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Adam signs Nashville deal

Compass Bros Records and Crossroads Touring have announced a US deal for their flagship artist, Adam Brand, with Nashville heavyweights Sony Music Entertainment.

Compass Bros will remain his Australian record company.

The deal comes following a year of highlights including Adam's Male Artist of the Year Golden Guitar in January, Hell Of A Ride becoming his seventh consecutive hit album and his successful involvement as the first country music artist to appear on Australia's "Dancing With The Stars".

"I’m very excited to have this amazing opportunity with Sony in Nashville, home to some of the biggest country stars in the world," Adam said.

"We're thrilled to have Adam as part of our stable, we firmly believe he'll be a tremendous success in the United States," said a spokesman for Sony in Nashville.

The third single from Hell Of A Ride will be Ready For Love, with a video shot on location on Sydney’s northern beaches to air on CMC in coming weeks.

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And keeps on dancing!

Meanwhile, Adam has made it to the grand final of "Dancing With The Stars" with his dancing partner Jade Hatcher.

Adam and Jade go up against firm favourites Kylie Gilles and Carmello Pizzino and Matt White and Ash-Leigh Hunter in what is bound to be a nail-biter.

Fans can vote for Adam by 1902 55 77 11 or by texting Adam to 19 17 77. Voting must be done before the start of the grand final program which goes to air at 6.30pm next Sunday.

The cost for both text and 1902 votes is .55 cents although 1902 calls from mobiles may be higher.

Proceeds from "Dancing With The Stars" votes will go to the star's chosen charity. Adam's nominated charity is the Childrens' Cancer Institute Australia.

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Chart update – Jetty Road now on top for fifth week

Jetty Road's latest hit Million Miles continues to dominate the national Top 30 Country Tracks chart at number one this week for the fifth week in a row.

Jayne Denham's Shake This Town edges up one more place to number two while Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral jumps three places to number three and Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels is at four.

Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country jumps five more places to number five, Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright is at six and The Songbirds are seven with You've Got A Friend.

Brooks & Dunn's Indian Summer is steady at eight, Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son is at nine and Sandra Humphries is at 10 with Just Walk Away.

Bullet performers for the week include Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (15 to 12), The Sunny Cowgirls' Grog Monster (18 to 14), James Blundell's Queensland Calling (19 to 16), Slim Dusty's Give Me Room (25 to 21) and The McClymonts' Kick It Up (new at 26).

Other new entries to the chart this week... Amber Lawrence with Don't Do Lonely Well (new at 29) and John Williamson with Better Than A Picture (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Melinda duets with the Australian Girls Choir

Melinda Schneider has teamed up with the Australian Girls Choir to re-record a track from her Golden Guitar winning album Be Yourself.

The third single from the album, Courageous, is described as a spine tingling anthem that will touch the nation’s heart with its inspiring and uplifting message about "the strength and courage within".

Melinda will launch the single with the Choir live on main stage at the Gympie Country Music Muster today.

Courageous was co-written by Melinda and Nashville collaborator Ben Cooper. Although the track was written within an hour, they say they both knew straight away that they had created something special, and the song was quickly added as a late addition to Melinda’s album.

"I knew I wanted to do something really different for the release of Courageous," Melinda said. "I had already recorded the song as a duet with Olivia Newton-John from her Great Walk To Beijing album last year and that was a huge thrill.

"Going into the studio with producer Les Gock and re-recording the song with the Australian Girls Choir was a completely different kind of thrill for me," she said. "When I heard the girls singing the chorus a cappella in the studio, I welled up with tears. It was extremely moving… their voices are just beautiful," Melinda said.

"The Australian Girls Choir is proud to feature with Melinda Schneider on her incredible song Courageous," said Nicole Muir, General Manger of the Choir. Melinda is a great example of a successful independent Australian artist and is a wonderful role model for the girls in the choir.

"Courageous is an inspiring anthem that captures that element of the Australian spirit that sees us keep moving, keep working and keep striving," Nicole said, especially in the face of adversity."

Melinda has six Golden Guitar awards as well as two Gold records for previous releases and she has had songs recorded by the likes of John Farnham, Billy Thorpe and Olivia Newton-John.

The Australian Girls Choir is most known for their successful work with Qantas in their I Still Call Australia Home TV campaigns. The girls have performed with many of the country’s biggest stars including Hugh Jackman, John Farnham, Delta Goodrem, Olivia Newton-John, Kate Ceberano, Jet, David Campbell, Jimmy Barnes and Marcia Hines.

They have also performed and entertained dignitaries like Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

"I always feel very uplifted when I perform Courageous live," Melinda said. "The feedback I have been receiving has been so overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had hundreds of emails from fans telling me their stories and saying that the song is helping them to get through their personal challenges in life. As a songwriter, that is the best you can hope for."

A special edition of  Melinda's Be Yourself has been released with the two new versions of Courageous featuring.

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JW takes over CMC number one

John Williamson is at number one on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of his latest single Better Than A Picture.

Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country two places to be at number two while Jetty Road's number one from last week – Million Miles – drops to number four.

Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral is at six, Amber Lawrence's Don't Do Lonely Well jumps four places to number seven, Steve Forde's Guns & Guitars is at eight and Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels edges up one place to number nine.

Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl is at 13 while his latest release, You Can Love Me This Way debuts at 18 and Liam Brew's first release off his Star Maker winning album – Girls With Girlfriends – debuts at 20.

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Muster underway

The 2009 National Country Music Muster got underway at the dedicated Muster site just out of Gympie, Queensland, on Tuesday and will run through to and including this Sunday.

Thousands of patrons flock to this iconic event, attracted each year by the diverse range of entertainment put together by organisers, the Apex Club of Gympie.

"Programs rich with our country's finest musicians, the bushland setting laced with inviting whiffs of campfire cooking and fresh bush eucalypt, the easy camaraderie created by convivial patrons... there are no strangers at the Muster, just friends you haven't met yet," organisers say.

"The Muster... celebrates the true spirit of country Australia. It's a phenomenal experience rooted in music and community, far removed from ties and clocks, suits and schedules.

"Thousands of patrons flock to the Muster, attracted each year by the smorgasbord of diverse programs rich with our country's finest musicians, 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."

This year's artist list includes, in alphabetical order...

Clelia Adams & River Valley Express, Connie Kis Andersen, Luke Austen, Victoria Baillie, Bluegrass Parkway, James Blundell, Aaron Bolton, The Borderers, Liam Brew, Sinead Burgess, Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows, Carter & Carter, Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Brad Cole, Travis Collins, Graeme Connors, Don Costa, Tori Darke, Donella, Ted Egan, Evermore, Adam Harvey ,Sam Hawksley, The Heartleys, Johanna Hemara, Sandra Humphries, Pixie Jenkins, Jetty Road, Jonah's Road, Tracy Killeen, Jeff Lang, Amber Lawrence, Jason Lee, Gemma Luxton, McAlister-Kemp, Doug McIntyre, Chad Morgan, Craig Morrison Little Cowboys, Dan Murphy, The Noll Brothers, Shannon Noll, Luke O'Shea, Dave Prior, Ronnie Rae Rivers, Melinda Schneider,Sharon Smith, The Topp Twins, Felicity Urquhart, The Wildes and The Yeehaa Boys.

Entries are reportedly strong for this year's Maton Talent Search which kicks off today with category heats. Heat winners will compete in the semi-final on Sunday and then three semi-finalists will appear on the Muster Main Stage.

Following their performances, the $25,000 prize pool will be awarded to one, or split between two or all three finalists.

Each year, the Muster adopts "a worthy cause" to raise money through its Rural Aid Appeal, working specifically to assist families living in rural Australia in need. Beneficiaries have included Rural Youth Suicide, the Melanoma Foundation, Diabetes Australia, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Leukaemia Foundation, Transplant Australia and more.

Funds are raised through the sale of Muster Country and Blues CDs, a range of specially designed quality merchandise (clothing, caps, leathergoods), a range of Bundaberg Rum and XXXX BeerGear and through sales from an extensive range of CDs and DVDs in the on-line store.

Appeal 2009 will assist families devastated by the Black Saturday Victorian bushfires. Blaze Aid not only helps to physically rebuild, but also gives vital support and encouragement in the most despairing of times.

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Heather and Nicole win first two Telstra Road to Tamworth heats

Heather Angell and Nicole Cross have won the first two heats in the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search, in Cairns and Townsville, respectively.

The 2010 talent search has changed this year in that all heat winners and songwriter finalists win a place at what organisers are calling "Boot Camp" – a three-day mentoring workshop – which will run in Sydney in early December.

Heat winners will be narrowed to a field of eight finalists, plus two dedicated songwriter finalists, who will compete in the one final in Tamworth during the January country music festival (previously all finalists progressed to competition which narrowed to a grand final to determine winners).

Heather, who is 15 years old, is from Clifton Beach in Queensland.

Judges James Blundell and Bill Page, Creative Manager for Mushroom Music, said Heather showed the most potential and stood out as having a point of difference from the other Cairns heat contenders.

Originally from Ravenshoe in the Atherton Tablelands, Heather moved to Cairns earlier this year to broaden her music career opportunities and complete Year 11 at Smithfield State High School.

She comes from a strong line of Irish music heritage – her mother’s great uncle Ronald Maconaghie shared the stage with Dame Joan Sutherland and Pavarotti and was also seen on the small screen with the legendary Grace Kelly.

"Shifting the family music genre from opera to country, Heather showed off her musical talent performing... (songs including) an original ballad titled Bluebird which showcased her songwriting, melodic vocals and solid guitar playing ability," said a spokesman for Telstra.

"Everyone was just so awesome," Heather said. "There was no way I thought I’d win. I would really love to thank my Mum who has always been so supportive and encouraged me every step of the way!"

Seventeen-year-old Nicole hails from Ingham gave, judges said, a natural and effortless performance at the Townsville heat.

Currently completing Year 12 at Ingham State High School, Nicole has a songbook full of original songs and since first picking up the guitar at age 11, has been following her music dream travelling to country music festivals up and down the East Coast of Australia.

Performing two of those originals, Rear View Mirror and Piggy Tails, "Nicole delivered a truthful and solid vocal performance with lyrics exploring her last days at school and how her little sister rose above being bullied," the Telstra spokesman said.

Clearly shocked when she was announced as the winner, Nicole was left a little speechless: "Wow I wasn’t expecting that, thanks so much this is awesome!"

Heather and Nicole each receive an Epiphone acoustic guitar, and if successful at "Boot Camp" will receive $1,000 cash and progress through to the competition final in Tamworth in January.

As part of the prize package, the winning performer in Tamworth will receive the opportunity to record their material during a return paid trip to the Nashville.

Aspiring songwriters also have until November 1 to enter the Telstra Road to Tamworth songwriter category for their chance to win a trip to Nashville.

Local community groups within 400 kilometres of each heat location have the opportunity to enter for their chance to a win a musical equipment grant through Telstra's "Keep the Music Playing" initiative (see following story).

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Keep The Music Playing

Keep The Music Playing is part of the 2010 Telstra Road to Tamworth promotion.

Community groups within 400 kilometres of each heat location have the chance to win a musical equipment package through the initiative which is designed to support the growth of music talent throughout Australia.

Telstra has demonstrated a strong commitment to music development through the Telstra Road to Tamworth," a company spokesman said, "and... we’re now able to offer a wide range of community groups, from public schools to local charities, the chance to win valuable music equipment."

Each winning community group will be one of 13 groups across the country awarded the musical equipment packages, which will include instruments and recording equipment. Each group will be able to choose from one of four packages.

Entry into the promotion closes in the leadup to each heat of the talent search.

Details can be obtained at the website



The Bushwackers on a mini tour

Perennial favourites The Bushwackers are hitting the road this week with a van packed full of lively and energetic "Wackers" for a mini-tour.

In hot pursuit of support for their latest single to country music radio, Road To Thargomindah (from the new album Australian Songbook II), The Bushwackers make a return to the National Music Muster at Gympie to open this Friday night's entertainment on mainstage.

They then follow up with the Muster Club on Saturday and The Theatre on Sunday before heading back to Sydney for metropolitan shows.

Part of the tour will take The Bushwackers out to Forbes in central NSW for the "Fatherhood Festival" where Roger Corbett will continue the age old tradition of "passing the baton" to share the stage with his guitarist son Ben who joined the band a few years ago.

With the single Road To Thargomindah tripping around country music airwaves, the band is looking forward to the tour and catching up with old and new friends along the way.

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Topp Twins doco selected For Toronto Film Festival

The Topp Twins have announced that their documentary "Untouchable Girls" will have its North American premiere in Toronto from September 13 to 19.

The girls – Lynda and Jools – will also play a concert in the city on Sunday 13th.

"Untouchable Girls – The Topp Twins Movie" has also been selected to screen at the largest documentary festival in the world, the IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) in November.

The film won the Audience Award for Documentary at the Melbourne International Film Festival last month with all screenings sold-out. The Australian theatrical release will be early November with more details to be announced soon.

"Our little film has become the number 1 box office documentary ever released in New Zealand," the girls said, "beating even Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth'. So from all of us – Lynda, Jools, Leanne (film director) and Arani (producer) – THANK YOU! for supporting us and our film."

Meanwhile, the "Untouchable Girls" DVD is out now and from the Topp Twins website (see below).

And the girls new CD – Honky Tonk Angel – is almost complete, just requiring
finishing touches. It will be released later this month.

"We had loads of fun recording the CD in Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios with the fabulous Don McGlashan producing and arranging songs. Don's talented band The Seven Sisters backed us, and we were also joined by stellar special guests Hinewehi Mohi, Justin Kereama, Eddie Rayner, Marian Burns on fiddle and a wonderful strings section headed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's very own Jocelyn Healy."

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New program for Norm

With 30 years of broadcasting under his belt, Norm Burke has launched a new radio program called The Music Bag.

Norm's latest presentation goes to air from 6 till 8pm every Tuesday night on station 3SER FM broadcasting from Cranbourne, Victoria.

Along with the usual country music fare, Norm plays an eclectic mix of rock ‘n’ roll, folk, pop, jazz, show tunes and comedy, all of which he has had experience in.

Part and parcel of the program is a generous percentage of Australian material, Norm said, underlying his "lifelong efforts to get more Australian culture onto our air-waves".

The Music Bag can also be heard as it happens at



Kasey & Shane score two Americana Awards nominations

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson have been named as nominees in two categories of this year's Americana Music Association Honors & Awards.

The nominations are for Song of the Year for Rattlin' Bones and for Duo/Group of the Year.

In the Song of the Year category, the duo is up against American stars including Rodney Crowel, Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller.

In the Duo category, fellow finalists are The Flatlanders, Buddy & Julie Miller and Reckless Kelly.

Nominees and winners in the Americana Awards are determined by vote of members of the Americana Music Association.

As well as the member voted categories, Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Asleep at the Wheel (for Performance, the group which featured at some time, ex-pat American and now Australian resident Lucky Oceans), Sam Bush (for Instrumentalist), Jim Rooney (for Producer/Engineer) and several others.

The Awards show will be staged as part of the 10th Americana Music Festival which runs from Wednesday, September 16 to Saturday September 19 in Nashville.

Among artists appearing at the Festival will be the now US based Kym Warner and Carol Young, part of The Greencards with Briton Eamon McLoughlin. The Greencards have just released a new album titled Fascination.

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Vanda & Young song comp

APRA (the Australasian Performing Right Association) has opened entries for the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition.

Fifty thousand dollars in cash and prizes is up for grabs, "plus 'once in a lifetime' performance and mentorship opportunities."

Entries close on Wednesday September 30.

The competition is open to all songwriters – published and unpublished, professional and amateur, local and international – across all genres.

The prize list comprises... $20,000 cash courtesy of Albert Music, return business class airfare to US and UK plus five days accommodation, songwriter mentorship with iconic US songwriter Paul Williams, producer mentorship at Kensaltown Studios London, production crew for video, a Les Paul Gibson guitar, studio time and engineering at Studios 301, a live gig to perform the winning song at Song Summit 2010, a three day free pass to attend Song Summit 2010, two tickets to attend 2010 APRA Music Awards and $1,500 cash for travel expenses by courtesy of PPCA.

Named after iconic Australian songwriters Harry Vanda and George Young, the competition is presented by APRA|AMCOS in support of music therapy charity Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.

Full proceeds of the AUD $50 /USD $40 per song entry fee will go directly to support the activities of the charity.

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Call for Victorian Awards entries

Entries have also been invited for the 2010 Victorian & National Country Music Awards.

To be presented at the Whittlesea Country Music Festival on February 12, entry forms can be downloaded from the Festival website

The Victorian and National Country Music Awards recognise and encourage excellence in the Australian country music industry and are open to country music artists already signed to a leading record label and also to independent artists.

Sixteen awards will be presented at the gala awards night at the Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre at South Morang...

In the National categories, for Male Vocalist of the Year, Female Vocalist, Group, Duet, New Talent, Composition, Best Independent Release, the Heritage Award, Instrumental of the year an an award for Bluegrass and Traditional Country.

In the Victorian categories, for Album of the year, Group/Duet, Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist and Victorian Entertainer/s of the year.

Awards entries close on Friday October 30.

Applications for performers at the 2010 Whittlesea Festival close at the end of this month (August).


Anja wins The Saddles Batemans Bay heat

Thirteen-year-old Anja Nissen reportedly "stole the show" at the most recent heat of The Saddles 2009 staged at Batemans Bay (NSW).

Judges, 2009 Golden Saddle Award finalist Lianna Rose and 2008 Golden Saddle People’s Choice Award winne, Matt Frost (pictured here with Anja) said they were "blown away" by her performance.

Anja will compete with other heat winners in The Saddles grand final on Saturday September 12 at the Rooty Hill RSL Total Country Music Weekend where they will be competing for $1000 cash, a professionally produced demo from renowned musician Brad Bergen and a performance at the Golden Saddle Awards & Concert later that evening.

The final heat of the competition will be held at Rooty Hill on Saturday September 5.

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Singer/songwriter Paul returns to Australia

Australian singer/songwriter Paul Bonner Jones is back home in Australia after his third invitation to the Nashville Songwriters Festival on Music Row.

Paul has been co-writing with Nashville songwriters and performing songs in songwriter venues around Nashville like Douglas Corner, The Bluebird Cafe and the Commodore.

He has been invited back to the Nashville Songwriters Festival at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in October this year and has had the honour of meeting Loretta (pictured at right with Paul) and being a special guest at her ranch concert in June.

Paul, who has a property 25 minutes from Tamworth, Country Music Capital, said Loretta had expressed interest in visiting Australia.

He performed at the Tamworth Town Hall this year as one of the artists who were raising funds for Victorian bushfire victims. Paul wrote the song The Fire in 1994 about the worst fires to date in Australian history at that time and was a contestant at Toyota Star Maker the following January.

Paul said it was moving and ironic that the last time he was on stage at the Tamworth Town Hall was performing The Fire 14 years earlier.

He says he is looking forward to doing some performing around Tamworth and recording.

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Chart update – Jetty Road continue to dominate

Jetty Road's latest hit Million Miles is at number one for the fourth successive week on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart.

Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels is steady at two for the second week while Jayne Denham's Shake This Town edges up one to three as does Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright two number four.

The Songbirds are also up one to five with You've Got A Friend, Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral jumps four places to six and Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son is up one to seven.

Brooks & Dunn's Indian Summer enters the top 10 at eight, Martina McBride's I Just Call You Mine is steady at nine while Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country jumps six places to be at number 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (17 to 15) and Slim Dusty's Give Me Room (29 to 25).

The only new entry for the week is Clelia Adams (pictured) with My Mother's Wedding Band (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Smoky recording added to Sounds Of Australia

The late Smoky Dawson's 1955 recording The Adventure Of The Singing Bullet has been added to Australia's national registry of recorded sound, Sounds Of Australia.

The announcement was made in Canberra this week by Federal Minister for the Arts Peter Garrett.

In a career spanning six decades, Smoky was Australia’s first "cowboy" musician and a pioneer of Australian country music.

Together with his horse Flash, Smoky was a legendary figure to an entire generation of young Australians who grew up listening to his radio show, "The Adventures of Smoky Dawson" from 1952 to 1962.

Around 1955, Smoky produced a series of 10 inch 78rpm recordings for Columbia Children’s Records including Smoky Dawson And The Adventure Of The Singing Bullet where Smoky’s old enemy Grogan escapes from jail and confronts Smoky and his mates.

Smoky outwits Grogan with the aid of the "singing bullet" from a gun supposedly inside the guitar.

Smoky died on February 13 last year, a month short of his 95th birthday.

Additional recorded sounds added to the registry this year included the Vegemite jingle from 1954, the 1958 recording of Dorothea Mackellar reciting her poem "My Country", the 1968 recording of Lionel Rose winning the World Bantamweight Championship, Helen Reddy's 1972 recording I Am Woman and Yothu Yindi's 1991 recording Treaty.

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Liam's Star Maker album released

Liam Brew, winner of the 2009 Toyota Star Maker Quest, has released his prize, and debut, album titled Wild Heart.

When 19-year-old country rocker Liam was announced as the winner of Toyota Star Maker in Tamworth in January, his goal was to follow in the footsteps of his musical influences Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Travis Collins.

Now, with the release of his debut album, Liam continues his journey with, according to his record company Compass Bros, what will be the first of many albums in a promising career.

Wild Heart has been produced for Liam by Compass Bros Graham Thompson (also long-time producer for Adam Brand and many others) and is described as being made up for the most part as "a fun and rockin' country album, a tone clearly established in the album's first single, Girls With Girlfriends.

"There are songs that rock and some more traditional, along with a couple of ballads including an outstanding duet with Travis Collins on the track, A Woman Can Do That To A Man, which hopefully will see light of day as the next single from the album," Compass Bros said.

"Wild Heart showcases the young man many of us within the industry first met at Tamworth this year and his amazing talents.

"He has honed his craft well and with a first rate producer, a hot band, some great songs and a true passion for his music, Liam Brew delivers a debut album that will surely leave an impression on the industry, both now upon release and again in January at the Golden Guitars in Tamworth where his journey began."

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NZ Proam Award winners

Marian Burns and Dennis Marsh have taken out New Zealand's Female and Male Country Music Artist of the Year awards at the 2009 Kiwi Proam CM Awards.

Marian said she was totally humbled by the award and thanked the support of her husband, family and supporters. It was Dennis' second consecutive CM Male Artist of the Year award.

One of the most touching moments of the night was when Eddie Low received the Country Music Legend Award.  "I am so overwhelmed, I don’t know what to say," he said, "thank you so much."

The Topp Twins were named winners of the Country Music Group/Duo award while the Horizon (new talent) Award went to Cameron Clayton from Auckland.

The Awards were staged last Saturday night at the Founders Theatre in Hamilton.

Photo: Cameron Clayton (right) receiving his award from special international guest performer Peter McWhirter from Australia.



Jetty Road at number one on CMC

Jetty Road (pictured) have taken over the number one spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of their latest single Million Miles.

This placing puts the band at the top of two of Australia's most significant measurements of popularity... in addition to the CMC playlist, the single has also been number one on the Country Tracks Top 30 for two weeks.

John Williamson's Better Than A Picture edges up one be in second place while Adam Brand's number one from the last two weeks – Blue Sky Cathedral – drops back to three and Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country is also up one to number four.

Steve Forde's Guns & Guitars is at seven, Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl is at nine, Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels enters the top 10 at 10 and Don't Do Lonely Well, Amber Lawrence's first single off her upcoming new album, is up three places to 11.

Bullet performers for the week include I Got You, the clip of Anthony Green's duet with Sharnee Fenwick and The Harmonators' If Love Ain't Crazy (new at 39).

This week's CMC Country Pick is the clip of 2009 Toyota Star Maker Liam Brew's debut Star Maker single Girls With Girlfriends.

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Bungendore 2010

The Bungendore Country Muster Committee is planning to make 2010 a memorable year to mark the festival’s 25th anniversary.

"We are pleased to announce that three of the artists who were very much a part of our very first festival are returning for this special year," the Committee said...

"Ted Egan and Pixie Jenkins are coming back, along with the one and only Chad Morgan, so that will be something to look forward to, as they have not been back for many years."

Also returning will be Owen Blundell and Terry Gordon, both of whom have been a part of Bungendore since day one.

The full line up of artists will be published later but with the standard of albums released so far this year, a wonderful list of artists is assured, the Committee said.

A final reminder has been issued to artists for nominations in the Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards which close on Thursday October 1.

Nomination forms can be obtained by telephoning 02 6238 0224 or by emailing

The Committee is also seeking expressions of interest from young artists (under 18 years of age at September 30, 2009) for the "Track to Tomorrow" award which offers the winner a spot on the Muster program, a cash prize and recording time at Kross Kut Studio, courtesy of Lindsay ("Waddo") and Reegan Waddington.

Photo: Trent Holder, winner of the 2008 "Track to Tomorrow" at the studio with Waddo.

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Keri wins gold in LA

Australian country artist Keri McInerney returned to Australia in late July from Los Angeles where she won one gold and four silver medals at the 13th World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA).

A multi award winner and nominee in several major awards – including the Golden Guitars, Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards and Tamworth Independent Artists Recognition Awards (TIARAs), Keri left Brisbane on July 8 to compete at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood.

The Championships provide an international stage for aspiring artists in a variety of entertainment genres. Fellow Aussie and "Australia’s Got Talent" winner 2008 "Smokin'" Joe Robinson took home the 2009 Grand Champion Performer of the World title.

Keri and Joe competed against participants from 51 countries.

"I was stunned to receive my first award" Keri said, "a gold medal in the Latin category, then four more, all silver, in Country, Originals, Open and Jazz. It was just mind blowing."

Keri performed original material from her albums Stay and The One.

Her gold came with the song End Of Time while I Know What You Want – a hit track on the US West Coast back in May, sealed the Country section silver medal, as did Fill Me Up and Stay and the Brent Parlane/Brent Jeffrey song Outrun The Wind’.

WCOPA’s Australian National Director Lizette Hunt, who accompanied the team members, said: "Australia had a highly successful team competing with all bar two team members achieving medals in all categories, from vocalists, instrumentalists, dance, modelling and variety.

"In our first year as competitors, Team Australia achieved the Grand Champion, two Senior Division Grand Champions, five Overall category winners, 10 Bronze medals, 21 Silver medals, 16 Gold medals, nine Overall awards and two Industry awards.

"I personally had a wonderful time at the WCOPA and more importantly the achievements of each and every one of the team, provided me with a deep sense of enjoyment, satisfaction and pride."

The international competition for amateur and professional performers is one of the biggest competitions in the world. It allows aspiring artists an opportunity to perform and compete on a world stage.

"It was a dream come true for me," said Keri. "I never stop trying to promote, develop and learn more about my trade and this was such an incredible opportunity to really do just that. It was fabulous to be selected, giving me more belief that my music and my performances are good enough to compete in the world arena."

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Chart update – Jetty Road – third week at the top

Jetty Road's latest hit Million Miles is at number one for the third week in succession on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart.

Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels edges up another place to be at number two while Kenny Chesney's Out Last Night is down to three and Jayne Denham's Shake This Town is steady at four.

Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright jumps two to number five, The Songbirds are also up two to six with You've Got A Friend and America's Dierks Bentley is at seven with Sideways.

Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son edges up one place to eight, Martina McBride's I Just Call You Mine is at nine and Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country (21 to 16), Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (22 to 18), The Sunny Cowgirls' Grog Monster (23 to 19), James Blundell's Queensland Calling (24 to 20), Talia Wittmann's I Can Say That Now (25 to 21), Jasmine Rae's Ain't The Same Girl (26 to 22) and Kimber Spark's Movin' On (28 to 24).

New entries for the week include Slim Dusty with Give Me Room (in at 29) and Lou Bradley (pictured) with La La La Not Listening (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Vale – Les Paul, dead at 94

Guitar legend Les Paul died yesterday (American time) of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital, New York.

The following is adapted from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum website...

The name Les Paul is synonymous with the electric guitar. As a player, inventor and recording artist, Paul was an innovator his entire life. Born Lester William Polfus in 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, he built his first crystal radio at age nine – which was about the time he first picked up a guitar.

By age 13, he was performing semi-professionally as a country music guitarist and working diligently on sound-related inventions. In 1941, Paul built his first solid-body electric guitar, and he continued to make refinements to his prototype throughout the decade. It’s safe to say that rock and roll as we know it would not exist without his invention.

But Les Paul didn’t stop there. He also refined the technology of sound recording, developing revolutionary engineering techniques such as close miking, echo delay, overdubbing and multitracking. He also busied himself as a versatile bandleader and performer who could play jazz, country and pop.

The guitar that bears his name – the Gibson Les Paul – is his crowning achievement. It grew out of his desire, as a musician and inventor, to create a stringed instrument that could make electronic sound without distorting. What he came up with, after almost a decade of work, was a solid bodied instrument – that is, one that didn’t have the deep, resonant chamber of an acoustic guitar.

As he told writer Jim O’Donnell, "What I wanted to do is not have two things vibrating. I wanted the string to vibrate and nothing else. I wanted the guitar to sustain longer than an acoustical box and have different sounds than an acoustical box." The fact that the guitar’s body was solid allowed for the sound of a plucked string to sustain, as its vibrating energy was not dissipated in a reverberant acoustic chamber.

He experimented with different designs until he had his non-vibrating guitar body, which he called "The Log". Gibson Guitars initially turned him down, calling his invention "a broomstick with pickups" and pointing out that this meant guitarists would now have to carry around two instruments – one electric and one acoustic – which they viewed as prohibitively inconvenient.

As a result, Paul was beaten to the marketplace by Leo Fender, whose Fender Broadcaster – the first mass-produced solid body electric guitar – was introduced in 1948. That same year, however, Paul unveiled overdubbing, a breakthrough recording technique that would forever change music. Capitol Records released the Paul’s experimental eight-track recordings of Lover (When You’re Near Me) and Brazil, which he’d made in his garage workshop.

Paul’s career as a musician nearly came to an end in 1948, when he was involved in a near-fatal car accident in Oklahoma, skidding off a bridge into a river during a snowstorm. The guitarist shattered his right arm and elbow, and he also broke his back, ribs, nose and collarbone. He managed to salvage his career as a musician by instructing surgeons to set his arm at an angle that would allow him to cradle and pick the guitar. It took him a year and a half to recover.

Paul subsequently made his mark as a jazz-pop musician extraordinaire, recording as a duo with his wife, singer Mary Ford (who was born Colleen Summers). Their biggest hits included How High The Moon (1951) and Vaya Con Dios (1953), both reaching number one.

The recordings of Les Paul and Mary Ford are noteworthy for Paul’s pioneering use of overdubbing, that is, layering guitar parts one atop another, a technique also referred to as multitracking or "sound on sound" recording. He also speeded up the sound of his guitar. The results were bright, bubbly and a little otherworldly – just the sort of music you might expect from an inventor with an ear for the future.

In 1952, Les Paul introduced the first eight-track tape recorder (designed by Paul and marketed by Ampex) and, more significantly for the future of rock and roll, finally saw the release of the the gold-top solid body electric guitar that bears his name.

Gibson’s Les Paul Standard went on to become one of the most popular of all models of electric guitar. Built and marketed by Gibson, with continuous advances and refinements from Paul in such areas as low-impedance pickup technology, the Les Paul is a staple instrument among many of rock’s greatest guitarists. He introduced the latest model in 2008. According to Gibson USA, its design amendments include "a new asymmetrical neck profile that makes it one of the most comfortable and playable necks ever offered on any guitar".

The list of musicians associated with the Gibson Les Paul include Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Page. Paul was guitarist Steve Miller’s godfather. Jimi Hendrix consulted him about the construction of Electric Lady Studios. In a British periodical, Led Zeppelin’s Page once wrote of Paul, "He’s the man who started everything. He’s just a genius." While sharing a stage with Paul, Eddie Van Halen once told him, "Without the things you’ve done, I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do."

Over the ensuing decades, Les Paul remained active on all fronts. He recorded a Grammy-winning album of instrumental duets with Chet Atkins, Chester and Lester, in 1977. From the mid '80s through the mid '90s, he performed weekly at Fat Tuesday’s, a New York City jazz club. In 2005, at the age of 90, he released American Made/World Played, which featured guest spots from several of his most illustrious rock and roll disciples and won him a pair of Grammys.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January, 1988, and into America's National Inventors Hall of Fame in February 2005.

Paul performed weekly – at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club – and indulged his inventor’s curiosity in a basement workshop at home in Mahwah, New Jersey, up until his death on August 13, 2009. He was 94.

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Finalists announced for 2009 Independent Country Music Awards

Tania Kernaghan (pictured) and Jetty Road head the list of finalists for the 2009 Southern Stars – the 13th Australian Independent Country Music Awards presented by Neighbourhood Cable.

Tania has four finalist nominations... in Album of the Year for her release Second Time Around, APRA/AMCOS Single of the Year, Heritage Track and Female Vocalist of the Year.

Jetty Road scored three finalist berths... in Album of the Year, for Life At A Million Miles, Single and Group/Duo.

Multiple 2008 Award winner Amber Lawrence has two nominations, in Single and Female Vocalist, and Victoria Baillie also has two, in Single and Album of the Year for Start Brand New.

A number of this year’s finalists, like Amber, 8 Ball Aitken and Graham Rodger, were winners in last year's Awards, while others, like Kaylah Anne, Victoria Baillie, Kimberley Bowden, Tori Darke, Lance Friend, The Harmonators, Danny Hooper, Sandra Humphries, Doug McIntyre, Dan Murphy, Lianna Rose and Dane Sharp have their first taste of pre-awards expectations.

Awards Co-ordinator John Arnold said this year’s nominations reflected the continuing strong growth of the independent country music industry in Australia.

"We received nominations from 69 individual artists and groups," he said, "but what really stood out amidst the finalists in the eight judged categories was the mix of well-established artists together with some outstanding emerging talent.

"Many of the 25 finalists have already achieved significant chart success with radio singles over the past year and many have also released very successful new recorded product, albums or EPs in the last 12 months."

Neighbourhood Cable Manager Andre Koot said: "Neighbourhood Cable is proud to continue its naming right sponsorship of this terrific annual event which last year brought over 12,000 visitors to Mildura during the Festival period.

"The Festival plays a major role in fostering Australian country music talent and on behalf of Neighbourhood Cable I would like to congratulate all the nominees for the 2009 Southern Stars..."

The Awards are staged during the annual Mildura Country Music Festival. Winners will be announced on Saturday October 3 at the Awards presentation concert at 5.30pm in the Mildura Arts Centre Theatre. Tickets are available by calling 1800 039 043.

The Awards will be broadcast live on the internet for the first time this year on CMR, online at

Finalists in the 13th annual Australian Independent Country Music Awards – the Southern Stars – are...

For APRA/AMCOS Australian Independent Country Music Single of the Year – Good Times by Jetty Road, Make Me by Victoria Baillie, The Mile by Amber Lawrence and Second Time Around by Tania Kernaghan.

For Australian Independent Album of the Year – I'm Worth It by Sandra Humphries, Life At A Million Miles by Jetty Road, Livin' The Dream by Tania Kernaghan and Start Brand New by Victoria Baillie.

For Australian Independent Track of the Year – Droving Cattle With The Boys by Tania Kernaghan, The Dust Of Kalkadoon by Dean Perrett, The First Lady Of Country by Graham Rodger and Old Black Quart by Tracy Coster,

For Capital News Australian Independent Rising Star Male – Lance Friend with If I Had A Wish, Doug McIntyre with The Man Who Might Have Been, Dan Murphy with While There's A Road and Dane Sharp with Nashville Tennessee.

For Capital News Australian Independent Rising Star Female – Kaylah Anne with Why Me, Kimberley Bowden with Do I, Tori Darke with Crawl and Lianna Rose with Angels.

For Australian Independent Male Vocalist of the Year – 8 Ball Aitken with Hands On Top Of The Wheel, Sam Hawksley with Sounds Like Summer, Danny Hooper with The Legacy and Luke O'Shea with Pride Of Erin.

For Australian Independent Female Vocalist of the Year – Roe Carleo with Some Kind Of Miracle, Harmony James with Fly, Tania Kernaghan with Second Time Around and Amber Lawrence with The Mile.

For Australian Independent Group/Duo of the Year – Carter & Carter with Open Road, The Harmonators with If Love Ain't Crazy, Jetty Road with World Keeps Turning and Jonah's Road with Long Gone.

No finalists are announced for the Australian Independent Artist of the Year award.

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Chart update – Jetty Road at number one

Jetty Road (pictured) hold the number one position for the second week running on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart with their hit Million Miles.

Kenny Chesney's Out Last Night is steady at two while Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels edges up one to number three as does Jayne Denham to four with Shake This Town.

America's Dierks Bentley and Rascal Flatts hold down five and six, respectively, with Sideways and Here Comes Goodbye while Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright is steady at seven.

The Songbirds are at eight with You've Got A Friend, Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son bounds into the top 10 at nine and Martina McBride is at 10 with I Just Call You Mine.

Bullet performers for the week include Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral (19 to 14), Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country (27 to 21) and Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (25 to 22).

The full chart can be viewed at


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slim sets a 21st century record

The late Slim Dusty has set another Australian music industry record.

With the release of his recent album Sittin' On 80, Slim has become the only Australian solo artist to achieved six top 20 albums so far this century… ahead of other top local icons including John Farnham and Kylie Minogue.

The album debuted this week at number 20 on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) mainstream albums (or pop) chart as well as hitting number one on the ARIA All Australian Country Albums chart, number two on the Australian & International Country Albums chart and number four on the Australian Albums chart.

Support for the album has been boosted considerably with widespread airplay of the album's previously unreleased track Give Me Room.

"Slim Dusty was no stranger to both pop and country charts during his hugely successful 60 year career," according to his record company EMI.

"However, it is kind of refreshing and even heart-warming to see, in this  transient technological age, that this iconic Aussie’s name sits proudly up there in a top 20 pop chart filled with the likes of new millennium acts like Hilltop Hoods, Lady GaGa, Miley Cyrus and Pink.

"Slim passed away five years ago but his legend status still holds strong!

"As we near the completion of this first decade of a new century it can be said that the country music legend of the last century proves yet again... he is still King!"

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Adam tops CMC playlist

Adam Brand (pictured) is at number one on the current week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of his latest single Blue Sky Cathedral.

Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl – number one last week – is down to two while Jetty Road's Million Miles is up two to three and Steve Forde's Guns & Guitars is at four.

John Williamson's Better Than A Picture is up two more to five, Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country is also up another two to six and Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels is at 12.

Jayne Denham's Shake This Town is at 16, Amber Lawrence's Don't Do Lonely Well is new at 18 and The Sunny Cowgirls are new in the top 20 at 18 with Grog Monster.

Bullet performers for the week include Jeremy Edwards with Up All Night (new at 31), The Yeehaa Boys' Red Wagon (46 to 37), Bec Lavelle's Many Things (44 to 38) and Tracy Killeen's' Back There (47 to 39).

The only other addition to the week's playlist is Korey Livy with That's The Way We Do It Round Here (in at 48).

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Bushfire CD doco

Nu Country TV will feature a mini-documentary on the making of the St Vincent de Paul After The Fire bushfire relief CD on channel C 31 in Victoria this Saturday (August 15) at 9.30pm.

The documentary will also appear on C 31 in Queensland and South Australia later in the year and available online on the Victorian channel's web page

The Vinnies volunteer doco crew filmed US country singer/songwriters Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane and Fats Kaplin recording Kevin's "Black Saturday" holocaust song Marysville at Pete Frawley's Salt Studio in East Brighton.

Fifty-three-year-old Kevin, a father of two, wrote the evocative song about the decimated township and its fire victims two days after arriving in Australia for his 12th national tour.

Vinnies Strategic Planner Carol Taylor persuaded Kevin and promoter Rob Hall to open a window in their busy tour to record and donate the song to the Vinnie's CD.

Shock Records released Marysville as a single during the Kane-Welch-Kaplin tour and it became the focal point of the After The Fire CD which is available at JB Hi-Fi, Collingwood’s famed The Last Record Store and other independent retailers.

It's also on sale at Vinnies stores in Victoria and Tasmania.

Online, After The Fire is available at

All proceeds go to fire victims through the Vinnies Victorian Disaster Relief Fund.

Former Goanna singer Shane Howard wrote the new song Carry Me about the fires and cut it at his studio at Killarney on the Shipwreck Coast of Victoria.

And Kinglake singer Ross Buchanan, who lost a son and daughter on "Black Saturday", recorded his song Salty Tears for the CD.

The album also features songs recorded by The Androids, Nicky Bomba, Joe Camilleri, Brian Canham, Chocolate Starfish, Sally Dastey, Renee Geyer, Sean Kelly, Brian Mannix, Dale Ryder, Katie Underwood & Mat Dwyer and Marty Willson-Piper.

Ross, singer for Country Paydirt, performed Salty Tears at the Whittlesea bushfire benefit festival in April 4 and at other festivals where he and his family sold After The Fire to raise funds for fellow bushfire victims.

Photo: Kevin recording Marysville at Salt Studio for the St Vincent de Paul CD After The Fire.



© Copyright 2009, ICMB Publishing