About the Bulletin
Advertisers & Supporters
Australian Albums Chart
Festivals & Events
Have your say

News Archives
Feature Artists
On Tour


Follow us on Facebook for news updates as they happen


Harmonica champion

This year's Hohner Golden Harmonica Championship at Tamworth was won by Jamie Symons from Kingscliff (NSW).

Event organiser Lawrie Minson said it was "another great show" held at The Family Hotel with himself and PJ Kevo as judges.

The event was compered by State Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson, a musician himself.

Jamie won a gold plated harmonica mounted on a trophy made by Tamworth craftsman Noel Smith.

Runner up was Ray Lechminka from South Coogee while the audience prize once again went to James Norton from Grose Vale (NSW) and the encouragement prize was won by James Higgins from Nowendoc (NSW).

Photo: Lawrie with 2013 Harmonica Champ Jamie.


Tamworth Cavalcade honours

More than 100 entries featured in this year's Tamworth Country Music Cavalcade.

Judges voted the Parmalat Food Products float winner of the best commercial or business float category.

Second place went to the Tamworth City Dance Academy with the JoHanna Dance Studio and Parry Logistics in third place.

The best non-commercial or community entry went to Don't Waste Tamworth with second going to the Tamworth Business Chamber and third to Tamworth Songwriters' Association.

Northcott Disability Services and Fire and Rescue NSW were highly commended.

King of the Ranges Stockman's Challenge was named best equine entry with the Australian Miniature Horse Association in second place.

Photo: part of the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards float with (from left) 2013 Best Video winners Dozzi, former finalist Johanna Hemara and Best Album and Best Vocal Event (with Amos Morris) winner Dale Duncan.



More Tamworth winners...

Catching up on the Tamworth Country Music Festival just concluded and more winners from various talent quests and other activities.

One of the Festival's biggest stakeholders is Rural Press Events (RPE). Apart from running Toyota Star Maker and the festival radio station Festival FM, RPE runs numerous activities at Hands of Fame Park.

First and foremost is the Yamaha Battle of the YoungStars which has been running for a number of years now.

This year's winner was Joshua Needs from South West Rocks (NSW) – who also won the Busking Championship (see Monday's story) while Dakota Lee of Young (NSW) took out the Intermediate section and Jayden TJ was named junior winner.

Murdena (pictured, runner-up in the Busking Championship) from Geelong won the Coca Cola Battle of the Bands with The Trade-Ins in second place and Will Day & The Alibis from Sherwood (Qld) came third.

A new competition introduced this year was the Coca-Cola Battle of the Bluegrass which saw George Jackson take out the senior category and Georgia Rose the under 17 category.


Keith concert now re-scheduled

Keith Urban's third Brisbane concert, which was to be held Monday night after it was postponed from Sunday night because of the on-going flood emergency in Brisbane and surrounding areas, has now been re-scheduled for Tuesday February 5.

The Monday postponement was halted alltogether because of continuing severe weather and devastating conditions being faced by those in affected areas.

"Keith was very disappointed [the concert] could not proceed on either night and he's been working to shift his Los Angeles commitments to make this reschedule possible," said promoter Michael Chugg.

Just over 2,000 tickets are now available for the February 5 concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and will be on sale as of 9am today, Queensland time, from www.ticketek.com.au.

"Tickets to either of Keith's originally scheduled Sunday night or postponed Monday night concerts remain valid for the new date and patrons do not need to do anything except turn up on Tuesday."

Patrons needing to refund can do so immediately from ticketek.


Chart Update – Catherine still at number one

Catherine Britt hangs on to the number one place on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with her latest hit Charlestown Road.

Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind and Jetty Road's Wrong remain at number two and three, respectively, while Amber Lawrence's Try edges up one to number four.

America's Little Big Town and Alan Jackson are at five and six, respectively, with Pontoon and You Go Your Way and Christie Lamb's Invincible Me is steady at seven.

Doug Bruce's Made That Way jumps two places to number eight, The McClymonts' Two Worlds Collide is at nine and O'Shea's The Swimming Song enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Adam Brand's I Was Here (15 to 12).

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



New Zealander honoured as best solo fiddle player

Popular New Zealand fiddler Marian Burns has added to her current winning streak by being named the Best Fiddler Soloist in Australasia at the ninth annual Golden Fiddle Awards, held at the Tamworth Town Hall on Wednesday.

On top of that, a CD album she recorded in France last year, called Fresh From France, Marian a second Golden Fiddle Award for best CD by a Fiddler as a Soloist. Marian had returned to the contest after an absence of three years. At her debut appearance at the Golden Fiddle Awards in 2010, she was honoured with the lifetime achievement award for her work in encouraging fiddle playing in New Zealand.

Marian has travelled widely in the last two years, recording albums in France and playing with New Zealand tour groups in the USA and Ireland. Her work in France was a result of chance connections with a leading recording studio, but was initially driven by her lifelong desire to play her fiddle on top of the Eiffel Tower.

Marian was honoured last year with the Benny Award, the highest honour possible for an entertainer in New Zealand, in recognition of a lifetime of excellence in her field. Regarded as an excellent teacher, she has brought fiddle music to thousands of children over the years.

Another top performer this year was the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club as well as several of its key players, who collectively took out two of the three categories in which they nominated.

Scottish Club founder Judy Turner and her husband Neil Adam won the award for Best Fiddle Composition, St Athalie's Waltz. The Club's fifth and latest CD, Of An Island was named Best CD by a Band featuring a Fiddler.

The Golden Fiddle Lifetime Achievement Award went to Greg O'Leary, mentor, teacher and mainstay of the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club in Victoria. He founded the Newport Bush Orchestra, now in its ninth year and regarded as an institution for its work keeping alive early Australian fiddle tunes.

The northern NSW band The Round Mountain Girls (in which there are no girls) won the category for Best Band featuring a Fiddler for the second year running. The band's fiddler, Paul "Rabbit" Robinson scored impressively in 2012 by taking home the Golden Fiddle trophies for Best Teacher and Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to music.

Classically trained Brisbane duo Rhiannon & Monique won this year's Youth Achievement Award. Violinist Rhiannon Fenn and cellist Monique Bartkowiak last year received the annual Youth Folk Award of the Folk Alliance Australia at the National Folk Festival and since then have played across the country.

Golden Fiddle Chairman and head of the Australian-made Epoch Strings which sponsors the awards, Mark Mitchell, saved his best praise for the Tamworth Town Hall audience. He called on Plato to describe the appreciation of good music: "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."

"All players need listeners," Mark said. "Even the greatest players, composers and producers of all time are redundant without listeners, their work useless and futile unless somebody is prepared to listen and appreciate their creations."

He also paid tribute to the musicians who were keeping alive the Australian musical tradition.

For the third year running, the Golden Fiddle founder lamented that it had been another difficult year in music. "For the players, it's hard to get gigs and money is tight, but I implore you to hang on to the music. I agree with Plato: it gives life to everything."

Weblink – www.goldenfiddleawards.org.au.


ARIA chart action

The Wolfe Brothers and O'Shea have debuted on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Australian Country Chart this week at one and two, respectively, with their latest albums It's On and One + One.

Keith Urban's "best of" The Story So Far is at three while the Golden Guitar Awards The Winners 13 is at four and Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise is at five.

The Sunny Cowgirls' What We Do, which debuted last week at number one is at six on this week's chart with Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Wreck And Ruin at seven, The Very Best Of Slim Dusty at eight, Lee Kernaghan's Ultimate Hits at nine and McAlister Kemp's Country Proud re-enters the chart at 10.

Check the full listing here.



Tamworth busking champion announced

Fifteen-year-old guitar player Joshua Needs of South West Rocks (NSW) has been named winner of the Australian Country Music Busking Championship staged during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Murdena of Geelong (Vic) – comprising Bridget Chappell, Annie-Rose Maloney, Hugh Maloney, Daniel McKoy and Alister Turrill, were runners-up.

A people's choice award was presented to Tia Golstelow of Mackay (Qld).

In addition to the winners and runner-up, nine other finalists each played two songs at the city's Bicentennial Park to vie for the Championship title... The Back Up, The Buckleys, Kristen Lane & Band, Jon O, Pete O'Brien, Postal, Pumpkin Juice, Danni Stefanetti and WNB.


Keith Brisbane concert postponed to tonight

Keith Urban's third Brisbane concert last night was postponed to tonight because of then worsening weather conditions in the Queensland capital.

Following discussions yesterday with the weather bureau and advice that conditions were worsening, the decision was taken to postpone the concert to a time when the predicted weather would have calmed, said promoter Michael Chugg.

"Keith's priority is his fans and we want everyone to be safe," he said.

While they hoped last night's concert could have proceeded as planned, the weather circumstances had trumped their best intentions.

All tickets for last night's concert remain valid for tonight.

Patrons in extreme circumstances should contact via the website www.ticketek.com.au or telephone 132 849.

After Brisbane, Keith's "The Story So Far" mini-tour of Australia plays two nights in Sydney and two in Melbourne.



CCMA Talent Quest winners

New Zealander Kylie Price has been named Overall Winner of the 2013 Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) National Talent Quest.

Kylie won the Senior Female Vocal section of the talent quest and was then named the Overall Senior winner before being announced s the Overall Talent Quest winner.

South Australia's Nathaniel O'Brien was named Overall Junior winner after being announced as winner of the Junior Male Vocal section of the talent quest.

In addition to these sections, the following section winners were announced at the CCMA's 47th Jamboree Spectacular in the Tamworth Town Hall yesterday afternoon...

Juvenile Female Vocal – Josephine Rains; Juvenile Male Vocal – Kasey Kilsby; Senior Male Vocal – Terry Clarke; Junior Female Vocal – Sami Cook; Junior Group/Duo – The Back Up; Senior Group/Duo – Will Day & The Alibis; Junior Instrumental – Tangled Strings; Senior Instrumental – George Czender; and Songwriting – Megan Williams.

Winners of special awards from this year's talent quest were Kylie Price – winner of the TSA (Tamworth Songwriter's Association) Award for Best Performance of an Australasian Composition, Georgette Berry – winner of the Jeffery Dallas Memorial Award for Best Performance of an Alt Country Song, Chloe Nott – winner of the re-instated Ron Sutton Memorial Encouragement Award for Instrumentalists, and Hannah Cosgrove – winner of the Best Performance of a Bush Ballad.

Other special presentations at this's year's Jamboree were Life Membership of the Capital Country Music Association to Joan Douglas and Eric Scott and a Very Special Appreciation Award to long-serving committee member Dot Gilchrist.

Photo: Nathaniel and Kylie with CCMA President Steve Newton.

Weblink – www.ccma.net.au.



Troy's night at the Golden Guitars

It was Troy Cassar-Daley's night at the 41st Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth tonight with the much loved, highly respected and hugely popular singer/songwriter taking four of the major awards.

His was the first award to be announced, Single of the Year for Country Is.

Song of the Year for Home was his next major gong, complemented at the end of the night when he was announced as Male Artist of the Year followed shortly after by the announcement that his album Home had won Album of the Year.

Oh, yes, and there were some other awards!

Catherine Britt was widely tipped to win Female Artist of the Year, and she did, with her song Charlestown Road.

Another popular win was Heritage Song of the Year going to Like O'Shea with The Drover's Wife, co-written with Peter Gabrielides.

Graham Rodger's win of the Bush Ballad Golden Guitar, with Looking Back, was also very popular, especially with his ever increasing fan base. Graham has won many awards so far in his career but this is his first at the Country Music Awards of Australia.

Vocal Collaboration of the Year was won by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer with Women In Song and Camille & Stuie took out the first Alternative Country Album of the Year award with Big Days And Little Years.

The McClymonts won two awards... for Top Selling Album of the Year (Two Worlds Collide) and Video Clip of the Year for Piece Of Me, directed by Duncan Toombs.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson were named Duo of the Year for Adam & Eve, Pete Denahy won Instrumental of the Year with Yackandandah 1852 and Chelsea Basham took out New Talent of the Year with Laugh It Off.

The second of the two new awards announced this year, Top Selling International Album of the Year, went to Blown Away by Carrie Underwood.

Winners of Achiever, or industry, Awards were also announced during the night with Shane Nicholson winning Producer of the Year, Jeff McCormack Engineer of the Year and Colin Watson Musician of the Year.

Photo (from left): Graham, Pete, Stuie, Camille, Tamara, Felicity, Luke, Chelsea, Duncan, Troy, Catherine, Kasey, Shane.

Weblink – www.country.com.au.


OAM for Dobe

Long time member of The Bushwackers and music industry identity Dobe Newton has been recognised for his service to the performing arts as an entertainer and advocate with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM).

Front man, vocalist, dance caller and lagerphone player with The Bushwackers since 1972, Dobe co-authored "The Bushwackers Australian Songbook" in 1978 as well as "The Bushwackers Band Dance Book" in 1980.

He is also recognised as co-author (with Bruce Woodley) of the iconic song, I Am Australian.

Since 2009, Dobe has been Project Manager/Ambassador for Sounds Australia and was an executive member of the Country Music Association of Australia for 10 years.

Other significant roles Dobe has held include Executive Director of the Western Australian Music Industry Association, CEO of the Victoria Rock Foundation and he is a founding member of the Australian Recording Industry Association's Industry Expert Panel.

He has been a teacher of music business at TAFE, since 1996.


Kaylee wins Star Maker

Kaylee Bell has taken out the 2013 Toyota Star Maker talent quest.

It's the third time lucky for the New Zealand born now Bathurst, NSW, based rising star as she competed in the grand final the last two years being pipped at the post both times.

The 2013 Star Maker grand final was staged last night during the Toyota Concert for Rural Australia at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, with Kaylee beating fellow grand finalists Sarah Head, Christie Lamb and Nathan Lamont to take the crown.

Kaylee joins a prestigious roll call of winners which includes the likes of James Blundell, Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban that have used the title to launch their professional careers in country music since the quest began 34 years ago.

Commenting on her victory, which includes a prize pack of a recording deal and a brand new Toyota vehicle with an unlimited fuel card for 12 months, Kaylee said: "It's a truly amazing feeling to be the next Toyota Star Maker – the competition has kicked off the careers of some of the biggest names in country music, so I'm very excited to be given the chance to launch my career with the backing of such a prestigious title."

At just 23 years of age, Kaylee already has an impressive list of accolades to her name including New Zealand's Gold Guitar award that she won at age 18.

Andrew Wearing, Toyota Manager Events, Promotions & Sponsorships (pictured with Kaylee), said during the presentation: "We're very excited by the prospect of working with Kaylee – a worthy and extremely talented winner of Toyota Star Maker. We look forward to supporting Kaylee throughout the next steps in her career as we celebrate 20 years of association with the (Tamworth) festival and Australia's rural community – a milestone we’re immensely proud of."

The 2013 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final was judged by a panel of industry experts, with a public SMS vote contributing to 50 percent of the decision.


Kylie wins Entertainer of the Year

New Zealander Kylie Price has won the 2013 Aristocrat Country Entertainer of the Year title at Tamworth.

Staged annually by the Wests Entertainment Group and held in Diggers' Showroom, this year's talent search final was supported by a capacity crowd.

Victorian Jordy McMillan won the junior entertainer of the year title.

Event co-ordinator and judging panel chairman Gina Timms said the talent this year was outstanding.

"It's very exciting to have both heats full prior to the event commencing," she said. "New Zealand was strongly represented this year with young Liam Kennedy-Clarke taking out second place in the junior section.

"After six years of competing, Jordy McMillan was a very deserving winner of the junior entertainer crown. She's grown into a seasoned performer and has an amazing vocal quality that would be the envy of many female singers."

Four-piece band Something In Latin, took out third place in the junior section with their "rockin' country" style.

Other placegetters in the senior section were Emily Markham, who won $1,000 cash, and George Czender, described by Gina as "a true gentleman of country music", securing $500 for third place.

Aristocrat Leisure Industries, a longtime sponsor of the quest, was represented by Peter Henderson who was more than impressed with the quality of finalists.

He has confirmed the company's continued sponsorship of the event and said he looked forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary in 2015, when a major concert would mark the occasion.

Guest judge Beccy Cole, who has been part of the grand final panel for the past 10 years, said she was delighted with the quality of performers and agreed the future of Australian country music was in good hands.

Photo: Aristocrat's Peter Henderson and 2013 Aristocrat Senior Country Entertainer of the Year Kylie Price (back), runner-up Emily Markham and third placegetter George Czender. Photo: Robmac.


CCMA Talent Quest finalists announced

Following two days of intense competition, 50 finalists have been announced across the 11 sections of the 2013 Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) National Talent Quest.

This year sees the 47th talent quest and Jamboree Spectacular which gets underway at the famous Tamworth Town Hall this afternoon from 1:30.

Section winners will be announced early in the show, all of whom will then perform in the winners' showcase to determine the talent quest's overall winner.

And the finalists are (all in alphabetical order)...

For Juvenile Female Vocal... Tayla Alcock, Kay-Lea Brown, Klaudia Douglas, Jade Gibson and Josephine Rain.

For Juvenile Male Vocal... Cody Gunton, Kasey Kilsby and Jayden Jesudhass.

For Senior Female Vocal... Tania Cornish, Hannah Cosgrove, Kylie Price, Lane Sinclair and Debz Standen.

For Senior Male Vocal... Terry Clarke, Ethan Crosby-Wolfe, George Czender, Brad Marks and Tony Pellattiero.

For Junior Female Vocal... Sami Cooke, Dakota Lee, Jenny Mitchell, Jamie-Lee Turner and Ebony Wickham.

For Junior Male Vocal... Liam Kennedy-Clark, Judah Kelly, Cameron Luxton, Callan MacGregor and Nathaniel O'Brien.

For Junior Group/Duo... Aston Row, The Back Up, Judah & Katelyn, Playback and The Two Js (New Zealand).

For Senior Group/Duo... Georgette & Jordie, Mac 2, Nathaniel & Tania, Vixen and Will Day & The ALibis.

For Junior Instrumental... Bec Holdorf, Jayden Jesudhass, Chloe Nott, Aidan Patrick and Tangled Strings.

For Senior Instrumental... George Czender and Jed Gaze.

In the songwriting section, Sami Cooke, George Czender, Hannah Cosgrove, Olivia Nolan and Megan Williams are finalists.

As well as the talent quest winners concert, this afternoon's Jamboree Spectacular will also feature performances by Rex Dallas, Anne Kirkpatrick, Wayne Horsburgh, Sally-Anne Whitten and Codee-Lee & Jonny Taylor, last year's overall winner of the talent quest.

Tickets for the show can be purchased here... over the phone on 6767 4300 or in person at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre... or at the door, subject to availability.

Weblink – www.ccma.net.au.



2013 People's Choice winners

Winners were announced in the 2013 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards in Tamworth last night.

Dianne Lindsay was named the Best Female Vocalist while last year's Most Promising Future Star winner Paul Cowderoy took out the Best Male Vocal award.

Brothers3 firmed their stranglehold on the Best Group award when they were announced as winners of the accolade for the third year running.

Best Song went to Home, a song written by Don Walker, recorded by McAlister Kemp.

Graham Rodger won Best Bush Ballad with his song Looking Back while rising star group Dozzi took out their first People's Choice Award with Love Away The Bad Days winning Best Video Clip.

Most Promising Future Star was won by Christie Lamb who tonight also competes for the chance to become this year's Toyota Star Maker (coincidentally, fellow Star Maker grand finalist Sarah Head was also up for the People’s Choice “new talent” gong).

Dale Duncan figured in two awards, first, Best Album for his Family Values, and also with Amos Morris for the new award for Best Vocal or Musical Event with their duet recording of You're A Real Good Friend.

In in the broadcasting categories, Sgt Ron of todayscountry94one on the NSW Central Coast was named Most Popular Country Music DJ while Hot Country Radio Queensland was recognised as the Most Popular Country Music Radio Station.

An almost capacity crowd attended the Awards night to witness the presentations and performances by a raft of finalists and hosts Connie Kis Andersen and Greg Champion.

This year's Awards were sponsored for the first time by Trans-Help Foundation and Iveco.

Voting for the 2014 Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards will get underway around mid year at www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.

Photo: Dianne Lindsay and Paul Cowderoy with their People's Choice awards.


Special guest acts revealed for Toyota Concert for Rural Australia

The line up of Tamworth stars performing at the annual Toyota Concert for Rural Australia is now even bigger and better, according to organisers, with two more special guest acts revealed for the highly anticipated free event tonight.

Toyota Ambassadors The McClymonts will give a special performance before the trio embarks on their Acoustic Harmony Tour around Australia and also new to the bill are The Wolfe Brothers who will also perform as Lee Kernaghan's backing band on the night and on Lee's 2012 Beautiful Noise Tour.

The McClymonts and The Wolfe Brothers join the Men of Country quartet featuring former Star Maker winners Luke Austen, Liam Brew, Travis Collins and Luke Dickens and 2012 Toyota Star Maker Bob Corbett with compere Colin Buchanan at Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park) from 6:30 this evening.

The event will also play host to the 2013 Toyota Star Maker Grand Final which will see four of Australia's most talented country music artists compete for the crown... Kaylee Bell from Bathurst (NSW), Sarah Head from Robina (Qld), Christie Lamb from Kirkham (NSW) and Nathan Lamont from Wagga Wagga (NSW).

Reigning Star Maker Bob Corbett will also perform.

The Toyota Star Maker grand final will also be streamed on-line for fans across the world at www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.

Entry to the event is free, with fans encouraged to donate to Melanoma Institute Australia, Toyota's chosen charity throughout the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Over the last six years, Toyota has helped raise more than $120,000 for worthy causes through its involvement with the Tamworth Country Music Festival.


Lipstick, Lyrics & Laughter

One concert creating plenty of interest during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival is Lipstick, Lyrics & Laughter set down for West Tamworth League CLub this afternoon at 3.

The show brings together The Harmonators, Tracey Killeen and Sally-Anne Whitten and is billed as "a musical journey from the traditional to the contemporary through to a swampy blues fusion but all distinctively country".

Tickets will be available at the door, subject to availability.




People's Choice release CD

Organisers of the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards are releasing a CD album featuring finalists from the 2013 Awards.

The album, simply titled People's Choice has been produced as a fund-raiser for the Awards sponsor the Trans-Help Foundation.

The CD features 13 tracks (for the 2013 Awards!)... in alphabetical order... by Brothers3 – Slow Joe, Paul Cowderoy – Need To Need You, Dale Duncan – Family Values, Forever Road – Woohoo, Sarah Head – Nothing Left To Play, Rachel Jillett – Memories Of Tent Hill, Christie Lamb – Mr Wrong, Dianne Lindsay – Old Tobacco Tin, Luke O'Shea – Rig, Amber Joy Poulton – Taking Goodbye and Graham Rodger – Looking Back, and two tracks nominated for Vocal Event of the Year... Dale Duncan & Amos Morris – You're A Real Good Friend and Graham Rodger & Chris E Thomas – Stronger For It All.

Trans-Help, who is sponsoring the People's Choice Awards this year supported by Iveco, is the national transport support service, helping truckies and families of truckies who have lost loved ones.

Among their numerous activities, Trans-Help operates a national call centre from Tarcutta, NSW, together with respite facilities, training, counselling and support services.

The CD will be launched at the Awards tonight (Thursday January 24) and will be available for $20 a copy. All proceeds after costs go to Trans-Help.

All of the artists involved on the CD are donating their royalties from the CD to the cause.

Weblink – www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.


Kasey & Shane attract 4,000

Thousands of fans turned out for Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson's only show at the Tamworth Country Music Festival last night.

SkyNews reported that about 4,000 people packed out Tamworth's Bicentennial Park to see the married duo perform their open-air show which was originally set to take place in Peel Street but was moved when it was feared crowd numbers would overwhelm the street venue.

The couple told the crowd the free show was a thank you to all their loyal Tamworth fans who had paid for gigs for so many years.

"We wanted to say thank you by giving it back for free this time," Kasey told the crowds. But it's going to cost you double next year," Shane joked.

They began the show performing together and sharing anecdotes of their lives with the crowd singing several songs individually from their solo albums before joining up to perform songs from their collaborative work, including their first ever track Rattlin' Bones.


Chart Update – Catherine takes over the top spot

Catherine Britt takes over the number one spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with her latest hit Charlestown Road.

Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind edges up one place to number two as do Jetty Road to number three with Wrong while The McClymonts' number one from the last five weeks – Two Worlds Collide – is at four.

Amber Lawrence's Try is up one to five, America's Little Big Town is at six with Pontoon and Christie Lamb's Invincible Me jumps two places to number seven.

Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise is at eight, America's Alan Jackson is at nine with You Go Your Way and Doug Bruce enters the top 10 at 10 with Made That Way.

New entries to the chart this week include The Sunny Cowgirls Green And Gold (new at 30).

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



TSA winners

Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA) award and competition winners were announced in a gala presentation at Country Music Capital's Longyard Hotel last night.

Ged Hintz was named winner in the Traditional Bush Ballad category for Grandad's Memories while Graham Rodger took home the Contemporary Song award for Stronger For It All and Bill Crosbie & Keith Jamieson won the Country Ballad category for My First Rodeo.

Allan Caswell won the Comedy/Novelty section with Skin, Alita Fahey the Children's Song with I Should Have Listened and Dean Perrett was named winner of the Gospel Song category with The Shepherd's Fold.

The songwriting team of Kalesti Butler & Gretta Ziller took out the New Songwriter Award for The River, Chad Morgan was presented with this year's Songmaker honour and Brian Howard was named winner of the Tex Morton Award.

In the TSA's National Songwriting competition, Ian List won Amateur Traditional with This Land Australia, James Donnelly took home the Amateur Contemporary category with Her Kiss and Angus Gill (pictured) was named winner of the Junior section.

Stan Lenz won the Blues, Roots & Bluegrass section with Picking The Blues, Merv Webster took out the Lyrics Only section with The Dingo Scalper's Daughter and John Walsh & Mike Carr were successful in Professional Traditional with The Comfort Of A Stranger.

Weblink – www.tsaonline.com.au.


Gina and Melody win Telstra Road

Gina Rose Bruce from Hobart has been named winner of the 2013 Telstra Road to Discovery with Melody Pool from the NSW Hunter Valley announced as the songwriter winner.

The grand final of the competition was staged in Tamworth's entertainment centre last night with a big crowd witnessing the 10 grand finalists competing for the major prizes.

Genevieve Chadwick from Canberra was voted the people's choice winner.

Morgan Bain, Sarah Raine Dyson, John Lingard, Karin Page, James Sidebottom, Gabrielle Wright and Gretta Ziller were the remaining finalists.

Gina (pictured at right) and Melody each win a 12 month music mentorship, a return trip to Nashville including a showcase gig at the Americana Festival plus local gigs in Australia and "face time" with some of the biggest names in Australian music.


Kasey & Shane move to a bigger venue

The free Kasey Chambers/Shane Nicholson concert that was to be staged in Country Music Capital's main street today has had to be moved to a bigger venue.

What organisers now expect to be one of the biggest concerts of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2013 is set to get even bigger with the move to the city's Bicentennial (or Toyota) Park from 8 o'clock tonight.

Tamworth Regional Council's Festival Coordinator Kate Baker said the move was prompted because of the number of enquiries for the event at Council's Festival Headquarters.

"Council received so much interest in Kasey and Shane's concert this week that it was felt that Peel Street simply would not hold the volume of fans that were likely to show up," she said.


Festival bush dances

A popular form of entertainment and activity at this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival has been, and continues to be, bush dances.

On Monday night at West Tamworth League Club, Simply Bushed played to a packed house for their Big Family Bush Dance (photo - click on the image for a bigger pic).

The event had grandparents dancing with their grandchildren, mothers dancing with sons... "so much joy, happiness, smiles and laughs," according to the band – "an experiment that went better than any expectation".

Today, The Bushwackers have their third annual Giant Family Bush Dance in the city's historic Town Hall from 10am.

"It's ideal for music lovers of any age," said long-time Bushwacker Roger Corbett, "and it's especially fun for families with members of all ages. It's a wonderful sight to see the generations dancing together with big grins from ear to ear."



Australian Bush Laureate Awards – 2013 winners

Winners in the 2013 Australian Bush Laureate awards were announced in Tamworth this afternoon.

Leading Australian bush poet Carol Heuchan of Cooranbong, NSW, was the biggest winner taking out Album of the Year for her current work Partners which also won her the Single Recorded Performance of the Year Golden Gumleaf for the album’s title track. Partners is a live recording of Carol and her poetry.

Book of the Year went to Around The Campfire by Terry Piggott of Canningvale, WA. The well-produced work includes a dozen or more of Terry’s photos as well as his highly regarded bush poetry.

Collected Verse Book of the Year was won by Award Winning Bush Verse, a compilation by Max & Jacqui Merckenschlager of Caloote, SA. The work, described as "a first anthology of award-winning bush poems and bush-themed stories" is published by Melbourne Books.

Published Poem of the Year went to The Truth About Waltzing Matilda by David Campbell of Beaumaris, Vic.

Children’s Poem of the Year winner was named as Stephen Whiteside of Glen Iris, Victoria, for The Sash, a poem about a young Ned Kelly’s “sash”.

The winner of the Judith Hosier Heritage Award – for outstanding achievement in nurturing Australia’s heritage of verse – was named as Jan Morris of Tamworth for her long association with bush poetry especially as a judge and administrator of the Blackened Billy poetry competition and Golden Damper Awards.

A new award, for Recorded Australian Song Lyric of the Year, went to Luke O'Shea from Sydney for The Drover's Wife. Luke wrote the lyrics to this meaningful and widely recognised song which is also up for the Heritage Golden Guitar  this Saturday night.

This year was the 17th year for the Bush Laureate Awards which were established in 1997 to recognise excellence in published and recorded Australian bush poetry.

The Australian Bush Laureate Awards will be held in Tamworth again next January, with nominations scheduled to open in August.

Full details of finalists and nominees can be obtained from the website www.bushlaureate.com.au.


Michael's Acoustic Guitar Spectacular

Multi Instrumental Golden Guitar winner Michael Fix will present his Acoustic Guitar Spectacular in Tamworth tomorrow (Wednesday 23rd).

The show, scheduled for 3pm at The Longyard Hotel, will feature a number of special guests including iconic singer/songwriter Mike McClellan, young guitar guns Joey McCoy, Sam Shepherd and Andrew Toner, studio ace Brendan Radford, fellow international travellers Hussy Hicks, singer/songwriter Nadia Sunde, and one of Michael's oldest friends, guitarist Justin McCoy.

A Tamworth Festival regular since 1991, and winner of the Instrumental Golden Guitar three times, Michael is no stranger to Tamworth, or The Longyard Hotel. In fact, Michael remembers performing at the Longyard in the early 1990s, playing guitar with Graeme Connors, and making his solo Festival debut there.

"They were great times," he said. "I'll never forget those first few years of experiencing the Tamworth Festival, and especially the hospitality of June Smyth, who ran The Longyard in those days."

This year's Michael Fix show is going to be "action packed" according to the guitar maestro.

"There'll be so much incredible talent on one stage, and an unrivalled variety of performances will be seen by those lucky enough to grab a ticket," he said.

Michael will duet with all of his guests, as well as playing a selection of tracks from his latest CD Time Lines.

"It won't be just instrumental music either," he said, "of course there'll be plenty of hot guitar picking, but there'll be some beautiful singing courtesy of Mike McClellan, Hussy Hicks, Nadia Sunde and Brendan Radford – all fantastic artists."

Last year, Michael recorded an album of duets titled Two Timing, and he says he is thrilled that four of the guest players from that project are a part of the Longyard concert.

Tickets can be ordered on-line through oztix here, purchased at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre, or at the door.

Weblink – www.michaelfix.com.


Norma's solo concert

Another Tamworth Festival regular is leading singer/songwriter Norma O'Hara Murphy who will feature in her own solo concert this year at Tamworth's Capitol Theatre.

Norma's show is set for tomorrow also, Wednesday 23rd, from 10am.

The star's latest CD is The Celtic Collection, described as "a collection of some of my more folky songs from over the years!" with three new tracks and an old classic – Forever & Ever from the forties.

"We are filming a video for that next month," Norma said.

The new release also has "a very Irish track" – Ring Around The Barley Oh plus Candlelight Wine & Roses, a song Norma co-wrote with renowned Country Music Capital based photographer June Underwood.

Tickets for Norma's concert can be obtained here.

Weblink – www.normaoharamurphy.net.



Toyota Star Maker grand finalists

The four 2013 Toyota Star Maker grand finalists were announced in Country Music Capital last night following their performances among the final 15 at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre.

They are... Kaylee Bell of Bathurst (NSW), Sarah Head of Robina (Qld), Christie Lamb of Kirkham (NSW) and Nathan Lamont of Wagga Wagga (NSW). Kaylee, Christie and Nathan were all chosen by the Star Maker judges while Sarah was voted for by fans during the event via SMS, a first in the competition's 34 year history.

The grand final of the 2013 talent search will be staged this Friday evening (January 25) as part of the Toyota Concert for Rural Australia in Tamworth's Bicentennial Park.

In a significant shakeup of the traditional Star Maker format, more than 70 entrants were whittled down to just 15 who battled it out for a place among the final four.

Toyota Star Maker is organised and staged by Rural Press Event and supported by Capital News.

Photo – the four Star Maker finalists (from left): Sarah,, Nathan, Kaylee and Christie.

Weblink – www.capitalnews.com.au.



"Gifted Country" exhibition

"Gifted Country" – an exhibition by leading photographer John Elliott – is running until this coming Friday, January 25, in Country Music Capital.

Sub-titled "John Elliott's Portraits of People who make Australian Music" the exhibition was officially opened on the first day of the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival at Festival Headquarters, the foyer of the Tamworth Regional Council building in the city's centreal business district.

John has 30 years experience as a self-employed writer, photographer and documentary maker and was Slim Dusty's preferred photographer for many years. His work has focused on Australian culture, the bush and music and he has compiled Australia's most extensive country music photo library.

Special guest artists including Chad Morgan, Graeme Connors, 8 Ball Aitken and Dean Perrett will join John at 9am daily to present "the story behind the picture".

Photo: Tamworth Mayor Col Murray after the opening of John's exhibition, with 8 Ball Aitken posing in front of one of John's photos of him.


Enrec Showcase tonight

Country Music Capital recording studio Enrec will stage it's annual Studio Showcase in Tamworth tonight.

Guest artists on the show will include studio owner/operator Steve Newton and his Dad, Roll of Renowner Slim Newton, together with "Pixie" Jenkins (pictured) , Larkham & The Crosby Sisters, Megan Williams, Sally-Anne Whitten, Chris Callaghan, Samantha Bellamy, Deanna Rose, Bec Hance and Kira Newton.

Artists will be supported by session musicians Alwyn Aurisch, Andrew McMahon and Matt Parnell.

The Showcase gets under way at 7pm at The Family Hotel, Bridge Street, Tamworth. Tickets are $12 and available at the door.



Wayne Horsburgh elevated to Australian country music's highest honour

Wayne Horsburgh was announced at the 42nd inductee to Australian country music's highest honour – the Roll of Renown – this afternoon in Tamworth.

Born near Benalla in Victoria, Wayne is recognised as one of Australia's most successful international entertainers.

After establishing himself locally, he visited America in 1984, the first of many regular periods he spent performing overseas during the next 25 years

His big break came with an acclaimed performance at the giant Hodag Festival in Wisconsin in 1989, which firmly placed him on the festival and county fair circuit in the USA.

In 1991, Wayne represented Australia at the International Fan Fair, working from Nashville for several years before basing himself in Branson, Missouri. He has also performed regularly in Europe and the UK.

In Australia, Wayne has won two ACE (Australian Club Entertainment) and no less than five "MO" awards for excellence in live entertainment.

He has released 26 albums.

For almost three decades, Wayne Horsburgh, also recognised for his distinct talent as a yodeller,, has been a trailblazer for Australian artists in international markets.

Wayne joins (in order of elevation) Tex Morton, Buddy Williams, Smoky Dawson, Slim Dusty, Shirley Thoms, Tim McNamara, Gordon Parsons, The McKean Sisters, Reg Lindsay, Rick & Thel Carey, Johnny Ashcroft, Chad Morgan, John Minson, The Hawking Brothers, Stan Coster, Barry Thornton, Nev Nicholls, Shorty Ranger, Jimmy Little, Ted Egan, Dusty Rankin, John Williamson, Rocky Page, Brian Young, Rex Dallas, Arthur Blanch, The Schneider Sisters, Frank Ifield, Kenny Kitching, The Webb Brothers, Athol McCoy, The Singing Kettles, Reg Poole, Lindsay Butler, Kevin King, Geoff Mack, Jean Stafford, Slim Newton, Anne Kirkpatrick, Phil & Tommy Emmanuel and Terry Gordon on the Roll.

The official unveiling of Wayne's plaque will take place at the Roll on the lawns of the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre at 10.30am on Wednesday (January 23).


Four for Hands of Fame

Four new hands will be cemented into history this coming Saturday following the announcement of their induction during the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame's Roll of Renown Concert this afternoon.

They are entertainers Frankie and Karen Johns and Debbie Parry and long-time broadcaster and supporter of Tamworth and the Capital Country Music Association Alan Clement.

The Hands of Fame imprinting ceremony takes place at 10:30am next Saturday (January 26, Australia Day).




Two additions to Broadcasters' Hall of Fame

Two additions were announced to the Australian Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame this afternoon.

First was the posthumous induction of Stuie McInnes, long time Queensland based broadcaster who worked both in commercial and national radio.

His biggest input into country music broadcasting was while he worked out of the Townsville officer of the ABC, including on "Saturday Night Country" with John Nutting.

The second was Bill Beerens (pictured), a 20 plus years veteran of community broadcasting in Australia, most significantly with the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia's national network breakfast program Good Morning Country which he has been involved with from the outset.


Max receives Eric Watson award

Max Ellis – country music industry figure and long-time writer of all things Australian country music – was presented this afternoon with the Eric Watson Australian Country Music Literary Award.

The award has only been presented twice before, the first time to Eric Watson himself and secondly to the late James "Jazzer" Smith.

It was awarded to Max for his significant and continued contribution to the reporting and presentation of the heritage of Australian country music through the written word.

Apart from being recognised as a highly thoughtful wordsmith in such things as plaque and presentation writing over the years, from the Hands of Fame to the Roll of Renown, and scripting of so many important, now historic, documents, Max publishes the website historyofcountrymusic.com.au which plays an extremely important role on the preservation of Australia's country music heritage and history.

He has also written countless articles and feature pieces for country music, and other, publications, and last year wrote and published, via Rural Press Events, the definitive history of the Tamworth Country Music Festival to date – "Stars, Hoorahs & Golden Guitars".

Photo: Max with the award, presented by the General Manager of Rural Press Events and long time friend and associate Barry Harley.


Opening night success

The crowds came out in their droves for the Official Opening Concert of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth last night.

Thousands packed into the city's Bicentennial Park to be entertained by a big line-up of artists.

This year was a little different from previous as the Tamworth Regional Council had switched around the park layout to have the performers looking in a southerly direction rather than west.

And the changed layout seemed to work well for fans and services as well with a much more comfortable feel to the set-up including viewing perspectives.

Council is sure to get many accolades from this change.


Queens sashed

Meanwhile, day one of the Festival was significant for a number of special events including the sashing of the 21 entrants in the Country Music Festival Queen of Country Music Quest.

It's the 30th year of the Quest which was launched by the Tamworth & District Chamber of Commerce & Industry (now known as Tamworth Business Chamber) in 1984.

Under the direction of Chamber President Tim Coates, Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, Member for New England Tony Windsor, Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson and Advertising Manager of The Northern Daily Leader Kylie Ticehurst presented the girls with their sashes and hats on the stage in the new Toyota FanZone in Fitzroy Street.

The sashing was the beginning of a busy 10 days for the girls who will visit a number of events, meet visitors and help to promote the city for the duration of the Festival.

A large crowd gathered to be part of the sashing.

The 2013 Queen and Princess of Country Music will be announced at a gala dinner next Sunday, January 27, and will win a trip to Gore, New Zealand, to attend the Gore Country Music Festival.

They will spend the next 12 months acting as roving ambassadors for the Tamworth region.

Photo: a number of the 21 entrants await the sashing with Deputy Premier Stoner, 2012 Princess Shae McIntosh and Queen Dimity Chaseling.


The Wolfe Brothers' debut album

The Tasmanian based Wolfe Brothers yesterday released their debut album, It's On.

It's been a big year for band which is made up of brothers Nick and Tom Wolfe and their friends Casey Kostiuk and Brodie Rainbird.

The band burst into the national spotlight after finishing second on the 7/Prime Network's "Australia's Got Talent".

"Excellent musos, excellent songs, excellent showmanship, it's just real Aussie country rock… you deserve to be on this stage," said recording artist and "Australia's Got Talent" judge Brian McFadden.

Weblink – www.thewolfebrothers.com.



Tamworth Festival kicks off

Today is the official start of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2013 with everything reportedly "in place" for another major event, the 41st since the festival was established in 1973 with the inaugural staging of the Golden Guitar Awards by Radio 2TM.

The Awards became the second major activity to take place on the then January Australia Day long weekend, joining the six year old Capital Country Music Association's annual staging of its National Talent Quest and Jamboree Spectacular, all of which have run continuously, and successfully, since.

Country Music Capital's camping grounds, caravan parks and motels (including those in the district and further afield) are filling up as are numerous private homes that are leased out during the 10 day festival as well as the numerous temporary accommodation facilities.

The first major event during the Festival will be the official Opening Concert (see story below) but the heart and soul of the festival, the hundreds and hundreds of performances that take place in the many pubs, clubs and other venues, all swing into gear in a big way today.

Officials from various venues, event organisers and the overall co-ordination body, the Tamworth Regional Council, are all upbeat about what is shaping up to be another very successful Tamworth festival.

And if the early crowds are any indicator, it looks like they will be right.


Opening Concert

The Tamworth Country Music Festival Official Opening Concert is a giant free concert in Country Music Capital's Bicentennial Park.

It gets underway this evening at 7pm and will begin with the festival's official opening declaration by Mayor Col Murray and the raising of the official Festival flag.

A bevy of artists will then perform for the crowd which usually numbers in the thousands.

Artists on the lineup this year includs Chelsea Basham, Adam Brand, Kalesti Butler, Toyota Star Maker 2012 Bob Corbett, Damian Howard, Kelly Menhenett (Telstra Road winner), O'Shea, Andrew Redford (Telstra Road winner), Melinda Schneider and Aleyce Simmonds with visiting acts Craig Campbell, Elizabeth Cook (USA) and Jenny Mitchell (NZ).


Roll of Renown Concert

The second major event of this year's Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth will be the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame's Roll of Renown Concert.

This takes place in the famous Tamworth Town Hall from 2pm tomorrow afternoon (Saturday).

The Roll of Renown Concert, as the name suggests, is where the annual inductee or inductees to Australian country music's highest honour are announced.

It is also where the Hall of Fame announces who will be inducted this January into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame and Broadcasters' Hall of Fame and where the winner of the Eric Watson Australian Country Music Literary Award will be made known.

The concert also has a big list of special guests performing during the two hour or so show.

Golden Guitar winner and Roll of Renown inductee Jean Stafford (pictured) will make her first Tamworth performance appearance in many years at the concert.

She will be joined by last year's Roll of Renown inductee Terry Gordon, together with Kate Cook, Jim Haynes, Dianne Lindsay, Luke O'Shea, Craig Robertson, Graham Rodger, Sally-Anne Whitten and Warren H Williams.

Event compere will be country music writer/broadcaster Jon Wolfe.

Weblink – www.countrymusichalloffame.com.au.


Bushfire appeal concerts

A number of fund-raising activities are being organised for the Tamworth festival to support those adversely affected by recent, and current, bushfires.

First cab off the rank will be a major event to be staged at 12:30pm on Thursday January 24 under the name Australian Country Music Stars unite for "Country Relief – a fundraiser for the Red Cross Tasmania 2013 Appeal.

The one-off "all star" concert will be held at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre (TRECC) and will welcome some of the most recognised names in the industry as they take to the stage during the two hour event which is supported by Tamworth Regional Council and the donation of time and talent by performers.

Stars who have agreed to appear, to date, include Morgan Evans, Lee Kernaghan, Markus Meier, New Zealand's Topp Twins and The Wolfe Brothers (pictured) who gave up their TRECC concert spot in favour of the fund-raiser.

"When we see country communities affected by natural disasters like these bush fires it is overwhelming," said Lee. "We want to let those families know we are thinking of them and we want to support them as much as possible."

Tom Wolfe from The Wolfe Brothers added: "We've just been told of the list of artists who are performing and confirmed and we are completely blown out. We have many friends who have been affected by the fires here in Tasmania and to be able to help in our own small way feels right, and to be a part of such a massive line up is a real honour for us."

Mayor Col Murray said: "I would like to congratulate and offer my full support of the wonderful efforts of all those involved in the organisation of the 'Country Relief' concert."

Tickets for the show are available from www.tcmf.com.au, over the counter at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre or by telephoning 02 6767 5300.


Tamworth "Festival Showbag"

One of the Tamworth Country Music Festival's biggest stakeholders, Rural Press Events (RPE), has launched a "Festival Showbag" for 2013.

Billed as having a value of $80 yet selling for only $30, the "Showbag" was launched at a function in the city on Wednesday.

The "Showbag" is, in fact, a fully insulated and "Country Music Capital News" branded cooler bag.

Highlight of the product is a series of three CDs... The Birds At Tamworth, The Blokes At Tamworth and The Bands At Tamworth containing a total of 45 tracks.

The "Showbag" also comes with a personal, portable fan, the "monster" January issue of Capital News, and a complimentary bottled drink from Coca Cola.

As well as being a key organiser of events and activities during the January country music festival, RPE has a number of publications, including Capital News and the Official Guide to the Festival.

Fans who have bought the Official Guide can claim a $5 discount off the price of the "Showbag" at Toyota FanZone in Fitzroy Street.

Photo: Dianna Lockwood of Rural Press Events presents Tamworth Mayor Col Murray with the first Tamworth Country Music Festival Showbag.

Weblink – www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.



CCMA showcases "young guns"

Country Music Capital's Capital Country Music Association (CCMA)will stage its annual Young Guns Concert as a curtain-raiser tonight to the giant Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Seven up and coming country singer/songwriters will take the stage at Tamworth's Light City Church from 7:30pm in an annual event that has been described as inspirational.

Sami Cooke, Ethan Crosby-Wolfe, Stephanie Jansen, Stephanie Penrose, Lane Sinclair, Jack Trow and Megan Williams will star in the two-hour show.

Golden Guitar winner and not-so-long-ago "young gun" himself Steve Passfield will compere the event.

The Young Guns Concert is one of a number of events staged by the CCMA including the National Talent Quest and Jamboree Spectacular, activities that pre-date the official Tamworth Country Music Festival by some half dozen years.

Photo: Stephanie Jansen, a "young gun going places" – Stephanie's latest single release The Life You Made, debuted in the Australian Country Tracks Top 30 national singles chart this week.

Weblink – www.ccma.net.au.


Amber's Tamworth

Hot on the heels of the release of her third album 3, multiple award winner Amber Lawrence will headline her 2013 Tamworth show at Blazes Showroom at the West Tamworth League Club next Thursday, January 24.

Amber is a finalist for the Female Artist Of The Year Golden Guitar and also Best Female Vocal at Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards, a title she took out in 2009.

Such accolades have cemented Amber's status as one of Australia's most popular country entertainers and recording artists.

Following a sell out show at the Capitol Theatre during last year's Tamworth Festival, and top charting singles Everybody's A Mess, The Man Across The Street and her current single Try from the album 3, Amber will be supported at the show by special gust Bob Corbett, the 2012 Toyota Star Maker winner.

The past year saw Amber tour extensively with Adam Harvey nationally, along with the release of her current album which, described as her most personal to date, features collaborations with Colin Buchanan, Mike Carr, Sam Hawskley, producer Rod McCormack and Axle Whitehead.

Try features members of the Special Olympics, who Amber has been involved with for many years, and is the official anthem for the group of talented athletes.

In addition to her People's Choice award, Amber has been presented with the Country Music Association of Australia's Horizon Award, accumulated five Golden Guitar finalist nominations, six number one songs, and toured and performed with artists like Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan and Melinda Schneider.

Amber is also an ambassador for Walk Of Life and will be taking part in the activities for the Festival.

The sell-out success of her 2012 Tamworth show prompted her move to the larger Wests venue due to popular demand. Tickets can be purchased here.

Weblink – www.amberlawrence.com.



Golden Fiddle finalists

Fiddlers from Perth to New Zealand have thrown their hats into the ring to contest seven categories in the annual Golden Fiddle Awards being held at the Tamworth Town Hall on Thursday January 24.

Now in its ninth year, the popular Golden Fiddle show will again feature "the cream of Australasian fiddle playing talent" on stage.  The show has now become well entrenched as an alternative feature of the Tamworth Country Music Festival attracting crowds of more than 500 people.

Some of Australasia's leading amateur and professional talent have nominated, many of them already holders of Golden Fiddle trophies from previous contests.

Among them is the northern NSW band, the Round Mountain Girls (in which there are no girls) who will be trying for a winning double in the category for Best Band Featuring a Fiddler, which they won in 2012. They are also hoping their latest album, Cover Girls, will impress the judges in the Best CD by a Band category.  The band's fiddler, Paul "Rabbit" Robinson, scored impressively in 2012 by taking home the Golden Fiddle trophies for Best Teacher and Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to music.

Returning to the contest after an absence of two years is the bubbly and widely travelled fiddle player and teacher from Auckland, Marian Burns who was honoured in 2010 with the Lifetime Achievement award for her work in encouraging fiddle playing in New Zealand. Marian will be shooting for Best Solo Fiddler at this year's Awards and has also submitted a song she wrote while sitting on the back deck of a Murray River paddle boat, called Murray River Princess, in the category for Best Fiddle Composition.

A high profile Perth group, Ruby Boots, has entered the contest for the first time, nominating their latest album At Last for Best CD by a Band and will be up against a strong field for Best Band Featuring a Fiddler. They have also nominated in the Youth Achievement category. The band has achieved great exposure on radio and stage, as well as a national tour and supporting gigs with international bands.

The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle band is back in force, being selected as finalists for Best Band, Best CD by a Band and Best Composition. They will be hoping to repeat their 2010 performance, when they took home Golden Fiddle Awards for Best CD by a Band and Best Fiddle Composition.

Quatro, the string quartette from Bundaberg who won the hearts of the last two Golden Fiddle show audiences (pictured performing at the Golden Fiddle Awards), is making good progress in their young musical careers, having reached the finals this year in Best CD by a Band and the Youth Achievement category, which they won last year. In 2011, at their first major public outing in Tamworth, the Golden Fiddle jury gave the band a highly commended certificate in the youth section.

In the Showcase category, Best Fiddle Player in Australasia, there are three contenders... Adrian Keating (principal violinist for Opera Australia), Emma Nixon (Brisbane-based Scottish fiddle expert and three times Golden Fiddle winner) and Marian Burns (New Zealand fiddler and teacher and Golden Fiddle lifetime achievement winner).

Tickets for the Awards show can be purchased here.

The Golden Fiddle Awards are sponsored by Epoch Musical Instruments.

Weblink – www.goldenfiddleawards.org.au.


Chart Update – five weeks at the top for The McClymonts

The McClymonts' stranglehold on the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart, with their latest hit Two Worlds Collide, enters its fifth week this week.

Jetty Road have edged up one place to number two with Wrong while Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind is at three and Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road is steady at four.

Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise jumps two places to number five, Amber Lawrence's Try is at six and America's Lady Antebellum is at seven with Wanted You More.

America's Little Big Town is at eight with Pontoon, Christie Lamb's Invincible Me is up one to nine and America's Alan Jackson is at 10 with You Go Your Way.

Bullet performers for the week include O'Shea's The Swimming Song (16 to 12), Adam Brand's I Was Here (20 to 17), Doug Bruce's Made That Way (17 to 13), Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer with Women In Song (23 to 20), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life (25 to 22) and Craig Morrison's Stay Up Late (27 to 24).

New entries to the chart this week include Stephanie Jansen with The Life You Made (new at 29) and Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous Way (at 30).

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



Clel hits number one in Europe

Clel Adams' River Valley Express has scored the north coast NSW based artist another chart hit in Europe.
The song has topped the ECMA (European Country Music Association) chart this week, "so it's a very happy new year to me," Clel said. "Co-writer Ray Essery is beyond thrilled. To country music presenters and supporters world over, who are playing my music, there aren't enough thanks. You have made my day."

With the Countdown to the Tamworth Festival in full swing, Clel is in the process of getting the news out and about about her Festival shows, all free shows during the 10 day main event.

"If you're heading out, please drop in to one of my shows and come say g'day," she said. "It will be great to meet you in person.

Performing with Clel will be River Valley Express, the band... Kathryn Jones on vocals/guitar/uke, Rod Coe on bass, Adrian Davis on guitar and vocals, Jason Caspen, drums and Garry Steel – piano and accordion.

Clel plays the South Tamworth Bowling Club at 1pm Wednesday January 23 with special guests Stuie & Camille, on Thursday 24th, Clel plays at the Bush Poets Breakfast at the Longyard Hotel from 8am with Kathryn Jones and Adrian Davis, while and Sunday and Monday, 27th and 28th, Clel will play Wests Diggers Courtyard with special guests Kathryn Jones (Sunday afternoon) and Ray Essery, "the Mullumbimby Bloke" (on Monday afternoon).

Clel's current single is "a rockin' re-make" of Hank Williams' Baby We're Really In Love.

Weblink – www.cleliaadams.com.


New single from Lee

Lee Kernaghan has released the latest single from his Beautiful Noise album, Ute Me.

The single was partly recorded live at last year's Gympie Muster while its accompanying video clip was shot at the Deni Ute Muster.

"The audience reaction has been amazing," Lee said. "We recorded the crowd singing along to the 'Ute Mes' and the 'Bump bump bumps'. Then we took the track to the Deni Ute Muster where we shot the music video both on stage, in the arena and out in the car park."

Ute Me was a last minute addition to the Beautiful Noise album and was co-written with country hit makers Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter.

"It was our last day of songwriting in Sydney and as I walked into the airport it hit me… Ute Me!... it was an instantaneous kind of thing... the title and the music just hit me there and then and by the end of the afternoon the song was written.

"We had a lot of fun in the studio with Ute Me and experimented with some grooves and sounds that you wouldn't normally expect to hear in our genre of music. It's definitely going to test out the subs on a few speakers out there… some people have even said this song should come with a classification rating of 'U' for 'Ute Me'!"

Lee is touring Australia throughout 2013 with special guests The Wolfe Brothers and will host the giant free concert in Country Music Capital's Bicentennial Park on Friday January 25.

Weblink – www.leekernaghan.com.au.



FanZone new for Tamworth

An initiative at this year's Toyota Country Music Festival will be the launch of Country Music FanZone – a physical place to go during the Festival and an on-line experience for fans year-round.

Tamworth's Northern Daily Leader reported the Toyota FanZone is to launch on Friday January 18, the first official day of the 2013 festival.

The physical presence of FanZone will be in Fitzroy Street where the central business district traders are normally located (it is understood these are moving to a space in the city's Brisbane Street, still in the CBD).

As an activity that will be on-line and running 24 hours a day all year round, FanZone is also being promoted as bringing "some of the fun of Tamworth to fans all over the world".

Country music artists and fans can come together any day of the year with news, announcements, nation-wide gig guides, exclusive launches, merchandise, trivia and, most importantly, that coveted artist/fan interaction, The Leader reported.

Fans would also be able to directly interact with their favourite stars in real, on-line time via social media "hubbing".

The website is to have four key areas – "Launch Pad" (including record releases, artist interviews and video clips), "Country Music News", "Live Beats" (gig guide) and "Social Stage" (social media interaction).

The Toyota FanZone marquee will be open for nine days of the Festival from 9am to 6.30pm January 18 to 26.

Weblink – www.countrymusicfanzone.com.au.


Troy announced as Urban Country Ambassador

Country star Troy Cassar-Daley has been named as the 2013 Urban Country Music Festival's Urban Country Ambassador.

The announcement was made by Moreton Bay Regional Council, organisers of the Festival in Caboolture.

Mayor Allan Sutherland said he was pleased to secure the iconic Australian country music star as the ambassador for the 10th annual festival.

"I can't think of a better person to promote the Urban Country Music Festival as ambassador. Troy, whose career has so far included 21 Golden Guitars, eight Deadlys and four ARIA awards, is renowned for his country music and his humble beginnings, something we wanted to capture and remind people of as we celebrate a decade of Urban Country," Allan said.

"Not only will Troy support the Festival but he'll also perform alongside some of the hottest names in Australian country music at the 2013 festival."

Troy said he was looking forward to helping the Festival celebrate its 10 year significant milestone: "I'm really looking forward to the Festival and with the new year upon us there has never been a better time to grab a ticket.

"Over the past nine years, the Urban Country Music Festival has brought a great mix of both urban and country music and free family fun to Caboolture and you can be guaranteed 2013 will be no exception," Troy said.

The Caboolture Urban Country Music Festival will run Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 3 to 5 (Queensland's Labor Day weekend) and will feature three days of "free family fun" with highlights including the Urban Rodeo, Beaut Ute show, free Urban Blaze Concert and the Voice of Urban Country talent search.

Tickets are $60 for adults and $20 for children and are available for purchase online at www.urbancountry.com.au by phoning 07 5433 3222 or by visiting a Moreton Bay Regional Council Customer Service Centre.



The Borderers' Tamworth

Leading Scottish/Irish/Aussie band The Borderers will play five shows at Tamworth 2013 in three different venues.

Billed as "fun times absolutely guaranteed" The Borderers concerts this year will run at The Family Hotel, 11.45am Wednesday January 23, Tamworth Services Club's "Dungeon" 2pm Thursday January 24 and 3:30pm Saturday January 26 and at Wests Diggers 7pm Friday January 25 and 7pm Sunday January 27.

Since The Borderers were last in Tamworth, they've had what they describe as a sensational year at home and abroad.

They have played for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, been signed to a Los Angeles record company and went home from the South Australian Fowler's Live Music Awards with two gongs – Most Popular SA Release for their Tales Of Love And Loss album and Most Popular SA Band/Artist.

Very popular in Europe, The Borderers returned during the year to appear at several major festivals.

The year before, on Bastille Day, The Borderers played to huge crowds at the Mirande Festival in southern France – Europe's largest country music festival.

And as parents themselves, Jim and Alex say they always strive to present family-friendly shows where any age group feels comfortable being in the room.

Special guests on the The Borderers Tamworth concerts include funnyman Greg Champion and Jim and Alex say surprise guests could drop in at any time.

Weblink – theborderers.com.au.


New from Chris

Chris Staff will release his new album – Different Road – in Tamworth during the upcoming Festival.

The launch will take place at The Square Man Inn in Peel Street at the Jewry Street roundabout at 3pm on Tuesday January 22.

Australian producer and long time friend Michael Flanders oversaw the recording of Different Road in Nashville in May last year.

Chris has been a professional musician in the Australian country scene for more than 10 years playing with stars including Col Finley and The McClymonts.

Now 2013 has arrived, Chris says it's time for him to travel down a "different Road".

Leading up to the album launch, Chris will be playing at Country Music Capital's Tudor Hotel at 12noon and Tamworth City Plaza at 4pm on Friday the 18th, the Tudor again on Saturday the 19th and Sunday 20th at 3:30pm and Southgate Inn Monday 21st at 5pm.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/chrisstaff.official.



New from The Sunny Cowgirls

The new album by sister act The Sunny Cowgirls – What We Do – was released yesterday.

Recorded in Nashville, Perth and Sydney and described as "the perfect representation of what country music is all about... a powerful and engaging testament to the grit, talent and determination of Celeste and sibling Sophie" – the new work contains 14 songs, all originals.

"We've never done anything we didn't want to do and this album is no exception," said Celeste.

"Soph and I had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted this album to be. I think we've both grown up in the past few years, and it shows in our songwriting and the content of our songs. We wanted this album to be real, organic, natural and true to us. We wanted great players and amazing musicianship, but at the same time we didn't want a sparkly, shiny Nashville-sounding record."

"It is a mark of the Clabburn sisters' determination that in What We Do they have achieved exactly that," according to a spokesman for the duo.

"Despite being joined by some of Nashville's finest talents – such as dobro player Dan Dugmore (who has plated for James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt) and drummer Shawn Fichter (Peter Frampton) – the new album is as dinkum Aussie as its first single, Green & Gold, suggests.

"The idea of recording in the USA came from The Sunny Cowgirls' producer Sam Hawksley (The Whitlams, John Farnham, Adam Brand). At first, Sophie and Celeste were not at all keen on the idea."

"Sam's a great friend of ours and just brilliant at what he does," said Sophie. "We've always been big fans, but never thought in a million years we'd be recording an album with him in Nashville! We actually laughed at the idea when he first suggested it, because Nashville isn't really what we're about. We've always recorded here in Australia. We were worried that our Aussie sound might get lost in a big American studio."

"Those fears proved unfounded, however," the spokesman said, "in part because the stellar American talents who joined Sam and the sisters in the studio were balanced by an equally stellar Australian contingent, including bluegrass guitarist Jedd Hughes (Patty Loveless, Sarah Buxton) and, later, keyboardist Matt Fell (Tim Freedman, Sara Storer). The sisters' down-to-earth no-nonsense attitude was more than matched by the businesslike approach of their American collaborators."

"We recorded 14 tracks in two days!" Sophie said. "Actually, not even – they were only six-hour days, so 12 hours all up. They don't muck around over there."

Once the music recording was completed The Sunny Cowgirls left Nashville and flew to Perth, where they spent their childhoods, and laid down vocals under the guidance of band manager Mark Donohoe. Backing vocals were provided by former Australian Idol heavyweight Courtney Murphy. The final elements – including a toy piano – were added at Sydney's Love HZ studio under the watchful eye of Matt Fell.

"And thus, more than two years after the first songs for it were written in 2010, What We Do is finally ready for release," the spokesman said.

"The immediate success of the first single suggests the collection will be an early, strong contender for many awards. In the minds of the Clabburn sisters, however, it is already a triumph – of the will."

"This is the first album we have released independently," said Sophie. "There is no record company calling the shots. We really took control of this record and made the album we wanted to make."

Weblink – www.sunnycowgirls.com.


Bush Laureates' Australiana concert

The Australian Bush Laureate Awards presentation will take the form of a major Australiana concert this January.

To be staged in Tamworth on Tuesday, January 22, this year's Awards will once again recognise the best of Australia's bush poets in published and recorded form and will be presented amid more than a dozen performances by poets and special guest country music artists.

The line-up of bush poets, most of whom are also finalists in this years Awards, in alphabetical order, will be Jim Brown, John Davis, Jack Drake, Carol Heuchan, Bessie Jennings, Bill Kearns, Christopher Kessey, Peter Mace, Greg North and Manfred Vijars.

Leading the line-up of country stars appearing will be Amber Lawrence, Wayne Horsburgh, Luke O'Shea, Tamara Stewart, Graham Rodger, Allan Caswell, Dianne Lindsay and Grant Luhrs.

Also appearing will be Mick Fetch, Grant Luhrs, one of Australia's most promising new rising stars Katelyn O'Donoghue and, of course, compere Jim Haynes.

A number of "surprise" special guest presenters will also appear.

Bush Laureate Awards – in the form of the highly prized Golden Gumleaf – will be presented for Book of the Year, Album of the Year, Published Poem of the Year, Single Recorded Performance of the Year, Children's Poem of the Year and the new this year Recorded Australian Song Lyric of the Year.

An additional recognition, the Judith Hosier Heritage Award – named in honour of the Awards founder – will also be announced.

A full listing of Awards finalists can be found at www.bushlaureate.com.au.

Tickets for the gala Awards presentation concert can be obtained from the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Peel and Murray Streets in Country Music Capital, by phone on 02 6767 5300 or online here.

Tickets will also be available at additional ticket sales outlets when the 2013 Toyota COuntry Music Festival Tamworth gets underway next Friday.



It's on - Tamworth 41

The Toyota 41st Country Music Festival Tamworth is underway – or at least the seven day Countdown to the Festival to the main event that kicks off officially NEXT Friday, January 18.

Media reports of earlybird visitors arriving, some as early as pre-Christmas, continue to be made and the Country Music Capital is well and truly decked out with most of its Festival colours.

Through this seven day period, there will be plenty of entertainment with more than a hundred events and activities taking place in "a quieter time" in the lead up to the Festival proper.

The first three days sees a host of well-known artists "on the bill" including Aaron Bolton, Rob Breese, Chris Callaghan, the Dally Croft Band, Rex Dallas, Lynette Guest, Patti Morgan, Dan Murphy, Alby Pool & No City Limits, Doug Rowe, Lane Sinclair, Shane Teinaki, Those Gals and Sally-Anne Whitten... just among those we know about.

Country Music Capital's well-known permanent attractions – Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Big Golden Guitar and Walk A Country Mile exhibit – all open their doors, some for extended hours.

The Hall of Fame will run its regular Countdown events the Sausage Sizzle with guest stars at the Harvey Norman retail complex tomorrow morning from 10am and Country in the Courtyard with walk-up artists from 6:30 Sunday evening.

Tamworth Balladeers & Friends are running their annual Westpac Rescue Helicopter fund-raiser at the Kootingal & District Bowling Club on Sunday from 11am (see story here) and Chris Watson and Dare 2 Dance have organised a Line Dance Social Sunday afternoon from 2 at the Longyard Hotel.

A unique activity on Sunday evening from 6 will be the January edition of the regular Big T Jamboree live-to-air webcast from Enrec Studio in Calala. This month's show features artists including Chris Callaghan, up and coming performer Lane Sinclair and Sally-Anne Whitten.

More information and bookings for the Jamboree can be made via the website www.bigtjamboree.com.

Full details of most events are available in the Official Guide (see story here).


People's Choice line-up announced

Organisers of the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards have announced the line-up of guest artists that will perform during the gala awards presentation during the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The line-up is... Brothers3 (finalists for Album, Group, Song, Video and Bush Ballad), Paul Cowderoy (finalist for Male Vocal, Album, Song and Vocal Event), Dale Duncan (Male Vocal, Album and Vocal Event), Forever Road (Group Video and Most Promising Future Star), Sarah Head (Future Star), Rachel Jillett (Future Star), Christie Lamb (Female Vocal, Video), Amber Lawrence (Female Vocal), Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson (Dianne for Female Vocal, Dianne & Peter for Song and Bush Ballad), Amos Morris (Vocal Event), Luke O'Shea (Male Vocal, Bush Ballad, Vocal Event), Amber Joy Poulton (Female Vocal) and Graham Rodger (Male Vocal, Album, Song, Bush Ballad, Vocal Event)

Comperes for the evening will be Connie Kis Andersen and Greg Champion who will also both perform during the evening.

And a number of special guest presenters will appear.

Awards are to be presented in 11 categories, all determined by public vote with no restriction on who voters can vote for.

Performance categories are Male and Female Vocal, Group/Duo, Album, Song, Bush Ballad, Video, Vocal Event and Most Promising Future Star.

Two categories are dedicated to the important country music broadcasting sector with one for Most Popular Country Music DJ and one for Most Popular Country Music Radio Station or Program.

The full list of finalists can be seen on the website – www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.

This year for the first time, the People's Choice Awards has two major sponsors in the Trans-Help Foundation, the organisation that supports Australian truck drivers and their families) in conjunction with support sponsor Iveco.


New bluegrass competition

A new competition for bluegrass players – the Coca-Cola Battle of the Bluegrass – will be staged as part of the 2013 Coca Cola Concerts in the Park during the upcoming Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth.

The new "foot-stomping talent quest" (according to organisers) Heats will be staged on Tuesday January 22 and Wednesday January 23 from 12 noon to 1pm with the grand final scheduled for Thursday January 24.

Aim of the competition is "to discover and present an opportunity for acoustic musicians from all over Australia to test their musicianship in banjo or fiddle playing".

The competition has two categories and two sections in each category... Banjo, Junior (under 17) and Senior and Fiddle, Junior (under 17) and Senior. 

Those who wish to enter the new competition can call the organisers, Rural Press Events, on 02 6768 5800 or email luci.bolton@fairfaxmedia.com.au.


Coca-Cola Concerts 2013

The bluegrass competition is one of numerous activities that make up the popular Coca-Cola Concerts in the Park program which is recognised as one of the most important free artist walk-up opportunities of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth.

This year, the series will be celebrating its 35th anniversary at its original home – Hands of Fame Park that becomes known as Coke Park during the annual January Festival. Originally known as the Mr Juicy Twilight Concerts, the Coke Concerts in 2013 will offer country music fans "free, fun entertainment," according to organisers, "that they can listen to and participate in".

"It's a rare opportunity for all artists and emerging talent to perform on stage at Coke Park in front of an enthusiastic audience,” said Barry Harley, General Manager of organisers Rural Press Events.

The Coke Concerts offer 10 minute "walk-up" spots for performers. "So here's your chance to perform at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and make your dreams come true," Barry said.

Each artist has the opportunity to be supported by the accomplished Alwyn Aurisch Band and is provided with sound, lighting and specialist audio engineer.  Each day, the free concerts are compered by Mal Winckle.

"So call into Coke Park to register to perform and walk the same stage as Lee Kernaghan and countless country music stars," Barry said.

"As a Tamworth local and a keen supporter of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, I find it really exciting that Coca-Cola has been such a long-standing supporter and sponsor of a festival that is great not only for country music but also for the local economy," said John Eggins, District Sales Manager, Tamworth, Coca-Cola Amatil.

The Coca-Cola Concerts run from 10am to 5pm every day from Saturday January 19 to Saturday January 26 with special features including the Coca-Cola Battle of the Bands, Yamaha Battle of the YoungStars, the new Coca-Cola Battle of the Bluegrass and twilight concerts including the South Australian Tamworth Showcase starting at 6pm on Wednesday January 23.

"We're really looking forward to another great year here at the 41st festival," said John Eggins. "It will be a highlight for us in terms of introducing new young stars of country, new bands and continuing to modernise the Park itself.We're hoping we can continue enticing festival goers in 2013 with the exciting activities on offer in Coca-Cola Park for musicians and country music fans alike."

The program also includes the Queensland Champion of Champions Showcase each day from 12noon to 1pm Saturday January 19 to Monday January 21 and a performance by this year's Toyota Star Maker grand finalists on Wednesday January 23 from 2pm.

Weblink – www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.



Major Slim concert for Tamworth

A major fund-raising concert for the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey will be staged during this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.

All For Slim will be staged at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre on Wednesday January 23 at 11am.

The official 2013 Slim Dusty tribute concert will feature the Slim Dusty Family (pictured) and special guests performing many of Slim's classic songs.

Tickets can be purchased form the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Peel and Murray Streets, by telephone – 02 6767 5300 – or online here.


Chart Update – The McClymonts' fourth week at number one

The McClymonts' latest hit Two Worlds Collide remains at number one for the fourth week this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind edges up one place to number two, Jetty Road's Wrong is at three and Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road is up two places to number four.

Amber Lawrence's Try is at five, America's Lady Antebellum is at six with Wanted You More and Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise is at seven.

America's Carrie Underwood and Little Big Town are at eight and nine, respectively, with Blown Away and Pontoon while Christie Lamb's Invincible Me debuts in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Doug Bruce's Made That Way (17 to 13), Beccy Cole's Hello Happiness (19 to 15), O'Shea's The Swimming Song (20 to 16), Carter & Carter's To The Moon And Back (21 to 18), Adam Brand's I Was Here (23 to 20), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life (28 to 25) and Craig Morrison's Stay Up Late (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include McAlister Kemp (pictured) with A Good Idea (new at 29).

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



Kathy wins at the ASAs

NSW Hunter Valley singer/songwriter Kathy Coleman has picked up another award, an Australian Songwriting Association award for her Dunedoo Station.

The song was joint winner of the 2012 ASA National Songwriting Awards section with Anzac Morning by Justin Linkins of Victoria.

Kathy was also judged second in the Ballad section with her song He Still Remembers, about Dementia/Alzheimers

John Greenwood & Jason Greenwood from Victoria won the Country section with I'm Missing You with Tahlia McGahey of NSW in second place with Why Don't We Meet Half Way.

Kathy's Dunedoo Station, that also won the Australiana section at the Canberra Country Music Songwriting Awards in 2011, is described as a song about the history of the railway coming to Kathy's home town back in 1910. Kathy released the song in November 2009 on second album, Hot & Bothered.

A highlight of the ASA Awards night in Sydney in December was a performance of Dunedoo Station by Kathy with an accompanying slide show of old photos from Dunedoo from 1910 to 1917.

Dunedoo Station and He Still Remembers are up for more awards this month at the Tamworth Songwriters' Association Songwriter Salute Awards, together with another song, Til The Cows Come Home, while Dunedoo Station and Til The Cows Come Home are also in the finals in the Country/Australiana section of The SongComp, the Songsalive songwriting competition with winners also due to be announced this month.

Photo: Kathy performs at the ASAs.

Weblink – www.kathycoleman.com.au.


Tamworth Official Guide out now!

The Official Guide to the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2013 is "out now".

Publishers Rural Press Events (RPE) have announced details of availability and distribution.

Deliveries of the Guide, sponsored by Destination Tamworth and boasting "a bumper" 268 pages, started with the first copies being delivered to the Tamworth Information & Visitors Centre.

The Guide highlights new events and features the Official Daily Program for the Festival including the exclusive A to Z Artist Directory that allows fans to follow their favourite artists during the festival with details of where they are appearing, times and dates as well as numerous artist photos and biographies.

A venues map, Tamworth town map, bus routes and timetable are all included together with country music points of interest and helpful visitor guide information to Country Music Capital and the district.

RPE General Manager and Publisher of the Official Guide Barry Harley said this year the daily program is showcasing 2,443 events and activities to be staged over the official 10 days of the Festival, including the seven-day countdown period with 463 individual artists performing in 106 different venues.

"It's come a long way since our first issue in 1975 that boasted eight pages," Barry said, "with the headline 'Tamworth calls the tune' along with a photo of 'Mr Hoedown' John Minson resplendent in top hat promoting the then Australasian Country Music Awards sponsor Wrangler Jeans. The program contained a total of 11 scheduled events...

The Official Guide will also be on-line with the pending release of a 2013 version of an accompanying smartphone app.

In celebrating the 41st year of the Tamworth Festival, the Official Guide features historical facts and inside stories about foundation events like the Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitar Awards), Toyota Star Maker talent search, Hands of Fame, Roll of Renown, Capital Country Music Association National Talent Quest and Jamboree and the Toyota Cavalcade as well as information about new music product releases, artist CD launches, more about key events and insightful stories into the famous festival.

The Official Guide, which also includes a Capital News souvenir 20 track music CD reflecting the 41st festival year valued at more than $25, is available from Tamworth newsagents, selected newsagents throughout NSW, the Tamworth Information & Visitors Centre, the Big Golden Guitar Gift Shop and will be available during the Festival at the Capital News Shop at Toyota FanZone in Fitzroy Street and Coca-Cola Concerts in the Park (Hands of Fame Park).

Anyone who would like to get a copy prior to arriving in Tamworth can contact RPE on 02 6768 5800 or buy online via www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au.



Kasey and Shane to present free Tamworth concert

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson have announced they will stage a free concert at this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The concert will take place in the heart of the city's Peel Street (or "Boulevarde of Dreams") and is scheduled to be their only dedicated Tamworth show.

It will be somewhat of a return to years prior as Kasey performed a giant free concert for a number of years on the main Friday night of the Festival in the city's Bicentennial Park.

"We want to thank all our fans for their ongoing support, not only for (supporting the album) Wreck & Ruin, but for all our music over so many years. We can't think of a better way to say 'Thanks' than to perform a very special 'live & free' concert with the Wreck & Ruin Band, right where so many of Australia's favourite country music stars got their first break – downtown Peel Street in Tamworth at the annual Country Music Festival.

"We'll be playing all the old favourites, as well as some of the new stuff. We can't wait to get there and see you all," the couple said. 

Kasey and Shane received five finalist nominations for Wreck & Ruin at upcoming Golden Guitar Awards including Album of the Year.

Wreck & Ruin was released in September and debuted on the national ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) charts at six and on the National Country Music album charts at number one and continues to chart strongly some four months later.

The free concert will take place at 8pm on Wednesday January 23.

Weblinks – www.kaseychambers.com, www.shanenicholson.com.


Balladeers sing for the Chopper

Bush balladeers will come together for their annual fund-raiser for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service in Country Music Capital this Sunday (January 13) as one of the first major events of the Countdown to the January Festival.

The Northern Daily Leader reported that the Tamworth Balladeers & Friends concert would be held at the Kootingal & District Bowling Club just north of Tamworth from 11am to 4pm.

Artists who will volunteer their services on the day include Rex Baldwin, Col Behan, Trevor Coombes, Rex Dallas and family, Dubby, Lynette Guest, Jim Hartley, Patti Morgan, Jared & Rowan Scott and Those Gals (pictured).

Entry to the show will be by gold coin donation and, in addition to the entertainment, the day will also host a barbecue, "mega raffle", morning tea and a lucky door prize.

A courtesy bus will run from the Tamworth Rugby Union Club at 9am, North Tamworth Sporting Grounds at 9:15, BP Service Centre "between the bridges" at 9:30, Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at 9:45, Caltex opposite the Austin Tourist Park on the Armidale Road at 10am and the Matilda Service Station at Nemingha at 10:15am.



Special tributes announced for 2013 Golden Guitar Awards

This year's Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) will host two special tributes saluting Australian pioneer country music artists.

The first will be a Lifetime Achievement Golden Guitar to be awarded to "Tangletongue" Geoff Mack who celebrated his 90th birthday on December 20.

Geoff, the writer of the Australian classic I've Been Everywhere and a veteran of outback tent shows and the Tivoli circuit, is already honoured on the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown.

He began performing professionally in 1944, touring with the late Slim Dusty from the late 1970s and still attends the Tamworth Country Music Festival every year with Tabby, his wife of 59 years.

Lucky Star, the father of current rising star Craig Morrison, recorded the first hit version of I've Been Everywhere in 1962. It has since been recorded by more than 130 artists including Johnny Cash.

The second tribute by a host of star presenters will be to the late Jimmy Little who died in April last year.

New to the Awards in 2013 will be executive producers Nik Goldsworthy and Ean Thorley who have created some of Australia's most watched cultural events, awards shows and television broadcasts including Sydney New Year's Eve, pay television's ASTRA Awards, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, World Youth Day and MTV Australia's Video Music Awards.

"We are thrilled to be producing the 2013 Country Music Awards of Australia," Nik said. "This is such an important Australian music and cultural event, and we plan to put on one hell of a show.

The Awards will be presented at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre on Australia Day, January 26. Tickets can be purchased here.

Weblink – www.country.com.au.


Vale – Patti Page

American star Patti Page, who turned the country song Tennessee Waltz into a monster pop hit in 1950, died on January 1 at age 85.

Though she wasn't terribly familiar to contemporary music fans, Patti had been a staple of the easy listening and adult contemporary pop worlds since she started recording in the 1940s.

She had hits early on with songs such as Confess, With My Eyes Wide Open and I'm Dreaming, but it was Tennessee Waltz that turned into the smash and became not only her signature song, but one of the best-selling songs of the 20th century.

Tennessee Waltz was already a hit song by 1950. Country bandleader Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart had written and recorded it a few years earlier (it was Pee Wee's signature song, too).

The song went on to be covered by numerous artists across genres, including Patsy Cline, Leonard Cohen, Sam Cooke, Norah Jones and Otis Redding.

When Patti appeared on The Johnny Cash Show, "the Man in Black" called the song "one of the prettiest songs heard anywhere".

Patti's career didn't slow down after the success of Tennessee Waltz. She went on to earn many more hit songs, including Allegheny Moon, Come What May, Detour, (How Much Is That) Doggie In the Window and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte. She even had her own TV show in the 1950s.

Though she was best known as a pop singer, Patti also recorded country music throughout her career. In fact, her last charting single was the 1982 country song My Man Friday.

She continued to perform some 50 shows a year up until her death. A previous recipient of the Academy of Country Music's Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award (in 1979), Patti was set to appear this coming February in Los Angeles to receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.



Roo tops Country Tracks for 2012

Roo Arcus has come in at number one on the Country Tracks Year End Singles Chart for 2012 with his hit This Here Cowboy.

The McClymonts are at number two with Piece Of Me, Jetty Road is at three with Sweet Goodbye and Beccy Cole is at four with Waitress.

Adam Harvey is at five with Dig Two Graves, Troy Cassar-Daley at six with Home and Harmony James is at seven with Emmylou's Guitar.

The McClymont's take their second top 10 place for the year with their Two Worlds Collide at number eight, Luke O’Shea & Dianna Corcoran hold ninth place with New England Sky and Christie Lamb rounds out the top 10 with Mr Wrong.

Other artists featuring in the top 50 for 2012 include Chelsea Basham, Kaylee Bell, The Bobkatz, Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Doug Bruce, Camille & Stuie. Carter & Carter, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Travis Collins, Graeme Connors, Paul Costa, Kristy Cox, Morgan Evans, The Harmonators, Lee Kernaghan, Lee & Robbie Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, McAlister Kemp, Craig Morrison, Jasmine Rae and Tamara Stewart.

Through 2012, a total of 125 tracks entered the chart, 83 of which were by Australian acts. Fourteen were first time hitmakers, including Chelsea Basham, Adi Burgess, Corey Colum, Aly Cook, Bob Corbett, Paul Cowderoy, Stephanie Jansen, Christie Lamb and The Wolfe Brothers.

There were a total of 15 number ones during the year, all by Australian artists... in chronological order: Troy Cassar Daley's Home (in February), Amber Lawrence's Everybody's A Mess (March), The McClymonts How Long Have You Known (March), McAlister Kemp's Country Proud (April), Beccy Cole's Waitress (May), Troy Cassar-Daley's Live And Learn (May), Adam Harvey's Dig Two Graves (June), Jetty Road's Sweet Goodbye (July), The McClymonts' Piece Of Me (August), Catherine Britt's Always Never Enough (September), Paul Costa's Tractors & Bikes (September), Harmony James' Emmylou's Guitar (October), Roo Arcus' This Here Cowboy (October), Troy Cassar-Daley's Home (November) and The McClymonts' Two Worlds Collide (December).

Full details of the year-end charts can be found at www.countrymusicradio.com.au.


Red Hill Festival gears up

Organisers of the annual Red Hill Country Music Festival in Victoria are gearing up to present one of the year's first major events.

The one-day festival runs from 9am on Sunday January 13 at the Red Hill Showgrounds Reserve, Arthurs Seat Road, Red Hill south east of Melbourne.

The local Lions Club puts the annual festival together with activities including "ute muster" and "hot rod show & shine" in addition to the entertainment.

This year's festival will star The Cartwheels, Paul Costa, Kristy Cox, Adam Harvey, Jillian Lampkin, Chris "Boots" Lee and The Shadowriders, Mama's Mountain Jug Band, Nia Robertson & Bill McMartin and Adam Toms with compere Gary Turner.

Weblink – www.redhillcmf.org.au.


Click here for recent news



© Copyright, Country Music Bulletin