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August 2008


Song contest winners announced tonight

Winners in the 2008 ASA (Australian Songwriters' Association) Australian Songwriting Contest will be announced in Sydney tonight.

Among the country writers in the finals are Katrina Burgoyne (left) and Ronni Rae Rivers who have four and three songs, respectively, in the finals as well as being named in the top 10 for the Rudy Brandsma Award.

Ronni Rae's three feature six times in five categories – Stranded in "International", "Open" and "Rock/Indie", Waiting On Lonely in "Ballad" and "Country" sections and Things I Want in the "Spiritual" section. All songs are from her new album Whole Heart To Give due for release in October.

Katrina's four finalist songs feature in three categories – Dumped in "Open", Old Post Card and Perfect in "Country" and Second Gear in "Contemporary".

Carter & Carter have three finalist songs in two categories – My Little Girl and Open Road in "Country" and When God Takes A Photograph in "Spiritual".

With two finalist nominations each are Danny Hooper and Brent Lillie have two finalist nominations each, Danny's are Just Thought You'd Like To Know in "Ballad" and Hold On in "Country"; Brent's both in the "Australia" section – Aussie Alphabet Stew and Bundy Barramundi

With one nomination each are...

Andrea Barnett with Loose Ends in "Country"; Terry Bennetts with Freight Train Boogie in "Instrumental"; Brad Cole with Hold Me In Your Arms Tonight in "Country"; Bob Corbett with Share Crop in "Country"; Brenda-Lee Heathcote (the winner of last year's Rudy Brandsma Award) with Talking To Ghosts in "Ballad"; Kelly Hope with No Matter in "Spiritual"; Jo Kelly Stephenson with Perfect Chance in "Country" and "International"; Marcela Taylor with Move On in "Instrumental"; and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French with Choices in "Country".

Andrea Barnett and Jo Kelly Stephenson are also finalists for the Rudy Brandsma Award.

Alec Raymer and Johnny Kaye have one finalist nomination in the "Australia" category with Footprints In The Sand as well as for the Rudy Brandsma Award. Alec has three finalist nominations in the "Lyrics" category – Badge of Courage, Park Upon The Hill and This Great Land.

The Australian Songwriting Contest offers more than $36,000 in prizes. APRA/AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association/Australian Music Copyright Owners Society) is the major sponsor, providing $3,000 to the Songwriter of the Year award.

"The ASA has a lot to offer people who create original music in Australia," a spokesman said, "from the grass roots amateur to experienced and published songwriters.

"The ASA's annual Australian Songwriting Contest is the largest competition in the country, providing great prizes and industry exposure to all finalists.

"Our services extend from personal assistance, to professional feedback on new material and live performance opportunities for all original performers across Australia, via our network of Wax Lyrical events."

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A patriotic release for Terry & Jenny

Songs Of Our Land is album number three and the latest release – "a patriotic release" – for West Australia’s singer/songwriter duo Terry & Jenny Bennetts.

"It’s a collection of songs about people, places, war, farming, truckies, dogs, horses and some personal reflections about how our home Australia has changed down through the years for better or for worse," Terry says.

Recorded at Moondyne Studios, the album is described as another quality effort from the much accomplished writers.

"We would like to thank all those who helped in the making of this album," Terry said, "the muso’s, especially Peter Denahy who travelled from his home in the East to play fiddle on this album for us – thanks, Pete, Mark Donohoe for helping with the mixing and our mates Dirk and Claudine from Kwik Kopy for CD cover design."


JW supports campaign against stock routes grab

John Williamson has offered to become patron for Australian stock routes in the campaign to stop the handover of travelling stock routes (TSRs) to the State Government.

"The Land" reports that drovers, farmers, the Wilderness Society and birdwatchers have united to voice outrage at the plans when about 50 frustrated people travelled hundreds of kilometres from across NSW to Dubbo on Tuesday to join forces against what was the latest indignation over proposed Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB) reforms.

NSW Lands Minister Tony Kelly has pledged to protect the State’s "long paddocks" once the Department of Lands takes control of them when RLPBs are merged in December but Tuesday’s movement lead by 43-year-old lifelong drover Robert Groth from Boggabri, aims to stop the TSRs being handed over.

The rally’s organisers estimated they had six months to stop the Department's move on stock routes and formed a "Mates of the TSRs" committee at the Dubbo saleyards public meeting.

"I think it’s a matter of people realising they’ve got to pull together," Robert said. "We’ve got to be there to stop any plans to shut stock routes – it’s no good waiting until it’s all over.

"It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to save stock in a drought, if you’re an apiarist, or Mum and Dad and the kids wanting to fly a kite on the river, if they get to the point where they close the routes, what will be left for the future?"

John Williamson jumped on board and aroused an applause at the gathering when, in an absentee message, he pledged his willingness to become a patron for Australian stock routes.

His message went so far as to suggest that shutting off stock routes would be as bad as banning the iconic Australian song, Waltzing Matilda.

– The Land


Chart update – Amber's five weeks at number one

Amber Lawrence (pictured) retains the number one position for the fifth week in a row on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Good Girls.

Harmony James' Home edges up another place to sit at number two, Alan Jackson's Good Time is at three and Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair's Good Tones is steady at four.

Montgomery Gentry are down to five with Back When I Knew It All, Brooks & Dunn are at six with Put A Girl In It while 8 Ball Aitken's Cyclone Country edges up one place to seven.

Chasing Bailey's Little By Little is at eight, Jasmine Rae's Country Singer enters the top 10 at nine and Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh is at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include Matt Frost's Second Home Town (15 to 12), The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid (19 to 15), John Williamson's Drink A Little Love (23 to 19), Melinda Schneider with Be Yourself (28 to 23) and Adam Harvey's Genie In The Bottle (new at 25).

Another new entry to the chart is 2008 Toyota Star Maker winner Talia Wittmann's Reckless Side Of Me (new at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Warwick Bennet – a Freeman of Country Music Capital

A former Mayor and a leader in the tourism industry has been presented with the highest civic honour in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital.

Warwick Bennet, the retiring chairman of Tourism Tamworth and Mayor of the city for seven years in the 1980s, has been named a Freeman of the City, the biggest tribute a local government body can make.

Warwick is the 10th Freeman of the city since the first such honour was presented to the Hunter River Lancers in 1960. Others have included former NSW Governor Sir Roden Cutler, local historian Lyall Green, former Tamworth politician Noel Park and his wife June, a former Tamworth City Council Town Clerk Malcolm Keys, former Councillor and long serving electricity industry leader Ray Walsh and former Mayor David John.

In a surprise announcement at a function last Thursday night, Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) Mayor James Treloar said the Freeman’s title recognised Warwick’s "distinguished and meritorious service to the community". This included contributions to the fields of business, local government and tourism.

Warwick, now 65, was first elected to the then City Council in Tamworth in 1974 and became Mayor in 1979. He served until 1986 and is credited with driving some major city projects including using his casting vote in 1986 to set the wheels in motion to create Bicentennial Park as a bicentenary project for 1988 and suggesting a slide for Scully Park pool – and then being the first person to use it.

A spokesman for TRC said Warwick pushed for the installation of a revolving luggage rack or carousel when the Council took over the Tamworth Airport in 1982, copping "a fair amount" of criticism from some at the time because they thought it was too grandiose for Tamworth.

In business, Warwick was credited with constructing about 300 houses during his years in spec-home building. He is responsible, together with Max Ellis, for the 12 metre high fibreglass Golden Guitar which was erected in 1987 and with originally creating the Golden Guitar tourist site, including acquiring the first 20 of the wax museum's country music star figures and putting the collection at the tourist site.

Warwick was appointed the first Chairman of Tourism Tamworth when it was created by the Council in 2001 and has served ever since in that capacity. He will retire in about four weeks. His work and support and his legacy in tourism circles since the 1970s has also been acknowledged with major awards over the years.

"His interest and love for tourism over 40 years may well have been sparked from his early days," the TRC spokesman said. "After leaving school he signed on as a deck hand on a Swedish freighter and sailed around the world visiting 35 countries."

Warwick was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2002 for his contributions to tourism, local government and the community. He lives with his wife Margaret in Tamworth. The couple has three sons and five grandchildren.

As one of the rewards of the ancient Freeman system, Warwick is allowed to "graze stock on the town common free of charge and drive animals down the main street without hindrance whilst on the way to market".

He says he’s never owned a cow and he’s too old to get into a new career now, but he appreciates the gesture and is deeply moved and honoured by the new title.

Photo: Warwick (right) while Mayor of Tamworth in the early 1980s with the Lord Mayor of Sydney Doug Sutherand during a promotional trip for Country Music Capital's January festival.


Sharon set to sign with Hardrush

Dubbo, NSW, based artist Sharon Lane, a recently announced contender for the Deadly Awards 2008 Album of the Year, a 2008 Golden Saddle finalist in three categories and last year’s Deadlys New Talent winner, is set to sign a music contract with Canberra based music distributor Hardrush Country.

Kelvin Fahey, Hardrush Chief Executive, said Sharon was well advanced in discussions with Hardrush Country covering closer ties with the label.

"Sharon is a solid performer with great vocals and impressive songwriting. We are very interested in being part of her career path in country music."

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New single from Jasmine

This year's Telstra Road To Tamworth winner Jasmine Rae has released a new single, Look It Up.

Recording her debut album in Australia and America, Jasmine has had string of achievements in the time since winning the leading talent search.

In June, she performed at the CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival while in Nashville, performed at the third State of Origin match in Sydney and on morning television nationally.

Jasmine released her debut single, Country Singer, which is still getting airplay on CMC and regional radio and recently aired on ABC Television's "Rage" program, appeared on US Cable television network GAC and much much more.

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Galston Festival update

The Galston Country Music Festival has changed a bit this year, according to Festival Chairman Richard Young.

"It is exciting times, indeed," he said, "however we want all our regulars to know that our Sunday event will still be the same great value-for-money family day it's always been."

This year, the Festival will run over three days, from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th September, "and we think we have something for everyone to enjoy," Richard said.

On Friday 12th, The Dural Country Club will play host to a fundraiser starring Peter Denahy, Caitlin Harnett and Steve Passfield. At the same time, at Berowa's Waterview Restaurant, a seafood buffet will be laid on with entertainment by bush poets.

"The Cooper's Golden Saddle Awards have undergone a lot of change this year," Richard said. "They’ve been moved to their own night on Saturday 13th at The Galston Club and, instead of one award, there are now three... that the three finalists – Matt Frost, Sharon Lane and Drew McAlister – will be vying for.

"As well as the main prize, the beautiful hand-crafted Golden Saddle trophy, there is now a magnificent custom-built Tomkins Guitars acoustic/electric guitar, the new perpetual trophy for the Performance Award. This guitar has been purpose built for the Golden Saddle Awards by Allan Tomkins and will be awarded to the winner on the Saturday night."

Also for the first time this year there is a Peoples Choice Award which will be won by the artist who gets the most votes both on-line and from the audience on the Saturday night. "We’re hoping that lots of country music fans will come along and support their favourite artist," Richard said.

Another first this year will be the Songwriter's Workshop with Roger Corbett on Saturday 13th during the day with the opportunity for songwriters to showcase their material the following day during activities at Fagan Park which will include the Poet’s Breakfast, the Main Stage with a lineup including Victoria Baillie, The Borderers, Carter & Carter, Peter Denahy, Nicki Gillis, Jonah’s Road and the Golden Saddle finalists.

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Longreach Muster coming up in September

The second annual R M Williams Longreach (Qld) Muster will run from September 11-13.

"Held at The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre, the event will bring together the best of the bush, combining tradition, competition and good old fashioned sportsmanship," according to a spokesman for the organisers.

Anticipation for this year’s event is heightened following the cancellation last year due to equine influenza.

R M Williams Chief Executive Hamish Turner said the event was generating much enthusiasm from cattle companies, Muster fans and the Outback community.

"The event is the only one of its kind where Australia’s leading cattle companies get the chance to compete in the Outback sporting arena against each other," he said. "It is very special as it brings the people of the bush together, and where better than to do so but in Longreach, the heart of the Outback."

Additions to this year’s event schedule include the first ever R M Williams Ride and the Stockman’s Challenge.

The RM Williams ride will take place on the Thursday with more than 150 men, women and children participating in the 37 kilometre ride. At sunrise, riders will gather to muster 200 head of cattle from Ilfracombe to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame at Longreach.

Prior to reaching the Hall of Fame, all 150 riders will parade down the main street of Longreach ensuring an impressive site for spectators.

The following day, Australia’s best stockmen and young guns battle it out in the "bush challenge" which is set to test the stamina, agility and bush skills of each competitor from Australia’s leading cattle companies.

On the Saturday, the Longreach Muster will begin with the invitational Golden Spurs Campdraft and International Australia versus New Zealand Rodeo.

Rising country music singer and star of the Australian Outback Spectacular Shandell Tosoni (pictured) will entertain the crowd afterwards and the event will conclude with a live big screen broadcast of the Australia versus New Zealand Bledisloe Cup rugby union test.

Proceeds raised from the event will go to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

– The North West Star


Daniel wins Hobart Telstra Road to Tamworth heat

Daniel Bicanski won the Hobart heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth (TRTT) competition at Wrest Point Casino on Saturday night.

Seventeen-year-old Daniel spends his days singing to customers at his family owned business in Devonport, said a TRTT spokesman, and fills his spare time devouring books and writing poetry.

"Travelling from Devonport with his family to the Hobart heat, Daniel impressed the sold out local crowd and judges with his beautiful, unique voice.

"Looking visibly shocked when his name was announced, Daniel managed a "woo hoo - this is cool" response as he accepted his winner’s trophy and cheque."

Daniel will now join fellow heat winners travelling to Tamworth in January for the talent search finals.

Winner of the competition will receive as part of their prize package, a full album recording with ABC Music and a return economy airfare to Nashville to record the album and undertake a range of performances.

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New country music outlet opens in Nambour

A new store called Horse and Rider Saddlery has opened in the main street of Nambour in Queensland and has also become an outlet for country music.

The store is owned by Katrina Trist-Johnson and Brad Johnson who are well known in the horse riding world. They have appointed, as their store manager, Sharon Sparrow, daughter of well know country music identity Wally Sparrow.

Wally was invited up from Adelaide for the opening and immediately saw an opportunity to create an outlet for country music. As a result, Sharon has included a country music section as one of the store's core products. Local entertainer Don Costa came in and joined Wally on the opening night to ensure the country music message was well distributed.

Store owners have been very encouraged by the sales of country music to date and manager Sharon would like to invite artists coming through the area to arrange in-store promotions with her. If artists give her a couple of weeks notice, Sharon will arrange local press and radio publicity for the event and ensure product is available.

Several major acts have already notified their intention to appear (they may have noticed the trendy new shirts Don Costa and Wally Sparrow were wearing)

The store is located in Currie Street, telephone number is 07 5441 4445 and Sharon’s mobile is 0437 089 944.

Photo (from left): Katrina, Don, Brad, Sharon and Wally.


Vale – Buddy Harman

Buddy Harman, one of Nashville’s most-recorded drummers, has died. He was 79 years old.

He died last Thursday (August 21), reportedly from congestive heart failure.

Harman played drums on more than 18,000 recordings, including Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman, Patsy Cline's Crazy Johnny Cash's Ring Of Fire, Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man and Elvis Presley's Little Sister.

He was an early staff drummer on the Grand Ole Opry and among the first prominent drummers in country music history.

Radio WSM air personality and country music historian Eddie Stubbs called Harman the father of modern country drumming.

– ap/


CMC Top 50 – Sunny Cowgirls hang on to number one

The Sunny Cowgirls have retained the number one position on the coming week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of their song Acting Stupid.

Jasmine Rae's Country Singer edges up one place to number three while Keith Urban's You Look Good In My Shirt rises to seven, Catherine Britt's Lucky Girl enters the top 10 at eight and Jayne Denham's Country Girl with A Rock N Roll Heart is steady at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Talia Wittmann's Reckless Side Of Me (18 to 15), Adam Brand's Blame It On Eve (20 to 17), Rob Black's We Have Kids (new at 23), Tamara Stewart's Lessons (I Will Survive) (27 to 24)), Victoria Baillie's Melt (32 to 29), Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (36 to 32), Brad Cole's Hits Me Like Lightning (39 to 36), Graeme Connors (pictured) with Whatever It Takes (new at 39), Danielle Blakey's Driving Song (44 to 40), Dallas Steele's Won't Go Back Again (47 to 43), Melissa Bajric's Too Long Between Drinks (50 to 46) and Matt Frost's Second Home Town (new at 47).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include Jason Lee's Boy Into A Man (new at 48).

The coming week's CMC Country Pick is Ronnie Rae Rivers' I Would Want To from her forthcoming album.

The playlist can be viewed at



Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival 2008

Dorrigo NSW's Folk and Bluegrass Festival on the last weekend of October (24 to 26) is billed as an event with something for everyone.

Organisers say: "There is a great line-up of performers presenting concerts and workshops across a weekend full of great entertainment, in a small, friendly and relaxed environment.

"As in previous years, the Festival will include some concert style presentations, some dancing, workshops, jamming round the camp-fire, fun for kids and delicious food! And for the lovers of the bush ballad, there is a walk-up poet’s breakfast in the Heritage Hotel."

Some of the performers for the weekend confirmed so far include...

Bluegrass Parkway from WA, are one of the longest continuously performing bluegrass bands in Australia (the band is also appearing in a special pre-festival concert which traces the history of bluegrass and its traditions in Dorrigo’s Old Gazette Theatre)...

Pat Drummond  & Karen Lynne, both solo performers in their own right but also performing as a duo (Karen will also be performing with her acclaimed bluegrass band Acoustic Shock)...

Twisted Oak, a "hot" new bluegrass band to hit the New Zealand and Australian scene (18-year-old George, Australia's 2007 Fiddle Champion), 17-year-old BB ("the international banjo goddess fresh from touring in the States with Long Road Home), 18-year-old Daniel ("flat picking genius") and "the Aussie" (from Newcastle)...

Ange Takats, a singer/songwriter and winner of the Lis Johnston Award for Vocal Excellence at the National Folk Festival earlier this year.

Early bird tickets for the Festival have gone on sale for $55 ("for the entire weekend!").

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Junior CM festival entries close September 1

Entries in the annual Junior Country Music Festival to be held at Oakey, Queensland, on September 6 and 7 September, close on Monday September 1.

The event, which is hosted by the Garden City Country Music Association and sponsored by Martin Fallon Cavilier Homes, is held every year at the Oakey Cultural Centre and gives the opportunity for country music artists under the age of 17 to perform in front of a live audience as well as have the opportunity to win "some fantastic awards".

This year's special guest artist at the Festival will be last year's overall winner, Dana Hassall (pictured). Dana has a long list of achievements and is described as an established and award-winning songwriter.

Her accolades include a Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA) scholarship to Camerata 2007, first and third place in the Junior Section of the TSA South East queensland Songwriting Competition 2007 and a finalist placing in Q Song's "Courier Mail" People's Choice Awards.

"The Best experience of my musical career so far would have to be Camerata this year," Dana said. "I had the best time (in Tamworth) and I got to songwriter with some of the best in the business and meet tons of new people."

The Oakey Junior CM Festival is open to the public with an admission price of $6 a day. Profits from the event go to the Toowoomba Hospice.

Entry forms can be downloaded from or requested by emailing or telephoning 0407 572 786.


Call for entrants in the Arrowfield busking competition

Buskers are being invited to participate in the 2008 Arrowfield Buskers Challenge to be staged at the Arrowfield Estate Winery (Golden Highway, Jerrys Plains, NSW) on Saturday October 18.

Potential entrants can contact Arrowfield Estate on 02 6576 4041 or visit the website (see below).

Visitors to the event are being invited to pre-book tickets, "to ensure they don't miss out".

"Musicians, clowns, street performers, food, wine, market stalls and plenty to do for the kids" will all be a part of the day's entertainment and activities, organisers say.

"Everyone is welcome to attend this unique, fun and exciting event."

All proceeds of the day will be donated to the Leukaemia Foundation.

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Ed says goodbye to the CMA

Ed Benson, Chief Strategic Officer and former Executive Director of the American Country Music Association (CMA) is retiring.

Described as "one of the real gentlemen of the country music industry", Ed was the organisation's Executive Director from 1992 to 2005 when he put his exit strategy into effect.

That strategy placed Ed in the Chief Strategic Officer positon in 2005 as current CMA CEO Tammy Genovese took office.

This year, the CMA is celebrating its 50th anniversary, beginning in 1958 as the first trade organisation formed to promote an individual genre of music.

Ed Benson will be launching a business "consulting and executive coaching in organisational dynamics and workplace environment" as well as continuing his volunteer work in Leadership Music and other Nashville area organisations.



Chart update – Amber still at number one after four weeks

Amber Lawrence retains the number one position for the fourth week in a row on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Good Girls.

America's Montgomery Gentry remains at number two with Back When I Knew It All while Harmony James' Home edges up one place to number three and Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair are up another two places to four with Good Tones.

Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh is at five, Alan Jackson's Good Time is at six while Chasing Bailey are steady at seven with Little By Little.

8 Ball Aitken is also steady, at eight, with Cyclone Country, Brooks & Dunn are at nine with Put A Girl In It and The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include Jasmine Rae's Country Singer (16 to 12), Matt Frost's Second Home Town (18 to 15), Graham Rodger's Give This Hug To Daddy (20 to 17) and The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid (24 to 19).

New entries to the chart are Melinda Schneider with Be Yourself (new at 28), Drew McAlister's Part Of The Family (at 29) and Matt Manning (pictured) with The Saddle (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Golden Guitar Awards changes

The Country Music Association of Australia has announced a number of changes to the conduct of the Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitar Awards).

Among the most significant is a change to the eligibility period which is being altered to run from October 1 to September 30 with nominations closing on September 15.

The new closing date is being introduced immediately although in this first year of the change, the eligibility period will be 11 months, from November 1, 2007, to September 30, 2008.

The other most significant change is in how award winners will be determined. These changes, too, are being introduced immediately.

Finalists will be determined across all categories (except top selling) by a panel of industry and specialist judges who will also determine the winner of Album of the Year. Winners of the remaining 11 categories will be determined by a vote of professional members of the Association.

In other changes, nominations in Male Artist, Female Artist and Group or Duo categories will need to be from an eligible album (i.e. released during the current awards period).

Full details are contained in the nomination booklet which can be downloaded from the website


Deadlys nominees announced

Nominees have been announced for the 2008 Deadly Awards, the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music, sport, entertainment and community awards.

The 14th annual Deadlys will be staged in the Sydney Opera House on Thursday, October 9.

In the music categories, country music is represented by Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured, in Artist of the Year), Leah Flanagan (in Most Promising New Talent), Adam James (in Most Promising New Talent), Sharon Lane (pictured, for Second Chance in Album of the Year) and Dan Sultan (in Artist of the Year).

So engrossed in her music and work studies, Sharon Lane almost missed hearing the 2008 Deadly Awards finalist announcements.

Sharon learnt in a chance telephone call from award organisers that she had made the final nominees list for 2008 Album of the Year alongside fellow indigenous artists Christine Anu, Gurrumul and Archie Roach.

Somewhat overwhelmed initially at hearing the news, Sharon quickly responded with excitement that she could be selected among peers, in the company of some of the best music and cultural artists in Australia.

Recorded last year in Sydney with Herm Kovac, Sharon's album is a near-all work of originals and described as "an impassioned writer probing life’s irony in an everyday world".

Second Chance was officially launched at the Woodford Folk Festival in December and scored a finals nomination at the 2008 TIARAs (Tamworth Independent Artists Recognition Awards) for Vocal Collaboration with Randall Waller for their retro rendition of Bob Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue.

So fa,r two singles from the album have been released to radio – Hello and I Don’t Want To Fall To Pieces.

Last year, Sharon was named Deadly’s New Talent of the Year.

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The Country Music Store relocates

After 21 years in the same central downtown Brisbane location, the Country Music Store is relocating to the southern suburbs of town, to the Coopers Plains Shopping Centre.

The new location is described as "a smaller, quieter friendlier environment, just 500 metres from Coopers Plains Railway Station with as much parking as you would ever need."

The new store opens Monday September 1 (maps and directions can be found on the Store’s website – see below).

"Located on busy Boundary Road at the level crossing, it’s just off Beaudesert Road, a main arterial headed to the new growth areas on Brisbane’s southern regions," said a spokesman for the Store.

The Country Music Store opened for business in Charlotte Street, Brisbane, in June 1987.

"Back then, the Festival Hall was right opposite the store and two doors down was a hi-fi shop," the spokesman said. "Things have changed over the ensuing years, with the Charlotte Street precinct now mainly restaurants, Asian food and student accommodations.

"Where Festival Hall once was is now a 40 storey apartment block and parking is no longer a reasonable option with a number of parking stations falling to the developer’s hammer in recent years.

"With so many music stores closing of late (six around the Brisbane area this year) and interstate competitors withdrawing their in-store service, we’re pleased to still be offering a full service retail store to Country fans, even after 21 years in business," the spokesman said.

"We’re hoping that our local customers will make the short journey by train or drive in to see us in our new location."

To mark their 21st Birthday, and the relocation, the Store is having a bit of a clean out of overstocks and deletions and is offering "some great bargains" throughout August and September.

"Phone numbers, faxes, the GPO Box, email and website all remain the same as ever, just the street location changes. Also remaining is the friendly and efficient phone order and mail order service and the user friendly online ordering."

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Debut album release by The Aaron Daniels Band

The award-winning Aaron Daniels Band is set to officially release their debut album Leaving Here on Saturday August 30th in Albury at the Kinross Woolshed.

With widespread acclaim, including during the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival in January, the popular live act from Melbourne is already generating rave reviews about the album.

"The Aaron Daniels Band has that magical 'x factor' in buckets," according to "Country Music Capital News" reviewer Deborah Minter. "Their new release Leaving Here is chock full of impressive tracks; fiery, hot rockin’ country and heartbreak ballads."

Appealing to a wide audience, many say The Aaron Daniels Band is set to become "the next big thing of the Australian country music scene. Their debut album was recorded by Doug Brady in his Armstrong Studios after he says he was "blown away" by their original songs and harmonies at a live performance.

The Aaron Daniels Band selected Albury as the location of their official release due to the overwhelming support they receive from the border community. Playing several times a year at the Kinross Woolshed as well as other venues across Victoria, NSW and Queensland, the band has generated a loyal and enthusiastic following.

The Aaron Daniels Band was recently rewarded for their hard work and unique writing style when they were approached by movie producer Warren Ryan from Summer Night Productions to write and record several songs for a new Australian bull riding movie, "Shadow of the Past" due for release Easter 2009.

"This, coupled with the release of their first single from the album – Long Hard Road – being aired on CMC and numerous radio stations around Australia and overseas, has catapulted the young band into the spotlight," according to a spokesman for the band.

The official release of the album will take place at 12 noon Saturday August 30 following a live gig at the Kinross Woolshed on the Friday night.

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Telstra Road to Tamworth builds cross Tasman bridges

In another development for the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search, an exchange program has been established with the New Zealand National Country Music Awards presented by the Kiwi Pro-Am Country Music Organisation.

The program gives young developing artists from both countries the opportunity to perform in front of the professional music industry in both lands.

The Telstra Road to Tamworth grand final winner will perform each year at the New Zealand National Country Music Awards in front of an audience that includes the representatives of the New Zealand country music industry.

The winner of New Zealand's Horizon Award (for new talent) will have the opportunity to perform the following year at one of the Telstra Road to Tamworth concert events staged throughout the year across Australia.

In the first year of the exchange, this year's Telstra Road to Tamworth winner Jasmine Rae (pictured left) performed at the NZ National Country Music Awards last Saturday (August 16) where she received wide acclaim.

New Zealand's 2007 Horizon Award winner Aaron Jury will perform at the one-day country music festival being staged by the Telstra Road to Tamworth at Melrose Showground in South Australia on October 18 this year.

This year's NZ Horizon Award winner Ashley Cooper (pictured at right) will perform at an event later this year.

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Vale – Don Helms

Don Helms, whose piercing, forceful steel guitar helped define the sound of nearly all of Hank Williams' hits, and who performed and recorded with a long list of other country greats, died last Monday (August 11) in Nashville. He was 81.

The cause of death was complications of heart surgery and diabetes, said Marty Stuart, a friend and fellow performer.

Helms played on more than 100 Hank Williams songs and on 10 of his 11 number one country hits. He provided the dirgelike, weeping notes in songs like I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You) and I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry and added a catchy, propulsive twang to up-tempo numbers like Jambalaya (On the Bayou) and Hey, Good Lookin'.

"After the great tunes and Hank's mournful voice, the next thing you think about in those songs is the steel guitar," said Bill Lloyd, Curator of Stringed Instruments at the American Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. "It is the quintessential honky-tonk steel sound – tuneful, aggressive, full of attitude."

After Williams died in 1953, Helms embarked on a long career as a performer and songwriter. His guitar can be heard on the Patsy Cline hit Walking After Midnight, Stonewall Jackson's Waterloo, the Louvin Brothers' Cash On The Barrelhead, Lefty Frizzell's Long Black Veil and Loretta Lynn's Blue Kentucky Girl.



CMC Top 50 – Sunny Cowgirls hit number one

The Sunny Cowgirls (pictured) have taken over the top spot on the coming week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of their song Acting Stupid.

Jasmine Rae's Country Singer rises two more places to number four while Melinda Schneider's' Be Yourself is at five, Keith Urban's You Look Good In My Shirt enters the top 10 at number nine and Jayne Denham's Country Girl with A Rock N Roll Heart is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Catherine Britt's Lucky Girl (16 to 13), Adam Brand's Blame It On Eve (new at 20), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (24 to 21), Kasey Chambers' Monkey On A Wire (new at 28), Victoria Baillie's Melt (32 to 29), The Yeehaa Boys' Knocking Boots (36 to 33), Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (42 to 36) and Brad Cole's Hits Me Like Lightning (new at 39).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include Melissa' Bajric's Too Long Between Drinks (new at 50).

The coming week's CMC Country Pick is Rob Black's We Have Kids.

The playlist can be viewed at



Greg launches Country Skies

Balladeer Greg Bain will release his debut album – Country Skies – this weekend.

Since winning the Australian Bush Balladeers Association Star Quest at the Tamworth Country Music Festival last year, Greg has been busy clocking up tens of thousands of kilometres performing at major country music festivals throughout Australia.

Greg recorded a radio single as part of the Star Quest prize package which was produced by Lindsay Butler and recorded at Lindsay Butler Studios in Tamworth.

The single – Can I Sing Trumby – was successful on the national airwaves and Greg won the New Talent title in the NSW Gold Medallion Awards for 2007. He also went on to win Best New Talent at The Stan Coster Memorial Australian Bush Ballad Awards in February.

After working with Greg in the studio, Lindsay invited Greg to join the LBS label and offered to record and produce his debut album. Lindsay says he believed that Greg had a future within the country music industry, especially within bush ballad circles. Greg said he was very happy to receive this offer and the recording of his new album got underway.

Over the last eight months, when both Greg and Lindsay’s busy schedules allowed them some time in the studio, they have been working on the project and Country Skies is now complete and due for release. And the album is tipped to be one of the leading bush ballad albums of the year.

Country Skies is a collection of all Australian country music with four cover songs and eight originals by songwriters such including Peter Coad, Ben Jacobs, Shaza Leigh and Ian Quinn as well as three from Greg’s own pen and one co-write with Ben.

Two dates have been set for the release of Greg’s album, the first at The Hexham Bowling Club this Sunday (August 17) at 1pm with a concert featuring Lindsay Butler, Bob Easter, Shaza Leigh, Slim Newton, Greg Williams and, of cause, Greg Bain.

The second release will be at the Australian Country Music Foundation’s monthly "Country in the Courtyard" in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, on Monday (August 18) from 6.30pm.

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The McClymonts edge out the Eagles

The McClymonts have taken over the top spot on "The Music Network" National Country Airplay Chart this week with their single Finally Over Blue from the Eagles whose How Long song has held the top position since late 2007.

This makes the Grafton born sisters song only the second number one country airplay hit this year according to the industry publication.

The McClymonts will perform at the Gympie Toyota Muster this year on August 30 where their set list will include "the cheeky new single" Favourite Boyfriend Of The Year which was released to radio last week. A video clip is due out next week).

The girls will also be dropping into Ramsay Street on August 29 as they perform Finally Over Blue on the long-running hit TV series "Neighbours".

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Davidson Brothers hit the radio charts

The Davidson Brothers' latest single – Long Distance Love Affair – has jumped into the radio charts this week.

The second single from their new self-titled album, out on Shock, debuted at number 30 on the Country Tracks Top 30. Now at 27, this marks the boys second Australian country radio hit, both original tracks, following Raised On The Road (the title track from their previous album) which made it to 21 last year.

A video for Long Distance Love Affair is expected to be on CMC shortly and has just been uploaded to youtube (

I Miss The Sound Of Rain, the first single from the new album, which made it to number seven on the CMC Top 50, has recently been released to US bluegrass radio on Prime Cuts Of Bluegrass: Volume 94.

So far the track had been on air for two weeks across the USA and the boys say they have been overwhelmed by the response from radio DJs and fans.

The Davidson Brothers will be touring the US in September next year with their all Australian band.

Next weekend will see the Davidson Brothers Band in Victoria for two shows and ending up on the border of NSW in Albury.

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Chart update – Amber's third week at number one

Amber Lawrence (pictured) retains the number one position for the third week in a row on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Good Girls.

America's Montgomery Gentry is at two with Back When I Knew It All while Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh is steady at three and Harmony James' Home jumps three places to number four.

The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is at number five again, Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair jump three places to six with Good Tones and Chasing Bailey edge up one to number seven with Little By Little.

8 Ball Aitken bounds into the top 10 at number eight with Cyclone Country, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones is at nine and Alan Jackson is at 10 with Good Time.

Bullet performers for the coming week include The Flood's Come Tomorrow (25 to 22), The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid (30 to 24) and John Williamson's Drink A Little Love (29 to 25).

The full chart can be viewed at



The Sunny Cowgirls debut at number one

The Sunny Cowgirls new album – Dust Will Settle – has debuted at number one on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) country charts.

It has also been the most downloaded country album on iTunes for the past week and the first single from the album, Acting Stupid, is at number three on the iTunes Country Top Songs chart.

And the video for the single has risen to number two on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist after only five weeks in.

Backing up the new album, The Sunny Cowgirls are about to hit the road on the "Dust Will Settle Tour".

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Q Song winners

8 Ball Aitken and Shari Williams (pictured) have been named among winners of the 2008 Q Song Awards.

8 Ball won the EMI Blues and Roots Award with his song Yellow Moon while Shari took out the APRA Country Award for her song Dusty Boots.

The third annual Q Song Awards were announced in Brisbane last night (August 12).

The state's music community was out in force to celebrate and enthusiastically support Queensland's established and emerging artists with a total of $25,000 in cash and prizes presented across 23 categories covering everything from country to rock and pop, jazz, blues and roots, hip-hop, electronic/dance, alternative, ballads, metal, punk, indigenous and world music.

The night belonged to both James Grehan who took out three awards, Alternative, Regional and the Courier-Mail People's Choice Awards and The Gin Club who also claimed three awards, Rock, Folk & Ballad and the Ellaways Song of the year award.

A spokesman for Q Music said they were thrilled with the response and the high quality of entries from across the state. "Judges faced an enormously difficult task with almost 1400 songs entered."

Executive Officer Denise Foley said: "The quality of entries continues to increase from year to year, and in this, our third year, there were some world class songs entered. It is a huge job to coordinate everyone who participates in both the short listing and final judging process and we really appreciate the efforts of all involved."

Q Music President Professor Julian Knowles said the Awards were about recognising excellence in the art of song writing. "Q Song is about more than just rewarding our established songwriters. Rather, these awards aim to encourage and foster the state's finest new and emerging artists."

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Countdown on to this year's Toyota Muster

With less than two weeks to go, the countdown is on to the 2008 Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie.

A program of high profile acts will play the Muster again this year, headlined by Australian country stars Adam Brand, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer, The Sunny Cowgirls and John Williamson.

Supporting the headliners, in alphabetical order, will be stars including Clelia Adams, 8 Ball Aitken, Jimmy Barnes, Kevin Bennett, the Big Shots Duelling Pianos, Rob Black, The BobKatz, Bolton, The Bostocks, Lou Bradley, Kel-Anne Brandt, the Brewster Brothers Trio, Liam Brew, Billy Bridge, Catherine Britt, Karl Broadie, Asa Broomhall, Michael Bryers, Rob Cass & The Cosmic Cowboys, Bill Chambers, Anthony Classen, Darren Colston, Tracy Coster, Kristy Cox, Crakajak, Peter Denahy, Jayne Denham, Laura Downing, Col Finley, Steve Forde, Lee Forster, Nicki Gillis, Marco Gliori, Jim Haynes, Danny Hooper, Adam James, Pixie Jenkins, the Troy Kemp Band, Michelle Little, Mark Lucas & the Dead Setters, Luella & The Heelers, The McClymonts, Markus Meier, Craig Morrison Little Cowboys, Ian Moss, Amber Nicholson, The Noll Brothers, Pete Murray, Chris Pickering, Dave Prior, Anita Ree, Rachel Richards, Jacqui Ryan, John Schumann, Matt Scullion & The Lost Moments, Travis Sinclair, Tamara Stewart, Warren H Williams, Casey Watt, Sally-Anne Whitten, Bryen Willems & Bayou Boogie Boys, Talia Wittmann and the Wolverines.

A special feature appearance will be made by the Slim Dusty Family Reunion Show.

Held over six days – Tuesday August 26 to Sunday the 31st – the Muster is staged on the dedicated Muster site in the Amamoor Creek State Forest Park just south of Gympie.

Over the years, the growth of the Toyota Muster has enabled the entertainment line up to diversify into a mix of musical genres while still maintaining its strong country focus – "170 shows total more than 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," according to the Muster website. "There's even a short film festival and the serious competition of the Maton Talent Search where future careers are established."

"The Muster is an opportunity for everybody to be a part of an event that truly demonstrates the spirit of Australia, through the participants, the local and national musicians, and the unique atmosphere," said Muster Coordinator Brian Sansom said.

"We are hoping that this year’s participants will find the 2008 Muster to be the most enjoyable one," said Muster Chairman Andrew Brook. "Our aim has been to appeal to a wide variety of ages and musical tastes. Our focus also remains on upcoming Australian talent and the support offered to rural Australia through our annual Rural Aid Appeal run at the Muster."

Among the prizes on offer at this year's Talent Search will be a trip to one of Canada's largest festivals. The Talent Search is finalised on the final night of the Muster.

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New album from Anita

Anita Ree has released a new album titled Story Songs.

The album is described as "a dynamic collection of Australian songs presented in Anita's unique style".

Twelve tracks are included on the new work which was recorded at the Valley Studio. Eight of the songs were written by Anita.

Story Songs is a follow-up to Anita's debut album, Bush Girl's Heart which followed her win of the prestigious Australian Bush Balladeers Association Star Quest.

First single from the album is Auctioneer.

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A new single from Clelia

Following the global success of her song Wildflowers, Clelia Adams has released a new single, a duet with her "good mate" Bill Chambers titled If I Could Only Win Your Love.

The recording of the Louvin Bros classic is described as "a tip of the hat to the traditional roots" from both artists who cut their teeth on early American country.

"That song means such a lot to me," said Bill. "It’s always been one of my favourite songs ever. I love Emmylou Harris’s version, and Clel does such a great job of it, I’m really thrilled to be singing on it with her."

For Clelia, If I Could Only Win Your Love was the first "proper" duet she ever learnt and to this day remains one of her all-time favourites.

With amazing international airplay, Wildflowers reached number two on the mainstream ECMA (European Country Music Association) chart in June (where it’s still at number seven) and number 11 in Australia after taking up residence for four months in the Country Tracks Top 30. In May, Wildflowers was Europe’s most played country song, according to the ECMA.

Two major wins in the Northern Territory Songwriting Awards for Song of the Year and Contemporary Country Song of the Year with Wildflowers was the icing on the cake for Clel after a big year in the charts.

"The Wildflowers album, produced by Stuart French, has had a brilliant global response for its beautiful presentation, song selection, superb musicianship and flawless production," according to the release announcing the new single.

"Clelia would like to thank all her friends in radio around the country – and indeed, around the world, for their continued support of Australian country music – Clelia style."

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And Jacqui

Jacqui Ryan has released a third single – Baby Baby – from her debut EP A Moment in Time.

The track is described as an up-tempo, western swing feel song.

Jacqui has also just finished shooting a video clip for the new release which is expected to feature on CMC in the coming weeks. Jacqui's debut music video – Don't Walk Away – is currently playing on CMC.

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Nick wins Telstra Road to Tamworth Mackay heat

Nick Aitken won the Telstra Road to Tamworth Mackay (Qld) heat on Saturday night.

Nineteen-year-old Nick, a graduate of the Country Music School of Excellence (CMSOE) in Gympie, won the competition from 12 fellow contestants and will now travel to Tamworth in January for a chance to compete in the grand final and the major prize of a full album deal with ABC Music and a trip to Nashville.

Cementing his love of country music during his schooling, Nick hooked up with fellow CMSOE graduates to form local country rock outfit Branded. After graduating in 2006, the four-piece band travelled to the US on a self funded three week mini-tour and have been gigging ever since.

In his first ever talent competition performance, Nick says he was taken aback with his win and the response from the sold out local crowd. "This is so unbelievable, totally unexpected," he said.

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CMC Top 50 – Sugarland at number one

America's Sugarland (pictured) are at number one on the coming week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of the song All I Want To Do.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid jumps to number two while Melinda Schneider's Be Yourself is at three and Jasmine Rae's Country Singer rises two more places to number six.

Bullet performers for the week include Keith Urban's You Look Good In My Shirt (14 to 11), Catherine Britt's Lucky Girl (new at 16), Talia Wittmann's Reckless Side Of Me (25 to 20), James Blundell's Four Feet Tall (26 to 23), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (27 to 24), Victoria Baillie's Melt (new at 32), Bec willis' Toohey Road (40 to 34), The Yeehaa Boys' Knocking Boots (39 to 36) and Danielle Blakey's Driving Song (new at 46).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include Dallas Steele's Won't Go Back Again (new at 48).

The coming week's CMC Country Pick is Adam Brand's Blame It On Eve.

The playlist can be viewed at



Finalists announced for 2008 Independent Awards

Finalists have been announced for the 12th Australian Independent Country Music Awards – or Southern Stars – to be announced during the 2008 Mildura Country Music Festival later this year.

The Awards, presented by Neighbourhood Cable & Grapevine, will be staged in the Mildura Arts Centre at 6pm, Saturday October 4.

And the finalists are...

For Single of the Year, The Best Things In Life Are Free by Carter & Carter, Gonna Fly by Amber Lawrence (pictured, left), Somebody Stole My Horse by Harmony James (pictured, right) and Too Far Gone by Lou Bradley.

For Album of the Year, The Mile by Amber Lawrence, Raindance by Markus Meier (pictured), Rebel With A Cause by 8 Ball Air ken and There To Here by Drew McAlister.

For Heritage Track of the Year, A Saddle For A Throne by Graham Rodger, Red Dirt Country by Markus Meier, The Saddle by Matt Manning and Sons Of The Snowy by Peter Pratt.

For Rising Star, Male, 8 Ball Aitken with Cyclone Country, Brad Cole with Lovin' Man, Danny Hooper with Already Gone and Adam James with The Country Singer.

For Rising Star, Female, Rose Carleo with Til I Find Me Again Jayne Denham with Cousin Jude, Kelly Hope with You're Not My Ute and Kelly Llewellyn with Done a Lot of Livin'.

For Male Vocalist of the Year, Tom Curtain with Wearing Out Leather, Col Finley with Get Your Country On, Drew McAlister with Part Of The Family and Markus Meier with Walk In The Rain.

For Female Vocalist of the Year, Lou Bradley with Too Far Gone, Harmony James with Somebody Stole My Horse, Tracy Killeen with All Kinds Of Beautiful and Amber Lawrence with Gonna Fly.

For Group/Duo of the Year, Carter & Carter with The Best Things In Life Are Free, Jetty Road with I Wanna Go Home, Jonah's Road with All Mine and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French with All I Ever Need Is You.

A ninth award, for Australian Independent Artist of the Year, has no publicly announced finalists.

Tickets for the Awards are available by calling 1800 039 043.

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Jetty Road signs new publishing deal

Jetty Road has signed a new deal with publishing company Roxie Music Group.

Roxie say they have been keeping their eye on the highly sought-after group for a few years. The company's expansion to North America has resulted in the signing of Jetty Road’s publishing as well as working with them for representation in touring North America.

"We are delighted Jetty Road has come on board with Roxie," says Chief Executive Officer Dorina Morelli, "they are a talented team of songwriters and performers. We look forward to a very successful working relationship with a band that has it all."

The announcement comes on the eve of a Jetty Road-penned song being released by a new twin girl group in Asia called By2 and after a highly successful North American tour.

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New single for Connie Kis

West Australian award-winning artist Connie Kis Andersen has released a new single – What People Say.

At an age when some artists would consider hanging up their microphones, Connie Kis decided to plunge head-first into a career as a country music recording artist regardless of, and despite what people said, hence the origin of the new release.

"Promoting music from Perth, the most isolated capital city in the world, isn’t easy," Connie Kis says, "and at times the obstacles are downright difficult."

Never-the-less Connie Kis continues to follow her true passion and is becoming known as "a successful, shining example to other free spirits to live and think outside the box, despite the good opinion of others".

Connie Kis has recently returned to Australia from a successful six-week tour in support of a summer single released to US radio. The track has been added to the playlists of more than 130 stations and is currently charting on American independent charts.

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Vale – Feyne Weaver

Feyne Weaver, a well-known country music columnist over many years, and more recently editor of "The Gold Coast Sun" in Queensland, died on Monday (August 4) after a long battle with cancer. He was 65.

Feyne grew up on the family fruit farm at Loxton in South Australia. At age 17, he gained a cadetship as a journalist at the "Murray Pioneer" in Renmark, eventually moving to the "News" and "Sunday Mail" in Adelaide.

From there, Feyne moved to Melbourne where he worked for the "Herald" and the "Sun News Pictorial". It was during his time in Melbourne his writing and reputation in country music began.

It was also in Melbourne where Feyne met and married his wife Joan who joined him in his country music writings and other activity including a number of years acting as judges for the Golden Guitar Awards.

In 1981, Feyne was appointed editor of the "Australasian Post" where he remained until 1984 when he and Joan moved to America to indulge their passion for country music and Feyne's interest in American history.

Their American sojourn ended in 1985 when they were offered and accepted jobs at "The Gold Coast Bulletin".

In 1996, Feyne became editor of Sun Community Newspapers which included the "Gold Coast Sun", "Hinterland Sun" and "Robina Sun".

In his decade long tenure as editor, he saw the combined "Suns" flourish and prosper. The crowning moment came in 2005 when the paper won the prestigious Pacific Area Publishers Association (PANPA) award for the best free weekly newspaper.

"That was wonderful. They don't come any higher than that," Feyne said at the time.

Feyne retired because of ill-health in early 2006. "But that was only the start of his courageous battle against the ravages of the disease that would claim his life," said Col McCleland writing in the "Gold Coast Sun" on Wednesday.

"His death... leaves a huge gap in the lives of all who knew him," Col wrote. "Our sympathy goes to Joan, their two children Scott and Shaunagh, and their 17-year-old triplet grandchildren Ellie, Kassie and Paul who went to live with Feyne and Joan in 2001."

Instead of a funeral, a celebration of life for Feyne was held in Nerang on Tuesday.

Photo: "Gold Coast Sun".


Chart update – Amber hangs on to the top spot

Amber Lawrence retains the number one position for the second week on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Good Girls.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones is steady at number two while Adam Brand's Comin' From / Khe Sanh edges up to number three and America's Montgomery Gentry is at four with Back When I Knew It All.

The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is steady at five, Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight is at six and Harmony James' Home is up three places to number seven.

Chasing Bailey are up one to eighth position with Little By Little, Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair debut in the top 10 at number nine with Good Tones and Travis Collins' Rip It Up is at 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include 8 Ball Aitken's Cyclone Country (15 to 11), Graham Rodger (pictured) with Give This Hug To Daddy (25 at 22) and The Flood's Come Tomorrow (28 to 25).

New entries to the chart for the week are John Williamson's Drink A Little Love (in at 29) and The Sunny Cowgirls with Acting Stupid (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Vale – Reg Lindsay

Reg Lindsay – one of the last surviving early pioneers of Australian country music – has died.

At age 79, Reg had been suffering a long term illness since he collapsed from a cerebral haemorrhage during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 1995.

He died yesterday in a Newcastle hospital of pneumonia after a long rehabilitation following a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. His wife Roslyn and three daughters were by his side.

During his career of more than 40 years, Reg achieved success locally and internationally producing 64 albums and 250 singles and winning three Golden Guitars.

As one of the pioneers of Australian country music, Reg, who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to music, had his own top-rating nationally-syndicated television and radio programs over many years.

The composer of more than 500 songs, during his career he toured all over Australia and tasted success in the USA.

Four of his biggest hits were Armstrong, July You're A Woman, Silence On The Line and Empty Arms Hotel.

Reg was one of the first to be inducted into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame in 1977 and was elevated to Australian country music's highest honour, the Roll of Renown, in January 1984.

In tandem with his busy musical career, the country star held a very strong association with Australian rodeo.

"Reg was a giant of Australian country music," said Bob Kirchner, President of the Australian Country Music Foundation in Tamworth. "He was one of those people with true star quality, real talent, presence and charisma.

"Reg worked very hard for the success he achieved over the four decades since his legendary motorcycle ride from Adelaide to compete in, and win, Tim McNamara's '2SM Talent Quest' (something like today's 'Australian Idol') in Sydney in 1951.

"Another star has fallen from Australia's country music sky but the name, knowledge and reputation of the legendary Reg Lindsay will live on forever."

In his tribute, Golden Guitar winning bush balladeer Keith Jamieson says Reg was a man he had great respect for.

"His song Armstrong has a special meaning to me as my son Troy, who we lost in 1997, was born the year Armstrong walked on the moon. Troy was walking on the moon when he and myself had the pleasure of sharing a show with Reg at Coffs Harbour in the early '80s which I am glad we have on video tape.

"I shared a couple of other shows with Reg over the years. I know we have lost another great country music pioneer. Alisha and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to Reg's family."

Reg's funeral will be held at 11am this coming Monday (August 11) at St Johns Anglican Church, Cessnock, followed by a wake at East Cessnock Bowling Club.


Elizabeth wins Telstra Road to Tamworth Bairnsdale heat

Elizabeth Gardner (pictured) won the Bairnsdale (Victoria) heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition on Saturday night from 13 other contestants.

Celebrating her 21st birthday this Friday, Elizabeth grew up in Somerville in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. She currently works as a full-time administration assistant in addition to doing some part-time music tutoring and performs regular gigs in the Frankston area with her sister Sarah.

"Wow I’m a little bit speechless," she said after accepting her winner's trophy. "Thanks to Telstra and all the other contestants for such a great night – it was a hard heat!"

Elizabeth will travel to Tamworth in January to compete in the finals of the competition which features, among numerous prizes for the winner, a full album deal with ABC Music.

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New single from Ian

Golden Guitar and multi award-winning songwriter Ian Quinn has released a new single about the legendary Australian cricketer Doug Walters, the man many describe as the best batsman ever.

The song – A Legend Like Doug – is being promoted as a release that will "stir sentimental pride for the much-loved cricketing larrikin who dominated Australia’s national game". As Ian says in the song: "Doug, you’ll always be a legend, like you were back then."

The release of the single coincides with the launch of the Ashley Mallett book "One Of A Kind, The Doug Walters Story". Ian's lyrics to the song are included in the book.

Ian is described as "Australian country music’s quiet achiever – his songwriting credits rate amongst the best in country music with over a hundred songs recorded by artists like Slim Dusty, Anne Kirkpatrick, Tracy Coster, Dean Perrett, Glenn Jones, Anita Ree and Amos Morris."

A Legend Like Doug is taken from Ian’s most recent album, The River Or The Road.


CCMA Awards nominees announced

Nominees have been announced for the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards.

Newcomer Jessie Farrell (pictured) leads the nominations with a total of seven in Single and Album of the Year, Female Artist, Video, Songwriter and Top New Talent of the Year, Female plus her nomination for the Fans’ Choice award.

Jessie has also been named in the line-up of stars scheduled to perform on this year's Awards show.

Doc Walker earned a total of six nods, for Single of the Year, Album, Songwriters, Video, Group or Duo of the Year and a Fans’ Choice nomination.

Other multiple nominees include Paul Brandt with five, Gord Bamford with four, George Canyon, who will also be performing on the Awards, and Deric Ruttan with three each, and Ambush, Crystal Shawanda, Johnny Reid, Emerson Drive and Ridley Bent all up for two awards each.

Terri Clark – one of this year’s nominees for Female Artist of the Year and last year’s Fans’ Choice Award winner – will host the Awards show which will feature performers Dierks Bentley, George Canyon, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, Jessie Farrell and Johnny Reid on September 8 from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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CMC Top 50 – Melinda makes number one

Melinda Schneider (pictured) has taken over the top spot on the coming week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of Be Yourself, the first single from her new album.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid is at number four and rising while Jasmine Rae's Country Singer edges up one place to number eight.

Bullet performers for the week include Jayne Denham with Country Girl With A Rock 'n' Roll Heart (15 to 12), Keith Urban's latest release You Look Good In My Shirt (new at 14), Talia Wittmann's Reckless Side Of Me, the clip of the first single from her Toyota Star Maker winning album (new at 25), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (30 to 27) and The Yeehaa Boys' Knocking Boots (46 to 39).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include Kimber Sparks' latest clip, of her single Nowhere To Go.

The coming week's CMC Country Pick is Catherine Britt's Lucky Girl.

The playlist can be viewed at



CMR to switch to the Internet

Leading Australian country music broadcaster Nick Erby has announced that CMR – Country Music Radio – will be moving to the Internet from the middle of this month.

This means the program will no longer be going to air on the Super Radio Network.

The last scheduled broadcast of the weekend edition of CMR will be Sunday August 17.

From Monday August 18, CMR Online will be streaming 24 hours a day at

"I have been gearing up for this (and some other things I will be doing) over several months," Nick said, "and I'm very excited."


Tribute to Geoff and Tabbi

Organisers of the "MO" Awards, ALVA (the Australian Ladies Variety Association) and the Echidnas ("a bunch of comedians and sometimes entertainers who get-together monthly to raise money for charity") have announced a special "all of showbiz" tribute to Geoff Mack and Tabbi Francis in Sydney in September.

Geoff, elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown in January '07, and his wife Tabbi, a well respected variety artist in her own right, are being honoured as "two of our most respected entertainers".

The tribute will be held in the form of a dinner with a star-studded show in recognition of Geoff and Tabbi's outstanding contributions to the Australian variety and country music industries.

Venue is Smithfield RSL at the corner of Neville Street and the Cumberland Highway in Sydney from 7.30pm Wednesday September 3.

Tickets are $25 each with proceeds to be divided between the three organising charities.

Booking enquiries can be directed to Johnny Pace on 02 95452 4876, mobile 0414 894 876, email


Three new albums on sale tomorrow from Compass Bros

Three new albums from leading Australian country label Compass Bros go on sale tomorrow, Saturday, August 2.

On sale will be The Sunny Cowgirls' latest, Dust Will Settle, Toyota Star Maker 2009 Talia Wittmann's debut album Reckless Side Of Me, and a new compilation release from the label, Gotta Go Country Vol. 2.

The first single from The Sunny Cowgirls new album, Acting Stupid, has been added to more than 20 radio station playlists across the country and the accompanying video clip sits at number six on CMC’s Top 30.

Talia's debut album has also been gaining widespread attention and accolades with numerous stations across the country playing the album's first single and title track with an accompanying video debuting on CMC last week.

The follow-up to the highly successful Gotta Go Country Vol.1 includes tracks from Kirsty Lee Akers, Rob Black, James Blundell, Adam Brand, Michael Carr, Dianna Corcoran, Peter Denahy, Anne Kirkpatrick, Melinda Schneider, The Sunny Cowgirls and Brendon Walmsley.

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"Billboard" ranks Acer Arena number three in the world

US music magazine "Billboard" has Australia’s Acer Arena ranked number three in the world in its July 26 Mid Year Charts issue.

Acer Arena was in elite company with AEG’s O2 Arena in London named the global leader with Madison Square Garden in New York filling the number two position.

The ranking was compiled from box office scores from mid November to mid May show that concert arenas enjoyed good business for the period with O2 Arena in London realising a hefty US$50.6million gross for the six month period.

Acer Arena General Manager David Humphreys said: "the ranking confirms our position in the arena market and we are proud of our place on the world stage."

Billboard reported that the Acer Arena ranking resulted from a total gross in the period of US$27.9million drawing 312,790 fans over 35 shows, more than one per week). Of the other venues in the top 10, five were from the US, two from Canada and two from England.

Acer Arena is owned by the NSW Government and leased by PBL Media. The arena is managed by Australian based AEG Ogden in a 50/50 arrangement with Los Angeles based AEG who also manage London’s O2 Arena.


Chart update – Amber hits number one

Amber Lawrence (pictured) takes over the top spot on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Good Girls.

The long-running former number one from Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – Rattlin' Bones – slips one place to number two, as does Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight to number three while Adam Brand's Comin' From / Khe Sanh edges up one to number four.

The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is also up one to number five, America's Montgomery Gentry is at six with Back When I Knew It All and Travis Collins' Rip It Up remains steady at seven.

Catherine Britt is down to eight with What I Did Last Night, Chasing Bailey edge up one place to number nine with Little By Little and Harmony James' scores another top 10 hit with Home entering the chart at number 10.

Bullet performers for the coming week include 8 Ball Aitken's Cyclone Country (18 to 15), Jasmine Rae's Country Singer (23 to 20), Matt Frost's Second Home Town (26 to 22) and Graham Rodger's Give This Hug To Daddy (28 at 25).

New entries to the chart for the week include the Davidson Brothers' Long Distance Love Affair (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at


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