, Dragon, Bob Howe, Amber Lawrence, Karen Lynne, Simply Bushed and the Galston All-stars.

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Kat consolidates career

Contemporary country crossover singer/songwriter Kat La Key is consolidating her career through contacts internationally with similar artists in the America, Canada, Germany and Scandinavia.

A sub-publisher in Scandinavia recently began working Kat's songs for several of their up and coming artist’s album releases.

Kat has travelled to the States to meet with Columbia Records, among others, who have shown a keen interest in her material for their country artists.

Since the release in October 2005 of Kat's three track EP, How Ya Like It, she says a high quantity of units have been distributed throughout Europe, the USA and Australia.

"All three tracks have received great feedback from radio DJs and are on high rotation in Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the USA," she said.

"The title track has been described as 'cutting edge country-rock by some of the countries' top DJs."

Kat expects to have a new all-original album ready soon to showcase more of her songwriting talent.

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New album for Michael

Star guitar picker Michael Fix will release his new album and a songbook this month.

The album is called Rewind and is a look back at Michael's 15-year solo recording career featuring tracks from all previous eight releases from 1991 to 2005.

"This isn’t a 'greatest hits' package," he said, "because I’ve never actually had a hit! – more a revisiting (and re-recording) of tunes covering my solo recording career.

"I've tried to represent all the CDs, and I chose only original tunes. I’ve added a couple of new tunes, too (Rewind and Hobbity Hoi)."

The album has a total 18 tracks.

The songbook is called "Noted!" and features 10 fingerstyle guitar solos with notation and TAB, "lovingly transcribed by Jason McGregor, Gary Shepherd and Stefan Monkemeyer," Michael said.

Both the album and the songbook will be launched in a special concert in Sydney at the Basement this coming Monday (August 13).

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Music venues launch court action against PPCA

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that the hotel and nightclub industries have launched a Federal Court appeal to the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia's win to raise its licensing fee.

Last month, the Copyright Tribunal allowed the PPCA (which represents record labels and recording artists) to raise the fees in nightclubs from seven cents per person to $1.05, and at dance parties to $3.07. The initial rates had been set in the mid-1980s and, says PPCA chief Stephen Peach, had been more based on a cursory look at overseas rates. Three years ago, the PPCA had done a comprehensive study and came to the conclusion the rates were far too low.

Generally, few people appeal any decision by the Copyright Tribunal. But Australian Hotel Association Director of National Affairs Bill Healey said it was forced to because he could see clubs go out of business as a result. In the wake of the decision, many club owners said they'd have to put up the price of entry and of drinks while venues like the Empire in Brisbane had to stop plans to renovate.

Others planned to get around the PPCA fees by only playing specially commissioned cover versions of dance hits, or only play records from America which are not covered by the PPCA.

The PPCA's Peach expected the new fees to have come into effect by September 1. The venues had expected them to be eased in over three years – although the PPCA planned to initiate the new tariffs immediately.

In the meantime, the Musicians Union last week attacked the PPCA in a media statement headlined "Is it a scam or are they stupid?" It argued claims that 50 percent of the money raised went to artists, or that 50 percent had between 1969 and 1993 gone to the Musicians Union as part of a deal struck with the MU in 1969 (the MU says that is a "flat out lie" and that no deal was ever struck) and railed against other claims.


Donna goes on air

Rising country star Donna Boyd has extended her industry involvement by taking up a broadcast slot on Radio 2CCR 90.5 FM in western Sydney.

Donna's program – "A Good Day" – goes to air on Tuesdays from 4-5pm.

"I will be presenting a program that's fun and features new and old music," Donna said, "and maybe a few suprises!!! I'm looking forward to interviewing a few friends on my show, which i'm sure listeners will enjoy also. I think I'll have some interesting insight into what goes on behind-the-scenes. I'm really looking forward to trying my hand as a presenter."


The Art of Songwriting

Mushroom Music, in conjunction with Dobe Newton (pictured), has created a unique 10 week interactive online education course designed to help participants uncover the mysteries of songwriting.

During the course, powered by Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group (incorporating Mushroom Music Publishing – an industry pioneer and Australasia’s largest independent publisher of songs), participants will learn the secrets behind the craft of songwriting directly from high-profile music industry professionals as they provide a range of insights and perspectives drawn from their own extensive experiences.

Facilitator Dobe (musician, teacher and co-writer of I Am Australian), is renowned for his songwriting skills and also for "the preservation and promotion of Australian culture" during his 33 year career with Australia’s world-travelled Bushwackers band.

Across the 10 weeks, class members will have the opportunity to interact with legendary Australian songwriters, producers and leading industry professionals who will share their experiences, tips and techniques.

Participants will be guided through the process involved with writing, producing and marketing popular songs. Theory elements of the course will be balanced by practical exercises and class members will be encouraged to share their efforts with fellow writers and to collaborate should they wish to.

As well as the technical aspects of writing and production, the course will cover vital business issues – copyright protection and exploitation, digital marketing and promotion.

Each week, participants will log onto the Mushroom Music Education website from their computer to access the live presentation in which Facilitator Dobe and special guests throughout the course will guide participants through key songwriting topics.

Prior to the course, each student will receive a course materials booklet, recommended reading text book and a headset to enable online interaction.

Step-by-step instructions for setting up the Mushroom Music Education interactive technology to enable direct communication with the course facilitator, special guests and fellow students will also be provided.

The 10 week course will commence in late August and will be scheduled to run on a Wednesday evening from approx 8-9pm. Course enrolment places are limited.

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Gold Medallion Queensland winners '07

The second annual Queensland Gold Medallion Awards were presented in Toowoomba on Friday night.

Lee Kernaghan won gold for Touring Artist of the Year while Arthur Blanch and Shaza Leigh took out the Male and Female Vocal awards.

Sarah McMonagle won the New Talent Gold Medallion, Graham Rodger took out Songwriter of the Year, Dean Perrett the Gold for Bush Balladeer of the Year and Lindsay Waddington was named Musician of the Year.

The awards ceremony closed with Ron Peters, the late Shorty Ranger and Brian Young being named as the first inductees to the National Legends Register and receiving life membership to The Gold Medallion Awards.

Australia's CMR Nashville radio personality Daryl Kirkup hosted the evening with local country music identity Chris Jensen compering the presentations. Awards presenters were sourced from local FM radio shows including Stewart McDonald, John McFarlane and Dianna Peters.

Photo: Sarah McMonagle (right) with her Gold Medallion award, pictured with runner-up Rose Carleo.


Kirsty on 7/Prime tomorrow

Reigning Toyota Star Maker Kirsty Lee Akers will make her debut solo television appearance on Channel 7/Prime TV, tomorrow (Wednesday, August 8).

She will perform on "The Morning Show" with Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies at 9.30am.
Kirsty will sing Little Things, the title track to her upcoming debut album and her current single and video clip with her band.
Little Things the album is out now and Kirsty will be joining Compass Bros Records stable mate James Blundell on his national "Ring Around The Moon" tour.

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"Nu Country TV" launches in Queensland

Victorian music show "Nu Country TV" has spread from Victoria and South Australia to Queensland.

The show debuts on C 31 in Brisbane on Friday August 17 at 9.30pm and will be repeated on Saturdays at 9.30am.

C 31 in Queensland will reach back to the first series, created in the spring of 2003, as its entrée.

It will then use more recent episodes of the show, the brainchild of celebrated Melbourne actor and voiceover maestro Peter Hosking.

The show was formed from the ashes of aspirant broadcaster Nu Country FM when it failed to win a radio licence in 2001. Disc jockeys David Dawson, Heather Rutherford, academics Mid Pacific Bob Olson and the late Lawrie Weir and country singer/DJ Paul Hicks had hosting roles from its debut.

"Nu Country TV", enjoying its eighth series on C 31 in Victoria, is expected to make a big impact in Queensland where country music’s popularity is spread by commercial and community radio exposure and a healthy festival circuit.

Country music lovers in Queensland join a vast cast in Victoria and South Australia as viewers of the show that also screens twice weekly on the Family Television Network in New Zealand. It expanded into Rotorua after debuting on Family TV in Waikato.

The show features celebrity hosts including Australian country stars Troy Cassar-Daley, Felicity Urquhart, Lee Kernaghan, pop icon and latter day country singer Mike Brady and Scared Weird Little Guys comic Rusty Rich.

International hosts include Oregon country singer Joni Harms, performing at this year's Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie, Nashville singer/songwriter and comedienne Kacey Jones and Arizona singer Billy Wyatt.

A frequent finalist in the national community TV Antenna Awards, "Nu Country TV" airs at 8pm on Saturday in Victoria with repeats on Monday and Thursday.

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More Gold for Slim

Slim Dusty’s latest release, the concert DVD One Night In May, only issued on Saturday (August 4), has already been certified Gold.

The announcement coincides with the news that Pubs, Trucks And Plains, the three CD set released in April to commemorate 50 years of A Pub With No Beer has also achieved Gold status.

Slim’s wife Joy McKean said: "It is really exciting to hear that One Night In May has gone Gold on the week of it's release, and also to see that the Pubs, Trucks And Plains is now Gold too! Two Gold awards in one week, I reckon Slim would be chuffed with that result!

"I am so pleased and proud that these wonderful Gold sales reflect Slim's continued popularity and that his devoted fans continue to be supportive of Slim's ongoing releases. I would really like to thank the fans, all our media supporters, music shops and of course EMI for helping keep Slim's memory alive."

With more than 80 Gold and Platinum accredited albums, Slim Dusty has collected more Australian awards than any other Australian artist.

The One Night In May concert was filmed at Sydney's Global Studios in May 1992 and features the McKean Sisters along with Anne and David Kirkpatrick. The concert footage and audio were specially remastered for the release and feature exclusive performances not featured on any other Slim concert DVD.

The three CD, 60-song Pubs, Trucks And Plains set was released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the recording of Australia's first ever hit single, A Pub With No Beer. The album not only celebrates Slim’s iconic drinking songs, but also the other two hugely popular songwriting themes (trucks and the land) from which Slim drew during his amazing career spanning 60 years.

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New single from Adam

Adam Brand has released a fifth single from his successful, gold-awarded album What A Life.

Title of the track is That Changes Everything which has already begun to chart on Country Tracks and CMC.

"This simple song about the power of love... shows that for all his country rock leanings, Adam still has a passion for traditional country storytelling," said a spokesman for Compass Bros Records, Adam's record label.

The video clip of the song, directed by long-time collaborator Ross Wood, is also available to view on YouTube via the following link…

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Gina recording in Tamworth

Tasmanian singer/songwriter Gina Timms is in the Country Music Capital this week to record her new EP, appropriately titled It’s Time.

For several years now, Gina has put her career on hold as she has been raising her two sons Jakeb and Samuel, as well as battling one of the strongest foes she has ever faced – cancer. Gina has beaten the cancer three times in the past and made herself a promise that if she pulled through the exhaustive treatment, she would celebrate her 40th birthday "in style" by releasing a new EP.

Gina’s 40th falls on Saturday, January 19, 2008 – day two of the Tamworth Country Music Festival – and she plans to launch the CD in style, too, with "a mighty hot band and a big birthday crowd". Gina first came to Tamworth in 1991, ostensibly to record an album – and loved the place so much she stayed for five years.

On her new recording Gina will present two originals – New Friend In Cyberspace, which is all about people meeting in internet chat rooms (and it’s been going over a treat at her live gigs); the second, I’ll Be Out That Door, which tells the tale of a girl deciding to make the break from a long-term relationship.

Gina comes to Tamworth each year to host and coordinate the Aristocrat Country Entertainer of the Year Quest and the Ladies of Country, "a showcase of stunning girls who are 'out there doing it'", staged on opening night of the Festival at the West Tamworth League Club.

Anyone who’s been in the audience of the "girls’ show" will know Gina’s signature song, Texas When I Die. The song was originally performed by Tanya Tucker, but when Gina discovered it back in 1993, she’s finished every gig with it since that time and made it her own. This song will also be included in the current recording project.

When she’s in Tamworth, Gina works with some incredible musicians, many of whom will join her in the studio for this long overdue recording session – Dave "Stix" Adams on drums, Rob Brown on bass, Rusty Crook on guitars, Nicole Geddes and Ryan Sampson on harmony vocals, Wayne Goodwin on fiddle, Mick Green on keyboards, banjo and guitars and Lawrie Minson on pedal steel and dobro.


CMC Top 50 – Spirit Of The Bush is number one

Spirit Of The Bush – the video clip of the collaboration between Lee Kernaghan (left), Adam Brand (centre) and Steve Forde – takes over the top spot on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week.

Shea Fisher is steady at number two with Just The Excuse while Amber Lawrence edges up one more place to three with The Things That Bring Me Down and Melinda Schneider's number one from last week – Stronger – is in fourth position.

American stars Big & Rich are at five with Lost In This Moment, Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Going To Be Alright is at six and Miranda Lambert is at seven with Famous In A Small Town.

Kasey Chambers' Sign On The Door jumps into the top 10 at eight, Taylor Swift is at nine with Teardrops On My Guitar while Travis Collins enters the top 10 at 10 with Yeah She Does.

Bullet performers this week include Adam Brand with the clip of his new single That Changes Everything (debuting at 16), Jetty Road with Real Smooth Cowboy (24 to 20), Canada's Terri Clark with Dirty Girl (new at 21), Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things (new at 31), Felicity Urquhart with No Mistakes (42 to 37), Gemma Doyle with All I Want Tonight (43 to 38) and Harmony James' Tailwind (46 to 43).

The full playlist can be viewed at


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Garth reportedly to release Ultimate package

No one officially in the know is talking, but sources close to the project have told America's that Garth Brooks will release an impressive package later this year that will include four new songs and 30 hits on two CDs, plus a DVD of 33 music

The package will reportedly be titled The Ultimate Garth Brooks and, unlike his recent albums, is not expected to be sold exclusively through Wal-Mart stores. The speculation is that Garth will release the album via the independent label Big Machine Records.

One of the new cuts – although probably not the first single – is a remake of Huey Lewis' 1982 hit, Workin' for a Livin', on which Huey plays harmonica.

Calls to Garth's manager and to Big Machine to confirm or clarify information about the new project were not returned late last week.


Canadian Awards nominees announced

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) has announced nominees for the 2007 CCMA Awards.

The Awards will take place Monday September 10 at the Brandt Centre in Regina.

Well-known country performer George Canyon (right), originally from Nova Scotia, and first-time nominee Shane Yellowbird led the ballot with their multiple nominations.

"This represents a year of tremendous achievement from both current country stars and stars on the rise," said a CCMA spokesman.

George garnered five nominations in major categories including Single and Album of the Year and the coveted Fans’ Choice Award. Shane, from Hobbema, Alberta, received five major nominations including Rising Star and Independent Male Artist. His single Pickup Truck (written by Joni Delaurier and Troy Kokol) also picked up a nomination for Songwriter(s) of the Year.

It was also a multi-nomination celebration for Paul Brandt, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, Brad Johner and Carolyn Dawn Johnson. They all made an impact as nominees in major categories with a total of four nominations each.

A few days earlier, the CCMA announced nominees for the Fans’ Choice Award and the opening of online voting for fans at The 2007 nominees are Paul Brandt, George Canyon, Terri Clark, Doc Walker and Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

The 2007 Canadian Country Music Association Awards broadcast will air across Canada on September 10 with encore airings on CMT Canada, in the U S on television network Great American Country (GAC), and in Australia on Country Music Channel (CMC).

A complete list of all CCMA Awards and Industry Awards nominees is available online at


Natalie accepts movie role

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks will play a prison nurse in an upcoming movie, "Stealing Cars".

The film will start shooting in September and will be directed by Michael Skolnik who cast her after seeing the Dixie Chicks documentary "Shut Up and Sing".

Natalie's husband Adrian Pasdar stars in the NBC series "Heroes".

The Dixie Chicks won five Grammys earlier this year for their album Taking The Long Way and single Not Ready To Make Nice.




Aussies named among Unisong comp finalists

Five Australians have been named as finalists in the 11th annual Unisong International Songwriting Competition – Ann-Marita, Tim Costello, LeAnne King, Bryen Willems (pictured) and Rob Wilson.

Winners in the competition were announced recently with first place in the country section won by Tennessee based Ryan Bizarri who was also named overall winner from all sections with his country category winning entry He Rules The Roost.

Ann-Marita, Bryen and Rob were all named as top 20 finalists, Ann-Marita with State Line, Bryen and Tim with Deep Down I'm Shallow and Rob Wilson with The Real Deal.

LeAnne was named as a top 20 finalist in the Topical/Political category for her song What For.

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A new EP from Gail

Victorian based Gail Smith is releasing a new EP of songs she has co-written and recorded with top writer/producer Rod McCormack.

First single off the self-titled release is Storybook, described by Gail as "a traditional country love song about everyday relationships and how sometimes things don’t always turn out as smoothly as the way they do in a storybook..."

A clip of the song, released to radio on the most recent NfS (singles for radio compilation), is also with CMC (Country Music Channel).

The EP, a follow-up to Gail's debut album Good To Be Here, will be officially launched at the upcoming Mildura Country Music Festival in September.

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And debut album from Chuck's wagon

American country influenced Chuck's Wagon will release their debut album in Sydney next weekend.

Describing themselves as an alternative country band – "an urban Johnny Cash meets Jay Farrar and Shooter Jennings for a late night brew" – Chuck's wagon is Chuck Stokes (pictured) on guitar and vocals, "Reverend" J D Love on lead guitar, Andrew Wignold on lap steel, Andrew Fatseas on bass and Brad Kimber on drums.

"Keeping with tradition, the songs cover heartbreak, sin and redemption and the hope that only country can conjure up," said a spokesman for the group.

Launch venue is The Lansdowne Hotel, City Road, Chippendale, on Sunday August 12 from 6pm and no admission charge.

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Chart update – Gina hits the top

Gina Jeffreys (pictured) takes over the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart with her current hit song Stepped Right In It.

Melinda Schneider's Stronger jumps into second place while Tania Kernaghan's number one from the last three weeks – Life Don't Get Much Better Than This – drops to number three and Dianna Corcoran's Stepping Stone rises two more places to four.

The Alison Krauss/John Waite duet cover of Missing You – John's pop hit from 1984 – is at five, Casey Watt & Brendan Radford jump two places to six with If I Needed You while Harmony James' Tailwind also rises two more places to seven.

Adam Brand's Can't Live Without Your Love is down to eight, Carrie Underwood's Wasted is down to nine while the Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Steve Forde hit Spirit Of The Bush bounds into the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers this week include Shea Fisher's Just The Excuse (25 to 21), Donna Boyd with Angels Fly Close To The Ground (27 to 22), Graham Rodger with Woman On The Land (29 to 25), Nicki Gillis' Remember Me (30 to 26), Kirsty Lee Akers' Little Things (new at 27) and Troy Cassar-Daley's Everything's Gonna Be Alright (new at 28).

Other new entries this week... Ring Around The Moon by James Blundell (in at 29) and Drew McAlister with Along For The Ride (at 30).

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

The full chart can be viewed at


New "Music Industry Directory" out

The 39th edition of the AustralAsian Music Industry Directory is out now.

The 188 page print book can also be obtained with (or alternatively as) an online subscription with fortnightly updates available.

With the close of 19 years of publishing the biannual contacts sourcebook of the Australian music industry, publishers Immedia! will be delaying publication of the 40th edition until March next year to facilitate expansion of the Directory's listing and addition of editorial and how-to areas as well as looking back a bit at the past 20 years of publication and the music business itself.




Vale – Allan Hely

Allan Hely, a pioneer of the Australian music industry from the 1960s, has died aged 80.

Allan, who passed away last Wednesday following a brief illness, managed Festival Records during its heyday between the late 1960s and the 1990s.

Festival was a champion of Australian music and Allan fostered the success of Olivia Newton John, the Bee Gees, Split Enz and Paul Kelly, among others.

Warren Fahey, who sold Larrikin Records to Festival in 1995, said Allan was a gentleman.

Under his management, Festival competed aggressively with the big US record companies that dominated the national market.

He reinvested as much as he could in Australian talent and began exporting music to Asia as well as opening offices in New Zealand and Britain.

Working under Rupert Murdoch, who bought Festival in 1960, Allan maintained almost total autonomy – even knocking back buyout offers for the company.

"Allan Hely was a warm, generous and witty man, and a dear friend," said the Newscorp Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Professionally, he was a legend...

"Under his astute management, Festival Records underwent a remarkable turnaround, becoming one of Australia's biggest and best record labels.

"Allan played a key role in News Limited's formative years, both during his time at Festival and running the Ten Network (in the early 1980s)."

– The Australian


Achiever Awards finalists 2007

The Country Music Association of Australia has released finalists for the 2007 Australian Country Music Achiever Awards.

They are...

For the Rex Barry (industry achiever) Award... John Arnold, Roxanne Brown, Bob Howe, Lorraine Pfitzner, Mike Smith and Graham Thompson.

For Entertainer of the Year... Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey (pictured), Gina Jeffreys (pictured) and Lee Kernaghan.

For Independent Entertainer of the Year... Carter & Carter, Jonah's Road, Amber Lawrence, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French and Felicity Urquhart.

For Record Company of the Year, Major Distribution... ABC Music, Compass Bros Records, EMI Music Australia and Universal Music Australia.

For Record Company of the Year, Independent... LBS Music, MRA Entertainment and Shock Records.

For Publishing Company of the Year... ABC Music Publishing, EMI Music Publishing Australia, Jimmy Forty Music, Mushroom Music Publishing and Shock Music Publishing.

For Media Achiever of the Year, Individual... Cheryl Byrnes, Nick Erby, Ray Hadley, John Nutting and Mike Smith.

For Media Achiever of the Year, Organisation... 98.9FM Radio (Brisbane), Country Music Capital News, Country Music Channel, Country Update and the Independent Country Music Bulletin.

For Retailer of the Year... Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre (Tamworth), Carisma Compact Discs (Sydney), The Country Music Store (Brisbane), Songland (Canberra) and St Mary’s Sound Centre (Sydney).

For Cover Art of the Year... Debaser for Everyday Girl (Shea Fisher CD), Glen Hannah for Ring Around The Moon (James Blundell CD) and The Mile (Amber Lawrence CD) and Matthew Williamson for Stronger (Melinda Schneider CD).

For Entertainment Venue of the Year... Antill Park Golf Club Club (Picton, NSW), Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club (Sydney, NSW), The Pub (Tamworth, NSW), The Vanguard (Sydney, NSW)) and Wests (Tamworth, NSW).

For Club or Association of the Year... Australian Bush Balladeers Association (ABBA), Capital Country Music Association (CCMA, Tamworth), National Belrose Country Music Club (Sydney) and South Australian Council for Country Music (SACCM).

Finalists for Producer and Engineer of the Year are yet to be released.

Winner of the Musician of the Year title and PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia) for Most Broadcast Country Artist are determined separately and will be announced on the Awards night in September.

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©Copyright 2007, ICMB Publishing