This website dedicated to bringing you the latest Australian country music news
Lee Kernaghan will lead a star line-up appearing at the first Stampede Festival in Geelong this Saturday.
Joining Lee will be artists including Shannon Noll and Sara Storer.
It will only be the second time the Stampede has been held in Australia, the first being held last year on the Queensland Gold Coast.
The "Geelong Advertiser" reports organisers are expecting a huge crowd given the city's large number of country music fans.
But despite its name the Stampede won't only be for cowboys. "We don't want to make this festival sound like we are all there to do the Boot Scoot 'n' Boogie,'' event host Gary Turner said.
"We are hoping that all music fans out there come along.'' Aformer radio announcer of 3CS Colac, Gary said it would be a huge line-up of country music talent.
"We have about four or five Golden Guitar winners from Tamworth, now that is not a bad line-up,'' he said. "That's like making a movie and saying we have four or five Oscar winners in the movie.''
Kirsty Lee Akers, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins and The McClymonts will be among other big names at the Stampede.
Australian of the Year Lee said he was thrilled to be involved in Stampede. "Stampede is going to take country music from the bush to the city,'' he said. "It will bring it into the mainstream.''
Stampede will be held at Geelong's Eastern.
Weblink – www.stampedefestival.com.au.
The Slim Dusty Family Reunion album continues to chart nationally, moving back up to number 17 this week on the mainstream ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Album Chart.
Now four weeks in the top 20 (every week since its release), the album is also number one for the fourth week on the ARIA Country Albums chart.
Meanwhile, Jayne Denham and Alby Pool have made the top five of the ECMA (European Country Music Association) top 50 most played songs.
In the just released "50 Most Played Songs", Alby's In My Arms Tonight sits at number four while Jayne's Chick Ute is at five.
The ECMA chart is the oldest dedicated country music radio chart in Europe, active since 1994, and is tabulated by computer strictly from airplay playlist reports by radio stations, individual shows and/or syndicators with European coverage.
Sharnee Fenwick – being proclaimed Australia’s "most promising new talent in music" among her accolades – has released a new single, titled Kiss That Boy.
The song is described as "a contemporary, cheeky, up tempo song that’s sassy and cute with loads of attitude – traits all found in the young lady singing it".
Sharnee has won countless awards, including the abovementioned "most promising new talent in music" Deadly and the Hawking Brothers Best New Talent at the 2007 Victorian Country Music Awards.
She first sang in public at age eight and in the dozen years since then has graced many a stage with stars including Beccy Cole, Phol Emmanuel, Adam Harvey, Gina Jeffreys and Felicity Urquhart.
Sharnee came to national attention with her appearances on ABC TV’s "Message Stick" and "Living Black" on the SBS network.
A graduate in both 2004 and 2005 of the Tamworth Camerata country music school, she followed that by successfully enrolling in and graduating from the Australian College of Country Music in 2007.
Weblink – www.sharneefenwick.com.
Adam and Sara supported the children’s charity Camp Quality while they were on the series. Camp Quality is a non profit organisation committed to bringing hope and happiness to every child living with cancer, their families and communities through on-going quality recreational, educational, hospital and financial support programs.
National Marketing Manager, Camp Quality, Lee Drury, said: "On behalf of 5,000 families living with cancer around the country, Sara and Adam, YOU WERE AWESOME, and thanks to the publicity, there will be a few more families smiling again this year!"
FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2008
A new country music television program – "Country Crossroads" – launches next month on the Aurora pay television channel.
Billed as a new vehicle for independent country music artists and an "exciting TV viewing opportunity for country music lovers" the program goes to air for the first time on Thursday, April 10, at 8pm on Aurora which is available via the Foxtel and Austar pay television services.
Producers of the program say "Country Crossroads" is proud to showcase up and coming and established artists, pioneers of the industry and Australia's indigenous community.
"The show will assist the artists in getting recognition for their talent and valuable contribution to the nation's country music industry."
The initial series of six weekly half-hour shows will feature members of the "Country Crossroads" team performing together with guest artists.
Executive Producer of "Country Crossroads" is Rob Foenander who also works on the show as a presenter and artist. Rob has been working within the entertainment industry, in different genres, for more than 30 years.
Musical Director is Mick Read (also co-producer), Media Co-ordinator is Gary Ellis. Mick and Gary also feature as artists in the show.
In addition to Rob, Mick and Gary, artists on the first episode include Lindsay Connolly & Owen Blundell, Shelley Evans, Megan Puls and Rob Fo's Band 'O' Gold.
Rising star Markus Meier (pictured) treated guests to a special live performance to kick off celebrations at the official launch of the QUT Urban Country Music Festival in Caboolture on Wednesday night.
"Making his debut appearance at this year’s Festival, Markus has the country music industry buzzing with excitement following the release of his first album Raindance," said a spokesman for Festival organisers.
He was recently named a grand finalist in the Golden Saddle Award and took out a 2007 Australian Independent Country Music Award.
Markus said he was excited about performing alongside Jonah’s Road, Sinead Burgess and Casey Watt at the Burbs ‘n Bush Party – a huge celebration that will open the May long weekend festival.
"It’s going to be awesome," he said. "I think the emphasis will be on the word 'party'. There’s going to be a lot of fresh talent there and I just want to make sure everyone has a good time."
This year, the Festival is expected to attract more than 30,000 day visitors and will feature more than 500 country music artists across 11 stages as well as four days filled with free events including concerts, bush poets, the Nova Ford Beaut Ute Show, Songwriter’s Café and much more.
The festival is celebrating its fifth birthday this year with Australia’s biggest names in country music.
"Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan will headline the Urban Country Music Festival’s Main Concert on Saturday May 3 at Caboolture Showgrounds," the Festival spokesman said.
"He will perform with a host of award-winning country music artists such as Troy Cassar-Daley, The McClymonts and Kirsty Lee Akers.
"On Sunday May 4, crowds can sit around crackling campfires while enjoying Jetty Road, Tom Curtain and Rob Black at the Urban Blaze concert.
"The ever-popular Urban Country Farewell Concert in the Town Square will close the festival on Monday May 5, followed by a spectacular fireworks display."
New festival events include the Urban Warriors concert, a New Zealand showcase and the Next Generation Station with performances from the nation’s emerging talent.
Standard tickets to the festival’s Main Concert will be available through the Festival’s dedicated website at www.urbancountry.com.au, Ticketek (13 28 49 and www.ticketek.com.au) and the Ticketek outlet at Caboolture Sports Club. Most other festival events are free.
Further information can be obtained by telephoning 1800 810 400, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the Festival website as noted above.
Catherine Britt retains her hold on the number one spot on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her latest hit Little Wildflower.
The McClymonts take over the number two spot with My Life Again, Adam Brand's Get On Down The Road is up one to three while Troy Cassar-Daley's Last Mile Home is down to four.
Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French jump three places to five with All I Ever Need Is You, Josh Turner's Firecracker is steady at six as is Kirsty Lee Akers' Goin' To The Beach at seven.
The Flood's Can't Work No Longer bounds into the top 10 at number eight, as does Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow at nine while Keith Urban's Got It Right This Time is steady at 10.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright (15 to 11), Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue (18 to 14), Lou Bradley's Too Far Gone (25 to 22), Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' (26 to 23), Tom Curtain (pictured) with Heatwave (27 to 24) and Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (29 to 26).
The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2008
The Flood will make a guest appearance on "Mornings With Kerri-Anne" today.
The performance is scheduled for around 10.30am.
The band will perform their current single, Can’t Work No Longer which is at number 12 on the Country Tracks chart this week, "and climbing".
Weblink – www.theflood.com.au.
Most musicians wouldn’t think about getting a haircut never mind shaving it off.
On Friday March 15, Travis Collins did one very unselfish deed. During his show at Molong (NSW) he decided to lend a helping hand to Katie Fullwood, a four-year-old girl who was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks before.
That night, Travis made a choice to change her life forever. The deal was that if the audience could raise $2,500 for Katie’s fund, then Travis and his band and friends would all shave their heads.
"Her Name is"
Who could have ever predicted what would happen last Saturday. Firstly, just a bit of background for you.
Molong is a very small highway town in the central west of NSW, it has a couple of pubs, three cops, one bakery and a post office. It is also the town that my mum grew up in. Yep, Debbie Conroy – Molong Hockey team.
My whole family took a weekend off last year and went to the mighty metropolis of Molong just for a break, that’s where Mum met Dad, a travelling musician.
We had no idea we would stumble on to a music festival, run by mum’s best mate from school. Enter Jenny Barrow. The weekend was fun, filled with laughs.
Eight months later, Jenny would see me open for James Blundell in Orange NSW, same night she met Jetty Road. Discussions were had about playing the Molong festival in 2008... I figured i’d take the gig as a break just like the last time and take the family up with me for some partying and fun. Play the show Sat night.
On Saturday morning, heading up the Great Western Hwy, I wondered what awaited... had a good gut feeling that tonight was gonna be amazing... or is it just that I’d made my mind up already? I still don’t know the answer. All i know is I was looking forward to it. Immensely.
At the motel, I ran through the set and arrangements with Ben, Simon and Rusty from Jetty Road. They, along with Mitchell the fiddler, are my band tonight.
Being aware that it is the shave for a cure weekend, a big charity drive for the Leukemia Foundation... part of me wants to raise a lot of money... but i didn’t have any ideas. I asked Simon (who usually is shaven anyway but tonight has hair) if we could shave his head on stage. We set a target. Raise $500 to do it.
Here’s where it gets good.
At the pub before the gig, a local man comes up and asks if I can dedicate a song to Katie Fullwood tonight. She is a local girl who has captured every heart in Molong, tonight she is in Westmead hospital, diagnosed two weeks ago with Leukemia. She is four years old. Already in hardships, this family didn’t need this.
The scale of this situation hit me immediately. How could he have known about the conversation at the motel, the $500 and the leukemia foundation? Turns out he didn’t... but as Karma (you all know now how much i believe in it) would have it, he came to me with that story. I believe as human spirits on this earth that if we can do something, anything, to help someone... we should.
As a performer and public profile, the responsibility is greater and in my case, very welcome. I knew that once the guys and i took the stage, it was us that controlled what happened tonight. I told no-one of the new plan.
I asked Jenny Barrow to have a hairdresser here immediately.
So, on we went.. the town was alive, my god was there a buzz in Molong tonight. I could see my mum and dad watching from under a street lamp with pride... maybe the same lamp they stood under and stole kisses from each other over 30 years ago. Oh, time flies. The memories of this town for them are evident.
A few songs seem to fly past and I bring Michelle on stage, everybody wonders who she is and what she’s gonna sing... then I explain she is a hairdresser... and she’s here to shave the heads of every person on stage tonight, including mine, providing we can get $2,500 in the bucket for Katie Fullwood’s trust.
The town went crazy. Like I’ve never seen before. Katie’s kindergarten friends took the buckets around... 20 buckets in total. Magic was in the air. Something great was happening... People were cheering, some were crying, others just looked on with that gobsmacked "in-awe" look. This was really happening.
My very nervous mother (who later sang backing vocals) watched on with her hand covering her mouth in disbelief. What a sight to see! Ha ha!
Anyway, the band, myself, my two brothers, five other blokes and a husband and wife couple Paula and Peg all shaved our heads that night, on the stage.
Katie Fullwood’s trust is now around $4,000 better off from that one night alone.
Footnote: the photo above, taken by BJ from the drumkit, shows the whole band, Travis and his brothers on stage, bald, with the crowd of Molong "just firing" (to use Travis' words) in the background. Twenty of these were printed, framed and signed by "the bald guys" in the front and sold for $100 each with proceeds also going to Katie Fullwood’s trust.
"We can not always fix the problem," Travis said, "but we can all help in dealing with it."
Weblink – www.traviscollins.com.au.
Both audience members and reviewers have labelled the premiere of Jeanette Wormald’s multi-media show "Songs Of The Inland – Where Red Earth And Blue Sky Meet" at The Adelaide Fringe Festival as "brilliant".
Jeanette and her musicians, including musical director Michael Cristiano of Melbourne, took the audience on a journey into inland Australia through her original songs set against a backdrop of imagery from leading South Australian photographers Andrew Weller and Italo Vardaro.
In his on-line entertainment newsletter "JAPEG", Jeff Parham described the show as “brilliant” and gave it 4.84 stars out of five.
"With superlative changing backdrops of photographs of inland scenes (most South Australian), Wormald and a fine trio performed a brace of 14 songs about our country and characters within it... in an appealing variety of styles," he wrote.
"Proudly and passionately a country South Australian, it was unusual to hear SA place-names included in the lyrics of her songs. And it was striking to hear the ode about T Bone Of Whiskey Swamp done in sophisticated jazz style!"
Jeanette and her band were overwhelmed with the audience response directly after each show with many describing it as "brilliant", "fantastic" and the combination of songs and imagery as "mind-blowing".
Adelaide music magazine "Rip It Up" also gave the show a glowing review: "Projected still photography by Italo Vardaro and Andrew Weller introduced the visual part of the evening's performance. With this moving backdrop, a single note arco drone is sustained by accomplished double bassist/vocalist Ben Fuller, enhanced by the fine, layered voices of the 'boys' in the band, and finally completed by Jeanette’s gorgeous high harmony.
"Adding new textures to well-crafted folk/country songs with contrasting bossa and swing backing, remaining unassuming band members John Murphy on guitar/vocals, and guitarist/vocalist/musical director Michael Cristiano also sing in Pitjantjatjara and Ngarrindjeri."
Audience members braved 40 degree temperatures during Adelaide’s record heat wave earlier this month to watch the show which ran for two nights at the Church of the Trinity in Clarence Gardens.
Jeanette is developing the show, which includes a number of new songs, for national touring. She is also planning to release an album and DVD of the show.
Photo, by Andrew Weller (from left): John Murphy, Michael Cristiano, Jeanette and Ben Fuller.
Weblink – www.jeanettewormald.com.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2008
Kimber Sparks has announced the release of her debut album, It's Her Turn, with the first single release being Nowhere To Go.
Since she was "discovered" by Lee Kernaghan five years ago singing karaoke at the Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton, Kimber has been making a name for herself.
Her EP Go Get 'Em Girl produced three chart singles and video clips and now, the new album is set to take up where the EP left off.
Growing up in a small town in Alabama, USA, Kimber learnt to sing in church and ended up with a "down-home southern accent" which, as the release announcing the new album says, means "there’s no way Kimber Sparks could sound anything but Country!"
It’s Her Turn is described as "a real country album, the way she always intended it to be... filled with Kimber’s original songs, her lifetime of experiences laid bare from beautiful ballads to a bit of bluegrass, and a dash of sassiness and fun that we come to expect from 'Sparky'."
Produced by Bill Chambers and featuring Australian country music's "A" list of musicians, the album contains several co-written tracks and a duet with Bill, plus the much anticipated duet with USA country legend Vern Gosdin – Chiselled In Stone – which was written by Vern and Max D Barnes and was America's Country Song of the Year in 1989.
The single Nowhere To Go is now "at local radio stations".
Weblink – www.kimbersparks.net.
The final line-up for the upcoming benefit concert to aid former radio host and President of the Australian Country Music Listeners' Association Smoky Sheldrick has been announced.
Stars will include Rob Breese, Wayne Docherty, Maxine Flynn, Angela Hayden, Ian B MacLeod (Angela and Ian pictured), P & M Country, Michelle & David Styles with backing by the Cedar Creek Band. Compere will be Dave Reneke.
The benefit will be staged at the Wauchope (NSW) RSL Club on Saturday April 5.
Smoky Sheldrick, known to radio listeners on the mid-north coast as the host of Smoky’s Country Jukebox on 2Way-FM for many years, is in failing health and has been forced into an early retirement.
Benefit organisers say he still has a bright outlook but there is an air of urgency for him now to catch up with long lost relatives and friends and step back from the many country music commitments that gave him so much pleasure in the past.
The benefit concert, which will also include a fund-raising auction, will assist with mounting medical bills and future care costs.
Event Organiser Pauline Fisher stressed that neither Smoky nor his wife Paula had asked for assistance but after discussions with them, they are very grateful for any support.
"Many companies have donated their services," Pauline said, "including ACMEC Records who have provided a large amount of CDs and DVDs for the night. Most of the accommodation for visiting performers has been graciously donated by Timbertown Resort & Motel.
Further information can be obtained from Pauline on (02) 6562 1656.
The 10th anniversary Mutdapilly Country Music Muster will be staged this Saturday at Mutdapilly on the Cunningham Highway just south of Ipswich and Brisbane.
What started in 1999 as a 50th birthday party "in the backyard" has turned into a unique country music experience for the locals of the Boonah Shire.
"From these humble beginnings," said a spokesman for the organisers, "the idea to raise money for the local school came about, and the Mutdapilly Country Music Muster was born. The first few years were known as a very casual affair, with the first of many performers setting up stage on the grass.
"The stage then was upgraded to a couple of pallets, and then, they were retired to make way for a stage made by the local lads. As the event grew, the local school was asked to come and provide the catering for the growing numbers, and all proceeds were donated to the little school."
Many artists and personalities, both local and interstate, have now been known to make their way to the tiny municipality of Mutdapilly.
This year's line-up includes Rose Carleo (pictured), Paul Costa, Nellie Donovan, Kylie Hogan, Johnny Kaye, Tom McG, Sarah McMonagle and Matt Scullion (pictured).
Supported by 98.9FM, the Muster will also include skydivers, raffles, a licensed bar area as well as BYO, kids attractions, stalls, free camping and a ute show. The event kicks off at 3pm on Saturday.
Weblink – www.myspace.com/mutdapillycountrymusicmuster.
Meanwhile, a top line-up of country stars (and more) will feature as part of the Cutting Edge Beer & Wine Fest in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, on Saturday.
Entertainment will come from Chasing Bailey (pictured), Darren Clarke, Col Finley, the Kalander Band (German beer band), Buddy Knox, Ryan Sampson, The Sunny Cowgirls, Felicity Urquhart and Well Primed.
Tickets to the March 29 event are $50 and include wine tasting and the music. Proceeds from the event, being held at the Tamworth Racecourse, will benefit Tamworth Base Hospital.
The event will be one of the last performances by The Sunny Cowgirls before they start work on a new album. Sisters Sophie and Celeste Clabburn, are "pretty excited" to be heading into a studio again. "It seems like a lifetime ago we brought out Long Five Days and can’t wait to get cracking on this one," they said.
Kevin Attard, organiser of the event, hopes to sell all 3,000 tickets and raise about $90,000 for operating room equipment at the hospital. He said he was most grateful to local businesses which had donated $40,000 in kind and cash to help the event maximise its fundraising potential.
Tickets are available from Tourism Tamworth on 02 6767 5300, on-line at www.visittamworth.com or in person at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre on the corner of Peel and Murray Streets.
First held in 1978, the Festival has grown to become Australia’s largest country music talent quest with up to 700 contestants each year.
"The Charters Towers Country Music Festival focuses entirely on the promotion of all genres of country and Australian music and encourages the development of talent – both in vocal performance and song writing," said a spokesman for the organisers. The Festival is one of the leading events on the national country music calendar with a talent competition offering $30,000 in prizemoney.
"Discover the mother lode of country music in Queensland's Gold City, Charter Towers," the Festival spokesman said, "where the latest Australian talent will be unearthed and given the exciting opportunity to shine."
"Being a part of this Festival was a significant stepping stone in realising what was to become my career in country music," said multi Golden Guitar winner Brendon Walmsley (pictured), a previous Festival winner and one of Australia’s finest singer/songwriters.
"The Townsville Bulletin Charters Towers Country Music Festival encourages people to make music, to celebrate music and to support budding musicians and songwriters of all ages and invites participants Australia wide to take part in this annual event," the spokesman said.
"The event provides budding artists with an opportunity to gain performance experience in a professional event. Due to most participants being from remote locations, many would not have any other opportunity or avenue to further their interests and talents."
Multiple winner of the songwriting competition Robyn Lavery says: "The competition is a great opportunity to express emotions through songwriting. Being from a regional area and a country town in Australia this is a great way to have our songs and music heard. I encourage anyone who has an interest in country music or writing songs to enter into this year's competition."
The program allows for entrants of all ages to participate – for both performing artists and songwriters – in junior, juvenile and senior categories.
Entries for the songwriting competition are still open with all competition entries closing on April 1. The Festival will run over three days, Friday to Sunday, May 2 to 4 (Queensland's Labor Day holiday weekend).
Weblink – www.charterstowerscountrymusic.com.
MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2008
A crowd of around a thousand people crammed into The Hills Centre at Castle Hill in Sydney on Wednesday night to bid a public farewell to the legendary Smoky Dawson who died a little over a month ago on February 13.
Guest performers, in order of appearance, included The Howie Brothers, Jim Haynes, Melinda Schneider, Graeme Connors, The Schneider Sisters (Mary & Rita), Johnny Chester, Clair Hayes, Normie Rowe, James Blundell, Beccy Cole, Lee Kernaghan and John Williamson.
Tributes and dedications were presented by Lorrae Desmond, Nick Erby, Tim Fischer, Ray Hadley, John Kerr, Ray Martin, Colin Munro, Dick Smith and Stuart Wagstaff.
Media stars John Laws and Johnny Tapp featured on recorded tributes played on the giant video screen.
All profits from the night went to Bear Cottage, the children's charity Smoky founded.
Earlier last Wednesday, a special service was held at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth.
"The Northern Daily Leader" reported that representatives from the Freemasons and the RSL – both organisations that Smoky was involved with – spoke of Smoky’s service to his community, and country Salvation Army Captain Mark Everitt led the sombre occasion.
"Smoky did his bit with that valuable entertainment spirit that he and his unit had that the soldiers enjoyed," he said, thanking Smoky for his service on behalf of the RSL.
Smoky was also a strong member of the Freemasons and fellow Freemason Arthur Jeffries spoke of his memories of Smoky. He said he first met Smoky at an early Tamworth Country Music Festival and then had him on a Cavalcade float in the 1990s to promote Freemasonry.
"The community loved him so much," he said. "He was a giving man."
The service concluded with a poem written by Australian Country Music Foundation member Barry Davis on his memories of Smoky.
Tamworth woman Carole Copeland reminisced about riding with Smoky to lead many of the Country Music Festival Cavalcades on her horses after Smoky contacted her about borrowing one of her horses because it was similar to his beloved "Flash".
Smoky’s childhood was not forgotten during the service with reference made to his difficult upbringing at the hands of his father. This did not leave Smoky a bitter man.
A musical tribute was given during the service with Lynette Guest and Kevin Harris singing a duet of "Old Khancoban".
Photos: Smoky "oversees proceedings" at the end of the tribute concert in Sydney with (from left) Johnny Chester, John Howie and John Williamson while Melinda Schneider sings a moving tribute with the wax figure of "Flash" standing dutifully.
Catherine Britt (pictured) takes over the number one spot on this week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her latest hit Little Wildflower.
Troy Cassar-Daley number one from the last to weeks – Last Mile Home – slips to number two while The McClymonts' My Life Again edges up one more place to three and Adam Brand's Get On Down The Road jumps three places to number four.
Lee Kernaghan's Sassafras Gap is at five, America's Josh Turner is at six with Firecracker while Kirsty Lee Akers' Goin' To The Beach rises one more spot to seven,
Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French rise to eight with All I Ever Need Is You, Travis Collins' Don't Win Enough is at nine while Keith Urban's Got It Right This Time enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include The Flood's Can't Work No Longer (15 to 12), Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow (16 to 13), Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright (18 to 15), Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (20 to 17), Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue (22 to 18) and Markus Meier's The Beating Heart (24 to 21).
New entries in the chart this week include Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (in at 29).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2007
Col Finley will make a guest appearance on this week’s episode of "A Real Seachange" which airs on the Seven and Prime Networks at 8.30pm tonight.
"The Real Seachange" is an Australian reality television series narrated by actor John Howard. The series follows families, couples and singles who leave "the big cities" behind in search of a better life.
A good friend and former Airforce colleague of Col’s, Max embarked on the challenge along with his wife and three children. They moved from Adelaide to the small country town of Georgetown in South Australia to run the local pub. After a few altercations with the locals, the town grew to like Max and his family.
Max and Col were Police Dog Handlers in the RAAF and this week, Col pops in to catch up with his "old mate" and play a couple of tunes at the pub for the locals.
Weblink – www.colfinley.com.au.
Among numerous country music activities running this Easter is the Homebush Easter Country Music Muster at The Homebush Hotel between Balranald and Ivanhoe in Victoria.
Stars announced for the event, which runs over two days this Saturday and Sunday (March 22 and 23) include Beccy Cole, Paul Costa, David Delle-Vergin, Peter Denahy, Jonah's Road, Travis Sinclair and The Sunny Cowgirls (pictured).
Although the Muster concentrates on the Saturday and Sunday, activities extend into Monday with a Jim Haynes Bush Brekky Show scheduled.
Weblink – www.homebushcountry.com.au.
Australian country superstar Adam Harvey is "doin' more than alright" as he heads into what will be his biggest year yet, including a tour with Creedence Clearwater Revival legend John Fogerty this month.
John's Australian tour, co-inciding with a guest appearance at the Byron Bay Blues Festival this Easter, touches down in Melbourne tonight, Brisbane next Wednesday and Sydney next Thursday.
Playing with John "is a thrill for me," Adam said. "I’ve always been such a huge fan of (his) music and to tour with someone I respect and admire so much is a real honour."
Adam appeared with US superstars Brooks & Dunn at their two sold-out concerts in Brisbane recently and and is touring now with Aussie singer/songwriter Catherine Britt who has just returned home after living and working in Nashville for the past six years.
In addition to these appearances, Adam is also starring in the cast of Channel 7’s smash-hit television series "It Takes Two" acting as mentor and singing partner to television personality Sara Groen.
Weblink – www.adamharvey.com.au.
A benefit night will be held this coming Tuesday night (March 25) at The Bridge Hotel, Rozelle (Sydney), for Sam Hawksley who recently suffered the theft of a large amount of musical instruments and equipment.
Sam will feature with his band, along with stars including Adam Brand, Karl Broadie, Travis Collins, The Flood, Glen Hannah, Rick Price and Felicity Urquhart.
The night kicks off at 8. Admission is $20.
Sam, meanwhile, features among entertainers at a new venue, Parramatta NSW's Mars Hill Cafe in Church Street.
This Saturday night (March 22), under the banner "The Orphanage Sessions" (as well as Sam) artists include Karl Broadie and Dave Walls with rising stars Jessica Belle and Caitlin Harnett and The Orphans.
MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2008
Nick Erby has been presented with his second International Country Broadcaster Award by America's Country Music Association (CMA).
Widely regarded as one of country music's leading broadcasters in Australia, Nick has produced and hosted country music radio and television programs for more than 30 years. Currently, he heads up Country Music Radio originating every weekend from 2TM in Tamworth and broadcast on 38 commercial stations in Australia on the Super Radio Network, including 2SM Sydney and streaming online at 2sm.com.au.
"I'm very grateful for the recognition from CMA," said a surprised Nick. "It comes at a very exciting time for country music in Australia. Our local industry is now very strong, with some wonderful talent emerging every year."
For 20 years, Nick produced and hosted the "National Country Music Jamboree" – a weekly, syndicated program which was broadcast on 68 regional and metro radio stations. He also hosted "Nick Erby's Country Close Up" (1980-1982) and "Nick Erby's Country Music Video" (1994-1995) for television.
During his successful broadcast career, Nick has filled management positions at commercial stations 2CC Canberra, 3UZ Melbourne and 2UE Sydney. From the late '80s, he headed up 2TM Tamworth's country music division which broadcast the nightly program "Hoedown" that was later renamed CMR. He also is a regular contributor to "Country Music Capital News".
Nick previously won the CMA International Country Broadcaster Award in 1997, the first year the Award was presented. He will launch the internet radio station "CMR OnLine" by the end of April.
The CMA International Country Broadcaster Award recognises outstanding achievement by radio broadcasters outside the United States who have made important contributions to the development of country music in their country. Up to three recipients may be named in one year. The award does not have to be presented annually.
Jackie Rae Greening, Operations Manager and Program Director of Newcap Radio's two country stations (CFCW and the Big Earl) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and Georges Lang of RTL France were presented with the 2007 CMA International Country Broadcaster Award earlier this year.
Photo (from left): Australian based CMA Board member Rob Potts, Kix Brooks (CMA Board member), Nick, CMA Board member Clarence Spalding and Ronnie Dunn. Photo by Dean Turnbull.
Darren Coggan has released a new album titled War Stories.
War Stories is a salute in words and music to those men and women who served their country, in every arena, from the Boer War through to the latest terrorist threat.
It salutes the ANZACs, and tells the small stories that make up the big picture that is Australia at war, according to the release announcing the album launch. The songs were penned by Darren and Ken McBeath "and tend to put a more human face on Australia's military history," the release said.
"They're the stories of characters and incidents, from various wars that Australia has been involved with. War Stories aims to make these chapters of our military history more personal, more human to the listener through tracks such as the first single, the powerful Too Dark For The Light Horse (Too Light For The Clan).
"In light of the Rudd Government's apology to the Aboriginal people of Australia, this song uncovers yet another blemished chapter in our nation's history and the indignity and degradation inflicted on a proud people within the armed forces.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have served with distinction in all of this country's major wars, yet in the armed forces, Aboriginal soldiers were only paid a third of the wage of a white soldier. Many Aboriginal soldiers and pilots who distinguished themselves during the war returned home to find that nothing had changed.
"Despite such discrimination, our Aboriginal brothers joined the armed forces in droves. They were fighting a bigger battle, to belong as Australians. However, for many individuals, joining the white man's fight often put them at odds with their own tribes and clans."
This whole War Stories project was originally conceived as part of an educational tool to target high school students, but has become so much more than that, the release said. "Just take one listen to the new single and you will want to hear more."
The album will be released nationally in April 2008.
Weblink – www.darrencoggan.com.
One fan of the late Smoky Dawson is so determined to be part of the tribute concert honouring the Australian country music pioneer this Wednesday night that he is driving more than 2000 kilometres to be there.
The un-named fan is driving from Longreach in Queensland just to cook for the cast and crew... "just one example of what a big part Smoky Dawson was to some people’s lives," said a spokesman for the concert organisers
The Adventures of Smoky Dawson… A Life Remembered will be held at The Hills Centre for the Performing Arts at Castle Hill, Sydney on Wednesday night at 7.30pm and fans, friends and volunteers are flying and driving from Perth, Queensland, Victoria and all over NSW to be a part of and assist with the event.
From Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital, the city has farewelled a team of locals en route to Sydney to support the huge commemorative concert.
Producer of the tribute concert and long-time friend of Smoky's Glenn T said the support for the event had been overwhelming with all the door staff at The Hills Centre including their regular security company and cleaning staff volunteering their services, organisations like Rotary and staff from Australia Post have also given freely.
"The love and respect for Smoky is so evident in the generosity that has been given," he said. "Most of the volunteers knew Smoky and Dot Dawson over many years and wanted to be part of the tribute. Our book is full – thanks to an army of wonderful volunteers."
Tickets for concert are available through Ticketek on telephone 132 849 or on-line at www.ticketek.com.au.
Photo: John Arnold.
A special tribute service for Smoky, meanwhile, will be held at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, at 10.30am this Wednesday, March 19, the same day as the giant tribute concert to the country music legend in Sydney.
The day is Smoky’s birthday. He would have been 95 this year.
Captain Mark Everitt from The Salvation Army will conduct the service in Tamworth with tributes from organisations which Smoky was a member of including Rotary, the RSL and the Masonic Lodge.
Organisers of the service, the Australian Country Music Foundation, administrators of the Hall of Fame, have extended an invitation to the public to attend. Morning tea will be served following the service.
Weblink – www.acmf.org.au.
The ecstatic dad admitted this was his "best production" to date and thanked his beaming co-producer, wife Michelle.
Kerrigan Jnr weighed in at 8 pounds 1.5 ounces and the birth was described as "an 11th hour miraculous normal delivery".
Weblink – www.kerriganlabrooy.com.
Alan Jackson’s Good Time will debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 and the Billboard Top Country Albums charts this week, with first-week SoundScan sales of 119,151, marking his fourth album to hit the top spots simultaneously on week of release.
"You’d think that Jackson was a closet numerologist," said a spokesman for SonyBMG, Alan's record label, "since Good Time is his 17th album and contains 17 songs, all written by Jackson (a first) over the course of 71 satisfying minutes. The first single from the album, Small Town Southern Man, is Jackson’s 51st single and has been steadily climbing the charts.
Good Time reunites Alan with longtime producer Keith Stegall and marks his return to traditional country after his critically acclaimed Precious Memories and Like Red On A Rose.
"Songs include the sweetly poignant Sissy’s Song," said SonyBMG, "inspired by a longtime Jackson family friend and employee who passed away, the nostalgic 1976, the joys of being a Country Boy and a rollicking duet with Martina McBride, Never Loved Before."
Described as an artist by and for the people, Alan said he made this album with his fans in mind: "I felt like I wanted something that had some fun on it, he said.
Weblink – www.alanjackson.com.
The Canadian Country Music Awards, held during the nation's annual Country Music Week, are heading back to Edmonton. But fans will have to hold onto their hats for another couple years.
"The Edmonton Sun" reported at a press conference last week, Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Heather Ostertag presented the city's Mayor Stephen Mandel with an award marking the Edmonton's successful bid to host the country music extravaganza in 2010. The last time Country Music Week and the affiliated awards ceremony was held in Edmonton was 2004 and Ostertag expressed her enthusiasm about partnering with our city once again.
"Edmonton has always been a most gracious host for Country Music Week and the CCMA Awards," she said.
Country Music Week 2010 will take place from September 10 to 13 with the CCMA Awards, established in 1983 to support and commemorate the growth of country music in Canada, scheduled for the final day.
This year's CCMAs will be held in Winnipeg, with Vancouver playing host in 2009.
Weblink – www.ccma.org.
FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2008
Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Galston in conjunction with the Galston Country Music Festival, the award is designed "to give exposure to our most promising Australian talent overseas".
"The song I chose to promote her on over 800 radio stations throughout the UK and Europe is the title track of her debut album released by Compass Brothers called Little Things," Frank said.
"At the end of the first week of March, it had made its debut appearance in the European Country Music top 20 at number 13 and reached number nine in the Independent Artists UK Radio chart. We expect even bigger things for Kirsty over the next few months.
"People have affectionately referred to Kirsty as 'the Pocket Rocket' and at little more than 4 foot 10 inches (in the old scale) in high heels, she certainly is living proof of the adage 'good things come in small packages'," Frank said. "When first I saw this pretty young blonde from Kurri Kurri NSW, she was just 17 years old performing at the grand final of the 2004 Music & Arts Talent Search (MATS) of which I am proudly the Patron.
"Not only was she a winner of the contest, but went on to take out my 2005 Patrons Choice Award. Then she surprised us all by gaining an American Song Writers Award for her self-penned song Bashed Up, Beaten, Battered, Broken Heart.
"However, the icing on the cake was when she became the winner of the coveted Toyota Star Maker Quest in January 2007 joining the ranks of previous outstanding Australian winners such as Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole and Travis Collins.
"Then in January, she added another string to her bow by achieving a life-long ambition being crowned New Talent of the Year at... Tamworth and by winning her first Golden Guitar, Kirsty has claimed her place as one of Australian country music's brightest young stars."
Photo: Frank Ifield (right) presents his 2008 International Spur Award to Kirsty Lee Akers along with Tony Page of The Rotary Club of Galston. The presentation was made during last night's Canterbury Country at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club in Sydney (photo by Bob Howe).
Rising country star Amber Lawrence has signed with management group Entertainment Consulting.
Among Entertainment Consulting's other artists currently are singer/songwriter Simon Bruce, actor Nick Hardcastle and pop star Deni Hines.
"On first hearing Amber’s debut album The Mile I thought, wow, this is a great singer," said the management group's Karen-lee Goody. "After flicking through the album booklet, I realised that Amber also wrote or co-wrote the album and the wow factor went up another ten levels.
"The songs are heartfelt, memorable, catchy and the album was well rounded and all this on a debut, I was very impressed and wanted to know more. Amber and I met regularly over three months for chats about music, career, direction and I quickly realised (she had) the tenacity and passion required of a successful artist. Her dedication is exceptional and she doesn’t mind rolling up the sleeves to do the hard work that it takes to reach higher."
"To be working with someone who has the same drive and passion for my music as I do is so exciting," Amber said. "I think KL (Karen-lee) and I will be a great team, and I look forward to the expertise that (she) will bring to the table."
Amber's first two singles – Things That Bring Me Down and Gonna Fly – have reached the top three on radio charts across the country and Amber had a number one hit on CMC (Country Music Channel) for Things That Bring Me Down.
The third single – Good Girls – is being released this month accompanied by a video portraying two Ambers ("the good girl and the not so good girl"). In addition to live shows and touring commitments throughout 2008, Amber has started writing for her second album which will be released in early 2009.
Weblink – www.amberlawrence.com.au.
Sydney's Royal Easter Show kicks off next Thursday and one of the major visitor services is Show Radio which has been providing a live stream of up-to-the-minute information at the Show for more than 10 years.
Radio students from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School broadcast from the site, bringing Showgoers the latest Show information.
The music on Show Radio is predominantly country music with "a soothing hit of country music’s past, present and future stars".
In adition to the music, handy information includes hot tips on parking, weather, transport and what’s on. There will also be feature interviews with Show celebrities, exhibitors and visitors.
Show Radio will be broadcasting live every day of the Show from Thursday March 20 to Wednesday April 2 on 107.9FM.
Weblink – www.eastershow.com.au.
Troy Cassar-Daley's latest hit – Last Mile Home – remains at the top of the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.
Catherine Britt's Little Wildflower edges up one more place to number two while Lee Kernaghan's former number Sassafras Gap drops back to three and The McClymonts' My Life Again is also up another place to four.
Travis Collins' Don't Win Enough slips to fifth position, Josh Turner's Firecracker is at six while Adam Brand's Get On Down The Road jumps three places to number seven.
Kirsty Lee Akers' Goin' To The Beach edges up one place to eight, Dwight Yoakam's Close Up The Honky Tonks is down to nine while Camile Te Nahu & Stuie French (pictured) enter the top 10 at 10 with All I Ever Need Is You.
Bullet performers for the week include Steve Forde's Summer's Little Angel (15 to 12), The Flood's Can't Work No Longer (18 to 15), Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow (19 to 16), Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright (23 to 18), Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (24 to 20), Ronni Rae Rivers' Cowboys Come Home (25 to 21), Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue (26 to 22), Markus Meier's The Beating Heart (28 to 24) and Lou Bradley's Too Far Gone (30 to 27).
New entries in the chart for the coming week include Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' (in at 28) and Tom Curtain's Heatwave (in at 29).
The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2008
Australian of the Year and country music superstar Lee Kernaghan will make an extraordinary effort to participate in the tribute concert – The Adventures Of Smoky Dawson... A Life Remembered – at the Hills Centre in Castle Hill in northern Sydney next Wednesday.
Despite a distant prior engagement, Lee is determined to pay tribute to his old friend Smoky. After a headline performance earlier in the evening at the National Rugby League launch in Nowra on the NSW south coast, Lee will travel direct to Castle Hill arriving in time to appear on the tribute stage and close the show. Lee has always expressed his admiration for Smoky who, he said, was an inspiring man who had given so much to so many.
In another late announcement, country music's “A team” musical director Rod McCormack from the Central Coast, has agreed to oversee a band of top musicians to back the host of stars who will be performing. Rod is renowned for his involvement over many years in the Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth and many other major country music events, as well as being one of the industry's most successful record producers.
The full artist line-up for the concert (as of Monday), in alphabetical order, is James Blundell, Adam Brand, Beccy Cole, Graeme Connors, Johnny Chester, Lorrae Desmond, Clair Hayes, Jim Haynes, The Howie Brothers, Gina Jeffreys, Pixie Jenkins, Lee Kernaghan, Normie Rowe, Melinda Schneider, Mary Schneider, Rita Schneider, Johnny Tapp, "Bud" Tingwell and John Williamson.
Personalities Nick Erby, Ray Hadley, John Kerr, John Laws, Ray Martin, Colin Munro, Dick Smith and Michael Willesee will also appear.
And in other news, the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre in Tamworth will be lending the show a wax statue of Smoky and his horse Flash while Tony Jablonski, head of R M Williams Australia's “Outback Spectacular” will be sourcing a live Palomino stand-in for the legendary steed. Other memorabilia will be coming from the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach.
More than 50 years after The Pub With No Beer became Australia's biggest selling record, Slim Dusty is riding high again on both the Australian country and pop charts simultaneously.
The newly released Slim Dusty Family Reunion album was released on March 1 and debuted at number one on the national ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Country Chart and at 15 on the mainstream Top 100 Albums Chart.
Three generations of the Slim Dusty family are involved in the recording and have been fittingly rewarded this week with glowing reviews and crossover country/pop chart success for the CD, a musical collaboration featuring original material by the family and Slim songs from "the vault".
"It certainly goes to prove that the legacy of the young bloke who 70 years ago decided to adopt the name Slim Dusty is in safe hands," according to a spokesman for EMI Music, Slim's record label.
"Pick It Up And Pass It On, written by Paul Kelly especially for the family project, is one of several songs on the album proving a real favourite with reviewers and Slim fans alike," EMI said.
"Slim’s wife, Joy McKean, his children David and Anne and his four grandchildren, have done exactly as Paul suggested and Slim would no doubt have wanted, by honouring the family tradition and infusing it with new energy and new voices. Judging by the early response to the Reunion album, the fans are loving it!"
"We are overwhelmed by all the support shown to our family on the release of our Reunion album," said Anne Kirkpatrick, "thank you one and all."
"With an album that truly features so many highlights, there would have to be special praise for Slim and Joy’s grandchildren (James, Hannah, Kate and Daniel)," EMI said. "Their individual musical contributions would have greatly pleased the 'old man'. Slim was always a staunch advocate of young people following their own direction and finding their own voice – they certainly have achieved that."
"The chart positions are fantastic and make us all really eager to get out on the road in July and perform all the album material live," said James Arneman.
Reunion features 12 songs inspired by memories of Slim and three previously unreleased Slim Dusty recordings. A bonus DVD titled Behind The Reunion is being offered with the album for a limited time featuring interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
Organisers estimate a crowd of 40,000 attended the 20 venues featuring country music at NSW's The Entrance and surrounds over the weekend for the 2008 ANZ Central Coast Country Music Festival.
"The Memorial Park was alive with people from Saturday morning as crowds arrived early to get a good spot on the park to view the great line up of entertainment," said a spokesman for the organisers. "The day started with the Youth Showcase sponsored by Mars Food Australia supporting youth and up-coming stars on the country music circuit and finished with an amazing performance by Golden Guitar winner for her highest selling album Melinda Schneider (pictured) who had a surprise in store for the crowds with her mother Mary Schneider making a special guest appearance on stage.
"There were also great performances from Nicki Gillis, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French and the classic comedian Col Elliott who had the crowd in fits of laughter throughout his humorous show.
"The Sails Stage wasn’t left out though with some people seated in front of the stage and the shady areas throughout the day to watch the great acts on offer, performances by Lucky Starr, Angela Hayden, Tamara Stewart and the Chicken Train Skifflers keeping the crowds entertained. Sunday on the Sails Stage also had a great line up with Daniel Thompson, Grant Richardson, Bryen Willems and Caitlin Holland just to name a few."
Sunday kicked off with a Poets Breakfast on the Sails Stage which had the Waterfront Plaza almost full. People again flocked early to Memorial Park ready to enjoy the Chic Frontier – Golden Guitar winners Kirsty Lee Akers and Dianna Corcoran plus Amber Lawrence and Aleyce Simmonds. "They amazed all with their power packed performance and amazing finale," the spokesman said.
"The Sunday finished off with crowd favorites The Wolverines with their unique blend of tongue in cheek humor and hard hitting music. These likable rogues performed an act that was visual, extremely musical and totally entertaining."
Attendance by buskers this year was extraordinary, organisers said, with almost double the amount lining the main street and performing inside shops, carrying on the country theme throughout the town.
"Overall, this festival was a huge success, paving the way for an exciting and bigger 2009 festival!"
When Tim Ryan of "Truck’n with Tim" fame was called to the stage to receive the People’s Choice Award for Most Popular Country Music Radio Program at Tamworth this year, Jayne Denham was honoured to step up and receive the award on his behalf.
Tim has been a huge supporter of Jayne’s music and she has made guest appearances on the show a number of times. When Jayne appeared on Tim's radio program in December last year promoting her latest single Cousin Jude, the story of a female truck driver, a deal was struck.
As they were both nominated for People’s Choice Awards, and Tim was unable to make it to the presentation, Jayne offered on-air to collect the award if he won. Both were joking at the time as Tim didn’t think he stood a chance up against some stiff competition. When Jayne called Tim to tell him about the win, he was overwhelmed that people had voted him number one.
When Jayne performed at the Bunyip Country Music Festival in Victoria in February, she invited Tim on stage to officially accept the award. The crowd cheered on the Victorian DJ for his success. "Ten years of hard work building the radio program had finally paid off for Tim Ryan and his biggest supporter, wife Kathy," Jayne said.
Tim's program – "Truck'n With Tim" goes to air Saturdays on the Gippsland's Gold 1242AM and on the ACE Radio Network across Victoria and southern NSW on Sundays.
Rising country star Peter Denahy (left) teamed up with critically acclaimed Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Paul Hicks at this year's just concluded Brunswick Music Festival.
Peter is enjoying widespread popular appeal with the runaway success of his latest single Sort Of Dunno Nothin' which has featured on Channel 7's Sunrise and Morning programs and is currently receiving widespread airplay on radio stations around the country. The accompanying video clip, described as "a bona fide trans-generational hit", has to date been viewed more than 127,000 times via the popular internet site YouTube.
The single is the second from Peter's new album Picture In A Frame which also includes a couple of co-writes with Paul.
"Pete and I organised to do a little gig together a couple of years ago at the Patchewollock Pub," Paul said, "which is in a one-horse town located in the Mallee, not far from where Pete lives. While I was over there, we decided to spend another couple of days having a crack at some co-writing. The end result was a lot of empty bottles of red, though we did manage to tease out a couple of songs which managed to find their way on to his new album."
Since relocating back to Melbourne at the end of last year, Paul has also been experiencing some success of his own with his song Making My Way Back Home (from the album Food For The Journey) being selected as one of 15 finalists in the Performance category of the highly regarded International Songwriting Competition (ISC). Finalists in each of the 19 categories were selected from more than 15,000 entries, making it quite an achievement.
'I'm certainly honoured to be included among such a talented bunch of songwriters," Paul said. "The ISC seems to have been growing enormously in profile over the past few years and so I'm really pleased, especially given it's the first time I've entered."
Peter and Paul played The Cornish Arms Hotel, at Brunswick on Sunday, March 9.
Christie Eliezer reported in his column at themusic.com.au that "The Sydney Daily Telegraph" had revealed that among the 10 Australians taken hostage last week by a crazed bomber who jumped into their tour bus in Shanghai, China, was 21-year old NSW country music singer Taryn Trautsch.
The bomber threatened to detonate explosives strapped around his waist, and was later shot by police.
Taryn was among a group of travel agents checking out Chinese cities before the Olympics.
Cessnock City in the NSW Hunter Valley will be hosting its second annual Country Music Festival this May.
The festival will be held over three days from May 23 to May 25 predominantly at the East Cessnock Bowling Club.
Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Rhonda Astill said: "We are delighted to be presenting an outstanding line-up of artists over the three days and we feel overwhelmed by the support of so many Cessnock businesses including major sponsor PFI Net, Reg Lindsay Rodeo Promotions, Comfort Inn Cumberland, Goanna Print, L J Hooker, O'Neill's Tyres and SSS BBQ Barns.
"Secretary Manager of the Bowling Club Marlene Hartog has again commited great support for the event by providing the perfect venue and we are pleased to announce details of the Festival program," Rhonda said.
The Festival will kick off on Friday evening, with Carter and Carter (pictured) and Kirsty Lee Akers. On Saturday evening, the Feral Swing Katz will perform with Grant Richardson and the Tamara Stewart.
Organisers have also announced free daytime entertainment featuring Makaylie Foodey, Nicki Gillis, Amber Lawrence, Bob Pigott Lisa White and Rob Wilson on the Saturday and Kellie Cain, Sharnee Fenwick, Bruce McCumstie, Victoria McGee, Alby Pool, Melody Pool and Felicity Urquhart on the Sunday. Shows on both days will be from 10.30am to 5.00pm.
"Following huge demand from country music fans," Rhonda said, "we are pleased to announce a second venue, the Cessnock City Bowling Club, will present a free day of balladeers... Laura Downing with 2008 Golden Guitar Winner Amos Morris, Charley Boyter and his band, Melissa Bajric, Bob Easter and Rick Hopkins, who will perform on the Sunday from 10.30am to 5.00pm."
Ticket enquiries and bookings can be made from April 1 at East Cessnock Bowling Club on 02 4990 1444.
Canadian Roots Artist of the Year Corb Lund is returning to Australia to perform a series of dates in conjunction with an appearance at Byron Bay’s East Coast Blues & Roots Festival this month.
Following his success at the 2005 Festival, the multi-award-winning, singer/songwriter will also be bringing his band, The Hurtin' Albertans with him for the East Coast tour in support of his fifth album release, Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier.
Growing up in Taber, Alberta, Corb's lineage boasts more than a century of cowboys and, thanks to his keen lyrical pen, he has been able to pass on many of those distinctly Albertan anecdotes throughout his songs.
Even though he has often written songs about horses before, he goes one step further on Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier, coupling his favorite theme with warfare. "It’s been almost a century since most of us pondered the cavalry’s integral role in military history," he said.
Corb's appearances will include dates with America's Gary Allan on his "Living Hard" tour which also features Australia's Steve Forde and Morgan Evans.
See On Tour for details.
Weblink – www.corblund.com.
The just published 40th edition of the biannual "Australasian Music Industry Directory" marks its 20th year in the business.
In 1987, its publisher, Phil Tripp, then 37, suffered a massive heart attack and died for a few minutes on the hospital bed. Stuck with the prospect of staying in hospital for months, he worked on the first edition with a small computer and a single phone line.
The "Directory" has been copied unsuccessfully and now has a full-time staff of six who look after 70 different categories.
The 20th-year edition has a bonus 20-page section looking at changes in the industry over the past two decades, advice on how to succeed in the new music business and quotes from top industry figures on their best advice scattered throughout the 200 pages of listings.
As Phil notes, "Things have changed a lot since 1988 when EMI had a five-digit phone number and telexes were the only extra numbers in listings, not mobile phones, fax, email, IM or Skype contacts like now.
"We've grown from 96 pages of Australian-only listings in our first print Directory to over 400 at the peak of the industry in 1998 and now just over 220 as the industry has shrunk, but we've survived and thrived by being digital too."
Weblink – www.immedia.com.au.
MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2008
Kasey Chambers has announced details of a major regional acoustic tour of Australia from May.
Tickets go on sale next Monday (March 17) for the tour which will take in 26 regional towns, including places where Kasey has never performed as well as places she hasn't been in many years.
For the first time, fans around the country will see Kasey perform in intimate acoustic mode. "Supported on stage by Shane Nicholson and Bill Chambers, the show is a chance to experience Kasey's music and the inimitable charm of her live show in the stripped back style she does so well," said the release announcing the tour.
Kasey, who has been taking a well-earned 18-month break from touring to give birth to baby Arlo, her first child with husband Shane Nicholson, has sold well over a million albums and become one of Australia's most respected female performers.
Kasey and Shane also spent that time writing songs for their first album collaboration, an "extraordinary country roots" album titled Rattlin' Bones, due out on April 19.
"As well as showcasing material from her and Shane's new album, this (tour) will be a great opportunity for fans to see all their favourite songs from her four multi-platinum albums in an intimate acoustic concert."
Details of tour dates announced so far can be viewed on the On Tour page..
Weblink – www.kaseychambers.com.au.
Three bush ballad and traditional country favourites, meanwhile, will be combining their talents for what promises to be one of the best traditional country shows this year as the "Old Mates Tour".
Golden Guitar winner Jeff Brown (middle) and multi-award winning singer/songwriter Dean Perrett (left) join forces with country guitar great Charley Boyter for a short tour of coastal Queensland and northern NSW.
The tour kicks off in Toowoomba, Queensland, on March 30 and heads north to Home Hill, Mackay, Rockhampton and Bundaberg. Then, the touring party turns south to Wauchope, Yamba and Kyogle.
After a successful show during the Tamworth Festival, Dean, Jeff and Charley say they are looking forward to working these shows together.
Jeff will be performing songs from his new truck album The Open Road as well as many of the bush ballads he is known for.
Charley’s traditional country guitar picking style will be a feature for the shows and Dean’s bush ballads and songs of Australia are expected to be a highlight.
"We hope to see you there when the ol’ mates hit the road," the touring trio says.
Every year, South Australian based country music identity Wally Sparrow presents two awards following his annual pilgrimage to Tamworth. One is for the Best New Talent in Tamworth and the second is for the Best Live Act in Tamworth.
This year's winners are Harmony James from Tennant Creek, NT (New Talent) and Jetty Road (pictured) from Ringwood, Vic.
The awards are selected by Wally and presented by Wally together with "The South Australian Stock Journal". The award benefits include publicity and promotion in South Australia and regular airplay.
Past award winners include most of the top acts in Australia along with some of the most successful challengers. Last year's winners were Markus Meier and Lee Kernaghan.
"Our congratulations and best wishes go to these two great acts," Wally said.
Sinead Burgess, recently signed ABC artist and winner of the 2006 Toyota Muster Maton Talent Search has been announced as support to American pop legend Don McLean on his current Australian tour.
And pundits say the Caboolture, Queensland, native may just yet equal their number one son Keith Urban.
Sinead, who recently graduated from Year 12, had to be briefed about Don by her proud parents, although she knew his signature hit American Pie "and a couple of others".
"When I found out I was supporting Don I got the lowdown from my mum and dad," Sinead said. "I can name about three of his songs. I was learning a little while ago how to play Vincent (Starry Starry Night) instrumentally."
Sinead has toured as far south as Tamworth to date but gets to hit Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart as Don's support act. The songwriting superstar has already played Cairns, features in Tamworth this Wednesday night while the final gig on his 12-show tour is in Brisbane on March 27.
Seventeen-year-old Sinead scored a record deal with ABC Music after being "discovered" around the country music festival scene including at the Toyota Muster.
"A single will be recorded in April and comes out later in the year," said Sinead who started out in the country music industry four years ago.
Her "resume" to date includes support gigs with James Blundell and Graeme Connors and she says her idol is, of course, local legend Keith.
"Keith has been one of my biggest influences," she said. "My goal in life is to make a career out of my music. My dream is to be known both in Australia and overseas for entertaining."
Just one month after winning the 2008 People’s Choice Award for Best Album, Steve Eales has released the third single – and title track – from his award-winning album The Battler.
Since launching his solo debut album in July last year, Steve grabbed 13 finalist nominations in the space of seven months – six in the Victorian & National Country Music Awards, five in the Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards and two Bluedog TIARAs (Tamworth Independent Artist Recognition Awards), taking home the bacon with the coveted Best Album title from the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
And he featured in the centrefold of the February edition of "Country Music Capital News" where he’s country music’s "man of the month" in the two page spread. ("There’s no sassy naked shots but Steve is the celebrity centrefold star!")
The Battler is an autobiography of the man behind the microphone, and is described as a personal track, thus the most obvious choice for the album title. "With true to life lyrics, this song represents what Steve has observed in most top artist around the world," said the release announcing the new single.
"As you sit back and listen to the The Battler you will hear a common yet till now unsung story unfold."
"Every artist I know has a story of hardship and struggle," Steve said. "If I was to take a line out of the song that could sum up what I’ve observed in most top artists around the world it would be this: 'his obsession drives his loved ones away, while his success makes him a new friend every day'."
"Some of the songs on the album are light topics or fun but The Battler is deep; it carries weight and it’s very close to my heart."
Photo: Steve with his Best Album award.
Weblink – www.steveeales.com.au.
"American Country Countdown (ACC)" – the US country hit radio countdown hosted by Brooks & Dunn's Kix Brooks (pictured) – will broadcast two special episodes in the coming weeks while the hit duo is touring "down under".
Kix will be recording two programs in Australia during the tour, in Melbourne and Sydney.
The shows will include discussion of American celebrities and music artists with Australian roots as well as the country’s "warm and inviting culture".
Kix will also air his interview with Keith Urban on the top spots to see and what to do while visiting Australia for the benefit of his many thousands of listeners at home.
The Australian episodes of "ACC" will air in America on the weekends of March 15/16 and March 22/23.
Weblink – www.americancountrycountdown.com.
FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2008
Songwriters will converge on Sydney next month for Song Summit Sydney (S³) – a unique event dedicated to the art and craft of songwriting, presented by APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) and AMCOS (Australian Music Copyright Owners' Association) together with the NSW Government.
The Summit will run from April 3 to 5 and is designed for music creators, managers, publishers, technicians, marketers, lawyers and deal makers.
According to organisers, the Summit will be "three dynamic days of learning, networking, workshops and, of course, performances".
"Whether you’re just starting out or trying to get your music to the next level, S³ will provide you with crucial networking and educational opportunities... (spanning) all genres of music and each facet of the music life-cycle; from creation, through promotion to distribution.
"S³ is built on the principle of delivering tools, resources and information to songwriters and composers, which will assist them to build a sustainable career in songwriting."
Registrations can be made on-line at www.songsummit.com.au.
Two of Australia’s most dynamic entertainers, Beccy Cole and Travis Collins, have teamed up to bring audiences what is expected to be one of the concert tours of the year.
Beccy ‘s award-winning songs, energetic on-stage presence and perfect comic timing have placed her at the forefront of the Australian entertainment scene and made her one of the most successful live touring acts in Australian country music history.
She has released five very successful albums including her latest offering, Live At Lizottes, which features collaborations with long-time friends Kasey Chambers, Gina Jeffreys and Sara Storer.
In 2006, Beccy penned the hit song Poster Girl, a tribute to Australian troops serving in Iraq after she had entertained there a few months previously.
Last year, she joined forces Gina and Sara to tour as "The Songbirds", a collaboration that proved to be hugely popular with sell-out concerts across the country.
With the release of his second album, No Boundaries, in 2007, Travis is one of Australia's most exciting new talents. The talented contemporary country/rock performer is being enthusiastically embraced by a new generation of young country fans as well as lovers of great country music in general.
Travis' first kick-start came back in 2004 when he won the Toyota Star Maker Quest. That competition is widely known for helping launch the professional careers of international sensation Keith Urban as well as the likes of Lee Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys and James Blundell.
Thanks to the support of Commercial Radio Australia, Travis headed to the US in June last year to perform in Nashville at the CMA (Country Music Association) Festival’s Global Artist Showcase.
He has also released songs in France, Denmark, Germany and the UK and in July 2007, Travis visited Europe to perform for fans for the very first time.
The collaborative tour is being promoted as "An Electric Night with Beccy Cole & Travis Collins" and will feature all their individual hits as well as duet performances and special guest Bec Willis.
See initial tour dates at our On Tour page.
Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured) has hit the top of the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with his latest single Last Mile Home.
Lee Kernaghan's number one from last week, Sassafras Gap, drops back to two while Catherine Britt's Little Wildflower jumps another two places to number three and Travis Collins' Don't Win Enough is down to fourth position.
The McClymonts' My Life Again is also up another two places to five, Dwight Yoakam's Close Up The Honky Tonks is steady at six and Josh Turner's Firecracker is at seven.
Gina Jeffreys' The Truth About Lies is down to eight, Kirsty Lee Akers' Goin' To The Beach bounds into the top 10 at nine as does Adam Brand's Get On Down The Road at 10.
Bullet performers for the week include Keith Urban's Got It Right This Time (16 to 13), Steve Forde's Summer's Little Angel (20 to 15), The Flood's Can't Work No Longer (23 to 18), Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow (24 to 19), Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright (29 to 23), Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (27 to 24), Ronni Rae Rivers' Cowboys Come Home (28 to 25) and Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue (30 to 26).
New entries in the chart for the coming week include Markus Meier's Beating Heart (in at 28) and Lou Bradley's Too Far Gone (in at 30).
The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
Fellow performers, friends and admirers are coming from all over Australia to take part in the historic Smoky Dawson tribute concert in Sydney on Wednesday, March 19.
Already committed to appear are major stars like John Williamson (pictured), Melinda Schneider (pictured), Graeme Connors from North Queensland, Johnny Chester and the Howie Bros (pictured) from Melbourne, James Blundell and Normie Rowe from Brisbane, PIxie Jenkins from “the outback”, Clair Hayes, a children's choir and others not yet confirmed. Media friends of Smoky's like Ray Hadley, John Kerr, Dick Smith and Nick Erby will also be there to pay their respects to the great showman.
Concert Director Glenn T said the archival footage of Smoky that would be incorporated into the tribute show was amazing, especially some showing his fantastic knife and axe throwing act and excerpts from his early ‘40s feature film, “Cowboy From Down Under”.
Organiser Lance Smith has been thrilled by the great support the event has received from all quarters. "The entire staff at the Hills Performing Arts Centre have donated their services to the Smoky tribute, he said, as well as the six security staff and of course all the artists and presenters. Even the venue and the ticketing agency Ticketek have come to the party with special rates," he said. "It all demonstrates the enormous esteem the industry and the public had for this amazing man.”
Already Ticketek is reporting early sales from South Australia, Victoria and Queensland as well as NSW.As well as being a public salute to one of Australia's best loved entertainers, Smoky's favourite charity, Bear Cottage Children's Hospice in Sydney will benefit from the concert.
The Adventures Of Smoky Dawson... A Life Remembered will be held on what would have been Smoky Dawson's 95th birthday on Wednesday, March 19 at 7.30pm. It will be staged in the Hills Performing Arts Centre in Carrington Avenue, Castle Hill, Sydney.
Tickets are available through Ticketek, phone 132 849 or book on-line at www.ticketek.com.au.
Tall Timbre's guitarist Mark kirk died on Monday night at his home as a result of a heart attack.
Mark’s writing and guitar work on Tall timbre’s last CD After The Grind received much critical acclaim and airplay. His work was widely recognised both with local and overseas artists.
He will be sadly missed by friends, loved ones and country music fans all over Australia.
Funeral services will be held for Mark this Friday at 11am at St Monica's Church, 1 Bourke Street, Richmond NSW.
A get together of all his friends, family and musical associates will be held following at the Royal Exchange Hotel, 203 George Street, Windsor, from around 1pm till "the wee hours".
The group of Australian entertainers visiting the Solomon Islands to perform for deployed forces has returned home.
The tour concluded with a concert on Thursday night at the main base in Honiara where the entertainers "wowed" the personnel.
"Singing to the lads was a pleasure and an honour," John Williamson said. "To feel their appreciation is a great reward and a great experience."
This tour was the 10th Forces Entertainment Tour de Force to visit the Solomon Islands.
Operation Anode is the name of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
Australian soldiers – along with soldiers from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga – are supporting police from a total of 16 Pacific nations (including Australian Federal Police) as they back up the Solomon Islands Police Force in its task of restoring law and order. RAMSI began in 2003 at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.
Photo: Troops from 9 Brigade 10/27 Royal South Australia Regiment watch as entertainers perform an unplugged session at their Forward Operation Base at Rove Prison (from left) Ami Williamson, Jed Zarb, Nicki Gillis and Army percussionist Sergeant Sean O'Toole. Click on the photo for a larger image.
More than 50 artists will feature at some 20 venues on the NSW Central Coast this weekend during the 2008 ANZ Central Coast Country Music Festival.
Stars of the Festival include acts like Kirsty Lee Akers, Dianna Corcoran (pictured), Col Elliott, Nicki Gillis, Amber Lawrence, Amos Morris (pictured), Slim Newton, Steve Passfield, Melinda Schneider, Aleyce Simmonds, Lucky Starr, Tamara Stewart, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French, the Wolverines and Brian Young.
Organisers are delighted with the way this year's Festival is shaping up, especially as there are no admission charges for most of the entertainment.
The Festival runs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in locations mainly centring round The Entrance.
In addition to ANZ, the Festival is sponsored by Tourism NSW, Wyong Shire Council, The Herald, The Sun Weekly, Today’s Country 94one, Mars Food Australia, 2GO, NBN and Macron Music.
A full program of activities and further information can be found at www.theentrance.org or by telephoning 1800 335 377.
The All Star Country Roadshow – made up of award winning entertainers Sharon Benjamin, Owen Blundell, Craig Giles and Reg Poole – will "hit the road" again next month.
Star acts combine a wealth of stage experience and offer a variety of old and new songs as well as some unpredictable comedy, according to the release announcing the tour.
The inaugural Country Roadshow tour was in February last year and was described as an outstanding success, so much so that a second tour was immediately scheduled for April 2008.
For details of tour performances, visit the On Tour page.
Patti McKinnon will release her latest album – My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys – at the Goulburn (NSW) Workers Club on March 15.
Joining Patti for the launch will be fellow entertainers Jamie Agius, The Calamity Clampets, Mike Casey, Cowgirls, Doug McIntyre, The Midnight Riders, Ian Miller, Shaynae Pakoti, Peter Pratt, Triston Severs, Bobby Silk and Patti's co-Producer and harmony singer Cazna Goodall from Cairns.
Tickets for the launch can be obtained from the Club or by calling Patti on 02 4829 8335 or 0432 253 057.
Since releasing their debut EP back in 2006,The Harmonators (Rae Moody and Liz Kinninmont) have returned with the first single – Don't Come Back – from their forthcoming debut album Here And Now.
The song, which, according to the release announcing the new single, shows The Harmonators in a new light, "under the production of Matt Fell and Michael Carpenter," and "confirms the duo's transformation into a new phase of their career, cementing them as an act to watch in 2008."
Written by Rae & Liz, Don't Come Back showcases the duo as accomplished singer/songwriters.
"Their harmonies are beautiful, natural and harmonious, and raise the bar for the duo’s success – they are sure to shine," the release said.
Weblink – www.theharmonators.com.
And Peter Coad (pictured) also has a new single out, It's A Poor Sort Of A Man Who Won't Help His Neighbour, from his current album Outback Chapters.
"The album has been by far my most successful to date", Peter said, "I was really excited to attain an award at the Gidgee Coal awards last November with my own song I Heard A Hillbilly Song which was a tribute to Shorty Ranger OAM. Shorty heard the song some time before he passed away and was thrilled with it, and we could not have been happier than to pick up and award for it."
Peter has expressed thanks to "all the people who have supported our shows and the radio presenters who have promoted our music. It has been terrific."
Meanwhile, it has been announced that Peter will undertake a tour of South Australia throughout March and early April (see On Tour).
This follows the release of The Coad sisters single Goodnight Shaney/Silver City Blues in December.
"The track Goodnight Shaney has been very successful for us," said Virginia, "with lots of positive response. "We hope the song will feature on stations around the country during the Anzac weekend. It is a very poignant and current subject embracing loss of loved ones in combat."
Meanwhile, the girls have picked up "some great airplay" in Europe and the USA with the single Goodnight Shaney. "and we hope to build on that success with the album release later this year," Virginia said. "Once again we thank all the presenters who are playing the single – We appreciate your support!"
A new Coad Sisters album should be available late May/early June, the first for some years as the girls have been mainly combining tracks with Peter on the last couple of releases as "Peter Coad & The Coad Sisters".
"We are really excited about the new album," Virginia said, "and hope to have it available by the Barham Festival in May. "We will be looking forward to touring with it in July when we head up to Queensland."
Australian acts continue to dominate the top 10 of this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist.
America's Gary Allan and Sugarland are at number one and two, respectively, with Watching Airplanes and Stay while Keith Urban's Everybody Jumps edges up one place to number three.
Adam Harvey, Catherine Britt and Adam Brand are at four five and six with I'm Doin' Alright, Little Wildflower and Get On Down The Road.
Rock star Bon Jovi sits at seven with his country hit Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore, Kirsty Lee Akers is at eight with Goin' To The Beach, Emerson Drive are at nine with Moments and Jetty Road's I Wanna Go Home is at 10.
Bullet performers this week include Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothing (15 to 11), Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls (16 to 12 ), Davidson Brothers' Miss The Sound Of Rain (17 to 13), Rob Black with Turn Up Your Radio (new at 15), Jonah's Road with All Mine (23 to 20), The Flood with Can't Work No Longer (25 to 22), Smoky Dawson with Homestead Of My Dreams (new at 28), Jayne Denham with Cousin Dude (35 to 32) and Col Finley with Get Your Country On (new at 35).
This week's CMC Country Pick is Everyday Girl by Shea Fisher (pictured).
The full list can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
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