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News to go daily

As from March, this website will publish news as it happens.

"There is so much going on in Australian country music at the moment, we're finding we need to go virtually daily to meet the needs of newsmakers and readers," said Editor and Publisher Bob Kirchner.

In its first year (up until December), the Country Music Bulletin website passed well over a million hits on the site, now Australia's leading country music news web portal.

In January, co-inciding with the giant country music festival in Tamworth, a height of activity for the domestic industry, the website registered more than a quarter of a million hits alone with February not far behind.

The huge number of hits in January translated to almost 5,000 unique visitors, more than 6,000 visits and over 10,000 page views.

"As the website continues to build visitation numbers in the months and years ahead, we expect the hit rate to reach or exceed three million by the end of this year," Bob said.

News will be posted online as it happens with alerts sent to the hundreds of people who have signed up for the website's news alert service and a weekly summary still circulated to the broader industry.

The website news service is provided in conjunction with the specialist Country Music Bulletin magazine which is published quarterly and distributed to subscribers across Australia.

Vale – Billy Thorpe

Australian country music laments the passing of Australian music legend Billy Thorpe who died this morning at age 60 after suffering a massive heart attack.

He is survived by his wife Lynne and daughters Rusty and Lauren. "His family were with him when he passed away," a spokesman said on Channel 9.

Billy's manager Michael Chugg has said the death is a "terrible tragedy", as Billy had just finished recording a new album and was very happy after a recent acoustic tour.

English born Billy emigrated to Australia at the age of seven with his mother and father, Mabel and Bill, and settled in Brisbane in the 1950s. In 1963, he moved to Sydney and played in a number of bands.

Billy's former manager Michael Browning, who also handled AC/DC, has said Billy was a "genius". "I don't think there has ever been anyone in Australia that has been able to work the crowd like Billy Thorpe.  He was just amazing, an actual genius as a showman."

In 1964, at 17, Billy and his band the Aztecs were riding the wave of success, playing to thousands of screaming, stomping fans at Sydney's Surf City. An early hit for Thorpe was Poison Ivy. He later became well known for hits like Over The Rainbow, Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy) and It's Almost Summer.

Billy's popularity grew after playing the ground-breaking Sunbury Festival, known as Australia's Woodstock.

Rock historian Glenn A Baker has said Billy and the Aztecs created Australia's pub music scene. "It's the one form of music we've done better and more convincingly than any other."

Prime Minister John Howard said he was saddened at the death of Billy who would be best remembered as a "towering figure of Australian rock and roll".

"Billy Thorpe was an accomplished guitarist with an unmistakable voice. "On behalf of Janette and myself and the Australian Government, I extend my deepest sympathies to Billy's family, friends and fans."

Former Midnight Oil frontman and now Labor MP Peter Garrett has said Billy and the Aztecs were an inspiration to a generation of musicians. "They were loud and proud and very Aussie and when they played at Sunbury (music festival) they got up as a bunch of Aussie blokes and just really did it full frontal."

Fellow rocker Normie Rowe has said Thorpe was a "cornerstone" of the local music industry.

After the final incarnation of the Aztecs disbanded, Thorpe moved to US in the late 70s before making a triumphant return to Australia, touring and writing two well-received autobiographies which chronicled his musical journey.

Adam Harvey wins Global Artist Award

Australia's Adam Harvey has been named winner of the 2007 CMA (Country Music Association, America) Global Country Artist Award.

Adam will travel to Nashville in June to accept the award and perform during this year's CMA Music Festival.

"The Country Music Association is committed to promoting country music around the globe," said Chief Operating Officer Tammy Genovese, "and one way we do that is to encourage the development of country music artists from other nations."

A strong slate of international artists has been announced to perform at the fourth annual Global Artist Party to be held at The Stage on Monday June 4.

CMA will honour Adam as the recipient of the Global Country Artist Award which recognises outstanding achievement by an artist who has both furthered country music's popularity and brought attention to the format in their home territory. Adam will accept his trophy on Saturday June 9 when he performs on the Greased Lightning Daytime Stages at Riverfront Park in Nashville.

"It is a great honour to win this award and to be recognised for doing something that I just enjoy," Adam said. "I am thrilled and looking forward to being back in Nashville to receive the award in June."

Adam has enjoyed a career with many defining moments, including achieving Gold status from the Australia Recording Industry Association for three albums – Workin' Overtime, Cowboy Dreams and his current release Can't Settle For Less. He is one of Australia's most awarded country music performers in the last decade.

"Adam Harvey's international outreach in recent years makes him a worthy recipient of this award," said Jeff Walker, President of AristoMedia and Chairman of the CMA Global Markets Committee. "In addition to his huge success in his native Australia, Adam has been successful in recent tours in Canada and Ireland. His personal commitment to global outreach should only be enhanced by this well-deserved honour."

Candidates for the CMA Global Country Artist Award are chosen from artists nominated by CMA's international membership. CMA's Board of Directors approves the winner. Previous recipients are Jason McCoy of Canada (2006), Paul Brandt of Canada (2005), Kasey Chambers and, posthumously, Slim Dusty (2004) and Lee Kernaghan, winner of the inugural award in 2003.

The CMA's Global Artist Party this year will feature at least six international country music artists representing four countries – Australian born Gord Bamford from Canada, Travis Collins, Lucie Diamond from the UK, Morgan Evans, winner of the 2007 Telstra Road to Tamworth competition, John McNicholl from Ireland and Shane Yellowbird from Canada.

Tickets for the 2007 CMA Music Festival are now selling via the CMA ( or

WAM award winners

The WAM (West Australian Music) Awards were handed out in Perth last week.

Country winners were The Pigram Brothers who took out Best Indigenous Act and The Jayco Brothers, Best Country Music Act.

Photo: Peter, Steve and Alan Pigram.

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500 to play Caboolture

More than 500 artists will perform on 10 separate stages during four days crammed with activities featuring some of the biggest names in Australian country music at the 2007 QUT Urban Country Music Festival during the May long weekend.

The major attraction is the main concert on Saturday May 5 which features Adam Brand (below right), Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole (below), The McClymonts and John Williamson (left).

Veteran rocker Jimmy Barnes, becoming a feature act at quite a few country music events, is also planning to be part of the line up once he has made a full recovery from this month's heart surgery.

But Caboolture is not just about established acts.

The hometown of Keith Urban is aiming to uncover brand new talent with its Voice of Urban Country competition which is offering a prize package worth almost $13,000 to the winner.

Other festival competitions will include the Nova Ford Beaut Ute Show, the "search for the Best Butts" and buskers will get their chance to shine in their own competition.

Now in its fourth year, the Urban Country Music Festival will include markets, line dancing workshops, clogging workshops and demonstrations, pig racing and activities aimed strictly at the kids.

A songwriters’ café will present modern urban and traditional country artists singing and talking about their own material. Concerts will be held every day of the festival from May 4 to 7.

The free Burbs ‘n Bush concert which kicks off events on the Friday evening features Kingaroy singer songwriter Tom Curtain, Jetty Road and Adam Kilpatrick while moonlit campfires and fireworks add to the atmosphere of Sunday night’s Urban Blaze concert.

Bush balladeers will perform at their own event for the first time this year and Monday’s farewell concert will feature award winning duo Carter and Carter.

Organisers are hoping to better last year’s event which attracted more than 32,000 visitors from all over Australia over the four days.

The QUT Urban Country Music Festival is benefiting from a $25,000 investment under the Queensland Events Regional Development Program (QERDP), a State Government initiative designed to take unique and creative regional events to their full potential.

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Keith to visit in March

Speaking of Keith Urban, Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that he will be visiting Australia from March 20 to 23 to promote his current album Love, Pain And The Whole Crazy Thing ahead of his arena tour in May.

He will also do an invite-only showcase in Sydney.

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John O'Dea on Irish TV

South Australia's John O’Dea climbed out of his "old rusty ute" after the long trip home from this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival and ended up in every loungeroom in Ireland.

On one of his frequent visits to Parachilna, the picturesque setting for one of John’s self-penned songs from his second album, Old Rusty Ute, he ran into a film crew from TV3 Ireland who were shooting outback Australia for Ireland AM, one of that country’s most watched breakfast programs.

John was filmed singing Parachilna Sunset in the front bar of the Prairie Hotel, the pub he sings about on the album. It had been quite a ride home from Tamworth, too, where he had performed at several gigs including the South of the Border show with fellow South Australian artists Dave Prior, Jeanette Wormald and the Huckleberry Swedes at The Family Hotel.

He was also invited to perform on the prestigious de Gruchy Showcase at The Pub to a capacity audience on Australia Day.

"Tamworth was such a blast," John said. "I managed to share my songs and stories with more people than I could ever have imagined, and now it’s going as far as Ireland. I couldn’t be happier."

John is now looking forward to receiving hits on his website from newfound friends in the Emerald Isle where he hopes his music may become better known as a result of the TV exposure.

Other big things in the pipeline for the singer/songwriter include the chance to sing a few songs before a huge audience at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, one of Australian motor racing’s premier events this Saturday (March 3).

Later in March, he's returning to Parachilna to perform for a contingent of tourists from England wanting an insight into the Australian way of life. John has scored a spot at the Mt Remarkable Ute Muster at Melrose on April 21, in the company of Steve Forde and the Flange, Lee Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan and The McClymonts as part of Lee's Outback to the Beaches tour.

"Mt Remarkable is one of the most beautiful natural settings in our country," John said, "so this will be a pretty special night."

In between these shows, John likes to keep busy teaching guitar, vocals and mentoring more than 50 children in schools and in private tuition in the Flinders Ranges. His latest single, the title track from his current album, has just been released to radio.

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A Pub With No Beer turns 50

Special three CD commemorative song set to be released

As Australia's first hit single – A Pub With No Beer – turns 50, Slim Dusty's record company (EMI) is planning to release a three CD, 60 song set to commemorate the event.

The set, Pubs, Trucks And Plains, will have Slim's many beer related songs (including the number one hit single Duncan) and the songs which, over two other themes – trucks and the bush – that Slim also made his own and served him so well during his 60 year career and his seven million recording sales.

"It is not every year that we have the opportunity to celebrate the recording of a truly treasured song that can be called an Australian anthem, but in 2007 we can," said a spokesman for EMI.

"This iconic 1957 recording by Slim, written by Slim’s mate Gordon Parsons, was not only the first ever number one hit by an Australian artist but also Australia’s first ever international hit single. In England, it entered the top three in January 1959 and internationally sold well over half a million - staggering figures for 1959)."

It was also Australia’s first ever Gold Record and will always be the only Gold 78 rpm disc to have ever been presented to any Australian artist.

"But let’s go back to early April 1957," the EMI spokesman said. "Slim had been booked to record six songs out at the old EMI studios at Homebush. Those six songs had been reduced to four but still he was one song short. Enter his good mate Gordon who had been talking about a song he was near to completing – something about a pub that ran out of beer.

Recorded in just one take, A Pub With No Beer, or just plain "Pub"' as it is known to thousands of Slim fans, was then pressed as the b-side to Saddle Boy. And that was pretty much that.

"But then, Bob Rogers, a young Sydney based radio announcer who had just moved form Brisbane, heard the track and started to play it. And play it. And play it. And sales climbed. And climbed until the national tally reached almost 50,000 – EMI’s highest ever for a domestic artist. Other stations started to play the track and then the dam burst. It stayed on the charts a full six months."

A Pub With No Beer would dominate Slim’s life and career for decades. It become Australia’s most iconic drinking song... "and in a country that loves a beer, that’s high praise indeed. But more than anything it’s a song that has touched Australians everywhere. And continues to do so, and Slim loved that."

As journalist Daniel Lewis described the day of Slim’s funeral in 2003, It was the day an unassuming country musician officially joined Lawson and Paterson in the realm of myth and legend and proved again that, overwhelmingly, urban and coastal people still look to the bush for their cultural compass."

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Saturday Night Country continues to rate

The first round of surveys of all AM and FM radio stations in all capital cities for 2007 reveal an on-going strength for John Nutting's Saturday Night Country on ABC Radio across Australia (and beyond).

Results show the effectiveness of the program as a major avenue of exposure for country music in Australia.

The figures below show the share of audience for Saturday Night Country compared to all other stations in each market.

  • Adelaide – 8 percent
  • Brisbane – 9.9 percent
  • Melbourne – 12.8 percent
  • Perth – 13.8 percent
  • Sydney – 8.8 percent

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Carmody tribute album debuts at three

The Paul Kelly organised tribute album to Kev Carmody – Cannot Buy Me Soul – has debuted on the ARIA national country albums chart at number three.

Clare Bowditch, John Butler, Troy Cassar-Daly, The Drones, Bernard Fanning, The Herd, Missy Higgins, Dan Kelly, Steve Kilbey, The Last Kinnection, Augie March, Tex Perkins, The Pigram Bros, Archie Roach, Michelle Shocked, Sara Storer, Dan Sultan, The Waifs and Paul himself feature on the release.

The album honours the man who was once dubbed an Aboriginal Bob Dylan.

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Jackie makes AMP short list

Organisers of the Australian Music Prize (AMP) announced an extra album title to the list of final nominations – a work by country singer Jackie Marshall (pictured).

The reason was simple, explained Scott Murphy, AMP Founder and Prize Director: there were more than eight great Australian albums released in 2006.

Fight 'n' Flight was recorded by Jackie in a farm house outside Sydney.

The other finalists are Augie March's Moo, You Bloody Choir, Jebediah guitarist and singer Kevin Mitchell's alter ego Bob Evans' Suburban Songbook, alternate electronica artist Gotye's Like Drawing Blood, rock band Howling Bells' Howling Bells, award winning film composer and former Dead Can Dance member Lisa Gerrard's The Silver Tree, theatrical singer/songwriter Sarah Blasko's What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have, last year's winners The Drones' with Gala Mill and indie pop trio the Grates' debut Gravity Won't Get You High.

The shortlist for the best Australian albums of 2006 was decided by a panel of 73 judges, comprising fellow musicians, media executives and retailers.

The winner will be announced March 7 at a gala event at Sydney's Home nightclub.

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ARIA elections

Denis Handlin (pictured), Chairman and Chief Executive of Sony BMG Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand, has been re-elected as Chairman of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for a record ninth year.

Despite the Australian court victory over the Kazaa software's Sydney based parent Sharman Networks, Denis said illegal file sharing was a major problem for the industry and working with internet service providers (ISPs) to eradicate the practice would be a priority for ARIA.

Another significant aim, he said, was to lift the profile of ARIA's weekly charts by furthering strategic alliance with mobile phone company Motorola, which sponsors the charts, and DMG Radio's Nova network which broadcasts the new chart nationally each Sunday.

Also elected to the ARIA board were George Ash, Managing Director of Universal Music Australia; Marcus Seal, Chief Executive of Shock Records; Ed St John, President and Chief Executive of Warner Music Australasia; Philip Mortlock, Managing Director of Origin Recordings; John O'Donnell, Managing Director of EMI Music; and Ken Outch, Chief Operating Officer of Rajon.

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2007 bush poetry events at Winton

The town of Winton in outback Queensland will celebrate Australian bush poetry with three major events or activities this year.

First is the Junior Bush Poetry Awards – the Little Swaggies' Written competition and Junior Performance Competition which will be decided and announced at the Winton Shire Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 3 and 4.

Last year, 513 entries were received for the Written Competition which aims to encourage the writing of traditional-style Australian bush verse incorporating rhyme and rhythm.

The Junior Performance Competition, which aims to encourage the performance of traditional-style Australian bush verse, attracted almost 200 individuals and 17 groups in 2006.

The winner of Winton's well-known Bronze Swagman Award will be announced in September at the Waltzing Matilda Bush Poetry Festival which is now part of the Outback Festival.

Recognised as one of the most prestigious awards in Australia for written bush verse, the Bronze Swagman Award is now in its 36th year. An anthology of verse from the competition is published each year by the Winton Business & Tourism Association.

Entries for the Bronze Swagman Award close on April 30.

The Outback Festival this year will run from September 26 to 30 and, in addition to the Bush Poetry Festival, will include a walk-up concert, poet's breakfasts, and a presentation ceremony for all competitions and announcement of the Bronze Swagman Award winner.

Further information can be obtained from Louise Dean on 07 4657 1296, email

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Michael heads to Nashville

Michael King heads to Nashville this month to spend time writing for his next album.

Michael will embark on a seven week journey around the world stopping off in Nashville where he is scheduled to write.

"It has been a dream of mine to get over to Nashville and see 'the big smoke' and I am thrilled to be able to finally get there," he said.

Last year saw Michael working hard in clubs throughout Queensland and NSW gathering finances to fund his "next big adventure". Michael was crowned as Best New Talent at the 2006 Qld Clubs Entertainer Awards.

While in Nashville, Michael will also be performing, showcasing his songs and vocal talents at Caffeine Café and Bar on Demonbreun Street.

After his trip, Michael will return to Brisbane to start work on the new album which he hopes to release at Tamworth next January.

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Country music worth more than $100m to Tamworth

The annual country music festival held in Tamworth in January has been estimated to be worth more than $113m to the local economy.

Rebel Thomson, General Manager of Tourism Tamworth, revealed the figure as part of preliminary results from a visitor survey conducted in conjunction with Festival sponsor Telstra for the second year.

"The objectives of the 2007 survey were to validate the results of the 2006 data and further understand the tourism trends of festival-goers," Rebel said. Those objectives had been achieved in 2007 with trends from 2006 communicated again in responses from this year.

The survey collected data on demographics, spending and travel trends and concluded that visitors enjoy a high level of satisfaction, a high percentage stay in the city for seven days or more, expenditure is very high and visitation to nearby towns is very high.

In other statistics, it was revealed that the festival drew 75,000 visitors, more than 31,000 went through the visitor information centre during the festival, 40 percent came from NSW outside Sydney while 14 percent were from Sydney; 23 percent were from Queensland and 13 percent were from Victoria.

Thirty three percent of respondents were visiting the festival for the first time; of the 67 percent who had been before, 22 percent had been seven times or more and a large portion of these said the event had grown or improved since they last attended.

Eighty six percent said they had "a fantastic" or "average" time, 59 percent were couples, 24 percent travelled with friends 14 percent travelled as a family, 11 percent were singles.

Visitors spent, on average, $1,500 while in Tamworth for the festival... $387 on accommodation, $247 on meals, $246 on travel/petrol, $211 on shopping and retail, $189 on tickets, $138 on alcohol, $95 on souvenirs.

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New album for Patti

Patti McKinnon will launch her new album – Good Hearted Woman – in Goulburn in March.

The night, at the Goulburn Workers' Club, Saturday March 24, will also raise funds to help purchase a special trolley for the Emergency Department at Goulburn Base Hospital.

Appearing with Patti will be Stephen R Cheney, Janis Gott, Aimmee Hannan, Alan Neal, Ed Pearson, Jonnie Russell, Kerry Summerfield and Chalkie White.Other artists appearing on the night Are

Community radio DJ Jeff Dunn will compere the "country hoedown".

And a new single for Harmony

And Territory singer/songwriter Harmony James is releasing a first single off her debut EP which generated a lot of interest when it was launched at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

Harmony's own song Tailwind is the single and she says its at radio now.

"When I wrote Tailwind, about needing to get back out on the highway, it wasn’t a stretch. Living in the outback where you think nothing of driving 600 kilometres to a rodeo and having had almost as many addresses as birthdays, I'm well equipped to talk about the road."

The song was a finalist in the most recent International Songwriting Competition, the only Australian entry to make the finals in the country category.

Harmony says with the launch of her official website, the EP is now available for purchase online.

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Paul Mason exits CBAA

Paul Mason, Deputy General Manager of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) and its Contents Services Manager has left the organisation.

Paul joined six and a half years ago as Manager of the CBAA's AMRap service which he set up.

He is moving to the ABC to work on the regional rollout of the News Radio service.

Chart Update – Lee at number one for the second week

Lee Kernaghan maintains his number one position on the Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart this week with Love Shack.

Gina Jeffreys edges up one more place to number two with Live It, George Strait slips one place to three with Just Give It Away while Adam Brand rises to number four with Cigarettes And Whiskey.

Carrie Underwood, Anne Kirkpatrick and Donna Boyd rise two places each with, respectively, Before He Cheats to five, Showman's Daughter to six and Luckiest Girl Alive to seven.

The McClymonts bound into the top 10 at number eight with Baby's Gone Home, Nick Kingswell edges up one more place to nine with Hope For Me Yet and Tim McGraw is at 10 with My Little Girl.

Bullet performers this week include Camille Te Nahu and Stuie French (pictured) with Let's Make A Family (14 to 11), Melinda Schneider's Men In Trucks (17 to 13), Dean Perrett's Jewel Of The Newell (21 to 18), Alex Watt with Watch The Sun Go Down (22 to 19), Catherine Britt with I'm Gone (23 to 20), The Davidson Brothers with Raised On The Road (24 to 21), The Sunny Cowgirls Still Circling (25 to 22), Dianna Corcoran with Then There's Me (26 to 23) and Nicki Gillis with Leavin' You For Myself (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Lee Forster with Drinkin' Bone (in at 29) and Steve Forde & The Flange with Aussie Philosophy (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at

CMC Top 50 – Rascal Flatts hit the top

Rascal Flatts (pictured) hit the top of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week with their clip of What Hurts The Most.

Dianna Corcoran jumps to three with Then There's Me while Gina Jeffreys slips to four with Live It and The Sunny Cowgirls rise to five with Still Circling.

Matt Scullion jumps to six with Giddy Up, Steve Forde & The Flange drop to 10 with Aussie Philosophy, Lee Kernaghan slips to 11 with Love Shack and Nick Kingswell's former number one Hope For Me Yet is down at 12.

Bullet performers this week include James Blundell with Higher Than Heaven (new at 16), Tom Curtain's Born Out Here (28 to 25), Camille Te Nahu and Stuie French with Let's Make A Family (35 to 26), Victoria Baillie with Somethin' Comin' On (48 to 38), Crakajak with Drive (42 to 39) and Nicki Gillis with Leavin' You For Myself (new at 45).

The playlist can be viewed at          

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Toby has 50 million reasons to smile

Toby Keith joined some elite company recently when he reached the 50 millionth performance airplay milestone for his songs, a feat only a handful of other songwriters – John Lennon, Elton John, Barry Gibb and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds – had achieved before him.

To celebrate the big day, Toby called a press conference yesterday at the Nashville office of BMI.

Want some idea of how long it takes to play 50 million spins? Since 1993, Toby's songs have been heard on the airwaves for approximately 2,500,000 hours.

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Country off and on LA radio

Country music has returned to the mainstream airwaves in Los Angeles, America's second-largest market, on KKGO “Go Country 105" after the city's former country outlet KZLA-FM (93.9) dropped the format in August.

The new full-time country station was previously KMZT-FM, the area's only commercially sponsored classical music station.

The "new" station began broadcasting country music on Monday, shifting its classical content to its AM station.

Saul Levine, President of the company, said the move was prompted by "overwhelming listener demand".

Mt Wilson FM Broadcasters had been running a country format for two months on the AM outlet following the demise of KZLA "country" employing some of the same DJs who had been on KZLA.

"That wasn't satisfactory to many country fans, since music quality isn't as good on the AM frequency as on FM."




Slim songs discovered

The National Archive of Australia (NAA) has announced the "find" of four never-recorded songs copyrighted by Slim Dusty in 1943 when he was just 15 years old.

The songs came with an accompanying letter of application sent to the copyright office which gave an insight into the emergence of a national icon, according to the Archives' Curator Johanna Parker.

"The heart felt patriotic pride and delightful spelling mistakes coupled with the initial incorrectly submitted application tell so much about this young but ambitious entertainer," she said.

The four songs are Beautiful Aussie Land, I’m A Yodeling Guy From Texas, Why Don’t You Come Round? and Ramblin’ Along.

While none of the songs were ever recorded, they all show signs of the unique Slim Dusty characteristics that made him a star.

The songwriter’s name was David Gordon Kirkpatrick, but he had been going by the stage name of Slim Dusty since he was 11.

Initially, the application was not processed correctly and the copyright office had to ask the young composer to resubmit his song with the music score.

Three years later Slim released his first album and the rest is Australian music history.

The handwritten lyrics and letters will be on display at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra throughout February.

Click here for more from the National Archives.

NFSA establishes Sounds of Australia

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) today announced the establishment of Sounds of Australia, a public registry of significant recordings that will be added to each year, celebrating Australia’s unique culture and history though sound.

Renowned musician, composer and Australian Film Commissioner Paul Grabowsky is Sounds of Australia’s 2007 patron: "This is a very exciting initiative from the NFSA," he said. "It acknowledges the importance of recorded sound in shaping our identity. There’s no doubt that sound has the power to evoke memories and emotions in a very personal way."

All Australians can participate in the creation of the NFSA’s Sounds of Australia by nominating recordings. A panel of experts from the sound industry and cultural institutions will then use these nominations to select 10 recordings for the registry every year. Nominations for the 2007 list close on March 31.

To be eligible for inclusion, sound recordings must have been made in Australia or by Australians and be at least 20 years old. Almost anything that has been captured on disc, tape, hard drive or cylinder can be nominated – material as diverse as a political speech or news broadcast, a great sporting moment, a single song, an album, an artist or a body of work, or even recordings of bird songs or frogs.

The Director of the NFSA Paolo Cherchi Usai said that criteria for selection would include artistic excellence, historical relevance, technical or scientific achievement, and prominence in shaping Australia’s culture and identity. "I will be fascinated to see what people nominate," he said. "Sound recordings are so important a part of the fabric of life that we occasionally take them for granted. I am looking forward to see what comes up."

The NFSA has established Sounds of Australia with a foundation list of 10 recordings, representing more than a century of Australian recorded sound...

  • The first known Australian recording (a Warnambool shop assistant imitating a chook) from 1896;
  • Nellie Melba’s first commercial recording from 1904;
  • a studio recreation of Australian troops landing in Egypt in 1915, including what may well be the first recording of Advance Australia Fair;
  • Peter Dawson’s On the Road to Gundagai from 1931;
  • country singer Buddy Williams' 1939 recording of Give A Little Credit To Your Dad and Lonesome For You, Mother;
  • Graham Bell’s Dixieland Band’s first recording from 1944;
  • Tribal Sounds Of Australia, the first available recording of traditional Aboriginal music from 1953;
  • Johnny O’Keefe’s She’s My Baby from 1960;
  • Gough Whitlam’s 1975 dismissal speech; and
  • Men at Work’s 1981 classic, Down Under.

Nomination forms for Sounds Of Australia are available by phoning the NFSA on 1800 067 274 or from the NFSA website The 2007 additions to Sounds of Australia will be announced in June.

Support Act appoints two

This week, the Board of Support Act Limited (SAL) welcomed two of Australia’s most respected performers to fill two recent vacancies within the organisation.

Billy Thorpe has joined the Board of Support Act Limited and Brian Cadd has taken over as the leader of SALVIC, the Victorian Chapter of SAL previously headed up by Bobby Valentine.

With an ever-growing number of applicants seeking assistance and on-going help, SAL’s most important task is to raise funds. At a successful function held at NSW Parliament House late last year, Billy Thorpe outlined his ambitious plans to help SAL raise substantial funds in the future to enable much broader ranges of long-term help. Billy will be making an announcement on these plans shortly.

Brian Cadd was the original catalyst for creating SALVIC and pulling together a group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. He is looking forward to building on the Victorian Chapter’s efforts with the assistance of the team.

Support Act Limited (SAL) was formed as a national registered charity in 1997 by a group of concerned music industry veterans who could see that there was a definite need for an organisation to assist members of the industry who were in need or suffering hardship.

The Board comprises up to 12 members with four of the positions permanently available to representatives of music industry peak bodies AMCOS, APRA, ARIA and PPCA.

Photo (from left) – Billy Thorpe, Meryl Gross and Brian Cadd.

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Sara and Felicity on tour

Two of Australia’s leading female singers – Sara Storer and Felicity Urquhart – are joining forces in what promises to be one of the stand-out tours of 2007.

Nine times Golden Guitar winner Sara and two times Golden Guitar winner Felicity have combined their talents for a series of exclusive shows during February and March.

The tour kicked off in Sydney's Richmond Club on Friday moving to Reveseby Workers on Saturday.

Penrith RSL Club is the venue for Saturday March 10, with the ANZ NSW Central Coast Country Music Festival the following day (Saturday 10th).

Sara and Felicity travel to Corowa for a show on Friday, February 16, while Albury is the location for Saturday March 17 and Mittagong RSL on Friday March 30.

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Gympie Apex plays host to Graeme

Gympie will get the opportunity to "get close and personal" with Graeme Connors on Friday March 9 when the Gympie Apex Club presents Graeme’s new show "It’s All Good" in celebration of the star's critically acclaimed 14th album.

A much admired artist at regular Toyota Muster stages over the past years, Graeme requested his management to schedule Gympie on his present tour of Queensland and NSW.

"A gifted and compelling storyteller, Graeme captures the beauty, depth and frailties of the landscape and human condition and 'It’s All Good' in concert, is the perfect opportunity to connect with one of our most respected and awarded contemporary artists," said a spokesman for Gympie Apex.

"It’s All Good" has been touring extensively since the album launch last year with sell-out shows and "great reviews" from Cairns to Hobart and Mildura to Tamworth.

Graeme counts 12 Golden Guitars, one Platinum three Gold albums, "MO", APRA, ARIA, PPCA Awards and a 2006 Walkway of Stars induction among his many accolades.

Funds raised by Gympie Apex Club go towards assisting local community projects.

For additional information contact Brian Sansom at the Toyota Muster office on 07 5482 2099.

Toyota launches new country music website

During this years Tamworth Festival, Toyota launched their new Toyota country music website

The new site is proving to be quite successful already, said a spokesman for the company with around 12,000 page hits since it launched in late January.

The website boasts "your favourite stars bios and news, free music downloads from top artists such as Lee Kernaghan, Melinda Schneider and Colin Buchanan, comprehensive tour information and special limited offers.

"Plus you will be up to date on all the latest news from Tamworth and country music festivals across Australia."

Kinross Muster

Organisers of the Kinross Country Muster at Thurgoona's Kinross Woolshed Hotel in southern NSW had a big line-up of stars at the weekend for one of Australia's newest country music festivals.

Over three days, the Hotel welcomed visitors from as far away as Cairns for the inaugural Muster, the brainchild of Kinross co-owner Nic Conway aiming "to highlight the hip new image of contemporary country music with a line-up of exciting young performers and a program of fun activities".

The line-up included Donna Fisk and Michael Cristian, The McClymonts, 2006 Australian Idol sensation and Queensland jillaroo Klancie Keough, The Pigs and the Wolverines (pictured) together with local talent Katie Baldock, Kelly Hope, Korey Livy and Lisa Mitchell, Megan Puls, Kathryn Seckold and many more.

Former Border country music star Ray Kernaghan, father of country superstars Lee and Tania, was a guest of honour at the Muster.

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Music Conference gears up

Six months out from the eighth AustralAsian Music Business Conference (AMBC) to be held in Sydney from August 16 to 18, organisers have announced topics for nine panels of issues confronting the music and entertainment industries.

They are... "As the music MDs, CEOs and chairpeople see the future of music distribution and markets... Back to the future – new horizons in retail and the long tail... Getting your music sold online in digital and hard carrier formats – locally, internationally and forever... The artists and managers panel – finding new markets and facing the creative future... Call me with the cash! Making mobile music money... Montising free music and video – turn streams and samples onto traffic, fan bases and revenue... Networking music communities and tastemakers...Love it live!... Music: the next generation.

Held every two years, the AMBC features more than 50 top speakers and is the longest running and only privately produced national music industry conference, which is why it attracted over 660 people when last held in 2005, organisers say, "and why we expect more than 770 attendees over three days this year at Sydney's Acer Arena.

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Kimber wins

Kimber Sparks has taken out an award in America, the Alabama Country & Gospel Music Award for 2007 Most Supportive Entertainer of the Year.

She flies from her home base in Queensland on March 4 to receive the award which comes "hot on the heels" of her signing a management/agent contract with Alabama company Gerald Murray Music. Gerald Murray is well known through his affiliations with Hank Williams Jnr and management of artists such as George Jones, Stella Parton and Vern Gosdin).

Kimber has also just finished filming the video clip for her new single Somewhere Between which is due for national release on April 9.  The clip was once again directed and produced for Kimber by Michael Bryers.

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Travis signs to ABC Music Publishing

Travis Collins has signed to ABC Music Publishing.

While his reputation as a musician and performer has garnered the most attention to date, it has been Travis' songwriting – first widely heard on his current album Start The Car with tracks like 1000 Memories and I Was Wrong – that drew the attention of ABC Music Publishing.

Head of the publishing firm Eloise Nolan said: "Travis is a writer who knows how to use words; he’s insightful, eloquent, has a sense of humour and a sense of moment, while his skills as a musician mean that the melody is never second best."

Travis said: "I've noticed myself writing a lot more lately, almost as if it’s second nature... I've found the rewards of the art form and I guess that comes from really enjoying the writing, playing my own songs in my sets at gigs, having people relate to them... the real attraction is that it lets me open up to myself, that’s the core of it all really.

"With so many dreams in the pipeline, I am very pleased to be writing with ABC Music Publishing – there is a current of voltage and warmth in this company, the other writers are coming up with great songs and I am proud and honoured to be amongst them... it's like finding a new place to live, you love the house, you love the view and you love how close you are to all amenities. This house is a great publisher, the view is the future and my amenities are the other writers and songs. These are exciting times," he said.

While Travis has begun writing for his new album, ABC Music Publishing is assisting in co-ordinating his songwriting trip to Nashville later this year where he will link up with writers from associate publishers including Murrah Music and then on to the UK and Europe.

During his time in America, Travis will perform at the Global Artist Showcase at the CMA (Counry Music Association, America) Music Festival (formerly FanFare) in Nashville under a sponsorhip established by Commercial Radio Australia in conjunction with an Australian advisory group to the CMA Global Task Force.

He will then tour the UK and Europe throughout July and August with more than 30 performances at various festivals and venues. His releases there to date have been widely supported. The Frank Ifield "International Spur Award" was the springboard for Travis’ music reaching the UK & Europe.

On his return to Australia in late August, Travis will release his second album – one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of 2007 – through ABC Music. And then, it’s touring all over Australia well into 2008 to promote the new album and his very individual style.

At just 22 years of age, Travis is described as one of the most exciting young performers and songwriters to come over the Australian music horizon in recent times.

He got his career kick-start when he won the 2004 Toyota Star Maker Quest. Since then, response to the artist, including his debut album Start the Car, has been overwhelming with no less than five hit singles released from the album.

Audrey up for award

Audrey Auld (pictured) is up for an award in America for the video clip of her song I'd Leave Me Too.

The clip has been selected among 64 out of 600 entries in the CMT (Country Music Television) Music City Madness video competition for unsigned artists.

Fans can vote for their favourite video here.

The nationwide talent search offers unsigned artists a chance to reveal original, unpublished music to fans across the country. The winning entrant will receive an all-expenses paid trip to CMT’s Nashville studio to record an episode of Studio 330 Sessions, CMT Loaded’s original online performance series.

Fans can narrow down the top 64 entrants in a single elimination competition online.

Next Tuesday, February 27, the brackets will narrow and only 32 contenders will be left to battle for votes. New brackets will be posted weekly afterwards, until the winner is announced on Tuesday, April 3.

Chart Update – Lee's Love Shack at number one

Lee Kernaghan (pictured) hits the top of the Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart this week with his latest single, Love Shack.

George Strait is steady at two with Just Give It Away, Gina Jeffreys' Live It rises two places to three while Felicity Urquhart's former number one Big Black Cloud falls to fourth position.

Adam Brand edges back up one to five with Cigarettes And Whiskey, Rodney Atkins' If You're Going Through Hell drops to six while Carrie Underwood rises to seven with Before He Cheats.

Anne Kirkpatrick's Showman's Daughter rises to eight while Donna Boyd and Nick Kingswell enter the top 10 at nine and 10 respectively with Luckiest Girl Alive and Hope For Me Yet.

Bullet performers this week include The McClymonts' Baby's Gone Home (15 to 11) while new entries are Ian Quinn's Can't Cut Gidgee (in at 29) and Nicki Gillis with Leavin' You For Myself (in at 30).

New entries to the chart this week include Dianna Corcoran with Then There's Me (in at 28), Tom Maxwell with Sing Me Another Bush Ballad (in at 29) and the Golden Guitar winning vocal collaboration by Allan Caswell and Drew McAlister A Little Bit Of Country In Us All (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at

CMC Top 50 – Gina hits the top!

Gina Jeffreys is back at the top of the charts with the video clip of Live It at number one on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week, the first single released from Gina's new album Walks Of Life (her first mainstream release for a number of years).

Steve Forde's number one from last week – Aussie Philosophy – drops back to fourth place while Dianna Corcoran's Then There's Me edges up one place to six and The Sunny Cowgirls' Still Circling is up two places to seven.

Nick Kingswell's Hope For Me Yet drops back to eight while Lee Kernaghan's Love Shack edges back two places to nine and Matt Scullion's Giddy Up enters the top 10 at 10.

Dianna Corcoran's Then There's Me edges up one place to seven, The Sunny Cowgirls Still Circling is up two places to nine while Melinda Schneider's Men In Trucks is steady at 10.

Melinda Schneider is at 14 with Men In Trucks, The Davidson Brothers edge up one to 15 with Raised On The Road, The Pigs rise three places to 17 with Crazy and Anne Kirkpatrick's Showman's Daughter is at 18.

Bullet performers on the playlist this week include Camille Te Nahu and Stuie French with Let's Make A Family (43 to 35), Crakajak with Drive (debuting at 42) and Dale Duncan with Malabar Mansion (49 to 45).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include Victoria Baillie with Something Comin' On (in at 48) while Wildseed re-enters the playlist at 46 with Don't Lie To Me.

The playlist can be viewed at

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Loretta receives honourary degree

Loretta Lynn is slated to receive an honourary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music during her March 17 performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

The honour, from the Boston college, puts the 71-year-old into a select group of recording artists that includes Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, B B King, Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Sting and Sarah Vaughan.

"Loretta Lynn's songs have squarely addressed real-life situations faced by many women, and she's used her artistry to deal openly with themes like loyalty, divorce, desire and women's role in society before others in country music," said Berklee President Roger Brown in a release issued last Wednesday.

Loretta's many hits include Coal Miner's Daughter, You Ain't Woman Enough and The Pill.

Since beginning her career in 1960, the Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, native has written more than 160 songs and released 70 albums, 17 of which have gone to number one.

She has won three Grammy Awards and has been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame


"Country" farmer launches music DVD

English sheep farmer Tony Richardson started diversifying long before it became popular. But instead of setting up a camp site or making ice cream, he launched into the country music business.

Fifty years later, he has released his first DVD featuring 16 of his best loved songs and melodies set against the stunning backdrop of the North York Moors.

Tony, who has farmed at Glaisdale, near Whitby, for the last 43 years, first got up in front of a crowd at his local Robinson Institute village hall in 1956.

Egged on by friends, he picked up his guitar during the performing band's supper break and began entertaining the audience with hits from Johnny Cash, Lonnie Donegan, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley.

Since then, he has performed summer seasons in Scarborough's North Bay from 1968 to 1991 and made five trips to America, including an appearance at the National American Country Music Festival near Omaha.

He decided to try his hand at writing his own songs in 1993. "I chose to write songs about the area, because it truly is a beautiful place. There are not many songs about the moors and coast," he said.

"When you go to Scotland or Ireland people are always singing about their homeland, but it's not the same in this area."

At 69, Tony performs under the accidental stage name of Tony Richards. It came about after a poster maker ran out of space for his full name.

The DVD, Beautiful North Yorkshire, has been in development for three and a half years. "Some people find some of the images in the DVD quite emotional, particularly the scenes of the families who left the Esk Valley to go to America," he said.

Despite his love of country music, Tony has never forgotten his farming roots: "I was diversifying long before anyone else suggested it, but I always came back to the farm after a concert, no matter how far away it was."

Copies of the DVD cost £11.99 and are available from Guisborough Bookshop, Harpers Newsagents in Malton and the general store in Appleton Wiske. They are also available direct from Tony on 01 947-897 289.

Part of the proceeds from sales of the DVD will be donated to St Catherine's Hospice in Scarborough and Whitby.



Victorian award winners

Winners in the 2007 Victorian & National Country Music Awards were announced on Friday night during the annual Whittlesea Country Music Festival.

Paul Costa (pictured) was the big winner on the night taking out three awards in the Victorian section... Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year with Love Is Not A Game and Album of the Year with his second solo album Restoration... and two in the national section – Smoky Dawson Best Independent Release (with Restoration) and Duet of the Year with Aleyce Simmonds with The Way You Make Me Feel.

Rebecca Lee Nye won Victorian Female Vocalist of the Year with Gotta Say Goodbye (for the second year in a row) while Sovereign won the Victorian Group/Duet award with It's My Town.

In the national section, Lee Kernaghan was named Male Vocalist of the Year with The New Bush which also won him the songwriter award together with Garth Porter and Colin Buchanan.

Beccy Cole won Female Vocalist of the Year with Poster Girl, The Wolverines took out the Group award with Angel Eyes while Sharnee Fenwick won the Hawking Brothers Best New Talent award with How 'Bout Never.

Travis Collins won the Trailblazers Heritage Award with his recording of I Am Australian, Bush Ballad of the Year went to Anne Kirkpatrick with Peppimenarti Cradle, Instrumental of the Year was taken out by Mike Kerin with Triona Akba and the Bluegrass & Traditional Country award went to The Davidson Brothers with Don't Turn Me Down.

The 16th annual Awards highlighted the depth of talent from artists in genres ranging from bluegrass and ballad through to country rock, according to organisers.

Whittlesea Country Music Festival President Innes Creighton said: "Each award is special recognition for their winner whether they be someone new to performing, an ascending star or at the pinnacle of their country music career."

A capacity crowd of 500 marked packed the Plenty Ranges Arts Centre for the Awards which marked the start of the Whittlesea Festival.

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Country Aussies strike out at the Grammys, Wolfmother wins

Two of Australia's nominees at the 49th Grammy Awards announced in Los Angeles on Sunday night have come away empty handed while rock group Wolfmother have taken the gong in the Hard Rock Performance category for their recording, Woman.

Keith Urban was nominated for Male Country Vocal Performance with Once In A Lifetime but lost out to Vince Gill with The Reason Why.

Tommy Emmanuel (pictured) was a nominee for Country Instrumental Performance with Gameshow Rag/Cannonball Rag, but the category was won by Bryan Sutton & Doc Watson with Whiskey Before Breakfast.

In Female Country Vocal Performance, Carrie Underwood was named winner with Jesus, Take the Wheel while the Dixie Chicks won the Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal Grammy for Not Ready To Make Nice.

Country Collaboration With Vocals went to Bon Jovi & Jennifer Nettles with Who Says You Can't Go Home while Country Song was won by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson for Carrie Underwood's recording of Jesus, Take the Wheel.

Carrie also won the Best New Artist Grammy while the Dixie Chicks also took out Song of the Year for Not Ready To Make Nice.

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WA Awards this weekend

Finalists in the 2007 WA Country Music Awards to be announced this weekend during the Boyup Brook Country Music Festival have been released, together with winners of the junior and senior songwriter categories.

Winner of the Best Young Country Music Junior Songwriter award is Chelsea Basham (pictured) from Wongan Hills with her song The Outback.

Winner of the Best Original Australian Content Material Senior Songwriter award is Debbie Beckett from Craigie.

Finalists for Best Young Country Music Junior Artiste are Chelsea Basham, Amber Forsyth from Cooloongup and Kate Tunstill from Kalannie.

Finalists for Best Country Music Vocals, Female, are Debbie Beckett, Vicki Lee from Mandurah and Linda Rogers from Pemberton.

Finalists for Best Country Music Vocals, Male, are Michael Craig from Wilson and Stan Rogers from Derby.

Finalists for Best Country Music Open are Cowboy X from Pemberton, Two Rowes Back from Perth and Super Dextas from Lesmurdie.

Finalists for Best Country Music Gospel, Open, are Jodie Boni from Boyup Brook, Joanne Foster from Bunbury and Wendy James from Swan Valley.

The Boyup Brook festival gets underway tomorrow and runs until Sunday. The Awards will be announced on Saturday night.

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Keith versus Keith over website

Keith Urban has filed a lawsuit against a painter of the same name over the latter’s lesser known website, claiming that the painter's site violates US federal trademark and cyber-squatting laws.

The singer filed the suit in Nashville on Friday against Keith D Urban of Wayne, New Jersey who uses the website address to advertise oil paintings for sale.

The painter’s website includes the statement: "You have reached the site of Keith Urban. To those who don't know, oil painting is one of my hobbies." It then directs viewers to a gallery of paintings and offers a limited edition of prints for sale.

The entertainer, whose web address is, claimed in the lawsuit that the painter is using his domain in a deceptive manner and is misleading people into believing the website belongs to him and is selling merchandise as if it were produced or endorsed by him.

The complaint said the lesser known Urban "registered an Internet domain name and has structured a related web site with the intent of producing confusion" about who's sponsoring the site and the source of the merchandise for sale.

In his filed lawsuit, Keith the singer wants transferred to him and asks for unspecified monetary damages. He also seeks a permanent injunction barring the painter from using or any website that suggest a connection with the singer.



Australian Chart awards

Kasey Chambers (pictured) is country music's only representative at the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) #1 Chart Awards on Thursday February 22.

The Awards, to be held in Sydney, highlight 14 Australian acts who spent a combined 41 weeks at the top of the ARIA Singles, Albums and/or DVD charts between December 1 2005 and December 31 2006.

Acts represented include Crowded House, Eskimo Joe, John Farnham, Human Nature, Damien Leith, The Living End and Kylie Minogue.

Kasey's latest album Carnival spent one week at number one shortly after it was released in August.

ARIA Chairman Denis Handlin said, "The top charting success of these artists deserves to be celebrated. It also highlights how much enjoyment Australian artists bring to the public as well as the vast array of excellent talent we have in Australia."

John Parker, Chairman of the ARIA Chart and Marketing Committee, added: "When you assess the achievements of these 14 acts, you get a genuine appreciation of the diversity of our local talent and the fact that so many different styles have the ability to make it to the top of our charts."

SonyBMG Music Entertainment Australia had nine chart toppers, Warner Music Australia and EMI Music Australia had three each.

The 13 month period also saw 30 singles and 39 albums by Australian artist reach the ARIA National Top 10.

Ten singles were accredited gold (for shipping 35,000 units) and seven platinum (70,000). A total of 73 Australian albums were accredited gold, platinum or multi-platinum status.

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Vale – Les Scott

Well-known Sydney-based instrumentalist and singer Les Scott died suddenly at the weekend from a heart attack. He was 52. The following tribute was written by long time friend and associate Greg Williams.

Just writing this is painful, as it confirms what I’d rather not accept, that my old mate Les is gone. But there’s something driving me to continue, as he deserves what little I can give to his memory, as he was a very special person, and my good friend. Since his death, it's become apparent how well loved and respected he was in the music industry, with so many people contacting me, knowing our close friendship. I just hope Les realised while he was alive how much so many people thought of him, as in most cases this emotion isn't expressed until it's too late.

Most of our time together was to do with music, and the great love of ours country music was always predominant, even though we both loved lots of genres. Les could play just about any Beatles tune, Eagles, and so many other great songs and styles. He could play guitar (and bass) so well, and bring any song to life.

Our friendship's history was long, and interrupted, as we met when he was attending James Cook University in Townsville North Queensland in the 1970s. I can't recall the exact moment of our meeting, but it was probably while I was running a music shop and booking agency in Townsville, and a very active band scene was in action at that time. Les and I played in bands together (and they were good ones!) in Townsville, until he graduated and moved away from North Queensland, still in the 1970s. We didn’t meet again for about 20 years!

The next time I saw him, I remember very well (about 10 years ago?), as it was at the Tamworth Country Music Festival the year Bill Chambers and Audrey were doing their Hank Williams tribute shows. It was a great pleasure to be playing drums for the first show at The Longyard, and a bit scary too. I remember getting familiar with someone else’s drum kit on stage in the dark, and I thought  I’d better meet the other players, especially the bass player as we’re the rhythm section, and we were doing the gig "cold" – no rehearsal, no talkthrough, no nothin'!

I walked across to him and said "Hi, I’m the drummer, Greg Williams" And he answered "Yes, I know, we used to play in bands together in North Queensland 20 years ago, I’m Les Scott".

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, I stepped over the monitor wedge on the stage floor and said "Bloody hell, mate, this is amazing, I'd better give you a hug!"  We had a great gig that day with Bill leading the band, and from then on during that festival Les came and sat in and played at my gigs. That chance meeting created the opportunity that whenever I was close enough to his Sydney base for him to travel to play with me. Till the end of 2007 Tamfest, Les has played most of my guitar (or bass) playing gigs. There have been hundreds of gigs since then.

I describe him as the perfect sideman for any singer, always playing the right notes, supporting all the time, picking great tasteful solos when required, singing nice harmonies, never getting in the singer's way, just superb he was!

He also had a great work ethic. If you booked Les Scott, you knew he’d be there, and most times he’d beat me to the venue, to load in, play, and just enjoy our time together. It was never just a gig with Les, it was something we both enjoyed. I'm gonna miss him, no doubt. He was more than that though, and even what I can recollect now doesn’t really do him justice, as he had a wonderful politeness about him, which inspired like minded behaviour from all he met. He was a very private man, which engendered respect towards him, and he was totally gentle in his behaviour, which also came through in his playing.

A very thoughtful and kind person, whenever I stayed at his place in Sydney, there'd always be a fresh towel and cake of soap sitting on the guest room bed, and when he stayed at my Tamworth home for the many festivals we did together, he'd always give me a present of some kind, and he was great at sussing out what I may need and use. I always wished I had that insight of giving presents that someone would actually use, a rare skill I reckon. I now treasure the coffee maker he gave me just a few weeks ago, as I use it every day, and "I think of you, old mate".

I've lost count of the number of Jazzer talent quests at Tamworth Country Music Festival Les played for, but its almost as many as I’ve done, and I think I’m up to 12 or 13 years now. He was ideal for this job, as he could back anyone, whatever their skill was. He especially loved working with the Young Country Stars concert performers, mainly Camerata graduates, which has run at The Pub for the past nine years, and also for my Winners & Grinners shows for eight years. Les would study all the songs, plus whatever other gigs he was doing, before the festival and in the time between gigs, and give each performer such excellent guitar playing support, and he loved doing it.

I feel so privileged to have known Les Scott, a rare individual, a wonderful man and great player.

But most of all Les was my friend!

Les' funeral will be held on Monday (February 19) at 10.15am at MacQuarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium, Cnr Delhi & Plassey Roads, MacQuarie Park, in Sydney.

An open invitation to all who knew Les has been extended to "come along and share memories in story and song" at a Memorial Jam at Cooks River Motor Boat Club, Sydney, from 3pm Sunday February 25.

Photo: Bob Howe


Debra wins runner up at IAMA

Debra Byrnes has won the runner up award for Best Female Artists at the third annual International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA).

Winners were chosen by a judging committee comprising music industry professionals including A&R (artist and repertoire) managers from record labels, publishers and producers internationally.

Debra will be featured with her award winning track Happiness on the IAMA compilation CD which goes out to radio stations in the United States and elsewhere.

"The (IAMA) CD will heighten awareness and increase exposure for Debra and, most importantly, help further her career," Debra's publicist said.

New album on the way for Drew

Drew McAlister (pictured) is back in the studio this month to complete his debut album These Days which is scheduled for release in April.

One of Australian country music’s most exciting new talents, Drew won his first Golden Guitar in January for his vocal collaboration with multi Golden Guitar winner and songwriting partner Allan Caswell for their duet A Little Bit of Country In Us All and followed this up with a Victorian Country Music Award at the weekend (see above).

"To win my first Golden Guitar from my first nomination is something that I could never have believed would happen," Drew said. "It is 100 percent the highlight of my career, no doubt about it.  It’s a dream come true."

Drew is no stranger to the country music scene – he’s been working hard for the past couple of years honing his craft and preparing for his debut album.

In 2003, he took out the Toyota National Country Music Muster talent search at Gympie, a competition which spear-headed interest and support from the country music scene.  Graham Thompson from Compass Brothers Records saw Drew’s potential and invited him to record The Shearer’s Dream on The Australian Storytellers compilation album.

Since then, Drew has continued to write songs and perform live with fellow country artists including Mike Carr, Beccy Cole, Tania Kernaghan and Melinda Schneider.

His latest single, Broken Angels, is at radio now.

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Perth City Muster '07

Claremont Showgrounds host the 2007 Perth City Muster on Saturday February 24.

This year’s Muster will feature a “beaut ute” show, the WA Whip Cracking Championships and a display of restorations by the WA Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club.

Local country music radio personality Brendan T Moylan introduces eight hours of country music from 3pm with, in order of appearance… Magnificent Seven, The McClymonts, Beccy Cole (pictured), Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Brand, Mick Denigan and Lee Kernaghan rounding out the show.

Tickets are available from BOCS Ticketing on 08 9484 1133, freecall 1800 193 300 or via, Mandurah Tourist Centre, Kalgoorlie Sound Centre, Geraldton CD Centre, NOB's Music Bunbury, Southern Sound Albany, Trax Mirrabooka & Morley or at the gate on the day.

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Chart Update – Felicity still at number one

Felicity Urquhart (pictured) holds on to the number one spot for the fourth week this week on the Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart with Big Black Cloud.

George Strait edges up one place to three with Just Give It Away swapping places with Rodney Atkins who slipped to number three with If You're Going Through Hell.

Lee Kernaghan's latest single Love Shack bounds from eight to four, Gina Jeffreys' Live It rises to five, Adam Brand slides to six with Cigarettes And Whiskey as does Jeanette Wormald's Opal Blue from six to seven.

The hit duet by Paul Costa and Aleyce Simmonds – The Way You Make Me Feel – drops to eight, American multi Grammy winner Carrie Underwood rises to nine with Before He Cheats while Anne Kirkpatrick's Showman's Daughter enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers this week include Donna Boyd with Luckiest Girl Alive (15 to 12), Dean Perrett with Jewel On The Newell (26 to 21), Alex Watt's Watch The Sun Go Down (27 to 22), Catherine Britt's I'm Gone (28 to 23), The Davidson Bros' Raised On The Road (29 to 26) and The Sunny Cowgirls' Still Circling (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Dianna Corcoran with Then There's Me (in at 28), Tom Maxwell with Sing Me Another Bush Ballad (in at 29) and the Golden Guitar winning vocal collaboration by Allan Caswell and Drew McAlister A Little Bit Of Country In Us All (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at

CMC Top 50 – Steve hits the top

Steve Ford & The Flange hit the top of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week with the clip of their song Aussie Philosophy.

Gina Jeffreys is back up to number two with Live It while Nick Kingswell's former number one his 2006 Telstra Road To Tamworth prize singleHope For Me Yet drops to number five.

Dianna Corcoran's Then There's Me edges up one place to seven, The Sunny Cowgirls Still Circling is up two places to nine while Melinda Schneider's Men In Trucks is steady at 10.

Bullet performers on the playlist this week include Matt Scullion with Giddy Up (16 to 13), The Pigs with Crazy (24 to 20), Tom Curtain with Born Out Here (new at 30), The McClymonts' Something That My Heart Does (new at 40), The Harmonators with Wish I Didn't (new at 41) and Camille Te Nahu and Stuie French with Let's Make A Family (48 to 43).

New entries to the playlist this week include Jetty Road with The Day I Die (in at 46) and Beccy Cole with Poster Girl (new at 47).

The playlist can be viewed at


Bungendore winners

Winners in the 2007 Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards were announced on Saturday night during the Bungendore Country Muster.

The New Talent award went to Julie Perandes with Me And Moonlight.

Female Vocal was won by Anne Kirkpatrick (pictured) with Peppimenarti Cradle.

Male Vocal went to Reg Poole (pictured) with A Tribute To Slim.

The Instrumental/Group or Duo award was won by Brian Letton & Owen Blundell with Rolling Wagons.

The Songwriter award went to Graham Rodger and Alan McPherson with The Battle of Long Tan.

Comedy Song went to Ernie Constance with If They Put A Tax On That.

And Album of The Year was won by Dean Perrett with New Traditions.

The Barry Thornton Encouragement Award went to Denise Brooks.

Whittlesea this weekend

Beccy Cole (pictured) and Adam Harvey, named Australia's best female and male country vocalists at the Victorian & National Country Music Awards in 2006, will perform at the Whittlesea Country Music Festival this weekend.

"It's really exciting to have the country music industry's leading lights lined up for the Festival," said  President of the Festival Committee Innes Creighton. "We're very pleased that Adam is back again. He was so impressed with the Festival in 2006 he was happy to become patron and his continued support is a real boost to the event."

Adam and Beccy will both perform at the Sunday Round Up at the Whittlesea Showgrounds. Other major stars on the bill include Adam Brand and The Sunny Cowgirls.

Whittlesea Mayor Cr John Fry says the City of Whittlesea is a proud festival partner.  "The Whittlesea Country Music Festival is a true celebration of country. It's a really fun, family experience," he said. "It's a chance for people, particularly city families, to get a taste of  country, just 40 minutes drive from Melbourne."

The 2007 Whittlesea Country Music Festival includes the announcement of winners in the Victorian & National Country Music Awards.

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Saturday Night Country "hottest hits"

One of the numerous album releases during the Tamworth Festival was a "hottest hits" compilation for ABC Radio's Saturday Night Country program.

Titled Saturday Night Country – Hottest Hits Volume 3, the CD contains 20 tracks all by Australian artists... Donna Boyd, Adam Brand, Katie Brianna & The Stormwater Boys, Allan Caswell & Drew McAlistair, Greg Champion, Tracy Coster, Peter Denahy, The Fargone Beauties, Anne Kirkpatrick, Lee Kernaghan, Anne McCue, Bob Pigott, Melinda Schneider, John Schumann, Matt Scullion, The Sunny Cowgirls, Felicity Urquhart, Don Walker, John Williamson and Jeanette Wormald.

The compilation has been put together by program host John Nutting who has spent more than 20 years working throughout Australia playing and promoting country music.

Saturday Night Country goes to air across Australia from 10pm Saturday nights.

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ISC finalists

A number of Australians have made the finals of the International Songwriting Competition.

Harmony James from the Northern Territory is a finalist in the country category with Tailwind.

Colin Germano from Sydney, NSW, is a finalist in the blues section with Silver Dollar.

Pete Hawkes from Victoria is a finalist in the instrumental section with The Boisterous Border Collie.

And Mark Lucas and Lou Bradley (pictured), also both from NSW, are finalists in the Americana section with, respectively, For Everything Else I Got You and Love Someone.

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Cooks River venue ramps up country entertainment

Cooks River (Sydney, NSW) Motorboat Club has been very supportive of country music in the past and is now ramping up their support with entertainment on Friday nights and/or Sunday afternoons.

On upcoming Friday nights (8.30 to 11.30pm), line-ups include Bryen (pictured) & The Bayou Boogie Boys (this week), The Murray Hillbillies (on February and March 16), The Cartwrights (February 23 and March 9).

Sunday Country (4 to 7pm), will include Rob Luckey (February 18), Quite Contrary (25th), The Prickles (March 4), Tall Timbre (March 11) and Bryen & The Bayou Boogie Boys (March 25).

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Adelaide Guitar Festival launch

The inaugural Adelaide International Guitar Festival in late November will be officially launched on Tuesday (February 13) at Elder Park, Adelaide, where some of the highlights of the 10 day event will be unveiled.

The Festival will take place in various venues at the Adelaide Festival Centre and in Elder Park and will feature performances by national and international artists across a variety of genres.

A total of six concerts will be announced with tickets to go on sale at the same time as the full program release on May 23. The Festival will run from November 23 to December 2.

The South Australian State Government has committed to funding the event for a minimum of four years.

Christine Schloithe, the Festival's Executive Producer, "guarantees a number of exclusives to Adelaide", adding: "It's going to be an absolute must for all guitar devotees and anyone who loves great live music."

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Moora Country Campout

The 2007 Moora (WA) Country Campout will be held over the Easter Weekend from Good Friday, April 6.

A free family concert will be held Friday evening at Apex Park featuring local Western Australian talent.

On the Saturday (April 7), a street festival and ute competition will be conducted followed by a concert in the evening starring Shannon Noll, Felicity Urquhart (pictured), The Yee Haa Boys and the Ultimate Slim Dusty Tribute Show.

The street festival takes place in Dandaragan and Padbury Streets while this year, the ute competition will be held in the Moora Performing Arts Centre Car Park. There will also be additional competitions at the ute show.

The Lions Club "big breakfast" is on again at Apex Park and later in the morning, a street rod show and shine display will be happening at the swimming pool carpark.

Further information, and tickets, can be obtained from the Moora Shire Council on 08 9651 1805.

CCMA National Talent Quest winners

Sydney based Taryn Trautsch (pictured) took overall honours at the 2007 Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) National Talent Quest during the January festival in Tamworth.

As well as being named overall winner, Taryn won Best Senior Vocal, the Shirley Thoms Award for Best Female Vocal and a number of placings and also took home the Norfolk Island Prize (invitation to compete in the Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year quest).

Doug McIntyre won the Buddy Williams Award for Best Male Vocal.

Kris Wason won Best Young Talent 14 to 17 years and the Camerata scholarship sponsored by Tamworth Regional Council while Melanie Dyer won the Bush Ballad Award and Open Songwriting with Life On The Land and also the Best Young Talent 13 years and under award.

Two Blues won Best Country Duet, Aimee Hannan took out Best Country Gospel 18 yrs and over while Mitchell King took out Junior Gospel 14 to 17 years and Deanna Smith won Junior Gospel 13 years and under.

Emma Roberts won Solo instrumental Open and the Ron Sutton Award for Best Junior Guitarist.

Three Barry Thornton Memorial Encouragement Awards were presented during the talent quest, to Andre Drysdale in Best Young Talent 13 years and under, Wacey Coates in Best Young Talent 14 to 17 years and Olivia Hally in Solo Instrumental.

The 2007 National Talent Quest was the 41st to be staged and carried prizemoney and trophies valued at more than $10,000.

In addition to the Association's regular, on-going activities, the CCMA is now busy plannimg for the Winter Junior Talent Quest in July.


Photo by Judie Darke.

NoHoldsBarred Fiddle Contest winners

Winners of the NoholdsBarred Fiddle Contest staged at The Regent in Tamworth on Saturday, January 27 were 17-year-old George Jackson (senior section) from New Zealand and 15-year-old Conner MacGregor (junior section) from Gympie, Qld.

George is a member of the band Fiddlesticks, with his brother Mackenzie and mum and dad Karen and "Jacko" Jackson. Billed as "an electrifying violin show", the band has been performing full-time for the past 10 years at schools, concerts, shows, festivals and bars, firstly as a duo then, from 1999 when the boys joined in.

Golden Guitar Winners' Concerts

A series of Golden Guitar Winners' Concerts will be staged by the Country Music Association of Australia and Artist Network Australia in Sydney in March.

Three concerts will be staged at the Evan Theatre, Penrith Panthers, on Wednesday March 21, Thursday March 22 and Friday March 23.

The Wednesday concert will feature Colin Buchanan (pictured), The Flood, Jim Haynes, Lee LKernaghan, Tania Kernaghan, The McClymonts and Melinda Schneider; the Thursday concert will feature Troy Cassar-Daley, Greg Champion, Graeme Connors, Dianna Corcoran, Anne Kirkpatrick, Joy McKean and John Williamson; the Friday concert will feature James Blundell, Adam Brand, Carter & Carter, Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey Gina Jeffreys and the Wolverines.

Tickets went on sale on Monday from Panthers on 1800 061 991.

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It's All Good for Graeme

Graeme Connors takes "the road less travelled" over the coming months to Queensland and New South Wales with his new show "It’s All Good” in celebration of his critically acclaimed 14th album.

"A gifted and compelling storyteller, Graeme captures the beauty, depth and frailties of the landscape and human condition and (his) 'It’s All Good' tour is the perfect opportunity to connect with one of our most respected and awarded contemporary artists," his publicists say.

"Over two hours, Graeme brings the title track, poignant Louisa and definitive songs A Little Further North, Cyclone Season, Let The Cane Fields Burn, You’re Getting To Me and Sicilian Born to the stage, along with Songs From The Homeland, The Great Australian Dream and The Ringer And The Princess from his extensive catalogue of classic hits."

"It’s All Good" has been touring extensively since the album launch last year with sell-out shows and positive reviews from Cairns to Hobart and Mildura to Tamworth.

"So gifted is he at waxing lyrical, I felt each song was connected to my own personal experiences," said The Bush Telegraph's Sonia Ball. "He’s a mixture of talents and connection, the voice, the works, the personality and the humbleness… good value, good time."

Graeme has won 12 Golden Guitars to date; "MO", APRA, ARIA, PPCA awards and a 2006 Walkway of Stars induction, among his many accolades, and earned one Platinum and three Gold albums.

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CCMC awards

The Contemporary Country Music Coalition (CCMC) hosted a presentation of various awards at a function in Sydney following the 2007 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The function, held at The Basement, Circular Key, featured performances by Kevin Bennett, Adam Harvey, Jim Lauderdale, Telstra Road to Tamworth Songwriters' Encouragent Award winner Briana Lee.

The Nine Network's Richard Wilkins received the CCMC Award for Media Excellence "for his continued support and unbiased reporting on country music events" and the CCMC Artist of the Year award went to Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured) for his local and international performances during 2006.

As an indication of the growing importance of Australian country music industry on the world stage, the Country Music Association of America (CMA) also awarded three Australians with international awards during the night, recognising people outside the US who have made significant contributions to country music globally.

The awards were presented by Rob Potts, CCMC Director and CMA International Director...

The Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award to Tim Daley of the Country Music Channel,

The International Country Broadcaster Award to Ian Holland of Radio 2GB,

International Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year – to Michael Chugg of Chugg Entertainment.

New music industry directory available

The AustralAsian Music Industry Directory entered its 20th year of publication in January with the 200 page printed 38th edition also released online in an identical Internet version which is updated every two weeks.

It's the only music business sourcebook for the Australian industry overall with more than 70 listing categories starting with artists cross referenced by managers and record labels through to agents, managers, venues, print/radio/TV music media, promoters and many more.

It can be seen and ordered at with sample pages at of all sections.

Since 1987 when it was conceived as an Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) export marketing initiative and networking tool, the music industry directory has been published by IMMEDIA! as the sole source of current, comprehensive and correct, highly-detailed listings of all levels of the music business.

A print copy is A$50 delivered anywhere in Australia or New Zealand and US$50 anywhere in the rest of the world. Online access for six months is A$40 for Australian email addresses, A$50 for New Zealand and US$40 for online subscribers overseas. Go to to order.

A combo subscription of current print edition and online subscription is $A80 in Australia and New Zealand or US$75 for overseas shipment and online subscription. For those wanting a year of online access and the January and July 07 print books, it's A$150 in Australia and NZ, US$125 for overseas clients.

Chart Update – Felicity reigns

Felicity Urquhart is at number one for the third week running on the Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart this week with Big Black Cloud.

The next three positions also remain unchanged from last week with Rodney Atkins (pictured) at two with If You're Going Through Hell, George Strait at three with Just Give It Away and the Paul Costa/Aleyce Simmonds duet The Way You Make Me Feel at four.

Adam Brand (pictured) with Cigarettes And Whiskey bounds from eight to five, Jeanette Wormald's Opal Blue edges up one more place to six while Gina Jeffreys' Live It rises two places to seven.

Lee Kernaghan's Love Shack enters the top 10 at number eight, Arthur Blanch's For A Song rises one place to number nine while Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats is at 10.

Bullet performers this week include Anne Kirkpatrick's Showman's Daughter (15 to 11), Nick Kingswell's Hope For Me Yet (17 to 14), Donna Boyd's Luckiest Girl Alive (18 to 15), The McClymonts' Baby's Gone Home (20 to 17), Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French with Let's Make A Family (22 to 18), Melinda Schneider's Men In Trucks (24 to 19), Dean Perrett with Jewel On The Newell (29 to 26) and Alex Watt's Watch The Sun Go Down (30 to 27).

New entries this week include Catherine Britt's I'm Gone (in at 28), The Davidson Bros with Raised On The Road (in at 29) and The Sunny Cowgirls' Still Circling (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at

CMC Top 50 – Nick hits the top

Nick Kingswell (pictured) has hit the top of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of his 2006 Telstra Road To Tamworth prize single Hope For Me Yet.

Steve Forde & The Flange edge up one more place to two with Aussie Philosophy while Lee Kernaghan slips to three Love Shack and Gina Jeffreys falls to five with Live It.

Dianna Corcoran is at eight with Then There's Me, Melinda Schneider drops to 10 with Men In Trucks while The Sunny Cowgirls jump to 11 with Still Circling and The Flood fall to 12 with 2003.

Bullet performers on the playlist this week include Matt Scullion with Giddy Up (23 to 16), Anne Kirkpatrick with Showman's Daughter (20 to 17), The Davidson Brothers' Raised On The Road (21 to 18), The Pigs with Crazy (new at 24), Rebecca Lee Nye with Gotta Say Goodbye (30 to 26), Jeanette Wormald with Opal Blue (46 to 43), Dale Duncan with Malabar Mansion (48 to 45).

New entries to the playlist this week include Camille Te Nahu and Stuie French with Let's Make A Family (in at 48) and Donna Boyd with Luckiest Girl Alive (49).

The playlist can be viewed at       

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Voting under way in CMT Music Awards

Carrie Underwood, the Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Sugarland have received three nominations each to lead the field of first-round finalists for the 2007 CMT Music Awards.

The names were announced last Thursday (February 1) and first-round voting for the fan-voted honours is already underway at Jeff Foxworthy will host the 2007 CMT Music Awards to be telecast live from The Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville on April 16. Vote and learn more about the 2007 CMT Music Awards.

© Copyright 2007, ICMB Publishing