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Strong interest in Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week

Organisers of the annual Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week, coming up in Kempsey (NSW), have reported such strong demand from visitors for this year's event that all powered campsites at the Kempsey Showground have "already sold out".

"It's already an outstanding success, and it's not on until October!" exclaimed organiser Bruce Woods.

Originally known as the Slim Dusty Country Music Memories night, the event becomes a full week of entertainment this year.

Presented by the Rotary Club of Kempsey West in conjunction with the Slim Dusty Foundation, the popular event has steadily grown over the last seven years.

"It is not only growth of the event that has been experienced over the years, but this festival is creating increased benefits for the entire Macleay Valley.

"This is the first year that we have invited sponsors to support the event, and we have been very pleased with the interest so far," Bruce said from his and his wife Trish's South West Rocks Road property, the location of the inaugural event.

"It started with a group of fans from the community celebrating the life of Slim shortly following his sad passing in 2003, by listening to his music and watching Slim Dusty DVDs on a big screen."

Artists performing this year will include Clelia Adams, Dianne Lindsay, Tom Maxwell, Norma O'Hara Murphy (pictured), Steve Passfield (pictured), Peter Simpson and The Salvo Country Band.

"And, of course, the distinctive advantage that this event offers, is the rare performance of the Slim Dusty Family, and Slim's own Travelling Country Band.

"Visitors from all over Australia travelled to Kempsey in previous years to come to the concert, and this year will be no exception. We will be taking the opportunity to market our tourism and business products to attendees, and have organised tours around the Valley to occur throughout the week," Bruce said.

"It is not hard to see that the Slim Dusty Memories Week is quickly becoming a festival of not only memories, but celebration for the economic impact on our town," said Kathryn Yarnold, interim Chief Executive and Business Development Manager of the Slim Dusty Foundation.

Tickets for the festival can be obtained by calling Bruce or Trish Woods on (02) 6562 4795, or by calling into the Slim Dusty Foundation office at Shop 5 Clyde Street Mall Kempsey, telephone 1800 18 SLIM (1800 18 7546), 02 6562 6533) or order on line at where more details can also be found.



Notice for Australian recording artists

The registration cut off for the Phonographic Performance Company pf Australia (PPCA) current distribution is 15 September 15, 2010.

"If you are an Australian recording artist whose music is being broadcast or you hold the copyright in recordings that are receiving airplay, then you may be able to share in licence fees collected by PPCA," the company said.

The PPCA collects licence fees from more than 50,000 businesses across Australia which play sound recordings (CD, digital downloads) and music videos.

Each year, the PCA distributes the licence income collected, less administration expenses, to registered Australian recording artists and sound recording copyright owners (usually record labels).

The organisation represents and pays featured Australian recording artists and record labels in the same way that APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) pays songwriters and publishers.

Featured Australian recording artists may be able to share in licence fees collected by the PPCA under the Artist Direct Distribution Scheme. "But it's essential that you register with PPCA before September 15 to be eligible for this year's distribution," the company said.

"If you are already registered with PPCA, it is important that you notify us of all releases on which you are eligible to claim under the Artist Direct Distribution Scheme before September 15. Record labels do not notify us of artist releases or registrations – this is the artist's responsibility.

"If you have released a CD within the past year and have not lodged your artist registrations, then any income that may have been earned for that release will be paid to your record label.

"Registering with PPCA is free and essential. If you'd like to check what artist registrations we have for you, please contact PPCA’s distribution team, we'll be happy to help!"

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Anne's Annethology shows

Twenty six years following her recording debut, country star Anne Kirkpatrick will release her Annethology (best of) album in Sydney on Wednesday night.

The launch will be staged at well-known Sydney venue The Vanguard in Newtown.

It will be the first of a series of Annethology album shows "celebrating this long awaited collection," said a spokesman for Anne's record label.

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Chart Update – Troy re-takes number one

Troy Cassar-Daley's former number one Chasin' Rodeo is back in the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.

Harmony James' Good Enough is up two places to number two as is Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing at three and Amber Lawrence's Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) has slipped from one to four.

Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy is at five, The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire is steady at six while Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl bounds into the top 10 at seven.

Kristy Cox is at eight with It's Hard To Stop A Heart, Adam James' Freedom Now Begins is at nine and America's Brad Paisley is steady at 10 with Water.

Bullet performers for the week include Paul Costa's No Turning Back (17 to 14), Jetty Road's I Have Been (19 to 15), Graeme Connors' All The Money's Gone (20 to 16), The Lees' Remember To Breathe (26 to 22), Smoking Gun by Lianna Rose (29 to 24) and Kaylee Bell's Ride That River (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include The Bobkatz' The Old HR (in at 28) and Kasey Chambers' Little Bird (at 29).

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Sony announces new country label

Sony Music Entertainment has announced an association with new country music label Core Music, headed up and owned by leading producer Rod McCormack (pictured).

Supported by the team at Sony Music Entertainment, the infant label already boasts signings of the likes of Beccy Cole and Gina Jeffreys.

Core Music says it will continue to acquire established artists, as well as signing and releasing emerging talent.

"I'm excited about the new label and look forward to giving some of our great artists, both established and emerging, a new home and the support they deserve," said Rod McCormack.

Sony Music Entertainment Australia Chief Executive Denis Handlin said: "We are looking forward to expanding our local roster of Australian talent through our new association with Core Music."

Core will release the new album from Beccy Cole, Pre-Loved, on September 3, and the previously independently released, Old Paint from Gina Jeffreys on September 17.


Kasey's Little Bird due in September

Kasey Chambers has announced the upcoming release of Little Bird, her first solo album in four years.

The album will be released on September 17 and follows the 2008 release of the number one Platinum selling, ARIA Award winning Rattlin' Bones which Kasey recorded with husband Shane Nicholson, and the 2009 family book and album project Kasey Chambers, Poppa Bill and The Little Hillbillies.

Little Bird was co-produced by Kasey and her album band The Millionaires (Jim Moginie, Jeff McCormack, Shane Nicholson, John Watson, Bill Chambers and Nash Chambers) and recorded at Nash's Foggy Mountain Studio.

"I think it is the most fun I have ever had making an album," Kasey said, "and the result is something I am so proud of.  I have written every song on the album and styles cross from country, folk, pop and everything in between!

"This record reminds me of the same feeling that The Captain and 'Barricades' gave me. It's all about songs, home grown sounds and a feeling that sails throughout the entire album."

I have never been quite as inspired to write as I was a few months ago and that is why this album has crept up on me so quickly. In February I had one song that I had written last year but was not thinking at all about writing more, then all of a sudden songs just started flowing out of me.

"Within 12 days I had 14 songs and they just kept coming. I wasn't even sure where they came from. I was writing in and around my daily life (which I used to find difficult) – cooking dinner, making school lunches, doing gigs, swimming lessons, feeding children, writing lyrics, humming melodies."

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Chart Update – Amber's third week at the top

Amber Lawrence's Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) dominates the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week at number one for the third week in a row.

Troy Cassar-Daley's former number one Chasin' Rodeo edges back up to number two pushing Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy down to third place while Harmony James' Good Enough jumps three places to hold number four.

Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing is at five, The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire is up two to six and Adam James' Freedom Now Begins is at seven.

Markus Meier's A Different Land is at eight, Kristy Cox enters the top 10 nine with It's Hard To Stop A Heart and America's Brad Paisley is at 10 with Water.

Bullet performers for the week include Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl (16 to 11), The Sunny Cowgirls Naughty Side (15 to 12), Adam Harvey's Better Than This (17 to 14), Jetty Road's I Have Been (23 to 19), Graeme Connors' All The Money's Gone (25 to 20), Leila Fisher's Desert Of Love (26 to 23), the Steve Eales/Chris E Thomas duet When It Rocks (27 to 24) and The Lees' Remember To Breathe (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Smoking Gun by Lianna Rose (in at 29) and Ride That River by New Zealand's Kaylee Bell (at 30).

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Muster starts Tuesday

The Optus National Music Muster gets underway on the dedicated Muster site just south of Gympie, Queensland, next Tuesday (August 24).

For six days and nights, the Amamoor Creek State Forest Park will ring to the sound of music, and mainly country music, as the event billed as "celebrating the true spirit of country Australia" is staged for the 28th time.

"It's a phenomenal experience rooted in music and community," organisers say.

The Muster attracts fans from all corners of the nation to see the stars and legends (and would be stars) of Australian country music on the main Muster stage.

Something like a dozen venues (including Muster streets) cover folk, alt-country, bush poetry, country dance, the annual talent search, blues, bluegrass and country dance.

A Gympie Apex Club project, the Muster began in 1982 inspired by the legendary nationally awarded local group the Webb Brothers (Fabian, Marius and Berard).

Each year, the Muster raises funds via its Rural Aid Appeal to assist rural Australians in dire need. This year, all monies raised through the Appeal will go to Angel Flight.

The Rural Aid Appeal has surpassed $10 million over the long history of Queensland's biggest country music event.

And every year, the Muster features dozens of Australia's country music stars.

This year, headliners will include, in alphabetical order, Luke Austen, Kevin Bennett & The Flood, Lou Bradley, Catherine Britt, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Tracy Coster, the Davidson Brothers, Pete Denahy, Nikki Gillis, Harmony James, Pixie Jenkins, Lee Kernaghan, Tracy Killeen, Anne Kirkpatrick, Grant Luhrs, McAlister/Kemp, The McClymonts, Markus Meier, The Pigs, Graham Rodger, Simply Bushed, Sara Storer, The Sunny Cowgirls, Felicity Urquhart and John Williamson.

A major Muster feature is the annual...

Muster talent search

The talent search carries a prize pool valued at more than $25,000 for the winner.

Entrants compete in category heats from Thursday (August 26) with heat winners competing in the semi-final on the Sunday.

Three semi-finalists will then appear on the Muster Main Stage and, following their performances, the prize pool will be awarded to one winner or split between two or all three finalists.

The prize pool includes a performances at the 2011 Muster (on main stage), at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and at the 19th Big Valley Jamboree in Alberta, Canada, an "in studio" recording and a guitar.

Further details, including registration form, can be obtained at the Muster website (see below).

Photo: rising country star Katrina Burgoyne who won the talent search in 2005.

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Adam goes gold

Adam Harvey's most recent album – Both Sides Now – has been certified "gold" by ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association) for sales of more than 35,000.

The album, which has generated three top 10 singles in the 12 months since its release, is Adam's first duets album.

"I'm so pleased that Both Sides Now has gone 'gold'," Adam said, "it's all about the fans and the music, not the awards, but sometimes it's nice just to have something that makes an album extra special."

Adam's latest release, his Best So Far album and DVD are officially released today (Friday).

The first single from the album, Better Than This, is already climbing the charts, and is currently featuring on the Country Music Channel (CMC).

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New CMA CEO appointed

The American Country Music Association (CMA) has named industry veteran Steve Moore (pictured) as the organisation's Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Moore, who will now step down from his post as Chairman of the Board, has been the interim leader of the Association since January.

He replaces Tammy Genovese who resigned from the post in December to head up The Country Network, a country music video channel set to launch on cable and satellite television this year.

Moore becomes the fifth chief administrator in the CMA's history, following Genovese, Ed Benson, who was executive director for 14 years, Jo Walker-Meador, the CMA's first permanent executive director who led the organisation from 1962 to 1991 and Harry Stone, who was appointed by the CMA's founding board of directors in 1958.

"We conducted a coast-to-coast search to find the best possible candidates and there were many. But, I think it should come as no surprise that the best person was right here in Nashville," said Steve Buchanan, who steps up from President to Chairman of the CMA Board of Directors.

"Steve developed a tremendous affinity and acumen for the position while serving on an interim basis. We are thrilled that he was ultimately interested in making that a permanent role."

"The Country Music Association is the cornerstone of what makes Nashville Music City," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. "Their involvement in the community, their support of artists and business, and especially the exposure they give to the industry and our city is absolutely priceless.

"Steve's depth of experience and the respect that he enjoys amongst his peers will be a tremendous asset to CMA. I look forward to seeing the organisation, and its presence here, continue to succeed and grow under Steve's leadership."

Moore has been prominent in the Nashville music community for 25 years, going back to his appointment as the first executive director of the popular concert venue Starwood Amphitheater and extending through his work as Senior Vice President of one of the world's largest concert promotion, special event and touring companies, AEG Live!.

A longtime member of the CMA Board of Directors (since 1989), Moore was elected President in 2008 and Chairman in 2009 before being asked to fill in as interim director of CMA after former Tammy Genovese resigned.

"I approached this with a great deal of enthusiasm and passion for what this organisation represents and what it could achieve on behalf of the industry," Moore said. "The experience has been personally rewarding, professionally challenging, and I am very optimistic and eager to see what the future holds."

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Luke releases his Star Maker album

Toyota Star Maker 2010 Luke Austen officially releases his prize album Light Of Day tomorrow (Friday).

Luke, who was an early graduate from the Australian College of Country Music (1999) toured the outback with country music icon Brian Young for four years before becoming a mainstay of Troy Cassar-Daley's band from 2004 until now.

He's also had songs recorded by Troy and Adam Harvey.

Produced by Graham Thompson (Adam Brand, The Sunny Cowgirls) Light Of Day is described as a confident and compelling debut.

"It's very much a country album in its sound and its themes," says Luke's record label. "In the tradition of the best country artists, you feel that you are getting to know the artist as you listen to his music."

Nine of the 12 songs on the album were written by Luke and his various writing partners including Troy Cassar Daley, Adam Harvey and Vaughan Jones. The three "outside" songs came from the pens of Troy, Peter Denahy and Don Walker.

"The stories are broad in content and all thoroughly engaging... ranging from the joys of first time fatherhood on She's So You to touring with Brian Young on Cloncurry and choosing between a girl and a car on HQ454 Monroe."

One of the standout songs is Sacred Bones, the true story of Luke's father discovering aboriginal remains in a cave while hunting dingoes. The track features Troy Cassar-Daley on harmony vocals and mandolin.

Luke Austen has had a successful career as a sideman. And "he'll have an even longer one as an artist in his own right," according to his record label.

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Your town, your song

ABC Radio is running a national competition calling for "your town" songs and, judging by the number of entries received so far, the promotion is a hit with listeners.

Inspired by iconic ballads like Road To Gundagai, I've Been Everywhere and Tenterfield Saddler, the Your Town, Your Song competition asks listeners to "celebrate what makes your community special by creating lyrics for a song".

The best lyrics will see Golden Guitar winning songwriter Ian Quinn add a melody, then "Saturday Night Country" host Felicity Urquhart (pictured) record the song for broadcast and digital download.

The winning lyricist and a friend will get to "kick up their heels" at the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival, with flights, accommodation and selected tickets (including seats at the Golden Guitar Awards) all taken care of.

The winner will also be special guest at an exclusive ABC Radio concert where Felicity will perform the song for the first time live onstage.

Entries close at the end of September.

Judges for the competition include Ian Quinn, Felicity Urquhart and representatives from ABC Country digital radio and ABC Rural.

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Adam Brand's new album released Friday

Adam Brand's new album It's Gonna Be OK is set for release this coming Friday (August 20).

"This is an album that came very naturally to me," Adam said.

"When you get to a place where life is as it should be, everything else just falls into place."

The album is on the Compass Bros Records label distributed through Shock Entertainment.

Click here for last month's story on the new work.

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Gregory wins Bush Poetry Championship third year running

Leading Australian bush poet Gregory North has been named Australia's Bush Poetry Champion for the third year in succession.

Gregory won the male champion trophy at the Championships in Bundaberg recently.

In his winning performance, Gregory performed Ten-twelve Shebang by John O'Brien in the traditional (more than 50 years old) section, Sterco d'Elephante by Denis Kevans in the modern (less than 50 years old) section and his own They Must Have Been On Drugs in the original section.

"I got first prize in each section and overall champion," Gregory said.

"My trophy is a fair-dinkum barrel made of proper wood and everything by Bundy Kegs. It's tops."

Jan Facey from Bundaberg won female champion.

Photo: Greg with Jan and the trophy collection.

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Entries open shortly for the Blackened Billy

Entries open on Wednesday September 1 for the 2011 Blackened Billy Verse Competition.

The Blackened Billy is regarded as one of the most prestigious bush poetry competitions in Australia with a first prize of $500 plus the famous Blackened Billy trophy.

Second prize is $250 and third $150.

Bush poetry is a traditional type of verse written with rhyme and rhythm that reflects the Australian way of life.

"The genre has widened in recent years to encompass modern living in both the city and the bush," said Jan Morris speaking for organisers the Tamworth Poetry Reading Group.

"This year's winner, Ellis Campbell (pictured), wrote on a subject which was very close to our hearts last year in a moving poem called The Arsonist.

"Tamworth Poetry Reading Group welcomes entries from new and old writers."

Entry forms will be available from September 1 by emailing Jan ( or by writing to PO Box 3001, West Tamworth.

Entries close Tuesday November 30. Winners will be announced at the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

Photo by June Underwood.


Chart Update – Amber's second week at the top

Amber Lawrence's latest hit – Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) – hangs on to the number one spot for the second week on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy is steady at number yet again while Troy Cassar-Daley's former number Chasin' Rodeo jumps back up two places and Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing remains at four.

Markus Meier's A Different Land is at five, Adam James' Freedom Now Begins is at six and Harmony James' Good Enough is up three to seven.

The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire bounds into the top 10 at eight, McAlister Kemp's It Don't Buy You Love is steady at nine while Tori Darke's Not My Time To Fly is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Kristy Cox's It's Hard To Stop A Heart (15 to 11), The Sunny Cowgirls Naughty Side (18 to 15), Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl (19 to 16), Adam Harvey's Better Than This (21 to 17), Paul Costa's No Turning Back (23 to 19), Jetty Road's I Have Been (27 to 23), Graeme Connors' All The Money's Gone (29 to 25) and the Steve Eales/Chris E Thomas duet When It Rocks (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include The Lees (pictured) with Remember To Breathe (in at 30).

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Southern Stars finalists

Dianna Corcoran, Amber Lawrence, Tracy Killeen and Brendan Radford (pictured from left) head the list of finalists for the 2010 Southern Stars – the 14th Australian Independent Country Music Awards, presented by Neighbourhood Cable – to be announced in Mildura in October.

All scored three finalist berths in a year that sees a total of 20 artists featuring as finalists in the eight judged categories.

Dianna, Amber and Tracy are head to head for Single of the Year, Album of the Year and Female Vocal.

Dianna's nominations include Thank You For Cheating On Me in Single and Female Vocal and Keep Breathing in Album.

Amber spread her options with Don't Do Lonely Well in Single, When It All Comes Down in Female Vocal and in Album.

Brave secured two nominations for Tracy in Single and Female Vocal with Driver's Seat picking up an Album nomination.

Brendan scored berths in Album with Snow, Heritage Track of the Year for Coongoola Station and Male Vocal with Stop The Night.

Carter & Carter, Luke O'Shea and Ian Quinn are also multiple finalists with two nominations each... Carter & Carter with Surviving Black Saturday in Single and Group/Duo of the Year, Luke with Stop The Night in Male Vocal and Shadow Of A Cloud in Heritage and Ian with Say G'day From Me in Heritage and Frontier Country in Male Vocal.

John O'Dea is a finalist for Heritage Track of the Year with Where The Outback Starts, Brad Cole is a finalist in Male Vocal with Hold Me In Your Arms Tonight and Victoria Baillie is a finalist for Female Vocal with Mr Yesterday.

Other finalists for Group/Duo of the Year are The Bobkatz with The Writer, the Davidson Brothers with Born To Play and Jetty Road with Road To Nowhere.
The Bobkatz

In the new talent categories...

Tori Darke (with Not My Time To Fly), Bec Hance (You'll Find A Bloke), Sarah McMonagle (Tea On Tuesday) and Aleyce Simmonds (The Keeper) are finalists for Independent Rising Star, Female.

And Jason Lee (A Memory), Stephen Rowe (Restless Soul), Dane Sharp (Another Star In The Sky) and Daly Stephenson (They Came They Went) are finalists for Rising Star, Male.


Joeli and Jack Junior Saddles finalists

Joeli Brennan and Jack Hayden (pictured) were announced as the latest finalists for the 2010 Junior Saddles competition at the weekend.

Twleve-year-old Joeli is the youngest finalist to date although she will turn 13 a couple of weeks before the final in October. In her set, Joeli performed Arms Of The Moon, a song she co-wrote with her father when she was 10.

In his set, Jack performed Hard Earned Money by Matt Scullion & Lawrie Minson and an instrumental. It proved second time luck for the 15 year old as he had already competed in the Dubbo heat, where, organisers say, he narrowly missed out on placing.

Joeli and Jack will join finalists from around NSW at the Junior Saddles competition final in Sydney on Saturday, October 9, at the Rooty Hill RSL Club.

The ultimate Junior Saddles winner will take home $1000 and will perform at the prestigious Golden Saddles Concert & Awards the same night.

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

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Beaut Ute Anthems

A new release from ABC Music (via Universal Music distribution) is Beaut Ute Anthems 2010, billed as "the perfect rock and country soundtrack for the great Australian ute driver".

The two-disc compilation album (one disc each of country and rock acts) features both local and international stars including recent hits from some of the biggest names in music right now, from country legends Adam Brand and Lee Kernaghan to rockers Grinpsoon and Wolfmother.

A total of 36 tracks include Adam Brand's Thump Thump, Lee Kernaghan's Girls Gone Wild, Jonah's Road's Giddy Up, McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough, Markus Meier's A Different Land, Jasmine Rae's Pink Guitar and The Sunny Cowgirls Dancing On The Darling.


Fiji Festival fun

The inaugural Oz Country Music Festival, held last week on the Pacific Island of Fiji, has been declared a success with almost 100 holiday makers journeying from across Australia to take in the scheduled festivities.

Showcasing some of Australia's leading country music talent, the festival featured Bill Chambers, Travis Collins, Ashleigh Dallas (and her band), Jonah's Road, John Williamson and Felicity Urquhart together with traditional Fijian music and entertainers.

Held at Rydges Hideway Resort, the seven day festival's introduction welcomed positive feedback from both visitors and artists giving the infant event the big thumbs up, according to organisers.

Confirming the success has been the number of enquiries and bookings already taken for the 2011 festival only four days after the completion on the first event, they said.

Travelworld Tamworth, the organisation behind the event, has been inundated with calls and already has more than 50 confirmed bookings for next year's festival which will run from July 31 to August 7.

With the dates set for 2011, Chris Watson, Travelworld Tamworth Director, is currently in negotiations with several major artists to appear. With word already spread from artists involved this year, it appears that a Fiji escape is likely to be of high interest to many stars with Travelworld receiving several requests from artists wanting to be involved.

"The response has been overwhelming," Chris said. "We want to ensure the Oz Country Music Festival continues to grow but also develops as an event so that there is something on offer for first time festival-goers as well as returning clients.

"Fiji is perfect at this time of year and the Rydges Hideaway Resort and local Fijian communities have really taken to and embraced the event."

It is anticipated the line up for next year's festival will be announced by the end of this month.

Event sponsor Country Music Capital News were quick to team up with the event again.

"Working with Chris Watson and the team has been effortless with an outstanding result," said Capital News General Manager Cheryl Byrnes. "The artists, fans, resort and community were all effected in a positive way by the visit from the group including a visit to a local school to offer a gift of school supplies and cash donations."

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WA Country Music Awards

Entries have opened for the 2011 Western Australia Country Music Awards.

Organised and staged by the Country Music Club of Boyup Brook, entries in the Awards close on Thursday September 30.

The Awards are announced as part of the annual Boyup Brook Country Music Festival which will run next year from Wednesday February 16 to Sunday February 20.

Organisers say the Awards have proved to be a launching pad into the music industry for several country music performers and musicians since their inception many years ago.

"Performers and musicians gain valuable experience from entering," they say. "This includes self promotion, recording their music, and being judged by acknowledged national country music performers."

Categories for the 2011 Awards are Best Group/Duo, Best Male and Female Artists, Best Independent Single and Album, Best Teenage Artist, Best Sub-Teen Artist (Under 13), Junior Songwriter (Original Material) and Senior Songwriter (Original Material).

A final three in all categories will be announced and invited to perform at the Awards to determine winners.

Entry forms can be downloaded here

Photo: award winners Ian Simpson and Jane Germain perform during this year's Awards.


Melinda tops the jazz/blues chart

Melinda Schneider's new creative direction for her sixth studio album – Melinda Does Doris – has proven to be a hit with the album debuting at number one on the ARIA Jazz/Blues chart this week.

Melinda burst Michael Buble's bubble, knocking him from the position he had held for several weeks.

Affirming that there are plenty of fans for the melodies of the '50s and '60s, Melinda Does Doris also rocketed to number seven on the Australian artists chart, ahead of Crowded House, ACDC and The John Butler Trio and to debuted at number 30 on the mainstream top 50 albums chart.

"I am so thrilled with the way the album has been received," Melinda said. "This record seems to be making people happy, but I really have to thank the delightful Doris Day for the stunning songs and the joy that she has given all of her fans for so many years, including me!"

It's been a busy few months for Melinda, with the album recorded with producer Chong Lim while she was rehearsing and performing on Channel 7's "Dancing With The Stars".

Melinda acquitted herself well on the show with dancing partner Serghei Bolgarschii right up until week five.

There's little sign that Melinda will be slowing down anytime soon as she embarks on the film clip for the first single from the new album – The Deadwood Stage – ahead of rumours of a national "Melinda Does Doris" tour starting later this year (dates to be announced).

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Kelsie sings her way along the road to success

Kelsie Rimmer (pictured) has taken out the Brisbane heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search staged as part of this year's Ekka on Saturday night.

The eighteen-year-old from Palmwoods on the Queensland Sunshine Coast will travel to Sydney later this year to participate in an intensive two day music mentoring "Boot Camp" and a chance to compete in the competition during the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

Boot Camp is a music development workshop where aspiring musicians will gain valuable experience and insights from a network of music industry professionals including songwriters, publishers, established artists and industry organisations.

Telstra Area General Manager, Brisbane, Anton Jones said as part of the camp, Kelsie would perform in front of thousands of V8 Supercar fans together with The McClymonts and past Telstra Road to Tamworth winners, to the biggest audience of her career.

"It is a big thrill to see Kelsie's dreams given a rocket with this win," he said. "Her heart is set on music, and it would be fantastic to see someone with so much talent from Queensland hit the big time."

Currently taking a break from her creative arts studies at the University of Queensland, Kelsie shares her passion for music with filmmaking and received a number of accolades at the 2009 Queensland Young Filmmakers Festival including Best Script and Best Film.

Kelsie said she'd always been drawn to the country music genre as it brought people together and she felt part of the country music family whenever she performed on stage.

During Saturday's heat, Kelsie performed two songs, including one of her original songs Goodbye Days.

A self taught musician who grew up with country music around her, Kelsie performs regularly around the Sunshine Coast but was a little stunned when her name was called as the Brisbane heat winner.

"Thank you, this is such an amazing opportunity," was all she could muster when presented with the winner's trophy.

The winning performer and songwriter of the Telstra Road to Tamworth final will each receive a 12-month mentorship package including a recording session in Nashville, domestic and international gigs, publicity, media training and support from a network of music industry professionals.

Aspiring local songwriters have until October 31 before entries close nationally in the songwriting category.

Performers who live more than 400 kilometres from a heat location won't miss out as they can enter online in the Telstra Road to Tamworth digital heat. Entries for this also close nationally on October 31.

The next physical heat in the competition will be held at Australia's biggest rural field days, AgQuip at Gunnedah (NSW) at 11am next Thursday, August 19. Special guests at this heat will be James Blundell, Amber Lawrence and Luke Webb.

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New banjo album from Ian and John

Ian Simpson and John Kane are two of Australia's most accomplished banjo players, and now, the two have combined to produce a dedicated album of banjo hits, The Banjo, Misunderstood, Maligned, Magic!.

"On this CD (Ian and John) bring you the most loved and famous banjo tunes from across the instrument's vast and growing repertoire," said a spokesman for the record label, ABC (distributed by Universal).

"Bluegrass, folk, country, dixieland, classical! There is almost no style of music the banjo cannot play. The character-filled, rustic-looking instrument has shaken off its cliched image to become one of the most popular instruments today."

The new recording captures the traditional bluegrass virtuosity in pieces like Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Cripple Creek to the whimsical strains of ragtime in the Scott Joplin classics The Entertainer and The Maple Leaf Rag.

"Even the music of Beethoven and Bach is given new life by this most enigmatic of instruments," said the ABC spokesman.

"Whether it's the chart-topping success of groups like Mumford & Sons proudly brandishing banjos as symbols of their rustic masculinity, or the thousands of YouTube viewers entranced by the skilful playing of comedians Steve Martin and Billy Connolly (both accomplished banjoists!), this instrument is well and truly part of popular culture and it's here to stay.

"Its magical charms are impossible to deny."

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New from Rene

Long time country music singer/songwriter Rene Diaz from Victoria has just released a new five track album as an independent after a 12 year break from recording and touring.

First single off the album is the title track – Why Rock When You Really Want To Roll which is currently receiving airplay on country radio.

Rene is currently undertaking a small tour of NSW and Queensland (see On Tour for details).

His show – "Country Comes To Town" – has been received well in both states.

"I should have moved north a long time ago," Rene said, "but for family reasons stayed on in Victoria. But now with the kids all grown... I have time on my hands with new songs to sing, new places to go and new people to meet.

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Mcclymonts US release

The McClymonts will release their Chaos And Bright Lights album in America next Tuesday.

Executive Music Group has announced their exclusive release in conjunction with the band's first official American concert dates beginning this Thursday (August 12) playing support to chart-topping country artist Jason Aldean, award-winning country group Lady Antebellum and the Ozzy Osbourne.

The McClymonts – Brooke, Mollie and Sam from Grafton, in northern NSW – have spent their young lives pursuing their musical dreams.

From a very young age, the girls spent every weekend travelling up and down the east coast of Australia doing the hard yards of the well-worn country music talent quest circuit.

Often musically compared to the Dixie Chicks and SheDaisy, The McClymonts were finally able to unleash their musical alchemy and soaring vocal perfection when they were discovered and signed by Universal Music Australia.

They have won four Golden Guitars to date, including the Vocal Group award for the last three years.

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Boys From The Bush

Following on from the success of the first volume last year comes Boys From The Bush 2.

The album is described as "a celebration of the great Aussie bloke and the music of many of Australia's favourite artists.

It features songs from "great Australian blokes" James Blundell, Adam Brand, Travis Collins, Troy Cassar-Daley, Steve Forde, Adam Harvey, Adam James, Lee Kernaghan, McAlister Kemp, Peter McWhirter, Markus Meier, Lawrie Minson and Warren H Williams.

The album is released by ABC, distributed by Universal.


Chart Update – Amber hits number one, again

Amber Lawrence has hit number one again on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart, this week with her latest hit Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You).

Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy is steady at number two, as is Markus Meier's A Different Land while Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing edges up one to number four.

Troy Cassar-Daley's number one from last week – Chasin' Rodeo – is at five, Tori Darke's Not My Time To Fly is steady at six while Adam James' Freedom Now Begins bounds up three to seven.

America's Court Yard Hounds are steady at eight with The Coast, McAlister Kemp's It Don't Buy You Love enters the top 10 at nine and as does Harmony James' Good Enough at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire (15 to 11), Kristy Cox's It's Hard To Stop A Heart (20 to 15), The Sunny Cowgirls Naughty Side (23 to 18), Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl (22 to 19), Adam Harvey's Better Than This (25 to 21), Paul Costa's No Turning Back (29 to 23) and Jetty Road's I Have Been (new at 27).

Other new entries to the chart this week include Leila Fisher with Desert Of Love (in at 28), Graeme Connors with All The Money's Gone (at 29) and the Steve Eales/Chris E Thomas duet When It Rocks (at 30).

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Wayne still calls Australia home

International country performer Wayne Horsburgh has decided to finish up in America after 25 years of going back and forth between Australia and the USA to spend more time at home.

Wayne first visited America in 1984 and found there was a market for his singing and yodelling and has been going back to work there every year since.

Spending at least six months of each year based in Branson, Missouri, and performing at Silver Dollar City, as well as touring Wisconsin, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and everywhere in between, Wayne has promoted Australia to American audiences.

State fairs, county fairs, world festivals, country music festivals, theme parks, oprys and even at polka festivals, Wayne's CDs have sold extremely well and his popularity has grown each year.

Now, he says: "It's time to come back home and continue my career in my home country, and be a little closer to my family and friends.

"I have enjoyed the experience of performing in the USA and working alongside some of the biggest names in showbiz, but the time comes when you know you want to get back home, and Australia is still the best country in the world."

Wayne has won five Australian Entertainment "MO" Awards and two ACE (Australian Club Entertainment) Awards for Country Performer Of The Year during his past 31 years of performing in Sydney clubs and throughout Australia.

With 23 albums recorded during his career, Wayne records for Rotation Records (Australia) and will soon be in the studio again for his next project.

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CMC Rocks the Hunter

The successful CMC Rocks country concert is moving from the Snowys to the Hunter.

XYZnetworks’ Country Music Channel (CMC), Rob Potts Entertainment Edge and Chugg Entertainment have announced that after three very successful years in Thredbo, Australia's "premier roots and country music festival" is moving.

In 2011, the event will be held in the NSW Hunter Valley in March as CMC Rocks The Hunter to cater for growth and the need for a larger site.

The promoters have thanked their Thredbo partners for helping to establish the event and for "supporting great live country and roots music".

"The fans have really taken this event to heart and with the plans we have for continued growth... music fans can look forward to bigger and more exciting line-ups on the new site," said Rob Potts.

"CMC Rocks has a reputation for offering music fans mind-blowing line-ups not seen anywhere else in Australia, and has become a major fixture on the roots and country music festival calendar."

Line-ups from previous years have included Gary Allan, the John Butler Trio, Kasey Chambers (pictured), Lee Kernaghan, Joe Nichols, Taylor Swift and The Waifs.


CMC Rocks the North...

Meanwhile, promoters have also announced details for a special CMC Rocks North Queensland to be staged at Townsville in September.

Billed as "the North's biggest ever country music event – a six-plus hour multi-lineup blockbuster – the event will be staged on Saturday September 25 and will star American superstar Tim McGraw (pictured) during his Australian tour.

Tim will be supported by local acts including Steve Forde and Jasmine Rae and Canada's Corb Lund.

Organisers are chuffed Tim McGraw agreed to headline their CMC Rocks North Queensland.


Kerrigan charts in Sri Lanka

Kerrigan La-Brooy remains at number one on the Sri Lankan Hit Parade for the fourth consecutive week.

The chart is made up of original songs and the public cast their votes each week.

Kerrigan says he is elated to hold the position, particularly with a song he recorded more than 25 years ago, "that has somehow made a triumphant come-back".

The song is titled Youth Of Today and was included on his first album Love Will Find A Way.

Kerrigan says he hopes to get back into the recording studio at some stage but right now his life revolves around his three children. His wife, Michelle, meanwhile, has decided to organise a "Kerrigan Concert" as she "desperately misses" seeing her husband on stage.

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New single from Karen

ABC Music has released a new single from Karen Lynne's Wishing Well album.

Titled Sweetheart Darling Of Mine, the track is described as "a great bluegrass and acoustic song which showcases Karen's strong vocal ability" and is once again being supported by many of Australia's country radio DJs, being quickly added to playlists across the country.

This single comes just prior to the release of the first track from Karen's upcoming album Heart Songs, described as "a return to straight traditional country music" which is due out "officially" in October.

Karen has been busy recently filming a new music video for another of the Wishing Well tracks, a self-penned co-write with Richard Porteous titled Blue Mountain Rain. The video is being shot by Dusk Music Video Productions and is expected to be released shortly.

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And Kristy's second single charts

Following the success of That's Where the Faith Comes In, the first single off Kristy Cox's latest album Breaking New Ground, the second single, It's Hard To Stop A Heart has entered the charts.

In conjunction with the release of the song to radio, the music video for the single is not to far away, Kristy says. Filmed by Golden Guitar winner Duncan Toombs, the video was shot in Bendigo, Victoria.

Kristy returned recently from her first appearance at the Redlands Bluegrass Festival in Queensland where she reportedly impressed a full house with a six-piece bluegrass band showcasing songs from her current album.

It was Kristy's first ever bluegrass festival performance and debut on to the Australian bluegrass scene. She has been invited back to perform at next year's event.

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Warren goes Green

Australian country artist Warren H Williams is contesting the upcoming Federal election as lead candidate for the Northern Territory Senate for the Greens party.

Though born a traditional Aboriginal man, Warren has made reference in some press releases as being born a "green".

And he says: "That's what we are as an Aboriginal person, we are the land, we were born to this land and I wish to advocate and protect our country officially as a Greens Senator.

"I have been advocating this through song for many years and am going to go even further now... becoming a stronger voice."

Warren is described as a proud Arrernte man, Territorian and Australian and is making the move into the political arena because he wants to focus on the future of his people and the Northern Territory.

He is best known as a singer/songwriter having been named NAIDOC Artist of the Year in 2006. He won Most Popular Song in 2005 for Dreamtime Baby and Male Artist of the Year in 2004 at the inaugural Northern Territory Indigenous Music Awards.

Warren recently won his first Golden Guitar with John Williamson and Amos Morris for Australia Is Just Another Word For Free.

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Chart Update – Troy still at the top

Troy Cassar-Daley's Chasin' Rodeo remains at number one on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy is up one to number two while Markus Meier's A Different Land is at three and Amber Lawrence's Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) is at four.

Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing is up one to five, Tori Darke's Not My Time To Fly is up two to six and Jayne Denham's Trucker Chicks is at seven.

America's Court Yard Hounds (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks) are at 8 with The Coast, Tracy Killeen's Brave is at nine and Adam James' Freedom Now Begins is new in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Harmony James' Good Enough, McAlister Kemp's It Don't Buy You Love (14 to 11), The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire (20 to 15), Kristy Cox's It's Hard To Stop A Heart (24 to 20), The Sunny Cowgirls Naughty Side (27 to 23), Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl (26 to 22) and Adam Harvey's Better Than This (28 to 25).

New entries to the chart this week include Paul Costa (pictured) with No Turning Back (in at 29).

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