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Cedar Creek play for the Consul General

Australian country music group Cedar Creek from Kempsey (NSW) were chosen to perform for the American Consul General in Sydney recently to celebrate American Independence Day.

The Consul General, Judith Fergin, saw the band perform at Bago Winery last year and apparently became quite a fan.

She purchased their CDs on the day and invited the band to Sydney in July to perform to more than 400 special guests including various state politicians.

A great night was had by all according to the band who played overtime to allow all consulate staff to "strut their stuff" on the dance floor.

The Consul General was asked a number of times during the night which part of America the band came from, many thinking the group was especially flown in for the night.

In a recent email, the Consul General said she wished to catch up with the band again during one of their performances on the NSW Mid North Coast.

Pictured (from left): Cedar Creek drummer Mick Miles, Clint Tyne on lead guitar, John Blight on rhythm guitar, Mike Tyne on steel guitar, Consul General Judith Fergin, Dave Tyne and Peter Figgett on keyboards.

Dave and Mike Tyne have close ties to award winning band Grand Junction, Mike as a founding member back in the '70s, and Dave who recently reformed Grand Junction for a special performance at the 2009 Star Maker anniversary concert.

Grand Junction have also released a new album titled The Return.


Keith at CMC number one

Keith Urban (pictured) takes over the number one spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of his latest single Kiss A Girl.

Adam Brand is up one to be in the number two spot with Blue Sky Cathedral while Steve Forde's number one from last week – Guns & Guitars – is down to three and Jetty Road's Million Miles is up three places to number five.

John Williamson's Better Than A Picture is at up two to seven, Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country is up one to nine and Jayne Denham's Shake This Town rounds out the top 10 at 10.

Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels is up two more places to 11, Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It is also up two yo 6 and Shea Fisher's Suitcase is at 18.

Bullet performers for the week include Left Of Center with Bluebird Wine (new at 42), Bec Lavelle with Many Things (new at 44), The Yeehaa Boys' Red Wagon (new at 46) and Tracy Killeen's' Back There (new at 47).

This week's CMC Country Pick is the clip of Amber Lawrence's new single Don't Do Lonely Well.

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MONDAY, JULY 27, 2009

WA Awards entries open

Entries for the West Australian Country Music Awards have opened with organisers describing the event as going from strength to strength.

Held in conjunction with the Boyup Brook Country Music Festival, in 2010, the Awards will be the 25th to be staged.

Entries come in from all over the state and are open to professional and amateur artists. Entrants are required to send in a package with a CD, photograph and a biography.

"By the time finalists reach the Festival, they have already been through a lengthy judging process," organisers say. "Songwriters must include the lyrics to their chosen songs and the winning song is performed at the Festival.

"Passionate songwriters aspiring to tell their story in song are encouraged to enter the songwriter category."

Other categories are Teenage Artist, Sub Teen Artist, Junior Songwriter, Group/Duo, Male Artist, Female Artist, Independent Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Best New Country Talent and Senior Songwriter.

The 2010 West Australian Country Music Awards will be a gala event staged during the Boyup Brook Country Music Festival on Friday February 19 where nominees from several categories will compete and perform in front of an audience including a high profile industry judging panel and other leading industry talent scouts.

One artist who has come through the Awards is Ronni Rae Rivers who, organisers say, went on from winning at the WA Country Music Awards to being in demand across the continent as one of Australia's top country music performers. In addition to this, Austrade recently featured Ronni Rae as one of our "most export ready acts".

"The Sunny Cowgirls also went from strength to strength after participating in the College of Country Music, but had their initial start in Boyup Brook and won a songwriting award as juniors," Awards organisers said.

Many other Award participants have gone on to be a part of the Tamworth Camerata, College, Star Maker, "and even Australian Idol and have gained all of this with the support from the Country Music Club of Boyup Brook. Vicki Lee and Billy Higginson have gone on to teach youth in country music.

"The biggest reward for finalists and winners is knowing that people love their music and it reaches all walks of life.

Entries close on September 30.

Further information, including entry form, can be obtained by telephoning 08 9765 1657 or from the website (below).

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Photo: previous award winner Chelsea Basham.


Kids continue to "saddle up"

The Saddles junior country music competition continues with heats staged recently ay Casino and Tamworth.

Letitica Armstrong from Ettrick (NSW) beat strong competition to win the heat in Casino while

Tamworth Camerata graduate Cameron Cusack from Tura Beach (NSW) won the Country Music Capital heat.

Special guest judges for The Saddles have included Victoria Baillie and Luke O'Shea(both finalists for the Golden Saddle Award and last year's Golden Saddle People's Choice winner, Matt Frost.

Both Cameron and Letitica will now compete in The Saddles grand final on Saturday September 12 at the Rooty Hill RSL Total Country Music Weekend.

The winning prize includes $1,000 cash, a professionally produced demo from renowned musician Brad Bergen at Little Red Wagon Studios and a performance spot at the Golden Saddle Awards ceremony later the same evening.

Photo: Tamworth winner Cameron Cusack (second from right) with judges (from let) Victoria Baillie, Matt Frost and Luke O'Shea.

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Chart update – Kenny hangs on to number one

Kenny Chesney is at number one for the second week running on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart with his hit Out Last Night.

America's Rascal Flatts is at two with Here Comes Goodbye, Jetty Road edges up one place to be at number three with their hit Million Miles while Brad Paisley's Then is at four.

Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels jumps three places to be at five, Paul Costa's In This Life is steady at six as is America's Dierks Bentley at seven with Sideways.

Jayne Denham's Shake This Town bounds into the top 10 at eight, Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl is at nine and Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright debuts in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include The Songbirds with You've Got A Friend (15 to 12), Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral (24 to 21) and The Sunny Cowgirls' Grog Monster (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week are Talia Wittmann (pictured) with I Can Say That Now (in at 28), Jasmine Rae's Ain't The Same Girl (at 29) and Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



New Country chart

AIR, the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, has begun publishing new charts of independently released Australian music, including one for country music.

The current chart has Troy Cassar-Daley's I Love This Place at number one, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones at two, Adam Brand's Hell Of A Ride at three and Lee Kernaghan's The Big Ones – Greatest Hit, Vol 1 at four.

Wagons' The Rise And Fall Of Goodtown is at five, Amber Lawrence is at six with The Mile and Adam Brand's Greatest Hits is at seven.

The The Sunny Cowgirls' Dust Will Settle is at eight, Tania Kernaghan's Livin' The Dream is at nine and Steve Forde rounds out the top 10.


Willo to record in The Capital

After almost 40 years in the business, country superstar John Williamson will record in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, for the first time.

John is making tracks to Tamworth to record a new song with his long-time recording engineer Steve Newton who recently established his Enrec studio in the city. John has recorded his last five albums with Steve.

"It’s not only a matter of loyalty but Tamworth’s Steve Newton is up there with the best engineers," John said. "What’s more, I support Tamworth being the centre of Australian country music. We don’t need Nashville."

John will be in Tamworth for two day's this weekend recording the new song which was inspired by a fishing trip with fellow Golden Guitar winner Sara Storer a fortnight ago in Darwin. Said to be in the same vain as Old Man Emu, his very first song that made his name in 1970, the new track draws on Barramundi fishing as its subject.

"It feels almost a little déjà vu to be honest," John said. "Here I am, 40 years later, penning another crazy song that will stir up fishermen and mates all over the country. I still get a kick out of writing cheeky songs especially when we could all do with a laugh. Country capital here I come!"

While the release date for the song – titled Barramundi In July – is yet to be determined, John will first use it to promote the remainder of his 2009 concert dates.

John will celebrate his 40th year within the industry in 2010.

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Finalists announced in NZ Pro Am

Finalists have been announced in New Zealand's 2009 National Country Music Awards to be announced next month.

For Female Artist of the Year, finalists are Marian Burns, Ann Pascoe (pictured) and Carleen Still.

For Male Artist of the Year... Dennis Marsh (pictured), Graeme McArdle and James Ray.

For Duo/Group of the Year... the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, Annette Hawkins & Kim Copedo and the Topp Twins.

Two additional, non voted, awards will be presented... the Country Music Horizon Award and Country Music Legend Award.

The Awards will be staged on Saturday August 15 at the Founders Theatre, Hamilton.

Award winning artists performing at the event will be Marian Burns, Cameron Clayton, Ashley Cooper, Eddie Low, Melissa Partridge, Hayley Smith and Jodi Vaughan plus 2009 Telstra Road to Tamworth winner Peter McWhirter.

Compere for the evening will be Classic Hits announcer Jason Reeves.

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Harmony releases album

Rising country star Harmony James released her debut album at this month's Darwin City Muster.

Tailwind is the name of the work, which follows the release of of Harmony's self-titled EP which spawned two hit songs, Somebody Stole My Horse and the Golden Guitar nominated Tailwind which is included on, and provides the name for, the new album.

A third song from the EP – Home – has also been included on the album as the EP is no longer available.

Tailwind, the song, also won Harmony the Country section of the International Songwriting Award in 2006.

Having signed a deal with Shock Records for the distribution of the album, Harmony says she is excited about the release.

"It’s wonderful to be working with the team from Shock Records," she said. "They have been really supportive and positive, a great antidote to my notoriously narrow eyed scepticism and cautious approach!"

Fly is the first single from the new album, and has already made numerous charts and playlists across the country.

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Redback is back

All the songs about the classic Australian country hit Redback On The Toilet Seat have been released together for the first time.

The collection – simply titled Slim Newton Redback – has been released by Bellbird Music. The novelty songs were all recorded by Slim Newton for the Hadley label in the 1970s and '80s.

Included among the 18 tracks are all five songs written and recorded by Slim that make up his Redback saga, plus there are two bonus tracks featuring Redback songs recorded on Hadley by Bob Bushby and Ron Shegog.

The original Redback On The Toilet Seat was a major pop hit in 1972 selling more than 100,000 units, earning three gold records and winning the Golden Guitar for Top Selling Track at the first Australasian Country Music Awards in Tamworth in 1973.

Following the success of Redback, Slim went on to record six albums for Hadley, developing the saga with There Are False Teeth In The Toilet Where the Redback Used to Be, Redback’s Defeat, Fate Of Redback and The Death Of Redback appearing over the next few years.

A picturebook of "The Redback On The Toilet Seat" featuring the words of Slim’s song with illustrations by Craig Smith was published last year.

Slim Newton had his greatest success with his novelty songs but also wrote and recorded a lot of serious material on his albums. Several of his songs have also been recorded by others over the years.

Now in his late 70s, Slim has continued to record and perform regularly since he moved from Western Australia to Tamworth at the beginning of the 1970s. He was 39 when he recorded Redback and has now probably performed it more than 4,000 times since.

In January this year, Slim was elevated to Australian country music'sachieved Country Music’s highest honour the Country Music Roll of Renown.

The Slim Newton Redback CD is a new release in a series from Bellbird Music featuring material from the catalogue of Hadley Records, the prominent independent country music label that recorded and released more than 100 titles during a 30 year period.

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New album coming from Craig

Craig Giles will officially launch his "lucky" 13th album at the 2009 Mildura Country Music Festival in September.

Titled This Old House, the album was recorded at Redbak Studios in Leeton.

"Being his 13th, Craig threw superstition to the wind and included 13 great songs on the album," said his wife and manager Roz.

The album includes 10 "evergreen covers" (including the title track) and two original songs, Baby Why Oh Why written by Craig with Queensland songwriter Stan Lenz, and Je T’Aime (I Love You) penned by Craig.

Craig has just recently concluded a hectic seven week non-stop whirlwind tour of Queensland

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Entries open for Telstra Road to Tamworth

Entries have opened for Telstra Road to Tamworth, one of Australia's leading country music talent quests.

And organisers have announced that for the 2010 event (heats to be held between now and Christmas), the quest's official ambassadors will be The McClymonts.

Brooke, Mollie and Sam have been named winners of the Group of the Year Golden Guitar for the last three years running.

Mollie McClymont herself was a grand finalist in Telstra Road to Tamworth 2005 and 2006.

A number of changes have been announced for 2010, including the option for those located more than 400 kilometres from their closest competition heat to enter in the "digital online".

This gives all aspiring musicians right across Australia a chance, according to competition organisers.

Songwriters can now enter the competition without having to sing. Previously, entrants had to perform their songs at heats.

All heat winners (including the digital heat winner) and "the three best songwriters" will be taken to Sydney for what organisers are calling "Boot Camp – a three day music development workshop where we’ll incorporate our music partners (vocal training, songwriting sessions, experience with a full band, styling, media training, interview tips etc) and the top eight performers and two songwriters are chosen to go through to the Final at Tamworth in January 2010."

Another innovation will be the opportunity for local community groups to win musical instruments and equipment for their organisations. Entry for this competition opens online on Saturday August 1.

Heats for Telstra Road to Tamworth 2010 will be held at Townsville, Qld (August 16), Cairns, Qld (August 23), Southport, Qld (September 6), Adelaide (September 12), Darwin (September 20), Boyup Brook, WA (September 27), Perth (October 3), Canberra (October 4), Launceston (October 10), Inverell, NSW (October 24), Newcaste, NSW (November 1), Mildura, Vic (November 28), Queenscliff, Vic (November 15).

Songwriter entries close November 1, digital heat entries close November 15.

"Boot Camp" will be held at Homebush Bay, Sydney, on December 3.

The competition final will be staged in Tamworth on Tuesday January 19.

More information, click here.


New Slim Dusty truckin’ collection

The new collection of Slim Dusty trucking songs will be officially released this Saturday (July 25).

For many, the name "Slim Dusty" automatically conjures up Australian classics like Pub With No Beer, Duncan or Lights On The Hill, Australia’s most celebrated trucking song.

Written by Slim’s wife, Joy McKean, Lights is featured twice on Sittin On 80, the name of the new collection of 80 Slim Dusty trucking songs... the rare, original, 1972 single version and Slim’s duet with Keith Urban, recorded in 1992.

As a special bonus for fans, as we reported last week, Slim’s family has provided, especially for the new four CD collection, a previously unreleased 1997 Slim truck recording titled Give Me Room. The track was written by one of Slim’s favourite trucking songwriters, the late John Dohling.

"How many kilometres have Australia’s truckies clocked up singing along to a Slim Dusty tune while driving the length and breadth of this wide country," asks EMI, Slim's record label.

"Judging by the many gold and platinum plaques awarded to Slim for his five dedicated trucking song albums, the answer is many, many thousands!

"With each song on Sittin On 80 you can feel the tremendous affinity and admiration Slim held for the Aussie truckie," said EMI. "As far as he was concerned, truckies were vital to the growth of this country – 'The nation runs on wheels and it’s the wheels of the trucks that the nation runs on!' Slim said.

Starting with his very first trucking song, Roadliner, recorded in 1968, Slim sang about real truckies and their real life experiences ... the good, the bad and the downright funny!

"Along the way, Slim unwittingly became a trucking historian, documenting a way of life and providing us all with insight into the lives of the mechanised swaggies of the 20th century," EMI said.

"On listening to this new collection it is easy to see just why Australia’s King of Country Music struck such a powerful chord with the Aussie trucking community," said Keith Thompson of Thompson Transport.

"Slim's truckin’ songs are real stories about real Aussie truckies and their rigs."

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Steve tops CMC playlist

Steve Forde (pictured) is at number one on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist with the clip of his single Guns And Guitars.

Keith Urban is up to two with Kiss A Girl, Adam Brand is also up two to three with Blue Sky Cathedral and Jayne Denham's Shake This Town is up to four and

Jetty Road's Million Miles is up to number eight, John Williamson's Better Than A Picture is at nine and Troy Cassar-Daley enters the top 10 with his latest release Sing About This Country.

Bullet performers this week include Felicity Urquhart with Two Wheels (18 to 13), Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (21 to 18), The Sunny Cowgirls' Grog Monster (27 to 22), Kylie Hogan's Dangerous Man (new at 24) and Kimber Sparks' Movin' On (47 to 43).

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MONDAY, JULY 20, 2009

Kev and The Dingoes for ARIA HAll of Fame

Country music related acts Kev Carmody and The Dingoes will be included among inductees to the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame this year.

Kev has a strong reputation for his writings and recordings and has among his accolades, a Golden Guitar, won with Paul Kelly in 1994 for From Little Things Big Things Grow.

The Dingoes are responsible for one of Australia's biggest country hits, Way Out West.

Originally credited to the full band as writers but actually written by band founder Kerryn Tolhurst, the song was a originally a major hit for The Dingoes but was picked up and made a hit again in 1992 by James Blundell and James Reyne following their performance of the number at the ARIA Awards the same year.

Pop acts Little Patti, Mental As Anything and John Paul Young are the additional three slated for induction this year.

"I do feel proud and humbled to accept this induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame on behalf of my Culture, my Community and my Family" Kev Carmody said in a statement.

Broderick Smith from the Dingoes said: "The last time I was inducted, it was into the army, this certainly feels a whole lot better. Seriously, the band feels honoured and privileged to be recognised by our peers by being inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. For all of us, it’s going to be one hell of a reunion!"

Inductions will take place in Melbourne on August 27.


First single from Amber's new album

Fresh from her nomination for Country Work of the Year at this year's APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards, Amber Lawrence has released the first single from her upcoming new album.

The single – Don't Do Lonely Well – comes from the When It All Comes Down, Amber's second album (following her highly successful debut album The Mile which garnered a swag of awards and four top five radio chart hits, including the hit single Good Girls) which will be released at this year's National Country Music Muster at Gympie next month.

Opening with what is described as an"appropriate" line – "hello, it's me again" – the song promises to become another crowd favourite, according to the promotional release.

The self-penned work – "in Amber's unique style, is a fun and upbeat song telling the familiar tale of when a lover goes away, how your phone bill can skyrocket just because you need to hear their voice at the other end of the line... are they having too good a time without you or missing you as much as you miss them?"

Amber's new album was produced by Rod McCormack.

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New SNC compilation

The national ABC country music radio program "Saturday Night Country" has released a new compilation album titled Tracks of Tragedy.

Program host John Nutting plays a "track of tragedy" every week on his top rating program.

The 16-track compilation features a collection of "the best tracks of tragedy" played through the 15 years of the program from Australian and overseas artists, including Owen Blundell, Stan Coster, Pat Drummond, Bob Howe, Glenn Jones, Nev Nicholls, Gordon Parsons, Shirley Thoms, The Wildes and Buddy Williams.

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2MCR fund-raiser

Radio 2MCR in south western Sydney will stage a fund-raiser for the station and the Prostate Cancer Foundation next month.

To be hosted by Darren Carr and Jane Kellaway, the event will feature the country stars from including Victoria Baillie, Torie Darke, Adam Harvey (pictured), Amber Lawrence, Luke O’Shea, Tamara Stewart, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French and the Duncan Toombs Band.

Macarthur Country Music Club award winners Katrinalee Goldstraw, Stephanie Jansen, Christie Lamb, Cheyne Mastop, George Sich and Georgia White will also perform.

The fund-raiser will be held at Campbelltown RSL on Sunday August 16 at 2pm.

Bookings can be made by telephoning the Club on 02 4625 1408.


Hot pickin’ and fiddlin’ in the Mountains

Glenn Skarratt (right) and Simon Watts star at Blackburn’s Family Hotel in Katoomba this Sunday.

It will be the first of the duo's monthly Sunday gigs at the historic Blue Mountains hotel.

"They are their own party, dipping blues into folk and funk into country," said a spokesman for the venue, "drifting and diving from Irish to jazz, bluegrass to Latin, dabbling with rock."

Fiddler Simon Watts said: "We are really excited to be playing on our home patch. It’s a luxury for us. And Sunday afternoon is the perfect time after doing a bush walk – or not doing a bush walk."

"The duo’s repertoire is as wide-ranging as their musical influences," the spokesman said. "Glenn Skarratt is a finger style and flat-picking guitarist who also does the singing inbetween instrumentals."

Simon and Glenn met when they were playing for the band Handpicked. They teamed up, with Glenn as producer and one of the backing musicians, for The Weeping Tree Paddock, a "must-have" instrumental CD which features Simon’s fiddling.

Sunday's show (and every show on the last Sunday of the month) gets underway at 4pm.


Chart update – Americans dominate

American artists Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley (pictured) hold the top three spots on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks charts.

Kenny Chesney is at number one with Out Last Night, Rascal Flatts is at two with Here Comes Goodbye and Brad Paisley is at three with his former number one, Then.

Jetty Road is up two to number four with their hit Million Miles, Keith Urban is at five with Kiss A Girl and Paul Costa's In This Life is at six.

America's Dierks Bentley is at seven with Sideways, Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels is at eight, Harmony James' Fly is at nine and Victoria Baillie holds the 10th spot with Make Me.

Bullet performers for the week include Jayne Denham's Shake This Town (15 to 11), The Songbirds with You've Got A Friend (18 to 15), Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son (19 to 16), Sandra Humphries' Just Walk Away (23 to 19), Tracy Killeen's Back There (24 to 21), Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral (28 to 24), The Noll Brothers' Southern Country (29 to 26) and James Blundell with Queensland Calling (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week are Tania Kernaghan with Dad's Not Gonna Like It (in at 29) and The Sunny Cowgirls' Grog Monster (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Hats Off this weekend

Country Music Capital's mid-year Festival – Hats Off To Country – runs for four days concluding this weekend.

The entertainment kicks off tonight (Thursday) with the Camerata Graduation Concert and tomorrow night (Friday) with the Hats Off to the Hall of Fame concert at Butler's Auditorium and shows at various pubs and clubs around town.

Dozens of concerts, events and activities are scheduled through the weekend with Troy Cassar-Daley starring in the major event at West League Club on Saturday night – click here for full program (pdf download).



Keith's home tour

Keith Urban will bring his "Escape Together World Tour" home to Australia later this year.

The tour, which began in May in America, will reach Australia on Saturday December 12 at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena and will conclude in Brisbane on Saturday December 19 (see On Tour for full details).

Fans and critics alike have marvelled at Keith’s ability to connect with his audiences, according to tour promoters.  "A 3600 square foot stage which melts into the floor seats certainly helps to afford Urban the ability to simply walk from the stage into the crowd," they said.

"As a result, Urban has found himself performing from the floor, the first tier seats, as well as walking through the audience to get to a satellite stage located directly opposite from the main stage."

"Our goal every night is to play with the crowd, not at them," Keith said. "We designed the stage to make that possible."

"No doubt Keith will come ready to play with his Australian fans this December when he'll be performing hits from his extensive repertoire including tracks from his fifth studio release Defying Gravity," the promoters said.

The album, which debuted at number one on the American "Billboard" chart is certified Gold in Australia after just nine weeks in the charts, maintaining a consistent top 30 position.

Keith's recent tours of Australia have seen him playing sold-out venues across the country.

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Hats Off to the Hall of Fame

The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth will stage a special concert to be held during next weekend's Hats Off festival in Country Music Capital.

Being staged as a fundraiser for the Hall of Fame, the concert will star Rob Breese, Leanne Coddington, Jodie Crosby, The Crosby Sisters, Dianne Lindsay, Lawrie Minson, Deniese Morrison, Slim Newton, Steve Newton and Peter Pratt.

Peter will co-compere the concert with Shaza Leigh.

The concert will be staged at Butler’s Auditorium at 7pm on Friday, July 17.

Tickets are $15, available from Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Peel and Murray Streets, Tamworth, by telephone on 02 6767 5300 or online via

The Hall of Fame is also running a “meet and greet” fundraiser barbecue at Tamworth’s Harvey Norman store on the Saturday following the concert. Guests expected for this event so far include Peter Leslie, Felicity Urquhart, Katrina Burgoyne, Shaza Leigh, Leanne Coddington, Peter Pratt, Rhonda Hatch, Janet Gallagher, Lindsay Waddington, Deniese Morrison, Lorraine Pfitzner, Rodney Hazell and Dianne Lindsay.

It "meet and greet" will run from 9.30am to 1pm.

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Clel waves the Aussie flag in Europe

Clelia Adams has been announced as the only Australian artist up for a gong in the current European Country Music Association (ECMA) annual Awards.

Clel is a finalist in three categories... in Song of the Year with the title track to her latest album Wildflowers, Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year.

Clelia said she was "over the moon" to receive the good news from Europe where songs from Wildflowers, and its predecessor Heartbeat Highway, have consistently featured in the ECMA charts in recent years.

"It’s accolades such as this that make me realise why I do this whole crazy thing," Clelia said. "Radio programmers right around Europe/NZ/Australia have been so supportive of my songs, I can’t thank them enough.

"For this little Aussie who’s out there doing it, you have my wholehearted and most sincere gratitude."

Award winners are determined by an ECMA member vote and reporting broadcasters.

Although the winners are announced in 2009, nominations are determined based on airplay throughout 2008.

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"In Tune" premieres on NITV

"In Tune" – described as "a gritty and exciting country music program that encapsulates the highlights, vibrancy and excitement from this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival" premieres on NITV this coming Wednesday (July 15) at 9.30pm.

NITV (National Indigenous Television) is a 24-hour television service established by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders "to improve the lives of our peoples". The channel is available on pay TV services Austar and Foxtel.

"In Tune" will go to air every Wednesday with host Troy Cassar-Daley. The program is designed to be a showcase of unique Australian music featuring, in addition to Troy, acts such as Feral Swing Katz, Adam Harvey, Adam James, Buddy Knox (pictured), The McClymonts, Liyarn Ngarn and The Young Guns.

The program series will be launched in Brisbane tonight (Thursday July 9) with Troy as special guest.

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CMAA announces Australian Academy of Country Music

The Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) has announced the establishment of the Australian Academy of Country Music with the joining of the the Australian College of Country Music and the Tamworth Camerata.

The educational courses will join forces in June 2010 and deliver their senior and junior development programs simultaneously.

"This will cement Tamworth as not only the home of country music but also the home of professional industry development," said a spokesman for the organisation.

"The move comes after detailed plans and discussions between both groups during the past four months. The result will see the Australian College of Country Music, which for the past 13 years has taken place in the lead up to the annual (January) Country Music Festival, move to the mid-year time slot. Camerata has traditionally taken place in the June/July school holidays," the spokesman said.

"The outcome will see the programs operate simultaneously with the long-term view of creating an education hub for the Australian country music industry. It is anticipated that this timeframe will expand to include industry led workshops, writers and musician camps."

Joan Douglas, Director of Camerata, said: "The joining together of the two schools was a simple form of natural progression. Both Camerata and College utilise many of the same industry specialists for master-classes and tuition so by having them operate together we will be able forge ahead and create a new and exciting focus on developing professional Australian country music for all age groups."

John Williamson, President of the CMAA, said: "This amalgamation will strengthen our industry. The continued progress that we have made over the past 30 years will surely be pushed further by our young talent coming through the Australian Academy of Country Music. This can only be good for our unique Australian identity."

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Chart update – Brad still at number one

America's Brad Paisley hangs on to the number one spot on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart with his hit Then.

Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl is up one to two, Victoria Baillie's Make Me is up yet another two to three and Troy Cassar-Daley's Big Big Love is down to four.

Rascal Flatts' Here Comes Goodbye is at five, Kenny Chesney's Out Last Night is at six and Harmony James' Fly is up two to seven.

Paul Costa (pictured) us up two to eight with In This Life, Carrie Underwood & Randy Travis are down to nine with I Told You So and Jetty Road's Million Miles debuts in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels (17 to 14), Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son (25 to 21), Sandra Humphries' Just Walk Away 30 to 25) and Tracy Killeen's Back There (29 to 26).

The full chart can be viewed at



Entrants sought for Muster Talent Search

Entry is now open for the 2009 Maton Muster Talent Search to be staged as part of the giant National Country Music Muster at Gympie in August.

Heats in the Talent Search commence Thursday August 27 with heat winners to compete in the semi-final on Sunday August 30.

Three semi-finalists will then appear on the Muster Main Stage and, following their performances, the pool of prizes – valued at more than $25,000 – will be awarded, to one winner or split between two or the three.

The prize pool includes a Maton guitar, a scholarship to the Australian College of Country Music, a number of performance spots, including at a Canadian festival with airfares and accommodation paid plus $3,000 spending money.

Four categories make up the talent search – Traditional Country, Modern Country, Country Rock and Gospel – with each contestant permitted to enter a maximum of two.

There is also a junior section with two categories 12 to 15 years and under 12s.

Senior category winners receive $300 cash, second placegetters $200, third placegetters $100.

Semi-finalists receive a personalised webpage linked to the official Muster website.

Junior category winners receive $200, second placegetters $100, third $50.

Further information forms can be obtained via the Muster website

Photo: Tori Darke, last year's Muster Talent Search winner with some of her winnings.


Sharon's day of support

Rising country star Sharon Lane faces a major personal setback with recent news she has to return for surgery to remove two new tumours.

The talented Dubbo singer/songwriter underwent surgery almost three years ago for a brain tumour, coming out of the crisis with a new lease on life and celebratory album titled Second Chance.

Sharon’s story was well documented, particularly through the reality television program "RPA".

Since then, Sharon has released a succession of strong radio singles, received glowing reviews for her album, won a Deadly Award, a Victorian & National Country Music Award and other notable accolades.

She returns to RPA Hospital later this month for her surgery on 23 July.

To support Sharon and her family, a Day of Support has been organised and will be held this Sunday (July 12) at the Dubbo RSL Club Resort. It will commence at 12 noon with performances by The Buddy Knox Blues Band and various artists. Entry fee is adults $5, families $15.

Auctions and raffles will also be conducted. Anyone wanting to donate goods or services for the these can contact Tony Lane on 0429 949 682 or Anne Mills on 0427 892 349.

Cash donations can be made by direct deposit to: Sharon Lane Fundraiser, St George Bank Dubbo, BSB 112 879, Account 446065247.

"Sharon is a mum, a wife, a mentor and motivator, supporting charity events, fundraisers, work shops for young artists and talking to schools," said a spokesmen for the Day Of Support. "Sharon now needs our support with the family again facing considerable medical costs at this fragile time."


Six Aussies dominate CMC top 10

Six Australian acts are featured in this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist, led by Steve Forde at number two with the clip of his single Guns And Guitars.

America's Dierks Bentley (pictured) is at number one with Sideways, Taylor Swift is at three with You Belong With Me and Keith Urban is at four with Kiss A Girl.

Dolly Parton is at five with Backwoods Barbie, Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral is up two to six and Jayne Denham's Shake This Town is steady at seven.

Shea Fisher's former number one Suitcase is down to eight, Kenny Chesney's Out Last Night is at nine and Jetty Road's Million Miles debuts in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers this week include John Williamson with Better Than A Picture (14 to 11), Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country (17 to 13), Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (26 to 23) and Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels (new at 26).

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Country features in ABC digital radio switch-on

A dedicated country music station is among the three new ABC digital radio stations switched on in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney this week.

ABC Country joins ABC Dig Music and ABC Jazz in the new ABC stable of digital broadcast programs.

The country station is described as "real country – music reflecting the outstanding reputation the ABC has for supporting country music and its culture".

Dig Music features "a great range of rock, pop, blues, soul, roots and more" while ABC Jazz plays "releases from the best jazz musicians in Australia and from around the world, and will include ABC Classic FM’s Jazztrack and Jazz Up Late programs".

The three digital stations replace the internet radio stations Dig, Dig Country and Dig Jazz and will now include on-air music news, reviews, interviews and features.

"Each station is streamed on-line and complemented by a feature-rich website,"said an ABC spokesman. "Song and artist details, album covers and extra information on each track is included in the media player.

"The websites also give listeners access to unique musical content, plus material gathered from across the ABC and around the web. On-line, listeners can also set up pages to upload their own material and join musical communities to interact with artists and other music fans."

"We’re delighted to have three additional stations broadcasting on digital radio from its switch-on," said Kate Dundas, Director of ABC Radio. "Each station will deliver the best possible listening experience with a large amount of distinctive and high quality Australian music. The new websites provide us with a terrific opportunity to build listening communities both on-air and online."

The new stations can be accessed by digital radio receivers in the cities they are broadcast. No indication was given as to how long it will be before the services go national.

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Finalists announced for 2009 Golden Saddle Award

Victoria Baillie, The Harmonators, Luke O'Shea, Ronni Rae Rivers and Lianna Rose have been announced as finalists for the 2009 Golden Saddle Award.

Presented in association with Rooty Hill RSL and Southern Cross Television, the competition had an unprecedented number of applications this year from independent artists in the ACT, NSW, Queensland and Victoria, according to a spokesman for organisers.

The five finalists will all perform at the Golden Saddle Award presentation at the Rooty Hill RSL Total Country Music Weekend on Saturday September 12 when the winner of the grand prize of $5,000 will be announced.

In addition to the major prize, all five finalists are eligible for the Golden Saddle People’s Choice Award which is determined by an on-line public vote (see weblink below) and voting at the presentation show.

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New Slim Dusty single on air

A previously undiscovered recording by the late Slim Dusty was released to radio this week.

The recording Give Me Room – described as a musical find that has even further strengthened the significance of an upcoming 80 song Slim Dusty trucking collection – was discovered by Slim's family.

Just prior to EMI's finalisation of the new Australian trucking song collection, Joy McKean contacted the company to notify them that a never heard before musical treasure from Slim had been found.

Give Me Room was written by one of Slim's favourite songwriters, John Dohling. An outback station hand and good mate of Slim's, John passed away in November last year..."sadly, he never got to hear the final version of Slim's recording of his fantastic trucking song," a spokesman for EMI said.

It is understood the recording took place in Slim's home studio (Columbia Lane) sometime in 1997. Also involved in the recording were members of his legendary Travelling Country Band.

The track has been completed and digitally mastered by Australian mastering guru Don Bartley especially for the upcoming CD collection release.

Sittin' On 80 – a box set of four CDs – is the name of the new collection which is due to be released on Friday July 24.

"Slim is one of the most important artists in the history of EMI Music Australia," said Mark Poston, Chairman EMI Music Australasia. "He sits in the upper vanguard of artists alongside The Beatles, Sinatra and The Beach Boys as part of our incredible history – so a new track (and trucking collection) is a huge deal for us and his legions of fans."

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Adam and Catherine team up

Adam Harvey and Catherine Britt will team up for a series of shows in Queensland this month.

The two chart-topping performers were first teamed together for a tour of the East Coast of Australia early last year.

Adam is a regular winner at the Golden Guitar Awards, taking home Album of the Year in 2008 for I’m Doin’ Alright, bringing his current total of Golden Guitars to seven, including three for Male Artist of the Year.

He was also invited to take a turn as guest singer and mentor on Channel 7’s primetime hit television series "It Takes Two" where he performed in front of a million or more viewers weekly, around the country.

In addition to these new performances with Catherine, Adam says he is excited about his upcoming duets album Both Sides Now which is due for release later this year. On the album, he will team up with singers including Troy Cassar-Daley, David Campbell, Kasey Chambers, Jessica Mauboy and John Williamson.

Catherine won her first Golden Guitar this year for Female Artist of the Year with her album Little Wildflower. The album was nominated for Album of the Year and the title track for Single and Video of the Year.

Catherine is currently in the studio recording her fourth album, also due for release later this year, and has teamed up with Bill Chambers and multi-award-winning singer/songwriter Shane Nicholson to produce the new work.

"I’ve always been a huge fan of Catherine’s music," said Adam, "and to tour with someone I admire so much, who is also a good friend, will be a real pleasure."

Detail of the tour can be accessed on our On Tour page.

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Darwin City Muster on next week

The fourth annual Darwin City Muster will be staged at The Gardens Amphitheatre next Saturday, July 11.

Headlining this year's event from 6pm on the day will be Lee Kernaghan, John Williamson and Sara Storer with Mick Denigan and Harmony James.

The winners of more than 60 Golden Guitars between them will perform contemporary classic hits, bush ballads, "heartbreakers" and country rock over the five hour show which will be introduced by ABC Sports broadcaster compere Charlie King.

Harmony will kick off the Muster with the launch of her debut album Tailwind.

"Mick Denigan will light up the night sky with an awesome display of fire and trick whips performed to his original songs, atop a truck side of stage," according to a spokesman for the organisers. 

Lee Kernaghan, meanwhile, will be including a number of new songs in his set.

Tickets for the Muster can be obtained by telephoning 08 8980 3333, or online at Children under 14 accompanied by a parent are free admission.

Hot and cold food and beverages will be available for purchase at the Muster venue.

Darwin City Muster acknowledges the support of Channel 9, NT News, Top Country 92.3 & Mix 1049, Bridge Toyota, Lion Nathan, Total Event Services and Darwin Airport Resort.

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Adam dances this Sunday

Network 7's "Dancing With The Stars" kicks off this Sunday night (July 5) with Adam Brand featuring as the first Australian country star in the series.

Adam's dancing partner will be Jade Hatcher, well known as a professional dancer having won numerous dance competitions including the Latin American Australian Championship, the USA Open Amateur Junior Standard Championship and the Junior Latin, Junior Standard, Youth Latin and Youth Standard categories of the USA Diamond Classic Championships.

"It's the challenge of the show (I'm looking forward to)," Adam said, " dazzling everyone with my moves at the next family wedding!"

"Remembering my steps and not tripping over myself and my partner," is what Adam says he is most nervous about."

Adam has chosen the Children's Cancer Institute Australia as his nominated charity beneficiary for the show.

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Chart update – Brad at number one

America's Brad Paisley hit the top of this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart with his hit Then.

Troy Cassar-Daley's number one for the last seven weeks – Big Big Love slips to number two while Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl is steady at three and Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis are down to four with I Told You So.

Victoria Baillie's Make Me is up another two to five, The Harmonators' If Love Ain't Crazy is steady at six and Alan Jackson's Sissy's Song drops two to number seven.

America's Rascal Flatts is new in the top 10 at eight with Here Comes Goodbye, Harmony James' Fly is up one to nine and Paul Costa's In This Life debuts in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Jetty Road's Million Miles (17 to 14), Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels (20 to 17), Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright (21 to 19) and Jayne Denham's Shake This Town (23 to 20).

New to the chart this week are Tracy Killeen with Back There (in at 29) and Sandra Humphries with Just Walk Away (at 30)

The full chart can be viewed at


Merilyn's Information Blues on CMC

Sydney artist Merilyn Steele’s latest music clip has aired on the Country Music Channel.

Information Blues is Merilyn’s third single from her current album Extraordinary Daze, and is described as a wacky upbeat take on information overload.

Directed by video producer Duncan Toombs, Merilyn and her band fool around on the "over-energised" set, protesting the angst of all too common "office" mayhem – "a comedy satire that tells the tale of the drawbacks of the technological age and information overload".

"This is a fun song which explores today’s dilemma of juggling so many forms of communication," Merilyn said.

The clip was shot on location at Botany... "not very glamorous but the whole set was created by my bass player Steve Shaw," Merilyn said. "It took weeks to construct. My partner Michael and I did all the sanding, puttying and painting for it over a couple of weekends.

"The theme is like the Blues Brothers but I call them the 'Orange Brothers'!! This was Duncan’s idea and I love it. They are all standing around me while I make the phone call on an antique phone like mafia heavies, I dial then the song kicks in!"

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Peter shines in America

Peter McWhirter entertained Nashville audiences last month with multiple performances during the 2009 CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival.

The 2009 winner of Australia's Telstra Road to Tamworth talent competition, Peter said: "This has been one of the most exciting weeks of my life."

Nineteen-year-old Peter was set to record his debut album in Nashville with expat Australian producer Mark Moffatt who works with the Telstra Road to Tamworth winner each year as part of the competition's awarded prize package.

"Peter is an enthusiastic young performer that really knows how to work a crowd," Mark said at the time. "His performance at the CMA Music Festival definitely proves that. I'm looking forward to working with him for the next few weeks and putting some of that personality down on his debut record."

Peter also performed at the CMA Global Artist Party which "jump-started" this year's week of festivities.

Photo: Peter (left) and producer Mark leave the stage after one of Peter's Nashville performances.

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31st South Australian Country Music Festival and Awards success

The 31st South Australian Country Music Festival and Awards staged in June in the Riverland has been heralded a huge success.

Various venues hosted the week long event with the culmination on the long weekend with the Awards Concert on Saturday Night and the SA Sunday Spectacular.

More than 500 people attended the closing spectacular concert that featured acts including The Sunny Cowgirls and SA’s own Talia Wittmann.

Saturday saw a large crowd witness the Hands of Fame ceremony where Gary Burrows, Bradley Bergen and Fisk & Cristian (Donna & Michael) were inducted. "It was a special moment for all inductees," said a spokesman for Festival organisers, "but especially so for Bradley Bergen as his father and grandfather are also in the Hands of Fame in Barmera."

Jean and Max Voight were added to the Maple Avenue of Honour which recognises the services of volunteers to the festival.

Sunday saw the announcement of the SA Award of Excellence and the Frank Harding memorial Trophy recipient which went to Riverlander Caroline Caputo (pictured). Runner-up was Erica Graf.

The 2009 Talent quest was also well attended with the Female Vocal prize going to Caroline Caputo, Male Vocal to John Turner and the Country Rock prize to Melody Feder.

"All in all, this year's 31st SA Country Music Festival and Awards were a massive success and many thanks go to the large contingency of volunteers and sponsors who made it happen," the spokesman said. "We now look forward to the 32nd Festival to be held in June 2010."

Organisers thanked sponsors including Berri Barmera District Council, APRA, Fletchers Freighters, Barmera Bakery, Barmera Country Club, Barmera Disposals, Barmera Pharmacy, Beech Hardware, Berri DWMCC, Cobdogla & District Club, Cobdogla Quality Meats, Cobdogla Station Caravan Park, JC Irving Printers, Lake Bonney Holiday Park, Mildura Country Music Festival, Barmera DWMCC, Stevensons Painting, Ross Baker, Berri Direct, C & D Wutke, D Francis, Barmera Monash Football Club, Berri Estates and the Adelaide Country Music Club.

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