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Jasmine wins Global Artist Award

America's Country Music Association (CMA) presented international awards to two Australians during the recent CMC (Country Music Channel) Rocks The Hunter.

Jasmine Rae was presented with the Global Country Artist Award while David Burton received the CMA's International Country Broadcaster Award.

Jasmine has one of the fastest rising careers of any local artist in Australia. Her debut album Look it Up yielded three number one singles, and she was the first locally-based country artist to achieve one million song plays on MySpace. The CMA Global Country Artist Award recognises outstanding achievements by a country music artist in both furthering the popularity of country music and bringing attention to the country music format in their foreign based territory.

David has been an on-air country radio personality in Australia for the last nine years. Based in Toowoomba, he appears on country station 4GR where he is responsible for the programming and content of that station and all other country stations for Southern Cross Australia, one of the country's biggest radio networks.

The CMA International Country Broadcaster Award recognises outstanding achievement by radio broadcasters outside the United States who have made important contributions for the development of country music in their country.


New from Keith

Keith Urban has been working on a new album in recent weeks, set to be his first release of new music since Get Closer in 2010.

"I've been here [in Nashville] for the last four days, in the studio every day, back in again today. Then I leave to head back out to LA tomorrow," Keith told USA Today.

"It's taking a long time, mostly because I'm working with people I've never worked with before. Most of the length of time on this record has been, simply, people's schedules, and not just my own. When you work with one producer, you can block out your time and your album's finished. Working with various people, I've been at the mercy of [lining up] everybody else's schedules and mine," Keith said.

Although the forthcoming album won't be complete by the time his "Light the Fuse Tour" commences in July, Keith revealed that fans would likely hear new music at the shows.

"Even if the record is not out at the beginning of the tour, we will be doing songs off the new album on the tour," he said. "So, in a strange happening, we may end up playing songs that people haven’t heard yet. So the first time you’ll hear them will be live."

The American leg of the tour is set to kick off on Thursday July 18 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Weblink – www.keithurban.net.


Chart Update – fourth week at the top for Tamara, Felicity & Sara

The hit Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer scores its fourth week at the top of the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.

The overseas influence remains for the next four places with a slight change in order... The Band Perry with Better Dig Two at number two, Tim McGraw with One Of Those Nights at three, Josh Turner with Find Me A Baby at four and Brad Paisley with Southern Comfort Zone at five

McAlister Kemp are steady at six with A Good Idea and Kaylee Bell jumps two places to seven with Unglamorous.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold is also up two places to eight while two more American acts, Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea and Gary Allen are at nine and 10, respectively, with It's Friday and Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain).

Bullet performers for the week include Jayne Denham's Shelter (14 to 11), Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (15 to 12), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat (16 to 13), John Williamson's Prairie Hotel Parachilna (20 to 17), Lee Kernaghan's Ute Me (21 to 18), Troy Cassar-Daley's duet with Craig Campbell, The Sunshine Club (24 to 20), O'Shea's Thank You, Angels (27 to 23), Kaylens Rains' Don't Even Go There (28 to 24), The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (29 to 25) and Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Amber Joy Poulton (pictured) with Lovin' Is The Easy Part (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.



A big Easter weekend of festivals

The Easter weekend is always a big one for country music with a number of major festivals taking place.

In Queensland, events include Bundaberg's Easter Roundup, Rathdowney's Heritage Festival Bush Poetry Competition and Roma's Easter In The Country.

In NSW, activities include the Coastal Country Music Festival at Nambucca Heads, the Hartwood Campfires & Country Music Festival at Tambar Springs, the Monaro Country Music Muster at Cooma and the Byron Bay Blues Festival.

Canberra has the National Folk Festival and the Smithton Country Music Festival is on in Tasmania.

Dates and links (in most cases) to websites with more information can be found on our Festivals & Events page.


Videos release from Amber

For the first time in her nine-year country music career, Amber Lawrence has released a DVD, simply titled The Videos.

The hour long DVD takes viewers chronologically through Amber's 13 video clips, from the very first I've Got The Blues made in 2005 to the moving Try, and includes the number one hit clips Wrecking Ball, Good Girls and Everybody's A Mess.

In addition to the clips, the DVD includes a number of bonus features, including the documentary 3 – The making of (a behind the scenes look at the making of Amber's 3rd album 3 plus a bloopers reel from the Everybody's A Mess clip and a look at how the special effects were added to Wrecking Ball.

Finally, the DVD finishes with a humorous scene called The Worst Interview billed as "a real interview or is it a set up?"

Amber Lawrence – The Videos is available for purchase online at www.amberlawrence.com.au, via Songland Records (telephone 02 6293 4677, or at Amber's live shows.


MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2013

Morgan wins Country PDA

Newcastle based singer/songwriter Morgan Evans has racked up another career milestone being named winner of the APRA|AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association/Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) Professional Development Award (PDA) in the Country category today.

Morgan's win at the 2007 Telstra Road to Tamworth Grand Final propelled his already fast-rising career into high gear. The prize included a trip to Nashville where he was invited to perform in front of 68,000 fans at the CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival and touring performances with the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Toni Childs, Shannon Noll and Taylor Swift.

In 2008, Morgan received two Golden Guitar finalist nominations, for New Talent of the Year and Video of the Year, and threw himself into a relentless touring schedule. His most current release is a five-track EP titled Live Each Day.

Almost 40 judges were involved in determining the 2013 PDAs choosing eight songwriters and composers from a talented pool of almost 2000 music artists across eight music genres.

"The high calibre of artists entering the PDAs this year has been incredible across all genres," said APRA|AMCOS Chief Executive Brett Cottle.

"It's great to know that through the PDAs we are able to harness and support such a high level of musicianship, creative talent and artistic creativity in this country. I am very confident our winners this year will go on to do great things for the Australian music scene, both at home and abroad."

Each of the eight winners receives an invaluable career boost with $30,000 worth of prizes including $12,000 cash by courtesy of APRA.

Weblink – www.apra-amcos.com.au.


Jonny releases song about domestic violence

Jonny Taylor's new single You'll Never Break Me tells the shocking but true story of an amazing woman who survived against the odds and turned her life around after suffering domestic violence.

"The lyrics create images of love, passion, and unknown addictions that bring the unforeseeable fate of what was ultimately a failed 'Romeo & Juliet' setting in the aggressors mind," according to a spokesman for the artist... "intertwining this tragic circumstance with an upbeat tune the song concludes with a powerful message of hope."

With The Australian Bureau of Statistics recording in 2006 "every week at least one woman is killed by her current of former partner" Jonny said it was vital that people were aware of organisations to better prevent incidents and to know where to turn for help.

In support of the White Ribbon Organisation and other local organisations, Jonny's aim with the single is to raise awareness and fundraise for these charities through donating iTunes profits of the single in the lead up to his album release and provide a communication channel at his single launch.

As winner of the 2013 Best Male Artist award at the WA Country Music Awards, Jonny is already gearing up to hit the road again for another national tour coinciding with the June release of his new album.



FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013

Horsham festival on now

The 2013 Horsham Country Music Festival kicked off yesterday and runs through to and including Sunday (March 24).

Guest artists this year are Connie Kis Anderson (pictured), Rick Bartlett, Peter Coad & the Coad Sisters, Laura Downing, Dwayne Elix, The Hoffmans, Trevor Keilar, The Lazy Farmers Sons, Amber Joy Poulton and Tom Routledge & Patsy McCallum.

The program includes a busking competition, walk-up poets, a gospel marathon and a country music spectacular.

Local artists appearing include Big Bad John, Barry Crewther, Doin' Time, Ally Harper, Stephen & Marina Johns, Lois Johnson, Christine Johnston, Cynthia Lawrence and Conrad Winfield.

Weblink – www.horshamcountrymusic.com.au.


Hillbilly Killers announce tour dates

After their successful debut performance at the 2013 Telstra Road To Discovery and a sold out show during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Hillbilly Killers have announced east coast tour dates.

Featuring Bill Chambers (right), Catherine Britt & Tim Rogers (plus friends), The Hillbilly Killers has been two years in the making, a time during which they have been songwriting and completing demos... clearly not a process to be rushed, according to a spokesman for the trio, "but nurtured until the band felt they had a bunch of songs that deserved to see the light of day".

They entered late last year with the first recording – They Call Us The Hillbilly Killersreleased online in early January. The single "was met with immediate praise and anticipation of what is to follow," according to the spokesman.

"The band will have available at all shows a 'limited edition' three-track sampler which will be the first official release from the band."

On the sampler will be January's first release plus Calamitied Anatomy and Roadhouse Blues.

Queensland dates which had been planned for May have been postponed and will be rescheduled later in the year.

Follow the band at facebook.com/TheHillbillyKillers.



Urban Country to showcase "stars on The Rise"

Five emerging country music artists will have their chance to shine alongside headline acts at the Urban Country Music Festival's main concert on Saturday May 4.

Jesse Davies, Jess Holland, Seleen McAlister (pictured), Sista Burley and Nathan Williams will entertain the crowd on an all-new second stage named The Rise inside the Festival's main concert arena.

The up-and-comers will perform acoustic sets in the breaks between headliners Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, John Williamson and this year's New Talent Golden Guitar winner Chelsea Basham and 2013 Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell.

Troy, who is also the Festival's 2013 Ambassador, has expressed his support for The Rise.

"It's fantastic to see that this year the Festival will be getting behind emerging talent in the country music industry by introducing The Rise stage to the Main Concert," Troy said.

"Music can be a tough industry to crack, and this stage will give these gifted young artists the opportunity to showcase their talents and give country music fans a sneak peek into what the future of country music will look like."

Seleen, who will be launching the first single off her upcoming album Work In Progress on The Rise stage, is looking forward to the event.

"Urban is one of my favourite Festivals," she said. "It's home to me and has really been pivotal in my career. Playing The Rise stage will be exciting, it's a great line-up."

Urban Country's main concert will run from 2.30pm to 11pm on Saturday May 4 at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre, Caboolture.

The Urban Country Music Festival runs from May 3 to 5 and will feature three days of family fun with additional highlights including the Urban Rodeo, Beaut Ute show, free Urban Blaze Concert and the Voice of Urban Country talent search.

Weblink – www.urbancountry.com.au.


Chart Update – third week at number one for Tamara, Felicity & Sara

The hit Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer hangs on to the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for the third week this week.

Overseas acts unusually hold down the next four places on the chart this week... The Band Perry with Better Dig Two at number two, Brad Paisley with Southern Comfort Zone at number three, Tim McGraw with One Of Those Nights at four and Josh Turner at five with Find Me A Baby.

McAlister Kemp jump four places to number six with A Good Idea, America's Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea are at seven with It's Friday and Adam Brand is at eight with I Was Here.

Two new entrants to the top 10 are at nine and 10, respectively... Kaylee Bell with Unglamorous and The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold.

Bullet performers for the week include Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (18 to 15) and Lee Kernaghan's Ute Me (24 to 21).

Only one new entry to the chart this week, Paul Costa's Big End Of Town (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.


MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013

CMC winners

Winners of the CMC (Country Music Channel) Awards were announced in the NSW Hunter Valley at the weekend with The McClymonts taking out the major – Oz Artist of the Year – award.

McAlister Kemp won Oz Video of the Year for Country Proud and rising star Morgan Evans was named New Oz Artist of the Year.

Keith Urban won both the International Artist and the International Video of the Year awards while pioneering ex-patriate Australian duo The Le Garde Twins were presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards ceremony was staged as part of CMC Rocks The Hunter and featured performances from Baylou, Adam Brand, Travis Collins and Jasmine Rae.

Mark and Jay O'Shea were Awards hosts.

Weblink – www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.


FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013

Stephanie wins Spur Award

Rising Australian country star Stephanie Jansen has been presented with the Frank Ifield International Spur Award.

Frank made the presentation during Canterbury Country in Sydney last night.

The Spur Award is organised in association with the Rotary Club of Galston and Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL.

It was also announced last night that Frank had released Stephanie's single Shoes off her 2012 Australian debut EP Risky to more than a thousand radio stations across the United Kingdom and Europe.

And Stephanie was delighted to hear the news that the single had, on its first week of release, entered the UK and European Country Music Charts debuting at number nine.

Stephanie joins a long list of awardees... Emma Hannah (2012), John Stephan (2011), Johanna Hemara (2010), Nicki Gillis (2009), Kirsty Akers (2008), Karen Lynne (2007), Travis Collins (2006), Stacey Morris (2005), Graham G Toole (2004), Donna Boyd (2003), Wayne Law (2002), Karen O'Shea (2001), Wayne Horsburgh (2000), Melinda Schneider & Michael Carr (1999) and Colin Greatorix (1998).

Photo (by Mark Turnbull): Frank, Stephanie and Tony Page (of Galston Rotary).

Please credit photographer: Mark Turnbull

Weblink – www.stephaniejansen.com.au.



CMC Rocks this weekend

The 2013 CMC (Country Music Channel) Rocks The Hunter festival is this weekend at the Hope Estate in the NSW Hunter Valley.

As part of the event, winners of the annual CMC Awards will be announced.

Pre-determined finalists for the main award, Oz Artist of the Year, are... Chelsea Basham, Adam Brand, Doug Bruce, Lachlan Bryan, Catherine Britt, Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Tori Darke, Morgan Evans, The Harmonators, Adam Harvey, Natalie Howard, Harmony James, Jetty Road, Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, McAlister Kemp, The McClymonts, Craig Morrison, Shane Nicholson, Luke O'Shea, O’Shea, Jasmine Rae, Tamara Stewart, The Sunny Cowgirls and John Williamson.

Finalists for New Artist of the Year are... Emma Barlow (pictured), Chelsea Basham, Baylou, The Bostocks, Lachlan Bryan, Busby Marou, Morgan Evans, Benn Gunn, Harry Hookey, Stephanie Jansen, Kaylens Rain, Christie Lamb, Seleen McAlister, Chris E Thomas and Adam Toms.

Winners will be announced in three other categories... Australian Video, International Artist and International Video.

The star line-up of this year's event includes 8 Ball Aitken, The Band Perry, Chelsea Basham, Baylou, Big & Rich, Bluegrass Allstars, Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Dean Brody, Jackie Bristow, Doug Bruce, Cadd & Morris, Travis Collins, Bob Corbett, Tori Darke, Morgan Evans, The Farm, Rascal Flatts, Buddy Goode, Paul Greene, Adam Harvey, Harry Hookey, Jack Ingram, Aaron Jury, Kaylens Rains, Amber Lawrence, the Le Garde Twins, Travis List, Corb Lund, McAlister Kemp, Peter McWhirter, Craig Morrison, David Lee Murphy, Jasmine Rae, Aleyce Simmonds, Mark Wells, The Wolfe Brothers and Chris Young.

Weblink – www.cmcrocks.com.



Central Coast Festival "a huge success"

The Central Coast Country Music Festival at the weekend has been hailed "another huge success" by organisers.

Almost a hundred performers featured during the three-day event at more than 25 venues throughout Wyong Shire and Gosford City in NSW.

The festival is estimated to have injected more than $3million into the local economy with tens of thousands of visitors from coming to the region "to enjoy country music at its best".

Paul Barnes, The Entrance Town Centre Manager, said: "This event is a wonderful boost for the local economy. We are delighted to welcome visitors to our town and the region each year for this event which is now starting to rival other large country music festivals in Australia."

The festival celebrated its 13th year this year.

"It is not only for our local community to enjoy, it is beneficial to the local economy through job creation," he said. "Picture perfect weather for the entire three days saw huge crowds gather on the foreshore of The Entrance and venues were mostly fully booked throughout the weekend. Accommodation properties recorded extremely high occupancy rates."

Major names featuring this year included 2013 Toyota Star Maker Kaylee Bell, Camille & Stuie, Jetty Road, McAlister Kemp, Craig Morrison, The Pigs, Melinda Schneider, Simply Bushed and the Wolverines.

Other highlights of the weekend included the junior and senior busking competitions which attracted record entries and provided free entertainment through out the township. "Audiences were thrilled with performances on the Sails Stage by Kristy James, Bryce Sainty, line dancing, Liam Brew, Kelly Hope, Christie Lamb and the Brothers 3.

The poet's breakfast on Sunday morning was successful again, as was the Lucky Country Stage in the Bayview Mall hosted by Lucky Starr.

Rob Wilson saw record crowds at The Entrance Surf Club and the weekend wrapped up with the traditional wind-up party on the Sails Stage Sunday night.

Organisers thanked "all the sponsors who made this event possible" especially Wyong Shire Council, the Central Coast Express Advocate, NBN, Macron Music, Radio 2GO,The Grove Studios, Country Music Capital News and The Entrance Town Centre Management.


Chart Update – Tamara, Felicity & Sara still at the top

The hit Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer remains at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.

America's The Band Perry and Brad Paisley are at two and three, respectively, with Better Dig Two and Southern Comfort Zone and Catherine Britt's former number one Charlestown Road is at four.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life is steady at five, Adam Brand's I Was Here is at six and America's Tim McGraw is at seven with One Of Those Nights.

Another two overseas acts – Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea and Josh Turner are at eight and nine, respectively, It's Friday and Find Me A Baby and McAlister Kemp enter the top 10 at 10 with A Good Idea.

Bullet performers for the week include The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (16 to 13), Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (22 to 18) and Troy Cassar-Daley & Craig Campbell's The Sunshine Club 29 to 25).

New entries to the chart this week include Kaylens Rains (pictured) with Don't Even Go There (new at 28), O'Shea's Thank You, Angels (at 29) and The McClymonts' Little Beat Up Heart (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.



New from The McMenamins

Sand And Stone is the title of the fourth album from far north Queensland folk/alt-country duo The McMenamins released today.

"In their own quiet way, siblings Fleur and Simon McMenamin are monster talents," said a spokesman for the artists.

"With a recent invitation to perform at the Byron Bay Bluesfest topping off a period that has seen appearances at major festivals such as the International Folk Alliance in Memphis and Queensland’s BIGSOUND, attention-grabbing tours of North America and rave critical reviews, The McMenamins seem set to cement their place in the global folk market."

The songs on Sand And Stone extend across European and North American roots forms, the spokesman said, while still retaining an over-arching harmony. "There are echoes of Americana here, of southern states spirituals, of Irish folk and, underpinning it all, a sensibility that grows from a very Australian understanding of time and place."

"I feel that our music has evolved a lot since we released our first, self-titled album in 2005," said Fleur. "I think we've really started to find our own sound. We've become clearer in the sort of music we want to make. I think the sound of The McMenamins is settling into its own place now."

A place, Fleur said, informed by a very strong regard for family, ancestry and geography. Fleur and Simon both live in small towns in far north Queensland, with their respective partners and children. Family life, community and, as Fleur puts it, "the cycle of the harvest", underpin the music on the new 11-track album.

Sand And Stone was recorded at Applewood Lane Studios, an old converted chapel near Brisbane (owned by multi ARIA Award winning producer Magoo). The album was engineered and mixed by Benjamin McCarthy who co-produced with Fleur. All songs were written by Fleur and Simon, who were joined by Benjamin McCarthy on piano, electric bass and percussion and Steve Pope on drums.

Weblink – www.themacswebsite.com.


WA winners

News has come through of winners in this year's Western Australia Country Music Awards.

Sponsored by Go for 2&5, the Awards were held as part of this year's Boyup Brook Country Music Festival.

Best Male Artist was taken out by Jonny Taylor while Kate Linke won the Best Female Artist award (both pictured).

Jonny also won Independent Single Of The Year with Never Look Back.

John Bennett won Independent Album Of The Year with his self-titled release.

Spoonful Of Sugar took home the Best Group or Duo award and, Karin Page won Best New Talent and Jennifer Renee was named Best Teen Vocalist.

Jennifer also won Best Junior Songwriter with My Little Nightingale.

Wise Up by Ruby Boots won Video Clip of the Year (production by Paul Komandina).

Terry Bennetts & Keith Lethbridge won the Senior Songwriter award with Little Irish Mother with Derry Doyle runner-up with Ballad Of Mary Johnston.



APRA PDA finalists

Lachlan Bryan, Brad Butcher, Peter Denahy, Morgan Evans and Matt Scullion (pictured) have been announced as finalists for the 2013 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Country Professional Development Award (PDA). 

Two other country acts – Nathan Lamont and Warren H Williams – are among the finalists for the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander PDA.

A total of 36 songwriters and composers have been announced as finalists in the Awards and are now one step closer to winning. The other genre awards are Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Classical, Film & Television, Jazz and Popular Contemporary.

A panel of high profile judges, including Troy Cassar-Daley, has given their initial verdict to arrive at the list of composers who are in the running to receive one of eight PDAs when they are announced on Monday, March 25.

With a total prize pool value of $240,000, this year's winners will take home a life-changing package to the value of $30,000 including $12,000 cash courtesy of APRA.

Winners will also receive a "Music Industry Consultancy Package" that involves one-on-one sessions with managers, publishers and music industry business teams.



ACE Awards finalists

Finalists in the 15th annual ACE (Australian Club Entertainment) Awards have been announced.

For the Country Performer award, finalists are Adam Brand, Kel-Anne Brandt (pictured), Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Melinda Schneider and John Williamson.

For Country Group award, the finalists are Buckshot, Feral Swing Katz, Bob Howe & Hillbilly Heaven, The McClymonts, The Sunny Cowgirls and the Wolverines.

Perennial favourite Darren Carr, who has a big following in country music circles, is again up for a number of awards... Sight Act, Versatile Variety Artist, Comedy Act and the big one, Club Performer of the Year.

Winners will be announced at The Juniors, Kingsford (Sydney) on Wednesday, March 20.

Weblink – www.aceawards.com.au.


'MO' Awards finalists

And finalists for the 2013 'MO' (or Australian Entertainment) Awards have also been announced.

For Country Act of the Year, the finalists are Kel-Anne Brandt, Beccy Cole, Nikki Gillis, Wayne Horsburgh (pictured), The McClymonts and Melinda Schneider.

Other finalists of country interest include Aubrey & Martin (finalists for Best Harmony Vocal Group), Darren Carr (finalist for Best Specialty Act, Best Versatile/Variety Act, Stand-Up Comedian of the Year and Comedy Act of the Year, Cate (finalists for Best Harmony Vocal Group) and Bob Howe (finalist for Best Versatile/Variety Act).

Finalists for this year's 'MO' Hall of Fame induction are Lonnie Lee, Reg Lindsay, Kenny Kitching, Geoff Mack and Noel Talbot.

'MO' Award winners will be announced in Sydney on Tuesday, May 28.

Weblink – www.moawards.com.



Central Coast festival this weekend

Organisers of this weekend's Central Coast Country Music Festival in NSW are expecting crowds in the order of 40,000 plus over the event's three days.

The 13th annual Festival will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday at The Entrance.

It's estimated that more than 45,000 people from all over NSW and interstate enjoyed the three day festival last year.

Entertainment will be held at Memorial Park as well as at local venues within the Wyong Shire and Gosford City with most shows being free attendance.

The weekend’s line up includes Camille & Stuie (pictured) , Jetty Road, McAlister Kemp, Craig Morrison, The Pigs, Melinda Schneider, Simply Bushed, the Wolverines and 2013 Toyota Star maker winner Kaylee Bell.

"These artists will perform free concerts on the Memorial Park Stage," said a spokesman for the organisers. "Other country artists will be performing on The Entrance Sails Stage, The Entrance Surf Club and The Lucky Country Stage hosted by Lucky Starr in the Bayview Mall over the weekend."

Other inclusions in this year's festival are the Poet's Breakfast, Busking Competition, line dancing displays, stalls and amusement rides.

Further information can be obtained from The Entrance Town Centre Management on 1800 335 377 or via the website: www.theentrance.org.


Chart Update – Tamara, Felicity & Sara at number one

The hit song Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart & Sara Storer has bumped Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road from the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week.

Catherine's former number one drops to second place while Doug Bruce's Made That Way is at three and America's Brad Paisley is at four with Southern Comfort Zone.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's A Quiet Life is at five, America's The Band Perry is at six with Better Dig Two and Adam Brand's I Was Here is steady at seven.

O'Shea's The Swimming Song is at eight, America's Dean Brody & The Great Big Sea and Josh Turner are at nine and 10, respectively, with It's Friday and Find Me A Baby.

Bullet performers for the week include McAlister Kemp's A Good Idea (16 to 12), Kaylee Bell's Unglamorous (17 to 14), The Sunny Cowgirls' Green And Gold (19 to 16), Jayne Denham's Shelter (20 to 17), Tracy Killeen's Driver's Seat (23 to 19), The Wolfe Brothers' It's On (24 to 20), Chelsea Basham's I Learned The Hard Way (25 to 22), John Williamson's Prairie Hotel Parochial (26 to 23) and Lee Forster's Quiet Night In (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Lee Kernaghan's Ute Me (new at 28) and Troy Cassar-Daley & Craig Campbell's The Sunshine Club (at 29).

The full chart can be viewed at – www.countrymusicradio.com.au.



Graeme releases homage to "the great Australian singer/songwriters"

After 35 years and 16 albums filled almost exclusively with his own work, multi-award winning Queensland singer/songwriter Graeme Connors has chosen to break the mould and release an album entirely devoted to the works of others.

The album, Kindred Spirit, comprises 12 reinterpretations of songs originally written by 16 Australian singer-songwriters. The songs, chosen through extensive consultation with Graeme's friend rock historian Glenn A Baker, range from the well-known to the obscure. They were penned by a wide variety of writers, from household names to newcomers.

Selecting the songs took more than 12 months, Graeme said, and their provenance didn't matter. "They just had to be great songs," he said. "Not hit songs, necessarily, but great songs. They had to be songs that have a sense of Australianness, without being too overt about it – and they had to speak to me – their subject matter had to resonate personally."

Diligent research by Graeme, Glenn and several of their musical friends, unearthed some "absolute beauties" including rare gems co-written by Brian Cadd, Paul Kelly and Broderick Smith. John J Francis's 1970s classic Play Mumma Play receives a reworking, as does Shane Howard's Flesh And Blood, Glenn Cardier's She Flew Away and Richard Clapton's Capricorn Dancer.

Kindred Spirit also contains fresh discoveries in the form of under-appreciated songs from boutique songwriters like Brian Baker, Paul Greene, Sam Hawksley and "master craftsmen" like Kevin Johnson who had a huge hit in the '70s with his signature Rock'n'Roll (I Gave You All The Best Years Of My Life).

One song, The Love I Leave Behind, was written especially for the project by country music powerhouse team Allan Caswell and Drew McAlister. Released recently as an album taster, the song quickly started chart topping reaching number two on the National Country Tracks Singles Chart.

It was described as "a sweet achievement for Graeme" demonstrating that, a quarter century after his breakthrough hit A Little Further North smashed the Aussie charts, his instincts when it comes to great songs are still well and truly intact.

"There's a prevailing attitude in the music industry today that a singer must be involved in the writing of every song he or she performs," Graeme said. "I don't think that’s particularly healthy. In golden periods of the music industry, singers – even singer/songwriters – regularly performed other people's songs.

"It was about doing the best version, the definitive version of a song, regardless of who wrote it. Some people have a gift for songwriting and some have a gift for interpretation. Some do both equally well though naturally there is often an ebb and flow between the two. Think Harry Nilsson and Frank Sinatra! One was an amazing singer songwriter whose greatest success came with other's songs, and the other never wrote a song in his life, but, both of them were incredible interpreters."

Kindred Spirit finds Graeme teaming up again with talented producer Matt Fell at Sydney's Love Hz studio. Matt produced Graeme's previous two albums – Still Walking (2010) and Speed Of Life (2011) – and the pair have developed a deep and trusting creative partnership, despite being, as Graeme observes "one to two generations apart".

Joining Graeme and Matt in the studio was "a distinguished cast of performers", many of whom featured on the past two albums. They included Rod McCormack (guitar, banjo), Bill Risby (piano), Michel Rose (pedal steel), Josh Schuberth (drums), Tim Wedde (keyboards) and Suzy Connolly and Darren Percival on backing vocals.

The album was recorded over a three month period in sporadic two week blocks. In between sessions, Graeme was either on the road performing or back home in the North Queensland town of Mackay where he helps out with the family business. "My life at home is very busy," he said. "We have a very successful family restaurant and catering business.

"One of our sons is the chef and creative force behind the restaurant, my wife Lyn is the business manager, and, well, I take care of the alcohol. I'm kind of an honourary sommelier. I used to regard going into the studio or on the road as work – now it’s more like a holiday!"

Kindred Spirit includes an eight page insert containing an educative and entertaining essay by Glenn A Baker, in which the historian not only summarises Graeme's career to date but also provides fascinating detail on the songwriters.

Weblink – www.graemeconnors.com.



Album collaboration for Troy and Adam

Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey have announced they will release a collaborative album in June.

Titled The Great Country Songbook, the album is scheduled to be released on Friday June 14 and will be followed by a joint national tour by the two stars from August.

The project has been described as one of the most exciting country music ventures of the year while the songs on the album are described as "a collection of timeless country music classics, some sung individually and others as duets".

Renowned for their showmanship and engaging live performances, Troy and Adam have earned the respect of their peers and fans alike for their vocals, musicianship, songwriting skills and their individual record releases.

Over the years, Troy and Adam have become great friends, and it was out of that bond (plus the odd jam session now and then) came the decision for the two to get together and hit the road at least once a year to perform their favourite country classic tracks for their fans.

It has not been easy for the two to juggle their diaries and make the project happen, according to a spokesman for the artists, but somehow they have managed.

"Although often rivals when it comes to music industry awards, you only have see Troy and Adam on stage together with their witty banter and genuine admiration for each other's talent and music to realise their commitment to the country music industry and its fans," the spokesman said.

"You get a real understanding how the friendship has flourished. [And] once you've seen their show, you'd also understand why after being asked by every second person during the after-show signings when they were going to produce an album with all the songs they enjoyed belting out to eager crowds nightly, Troy and Adam decided the time was right now."

The Great Country Songbook is described as "top-heavy" with the pair's biggest personal influences: "Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Hank Williams, Glen Campbell, and Aussie country icon Slim Dusty. Simply, all the songs they both could not live without included on their first ever, highly anticipated combined album".

Included is a medley of Thank God I'm a Country Boy, On The Road Again and Before The Next Teardrop Falls, which has just been released as a forerunner to the new album.

Weblinks – www.troycassardaley.com.auwww.adamharvey.com.au.


Aussies among international song comp finalists

A number of Australian writers feature among the just announced finalists in the 2012 International Songwriting Competition (ISC).

Leading the charge are Kirsty Akers (pictured), Lee Bowman, Paula Bowman, Julian Sammut, Simon Ross & Jason McCoy, Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Cowderoy, David Carter & Jane E Robertson up for the Country section gong.

Kirsty's finalist song is It Gets Me, Lee, Paula, Julian Simon & Jason (aka Jetty Road) are there with their hit I'm A Dreamer, Troy made the cut with his song Home while Paul, David & Jane are featured with their composition Coming Home.

Also featured in the competition finals, in the Americana section, are Catherine Britt, Matt Ellis, David Garnham, Kieran Glasgow and Harry Hookey... Catherine for her songs All I Recall and Sally Bones, Matt for Dangers Of The Night, David for Love Inside A Jar, Kieran for Learn Those Lessons and Harry for Audrey's Song.

Harry is also among the finalists in the Unsigned Only category with his song Misdiagnosed, as is Luke O'Shea with his song Same Small Town.

The International Songwriting Contest experienced a huge increase in entries in 2012, according to a spokesman, receiving more than 20,000 entries in 22 categories of contemporary music from 119 countries worldwide.

These were narrowed down to 324 finalists who hail from 45 countries throughout the world, from Pakistan to Latvia, from Ecuador to Tanzania, from Trinidad to Ukraine, and everywhere in between.

The finalist songs have now been sent to the panel of ISC judges who will select the final winners who will be announced in April.

In addition to the judged winners, the ISC opens voting to the public to pick their favourite song. Voting – at www.facebook.com/internationalsongwritingcompetition, is open this month only.


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