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Sony releases I Am Australian live recording for bushfire appeal

Sony Music has released the live and reworked version of I Am Australian, as sung by Bruce Woodley, Claire Woodley, Kinglake residents and Australian country stars David and Merelyn Carter (Carter & Carter) on Sunday at the National Mourning Day Commemorative Service for Victorian bushfire victims in Melbourne.

The single will be available as a digital download while the CD single will also be available to buy at music retailers in the coming days.

And, as with Sony’s Bushfire Aid album, the company’s proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal through the charitable arm of the Australian Sony Group of Companies, The Sony Foundation. The writers and publishers of I Am Australian are also donating their royalties from the track to the appeal.

Denis Handlin, Chairman and Chief Executive, Australia & New Zealand, for Sony Music Entertainment said: "I am delighted to help Bruce release this special rendition of I Am Australian. The performance at the memorial service was truly moving and it is a pleasure for Sony Music to release and sell this single to add bushfire appeal funds.”

Many consider I Am Australian as Australia’s unofficial national anthem. Written by The Seekers member Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton from The Bushwackers in 1987 it has since been embraced by Australians as a song of pride and passion that reflects our feelings and attitudes as a nation.

Bruce said: “In the entire 22 year history of this famous song, this was by far its most profound and meaningful moment. I saw a nation truly connected.

“How we all got through the performance I will never know. It was very sad but enormously uplifting. David and Merelyn were brave and held their emotions in check long enough to get through the song, while I nearly lost it towards the finish... It was a profoundly moving experience, and an incredible honour to be able to make a contribution like that.

"My daughter Claire sang a truly wonderful acapella opening chorus and you could have heard a pin drop in the arena. When we sang the last two choruses, the entire audience stood up as a show of solidarity and respect for all those affected by the bushfires. I am told this happened all around Australia wherever people were watching the service on television. My sincere thanks goes to Denis Handlin and Sony Music for responding so quickly and making this song available to the public at large.”

Sony Music’s Bushfire Aid – Artists For The Bushfire Appeal double album has exceeded expectations and is already one of the best selling albums of the year. It has bulleted to number one on the charts with orders from retailers exceeding 70,000 copies.

Weblink – www.bushfireaid.com.au.


Slim Dusty Centre appoints new Project Director

John Kent of Wilde and Woollard has been appointed Project Director of the Slim Dusty Centre to be built at Kempsey NSW.

"His engagement follows the mid 2008 resignation of Phil Lahey who was faced with increased work commitments," a spokesman for the Slim Dusty Foundation said. "Phil generously donated his time and resources to assist the... project in the early critical stages, and he fully endorses his replacement."

"I would like to pay tribute to Joy McKean and her family for their determination to bring the project to Kempsey" Phil said, "and to the team for their untiring efforts. I have enjoyed my time working with the group and believe that John Kent will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, keeping the project moving forward."

A working group from the Centre met in Sydney at the Powerhouse Museum this month to analyse floor plan amendments recently made to the Slim Dusty Centre design in the process of preparation for tender release. The tender is anticipated to be issued on June 1, which would see construction commence in the months to follow.

"I look forward to the challenge of working with the Slim Dusty Foundation," John said, "and the project architects in delivering a state of the art facility that will enable broad celebration of Slim Dusty’s achievements."

The Foundation recently entered into a contract with Schreiber Hamilton Architecture to undertake detailed design and tender documentation. Since receipt of $1.5 million in State Government funding, the project has increased its momentum.

Joy McKean, who heads up the Slim Dusty Foundation, said she could now finally see the opening in sight, "given the strength of the team entering the tender preparation stage.

"The government funding has allowed us to appoint a Project Director, Project Accountant and Curator. It is an especially progressive time for the project and we are grateful for the involvement of all new team members, but especially for Phil Lahey’s generosity and valued advice over the years."

Newly selected curator, Linda Raymond, has the "mammoth, yet enviable task" of assessing the large collection of Slim Dusty memorabilia.

"This is a wonderful project that almost any curator would give their eye teeth to be associated with," Linda said. "I feel privileged to be able to work with Joy and Slim's family to draw together more than 50 years of life in 'show biz'. Theirs has been such a significant contribution to Australia's musical and cultural landscape – we certainly have a lot of hard but enjoyable work ahead of us, with the ultimate goal of bringing this fabulous story to visitors from all over the world."

The Slim Dusty Foundation made a successful application to the Powerhouse Museum for support under the Regional Services Program 2009, under which, the Museum provides professional advice and expertise in museum development and services to assist organisations working with cultural heritage.

Brad Baker, Manager Exhibition Development and Design at the Powerhouse Museum, said he was pleased with the progress made at the review meeting this month.

"The Slim Dusty Centre... is an exciting venture that will be a fitting showcase on the life and achievements of Slim Dusty, a true blue Australian legend. The architects' design reflects a contemporary and dynamic approach whilst being sympathetic with the surrounding environment. I am pleased to be invited to contribute to this inspiring project."

General Manager of the Slim Dusty Foundation, Kathryn Yarnold, said that while the project’s momentum was currently fierce, the commencement of construction was dependant upon the arrival of the remaining Government pledges which would allow a Centre opening to be possible for the end of 2010.

The Slim Dusty Foundation invites people, businesses and corporations wishing to support the creation of the Slim Dusty Centre to make their tax deductible donations by calling 1800 18 SLIM (1800 18 7546) or by visiting its website at www.slimdustycentre.com.au.

Photo (from left): Ian Gill (Schreiber Hamilton Architecture), Paul Gould (Slim Dusty Foundation Project Accountant), Kevin Schreiber (Schreiber Hamilton Architecture), John Kent (Slim Dusty Foundation Project Director), Kathryn Yarnold (Slim Dusty Foundation General Manager), Brad Baker (Manager Exhibition Development and Design, Powerhouse Museum), Kevin Farrawell (Slim Dusty Foundation Director), Linda Raymond (Slim Dusty Foundation Curator) and Joel Chamberlain (Schreiber Hamilton Architecture).


NT competitions

The Northern Territory Songwriting Competition for recorded country material is being staged again as part of the 2009 Katherine Country Music Muster.

The competition runs under the banner of the Country Songwriting Awards and NT Song of the Year for
Bush Ballad, Contemporary Country and Comedy/Novelty released between May 1, 2007, and March 17, 2009.

Also conducted is a competition for Unrecorded Country in professional, amateur and lyric-only sections.

Organisers say great prizeman and trophies are on offer. Entries close March 31.

The Muster will run over three days, May 1, 2 and 3.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning 07 4934 0950, by writing to the Muster at 52586 Burnett Highway, Bouldercombe 4702 or by emailing bl27406@bigpond.net.au.

Weblink – www.kcmm.com.au.


Chart update – Felicity at number one

Felicity Urquhart (pictured) takes over the number one spot on the national Top 30 Country Tracks chart this week with I Fall.

Keith Urban's Sweet Thing drops back to number two, Catherine Britt's I'm Not Your Cinderella jumps two more places to be in third position while Graeme Connors' A Beach House In The Blue Mountains is steady at four.

Jetty Road's Good Times is down to five, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wildflower is up two more places to six and America's Kenny Chesney is at seven with Down The Road.

The Bobkatz The Red Top Table jumps two places to eight, Drew McAlister, Allan Caswell & Matt Scullion are down to nine with The Billy Joel Song and Taylor Swift enters the top 10 at 10 with Love Story.

Bullet performers for the week include Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up (17 to 13), Rob Black's I'm In Love & It's Getting Worse (18 to 14), Sinead Burgess with You Get Me (19 to 16), Luke O'Shea's Pride Of Erin (22 to 18), Melinda Schneider & Paul Kelly with Still Here (25 to 20), Larry Cann & Markus Meier's Rodeo Rider (27 to 24), Tania Kernaghan's Second Time Around (28 to 25) and Don Costa's To Here Door (30 to 27)).

New entries in the chart this week are Adam Brand with Hell Of A Ride (in at 29) and Darren Colston with On The Bend By The Willow (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.


Kyabram Bushfire Appeal Concert

Among the numerous country music fundraisers for bushfire appeals will be a concert at Kyabram (Victoria) on Sunday, March 22.

The line-up so far includes Craig Giles, Brianna Lee, John Mathewson, Ryan Meeking, Old Jam, Reg Poole (pictured) and J R Williams.

It will be held at the Kyabram Plaza Theatre on the day from 2pm.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children – available by telephoning M & S Accounting on 03 5857 0888 or Dillmac Entertainment on 03 5852 1358.

Proceeds will go to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.


CMC Top 50 – Steve hits the top

Steve Forde (pictured) takes over the number one spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of I Ain't That Guy.

Brad Paisley & Keith Urban drop to second place with their duet Start A Band while The McClymonts edge up one to number five with Shotgun and Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up is down to six.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Dancing On The Darling is up one to seven, Keith Urban's Sweet Thing is up three to eight and Australia Is Another Word For Free by John Williamson, Warren H Williams and Amos Morris bounds five places to enter the top 10 at nine.

Adam Brand's Hell Of A Ride debuts at 11, Shea Fisher's Don't Chase Me is up four to 15, Sam Hawksley's Sounds Like Summer is at 16, Jetty Road's Good Times is at 17 and The Bobkatz' The Red Top Table is at 18.

Bullet performers for the week include Catherine Britt's Not Your Cinderella (new at 25), Lianna Rose with Jack (38 to 35) and Gemma Luxton's Party (46 to 43).

This week's CMC "Country Pick" is the clip of Troy Cassar-Daley's Big Big Love, the first single from Troy's new album I Love This Place.

The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.



Carter & Carter with Bruce & Clare Woodley

Merilyn and David Carter (aka Carter & Carter) joined Bruce Woodley and his daughter Clare to sing the iconic I Am Australian during yesterday's National Day of Mourning service at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.

Bruce wrote the song 22 years ago with Dobe Newton but yesterday introduced two new verses...

There are no words of comfort
That can hope to ease the pain
Of losing homes and loved ones
The memories will remain

We weep our silent tears and find
The strength to carry on
You're not alone
We are with you
We are Australian

There are so many heroes
Whose stories must be told
They fought the raging fires of hell
And saved so many souls

From the ashes of despair
Our towns will rise again
We mourn your loss
We will rebuild
We are Australian.

He and his daughter Clare invited David and Merilyn to the stage to help them sing the anthem with its new verses.

Click here for a link to footage of the performance.

Click here for the story from the Melbourne service on the Herald Sun's website.

Weblink – www.carter-carter.com.


Cool Country, "keeping the country cool"

Cool Country 2KA (western Sydney) is keeping the country cool in more than ways than one, according to station management.

"Not only do we play the coolest country music," said Managing Director Ken Roberts, "but we now have a solar electricity power station that will help keep 'the Country' cool."

The power station will generate around 7,000 kWh (kilo watt hours) per year which will offset around 25 percent of the station's power requirements and save more than seven tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. In ideal conditions, the power station generates 2.9 kW of power.

Ken has laid down the challenge to other business owners to "get serious about the environment" and "to commit to energy reductions and to invest in renewable sources of energy". "Unless business owners take a strong leadership role in investing for our future, we can’t expect others to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term good," he said.

The solar power station incorporates a number of innovative features, including automatic tracking of the sun throughout the day ("using a microprocessor control system that is much more reliable than alternative technologies")... three tilt angle adjustments to follow the drift of the sun north during winter... and high output 220W panels.

The solar power station was designed, supplied and installed by LJW Solar. Additional information can be obtained through their web-site at www.ljwsolar.com.au.

Photo: Ken Roberts and the solar power station.


Camerata applications close end of this month

Applications for the 2009 Tamworth Camerata close at the end of February.

The selected group of budding young country artists from around Australia and New Zealand will gather in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, in July for the annual country music school for youth.

With only 21 places available for the six-day school, competition is intense, say Camerata coordinators. Around 90 applications are received each year with more than 12 of the 21 places awarded through scholarships.

Open to students 18 and younger, selection to the school is earned through talent and ability, co-ordinators say, with applicants required to submit an audition recording and supporting material.

Camerata also coincides with Tamworth’s mid year country music festival, Hats Off to Country. Hats Off features more than 80 artists providing 150 hours of non-stop music at 60 shows at venues across Tamworth.

"The Camerata school involves six days of extensive workshops with key personnel from the Australian country music industry giving expert instruction in songwriting, vocal and instrument coaching, performance and stagecraft," co-ordinators say.

"Parents are also involved in the curriculum with daily classes on the music business and understanding their talented child. Jim Haynes leads the parent sessions bringing in many special guests to inform and stimulate (them)."

The first Camerata was held in 2002, when co-founders Joan Douglas and Greg Williams established something they never dreamed would become so important in shaping the careers of its graduates.

"A number of the graduates have since been signed to record companies, won major awards, signed publishing deals and have extremely high profiles, growing daily. Jessica Mauboy, Amos Morris, Kirsty Lee Akers, Sinead Burgess, Shea Fisher, Chasing Bailey, Aleyce Simmonds, Liam Brew, Caitlin Harnett, Aaron Bolton, Victoria Baillie and Melanie Dyer are just some graduates who have climbed great heights in the music industry," Greg said.

"The better known names are only the tip of the iceberg. Camerata produces so many graduates who go on to find a place in the music industry for themselves, in their own right.

Camerata is considered an important forerunner to the College of Australian Country Music College (for students 17 years and over) which runs every January preceding the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Camerata 2009 runs from July 10 to July 16 and culminates in a Sponsors/Graduation Concert on Thursday July 16 which is open to the public.

Application forms are available from Greg via email – gregrwilliams@bigpond.com – or by phoning 02 6766 2616 or 0408 255 908.

Weblink – www.tamworthcamerata.com.


Chart update – Keith still at the top

Keith Urban's Sweet Thing hangs on to the number one spot on the national Top 30 Country Tracks chart this week.

Felicity Urquhart's I Fall jumps two more places to be at number four while .Jetty Road's Good Times slips one to three and Graeme Connors' A Beach House In The Blue Mountains is up another three places to fourth position.

Catherine Britt's I'm Not Your Cinderella jumps four places to number five, Drew McAlister, Allan Caswell & Matt Scullion are steady at six with The Billy Joel Song and The Sunny Cowgirls former number one – Dancing On The Darling – is down to seven.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wildflower is up two to eight while Talia Wittmann's Ladylike is down to nine and The Bobkatz The Red Top Table enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up (20 to 17), Rob Black's I'm In Love & It's Getting Worse (22 to 18), Sinead Burgess with You Get Me (21 to 19), Steve Forde's I Ain't That Guy and Melinda Schneider & Paul Kelly with Still Here (new at 25).

Other new entries in the chart this week are Rose Carleo (pictured) with Some Kind Of Miracle (in at 29) and Don Costa with To Here Door (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.



Wandong update

Next weekend's Wandong Country Music Festival has been extended to cater for more artists who have donated their time to come along and show their support for the Victorian bushfire benefit.

The Festival will now run from 10am to 8.30pm (next Sunday, March 1) and artists are donating their fees to the appeal, organisers said.

The line-up is now The Blackhill Ramblers, James Blundell, Billy Bridge, Carter & Carter, The Dalton Gang, David Delle Vergin, Peter Denahy, Jayne Denham, Tim Farren, Damian Howard & The Ploughboys, Jetty Road, Melinda Schneider, Sara Storer (pictured) and Dave Walker & The Blue Moon Lodge.

L.B. Davern Reserve, Dry Creek Crescent, Wandong (Victoria) is the venue.

Weblink – www.wandongcmf.org.au.


Capital News lists fundraising appeals

Australia's country music monthly, Capital News, is listing country music bushfire appeal fundraising events on its website.

The magazine will also be publishing a listing in its upcoming March issue but the website listing will be kept up to date as new information is received or details change.

Ten activities are currently listed at www.capitalnews.com.au (click on the bushfire appeal link).

Any new information can be sent to rpevents@ruralpress.com.


Jetty Road sign with Compass Bros distribution

Jetty Road – 2009 Best Group People's Choice and Best Independent Group TIARA winners – have signed a deal with Compass Brothers for distribution of their upcoming new album Life At A Million Miles.

This will be the third album released by the Victorian four piece of Lee Bowman, Paula Bowman, Simon Ross and Julian Sammut. Their previous albums, Full Circle (released in 2005) and Dirt Roads City Lights (2007) saw the band garner the attention of the country music industry, both locally and internationally.

In addition to their wins this January, last year, Jetty Road were finalists in the Golden Guitar Awards for Best Group or Duo, won the 2008 TIARA for Best Group, won the 2008 Victorian Album of the Year at the Victorian & National Country Music Awards and toured throughout America, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

Among their recent successes, the band's single Good Times held the number two position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 for four consecutive weeks and made number three on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50.

The new album will be available in stores from Saturday April 18.

"We are really excited to be working with Compass Bros," said Paula. "The opportunity to work with Australia’s leading country music label is really a thrill."

With the new album release Jetty Road is gearing up for another busy year.

In June, they will be heading to Canada to perform alongside Kenny Chesney, Emerson Drive and Jo Dee Messina at Mountainfest – the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (billed as North America’s premiere country music festival). While in Canada, they will also perform at the Big Valley Jamboree in Alberta alongside Gary Allan, Glen Campbell, Billy Currington, Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw.

Photo: Jetty Road (from left): Julian, Lee, Paula and Simon.


30th anniversary for Allan's On The Inside

The weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Australian television series "Prisoner" and for its theme On The Inside written by multi Golden Guitar winner Allan Caswell.

On The Inside reached the number one position on charts in both Australia and New Zealand, number three in the UK and made it to the country charts in America.

The television soap opera was set in the fictional Wentworth Detention Centre and became of the the most enduring television series in Australian history with 692 episodes running from 1979 to 1986.

Allan went on to become one of Australia's most prolific and successful songwriters, choosing to work mainly in the country music industry. And he is still actively writing and recording to this day.

He released a new album – Rules For Love – at the recent Tamworth Country Music Festival and co-wrote (with Drew McAlister) the hit collaboration The Billy Joel Song (recorded with Drew and Matt Scullion).

Speaking of the new album. Allan said: "For the first time ever, I recorded without a full drum kit or electric guitars to give the songs a chance to breathe.

"The oldest song... was written in 1982, the newest a week before we started recording. One song took 20 years to write, one took 20 minutes. That just shows you how the world of songwriting works."



Felicity launches new album

Felicity Urquhart will launch her new album – Landing Lights – at The Vanguard, 42 King Street, Newtown (Sydney) from 8.30 tonight (Thursday February 19).

Special guests Paul Greene and Sam Hawksley will join Felicity for the launch of the album which was produced by Brad Jones.

"There are sonic similarities to Alison Krauss, (The) Waifs, (The) Greencards and Patty Griffin," said David Dawson in his review for "Beat Mag". "So this is an album that begs to be heard – buy now and beat the urban bandwagon."

"Landing Lights should be the album that sees Felicity Urquhart step into the limelight," said "Rhythms" magazine's Martin Jones. "And it’s about time. It’s a world class country record that steps boldly into the international arena..."

Tickets for tonight's launch are $18 available online at www.thevanguard.com.au or by phone on 02 9557 7992.

Weblink – www.felicityurquhart.com.au.


Drive-By Truckers down under

America's Drive-By Truckers will make a whirlwind visit to Australia in April.

The band will play the Byron Bay Bluesfest and two headline concerts during their stay (see On Tour for performance details).

Rolling Stone magazine called the Drive-By Truckers "the boldest, baddest Southern band in the land" and they are said to have been living up to that moniker for the last decade.

Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley formed the band in the mid-90s, folding their love of punk, country, Southern rock, pop and rock 'n' roll into a three-guitar, multi-songwriter powerhouse.

On seven highly-acclaimed albums, including 2001's Southern Rock Opera, 2003's Decoration Day and 2004's The Dirty South, "the Truckers survey the modern South with a complex blend of realism-tempered pride and compassionate but uncompromising analysis," said a spokesman for their record label.

Their latest release, last year's Brighter Than Creation's Dark, comes on the heels of a lineup change that saw songwriter/guitarist Jason Isbell leaving the band and bassist Shonna Tucker taking a bigger role in writing and singing.

"With three songwriters, Brighter Than Creation's Dark holds true to the band's eclectic storytelling. (This CD) has some songs that are quieter than any we've ever recorded and some that rock harder than anything we've ever done," Patterson Hood said.

Weblink – www.drivebytruckers.com.



Western Australian award winners

Debbie Beckett and Terry & Jenny Bennetts (pictured) dominated the Western Australian Country Music Awards announced at Boyup Brook at the weekend.

Debbie Beckett won the Songwriter and Runner-up Songwriter awards (with Thirtynine & Seventytwo Months and Here On My Knees) and also the Best Female Vocal award.

Terry & Jenny won the Independent Album and Independent Single awards with, respectively, Songs Of Our Land and Where Has My Australia Gone.

Kathy Carver was named Best New Talent while Ken Stafford won Best Male Vocal and Jane Germain & The Yahoos were presented with the Best Group/Duo award.

Weblink – www.countrymusicwa.com.au.


New Cessnock Festival website

The pfiNET Cessnock City Country Music Festival, now in its third year, has launched a new website (see below).

The new website includes maps of Cessnock, directions for visitors, accommodation details, archival information, photos, "frequently asked questions" and a program of events.

This year’s event will be staged at the East Cessnock Bowling Club on May 22, 23 and 24 and will showcase a broad spectrum of country artists from bush balladeers through to traditional and contemporary country acts.

The line-up will include Victoria Baillie, Karl Broadie, Chic Frontier, the Davidson Brothers, Pat Drummond, Karen Lynne, Bruce McCumstie, Steve Passfield (pictured), Bob Pigott, Peter Pratt, Anita Ree and Tamara Stewart.

A tribute to one of the Hunter Valley’s most famous residents, the late Reg Lindsay, will be a significant highlight of the 2009 event. It will be staged on Friday May 22 and will feature artists including Reg’s daughter, Dianne Lindsay (pictured).

Festival organiser Rhonda Astill said she was thrilled to take the fledgling festival "to this next level" and hoped it was a sign of bigger and better things to come.

Weblink – www.cessnock-country-music-festival.com.


New single from Tracy

Tracy Coster has released the first single – Way Back Then – from her latest album, Moving On.

The album was launched during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.

"As the daughter of Australia’s legendary bush balladeer Stan Coster, undoubtedly Tracy’s influences have given her a unique perspective on life and music," according to the release accompanying the new single announcement.

"Now with the release of Way Back Then, Tracy is keeping the spirit of tradition alive with a new generation of songs that express her love of Australian country music and defines her as an artist in her own right."

"Tracy delivers the goods on herself this time round... complete with contemporary stylings that still showcase her heritage," says Jon Wolfe in "Country Music Capital News this month.

"Way Back Then is a perfect fit for country music radio and a taste of what Moving On is all about... organic, acoustic and a reflection of Tracy's musical roots.

"Moving On is where Tracy Coster is right now. It’s a journey of integrity, inspired honesty and joy, reflecting the past and embracing the future."

Weblink – www.tracycoster.com.au.


CMC Top 50 – Brad & Keith take the top spot

Brad Paisley & Keith Urban (pictured) take over the top spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with their duet Start A Band.

Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up edges up one place to be in second position while Taylor Swift's number one from the last three weeks – Love Story – is down to number three.

Steve Forde's I Ain't That Guy is up two to number five, The McClymonts jump four places to number six with Shotgun and The Sunny Cowgirls are steady at eight with Dancing On The Darling.

Jetty Road's Good Times is down to 10, Keith Urban's Sweet Thing is up two to 11, Sam Hawksley's Sounds Like Summer is steady at 12 and Australia Is Another Word For Free by John Williamson, Warren H Williams and Amos Morris is up five places to 14.

Sinead Burgess is down two to 16 with You Get Me while The Bobkatz' The Red Top Table enters the top 20 at 17 and Shea Fisher debuts at 19 with Don't Chase Me.

Bullet performers for the week include Shane Nicholson's Summer Dress (29 to 26), Rob Black's I'm In Love And It's Getting Worse (31 to 28), Simply Bushed with The Great Australian Love Song (39 to 36), Lianna Rose with Jack (41 to 38), Larry Cann with Rodeo Rider (new at 40) and Gemma Luxton with Party (new at 46).

Other new entries to the playlist this week include The Robertson Brothers with Not Beautiful (in at 49) and Brad Cole with Come Home (at 50).

This week's CMC "Country Pick" is the clip of Adam Brand's Hell Of A Ride, the first single and title track of his seventh studio album which will be released on Saturday March 7.

The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.



Sony to release bushfire appeal CD

Sony Music Entertainment Australia is supporting the fundraising for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal through the release of a special benefit compilation CD Bushfire Aid – Artists For The Bushfire Appeal.

Australian and international artists have immediately jumped to the cause, Sony said, and generously donated their songs and royalties to help the appeal.

The CD features 35 tracks from local acts Vanessa Amorosi, Jimmy Barnes, Adam Brand, John Butler Trio, Anthony Callea, Wes Carr, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, John Farnham, Steve Forde, Delta Goodrem, Hoodoo Gurus, Hunters & Collectors, Icehouse, Paul Kelly, Lee Kernaghan, Jessica Mauboy, Men At Work, Midnight Oil, Pete Murray, Noiseworks, Shannon Noll & Natalie Bassingthwaite, Powderfinger, Rose Tattoo and John Williamson together with international artists Beyoncé, Dido, Empire Of The Sun, Eurythmics, Newton Faulkner, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, The Living End, Jennifer Rush, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Westlife and Bill Withers.

Bushfire Aid – Artists For The Bushfire Appeal was officially launched during the Nine Network telethon "Australia Unites – The Victorian Bushfire Appeal" which aired nationally on Thursday.

Sony Music proceeds from the sale of the CD will go to The Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal through the charitable arm of the Australian Sony Group of Companies, The Sony Foundation.

Denis Handlin, Chairman & Chief Executive, Australia & New Zealand for Sony Music Entertainment, said: "Sony Music Australia is privileged to support the Victorian Bushfire Appeal through this special CD.

"Our thanks go to all of the artists and songwriters for generously donating their tracks royalty free. We also thank Sony DADC Australia for kindly donating the CD manufacturing.

"I know everyone in Australia shares deep concern for this tragedy, its horrific toll on life, families, communities and wildlife," Denis said. "On behalf of Sony Music and the Sony Foundation, our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and our immense gratitude goes to all the emergency service people and volunteers who have so generously given in this time of need.”

Bushfire Aid – Artists For The Bushfire Appeal will be in stores from the beginning of next week.


Whittlesea Festival update

Following last weekend's cancellation of the Whittlesea Country Music Festival due to the unfortunate and unexpected events surrounding the Victorian bushfires, organisers have said they are not yet at a stage to be able to comment on ticket refunds and/or camping refunds.

Saturday and Sunday of the Festival were cancelled following evacuation, performed unassisted by Festival Committee members, due to the bushfire threat.

"As a community, we are all mourning," a spokesman said. "This disaster has touched everyone involved in some way or another. I ask that anyone wanting questions answered to please just give us time. I promise we will get the information back to you in stages once the smoke has cleared."


Chart update – Keith at number one

Keith Urban's Sweet Thing takes over the number one spot on the national Top 30 Country Tracks chart this week.

Jetty Road's Good Times is steady again at number two while The Sunny Cowgirls number one from the last five weeks – Dancing On The Darling – is down to number three and Felicity Urquhart's I Fall is up another two places to number four.

Talia Wittmann's Ladylike is steady again at five, Drew McAlister, Allan Caswell & Matt Scullion jump two places to six with The Billy Joel Song and Graeme Connors' A Beach House In The Blue Mountains is up three places to seven.

Amber Lawrence is at eight with The Mile, Catherine Britt's I'm Not Your Cinderella bounds into the top 10 at nine, as does Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wildflower at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include The Bobkatz The Red Top Table (16 to 13) and Rob Black's I'm In Love & It's Getting Worse (25 to 22).

New entries in the chart this week Larry Cann & Markus Meier with Rodeo Rider (in at 29) and Tania Kernaghan's Second Time Around (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.



Second Country Music Capital bushfire appeal fundraiser announced

A Bushfire Appeal Concert and Family Fun Day will be staged at the Salvation Army Hall, Sydney Road, in Tamworth on Sunday March 1.

The city's country music community is joining with The Salvation Army to run the fundraiser to aid the bushfire victims of Victoria.

A Church Service will be conducted at 10am with lunch and concert from 2pm.

Subject to availability, the concert will feature 8 Ball Aitken, Lindsay Butler, The Crosby Sisters (pictured), Rex Dallas (pictured), Graham Doubleday, Dale Duncan, Lynette Guest, Brian Howard, Shaza Leigh, Brian Letton, Tom Maxwell, Deniese Morrison, Matt O'Leary, Peter Pratt, Paddy Ryan, The Sunny Cowgirls, Rodney Vincent and Brian Young.

Compere will be Nick Erby.

More details will be announced as they come to hand.

Weblink – Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal Concert.


Cherry Capital Muster dedicated to bushfire appeal

The Cherry Capital Country Music Association in Young (NSW) is dedicating its February Muster on Saturday 28th at the Young Bowling Club to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

"Our committee has decided to turn it into a fundraiser," a spokesman said.

"We can get a truck and have an outdoor concert with raffles, money tins, and other fundraising ideas, and we can collect donations if people want to bring stuff in.

"We would love your help with this especially from other country music clubs in the area. If anyone would like to donate prizes, etc, then that would be great we can raffle it and make some money."

Contact Kerry at mrskezz@optusnet.com.au if you can assist.



Boyup Brook '09

The 24th Boyup Brook Country Music Festival kicks off tomorrow (Thursday February 12) and runs through until Sunday (15th) in "the home of Western Australia’s Country Music Capital, Boyup Brook some 280 kilometres south east of Perth.

As part of the Festival, competition will be conducted to determine winners of WA Country Music Awards.

Finalists in the Male Vocal section are Laurie Hill, Ken Stafford and Mike Wilkinson.

Finalists in Female Vocal are Debbie Beckett, Kathy Carver, Jane Germain and Selina Johnson.

Finalists in New Talent are Kathy Carver, Jane Germain and Tracie Redding.

Finalists in Open Band are Cactus Jack, Djangle, Four Bean Mix and Jane Germain & the Yahoos.

In awards already determined, Debbie Beckett won the Songwriter category with Thirtynine And Seventytwo Months, Terry & Jenny Bennetts won both Independent Single (with Where Has My Australia Gone) and Album of the Year (with Songs Of Our Land).

Organisers say the 2009 Festival line-up "is exciting, with Steve Forde (pictured) and the Wolverines headlining with an impressive cast of highly talented and popular country music artists such as Debbie Becket, Paul Costa, Kingsley Day, Laura Downing, Shea Fisher, Girls With Guitars, Jetty Road, Chad Woods and many more of your favourites.

"A large proportion of the artists performing at the festival have successful recording and touring careers and big fan bases throughout Australia."

The Boyup Brook Country Music Festival has steadily developed into an event that draws thousands of fans on an annual pilgrimage, often driving thousands of kilometres.

"Visitors converge on this beautiful destination on the banks of the beautiful Blackwood River for four days of virtually non-stop country music," organisers said.

"There is something for everyone... including the Ute & Truck Muster as part of the main street carnival entertainment on the Saturday and the Bush Poets Breakfast on the Sunday.

Weblink – www.countrymusicwa.com.au.


Victorian Award winners

Winners of the Victorian & National Country Music Awards were announced at Whittlesea on Friday.

In the National section, John Stephan was named Male Vocalist of the Year with All My Life while Catherine Britt won the Female Vocal award for What I Did Last Night.

The McClymonts were awarded Best Australian Group with Favourite Boyfriend Of The Year, The Sunny Cowgirls won Duet of the Year with Dancing On The Darling and Sharon Lane was announced winner of The Hawking Brothers Best New Talent with I Cried.

Song of the Year (supported by APRA) went to Shotgun, written and recorded by The McClymonts.

The Smoky Dawson Best Independent Release award went to Doug Bruce (pictured) with All I Need, Marcie Jones won The Trailblazers Heritage Award with Daddy.

John Williamson, Warren H Williams and Amos Morris took out the Bush Ballad award with Australia Is Another Word For Free, Instrumental of the Year went to the Davidson Brothers with Left Hand Drive, as did the Bluegrass & Traditional Country award with Just To Get To You.

In the Victorian sections...

Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year went to Doug Bruce with, respectively, All I Need and What I'm Drinkin' About.

The Davidson Brothers won Group/Duet with City Life and the Entertainer of the Year award and Marcie Jones took out the Female Vocal title with Daddy.

A new award was added this year in honour of Awards organisers Merle and Graham Gillis. Named the Gillis Industry Award, it was first presented to Merle and Graham at this year's event.


Bunyip Festival to go ahead as planned

Despite the tragic bushfires that have devastated Victoria and much of the west, central and south Gippsland areas, it has been confirmed that the Bunyip Country Music Festival will go ahead as planned on Sunday February 22.

In making the announcement, Festival organiser Joy Batchelor said that all proceeds from the event would be donated to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

"We normally donate Festival proceeds to community organisations within the immediate Bunyip district," she said. "However, the recent bushfire tragedies have vastly impacted on the wider Gippsland community and we believe that we must aid the recovery process in whatever way we can.

"The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund has been established for over 30 years and has a proven record of distributing funds quickly to those affected by disasters such as these bushfires. It will ensure the proceeds assist those in greatest need,” Joy said.

"With Victoria’s biggest festival, Whittlesea, cancelled due to the fires, country music fans should take the opportunity to go to Bunyip and in turn aid bushfire recovery. Patrons will be pleased with what the Festival has to offer this year. Bunyip has always offered terrific value and has maintained its standard of catering to families and die-hard country music fans.

"The 20th edition of this famous little festival is no exception with all stops pulled out to provide an outstanding lineup for the 20th birthday bash.

"Adam Harvey was insistent that he returned for the milestone event," Joy said, "where he first appeared before his career exploded into the phenomenon that he is today. Also returning to Bunyip are Stuart and Camille French with Stuart’s popular band Feral Swing Katz.

"Johanna Hemara, Karen Lynne and Blue Mountain Rain, The Cartwheels, The Bona-fide Travelers and Phoenix all make their Bunyip debuts along with Rick Bartlett.

"Gippslanders Billy Bridge and Victoria Baillie (pictured) also return to give the day some added local flavour."

The Bunyip Country Music Festival is staged at the Bunyip Recreation Reserve, directly opposite the railway station. Admission is $25 with children 14 and under free. The event is well catered for all tastes, with a wide range of food and beverages at reasonable prices.

Wandong goes ahead

Organisers of the upcoming Wandong Country Music Festival have also advised the event will be going ahead as planned on Sunday March 1.

And "James Blundell (pictured) has been added to the artist line-up as he wanted to be a part of the festival to help out," said a spokesman.

"(The Festival) will be a much needed distraction for everyone within the area (and) will be a benefit with artist fees donated going to the bushfire appeal.

Click here for original story with more details.


Bush dance and concert for Victorian Bushfires Appeal

The Illawarra Folk Club is arranging a fundraising bush dance and concert for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal for Saturday February 28 at City Diggers, Wollongong (NSW).

Entry will be $10 per adult, $5 per child. Additional donations will be welcome. A raffle is also to be held.

All proceeds will go to the Appeal.

The plan is to start with a Bush Dance from 6pm to 7pm and then follow with a varietal concert with performances of 15 to 20 minutes from 10 to 12 artists.

Bush dance fundraisers

In addition to the above, all the proceeds from the next two weekly bush dances held at the Wongawilli Community Hall will go towards the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

The dances will be held at 8pm, Wednesdays February 18 and 25. Admission is $5 adults, children free. The hall is actually situated next to the Dapto Rural Fire Service who have been busy out fighting fires.

"It's a fun night with all the dances called and walked through," said a spokesman for organisers. "Acoustic musicians are welcome to join the band which includes members of the world travelling Wongawilli Band. Sheet music and instruction is provided."

The weekly dance was established in 1985 at the Heinenger Hall in Dapto and moved to Wongawilli Community Hall in 1990. Organised by the Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club, a non-profit incorporated association, it is reportedly the only weekly bush dance in Australia.

Weblink – www.wongawillicolonialdance.org.au.


Billy announces fund-raiser

Victorian based country singer/songwriter Billy Bridge has announced he will donate all proceeds from the sales of his Doin' OK CD this month to the Victorian bushfire relief fund.

"Feeling a little helpless," he said, "I decided that the only way I can help the people suffering from the Victorian fires is to try and raise money."

The CD is $20 plus $3 postage and can be ordered via secure payment methods at Billy's website www.billybridge.com. "It can also be ordered by mail order by sending a cheque / money order to me at PO Box 6387, Point Cook. Victoria 3030," Billy said.

"I understand the devastation people are facing but can not begin to imagine their pain. It is all I can think of to help in some small way."

Billy said his aim was to sell at least 250 CDs before the end of the month which would provide $5,000 from the fund-raiser to the relief fund.

"Anything above that will also be sent through but I am sure we can band together in this time of need for all of the victims of the worst fires in our history."

Any enquiries can be directed to Billy via info@billybridge.com.


CMC announces support for bushfire relief

In response to Australia’s greatest natural disaster, XYZnetworks’ Country Music Channel (CMC) has announced it will donate $10 to the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 for every ticket sold to CMC Rocks the Snowys Festival in Thredbo on March 6 and 7, including all tickets sold to date.

Announcing the support, XYZnetworks Chief Executive Bruce Mann said the unprecedented tragedy had touched all employees and called for immediate action.

“Like everyone around Australia, we have been deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic events that have befallen our community over the past week. Devastating fires are still burning throughout Victoria and New South Wales, and continue to affect more and more people.

"CMC has always had a deep bond with regional Australia and we are committed to doing everything we can to assist these communities in their time of need. We urge everyone to dig deep and contribute to this Appeal.”

XYZnetworks employees are also supporting the bushfire appeal through an employee donation program with all proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross.

"XYZnetworks extends our thoughts and compassion to all those affected and to those in the community who are working tirelessly in response to this tragedy," Bruce said.

Weblink – www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.


Country Music Capital concert for bushfire appeal

A concert to raise money, food and clothing for the victims of the Victorian bushfire disaster has been pencilled in for Wednesday February 18 between 6 and approx 9pm pending Council approval.

Members of the Red Cross will be manning the doors at the venue – understood to be the Tamworth Town Hall – and taking donations directly as well as bucket walkers for those who wish to donate more through the evening.

The concert will feature many of Tamworth's popular acts including jazz band Gabriella Bonomo, Champagne Charlies, Nicole Geddes, multi Golden Guitar winner Lawrie Minson, The John Muller Band with Peter Harkins, Ryan Sampson, "Australia You've Got Talent" finalists Those Gals, Sally-Anne Whitten (pictured) and guitar whiz Matt Zarb and more to be announced. Local media personality Kevin Anderson will host.

All funds, food and money will go directly to the Red Cross Appeal and all services donated by local business.


Adam to release new album and plans relief concert for bushfire victims

Adam Brand (pictured) will release his seventh studio album – Hell Of A Ride – on Saturday March 7.

"At the very start of writing this album, I was asked what was left for me to write about?" Adam said. "What did I want to say after 10 years of touring and making albums?

"I thought hard about this question... this was my answer: If it was all to end right now, no more concerts, no more albums... I’d want to get every person who has supported me, helped me through the tough times, turned up to shows in the pouring rain, went out and bought my albums, stood by me even when I made mistakes.... and with a cold beer in my hand I’d want to stand in front of them all and say... 'Here's to the sinners, here's to the saints, here's to the people I'd like to thank.

"'You drink to me and I'll drink to you, let's drink together but before we do... if I die tonight, that would be alright, you wanna know why? Coz we had one hell of a ride'.

"Not a day goes by that I don’t think to myself how lucky I am," Adam said. "To do this for a living! The amazing people I’ve met along the way, the experiences, the places... each album marks a step in my musical and my life journey... and this album feels like it’s both closing the chapter of the last 10 years and at the same time opening a brand new one.

Meanwhile, Adam has announced plans for a relief concert for bushfire victims.

The event is expected to be held in Bendigo or Whittlesea in a couple of weeks.

Adam, who grew up in Colac in regional Victoria, said he was devastated by the fires and would do anything to help.

"This is a national tragedy," he said. "I feel helpless as a singer. I wish I was a builder or carpenter that could directly help rebuild their lives.

"However, as a singer, like everybody else in Australia, I will do all I can to help these people through this difficult time."

Fellow country stars James Blundell and The Sunny Cowgirls are also likely to take part in the relief concert.

Organisers say they are trying to get together a range of musicians with more details to be announced later in the week.

Adam said he was also planning to donate a portion of sales from his new album to bushfire victims.

The concert will be made possible thanks to a partnership with pay TV provider Austar.

Weblink – www.adambrand.com.


Dean’s campfire

With 2009 now well underway, Dean Perrett reports acceptance of his new album A Thousand Campfires to be "very successful and encouraging".

Dean launched his latest album in November in his home town of Kingaroy (Qld). He invited Dianne Lindsay and Peter Simpson to be part of a special series of launch concerts. "Fitting," Dean said, "as Dianne recorded There’s A Rainbow Round By Memories as a duet on the new album. Dianne’s husband Peter also contributed the beautiful haunting song Akubras In The Snow to the project."

Tamworth Country Music Festival has now passed us by, Dean said, "and once again thank you to all those fans that attended our concerts. Tamworth is always a great time to catch up with old friends and make many new ones."

While in Tamworth, Dean performed his two annual concerts with good friends Jeff Brown and Peter Pratt at the Frog & Toad Convention Centre and also at the Balladeers Homestead on shows such as Slim, Stan and Bazza Tribute Show and also the Gospel Bluegrass and Ballads Show.

This month sees the release of the latest single from A Thousand Campfires, We’re Doing Fine. The song is a duet with Anne Kirkpatrick and is expected to be a popular track on the nation’s country airwaves.

Late February sees Dean hitting the road to promote the new album. The show, consisting of Dean, Charley Boyter on guitar, Brendan Podjer on bass guitar and Peter Pratt will take in Bundaberg, Kyogle, Mackay, Maryborough, Murgon, Rockhampton and Warwick (see our On Tour page for details).

Later in the year, Dean plans to tour and perform shows with Anita Ree. And he will be appearing at various festivals throughout the year including the Boondooma Heritage and Balladeers Muster, Broxburn Bash at Pittsworth, the Bundy Aussie Country Muster, Mildura Country Music Festival and the Nanango Country Muster.

Weblink – www.deanperrett.com.


Harmony featured on NT Stateline

While all may have seemed a little quiet lately in the Harmony James camp, Northern Territory viewers saw the singer/songwriter on ABC TV's Northern Territory "Stateline" program last Friday.

Best known for staying well out of reach in a remote outback town, the footage showed Harmony going about the business of her life out of the public eye.

When she took to the studio recently to record her forthcoming album, the cameras were there.

With a radio single release imminent, the appearance served to remind her fans of how keen they are to hear her new material.

Weblink – www.harmonyjames.com.


Hunter Valley club

The Hunter Valley Australian Traditional & Bush Ballad Club meets on the last Sunday of the month at Hexham (NSW) Bowling Club starting at 1pm and finishing at 5pm.

"Our aim is to promote Australian country music," a club spokesman said, "and encourage all ages to perform. We meet in the form of a showcase featuring each of our members singing three songs if time permits.

"Some of our artists are Slim Newton, Bob Easter, Greg Bain (pictured), Noel Riley and John Sutherland. We have a house band and some Sundays we feature up to 17 artists. There is no charge to attend."

Every three months a guest artist is featured. The program is all-Australian and no backing tapes are used.

"We average 80 attendees every month," the spokesman said. "Our first showcase for the year is on Sunday the 24th of February.

"if anyone is passing through, drop in and have a great afternoon of country music.

"Also, if any artist is planning a tour and are passing Hexham, if they could ring Ian on 02 4982 6923, we might be able to book you. We need at least two months notice.


Rodney to tour "down under"

Leading Nashville singer/songwriter Rodney Crowell is to conduct a concert tour of Australia for the first time (see On Tour for details).

He will be joined on his Sydney and Melbourne shows by Australian country star Felicity Urquhart who has just released a new album titled Landing Lights.

Grammy winning songwriter, producer and artist Rodney brings "poetry and an earthy tautness to the soundtrack of people in the cracks, carving out lives that matter, if only to themselves and the people they know," according to the release announcing the tour.

Described as one of Nashville's all-time great singer/songwriters, Rodney first came to prominence as a member of Emmylou Harris' band in the '70s with a number of his songs.

"After achieving massive success in the '80s, solo and with then-wife Rosanne Cash, he has shunned the mainstream in recent times, producing work that is as uncompromising and honest as that of his old compadres Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and his former father-in-law Johnny Cash.

The tour follows the release of his acclaimed and Grammy-nominated new album Sex & Gasoline.

Weblink – www.rodneycrowell.com.


CMC Top 50 – Taylor still at the top

America's Taylor Swift (pictured) hangs on to the number one spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist for the third week running with the clip of her hit Love Story.

Keith Urban's duet with Brad Paisley – Start A Band – is steady at two, Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up jumps two more places to number three while Jetty Road's Good Times is at six.

Steve Forde's I Ain't That Guy bounds into the top 10 at seven, The Sunny Cowgirls' Dancing On The Darling is at eight and The McClymonts' Shotgun enters the top 10 at 10.

Sam Hawksley's Sounds Like Summer is at 12, Keith Urban's new single Sweet Thing debuts at 13, Sinead Burgess is at 14 with You Get Me while Australia Is Another Word For Free by John Williamson, Warren H Williams and Amos Morris debuts at 19.

Bullet performers for the week include Simply Bushed with The Great Australian Love Song (43 to 39) and Lianna Rose with Jack (new at 41).

The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.



Victorian bushfire devastation – update

Late today, the Bulletin spoke with Whittlesea Country Music Festival organisers following the devastating weekend of Victorian bushfires.

Friday's activities went ahead as planned including the Awards presentation (winners details to come) but with 46 degree heat on Saturday and the developing bushfire emergency, activities were curtailed.

After the devastating fires last night and today, Festival visitors had to be evacuated as Whittlesea was threatened.

It was a "horrible time" according to a Festival committee member.

The Whittlesea Showground has since become, among other things, an emergency camping ground. "We are now helping, with many others, to look after people who have been made homeless by the fires," the committee member said.

In expressing disappointment that the event had to be cancelled, Festival organisers expressed their thanks to attendees.

Meanwhile, organisers of the coming weekend's Kinross Country Muster at the Kinross Woolshed, Thurgoona, near Albury, have offered Whittlesea ticket holders free admission to their event.

More information about the Kinross Muster will be published here in the next day or so, or can be obtained by visiting www.kinrosscountrymuster.com.au.

The Bulletin has also received news that Mereyln and David Carter, who live in Kinglake, are safe.

It is understood they have lost their farm but managed to save their house and animals.

With only limited phone and no power access, they will be unable to communicate for a week or so.

Links to several of the major appeals set up in response to the weekend's devastating bushfires... The Salvation Army and Australian Red Cross.. can be accessed at left.

It is understood members of the public are also able to donate via any bank to the appeal established by the Federal and Victorian governments.

An appeal has also been made for people to donate blood to help deal with the aftermath of the disaster which may not be over yet.

Meanwhile, Victorian based Steve Eales, who lives in plain sight of some of the fires, has released a song – My Country's Burning – to promote awareness of Victoria's plight and raise money for Red Cross.

The song can be downloaded from Steve's website – www.steveeales.com – for 99 cents "with every single cent that we raise being donated to Red Cross for bush fire relief," Steve said.

"We're on high alert here at the moment. Some evacuated last night. I can see the fire on the hill from my place and the smoke is so thick its difficult to see and breathe. I probably should have left already but I want to see this though.

"What's worse is all the news filtering in from all the towns that I do my shows at from week to week, all the people and properties lost, seems like it's never gonna stop.

"There's always a great sense of community in these times, when evacuees are billeted in friends and neighbours homes or town halls, comforted, clothed and fed by that same community. There's gotta be more we can do, more I can do.

"I wrote the song a few years back when the last big fire came through but didn't use it, this time I want to get the song out there."


Chart update – The Sunny Cowgirls' fifth week at number one

The Sunny Cowgirls dominate the national Top 30 Country Tracks chart this week for the fifth week in a row with their hit Dancing On The Darling.

Jetty Road's Good Times is steady again at number two, while Keith Urban's Sweet Thing jumps three places to number three and Amber Lawrence hangs on to the number four spot again with The Mile.

Talia Wittmann's Ladylike is steady at five, Felicity Urquhart's I Fall bounds up four places to number six and James Blundell's Good Wood is down to seven.

Drew McAlister, Allan Caswell & Matt Scullion slip one place to eight with The Billy Joel Song, 8 Ball Aitken's Hands On Top Of The Wheel is steady at nine while Graeme Connors' A Beach House In The Blue Mountains enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wildflower (15 to 12), Catherine Britt's I'm Not Your Cinderella (18 to 13), The Bobkatz The Red Top Table (20 to 16), John Williamson's Cydi (22 to 18), Ted Egan's Last Of The Packhorse Bagmen (23 to 19), Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up (25 to 21), Rob Black's I'm In Love & It's Getting Worse (29 to 25), Luke O'Shea's Pride Of Erin (new at 26) and Brad Cole's Come Home (new at 27).

Other new entries in the chart this week include Steve Forde with I Ain't That Guy (in at 29).

The full chart can be viewed at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.



Whittlesea '09

The 2009 Whittlesea Country Music Festival kicks off tomorrow, Friday, February 6 and runs through to and including Sunday.

The Festival incorporates the Victorian & National Country Music Awards whose top five finalists have been announced.

In the National section, finalists are...

For Male Vocalist of the Year – Doug Bruce with What I'm Drinkin' About,, Slim Dusty with How Good It Is, Harry Jon Nanos with Everything Together, John Stephan All My Life and John Williamson (pictured) with Cydi.

For Female Vocalist of the Year – Catherine Britt with What I Did Last Night, Marcie Jones with Daddy, Anne Kirkpatrick with From There To Now, Brooke McClymont with Don't Tie My Hands and Jasmine Rae with Country Singer.

For Group – Crakajak with Can't Take The Country From The Girl, the Davidson Brothers with Long Distance Love Affair, The Slim Dusty Family with Pick It Up And Pass It On, The McClymonts with Favourite Boyfriend Of The Year and The Sunny Cowgirls with Acting Stupid.

For Duet – the Davidson Brothers & Trev Warner with Blue Mountain Home, Pat Drummond & Karen Lynne with Dreams, Adam Harvey & Larry Cann with Farther Down The Line, The Sunny Cowgirls with Dancing On The Darling and John Williamson & Warren H Williams with Pmarra Knatcha (My Home In The Bush).

For the Hawking Brothers New Talent – 8 Ball Aitken with Rebel With A Cause, Johanna Hemara with Goodnight Sweetheart, Sharon Lane with I Cried, Jasmine Rae with Country Singer and Marcela Taylor with Move On.

In the Songwriter's category, the finalists are Kristy Cox with Fallen, Marcie Jones with Daddy, David Kirkpatrick with Old Purple, Cameron Mason with Count Your Blessings and The McClymonts with Shotgun.

For the Smoky Dawson Best Independent Release (album) – Doug Bruce with All I Need, Kristy Cox (pictured) with Fallen, Davidson Brothers (self titled album), - Davidson brothers(self titled), Sharon Lane with Second Chance and Lianna Rose with Jack.

For the Trailblazers Heritage Award – David Kirkpatrick & The Slim Dusty Family with Old Purple, Marcie Jones with Daddy, The Sunny Cowgirls with Kelpie, Dave Walker & The Blue Moon Lodge with Brophy’s Tent and John Williamson & Warren H Williams with Pmarra Knatcha (My Home In The Bush).

For Bush Ballad – Greg Champion with Only Dog, Slim Dusty with Sunburnt People, Marcie Jones with Daddy,Anita Ree with Auctioneer and John Williamson, Warren H Williams & Amos Morris with Australia Is Another Word For Free.

For Instrumental – the Davidson Brothers with Left Hand Drive, Pete Fidler with Weaselcat, Michael Fix with Light At The End Of The Tunnel, Matt Manning & Stuie French with Prissy and Marcella Taylor with Move On.

For Bluegrass & Traditional Country – Billy Bridge with The Richest Man, Doug Bruce with Just Three Minutes, the Davidson Brothers with Just To Get To You, Marcie Jones with Daddy and Anne Kirkpatrick with From There To Now.

In Victorian sections...

For Album of the Year – Billy Bridge with Doin' OK, Doug Bruce with All I Need, Crakajak with Shakedown, the Davidson Brothers with their self-titled release and Jasmine Rae with Look It Up.

For Group/Duet – Billy Bridge & Rebecca Lee Nye with When You're Gone, Crakajak with Can't Take The Country From The Girl, the Davidson Brothers with City Life, Denise Drysdale & Marcie Jones with Lonely Hero and Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair with Good Tones.

For Male Vocalist – Billy Bridge (pictured) with If It Hadn't Felt Like Rain, Doug Bruce with What I'm Drinkin' About, Gavin Leadbetter with Little Cowgirl, Cameron Mason with What Am I Gonna Do and Harry Jon Nanos with Everything Together.

For Female Vocalist – Kristy Cox with Fallen, Denise Drysdale with Look At Us, Marcia Howard with Forever Young, Marcie Jones with Daddy and Jasmine Rae with Country Singer.

Award winners will be announced at the Plenty Ranges Arts and Convention Centre, South Morang, from 6.30pm tomorrow evening (Friday).

The township of Whittlesea features a free street party on Saturday from 10am to 3pm with music, buskers and talent search competitions, food stalls, boot scooting, animal nursery and activities for children.

From 3.30pm, the focus shifts to the Whittlesea Showgrounds with artists including Andre Camillieri & The Broken Hearts, Celestino, Travis Collins, Jetty Road, Jonah’s Road, The McClymonts, Travis Sinclair and J R Williams plus international artist Jackson Mackay.

On Sunday from 7.30am to 5pm, the Festival becomes a Sunday Round up & Truck and Ute Show kicking off with a bush poet's breakfast, moving to a gospel hour at 9am followed by non-stop country music by top name artists from all over Australia.

Olive Bice/Shady Deal, Catherine Britt, Graeme Connors, The Distance, Adam Harvey, The Junes, Arly Karlsen (international artist from Norway) and White Goat are included on the bill with compere Andrew Embling.

Plus "heaps of stalls, food outlets, music workshops, clothing outlets and kids activities... something for the whole family to enjoy," according to organisers.

And hundreds of trucks and utes are expected to be on display opposite the main stage.

Weblink – www.whittleseacountrymusicfestival.com.au.


Lianna originals to feature on "Home & Away"

Rising country star Lianna Rose has scored a major coup with two of her songs to be featured in the 7 Network drama "Home & Away".

The two episodes featuring tracks from Lianna's album Soak Up The World will air tonight (Thursday February 5) and Friday (Feb 6) at 7pm.

This year "is certainly shaping up to be a big year for Lianna," a spokesman for the artist said," with her naming as a finalist in this weekend's Victorian & National Country Music Awards for Best New Talent and Best Independent Release.

"The fun new video clip for my debut single, Jack (New Strings) (which is now at radio) has also just hit CMC."

Weblink – www.liannarose.net.


Troy changes management

It's been announced that Troy Cassar-Daley is no longer part of the Face The Music management group.

Jeff Chandler announced yesterday that his company would no longer represent Troy.

"We have enjoyed eight very successful years with Troy and wish him all the best with his future endeavors," Jeff said.

No announcement has yet been made regarding Troy's future management.

Contact in the meantime can be made via Liberation Music on 03 9695 7899.

Weblink – www.troycassardaley.com.au.


Primrose Sands Muster

The Primrose Sands (Tasmania) Country Music Muster will be held in the grounds of the Primrose Sands RSL Club on Saturday February 21 from 11am to 7pm non-stop.

Mainland artists Trevor Day, Keith Jamieson, Rachel Richards (pictured), Alisha Smith and Vanessa Warra will be performing along with Edwin Aliphon, Jeff Dornan, Hank Koopman, Barry Mayne, Trevor Pearce and local band Sundown featuring Bobby Brown and Gavan Howlett.

Entry will be $10 adults and $5 children. Hot and cold food as well as refreshments will be available at the venue. No BYO alcohol permitted.

Venue directions: from Hobart, travel east on the Tasman and Arthur highways, turn at the Primrose Sands turn-off and follow the signs.

In other tour news from "the apple isle" (see On Tour page for more info)... "Aussie Country on tour" with Keith Jamieson & Alisha Smith and Dianne Lindsay and Peter Simpson will run from this Friday until Sunday February 15... and Trevor Day will appear in Launceston on February 22 and Glenorchy on the 26th.


New album from Tania

Tania Kernaghan launched her fifth studio album – Livin’ The Dream – during the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

More than 700 fans gathered at the Big Golden Guitar for their first taste of the new album with many queuing for hours afterwards to meet the star.

Tania performed a number of new songs from the album with her Dad Ray calling in for a surprise performance of their new duet A Lot Like Each Other which Tania calls one of the highlights of Livin’ The Dream.

The first single from the album – Second Time Around – has been released to radio.

Livin’ The Dream will be available in stores on February 28, distributed by by KCR/Shock Distribution.

Weblink – www.taniakernaghan.com.


CMC Top 50 – Taylor still at number one

America's Taylor Swift hangs on to the number spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of her hit song Love Story.

Keith Urban's duet with Brad Paisley – Start A Band – is up one more place to be in second position while Jetty Road's Good Times jumps two places to number three and Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up is up three to five.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Dancing On The Darling is at six, Sinead Burgess is at seven with You Get Me while Sam Hawksley's Sounds Like Summer is up two to number eight.

Steve Forde's I Ain't That Guy jumps three more places to 11, The McClymonts' Shotgun is also up three to 13, James Blundell's Good Wood is at 17 and Jasmine Rae's Look It Up is at 18.

Bullet performers for the week include The Bobkatz' The Red Top Table (29 to 23), Kristy Cox's Destination Heartache (38 to 34), The Harmonators' Tomorrow Never Knows and Kaylah Anne's Why Me (49 to 45).

The CMC Country Pick for this week is Keith Urban's Sweet Thing, inspired by his relationship with wife Nicole and their baby Sunday Rose.

New to the playlist this week is Brendan Nawrocki with She Went By (in at 49).

The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.



Extra Melbourne show for Taylor

Taylor Swift, one of America's newest young superstars, has announced an extra show in Melbourne in response to overwhelming demand from fans.

The country recording artist, who is also the United States' highest selling artist for 2008 across all music genres, has already sold out her Brisbane (March 5) and Sydney (March 12 shows).

Monday March 9 is the additional show in Melbourne and show promoters say it will be specifically for an under 18s audience. See our On Tour page for full listing.

At just 19 years of age, the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter sold four million albums last year and has both her albums, the self-titled debut and her current release, Fearless, in America's mainstream top 10 albums chart. Fearless was released in November in America, debuted at number one on the Billboard Album Chart and sold more than 600,000 copies in its first week. It has since stayed in the top position for seven consecutive weeks and sold a total of more than 2.5 million copies.

When she first heard the news she was America’s top-selling artist, Taylor said: "Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Records rang me and started out the phone call by saying, 'You’re not going to believe this, but...!' I’ve gotten one of those phone calls every week now for the past seven weeks saying 'You’re not going to believe this, but, Fearless is number one again!'

"I just can’t stop smiling," she said, "Imagine something you’ve put everything into – your entire heart and mind and about everything that happened to you in the last two years – and the album goes on to do more than you ever expected. I’m so proud of this album!"

With more than 162 million song streams on her MySpace pages, Taylor is also the first country music star of the Internet generation. Currently ranked at number three worldwide across all genres of music on MySpace, she is also the first female solo artist in the 44-year history of the US Billboard Country Chart to score five top 10 singles from her 2006 debut album. Taking the charts by storm, Taylor is also the first female artist in history to write or co-write every song on that same triple-platinum-selling debut album.

"I feel there’s definitely been a perception change in the way people think about me," Taylor says. "But for me, I’m never going to change the way I look at myself or what I do on a Friday night if I’m not working. I’ll be at home with my Mom or my cat because my friends are either in college or live somewhere else."

The Fearless album and single Love Story are currently both sitting at number eight on the respective ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) national charts.

Taylor's Australian tour will include a special appearance and performance at CMC Rocks The Snowy Festival at Thredbo, NSW, on Saturday March 7.

Local country rocker Morgan Evans, handpicked by Taylor personally, will be special guest on all her Australian shows.

Weblink – www.taylorswift.com.


Paul signs with Compass Bros

Paul Costa has signed with the leading Compass Brothers label.

Since the independent release of his debut album Walking In These Shoes in 2004 and Restoration in 2007, Victorian based Paul has built a loyal fan base and earned many awards and accolades including Independent Artist Of The Year in 2006.

"We’re thrilled to have Paul on the label," said label Managing Director Graham Thompson,. "He is warm, sincere and engaging and writes songs that appeal to the heartland. He has worked hard building a rapport with fans and the industry and we are looking forward to helping him take it up a notch or two."

Paul’s new album – In This Life, produced by Rod McCormack – will be released on Compass Bros Records through Shock Entertainment on Saturday April 4.

Weblink – www.paulcosta.com.au.


No radio in some 2009 cars

The consumer electronics website Twice.com has reported that at least eight car models are being shipped in America with no radio.

Most of the vehicles are toward the lower end of the price range, like the Nissan Versa 1.6 Base and the Nissan Altima 2.5 and the Honda Civic DX.

Operators of the website say the stripped version of the Nissan Versa doesn’t have power locks or windows, air conditioning, ABS brakes – or a factory-installed radio.

They say the Toyota Yaris two-door liftback, Chevrolet Aveo LS, Ford F-150 XL regular cab truck and the Pontiac Solstice can be had without a radio or CD player.

"It’s an opportunity for after-market sales, for sure – but also an invitation for an iPod-using driver to avoid radio altogether."

– AllAboutCountry.com



Bush Ballad award winners

Winners of the 2009 Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards were announced at Bungendore last night.

Glenn Jones was the biggest winner taking out Album of the Year with Jonesy Sings Reg Poole and the Male Vocal award with Brewery Flat.

Anne Kirkpatrick won the Best Female title with Peter Denahy's Took His Saddle Home which also won the Songwriter award for Peter.

Lindsay Butler won Instrumental with Call Of Spring while Reg Poole took out Comedy Song with Ode To The Road.

Rachel Richards won New Talent with The Drover and Doug McIntyre was presented with the Barry Thornton Memorial Encouragement Award.

Next year's Bungendore Muster will run February 6 and 7.

Photo: Brian Letton presents Glenn Jones with his Male Vocal award.

Weblink – www.bungendorecountrymuster.com.au.


Chart update – top four remain unchanged

The top four places on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart remain unchanged from last week...

...The Sunny Cowgirls at number one with their hit Dancing On The Darling (for the fourth week in a row), Jetty Road's Good Times at number two, James Blundell's Good Wood at three and Amber Lawrence at four with The Mile.

Talia Wittmann's Ladylike edges up one to number five, Keith Urban's Sweet Thing is up two to six while Drew McAlister, Allan Caswell & Matt Scullion jump three places to seven with The Billy Joel Song.

Brooks & Dunn's Cowgirls Don't Cry is up one to eight, 8 Ball Aitken's Hands On Top Of The Wheel bounds into the top 10 at nine as does Felicity Urquhart's I Fall at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Graeme Connors' A Beach House In The Blue Mountains (17 to 13), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wildflower (20 to 15), Catherine Britt's I'm Not Your Cinderella (22 to 18), The Bobkatz The Red Top Table (23 to 20), John Williamson's Cydi (26 to 22), Sinead Burgess with You Get Me (30 to 24) and Kirsty Lee Akers' Knocked Up (29 to 25).

New entries in the chart this week are Rob Black (pictured) with I'm In Love & It's Getting Worse (in at 29) and Lee Forster's Keep Safe On The Track (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.


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