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FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2010

Aussie born star leads Canadian Awards nominations

Australian born Canadian country star Gord Bamford has scored six finalist nominations in the 2010 Canadian Country Music Awards, more than any other artist this year.

Although he has spent the last 29 of his 34 years in Canada, the Alberta-raised singer was born in Traralgon, Victoria, in 1976.

Gord moved with his mother Marilyn from Australia to Alberta, Canada, when he was five years old. Marilyn, who was a singer herself and toured with an Australian country band encouraged her son to pursue a career in music.

Gord released his debut album, God's Green Earth, including two of his own songs, in 2000 on his own label. In 2003, he began spending time in Nashville, and released his second album, Life Is Good, in 2004. On this work, the singer wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 11 songs. Five tracks from the album made the country top 20.

Over the next few years, Gord opened shows for stars like Terri Clark, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, and Don Williams. In both 2005 and 2006, he was nominated at the Canadian Country Music Awards for Independent Male Vocalist of the Year, Independent Song of the Year, and the Rising Star Award.

On June 4, 2007, Gord was one of only two Canadian artists invited to perform at the Global Artist Party at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville.

His third album, Honkytonks And Heartaches, was released in 2007 and his fourth, and current, album, Day Job, was released in April this year.

At this year's Canadian Country Music Awards, Gord is up for the Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Songwriter(s) of the Year, Video of the Year Fans' Choice Award and Record Producer of the Year (with Byron Hill). Gord's website is also up for the industry award Website of the Year.

The 2010 Canadian Awards will be announced on Sunday September 12.

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Anne and Bill join forces

Anne Kirkpatrick and Bill Chambers, two of Australia's most respected musicians, have joined forces to record (and jointly produce) a "classic style" country duet.

The resulting duet – Here We Are – is the first single to be lifted from Anne's upcoming career spanning album Annethology.

"I guess between Bill and I, we've covered a lot of kilometres (...miles even!) and done a lot of recording sessions," Anne said. "We have a lot of common ground musically and I, for one, jumped at the opportunity to record with Bill and record such a classic style country song in the vein of an old George Jones or Buck Owens tune, with someone who is as enthusiastic about that music as I am."

In their respective family groups, Anne (the Slim Dusty Family Show) and Bill (the Dead Ringer Band) touring paths must have crossed, but surprisingly the Here We Are recording is the very first time they have actually worked together in the studio.

"Anne's voice is a perfect example of pure country soul," Bill said. "I've been a huge fan of Anne Kirkpatrick ever since she performed as a teenager in the Slim Dusty Show many years ago. Getting to work with Anne and sing the duet was definitely a career highlight for me."

Apart from two new tracks, the aptly titled Annethology also features 21 of Anne's classic recordings from her long and enduring solo career from 1974 to date.

The Annethology album will be released on August 28 on the Dusty family's Nulla Records label (distributed by EMI Music) and will be available on CD through retail and online as a digital download.

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JW at the Opera House

John Williamson will officially mark his 40th year in the industry through two scheduled performances at the Sydney Opera House accompanied by the Sydney Symphony and special guests.

The live performances, on Friday October 29 and Saturday October 30, will be delivered before what is expected to be capacity audiences and will see John performing his biggest hits with new sounds and stories portrayed through the inclusion of the 32 piece orchestra.

John Williamson has symbolised the spirit of Australia in poetry and song for the past four decades.

An Australian icon, John has 24 Golden Guitars, three ARIA Awards, plus MO Awards, APRA Awards, Platinum and Gold albums and more than four million album sales.

It was on June 4, 1970, that John made his name when his much loved "silly song" Old Man Emu was released after he won the "New Faces" television talent quest show.

Since then, he has become the man famous for such stirring classics as Cootamundra Wattle, Raining On The Rock, Galleries Of Pink Galahs, A Bushman Can't Survive, Rip Rip Woodchip and True Blue.

John's catalogue of more than 350 songs would make any songwriter envious, and in the past few decades he has been an inspirational presence at some of the most significant events in Australia... the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Steve Irwin's memorial, the Bledlisloe Cup, Sir Donald Bradman's memorial, the Rugby World Cup, the first Bali Bombing memorial and the list goes on.

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Canberra Awards

Entries are now being called for the Canberra Regional Country Music Awards 2010.

The Awards are being run in conjunction with the Canberra Country Music Festival which will take place at the EPIC (Exhibition Park In Canberra) on the weekend of November 12, 13 and 14.

The Competitive Peer Awards section is open to performers based in, or originally born or raised in, the Australian Capital Territory or southern New South Wales. Entries close on September 30.

A total of 18 competitive peer awards to be presented will include Best Country Album, Best Extended Play CD, Heritage Award, Best Production Award, Best Bush Ballad, Best Children’s Country Song, Best Honky Tonk, Best Bluegrass and Best Traditional Country Song and a number of other categories "not normally found in country award competitions," according to organisers.

In addition to the peer awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be announced and a series of people's choice awards will be made from live performances during the Canberra Festival.

Full details of the categories and a copy of the information and entry brochure are available on the website –


Stephanie's debut album

Newcomer to the Australian country music scene Stephanie Brownlee has released her debut album, titled Keep It Real.

Stephanie was discovered by former Fleetwood Mac manager Dennis Dunstan at the age of 14 and after three years of development, he put her into the studio to record her debut album.

Recorded in Sydney and Nashville, the album contains a collection of songs, including from Liz Rose who penned several of Taylor Swift's hits.

Steph's current Single Good Friend/Girlfriend which is riding high on the 98.9 Brisbane playlist, was written by Miley Cyrus.

Stephanie, a graduate of the Tamworth Camerata, toured with The McClymonts late in 2009 and is currently on the publicity trail with promotional tours throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

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TUESDAY, JULY 27, 2010

Beau wins Darwin TRTT heat

Seventeen-year-old Beau Dusk (pictured) from the Darwin suburb of Karama has won the local heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search.

As part of his journey toward the competition final in Tamworth in January, Beau will progress to the next stage of the program which includes a performance at the Telstra 500 V8 Supercar event to be held at Sydney Olympic Park in December.

Telstra Area General Manager, Northern Territory, Mark Sweet said as part of the "boot camp" associated with the competition, Beau would perform in front of thousands of V8 Supercar fans together with The McClymonts and past Telstra Road to Tamworth winners, most likely the biggest audience of their careers.

"It is a big thrill to see Beau's dreams given a rocket with this win," Mark said. "His heart is set on music, and it would be fantastic to see someone with so much talent from Darwin hit the big time."

Beau re-entered the Telstra Road to Tamworth after being unsuccessful at last year's Darwin heat, but received encouragement from Australian country star James Blundell to keep at it.

A self taught musician, Beau picked up the guitar for the first time a little more than 12 months ago and says he is drawn to the real life stories the country genre centres around. He juggles his passion for music with school studies, currently completing Year 11 at Marrara Christian College.

Visibly shaken when he was announced the winner, Beau's smile said it all.

"This really is a dream come true for me – country music speaks to me and I genuinely love what I do," he said.

If successful at the Sydney "boot camp", Beau will receive $1,000 cash and progress through to the Telstra Road to Tamworth finals at the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The winning performer and songwriter of the Telstra Road to Tamworth Final will each receive a 12-month mentorship package including a recording session in Nashville, domestic and international gigs, publicity, media training and support from a network of music industry professionals.

Aspiring local songwriters have until October 31 before entries close nationally in the songwriting category.

Performers who live more than 400km from a heat location can enter online in the Telstra Road to Tamworth digital heat (this also closes on October 31).

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Chart Update – Troy takes over at number one

Troy Cassar-Daley's Chasin' Rodeo has taken over the top spot on the weekly national Country Tracks Top 30 chart this week.

Markus Meier's A Different Land edges up one place to number two while Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy is up two to number three and Tracy Killeen's number one – Brave – is at four.

Jayne Denham's Trucker Chicks is at five, Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing jumps four places to number six and Amber Lawrence bounds into the top 10 at seven with Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You).

Tori Darke's Not My Time To Fly is steady at eight, the Lee Forster/Stuie French duet Drink Up And Be Somebody is at nine and America's Court Yard Hounds (Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks) are at 10 with The Coast.

Bullet performers for the week include Adam James' Freedom Now Begins (19 to 13), McAlister Kemp's It Don't Boy You Love (18 to 14), The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire (24 to 20), Sarah McMonagle's Tea On Tuesday (26 to 23), Kristy Cox's It's Hard To Stop A Heart (28 to 24), Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl (29 to 26) and The Sunny Cowgirls Naughty Side (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Adam Harvey's Better Than This (in at 28).

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FRIDAY, JULY 23, 2010

New album from Steve

Steve Forde is set to release his latest album, Hurricane, on August 13.

The album is the follow-up to Guns & Guitars which topped the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Australian Albums Country chart when released in 2008.

Steve wrote nine of the 10 new tracks on the new album with collaborators Matt Scullion and Josh Barker.

"After years of touring all over Australia and everything that comes with that lifestyle, I reached a point in my life and career where I knew I needed to immerse myself entirely into this next album," he said.

"For the first time in a while, I felt like I had something to say."

The writing and recording process became somewhat of an obsession for Steve...

"The routine was abnormal to say the least. I would stay up for days on end recording in the basement. After three or four days of absolutely no sleep and too much music I would head to Florida for a week of fishing. I would take a break, contemplate, fish, miss it and then head back to continue on Hurricane."

Steve will be the main support for all of Tim McGraw's national tour shows in September. He will also appear at the first ever CMC Rocks North Queensland, the Deni Ute Muster in October and Mud Bulls & Music in November.

The new album's title track and first single off Hurricane was officially released to media this week.

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TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2010

New stars on tour

Four of the hottest new young stars of Australian country music kick off a series of tours in Queensland this week.

Toyota Star Maker 2010 Luke Austen, Victoria Baillie, Australian Idol runner-up Luke Dickens and Amber Lawrence will be performing in the great tradition of the traveling country show under the banner of "County's New Stars".

Commencing in Queensland, the show is also set to tour NSW and Victoria this year.

All artists will perform individual sets, and will take part in "some show-stopping group songs".

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Country Fiji style

The first ever country music festival in Fiji featuring Australian stars will run for seven days from next week.

Featuring in the Oz Country Music Festival's all-star lineup will be Bill Chambers, Jim Haynes, Jonah's Road, Felicity Urquhart & Glen Hannah, John Williamson and the Ashleigh Dallas Band.

The festival will run from Sunday August 1 to Saturday August 7.

Weblink – click here.


Chart Update – Tracy still at the top

Tracy Killeen retains the number one position on the weekly national Country Tracks Top 30 chart this week for the fourth week with her hit Brave.

Troy Cassar-Daley's Chasin' Rodeo jumps three more places to number two while Markus Meier's A Different Land is at three and Jayne Denham's Trucker Chicks fourth spot for the third week in a row.

Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy is also up three to number five, America's George Strait is down to six with I Gotta Get To You and the Lee Forster/Stuie French duet Drink Up And Be Somebody is steady at seven.

Tori Darke's Not My Time To Fly jumps two places to eighth position, America's Kenny Chesney is down to nine with Ain't Back Yet and Catherine Britt's latest hit Can't Change A Thing enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Amber Lawrence's Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) (14 to 11), Steve Passfield's Old Friends (19 to 16), Brendan Radford's Rear View Mirror (20 to 17), McAlister Kemp's It Don't Boy You Love (22 to 18), Adam James' Freedom Now Begins (24 to 19), Harmony James' Good Enough (26 to 21) and The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire (29 to 24).

New entries to the chart this week include Kristy Cox (pictured) with It's Hard To Stop A Heart (in at 28), Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl (at 29) and The Sunny Cowgirls Naughty Side (at 30).

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New album for Adam Brand

Adam Brand is set to release his eighth studio album to be titled It's Gonna Be OK.

His dancing style, while winning Adam the 2009 "Dancing With The Stars" title, left many people shaking their heads, but his new release is set to reinforce his real talent, his music, according to his record company, Compass Bros.

It's Gonna Be OK is due for release on August 20, and is set to appeal to a wide audience.

"It features a diverse collection of songs ranging from the intimate and reflective to a couple of great new party anthem," a spokesman for Compass Bros said.

"Adam Brand is blessed with the rare gift of being able to engage with all kinds of people. From the stage of the Deniliquin Ute Muster to prime time Sunday night television, he'll win you over with his affable charm.

"His passion for life and love is evident on It's Gonna Be OK, an album that introduces us to the 'new' Adam Brand. With the support of his new wife, 'Dancing With The Stars' partner Jade Hatcher, It's Gonna Be OK is comfortingly honest and raw. And it's no surprise that there are more love songs on this album than on any previous album… he's all loved up and he wants us all to know it."

"It's Gonna Be OK is an album that came very naturally to me," Adam said. "When you get to a place where life is as it should be, everything else just falls into place."

Adam's music has already gained international attention.

Last year, he inked a deal with Nashville heavyweights Sony Music Entertainment and he'll soon hit the promotion trail in North America. Compass Bros Records remains Adam's Australian record company.

The sought after US deal came to the star following a year of highlights in 2009 starting in January when he was named both the Golden Guitar Awards' Male Artist of the Year and Country Music Channel's Oz Artist Of The Year.

In March, his then current album, Hell Of A Ride,  became his seventh consecutive hit album debuting at number one on the Australian Country Album chart.

And just half way through 2010, he's been voted CMC Oz Artist Of the Year for the fourth consecutive time, got married and moved to Nashville.

So far, Adam's career sales have exceeded 500,000 albums and DVDs. He has two platinum and three gold albums and two gold DVDs and a total of 12 Golden Guitar Awards.

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Debut single for Katrina

Award-winning singer/songwriter Katrina Burgoyne has announced the release of her first single, taken from her forthcoming debut album.

Billed as Katrina's "spine tingling" debut single, Ghost has been tagged the first of many "drop everything and listen" songs to come off her debut album which is to be titled White Flag..

The 22-year-old is determined not to go unnoticed as she prepares to release her album in September.

In March last year, Katrina was awarded an APRA (Australian Performing Right Association) Professional Development Award... a $12,000 grant which allowed her to travel Nashville where she spent a month writing for her much anticipated first album.

"(White Flag) is an honest 'open book' exposing lines from Katrina's private journal with songs about her fear for the dead of night," a spokesman for the artist said, "advice she wished she could have told herself when dealing with a heartbreak and above all determination and believing in yourself."

Ghost was inspired by Katrina's fear of the unknown. After many sleepless nights, she took the unfinished version to Bill Chambers where they created "a thriller of a song" with lyrics like when the morning breaks there's nothing left behind, no blood, no broken glass drilling down my spine and I'm questioning my mind".

"With Katrina's fresh organic sound there's no doubt that the stand out single Ghost is bound to haunt with its catchy hooks and goose bump lyrics, captivate you and continue to linger on your mind."


A celebration for Frankie T

A recent gathering of country music artists celebrated the contribution of popular Australian radio personality Frankie T Thatcher, "Country Music Capital News" reported.

"A great day was had by all who were able to attend a big thank you for a man who has been instrumental in the lives of so many country music artists here in Australia," the magazine reported.

"Most people know Frankie T as the loveable presenter of country music on Campbelltown's 2MCR, the very first community radio station in Australia. However, most don't know that (he) has been a great supporter for charities like the Fred Hollows Foundation and is an ambassador for research into prostate cancer – a condition that threatens his own life and
the lives of many men every day."

Singer/songwriter Jane Kellaway, also a presenter on todayscountry94one and a fellow presenter on 2MCR, along with her husband Fred, organised the celebration of Frankie's life and was amazed by how many artists responded to the invitation with the words "it would be an honour and a privilege to be there – thanks for inviting me".

It was an emotional event for Frankie as each artist sang some of their most memorable songs for a man had been instrumental in their careers.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was a song penned by Connie Kis Andersen. Although she was not able to be present on the day, Connie sent the song that she wrote as a tribute to Frankie's life. The song will be featured on her new album.

Photo – front row (from left): Jane Kellaway, Joanna Hemara, Lynda Barnes; second row: George Sich, Liz Kinnemont, Rae Moody (The Harmonators), Frankie T, Karen Lynne, Marty Louis, Darren Coggan; back row: Jason Lee, Paul Grierson (Simply Bushed), Bryen Willems, Allan Caswell, Luke O'Shea and Paul Rieger (Simply Bushed).


Beccy and Adam on the road again

Country stars Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey have announced a "rematch" tour which kicks off in Victoria in early August (see On Tour for details).

Beccy and Adam are two of the most recognised names in Australian country music and together are as much a comedy act as a musical one.

For the upcoming series of dates, the duo is presenting a show aptly named "The Rematch". After touring together in 2006 to rapturous applause, belly laughs and critical acclaim, they're back sharing the stage to challenge each other.

Both are celebrated songwriters, both are multi-award winning recording artists and both are notorious, as Adam Harvey puts it, "s##t-stirrers".

Comedy aside, they are first and foremost, musicians. Serious musicians. While they will have the audience in tears of laughter, Beccy and Adam are experts in their chosen field. Boasting two of the strongest voices in country music, teamed with stirring songwriting and infectious melodies, has made them two of the most sought after entertainers in Australia.

Between them they have acquired an impressive 14 Golden Guitars, six gold records and a string of number one hits to name but a few of their accolades.

The upcoming "Rematch" tour is billed as "a must see show for the young, old, drunk, sober and without question insane". In fact, the duo will be opening the doors to one and all: "This show is for everyone," says Beccy, "if there is one person who comes along who does not laugh at least three times then I want to know what level of Prozac they're on."

From traditional favourites through to heartbreakers, skewed observations and their own hits "The Rematch" is described as "a musical feast of two sensational artists delivering duets, banter and an unforgettable night of entertainment!"

Both hold each other in high esteem which translates to the stage with an obvious affection and mutual admiration for each other's style, song and performance as they entertain each other as well as the audience.

Adam cites Beccy as his favourite female performer. "The best entertainer in the country," he says. And the feeling is reciprocated: "Nobody can own the crowd like Adam Harvey," says Beccy, "he amazes me every night."

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MONDAY, JULY 12, 2010

Runaway Dixie nominated in Gospel Hour Awards

South Australian gospel and bluegrass trio Runaway Dixie have been nominated as finalists in 2010 New York Gospel Hour Radio Glory Awards with their original song Golden Mile.

The finalist spot comes hot on the heels of the trio's Tamworth Songwriters' Association 2010 Gospel Song Of The Year win with the same song.

"We are very excited at the way the album has been received in Australia and internationally," said band spokesman Jim Hermel, "and we thank everyone in the radio world and our fans for your support.

"We are very honoured to be nominated for this prestigious international Gospel Award."

Runaway Dixie currently has two singles released in Australia from their album Golden Mile, the award winning original title track and their "dynamic interpretation" of the gospel classic Amazing Grace.

These two tracks have just recently been released on an international compilation.

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Something old and something new from Allan

Allan Caswell has re-released his Golden Guitar winning Al's Bar And Grill album and is expecting to release a new album Behind Bars next month.

Al's Bar And Grill is now available through Shoestring Records, which also means that all Allan's albums are now available through Shoestring.

"We are very excited about Behind Bars," Allan said, "but feel we should warn you that it is a very country album… the reaction from people who have heard it so far has been stunning."

Allan Caswell won his sixth Golden guitar in Tamworth (with Drew McAlister for Vocal Collaboration of the Year) in 2007, marking 27 years since his first Golden Guitar in 1980.

In the years in between, Allan has experienced the highs and lows of a very successful and hugely varied career.

His song On The Inside (theme for the popular television series "Prisoner) reached number one in Australia and New Zealand, number three in England and made the country charts in the USA (his own version was a top 20 country hit in Europe in 2004).

At last count, Allan has had more than 900 songs published and more than 500 recordings of his songs released world-wide by artists of the calibre of James Blundell, Cilla Black, Slim Dusty, The Irish Rovers, The Living End and Patti Page.

His career as an entertainer has taken him to almost every town in NSW, every state in Australia, to New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Zealand, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has worked live with many well-known stars including Garth Brooks, Don McLean and Gerry and the Pacemakers and in the studio with Tommy Emmanuel and Vince Gill.

As well as his six Golden Guitars (and an substantial 28 finalist nominations), Allan has achieved two gold singles and an ARIA Award for On The Inside as well as one platinum and four gold albums for his writing and production work on Don Spencer's hugely successful children's albums.

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Chart Update – Tracy retakes number one

Tracy Killeen (pictured) has retaken the number one position on the weekly national Country Tracks Top 30 chart with her hit Brave (the third week at number one for the single).

Markus Meier's number one from last week – A Different Land – has slipped to number two, America's George Strait is steady at three with I Gotta Get To You and Jayne Denham's Trucker Chicks is also steady for the second week at number four.

Troy Cassar-Daley jumps five places to number five with his latest hit Chasin' Rodeo, America's Kenny Chesney is steady at six with Ain't Back Yet and the Lee Forster/Stuie French duet Drink Up And Be Somebody is up one to seven.

Three new hits in the top 10 this week are Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy at eight, the Adam Harvey/Wendy Matthews duet Easy at nine and Tori Darke's Not My Time To Fly at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing (16 to 13), Amber Lawrence's Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) (18 to 14), Brendan Radford's Rear View Mirror (23 to 20), McAlister Kemp's It Don't Boy You Love (26 to 22) Adam James' Freedom Now Begins (27 to 24) and Harmony James' Good Enough (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week include The McClymonts with Hearts On Fire (in at 29).

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FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010

NSW Government supports country music initiative

Local MP for the State seat of Tamworth Peter Draper has welcomed $5,000 of State Government seed funding to help develop a new locally inspired initiative – the Nundle Songwriters Camp.

"I am pleased to have secured State support for The Nundle Songwriters Camp," he said, "and to coincide, I would also like to welcome visitors and artists to Country Music Capital, where they can enjoy a smorgasbord of talent that is on show during this year's Hats Off Festival."

Mr Draper met with two of The Nundle Songwriters Camp's major proponents, Joan Douglas and David Woodward, to announce the funding and to discuss the concept's significant potential.

He told them that Premier Keneally had provided a one off grant of $2,200 towards the project and $3,300 had been provided by Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay through Tourism NSW.

"I congratulate Joan and David for driving this initiative along with the support of Tourism Tamworth," he said, "the Country Music Association of Australia and other industry stalwarts including John Williamson and Troy Cassar-Daley who have strongly supported the concept.

"This is an important initiative that will allow aspiring artists to develop their talents, while broadening their horizons and skill levels with the support of high profile and respected songwriters and musicians."

Joan Douglas said the concept fell into line with the Camerata Youth Country Music School and College of Country Music merger into the Australian Academy of Country Music.

David Woodward said appropriate venues for the camp had been thoroughly researched and the organisers believed that the Nundle area would provide extraordinary stimulation for writing.

"Thanks to the support of Tourism Tamworth, Tourism NSW and the State Government, there is now potential to develop exciting new concepts that not only support the Australian music industry, but also the ongoing evolution of the Tamworth brand and its role as Country Music Capital."

Peter Draper said he was keen to see the continuing evolution of events associated with Tamworth's role as Country Music Capital because over the years they had elevated Tamworth to one of regional Australia's best known tourist destinations.

"The Tamworth Country Music Capital brand has been developed by people of vision and entrepreneurial skill, and I congratulate those who continue to build on that successful original concept," he said.

Photo (from left): David Woodward, Joan Douglas and Peter Draper at the Tamworth Songwriters' Association SongMaker tribute at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre.



New album from Melinda

Six-time Golden Guitar winner Melinda Schneider will strike out in a new creative direction with her sixth studio album set to be released at the end of this month.

It's her first concept album Melinda Does Doris, A Tribute To Doris Day, with producer Chong Lim at the helm and her first with Universal Music Australia.

Melinda pays tribute to one of the world's greatest female entertainers whose career spanned more than five decades and delivered some of popular music's most enduring and successful recordings.

With the album, Melinda enters a new era of recording which was inspired by a Doris Day tribute show in which she performed seven years ago at Melbourne's Mardi Gras Midsummer Festival.
"Everybody loves Doris!" Melinda said. "I have been a fan of Doris Day since I was a child and my all time favourite 'Doris' film is 'Calamity Jane'. She was such a huge talent, a triple treat as they say, she could sing, dance and act.

"Doris is the best of everything a woman can be. When I grow up… I want to be just like her! People have been telling me for years that I should make this record and I knew that one day, when the timing was right, I would. I am so excited about this project and to be working with the great team at Universal Music."

George Ash. Managing Director of Universal Music Australia, said: "We have watched Melinda accept award after award and measured her real sales and artistic success…. the opportunity to work with her on this very special album was something we just couldn’t pass up."

Melinda is one Australia's leading female artists in the nation's new country movement.

At the moment, however, she is substituting the guitar for some dancing shoes in her appearances on the Seven Network's "Dancing With The Stars".

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And Adam Harvey...

Multi award winning Australian country artist Adam Harvey will release his Best So Far album in August, a collection of his favourite tracks spanning his career, plus two new songs.

Adam will also release a companion DVD of the same name in August which will include many of his currently unavailable music videos, a video for his new song Better Than This, interview footage with long-time producer Rod McCormack and a candid documentary of the star's career to date.

Adam won his first Golden Guitar with Tanya Self in 1998. Since then, has won seven Golden Guitars and received the Global Artist Award in Nashville.

He began his affair with country music at age 10 in a talent competition in Tamworth. After a rousing performance, the audience demanded an encore; without another song in his repertoire he played the same song again.

A long time fan of Johnny Cash, Adam has had some clear influences to his musical career. His new single, Better Than This, was released to Australian radio last week and was written by Adam specially for the Best So Far album.

"I have the best job in the world," Adam said, "and I'm very grateful – it just doesn't get any better than this!"

Following his Golden Guitar win, Adam went on to record his first album, Sugar Talk, with producer Joe Camilleri. He released his second album, Workin' Overtime with producer Rod McCormack which won his first Album of the Year Golden Guitar as well as Male Vocalist of the Year (an award he went on to win twice more).

Cowboy Dreams, his third album, was nominated for an ARIA Award and was certified with an ARIA Gold accreditation, as was his fourth album Can't Settle For Less.

Adam walked away with his seventh Golden Guitar in 2008, again for Album of the Year for his fifth release, I'm Doin' Alright. And in 2009, released Both Sides Now, a duets album that he wanted to record as a "celebration of country music" inviting "the cream" of Australian artists to join him.

The Best So Far album and DVD encapsulates Adam's long and impressive career "so far" and give fans the opportunity to listen to some of the star's earliest recordings which are only available on this package.

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Local singers head to Norway

Doug Bruce and Sandra Humphries are teaming up for a couple of Melbourne performances in July before venturing further north…way north!

Doug and Sandra have been invited to perform at the popular Halogaland International Country Music Festival in Norway in August.

"I've been to Europe before but not to Norway so I am really looking forward to seeing that part of the world," Doug said.

"I hear they really appreciate their country music over there so it should be fun performing and meeting some of the locals."

Sandra is equally keen to hit the skies. "I'm really excited to be given the opportunity to travel to Europe and do my thing," she said. "I have maxed out the credit card buying thermal underwear, unromantic as it may be!

"I'm so excited to be heading over to Melbourne to do these shows with Doug and his fantastic band The Tailgaters. Doug is a world class act and a lot of fun to work with!"

Doug and Sandra will be performing with The Tailgaters on July 16 at Pascoe Vale RSL and on the afternoon of July 18 at the Tooradin Sports Club.  Doug and the band are also playing at The Barwon Hotel in Winchelsea on July 24.

Both artists have also got their sights set on their next album.

Sandra recently spent five days on the Central Coast with good friend and long time producer Bill Chambers. "We played a couple of fantastic shows and attempted to do some songwriting for a new album," she said.

Doug's new album, A Good Place, is nearing the finish line. "I've been head down and tail up for the last few months working on getting the new album pretty much done before I go," he said, "so I'm looking forward to getting out of the studio and performing again."

Both artists will also be performing at the 2010 Mildura Country Music Festival upon their return.

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Tommy and Phil reunite for 50th anniversary tour

Less than a month after being honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia award, guitar maestro Tommy Emmanuel has announced plans to return to his home country this December/January for a series of special concerts with his brother Phil.

Fans who have witnessed the chemistry and energy of their live performances have been clamouring for the two to reunite and now they will get their wish.

Tommy and Phil will be hitting the road with the TE All Star Band to celebrate 50 years of professional performance.

"This is a rare opportunity for fans to catch Tommy flexing both his electric and acoustic guitar muscles," said a spokesman for tour promoters, "and only the second time the brothers have toured together in 15 years.

"This (will be) the complete Emmanuel experience! Singer/songwriter, and Phil's daughter, Jesse Emmanuel will join the tour as special guest, making it a real family affair."

Recognised internationally as two of the world's finest guitar pickers, Tommy and Phil have been performing live since the early '60s when they were just young kids, honing their skills in the Emmanuel Family Band.

Individually, they've gone on to enjoy success independently, their careers occasionally intersecting with collaborations on the 1995 album Terra Firma and a performance at the 2000 Sydney Olympics Closing Ceremony.

Iconic fingerpicker Chet Atkins called Tommy "one of the all-time greatest guitarists on the planet". Rock historian Glenn A Baker said of Phil that "(his) musical prowess is so astonishing that there are times when the man becomes the guitar and the guitar becomes the man."

"There's a magic that happens when Phil and I play together," Tommy says. "It's like the two of us together makes a third player who’s better than both of us. After 50 years, we can still surprise each other on stage."

Performance dates can be found on our On Tour page.

Tickets go on sale on Monday 19th July

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Four more Junior Saddles finalists

Four more finalists for the 2010 Junior Saddles competition have been announced following heats at Dubbo and on the NSW Central Coast.

Margie-May Hockey from Dubbo and Max Mustonen from Wallendbeen (pictured above) took out the Dubbo heat in June while Rachel Fahim and Ashley Knight (pictured below) won at the NSW Central Coast heat held at the weekend.

Margie-May performed two songs in the heat including an original, Billy's Ride. This follows her naming in January win awarded the Aristocrat Junior Entertainer of the Year in Tamworth.

Fourteen-year-old Rachel from Cherrybrook is having a successful year to date. This week she is performing at the Chinese Australian Forum Annual Dinner for Senator Penny Wong while last year, she was a featured performer at the 2009 Schools Spectacular.

Sixteen-year-old Ashley from Woy Woy is in the second round of auditions for the NSW Talent Development Project. She has been asked to support Tracy Killeen, among others, and performed an original song in the heat, Over For Good.

Rachael and Ashley will join finalists from around NSW at the Junior Saddles Competition Final in Sydney on Saturday October 9 at the Rooty Hill RSL Club.

The ultimate winner of the Junior Saddles 2010 will win $1,000, and will perform at the prestigious Golden Saddle Awards that night.

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Tribute to JW

John Williamson was honoured in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, by the local council and tourism body for his 40 year contribution to Australian country music.

"Tamworth has seen John Williamson feature in many country music festivals over the years," said a spokesman for Tamworth Regional Council and Tourism Tamworth, telling Australian stories, weaving personal tales and taking live performance to a new exciting level leaving audiences left mesmerised and feeling patriotic."

At the function honouring John on Friday, he was presented with a picture frame with a symbolic photograph and a copy of a speech delivered to by Governor General Quentin Bryce during this year's January festival.

Tourism Tamworth organised the function primarily as a celebration and tribute for John but also as a function for it's 130 volunteers who contribute almost 20,000 hours at visitor information centres at Barraba, Manilla and Nundle as well as the city.


Hall of Fame barbecue

The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame is running a fundraising barbecue during this year's Hats Off To Country festival in Tamworth this weekend.

The barbecue will be at the Harvey Norman store on the corner of Ringers Road and Greg Norman Drive opposite the Country Music Roll of Renown on Saturday (July 10) between 9am and 1pm.

Guest artists attending the fund-raiser to meet and greet fans include Victoria Baillie (pictured), Katrina Burgoyne, Bill Chambers, Tracy Coster, Royden Donohue, Graeme Doubleday, Dale Duncan, Mal & Janet Gallagher, Lynette Guest, Kevin Harris, Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson, McAlister Kemp, Patti Morgan, Lorraine Pfitzner, Peter Pratt, Those Gals, Rodney Walker and Sally Anne Whitten.

Cost for the sausage sizzle is a gold coin donation. Tea and coffee will also be available.

A raffle for a first prize of a $200 Harvey Norman voucher donated by Harvey Norman, and second prize of a hat signed by various artists donated by Akubra Hats or or a porcelain doll donated by Lorraine Pfitzner, will be drawn at the barbecue. Tickets available from the Hall of Fame which will be open throughout Hats Off in Brisbane Street, next to the Imperial Hotel.

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MONDAY, JULY 5, 2010

Academy of Country Music students announced

Students at this year's Australian Academy of Country Music, currently underway in Tamworth, were announced on Friday.

A total of 42 are taking part, 21 juniors and 21 seniors.

Junior students are...

Damien Agius (Mackay, Qld), Jemma Beech (Yanderra, NSW), Jacob Benko (Oak Flats, NSW), Georgette Berry (Berri, SA), Imogen Clark (Bowen Mountain, NSW), Nicole Cross (Townsville, Qld), Codee-Lee Down (Bunbury, WA), Andre Drysdale (Gold Coast, Qld), Trent Holder (Grafton, NSW), Mahalia Fox (Mt Gambier, SA), Margie-May Hockey (Dubbo, NSW), Rebecca Holdorf (Boonah, Qld), Brittany-Elise Johansen (Mackay, Qld), Shavaun Leschke (Glamorganvale, Qld), Mitchell Murdock (North Balgowlah, NSW), Charley Phyphers (Glen Lyon, Vic), Amelia Richards (Bradbury, NSW), Teisha Seymour (South Otago, NZ), Jarrod Slater (Cairns, Qld), Alex Sommers (Dorrigo, NSW) and Georgia White (Sydney, NSW).

Senior students are...

David Agius (Greystanes, NSW), Nick Aitken (Gympie, Qld), Issac Collins-Kennedy (Brackenridge (Qld), Cameron Cusack (Tura Beach, NSW), Ashleigh Dallas (Moonbi), Mallory Darragh (Manfield, Vic), Melanie Dyer (Inverell, NSW), Angela Easson (Bridgewater, SA), Makaylie Foodey (Ashtonfield, NSW), Breanna Gerritsen (Waterford, Qld), NSW), Paul ("PJ") Gordon (Newcastle, NSW), Rob Imeson (Yamba, NSW), Steph Jansen (Bowral, NSW), Christie Lamb (Kirkham, NSW), Saelyn Guyton (Invercargill, NZ), Jade Mellor (Beaudesert, Qld), Tenielle Musulin (Glebe, NSW), Linc Phelps (Gympie, Qld), Sharon Smith (Oakey, Qld), Daly Stephenson (Comet, Qld) and Holly Wilson (Singleton NSW).

The Academy, run by the Country Music Association of Australia, is an amalgamation of the College of Australian Country Music which has been running since 1997 and the Tamworth Camerata junior school of country music which has been going since 2002.

Academy participants will perform in two graduation concerts... the juniors this Thursday night (July 8) and the seniors on Friday, both events at the West Tamworth League Club during the Hats Off To Country festival.


Chart Update – Markus takes over number one

Markus Meier (pictured) has taken over the number one spot on the weekly national Country Tracks Top 30 chart with his hit A Different Land.

Tracy Killeen's number one from last week – Brave – slips to second place while America's George Strait is at three with I Gotta Get To You and Jayne Denham's Trucker Chicks is up two more places to number four.

America's Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney are at five and six, respectively with It's Just That Way, and Ain't Back Yet and Sarah Kay's Feel The Rain is at seven.

The Lee Forster/Stuie French duet Drink Up And Be Somebody is up two to eight, Canada's Doc Walker are at nine with If I Fall and Troy Cassar-Daley enters the top 10 at 10 with Chasin' Rodeo.

Bullet performers for the week include Lee Kernaghan's Australian Boy (14 to 11), Catherine Britt's Can't Change A Thing (20 to 16), Amber Lawrence's Women Like Me (Don't Like Girls Like You) (23 to 18), The Heartleys' Leaving Home (25 to 22), Brendan Radford's Rear View Mirror (27 to 23), McAlister Kemp's It Don't Boy You Love (30 to 26) and Adam James' Freedom Now Begins (re-entering the chart at 27).

New entries to the chart this week are Sarah McMonagle with Tea On Tuesday (in at 29) and Harmony James' Good Enough (at 30).

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