This website dedicated to bringing you the latest Australian country music news
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2008
Country star John Williamson and his "trusty" "Hillbilly Road" rally car (a Humber named after his latest album) will star in the 2008 Variety Bash.
The 24th annual Variety NSW Blacktown to Batemans Bay NRMA Insurance Bash kicks off on Thursday August 7 and concludes close to 4,000 kilometres later on Saturday August 16.
Along the way, this year's Bash will visit towns including Boorowa, West Wyalong, Mildura, Renmark, Murray Bridge, Bordertown, Mount Gambier, Halls Gap, Warrnambool, Torquay, Bendigo, Puckapunyal, Wangaratta, Walwa, Cooma and Batemans Bay.
The annual Variety Bash celebrates a year of fundraising, as dedicated Variety "Bashers" drive their decorated pre-1970 cars through country areas to support isolated and special needs kids. "If you see over a hundred crazy cars carrying nearly 400 even crazier people coming down the street, you’ll know that the 2008 Variety Bash has come to town!" said a spokesman for the organisers.
Twenty-four years ago, Dick Smith and some fellow adventurers set off from Bourke for Burketown and raised $250,000 in the process. They gave this money to Variety and so started an Australian institution of Variety Bashes which are now held in every state.
Other well known names participating in this year's event include John Paul Young and John Howard (the actor).
Weblink – www.varietyclub.org.au.
Slim Dusty Family to film historic final concert
Canberra based production company Pre Live Post has been engaged to record and film the Family’s Hellenic Club final tour concert featuring the first lady of Australian country music Joy McKean and the one and only time that all three generations of the family (often referred to as the Royal family of Australian country music) will tour and perform together.
"From every perspective, the success of the Slim Dusty Family debut album and tour have both totally surpassed any modest expectations that Joy McKean and the family members may have had!" said an EMI spokesman.
"We are thrilled that we are also going to be able to capture the very last show on this one off tour by Joy and her talented children and grandchildren. The Slim fans are also going to be really pleased that all the Families amazing musical tributes they do in the show will definitely all be included on the DVD as well."
Celebrated singer/songwriters Sara Storer and Peter Denahy have teamed up for what is set to be one of the most entertaining shows of 2008.
Sara shot to prominence when she swept all before her by taking out a record seven Golden Guitars in 2004 making her the most awarded female artist of all time in the genre.
Peter Denahy is a multi-talented Australian storyteller in the tradition of John Williamson and Colin Buchanan. There’s also a touch of Slim Dusty in Peter's persona, explained by the fact that Peter played fiddle, accordion and guitar in Slim’s Traveling Country Band from 1998.
Both Sara and Peter have widely acclaimed new album releases... Sara's Silver Skies, Peter’s Picture In A Frame.
The more broader music market aligned Robertson Brothers have hit the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Australian Country Album Chart.
The Brothers' new Flight 1974 album (named after their recent flight to Nashville) is their fourth release and was recorded Music City USA in January.
The self-funded album (available through destra) has jumped to number two on the Australian Country album chart.
It was co-produced and co-written by Nashville based Grammy Award winning writer Bobby E Boyd who also co-wrote a recent Rascal Flatts number one hit.
The video for the first single from the album – Language Of Heaven – has been added to CMC and can also be viewed at www.myspace.com/robertsonbrothersmusic.
SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2008
Toyota Ambassadors, including reigning Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan, are all joining with Toyota dealers across the country to get involved in today's annual event.
"Trees are essential to all Australians' quality of life," Lee said, "and I'm pleased to play a positive role in doing something about it.
"Trees are natural air filters that help create a cleaner environment for everyone and a home for native birds and animals."
NRL (National Rugby League) Australian test and Cronulla Sharks coach Ricky Stuart said: "While you might be wondering about the connection between trees and sport, let me tell you that one tree has the capacity to absorb more than one tonne of carbon over its lifetime. With all the huffing and puffing on the sporting field, it's even more important to keep the air clean.
"For local sporting facilities this is even more essential. Fans of grassroots clubs need trees to supply shade while they cheer on their teams, not every club has the luxury of a grandstand.
"Trees are also home to animals and birds who help to make our local sporting grounds a better place. Don't forget to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and get involved."
Photo: Lee, during a recent National Tree Day.
Weblink – www.planetark.com.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson (pictured) maintain their grip on the number one position on this week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for a record-breaking fifth week with their hit Rattlin' Bones.
Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight is steady at number two while Amber Lawrence edges up on place to three with Good Girls and Catherine Britt drops back to four with What I Did Last Night.
Adam Brand's Comin' From / Khe Sanh is steady at five while The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue jumps two and Travis Collins' Rip It Up remains steady at seven.
America's Montgomery Gentry is at eight with Back When I Knew It All, Rose Carleo & Drew McAlister are steady at nine with their duet Sometimes You Just Know and Chasing Bailey enter the top 10 at 10 with their hit Little By Little.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Harmony James' Home (14 to 11), Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair with Good Tones (15 to 12), Jasmine Rae's Country Singer (26 to 23) and Matt Frost's Second Home Town (30 to 26).
New entries to the chart include Graham Rodger's Give This Hug To Daddy (in at 28) and The Flood's Come Tomorrow (at 29).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
RETURN TO TOP
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2008
Kristal Collins (left) and Mahalia Fox (right) have taken out the senior and junior South Australian Champion of Champions, respectively, at the weekend.
Kristal also won the Senior Female title from fellow finalists Hollie May O'Neil and Jasmin Reshke.
Senior Male winner on the day was Danny Gyory who took the title from Terry Bradford and John Turner.
Mahalia also won the Junior 17 & Under title from fellow finalists Georgette Berry and Chelsea Robinson.
Winner of the Junior 13 & Under section was Gabrielle Ballard who took the title from Eliza Parker and Taylor Pfeiffer.
Winner of the Len Wakefield Memorial Award was Georgette Berry. The Len Wakefield Memorial Fund was established in memory of Len "to assist younger talent with proven ability, to further their career in country music". Len was one of a band of pioneers of country music in South Australia who lost his battle with cancer in 1991.
The Champion of Champions is run by the South Australian Council of Country Music (SACCM).
Photos by I Fisk.
Weblink – www.saccm.com.
Peter wins Penrith Telstra Road to Tamworth heat
Nineteen-year-old Peter from Harrington Park will advance through to the finals to be held during the Tamworth Country Music Festival presented by Telstra and is in the running to win a full album deal with ABC Music, along with a return trip to Nashville.
Having grown up in nearby Camden, Peter, who won the Penrith heat from 13 fellow contestants, is a full-time musician who performs regular gigs at a number of local pubs. An avid music lover since he received his first guitar at age seven, Peter began vocal training at Leah Cassar Voice Production in Camden when he was 10 years old.
Performing to a packed venue, Peter enjoyed a strong show of support from the local audience and impressed everyone with his vocal ability and exceptional guitar playing, according to a spokesman for the talent search organisers.
"I don’t know what to say, thanks so much everyone and especially my family for all their support," he said when accepting his winner’s trophy.
Weblink – www.beinvolved.telstra.com/countrymusic.
"Born in Boots" celebrates 10th birthday
Hosted by Brendon T Moylan (pictured) from its inception, the show boasts that it is one of Australia’s longest single dedicated country music radio shows outside the 24/7 stations.
From the early days of being a one-and-a-half hour "fill in" show, "Born in Boots" has matured into the program it is now because of the popularity of the format, said a spokesman for Curtin 100.1 FM, one that Brendon T has himself developed, honed and implemented.
"Now after celebrating its 10th anniversary on air, the show continues to grow and expand its appeal by streaming live around the world on www.borninboots.com.
"During the past 10 years of community broadcasting, 'Born in Boots' has also been instrumental in raising funds to support numerous charities and communities in need of assistance. Contributions as a result of the fundraising events organised by Brendon T and his wife Janiece have usually totalled $10,000 and upward.
"Charities and organisations such as The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal (an annual event), Moora Flood relief, Tsunami Relief, Warrawee Woman’s Shelter, The Father Bryan Appeal, The Cerebral Palsy Association, Cystic Fibrosis, and Camp Quality (to name just a few) have benefited.
"However it is not just charities that have gained from Born in Boots’ community involvement. A staunch supporter of Australian artists, Brendon T Moylan has also helped launch the careers of many local Perth country music artists, releasing and promoting their music to the public.
"He has implemented the release of the Best In The West compilations, the first volume being distributed Australia-wide five years ago, showcasing and drawing much needed attention to the superb music talent residing in the West. Volume 2 will be out soon to co-incide with the Show’s 10th anniversary celebrations.
"Brendon T Moylan is one of Australia’s most respected and popular radio presenters and this can be evidenced by his involvement on judging panels for many local and high profile interstate country awards. The last two years, Brendon T has been honoured as a finalist in the People Choice Awards in Tamworth in the Best Country Show and Best Country DJ categories.
"His and the show’s popularity is such that at the recent fundraiser Radiothon for Curtin FM, 'Born in Boots' listeners donated a staggering $25,145 in the six hours that the program aired, highlighting their passionate support and dedication for this very special program."
"Born in Boots" goes to air every Saturday from midday until six.
Bob Lipman – long time broadcaster and one of the busiest workers for Radio 2TM in the early days of the Tamworth Country Music Festival – has died.
Bob had been suffering a long-term illness which finally claimed his life last Friday (July 18).
During his time as Radio 2MO's Narrabri Studio manager in the mid 1950s, Bob gained a reputation for dedication and community involvement which was to set him on a path of community service work over the next 50 years or so.
While in Narrabri, Bob kept the community in touch through the devastating floods of 1955 when, for most people, their only contact with the outside world was their local radio station. For this work, Bob was made the town's Citizen of the Year.
After his time in Narrabri, Bob moved to Radio 2TM in Tamworth where he fronted that station's broad community service involvement for many years.
As one who always had time to help touring performers, it was inevitable he would become involved in 2TM's country music activities, especially through the late 1960s and 1970s.
As well as acting as compere for numerous events, Bob was the original compere/organiser of the Mr Juicy Concerts (now Coca Cola Concerts) in Hands of Fame Park.
Significantly, he also compered and organised the early Buttercup Open Houses and was involved for a time in the early days of the Star Maker Quest.
After ultimately leaving 2TM, Bob became heavily involved in Tamworth's community radio station 2YOU FM where he was President and one of the station's main on air voices for many years.
Bob was heavily involved in the Tamworth Musical Society where he also held the position of President on numerous occasions and in the Tamworth branch of the Save The Children Fund where he was responsible for raising many thousands of dollars for this international charity.
Bob was also made Tamworth's Citizen of the Year and was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2003 for service to the community of Tamworth.
Last year, he was presented with a special award recognising 25 years service to Lifeline.
Bob's funeral will be held next Tuesday, July 29, at 11am at the Uniting Church, Marius Street, Tamworth.
Following community support in the Caroona (Liverpool Plains, North West NSW) farming area for local farmer Tim Duddy's stand to block access to BHP mining exploration, two of Country Music Capital's award-winning songwriters have joined the anti-mining push.
Steve Charles and Wendy Wood (pictured) have joined forces to write and record a song commemorating "the brave and outstanding action taken to try and halt access to the Duddy's farm".
The Duddy's refused access to BHP to their farm who subsequently went to court and obtained an injunction against the Duddy's. Members of the local community, however, not affected by the injunction, took over the blocking of access to the Duddy's property and are now manning a daily blockade of the access road to the property.
"The Caroona region is one of the most fertile and sustainable farming areas of NSW," Steve said, "due to the underground aquifer system which became more and more apparent over the past several years of extreme drought – this region was still able to produce while the rest of the state, and nation, was turning into a dust bowl.
"Mining of the region would be a travesty unlike any other in Australian rural history and is supported by the courts and the NSW Government. The action taken by the Caroona farming community, friends and families is a direct result of multi-nationals and government forcing (their) interests on to a region which by all accounts would be devastated and cost not only family properties and livelihoods but one of the nation's most fertile and productive farming regions and should be supported by the Australian community as a whole."
The song written by Steve and Wendy is titled Bring It On and can be downloaded here.
"Bring It On was recorded to not only honour the stand taken by Tim Duddy and the on-going support and action taken by friends and neighbours in trying to protect their farms, livelihoods and region," Steve said, "but hopefully will serve as a tool to highlight their plight and bravery and community unity that is not often seen in today's modern Australia.
America's Carrie Underwood is at number one on the coming week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist for the second week running with the clip of her song Last Name.
Melinda Schneider's Be Yourself edges up one more place to number three while Jetty Road's City Lights is at six, The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid jumps to number eight and Jasmine Rae's Country Singer enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Jayne Denham (pictured) with Country Girl With A Rock 'n' Roll Heart (new at 18), James Blundell's Four Feet Tall (28 to 24), Bec Willis with Toohey Road (42 to 36), Kristy Cox's Fallen (41 to 37) and Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (50 to 42).
The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2008
The Tamworth Independent Artist Recognition Awards (TIARAs), presented annually during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January, has been announced as one of the first events to use the city's new Capitol Theatre.
Being built as part of the cinema complex in the new, almost completed Centrepoint Shopping Centre behind the Tamworth Town Hall, The Capitol will be a 400-plus seat, fully fitted-out state-of-the-art theatre due to commence operating in October and is expected to host a number of other events during the annual country music festival as well as year-round events.
(It is understood the first activity in the new theatre – which is named after one of Tamworth's early cinema buildings – will be the local musical society's staging of "The Boy From Oz" later this year.)
The 12th annual TIARAs will be presented on Tuesday January 20, 2009, at 8pm.
"The TIARAs have had a number of homes over the years," said Awards Founder and President Robbie Brown, "but moving to The Capitol Theatre is a major boost for the Awards in terms of a high profile venue and another step forward in positioning them as Australian country music’s most important independent awards."
"Being able to secure the new Capitol Theatre for the TIARAs is a plus for the Awards," said spokesman Jon Wolfe, "as it is the first step in taking them to the next level. We have established the TIARAs as an important adjunct to the Australian country music industry and, after 11 years, it is time to consolidate that position with the move to the new theatre and to present the Awards in a new light.
"Independent artists far outnumber the major artists and thus represent a high proportion of the industry," Jon said. "More and more high profile arists are moving into the independent sector, so the TIARAs are becoming more signifigant as the years go by.
"The TIARAs are Tamworth’s most important nod to the independents who are the mainstay of both the January festival and the Hats Off To Country festival."
Jon also said that discussions were underway to hopefully have an international country music personality present at the Awards next year and an announcement was expected soon about a new sponsor.
Entries for the 12th annual TIARAs are now being invited with details available at www.tiara-awards.org.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson maintain their grip on the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their hit, Rattlin' Bones.
Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight edges up one place to number two as do Catherine Britt at three with What I Did Last Night and Amber Lawrence with Good Girls at four.
Adam Brand is also up one to five with Comin' From / Khe Sanh while George Strait is down to six with I Saw God Today and Travis Collins' Rip It Up is steady at seven.
The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is also unchanged at eight, as are Rose Carleo & Drew McAlister at nine with their duet Sometimes You Just Know while America's Montgomery Gentry is at 10 with Back When I Knew It All.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Harmony James (pictured) with Home (17 to 14), Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair with Good Tones (18 to 15), Donna Boyd's Never Gonna Be That Girl Again (22 to 19), 8 Ball Aitken's Cyclone Country (24 to 20), Karen Lynne's Blue Mountain Rain (27 to 24), Amos Morris with My Imagination (28 to 25) and Jasmine Rae's Country Singer (30 to 26).
New entries to the chart this week include Matt Frost's Second Home Town (in at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2008
Matt Frost (left), Sharon Lane and Drew McAlister have been announced as this year's Golden Saddle Awards finalists.
The three will battle it out for the title at The Galston Club on Saturday September 13, the night before the 2008 Galston Country Music Festival on Sunday September 14.
"The inaugural 'New' Golden Saddle Awards entries were very strong" said Director Donna Boyd, "and reflected the level of talent and ability in independent country music in NSW."
Matt, Sharon and Drew will be vying for three awards on the night... the Coopers Golden Saddle Award (judged on the artist’s recorded and promotional material), the Tomkins Golden Saddle Performance Award (judged on the artist’s performance on the night) and the Golden Saddle People’s Choice Award (judged on a combination of on-line votes through the Galston Festival Westland audience votes on the night).
Weblink – www.galstonfestival.com.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has flagged extra drought relief for the bush after Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan warned the current scheme was leaving farming families crippled by debt.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Lee, in launching the search to find his successor at Old Parliament House in Canberra on Saturday, said rural families were under immense financial, emotional and psychological strain after a decade of drought.
In an emotional plea for help, Lee said a policy of withdrawing assistance once off-farm earnings exceeded $400 a week meant farming families were unable to escape debt.
"The policy, as it stands, effectively takes away any hope of farming families… working their way out of debt. And hope is something that we can give back to farming families. Most people agree that if drought relief is to be wound back in any shape or form, it would break the back of the bush."
Since being awarded Australian of the Year, Lee has continued his travels around Australia, concentrating on visiting those areas of regional Australia most affected by drought.
"The visits to local communities have been a paddock tour of sorts," he said, "an opportunity to meet face to face and talk quietly to the Mums and Dads, the Grandparents and the Kids from drought affected communities – to find out from them how they are coping and the issues that are affecting them the most.
"There is no doubt the drought has taken a massive toll on a large number of farming families across Australia.
"Many families are struggling just to put food on the table and this desperation is compounded even further by several factors."
Prime Minister Rudd said: "Everything that Lee had to say was spot on. I grew up on the land, I understand something about what farming communities are going through and, as a result of that, we have got action already under way.
"Drought is now not one in 20 years, it is one in two years at this level of intensity. And that's why we've got to look at farm support and also the overall financial assistance package to farmers."
Also in the pipeline is an economic assessment of national drought policy by the Productivity Commission and an assessment of the impact of drought on rural communities by an expert panel.
The Prime Minister did not reveal how the existing drought-relief scheme might be overhauled, but said additional support would be forthcoming.
Eric Bogle and Graeme Connors are currently undertaking a major combined tour.
The tour kicked off in Newcastle on July 10 and will conclude in Queensland in early September.
Click here for tour details.
Dates have been announced for the next round of performance dates by "the Chic Frontier" – the new touring concept featuring four of Australia's leading female artists in country music.
United for a limited series of performances during 2008 are (pictured, from left, Aleyce Simmonds, Amber Lawrence, Kirsty Lee Akers and Dianna Corcoran), "representing the new face of country music," according to a spokesman for tour promoters.
"The show debuted to a full house at this year's January country music festival in Tamworth receiving a big thumbs up from critics and fans."
Details of tour dates can be found here.
Merilyn Steele has released a new album – Extraordinary Daze – and a first single from the album, When Will (My Heart Start Singing Again?).
The album is described as "a brand new sound" for Merilyn and "a thoroughly modern image".
"Expect to hear country blues with slide guitars... brave topics with poignant lyrics... about the first stolen generation and her views on war in another," according to the release accompanying the news of the new album.
"There are lighter-hearted topics... comedy satire... however, the first single released is a question Merilyn asked herself during her long illness following the release of her debut album This Passion in 2005. Her career was put on hold until her recovery.
"In 2008, Merilyn is ready to bridge that gap with more than 'the passion' she was previously armed with... a new version of that passionate artist has emerged... one whose determination and strength is readily recognised in her vocals.
"This album is the result of a journey of events, emotions and places travelled over the last two years for Merilyn," the release said, "from the demise of her health in 2006 to the highs of an award for Female Vocalist of the Year at the Horsham Awards in 2007."
Weblink – www.merilynsteele.com.
America's Carrie Underwood (pictured) is at number one on the coming week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of her song Last Name.
Jetty Road's number one from last week – City Lights – has slipped to number two while Melinda Schneider's Be Yourself edges up one to number four and The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers this week include Jasmine Rae with Country Singer (17 to 14), Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel's Pay Day (23 to 20) and Bec Willis with Toohey Road (45 to 42).
New entries to the playlist for the week include Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (in at 50)
CMC's Country Pick for the week is Jayne Denham's Country Girl With A Rock 'n' Roll Heart.
The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2008
Toyota Star Maker winner 2008 Talia Wittmann will release her debut album, her Star Maker prize album Reckless Side Of Me on August 2.
The album will be released on Compass Bros Records through destra Music and will be officially launched at this year’s Toyota National Country Music Muster on Wednesday August 27.
"A fearless debut album," said fellow Star Maker James Blundell, "(this is ) one of the best I have heard in 10 years... all the songs are strong, individual, extremely well played, and Talia’s voice sits somewhere between Patty Griffin, Michelle Shocked, Lucinda Williams and Kasey Chambers."
When Talia won Toyota Star Maker in Tamworth this year, she joined the ranks of some outstanding Australian talent... previous Star Maker winners like Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban as well as James.
During primary school, Talia took up singing and guitar lessons and competed in various talent quests winning various placings. In 2003, Talia completed Certificate III in music at TAFE and began to concentrate solely on her music. She went on to study a Bachelor of Music by correspondence for 12 months through the Mackay Conservatorium of Music and then moved to Mackay for a further semester of study on campus. She is also a graduate of the 2007 Australian College of Country Music.
And along with her new Rav 4 and some other great prizes, the 23 year old won a record deal with Compass Bros Records. Talia entered the studio in late May with producer Graham Thompson (producer of hit albums by James Blundell, Adam Brand and Melinda Schneider), a collection of songs and a band including Clayton Doley, James Gillard, Ian Lees, Rod McCormack, Mark Punch and Glenn Wilson.
"The first single and title track... from the album examines the internal battle between right and wrong" and will be released to radio next week with an accompanying video clip to air on CMC in coming weeks.
Weblink – www.taliawittmann.com.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson (pictured) tighten their grip on the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their hit, Rattlin' Bones.
As with number one, the next five places on the chart remain unchanged from last week... America's George Strait at two with I Saw God Today, Carter & Carter at three with Slow Dancing At Midnight, Catherine Britt at four with What I Did Last Night, Amber Lawrence with Good Girls at number five and Adam Brand at six with Comin' From / Khe Sanh.
Travis Collins' Rip It Up jumps two places to number seven, The McClymonts bound into the top 10 at eight with Finally Over Blue, Rose Carleo & Drew McAlister are also new in the top 10 at nine with their duet Sometimes You Just Know as is Melinda Schneider at 10 with Heart Of A Woman.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Harmony James' Home (21 to 17), Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair with Good Tones (22 to 18) and 8 Ball Aitken's Cyclone Country (27 to 24).
New entries to the chart this week include Jasmine Rae's first single release Country Singer (in at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 9, 2008
Sunday Rose Kidman Urban was born to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on Monday morning.
Keith was beside Nicole for the birth, according to Nicole's agent Wendy Day, and mother and baby were very well.
In an announcement on Keith's website, the star said: "Early Monday morning, Nic gave birth to our beautiful baby girl.
"We want to thank everyone that has kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We feel very blessed and grateful that we can share this joy with all of you..."
The name Sunday was inspired by an Australian arts patron according to Nicole's father who was quoted in the "Daily Telegraph" as saying: "I have read a bit about Sunday Reed and her husband John.
"She was a key mover and shaker in the arts around the beginning of the century. The name Sunday struck me as being a nice name for a woman, so my wife and I mentioned it."
Sunday Reed lived for nine years during the 1930s in a three-way love triangle relationship involving her arts patron husband and one of Australia's best-known artists, Sidney Nolan. She eventually became Nolan's muse.
Sunday Reed was also niece of one of Australia's richest men and Nolan painted his Ned Kelly series, several of which hang in the Australian National Gallery, in her living room.
The name Rose comes from Keith's grandmother.
Sunday Rose weighed in at 2.93 kg (six pounds, 7 1/2 ounces on the old scale).
Weblink – www.keithurban.net.
Teagen Keith from Woongoolba near Jacobs Well has won the Gold Coast heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition held at Southport Sharks on Saturday night.
The 20 year old took the title from 13 other contestants.
A self confessed tomboy, Teagen says she enjoys quad biking in the dirt on her family sugarcane farm in Woongoolba, and has a real love of the great outdoors. She completed her higher education at Livingstone Christian College in Ormeau which included a strong performing arts element and ultimately led to her passion for music.
In the competition, Teagen performed two original songs, Frame This and Barefeet.
When she was announced as the winner, Teagen said: "Wow, this is so amazing, everyone performed so well tonight, so this is really fantastic."
Weblink – www.beinvolved.telstra.com/countrymusic.
Finalists have been announced in Q Song 2008, the statewide search for Queensland's best and most innovative songwriters.
Finalists in the country category are Katrina Burgoyne with Perfect, Steve Grady with Maybe We've Met Before, Chris Pickering with Broken Wing and Shari Williams (pictured) with Dusty Boots.
Chis is also a finalist for the People's Choice Award and on the pop category with Honey together with Dana Hassall and her song Small Town while 8 Ball Aitken is a finalist in the blues & roots category with his song Yellow Moon.
Almost 1,400 songs entered in the competition this year. Each song was judged anonymously track title only) by a team of dedicated music industry representatives from The Courier-Mail, triple j, ABC, 989 FM, Musicadium, Australian Music Biz, overcranked, Jazz Qld, Ward 69 Records, dew-process, 4zzzfm, QUT and APRA.
Organisers say judges were once again overwhelmed by the enormous talent of Queensland songwriters and the high quality of entries.
Executive officer Denise Foley said: "The quality of entries continues to increase from year to year, and in this, our third year, there were some world class songs entered. It is a huge job to coordinate everyone who participates in both the short listing and final judging process and we really appreciate the efforts of all involved.
"This year’s event is shaping up to be the be biggest and best yet and will once again be held at the stunning Tivoli Theatre, Fortitude Valley on August 12, 2008."
More than $25,000 in cash and prizes is up for grabs across 23 categories covering everything from rock and pop to country, jazz, blues and roots, hip-hop, electronic/dance, alternative, ballads, metal, punk, indigenous and world music.
Q Song 2008 is supported by Q Music, The Courier-Mail, triple j, 612 ABC Brisbane and ABC Radio Queensland.
Weblink – www.qsong.com.au.
A concert by the Slim Dusty family was the highlight of last week’s Hats Off to Country Festival in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital.
The concert was held at West Tamworth League Club on Saturday night with an almost capacity crowd of 800 or so in attendance.
Tourism Tamworth Marketing Manager David Woodward said the Hats Off Festival was fantastic. "We’re all over the moon by the response we’ve had," he said.
Dozens of events, including concerts and album launches were held during the four days of the mid year festival.
Among the highlights were concerts by Chasing Bailey, The Flood, Jonah's Road, The Noll Brothers and The Wolverines.
"Hats Off started with a concert called Hats Off to Slim," David said. "It has come somewhat full circle (with the family concert). They were really excited to be back in Tamworth (for the mid year festival)."
The Festival was still relatively new and had potential to grow, he said. Organisers would be looking at ways to see the event grow next year. "Speaking to different promoters," David said, "the response has been extremely positive."
Fans from as far away as Victoria attended including quite a few from the NSW central coast who bussed into the city for the weekend.
The Bobkatz have released their latest single – The Long Haul – to radio and duo leader Garry Koehler says they are already having excellent response from stations around the country.
A film clip for the song is only a few weeks away, he said.
"The album is still a couple of months away and we've added two recently written tracks, one, a collaboration with The Davidson Bros. It's a great, fast, bluegrass track, something we've always wanted to do, so anyone into bluegrass should love it."
Among The BobKatz major appearances coming up is the Toyota National Country Music Muster in August where the band will be featuring.
"We are playing at the Whale Festival in Hervey Bay on August 9th and the Seafood festival in Hervey Bay on August 17th. We're also booked at the Royal Hotel at Gympie on July 12, and August 23.
"My daughter Sarah is doing all these gigs with us. Her debut album will be released a little later in the year. The final mixes of finished tracks are sounding fantastic, and we're sure it will create some waves in the country music industry."
Weblink – www.thebobkatz.com.
Melinda Schneider is up to number five with Be Yourself while last week's number one, Good Girls by Amber Lawrence is at seven and Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh is at nine.
Bullet performers this week include The Sunny Cowgirls with Acting Stupid (debuting at 13), Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel's Pay Day (26 to 23), Mark O'Shea's Look At You Now (30 to 26), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (43 to 34), Kristy Cox with Fallen (47 to 41) and Bec Willis with Toohey Road (new at 45).
The playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2008
Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer will feature in a Golden Guitar winner's concert at Lismore in August.
The concert will also feature special guest and Golden Guitar finalist Lou Bradley.
Troy, Lee and Sara are multi Golden Guitar winners, Troy the reigning Male Artist of the Year, Lee a three times winner again this year bringing his total to second only to the late, great Slim Dusty, and Sara has 11 of the prestigious trophies to her credit.
Lou is a rising star who covers a big terrain in songwriting and genres. A 2005 grant recipient of John Butler's Seed, graduate of the Australian College of Country Music in 2006 and 2007 ARIA nominee, Lou was a finalist for the Song of the Year Golden Guitar in January.
The concert will be staged at Lismore Workers Club on Thursday night August 7.
Pictured (from left): Troy, Lee, Sara and Lou.
Australia's John Stephan has wrapped up his three month writing and recording trip to Nashville with a standing ovation after his performance on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
John was introduced on stage by the legendary Vince Gill who told the audience he had been introduced to the Australian by a friend at his recent golf tournament (The Vinnie) and had asked John to perform at his post tournament concert.
"I was really taken with him. He possesses a brilliant voice and is a very talented kid, and I think we're gonna hear a lot more from him," Vince said.
"The audiences response to my music here in the USA has been amazing!" said John. "My love is country music, and it's wonderful to know that I have been embraced by so many highly respected people in the industry. It’s been a great start to my new life here in Nashville, and to wind up in such a relatively short time in the middle of the legendary circle on the Grand Ole Opry stage is something that most people only dream of."
John has been working with internationally renowned record producer Dann Huff who produces regularly with country music superstars Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride and Faith Hill, among others.
An accomplished writer, John has been writing with some of the world’s most celebrated writers like Wayland Holyfield who has had more than 40 number one hits including Could I Have This Dance.
John returned to Australia immediately following the Opry performance to prepare for his national Australian tour. He will return to Nashville permanently in the the American Autumn.
Caitlin takes her music to Brewarrina
A Telstra Road to Tamworth 2008 finalist, Caitlin will conduct a 40 minute concert before the Brewarrina community and will be joined by Manly-Warringah 1996 NRL Premiership winning players Mal Cochrane and Darrell Williams who will conduct a special rugby league coaching clinic.
Cochrane and Williams will also present locals with a supply of rugby league equipment.
Brewarrina has struggled in recent years with the drought and other social challenges and the special visit is designed to lift the spirits of the community.
"This visit is very timely and exactly what the town needs," said Brewarrina Community Service Manager Trish Frail. "The community loves their music and rugby league and the Telstra Your Community project is a perfect way to make a great contribution to the youth of Brewarrina.
"Everyone is very excited about the visit and I’m sure they’ll take away fond memories of their visit."
Caitlin said she was looking forward to experiencing the Brewarrina lifestyle and culture. "It will be totally different to what I have previously experienced anywhere else around Australia," she said. "We tend to take many things for granted in the cities and bigger country towns and hopefully our visit will make a real difference."
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson hang on to the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their hit, Rattlin' Bones.
George Strait is steady at two with I Saw God Today while Carter & Carter edge up one more place to three with Slow Dancing At Midnight and Catherine Britt jumps two places to number four with What I Did Last Night.
Amber Lawrence is also up two to five with Good Girls while Adam Brand jumps to sixth place with Comin' From / Khe Sanh and America's Brad Paisley is down to seven with I'm Still A Guy.
Jetty Road's City Lights is at eight, Travis Collins' Rip It Up enters the top 10 at nine and Carrie Underwood's All American Girl drops to number 10.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Chasing Bailey's Little By Little (20 to 17), Lee Forster & Travis Sinclair with Good Tones (25 to 22), Donna Boyd's Never Gonna Be That Girl Again (28 to 24) and 8 Ball Aitken's Cyclone Country (new at 27).
Other new entries to the chart this week are Karen Lynne with Blue Mountain Rain (at 29) and Amos Morris (pictured) with My Imagination (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2008
To launch the release of her new album Be Yourself (on her own label, Be Music, distributed through Destra), Melinda will perform a show with her full band at the City Tattersalls Club in Sydney tonight (Thursday, July 3).
Melinda will also be making her only appearance at the Hats Off Festival in Tamworth at Target in the city's main street at 11am this Saturday (July 5), to celebrate the launch of Be Yourself in store.
"I really wanted to be in Tamworth on the actual release day," Melinda said, "so Hats Off was perfect timing. I’m looking forward to singing a few of the new songs live in store."
The multi award-winning and five-time Golden Guitar recipient has just released the album's title track as the first single from her fifth studio album. And the accompanying video ("an emotionally charged clip which mirrors Melinda’s belief of self awareness and personal truth and features a special guest appearance by Tammy McIntosh from television's 'All Saints') is playing on CMC.
Be Yourself comes fresh on the heels of Melinda's 2007 nomination for Song of the Year with Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville alongside Lucinda Williams and Patti Griffin. Earlier this year, Melinda also recorded a duet of her song Courageous with Olivia Newton-John, featured on A Celebration In Song with Olivia Newton-John and Friends.
Her own version of Courageous and a duet with Paul Kelly, Still Here, also appear on Be Yourself, the album.
Weblink – www.melindaschneider.com.
Click here for Hats Off update (including program download).
Rachel Richards, winner of this year's Australian Bush Balladeers Association (ABBA) Star Quest, has released her prize single, Beautiful Dreams.
Produced by Lindsay Butler at LBS, the single has been released to radio via NfS (the Not for Sale radio singles service) and is described as "a gentle story of living with someone you love who has a dementia condition".
The song was co-written by Rachel with award-winning writer Keith Jamieson.
"This is a track that showcases Rachel's heartfelt vocals perfectly and is sure to strike a chord with listeners," said a spokesman for ABBA.
The Country Capital Bronze Bust committee will be a step closer to having a sixth pioneer of Australian country music immortalised in bronze following a fundraising event during the 2008 Hats Off to Country festival which starts in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, today.
Greg Bain, Lynette Guest, Dianne Lindsay, Daly Stephenson and Rodney Walker will be on stage at Southgate Inn on Saturday (July 5) at 2pm in a show organised by the Australian Bush Balladeers Association with all proceeds to towards the cost of creating a bronze bust of Shirley for placement in Tamworth's Bicentennial Park alongside Stan Coster, Tex Morton, Gordon Parsons, Barry Thornton and Buddy Williams.
Fundraising committee chairman Lorraine Pfitzner said Shirley was known and loved by many as "Australia’s yodelling sweetheart" ... "This will be quite a significant bust as it is our first female pioneer to be honoured in this way," Lorraine said.
Lorraine said Shirley, who died in 1999, was an inadvertent trailblazer. In 1941, aged 16, she became the first female solo act to record country music in Australia and the first Queenslander to make commercial recordings. She was also the first woman to be inducted to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown in 1980.
Fundraising for Shirley's bust started in January this year. It is hoped it will be ready for unveiling during Tamworth Country Music Festival in January 2010.
Anyone wishing to donate to the project, apart from attending fundraisers, can send a cheque or money order to Country Capital Bronze Busts, PO Box 1207, Tamworth 2340.
Jessica wins first Telstra Road to Tamworth 2009 heat
Seventeen-year-old Jessica will compete in the finals to be held at the Tamworth Country Music Festival presented by Telstra in January and is in the running to win a full album deal with ABC Music, along with a return trip to Nashville, following in the footsteps of previous winners Jessica Mauboy, Aleyce Simmonds, Kirsty Lee Akers, Morgan Evans and Jasmine Rae.
Jessica Jade, or "JJ" as her friends call her, is currently completing Year 11 at St Francis Xavier College in Beaconsfield but still finds time to fulfil her passion which is music.
She "performed two numbers on the night," said a spokesman for the competition, including "an original ballad, His Melody, which showcased her songwriting ability.
"Looking visibly surprised when she was announced as the winner, Jessica said she was pessimistic about her chances after seeing the high quality of her rival contestants."
"I was really anxious watching all the other contestants," she said, "I think everyone who performed here tonight has got a big future ahead of them. Thank you so much to the judges – this is unbelievable."
Hellfire and brimstone sermons are usually associated with gospel music, but not on Sunday July 13 at the Italian Club in Fremantle, WA, when music fans will get the opportunity to hear some of Perth’s finest singers come together to offer "simply classic gospel songs laced with sweet harmonies".
Songs such as Amazing Grace, Just A Closer Walk With Thee and Peace In The Valley "will be re-born with the soaring vocals of accomplished female vocalists Connie Kis Andersen (pictured), Karen Hewitt, Vicki Lee and Karen Rudge," according to a spokesman for event organisers.
"Gracing the stage, too, is male vocalist Denny Collier from the very popular, iconic show band, Frisco, who will be backing the singers. Brendon T Moylan, well known to Perth country music fans as the presenter from Curtin Radio’s 'Born in Boots' will be there as MC."
Connie Kis Andersen was awarded the 2008 Best Independent Country Music Album WA for her current album and in 2006 was named Best Country Female Vocalist WA. Having had chart success on the Australian Top 30 and interest in her music is the US, Connie Kis tours the East Coast and the USA regularly. When in Perth, she fronts the duo, Kis’n Tel.
Karen Hewitt was crowned WA's Queen of Country Music twice and awarded the title West Australia’s Ambassador of Country Music in Tamworth resulting in her representing her home state at the Sydney Opera House for two years running – an honour that few can equal. In Perth, Karen fronts her band, Bandana.
Vicki Lee was recently awarded Best Country Female Vocalist and Best Gospel Vocalist at the 2008 WA Country Music Awards at Boyup Brook. She is also recognised as the front singer for the band Southbound.
Karen Rudge is described as an accomplished musician in her own right, having had early formal training in the UK playing saxophone and clarinet. For more than 10 years, she fronted the bands Sistermatic and Missbehavin, "wowing Perth audiences with their fabulous shows and memorable harmony arrangements that were likened to the Andrew Sisters".
The special performance will kick off at 10.30am on the 13th. Further information can be obtained from The Italian Club on 08 9335 9033.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 2, 2008
Sixteen-year-old guitar Sensation "Smokin'" Joe Robinson has won the Seven/Prime Network's "Australia's Got Talent" talent search.
The quest came to a conclusion last night with the self-taught Joe taking out the first prize of $250,000 cash from a tight field of six grand finalists.
Judge's Dannii Minogue and Red Symons overruled Tom Burlinson back in the second semi final of the quest and put Deb "Spoons" Perry through to the grand final. The Australian public made their feelings known back then and voted Joe through as their grand finalist choice.
The Australian public spoke loud and clear again last night voting him their favourite act in the competition and the winner.
Joe lives in Temagog – a town of less than 200 people just outside of Kempsey in NSW – with his Mum, Dad, younger brothers Toby, Simon and sister Chloe.
He first played the piano at six and hated it. Moving on to guitar at 10, he immediately fell in love with the instrument. In Year 10, Joe was waking up at 4am everyday to practice guitar until he had to catch the school bus at 7:30am. He'd sleep on the bus for an hour, practice guitar again at recess and lunchtimes and then again for three to four hours after school.
Joe knew something had to give if he was truly going to follow his passion, so over 12 months ago he quit school to concentrate on his guitar playing full time. For the last six years he has taught himself every single note from any avenue he could get his hands on – the internet, loaned instructional videos – and believes he has more of a natural passion for music rather than a natural ear.
"My friends are passionate about different things in their lives, too," Joe said "footy, swimming – but I was always kind of the odd one out as I just loved guitar so so much. I didn't go out with my mates on weekends as I was busy playing gigs or travelling to watch gigs; 100 per cent committed to learning more.
"Guys like Tommy and Phil Emmanuel have taken me under their wings a bit. They are my absolute heroes. I feel very fortunate to have even shared a stage with them," Joe said.
Joe featured with Phil and was considered a major breakout artist during this year's country music festival in Tamworth in January.
"To win this competition is truly incredible," he said. "It justifies and validates the path I have chosen. 'Australia's Got Talent' is pretty much the only variety show on the telly at the moment and it has enabled me to be able to get the music of the Emmanuels to a new audience – a new generation – and I feel really strongly about that. They are amongst the greatest players in the world, but they're not rich guys. They've devoted their lives to making and playing music more accessible to people like me."
Music runs in the Robinson family with Joe's mum Kathy a drummer in bands while pregnant with him and his Dad plays the banjo.
Joe's Mum Kathy said: "Everything up until now is a result of Joe's hard work. We've never really bought him anything. He's had to work hard and pay for everything to help him along the way. He's a great example of if you follow your dreams and do something you are absolutely passionate about everything else falls in to place. We just couldn't be prouder of him."
Money from gigs and busking over the last 12 months has paid for a ticket for Joe to travel to Nashville to record an album of originals which Joe's hard work is also financing. He has also bought his Mum a ticket to join him. He plans to invest his unexpected $250,000 "Australia's Got Talent" prizemoney in real estate and buy his Mum "a brand new schmick vacuum cleaner" after hers broke a few months ago.
Photo: Joe accepts his quarter of a million dollar prize cheque from judges Tom Burlinson and Red Symons.
Country Music Capital's mid-year festival – Hats Off To Country – kicks off officially tomorrow although a number of "curtain raiser" events are scheduled for today.
More than 80 artists providing 150 hours of non-stop music at 60 shows is the essence of the four-day festival which will run through until and including this Sunday, July 6.
The highlight concert will be the Slim Dusty Family Reunion Tour show at West Tamworth League Club on Saturday night featuring family matriarch Joy McKean, daughter Anne Kirkpatrick, son David Kirkpatrick and grandchildren Kate and James Arneman and Daniel and Hannah Kirkpatrick on stage together for the first time in Tamworth.
Other acts announced on the festival roster include Chasing Bailey, Don Costa, the Rod Dowsett Band, The Flood, Jonah’s Road, Victoria McGee, The Noll Brothers, Luke O’Shea & Medicine Wheel, the Wolverines and the Young Balladeers.
Established artists and emerging talent will be among those performing with some from the local area and others from Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and places in between. Most of the shows are free.
The Australian Bush Balladeers Association is staging a show, Bill Davy’s Outback Show is on the schedule and Jim Haynes’ Big Bush Brekky shows will be back.
Local talent at the festival includes Darren Clarke, three generations of the Dallas family, Donella, Buddy Knox and Fiona Peters and Those Gals.
Homegrown rock-pop outfit Chasing Bailey (formerly The Baileys) will release their first album in August and will also appear during Hats Off.
Since the Country Music Capital winter festival started in 2000 it has steadily grown to become a four-day event.
"The musical mid-year-celebration is a perfect complement to the annual January 10-day country music festival," said Tourism Tamworth General Manager Rebel Thomson. "The cooler weather tends to bring out some fans not so keen to experience the summer heat of the January festival and the shorter stretch of four days makes it much easier for fans who find it hard to fit the 10-day event into their schedule."
Students from the 2008 Tamworth Camerata – junior school of country music for performers aged 17 or younger will also be part of the celebrations. The Camerata Graduation Concert is usually part of Hats Off to Country but this year will be staged the week after making the 2008 Festival unofficially a two week program. Students will, however, be at a festival meet and greet event at The Family Hotel on July 5.
Among curtain-raiser events tonight will be the "acoustic lounge" featuring country/blues/roots artist Terry Lee Barker at the Tudor Hotel.
For known program updates and more editorial features on the Hats Off To Country Festival, click here.
Weblink – www.visittamworth.com.
NSW singer/songwriter Craig Stewart is featured in this month’s issue of "Caravan & Motorhome" magazine (issue 115).
The article, written by freelance writer Kerry Van Der Jagt, goes into extensive detail about Craig’s musical career and gives some insights into his thoughts and beliefs on songwriting, performing and country music in general.
A two time Toyota Star Maker grand finalist, Craig has been overwhelmed with the response to his original compositions since releasing The Spirit Of Australia and his follow up album Bellbirds & Blackboys.
He has been a grand finalist on numerous occasions at the Tamworth Songwriters' Association Awards, including for Best New Songwriter in 2008, as well as being a grand finalist in the Victorian CM Awards (for Bush Ballad of the Year), the NT CM Awards (Comedy Song of the Year), Golden Saddle and Mildura Southern Stars "Rising Star" among others.
Craig’s The Spirit Of Australia (his debut single) was also released on ABC Music’s Heartland compilation album alongside numerous high profile artists including Beccy Cole, Paul Kelly, Lee Kernaghan and John Williamson.
In conjunction with the article in "Caravan & Motorhome", Craig has announced a special offer on his music... a signed copy of both of his albums, "delivered to your door for $40 all inclusive!".
Weblink – www.craigstewart.com.au.
Amber Lawrence (pictured) has taken over the number one spot on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week with the clip of her latest hit Good Girls.
Jetty Road jump another two places to number two with City Lights while Adam Brand number one from the last two weeks – Comin' From/Khe Sanh – is down to number four.
Melinda Schneider's Be Yourself bounds into the top 10 at number seven while The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is at eight and Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night is at 10.
Bullet performers this week include Jasmine Rae's Country Singer (debuting at 19), Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel's Pay Day (29 to 26), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (new at 43) and Kristy Cox with Fallen (new at 47).
The CMC Country Pick for this week is The Sunny Cowgirls' Acting Stupid, the clip of the first single from their upcoming third album release.
The full playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
© Copyright 2008, ICMB Publishing