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Jetty Road wins Country Musicoz

Jetty Road have taken out the 2010 Musicoz Award for Best Country Artist.

This follows the bands wins this year of the Group of the Year Golden Guitar, National & Victorian Awards and two People's Choice Awards.

Covering 18 genres of music including country, the Musicoz Awards are regarded as the biggest and most credible awards for unsigned and independent music artists in Australia.

Winners were announced in Sydney on Friday night in conjunction with MTV and Nova (radio).

For the past 10 years, Musicoz has been a key component in helping the development of the Australian music industry at the grass roots level by recognising and encouraging the talents of unsigned and independent artists.

"There are over 5,000 entries each year, so to even be nominated in the top 10 is such an amazing honour, let alone being named as the winner for our section," said band member Paula Bowman.

Other country music finalists included Brad Cole, Jesse Emmanuel, Jayne Denham, Tania Kernaghan and Craig Morrison Little Cowboys.

Jesse was also successful on Friday night taking home the Songwriter of the Year Musicoz award.

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Slim rose launched

The new rose bearing the name of Australia's King of Country Music Slim Dusty was officially launched last week at the 2010 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.

The Slim Dusty Rose was unveiled by Slim's wife, manager and co-songwriter Joy McKean (pictured here with rose developer Landsdale Roses Director Peter Nosow).

The rose has been introduced into Australia by Landsdale Rose Gardens of Perth and will be made available from leading rose growers around the country from this June.

It has a rich golden orange colour with copper bronze tonings that blend with the outback colours of Slim's beloved Australian bush, according to a spokesman for Landsdale Roses.

Part proceeds from sales of the rose will be donated to the Slim Dusty Foundation which is building the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey on the NSW north coast. The rose is also set to be a special feature in the garden landscape around the new Centre which is scheduled to open towards the end of this year.

The Landsdale spokesman said there had already been a very big response from nurseries and, as there would only be limited supplies of the release available, those wanting to secure an order should pre-order with their local nurseries.

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Sydney Show Radio 2010

Show Radio – 107.9 FM – is on air again for the 2010 Royal Easter Show in Sydney from tomorrow (April 1).

The station is on air every day of the Show for "all the latest up-to-the-minute information".

It will broadcast "hot tips on parking, weather, transport and what's on as well as special offers".

Interviews with Show celebrities, exhibitors and visitors will also feature, together "all the best from country music's past, present and future stars".

Show Radio is staffed by students from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School and also offers a live broadcast stream on the Internet (via the Show Radio page on the official website, see link below).

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Chart Update – Dianna hits the top

Dianna Corcoran takes over the number one spot on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Thank You For Cheating On Me.

Amber Lawrence's number one from the last two weeks – Wrecking Ball – slips to number two while Harmony James' Pretty is up three more to number three and Lianna Rose's Angels edges up one to four.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer is at five, The McClymonts' Wrapped Up Good is at six and McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough is steady at seven.

America's Josh Turner is at eight with Why Don't We Just Dance, Sandra Humphries' Is That What He Told You is at nine and Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In bounds into the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include The Lees' It Ain't Me Babe (18 to 15), Liam Brew's Doghouse (20 to 17), Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere (23 to 18), Clelia Adams' Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy (27 to 24) and The Bobkatz' The Writer (28 to 25).

New entries to the chart this week include Victoria Baillie's Mr Yesterday (new at 28).

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FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2010

Hartwood 2010

Paul McCloud's Hartwood Campfires & Country Music will run again this Easter.

In addition to Paul, this year's event will feature Carter & Carter, Don Costa, Royden Donohue, Laura Downing, Peter Horan, Vic Lanyon, Tom Maxwell, Doug McIntyre and Rodney Vincent with compere Barry Williams.

Hartwood is located 160 kilometres south west of Tamworth off the Coolah Road between Coolah and Tambar Springs.

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Tori single a fundraiser for Ronald

Rising star Tori Darke has released a new single with all proceeds from sales going to Ronald McDonald House.

Titled Not My Time To Fly, the single, which has also been released to radio, is available from iTunes for $1.69.

"This beautiful heartfelt song was written by Tori and Drew McAlister after Tori visited and performed for the young patients and their families at Ronald McDonald House in 2008 (see photo)," said a spokesman for the artist.

"A special little girl suffering with leukemia stole a place in my heart forever," Tori said, "for a little girl so ill she never stopped laughing.

"Not My Time To Fly is dedicated to all those special children and their families. Thank you, Katie, for the inspiration you gave me to write this song."

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Kirsty, Chelsea, Liam and McAlister Kemp join forces

The "Guys, Girls, Guitars & Bars Tour" sees four of country's freshest acts join forces for a series of shows throughout NSW, Queensland and Victoria from May... Kirsty Lee Akers, Liam Brew (pictured), Chelsea Basham and McAlister Kemp.

Kirsty is a winner of Toyota Star Maker and Telstra Road to Tamworth while Liam was last year's Star Maker winner.

Chelsea is a new name to the country scene who, after touring with Adam Brand in 2009, was a 2010 Star Maker grand finalist.

McAlister Kemp are billed as "country's new super duo" – the combination of Golden Guitar winner Drew McAlister and popular solo performer Troy Kemp.

See our On Tour page for show details.

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New album for Catherine

After returning home from the United States, the first thing Catherine Britt had on her mind, apart from a dip in the blue Pacific Ocean, was to head to the studio and record an album that she says truly summed up where she was as a songwriter and artist.

The result is the self-titled album Catherine Britt, recorded towards the end of 2009 at Melbourne’s iconic Sing Sing Studio and produced by Shane Nicholson and Bill Chambers.

Described as "an un-compromising, heartfelt album born of love, pain, loss and sorrow that is certainly her most personal, diverse and mature to date," the new work will be released on May 28 on the ABC label.

The first single from the album, which will go to media on April 23, is "the hook laden" Can’t Change A Thing which was born while Catherine was driving down the F3 between Newcastle and Sydney.

"I arrived in Sydney and once I got inside I busted out my guitar and we pretty much wrote the song in a few minutes," Catherine said. It features Jim Moginie’s Wurlitzer piano but it was he that also suggested adding ukulele to the track.

"Every now and again you get lucky and come up with something that’s catchy and fun," Catherine said.

With Catherine either writing or co-writing all fourteen tracks on the album to come, it is described as "a true songwriters album and stands its ground based on the songs written and subsequently recorded... as it should be... no duets needed... no special guests required".

"Catherine came along with the strongest bunch of songs any artist could want for a new album," said co-producer Shane, "which made our job easy. She was really inspired to make this record. It's a brave album in many ways, and she was completely up for the challenge. I think she is one of the top female artists in the game, in any genre."

"Catherine Britt has always been an extraordinary artist," said Robert Patterson, Head of ABC Music. "When she first signed to ABC at the age of 15, her prodigious talent was more than evident as both a gifted songwriter and vocalist. As we prepare for the release of Catherine’s fourth career album I am reminded again of this talent."

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2010 Penrith Working Truck Show

The Penrith Working Truck Show, which always has a strong country music entertainment line-up, will be staged at the Museum of Fire this Sunday (March 28) from 8am to 5pm.

This year, stars will include 2010 Star Maker Luke Austen, Catherine Britt, Jayne Denham, Adam Harvey (pictured) and The Pigs.

For 22 years the trucking fraternity have cultivated their prize rigs into show condition in support of charity at the Penrith show with more than 200 of Australia's finest trucks gathering at the Museum of Fire.

All funds raised are directed towards saving people from the dangers of fire while preserving the heritage of our community's bravest.

The unique feature of the show is that each truck must be a working truck and not just a showpiece or collectors item. Each vehicle is entered into one or more of 25 different categories to compete for trophies for the best in each class.

Located in the old Penrith Power Station on Museum Drive (off Castlereagh Road), the Museum of Fire opened as Australia's only dedicated Fire Safety Education Centre in 1986.

Since then, some 50,000 visitors every year have passed through the Museum, which houses one of the finest collections of firefighting memorabilia in the world.

The Working Truck Show has grown from a gathering of trucking enthusiasts to a major corporate and family event which now takes months of planning and preparation and is recognised as Australia's premier truck show attracting in excess of 12,000 visitors.

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Keith supports Slim Dusty Ball

Multi-award winning country superstar Keith Urban (pictured) is showing his support for the Slim Dusty Foundation by donating one of his autographed personal guitars for auction at the Slim Dusty Country Ball next Wednesday (March 31).

High profile country entertainers, Golden Guitar winners and members of the Slim Dusty Family will help celebrate the Ball from 6:30pm at Sydney's Westin Hotel.

Keith's guitar will feature in a live auction as part of the evening's fundraising efforts with a host of items also including an autographed guitar and hand written lyrics donated by Lee Kernaghan and a limited edition CMC Rocks the Snowy’s Al Tomkins hand crafted electric guitar.

Radio star Ray Hadley will host the evening with musical performances by home grown country entertainers Lou Bradley, Troy Cassar-Daley, The Bushwackers, Adam Harvey, Steve Passfield and The Sunny Cowgirls.

Patrons of the Foundation, Alan Jones ,Lee Kernaghan, John Singleton, Dick Smith and members of Slim Dusty's family have extended an invitation to "everyone to put on their dancing shoes as the country comes to the city for the Royal Easter Show and dance the night away at The Slim Dusty Country Ball".

All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Slim Dusty Foundation, set up to build a museum in Slim's hometown of Kempsey, NSW, to honour the legend's long and illustrious career.

Construction of the Slim Dusty Centre is underway and is anticipated to be completed by the end of this year.

The Slim Dusty Centre will keep Slim's memory alive with memorabilia collected by Slim and Joy from all over Australia. It will give visitors an opportunity to experience an interactive journey through the heart and soul of Australia as well as developing a scholarship program to assist young talented musicians obtain the best possible start to their country music careers.

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MONDAY, MARCH 22, 2010

23rd annual Illabo Country Music Stampede

The 23rd Illabo Country Music Stampede will run from Thursday April 15 to Sunday the 18th at the Illabo Showgrounds.

Illabo is a small community located 15 kilometres north of Junee on the Olympic Highway in southern NSW and for the past 23 years has been the host for this local talent quest.

The quest, which has helped launch the careers of artists like Nathan Charlton, Travis Collins, Dianna Corcoran, Peter Pratt, is open to both young and older performers in a number of categories including Veteran and Gospel.

The weekend begins with a campfire sing-a-long on Thursday night. The following morning kicks off with contestants busking on the streets of Junee. Friday evening sees the start of the talent quest which will continue throughout the weekend, wrapping up with the finals on Sunday.

Sunday morning includes the Poets Corner and the Farmers Markets.

Guest artists Nathan Charlton (pictured) and Jamie Davis will perform throughout the rounds of finals on Sunday. Trophies for each of the categories will also be presented during Sunday's proceedings.

Camping on the grounds is recommended and plenty of space is available, organisers say, with camping space specified as "quiet camping areas.

Talent Quest entries are open until April 8. 
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Chart Update – Amber still at number one

Amber Lawrence retains the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Wrecking Ball.

Dianna Corcoran's Thank You For Cheating On Me is steady at two while The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer edges up one to number three and The McClymonts' former number one – Wrapped Up Good – is at four.

Lianna Rose's Angels jumps two to number five, Harmony James' Pretty is up three to six and McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough is at seven.

Sandra Humphries' Is That What He Told You is up two to eight while America's George Strait and Josh Turner are at nine and 10, respectively, with Twang and Why Don't We Just Dance.

Bullet performers for the week include Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In (16 to 13), Sara Storer's Call Me Home (17 to 14), Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Wall (18 to 15), The Lees' It Ain't Me Babe (22 to 18), Liam Brew's Doghouse (23 to 20), Darren Colston's duet with Victoria Baillie, Will You Stay (26 to 21), Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere (28 to 23) and Clelia Adams' Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include The Bobkatz' The Writer (new at 28).

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FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2010

Queensland Awards finalists announced

Brisbane singer, songwriter and musician Brendan Radford (pictured) heads the list of finalists for this year’s Queensland Country Music Awards scoring a berth in four of the seven categories.

Brendan recently released his debut solo album, Snow, after years performing with the biggest names in Australian country music. He is a finalist for Male Vocalist, Bush Ballad/Heritage, Instrumental and Vocal Collaboration (with Casey Watt).

Another of Queensland’s hottest new stars, Harmony James (pictured), has made the finals in three categories: Female Vocalist, Bush Ballad/Heritage and Vocal Collaboration (with The Flood’s Kevin Bennett), with tracks from her album Tailwind.

A number of major Australian stars are featured in the list of finalists for the Queensland Awards including James Blundell, Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan and Tania Kernaghan.

The list of finalists also features several rising stars who are beginning to carve major careers in Australian country music, among them 8 Ball Aitken, Brade, Rose Carleo, Shea Fisher, Sarah McMonagle and Jayson Watkins (a dual finalist).

Artists who received two finals nominations include The Bobkatz, multi-Golden Guitar winner Troy Cassar-Daley, Shea Fisher, Dean Perrett, The Smokin’ Crawdads and Jayson Watkins.

The 2010 Queensland Country Music Awards will be presented on Friday, April 30 as part of the McDonalds Charters Towers Country Music Festival which runs over Queensland's May Day long weekend to Sunday, May 2.

The awards ceremony – part of the Friday night main stage concert – will feature Jim Haynes, the legendary Chad Morgan, internationally recognised guitarist Michael Fix and award-winning singer/songwriter Travis Sinclair with hosting by broadcaster Nick Erby.

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Queensland Country Music Awards Finalists 2010

Queensland Male Vocalist of the Year
Adam Brand – Ready for Love
Troy Cassar-Daley – I Love This Place
Lee Kernaghan – Planet Country
Brendan Radford – Stop the Night
Jayson Watkin – Jacky Kneebone

Queensland Female Vocalist of the Year
Rose Carleo – Reach Out to Me
Shea Fisher – Getaway Heart
Harmony James – Precious Little
Tania Kernaghan –  Ride of Our Life
Sarah McMonagle – Tea on Tuesday

Queensland Group or Duo of the Year
The Bobkatz – The Long Haul
Brade – At Your Doorway
Ashley Cook & Kimberley Cook – Over Hilltop & Hollow
Left of Center – Sitting Pretty
Smokin’ Crawdads – She’s Crazy for Leavin’

Queensland New Talent of the Year
8 Ball Aitken – Hands on Top of the Wheel
Liam Brew – Doghouse
Shea Fisher – Getaway Heart
Shandell Tosoni – Can You Hear Me Now?
Jayson Watkin – Jacky Kneebone

Queensland Bush Ballad/Heritage Track of the Year
James Blundell – Riding into Town
Harmony James – Call of the Currawong
Dean Perrett – The Dust of Kalkadoon
Brendan Radford – Coongoola Station
Rachel Richards – Great Australian Bush

Queensland Instrumental of the Year
Michael Fix – Light at the End of the Tunnel
Brendan Radford – Pronto Tonto
Alisha Smith – Bushman’s Prayer
Smokin’ Crawdads – Orange Blossom Special
Lindsay Waddington – Didgeri Goor

Queensland Vocal Collaboration of the Year
The Bobkatz & The Davidson Brothers – The First Step
Troy Cassar-Daley & The McClymonts – Ain’t Gonna Change for You
Harmony James & Kevin Bennett – Some People Give
Dean Perrett & Anne Kirkpatrick – We’re Doing Fine
Brendan Radford & Casey Watt – If I Needed You


JW's 40th year

John Williamson celebrates his 40th year in the music and entertainment business this year with the release of his Absolute Greatest John Williamson: 40 Years True Blue album.

Released today (Friday March 19), the double CD highlights the singer/songwriter's musical contribution over four decades and showcases a range of prominent artists interpreting the multi-award winning artist's songs in their own style.

The album release comes on the back of the musical poet being recognised in January by Governor-General Quentin Bryce, as well as the Golden Guitar awards which paid special tribute to John's career to date.

As the name implies, the double CD features John's most popular recorded tracks, including True Blue, Raining On The Rock, Cootamundra Wattle and Galleries Of Pink Galahs, and his latest original recording Island Of Oceans, a duet with Shannon Noll.

John says the duet with the ex-Australian Idol graduate could easily become the national song of the country he loves: "I have written many songs over my 40 years as a recording artist in an attempt to capture the enormous spiritual power of our huge, ancient land.

"At last, here it is; an anthem aimed to inspire pride in our place on earth. My final song on the subject! Only time will tell whether I have succeeded," he said.

While the duet with Shannon is the only new inclusion on the new release, the Condobolin boy also adds star power to the album with his emotional delivery of Galleries Of Pink Galahs, the song played at his father's funeral.

Shannon is only one of the artists who volunteered their time and talent to recognise John. Joining him on the album are artists including Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, Tommy Emmanuel, Adam Harvey, Gina Jeffreys, Wendy Matthews, James Reyne, Sara & Greg Storer, The Waifs and John's musical daughter Ami Williamson.

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Major support for Jimmy Little Foundation

Medicines Australia and the Jimmy Little Foundation have joined forces "to give our indigenous Australians a wonderful opportunity to grow stronger and live longer".

Medicines Australia has donated a million dollars to the Foundation for "two wonderful projects", it was announced at a Parliamentary dinner in Canberra on Tuesday night.

Jimmy's music career is well documented but his ongoing work for his indigenous brothers and sisters is not as well known.

In 2002, at the height of his revitalised career, Jimmy was struck down with kidney failure and began a regime of self-administered peritoneal dialysis.

He chose this method because it meant he could still travel and he began visiting communities showing others that there was a life after a diagnosis of kidney failure. He received a life saving transplant in 2004 and this crystallised the future direction he would take in helping his people.

The Jimmy Little Foundation was established to help provide a healthier future for indigenous Australians and initially worked with renal patients in and around Alice Springs who were dialysing at the largest dialysis centre in the southern hemisphere.

This facility is now overflowing; so many people with renal disease living in a 600km radius of Alice must leave home, family, country and their dreaming and are now relocated to Darwin or Adelaide... "a heartbreaking situation for the patient and their families," said a spokesman for the Foundation.

Thanks to Medicine Australia's funding, a mobile renal truck is being built in partnership with the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal so patients will now be able travel home for respite visits offering stability to the patient and giving family members, especially children, the opportunity to see what their family members have to endure on a dialysis machine just to stay alive.

"Most children witness a parent or relative leaving home to go for dialysis sometimes never to return," the spokesman said.

"Education of indigenous children is where the second part of the Medicines Australia funding comes into play. 'Thumbs up!' is a nutrition/education program to help guide children to choose better food and drink options for their health and longevity.

"The program encourages them to drink more water and consume less sugary fizzy drink and eat more fruit and veggies rather than fast 'junk' food," the spokesman said.

The program uses music to engage children aged between five and 15, "writing good tucker healthy food songs as well as employing social networking sites that will allow children in communities all over Australia to interact by uploading their songs, photos, recipes and share their experience of the 'Thumbs Up!' visit".

"On behalf of all indigenous Australians, I would like to sincerely thank Medicines Australia for their donation to the Jimmy Little Foundation," Jimmy said. "The money will enable us to fund two very worthy projects that will help many of my countrymen and women achieve a healthier future."

"Our vision is that good food will become part of indigenous children's vocabulary and healthy food choices, part of their 'psyche from an early age'," said Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup, Chief Executive of the Foundation.

"From the results of other music based learning programs we are confident it will eventually bring about changes in their attitudes.

"This is a dream come true for our committee and patient community. Many patients have not got home to country for many years because of distance and their need for dialysis every second day. This project will have a huge impact on the quality of life of Senior Western Desert people and on the future of communities."

Photo: Jimmy with Mandawuy Yunnipingu at a Yirrkala school graduation ceremony.

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Country stars line up for charity

Country stars have lined up to support a Concert For a Cure at Blacktown Olympic Park this Saturday.

The event to be held at the park's athletics precinct, brings together a top line-up of contemporary country artists, who will perform from noon to 8pm.

Headlining the day will be 2010 New Talent Golden Guitar winner Victoria Baillie (pictured), seven-time Golden Guitar winner Beccy Cole, 2008 Australian Country Music Female Artist of the Year Dianna Corcoran and 2009 Golden Saddles People's Choice winner Luke O'Shea.

Rounding out the bill will be country talents Tori Darke, Dear Orphans, Gemma Luxton, Racz 'N Waters, Aleyce Simmonds, Chris E Thomas and The Rough Diamonds.

Each of the acts on the day have donated their talent for the cause.

Supported by Blacktown Council and Blacktown Olympic Park, Concert For a Cure aims to raise vital funds for Westmead Medical Research Foundation.

The Foundation, formerly known as The Millennium Foundation, was established in 1995 to fund research into cancers and other life-threatening illnesses.

During the event, Kings Langley Lions Club will host a fund-raising barbecue and there will be a range of amusements for younger visitors.

Foundation representatives will also be on hand to answer any questions about the research being carried out by the group's main beneficiary, Westmead Millennium Institute.

Visitors are welcome to bring with them a small esky and folding chair to this alcohol-free event.

Tickets are available from Blacktown City Council Chambers at Flushcombe Road, Blacktown or Blacktown Workers Club in Campbell Street and will also be available at the gate on the day.

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Musicoz top five finalists announced

The top five finalist nominations have been announced for the 10th anniversary Musicoz Awards.

In the Country category, the top five is... Brad Cole with Come Home, Jayne Denham (pictured) with Shake This Town, Jesse Emmanuel with Don't Touch My Guitar, Jetty Road with Million Miles and Tania Kernaghan with Second Time Around.

Country related interest in other categories includes Wildseed, a finalist for Best Instrumental with Goose On The Loose and Racz'n Waters, finalists for Best World Folk
with The Dreaming.

Winners will be announced in Sydney on Friday March 26.

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Nicki makes number one on the Hotdisc chart

Nicki Gillis' self-penned track Be A Star, from her album Lucy's Daughter (European edition) has hit the number one spot on the UK Hotdisc Country Chart.

After being released to UK radio and entering the chart at number two, the song has taken out the top spot in one short week.

No stranger to this international chart, Nicki has had top 10 successes with Remember Me, Leaving You For Myself and It Doesn't Matter Anymore.

Also, her cover of REM's Chasing Cars, from the collaboration album with Bob Howe, reached number three late last year.

Following Nicki's win of last year's Frank Ifield International Spur Award, she toured the UK for five weeks in June-July to capacity crowds and will this year return for a three-month tour.

Highlight of the tour will see Nicki grace the main stage at the 2010 Americana International Festival – celebrating 30 years of "real Americana" in Europe.

She is currently working on a second collaboration and her third solo studio album.

Photo: Nicki was presented with a special "chart number one" plaque at the recent Spur Award announcedment in Tamworth.

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Chart Update – Amber hits number one

Amber Lawrence takes over the top spot on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with her hit Wrecking Ball.

Dianna Corcoran's Thank You For Cheating On Me edges up one to number two, three more places to number three, The McClymonts' number one from the last six weeks – Wrapped Up Good – slips to number three and The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer is up two to four.

McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough is also up two to five, George Strait's Twang is at six and Lianna Rose's Angels is up three to seven.

America's Reba McEntire is at eight with Consider Me Gone, Harmony James' Pretty bounds into the top 10 at nine as does Sandra Humphries' Is That What He Told You at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Adam Harvey & Guy Sebastian's Stuck In The Middle With You (17 to 14), Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In (19 to 16), Sara Storer's Call Me Home (22 to 17), Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Wall (23 to 18) and John Williamson's duet with Shannon Noll, Island Of Oceans and Darren Colston's duet with Victoria Baillie, Will You Stay (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week include Jetty Road's Road To Nowhere (new at 28) and Clelia Adams' Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy (at 30).

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FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2010

Johanna wins Spur Award

Young Sydney independent country artist Johanna Hemara was last night awarded the Frank Ifield International Spur Award for 2010.

The award, which has been sponsored by the Rotary Club of Galston since 1998, is presented to an Australian recording artist each year, focuses on "the artist’s potential international appeal, individuality of style and professionalism on and off the stage, as well as the potential global appeal of the artist’s recorded songs".

"The international appeal (aspect) is a high priority" said an Award spokesman, "as a significant component of the award involves the release of Johanna’s recordings to international airplay, particularly in the UK and Europe.

"Her first Single, Starting Over, which is also the title of her new album, was released in the UK last week, and it has made its debut at number 18 on the Hotdisc Chart in the UK. The single is distributed to over 800 radio stations, magazines and booking agents in the UK and Europe.

"Frank Ifield will oversee promotion and assist Johanna with touring opportunities in 2010 and beyond," the spokesman said. "Johanna will tour the UK and Europe, and perform at various showcases and Festivals throughout the region."

Johanna's album was produced by well known producer Herm Kovac and will be released in Europe in 2010. The title track single reached 21 on the National Country Tracks Top 30 in Australia last month.

She will also be touring extensively throughout Australia during this year.

Photo: Frank Ifield and Richard Young (Galston Rotary) present the 2010 Spur Award to Johanna.

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Charters Towers Country Music Festival

The historic gold-mining city of Charters Towers in North Queensland hosts one of the oldest country music festivals in Australia.

First held in 1978, the Festival has built Australia's biggest country music talent quest attracting entrants from all over Queensland and interstate.

A feature of this year's event, to be held over Queensland's May Day long weekend (Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2), will be a series of star tributes.

"When the big stars tour Australia, sadly Charters Towers usually misses out," said a spokesman for organisers. "The solution: to bring a host of international music stars to the town for the annual festival – in the form of tribute acts."

This year, festival-goers will get to experience the music of Brooks & Dunn, the late, great Slim Dusty, Elvis Presley and Shania Twain, "thanks to a host of special tribute shows crafted with great passion and meticulous attention to detail by a swag of talented Australian artists".

Several major Australian artists will also feature at the festival, including the legendary Chad Morgan, recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in Tamworth – the first person ever to be presented with this award.

Also performing will be triple Golden Guitar winner and guitar maestro Michael Fix, the hilarious Jim Haynes and popular multi-award winner Travis Sinclair.

The 2010 Charters Towers Country Music Festival is expected to be the biggest for many years, thanks to the relaunching of the Queensland Country Music Awards.

A number of Australia's highest profile country acts – all of them Queenslanders – have nominated for the awards this year, Finalists will be announced on April 1.

Awards Co-ordinators Rosie Adsett and Meryl Davis said they were blown away by the number of entries – 120 from a total of 65 separate acts – and the high standard of entries.

Trophies will be presented to winners during the 2010 Charters Towers Country Music Festival on Friday night, April 30.

Entry in the Festival talent quest closes on April 1. Forms can be downloaded from the Festival website.

Both the Charters Towers Country Music Festival and the Queensland Country Music Awards are sponsored by McDonalds Charters Towers.

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New song commemorates Anzac Day

A new song has been released to commemorate Anzac Day.

Some months ago, songwriter Norm Burke (pictured) was approached by Jeff Laws of the House of Quality marketing organisation who had an idea for a song about the battle for Villers-Bretonneux in France where the Australian troops mounted a decisive – and winning – action one day back in 1918.

Coincidently, this conflict took place on April 25 and has become known in recent times as "the other Anzac Day".

With Jeff having left Norm broad details of the World War One battle itself, he agreed to fashion a song to highlight the historic events of the day.

"What I came up with was a story line about one man's pilgrimage to Villers-Bretonneux in 1989," Norm said, "where he could inspect the actual battleground area and find out first hand from the French locals what had taken place in 1918.

"The song is titled Other Anzac Day.

"We had the song arranged by Craig Bryant of Paxus Productions who brought vocalist Steve Shorten into his studio to record the finished song," Norm said. "The resulting single has now been released to radio Australia-wide in order to commemorate Anzac Day..."

Enquiries regarding the song can be directed to Jeff Laws by email at or by telephoning 0427 338 979.


Aussie artists top songwriting finalists list

For the first time ever, Australia leads all countries second only to the USA in both the number of entries and finalists in the prestigious International Songwriting Competition (ISC).

Out of almost 15,000 entries worldwide, 44 Australian artists are finalists and 73 are semi-finalists in the 2009 competition which is currently being judged.

Among the finalists in the Country category are Troy Cassar-Daley with his song I Love This Place and Andrew Cochrane & Simon Boyce with Don't Come Over 'Til I'm Over You.

Other country music related finalists include 8 Ball Aitken (pictured), a finalist in the Blues category with Yellow Moon and Marcela Taylor from the Melbourne based band Ruckus with Sand Storm in the Instrumental category.

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Amber on "Getaway" tonight

Country star Amber Lawrence will feature in tonight's "Getaway" program on the Nine television network.

Amber shot the segment back in November when the "Getaway" team filmed her show in Batemans Bay.

The program goes to air at 7:30 tonight.

"'Getaway' filmed the show plus we hit the road and toured some of the South Coast of NSW," Amber said, "so hopefully it will be a great episode!

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Keri to perform in New Zealand

Keri McInerney will be performing as a special guest at the New Zealand World Championship of Performing Arts National titles in Auckland this month.

She will be performing her original songs which won five medals at the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Hollywood last year.

As an active spokesperson for WCOPA, Keri will also be a guest speaker during the finals of the event and particularly of her success in Hollywood last year.

"The entire WCOPA experience can be life changing," she said. "There are many opportunities to be had to create and further develop artists careers.

"WCOPA has certainly been a wonderful experience for me personally, it has opened many doors for my music. It's a pleasure to be associated with this incredible event on the world stage."

Keri flys out of Australia on March 25 for a series of appearances in Auckland and will once again represent Australia at the world championships in Hollywood in July.

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Musicoz finalists

Finalists were announced today for the 2010 Musicoz Awards.

Brad Cole, Jayne Denham, Jesse Emmanuel (pictured), Jetty Road, Tania Kernaghan and Craig Morrison Little Cowboys are finalists for the Country award.

In other categories, Wildseed is a top five finalist in Instrumental.

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Gold Medallion winners

Winners of Gold Medallion state-aligned Awards for last year were announced in Tamworth during the January country music festival.

For Queensland, winners were, Male Vocalist of the Year - John McSweeney, for Female Vocalist of the Year - Shaza Leigh, New Talent of the Year - Sharon Smith, Musician of the Year - Linsday Waddington and Bush Balladeer of the Year - Graham Rodger.

For NSW, Male Vocalist of the Year - Troy Cassar-Daley, Female Vocalist of the Year - Dianne Lindsay, New Talent of the Year - Tori Darke, Musician of the Year - Lindsay Butler and Bush Balladeer of the Year - Tom Maxwell.

For Victoria and Tasmania, Male Vocalist of the Year - Paul Costa, Female Vocalist of the Year - Lynette Guest, New Talent of the Year - Victoria Baillie, Musician of the Year - the Davidson Brothers and Bush Balladeer of the Year - Reg Poole.

For South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, Male Vocalist of the Year - Brian Letton, Female Vocalist of the Year - Sandra Humphries, New Talent of the Year - Kate Linke (pictured), Musician of the Year - Terry Bennetts and Bush Balladeer of the Year - Trevor Adamson.

The Gold Medallion Awards recognise recording artists who were born in each of the respective states and are designed to reflect radio activity and the success of artists and tracks within each respective state throughout the designated judging period.



Adam wins CMC award... again!

Adam Brand has been named CMC Oz Artist of the Year for the fourth year in a row.

In fact, Adam is the only artist who has won the award by CMC (the Country Music Channel) since its inception in 2007.

The award is decided by CMC viewers.

"Winning this award is really important to me," said Adam who is currently in Nashville. "It's voted for by the fans and without the fans I don’t have a career. They are so loyal and I thank them from the bottom of my heart."

Adam is recording new material for a record release in America where he will soon commence a three month promotional tour, returning to Australia later this year.


Central Coast Festival this weekend

The 2010 Central Coast Country Music Festival will be staged this weekend and buskers are set to become a part of the annual event.

Sponsored by the Greater Building Society, this year's Festival will be run from Friday the 12th through to and including Sunday the 14th.

Held at The Entrance (NSW), the Festival is arguably one of Australia's biggest with an estimate of more than 45,000 visitors attending last year.

Artists performing this year, in alphabetical order, include Bella, Catherine Britt, Mike Carr, Bill Chambers, the Chicken Train Skifflers, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Paul Costa, Nicki Gillis, Adam Harvey, Dale Hooper, Chris James, Pixie Jenkins, Jonah's Road, Amber Lawrence, Garry Lowe, McAlister Kemp, Bruce McCumstie, Racz 'n Waters, The Rough Diamonds, Lucky Starr, Daniel Thompson, Summerland Kings and and Bryen Willems.

In addition to the music, the Festival will also feature a youth showcase, poet's breakfast, stalls and amusement rides.

Performers of all ages are invited to enter the busking competition for the chance to win a cash prize of $200 (first place) and $100 (runner-up) with the winner also having the opportunity to perform on the Sails Stage at the Festival wind-up party on Sunday.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning 1800 335 377 or by visiting

Sponsors of this year's event are Wyong Shire Council, the Greater Building Society,
Central Coast Express Advocate, 2GO, Today's Country 94one, NBN Television and Macron Music.


"Trucker chick" Jayne

Country rock "chick" Jayne Denham is well known for her admiration of men and women of the trucking world.

Now, several of the singer's songs have caught the attention of one of Australia's largest trucking companies, Wickham Freight Lines, which has offered Jayne a sponsorship deal.

The sponsorship will see Jayne's face travelling around the country on the side of a refrigerated van. And the rig will more than likely make an appearance at several of her shows throughout the year.

"Truck drivers keep this country moving," Jayne said, "and we would not be where we are as a country without them. Go the truckies and companies like Wickhams who work so hard to achieve so much."

Jayne's song Cousin Jude, from her debut album Sudden Change In Weather, about a female semi trailer driver, was embraced by the trucking fraternity and led to her appearing at truck shows all around the country.

She has even performed for Wickham's staff at two of their Christmas parties.

Jayne's latest album, Shake This Town, includes similar trucker tributes in the shape of
Road Train Fever and Trucker Chicks, the latter which is set to be released as a single this month.

Wickham Freight Lines is a family owned and operated business with its head office in Warwick, Queensland, and terminals in Glen Innes, Sydney and Melbourne.

The Company has more than 40 years experience in the transport industry providing daily services between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Warwick.

Photo: Darren from Wickham Freight Lines shakes on the sponsorship deal with Jayne.

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Amber leads CMC

Amber Lawrence has take over the top spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel Top 50 playlist with the her clip of Wrecking Ball.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer is at three, Peter McWhirter's Humm is at eight and Dianna Corcoran's Thank You For Cheating On Me is at 5.

Wrapped Up Good by The McClymonts is at seven, Jetty Road's World Keeps Turning is at 10, McAlister Kemp's All Kinds If Tough is at 13 and Adam Harvey's duet with Guy Sebastian, Stuck In The Middle With You, is at 14.

Lee Kernaghan's Planet Country is at 16, Mark Wells' You're Still On My Mind is at 17, Sara Storer's Calling Me Home is at 18 and Kristy Cox is new at 21 with That's Where The Faith Comes In.

Bullet performers for the week include Stephanie Brownlee with Keep It Real (30 to 26), Jasmine Rae with Can't A Girl Change Her Mind (new at 39), Melissa Bajric with When The Darkest Hours Pass (47 to 41) and Leanne Melmoth with All Of Your World (50 to 47).

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Adam and Sara to Headline "Homebush"

Adam Harvey and Sara Storer will headline the 2010 Homebush Easter Country Muster.

The historic Homebush Hotel – described as one of the true "outback" country pubs, the "hub" of the vast Western Lands Division of NSW between Balranald and Ivanhoe – is the venue for the outdoor event during the Easter weekend (Saturday and Sunday April 3 and 4).

Joining Adam and Sara at the Muster will be multi award winning acts such as Paul Costa, Jayne Denham, Carmen  Fraser, Jetty Road and Travis Sinclair.

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Chart Update – The McClymonts' six weeks at the top

Wrapped Up Good – the title track from the McClymonts' latest album – dominates the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for the sixth week at number one this week.

Amber Lawrence's Wrecking Ball is steady two while Dianna Corcoran's Thank You For Cheating On Me bounds up three more places to number three and America's George Strait is steady again at four with Twang.

Troy Cassar-Daley's I Love This Place is at five, The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer jumps four places to number six and McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough edges up one to seven.

Tania Kernaghan & Ray Kernaghan's We're A Lot Like Each Other is steady eight, America's Reba McEntire is at nine with Consider Me Gone and Lianna Rose enters the top 10 at 10 with Angels.

Bullet performers for the week include Harmony James' Pretty (17 to 14), Adam Harvey & Guy Sebastian's Stuck In The Middle With You (20 to 17), Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In (22 to 19), Sara Storer's Call Me Home (26 to 22) and Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Wall (28 to 23).

Only one new entry to the chart this week Darren Colston's duet with Victoria Baillie, Will You Stay (new at 30).

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Wandong Festival

The 2010 Wandong (Vic) Country Music Festival & Ute Comp will be staged this Sunday.

Beccy Cole (pictured) and The Sunny Cowgirls will headline this year's event with stars including 8 Ball Aitken, Doug Bruce & The Tailgaters, The Dalton Gang, Rene Diaz & Avalon, Tim Farren, Carmen Fraser, Cameron Mason, The Prairie Oysters and Lianna Rose.

The day will also feature market stalls, food stalls and bar and will run at the L B Davern Reserve, Dry Creek Crescent, Wandong.

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Felicity takes over SNC

On Saturday night (February 27) John Nutting stepped behind the microphone for the last time and presented a special edition of "Saturday Night Country" on the ANB with new host Felicity Urquhart.

Felicity has filled in for John from time to time and takes over the hosting duties full time from next week.

On Saturday night, John and Felicity looked back at program highlights since 1993 and played tributes from the characters and guests who contributed to the show over the years.

"It's been an amazing ride," John said, "and I've loved every minute of my time at the ABC, but it's simply time to move on, fuel up the motor home and hit the road to see more of this great land of ours."

"Saturday Night Country" goes to air for four hours from 10pm Saturday nights on ABC Radio and on ABC Country through Digital Radio in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

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Diana returns

In a coup for Caboolture's Urban Country Music Festival, the legendary Diana Trask is returning from the US to launch her autobiography and perform some of her greatest hits.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said Diana Trask, known as "Miss Country Soul", had been a huge name both in Australian music and overseas in the 1960s and '70s.

"It's fantastic that Diana has chosen Caboolture to launch her book 'Whatever Happened to Diana Trask' and I am sure her many fans will be lining up to give her a warm welcome," Mayor Sutherland said.

The singer, who toured the world and performed with stars such as Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Sammy Davis Jnr, Jerry Lewis and George Burns, is making a special guest appearance on stage at Urban Country's Main Concert at Caboolture Showgrounds on Saturday, May 1.

"There's no place I would rather be than with my great country music fans in Queensland," Diana said.

She is known in Australia for hits like Oh Boy, I Fall to Pieces, Lock Stock And Teardrops and Hold On To What You Got and had her own television variety program "The Diana Trask Show".

"We've secured Diana for three songs which she'll perform late afternoon and I believe her hit Oh Boy will be one of the three," Mayor Sutherland said.

"I can't wait to hear her among our fantastic line up of stars that includes John Williamson, Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley and Beccy Cole.

"It's a real bonus for Urban Country fans who have already secured their tickets to the Main Concert, but it's also an added incentive for those looking for a value for money concert involving some of the biggest names in Australian country music to buy their tickets now." he said.

"Diana will be signing copies of her biography at the concert only a day after its official launch in Caboolture."

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A rose fit for a King...

A brand new rose bearing the name of Australia's King of Country Music Slim Dusty will be officially launched this month at the opening of the 2010 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show.

The Slim Dusty Rose will be unveiled at the Show by Slim's wife, partner, manager and co-songwriter Joy McKean.

Joy is herself a six time Golden Guitar winning artist and regarded as a pioneer of our Australian music industry.

The Slim Dusty Rose has been introduced into Australia by Landsdale Rose Gardens of Perth WA and will be made available from leading rose growers around the country. It is a rich golden orange colour with copper bronze tonings that blend with the outback colours of Slim's beloved Australian bush.

Joy will be in Melbourne especially for the launch of the rose on Wednesday March 24. Joy, who turned 80 in January, is also the Chair of the Slim Dusty Foundation, the organisation established to build and operate the Slim Dusty Centre in Slim's home town of Kempsey, NSW.

Landsdale Rose Gardens will donate part proceeds from the sale of each Slim Dusty Rose towards the Foundation. The rose will also be a special feature in the garden landscape around the Slim Dusty Centre.

Scheduled to open later this year, the Slim Dusty Centre, will be a cultural centre featuring a museum celebrating Slim's life and his many extraordinary achievements over his long and successful career which covered six decades and a staggering seven million record sales.

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Country Ball

Meanwhile, a host of high profile country entertainers, Golden Guitar winners and members of the Slim Dusty Family will help celebrate The Slim Dusty Country Ball from at Sydney's Westin Hotel on Wednesday March 31.

Ray Hadley will host the evening which will feature musical performances by Lou Bradley, The Bushwackers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey and The Sunny Cowgirls who will join special guests Joy McKean, Anne Kirkpatrick and David Kirkpatrick to "kick their heels up for charity".

Patrons of the Slim Dusty Foundation, which will benefit from Ball proceeds, Alan Jones, Lee Kernaghan, John Singleton and Dick Smith have issued an invitation "to everyone who loved Slim Dusty and his thousands of songs to come and enjoy an evening in loving memory of one of Australia's best country singers".

When completed later this year, the Slim Dusty Centre will keep the memory of the Australian legend alive with memorabilia collected by Slim and Joy from all over Australia.

It will give visitors an opportunity to experience an interactive journey through the heart and soul of Australia through Slim's eyes, as well as developing a scholarship program to assist young talented musicians obtain the best possible start to their country music careers.

The museum will be an iconic Australian experience built around Slim, his links with the nation's indigenous people and his vision of Australian culture as depicted through his eyes and the lyrics of his timeless songs.

Further information can be obtained from the Slim Dusty Centre website...



Wendy supports Kim

Australian songwriter Wendy Wood (pictured at left) played support for leading American writer Kim Richey when she performed in Tamworth, Country Music Capital, recently.

Wendy was booked for the slot just a month after picking up a coveted TSA (Tamworth Songwriters' Association) National Country Songwriting Contemporary Award for 2010.

An ecstatic Wendy said of the "gig" – "I went to see Kim when she came out to Australia last year. I love her songwriting. She wrote one of my all time favourite country songs, Believe Me Baby (I Lied), recorded by Trisha Yearwood.

"I can't believe that I sang this song with Michael King and Pam Spencer during festival and here I am on the same show as her! It's unbelievable! She is very inspirational for me."

Well known for her performances as well as her songwriting, Wendy shares the stage fronting with the all girl trio Those Gals, a nine year association that started out as a covers band and ended up a popular in-demand touring act playing much of her own music and that of fellow singer/songwriters Carolyn Morris (centre) and Kerry Walsh.

Those Gals achieved national recognition, initially on radio and later on television as finalists in the first "Australia's Got Talent" series where the trio appeared before a viewing audience of almost 1.5 million in the first elimination rounds.

Those Gals are now a regular act on the country circuit in NSW appearing at interstate festivals and major charity events.

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New single, new clip for Jason

Jason Lee is proposing a release of his debut album – Better Late Than Never – at this year's Gympie Muster.

The advance single pre-album release – A Memory – will soon be followed by a video clip new to CMC (Country Music Channel) in the coming weeks.

Described as "a self-penned sentimental track" and "an Aussie-fit for radio, the single complements the rest of the album, and the more than one vocal collaboration track is likely to appeal positively to Jason's newly amassed audiences," a spokesman for the artist said.

"These days it's not all that easy putting out an album of your own material!" Jason exclaimed. "You need the songs, the time and the finances which some people don't have. Luckily for a couple of great fortunes, I have the opportunity to record the long anticipated record."

Commenting on single release, he added: "The song is a co-write with my fiancee Lynda. It's taken nearly 14 years to write this track in dedication to my dad who passed when I was 18 years old."

The upcoming video clip was shot on location around Tamworth and Kentucky near Armidale in NSW in late January and produced by Ross Wood.

Jason's album was engineered and produced by Simon Johnson at The Sound Hole, mixed and mastered by Ted Howard at Rancom Studios in Sydney with players Glen Hannah on guitars, Simon Johnson on bass guitar, Trent Simonson on percussion and Kym Warner on mandolin with Lynda Barnes and Mike Carron backing vocals.

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Chart Update – five weeks at number one for The McClymonts

Wrapped Up Good – the title track from the McClymonts' latest album – is at number one for the fifth week this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

Amber Lawrence's Wrecking Ball edges up one place to be at number two while Troy Cassar-Daley's I Love This Place is at three and America's George Strait is steady at four with Twang.

Kasey Chambers, Poppa Bill & The Little Hillbillies are also steady, at number five, with Lost Music Blues, Dianna Corcoran's Thank You For Cheating On Me bounds into the top 10 at six and McAlister Kemp's All Kinds Of Tough jumps three places to seven.

Tania Kernaghan & Ray Kernaghan's We're A Lot Like Each Other edges up one to eight, Lou Bradley's Uluru is at nine while The Sunny Cowgirls' Summer zooms into the top 10 at 10 from 19 last week.

Bullet performers for the week include Lianna Rose's Angels (17 to 14), Harmony James' Pretty (21 to 17), Adam Harvey & Guy Sebastian's Stuck In The Middle With You (23 to 20), Kristy Cox's That's Where The Faith Comes In (27 to 22), The Lees' It Ain't Me Babe (28 to 23), Liam Brew's Doghouse (29 to 24), Sara Storer's Call Me Home (new at 26) and Felicity Urquhart's Girl In The Wall (new at 27).

Other new entries for the week include John Williamson duet with Shannon Noll, Islands Of Oceans (new at 30).

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