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MAY 2007


New release from Lonnie

Lonnie Lee has released a new "country rockabilly" CD titled North West Mail.

The album is described as "an autobiographical journey into Lonnie's past" and has already spawned a single, My Rockabilly Band which is reportedly already getting great reviews and airplay.

"To sum up the album, it would be fair to say it was inspired as a retrospective which encapsulates the long and varied life of this music icon," said the release announcing the new CD.

"The songs were written in an amazingly short time, perhaps giving some indication as to how much it came from the heart... all have a very personal reason for their being and they individually relate to many facets of his early years, the inspirations, the sadness, the isolation in the country as well as the incredible excitement of being one of the very first to bring this brand new and innovative music to Aussie teenagers."

Meanwhile, Lonnie has also announced he will appear in Country Music Capital this July as part of the Hats Off To Country festival.

Whilst his first shows in Tamworth go back nearly 50 years when he introduced rock 'n' roll to the city at the Tamworth Town Hall, this year will be the first time he has attended the Hats Off festival. Lonnie has an extensive run of tour dates available on his website.

The Tamworth performance will be "intimate casual shows" Lonnie says at the North Tamworth Bowling Club and will feature many songs from his two latest self written albums, Light Of Love and the new release North West Mail.

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Slim tribute weekend in June

A special tribute to the late Slim Dusty weekend has been set for Wooroolin in the South Burnett region of Kingaroy in South East Queensland on Friday and Saturday, June 29 and 30.

Titled the Boggy Creek Slim Dusty Tribute Weekend, the event will include Friday and Saturday matinee shows, a Friday night campfire concert with walk-up artists and two shows on Saturday night, one in the Town Hall and another campfire concert at the sports ground.

Live music will also be staged at the Boggy Creek Pub with artists including Col Allen, The BobKatz, Wayne Holly and Sheree, Les Lawson, Bobby Rickets and Jason Ryan.

Camping will be available on site together with bar and food stalls. Busking will also be a feature.

All funds raised during the weekend go to help the Wooroolin and Tinny schools and the Wooroolin Lions Club and local Scout group.

Further information can be obtained from Steve Daly on 07 4164 2311 or email

The event is being organised by Fig Jam Music who are expecting a large influx of tourists to the region to support the event.

"We are endeavoring to make this an annual fundraising festival type of event for the whole region," Steve said.

Artists wanting to donate their time by performing during the weekend should contact Steve.

Casey's flying...

Rising country star Casey Watt will headline entertainment at the 15th annual Old Station Fly-In and Air Show at "The Old Station" at Raglan, Queensland.

Performing with her band, Casey will perform on Saturday June 9 for the major event which continues on the 10th and 11th. The Saturday will feature aircraft activity all day with Casey performing from about 6:30pm.

"It will be a great night out for all ages," Casey said, "with children’s amusements, food stalls, market stalls, war birds, light aircraft, liquor booth and much more."

Proceeds from the event will aid the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service.

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Festivals Australia

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that Festivals Australia provides funding assistance to Australian regional and community festivals for the presentation of quality projects.

Funding is available to add a new or special sort of cultural activity that has never been included in the festival before and could not otherwise be afforded. The funding round closes on July 16 for projects beginning after January 1, 2008.

Festivals Australia Regional Residencies provides assistance to regional and remote communities that wish to "tell a local story or express a local theme", at a local festival or major community celebration.

Funding is available to engage an artist in residence to work with community participants to help them develop an arts project on a local or regional theme and present it publicly at the festival or celebration.

Further information from Lois Wishart Lindsay on 02 6271 1922, program officers Jane Fleming or Juliet Sera on 02 6271 1661 or 02 6271 1931, or email

TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2007

A big time for country music in NZ

New Zealand's Gold Guitar festivities continue this week in Gore following a big launch at the weekend.

Adam Harvey and Pixie Jenkins starred in the Australian Country Road Show on Friday night while the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards Walk-up Concert was set for last night at the Longford Function Centre.

The Hands of Fame Induction Show is tonight's main event with guest Artists Bob Mason & Apache and inductees Jim Lange from Kaiapoi and Brian Ringrose (pictured) from Christchurch.

Tomorrow's activities include a songwriting seminar with writers Don McGlashan and Mike Moroney and music industry representatives Ant Healey, Director of NZ Operations APRA, Petrina George, Manager – Member Services, APRA, and Cath Andersen – General Manager, NZ Music Industry Commission.

The night time feature is a concert at the Longford Function Centre.

A busking competition gets underway on Thursday in Gore's main shopping area from 12 noon while the MLT (Mataura Licensing Trust) sponsored Songwriting Awards will be held in the evening.

Busking is a feature again from 12noon Friday as things "hot up" for another big weekend.

Awards will be presented on Friday night for the RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of NZ) Best NZ Country Music Album (or Tui Award) and APRA Best NZ Country Music Song. Special guests will include Michael King and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French from Australia.

Saturday afternoon sees the conducting of the Transport Repairs & MLT Longford Tavern Truck Parade while the busking competition finals get underway at 12noon with a "Dusk Busk Off" set down for 4.30pm.

Senior sections in the Awards run Sunday with the 40 Plus Finals on Sunday night featuring 2007 finalists and last year's winner Sharon Williams and the Santa Rosa Showcase to follow.

The Southland Times New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards Newslink Senior Finals follow with guest Artist 2006 Senior Gold Guitar Awards winners North v South (Kylie Austin, Leanne Cryer) and backing by Tightazz.

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First ever Cessnock Festival a huge success

By Anna Rose

Following a hugely successful weekend, the inaugural O’Neills Tyres Cessnock City Country Music Festival is now firmly established on the Australian country calendar.

"The event that was the dream of Hunter Valley music enthusiast Rhonda Astill became a sparkling reality over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 25-27, with hundreds turning out to enjoy the quality music on offer.

From Friday’s official opening by Cessnock Mayor John Clarence, featuring the award-winning Wolverines, through to the first major concert that night – it was quality all the way.

The delightful Victoria Baillie opened Friday night’s concert at the East Cessnock Bowling Club to an audience of 300 happy punters, who stayed to enjoy smoky-voiced troubadour Karl Broadie (pictured with Rhonda Astill) and dual 2007 Golden Guitar winners, The McClymonts.

They were back bright and early Saturday morning for the free concerts, beginning at 10.30am with Hunter-based singer-songwriter Rob Wilson backed by a fine band of musicians – Brad Bergen (lead guitar), Peter Figures (drums), Simon Johnson (bass) and Chad Plane on keyboards.

Paxton entertainer Kellie Cain proved her worth on the agenda, stepping up to the microphone, with her guitar and stompbox, completing a six-song set,  joined for her final two numbers by the band.

Father-daughter act Alby and Melody Pool were the next crowd-pleasers on the program, then Melody was joined by fellow Camerata graduate Makaylie Foodey singing gorgeous harmonies. 2007 Toyota Star Maker Kirsty Lee Akers was another fine example of Hunter-grown talent, proving that size doesn’t matter one little bit when it comes to delivering the goods.

Last year's Golden Saddle Award winner Amber Lawrence made lots of friends during her action-packed performance and traditional bluegrass with Karen Lynne and Acoustic Shock was a fitting finale to that day’s free entertainment enjoyed by some 400 to 500 people.

John Wilson set up in the bar to entertain patrons from around 5.30 before that evening’s big show with the Wolverines, which started at 8pm. Four hundred paying customers streamed through the auditorium doors and didn’t stop rocking til the last note was played by country’s favourite party band composed of Chris Doyle, Darcy LeYear and John Clinton.

Sunday’s agenda of Lisa White, Makaylie Foodey, Sharnee Fenwick, Slim Newton, Bruce McCumstie, Karen Lynne and Acoustic Shock and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French gave patrons a great dose of country.

Event organiser Rhonda Astill was absolutely delighted with the outcome of her first festival, and said plans were already well underway for next year’s event. "So many people there were talking about 'next year' – I don’t think there’s any way I will get out of putting another festival together," she said.

"I’m just so thrilled with the support of the local business houses and, in particular, our wonderful host venue for their unstinting support. They all had faith in the project and what it could do for Cessnock and I believe that faith was well founded, with the results we achieved this first time round.

Marlene Hartog from the East Cessnock Bowling Club was also delighted with the weekend of music and is very keen to continue that association in the years to come. "The club was buzzing with people all weekend and they were a very happy crowd to have around," she said. "We would be more than pleased to see them all back again next year – and they’re more than welcome to bring plenty of their friends too."

Photos by Anna Rose (top): The McClymonts – Brooke, Mollie and Samantha; below: Rhonda with Karl Broadie and Rhonda Astill.

Crowd helps out 2REM

Country music fans put on their cowboy boots and mustered up support for local community radio station 2REM in Albury at the weekend according to Sarah Dean at "The Border Mail".

Boot-scootin’ and line-dancing were the order of the day for the eight-hour fundraising concert at Thurgoona’s Kinross Wool Shed.

The Country Music Spectacular featured 12 country music artists from around the region. Speaking for Radio 2REM, Lyn Klippel said, as community radio, the station needed all the support it could receive with fundraising.

"Because we play a lot of country music, we thought what better way to raise money than to hold a country music concert," she said. "We have invited all the local country music artists to perform to show the community the talent we have here on the Border."

The money raised would be used to purchase new equipment for the station, Lyn said.

Albury’s Bob Dearing was the first to purchase a ticket to the event last week. "I have come with a few friends to enjoy an afternoon and night of singing and dancing," he said yesterday. "The Kinross Woolshed is such a great venue for country music as the acoustics are great."

Former Australian Idol finalist and country singer Korey Livy (pictured) was compere and also performed. "In an effort to keep the station afloat, all the local country music performers have donated their time to perform today," he said. "The station has been a great ambassador for country music for years."

Korey said country music had been growing in popularity for years now. "Some people still have the perception that country music is country and western style, but country music has evolved a lot and is more of a raw sound," he said.

Other performers on the bill included Katie Baldock, Kelly Hope, Richard Perso, Karen Ritchen, Texas Rose and Kristell Taylor.

MONDAY, MAY 28, 2007

Lee announces Grenfell line-up

Lee Kernaghan has announced artists for the second Spirit of the Bush Concert to be held at Grenfell in the NSW Central West on Saturday June 30.

Jimmy Barnes, Adam Brand, Diesel, Steve Forde & The Flange, Tania Kernaghan, Leo Sayer and The McClymonts will all join Lee on the concert bill.

"I am thrilled that Jimmy Barnes can join us in Grenfell for this concert," Lee said. "Jimmy put his hand up for the last event in Horsham but was unable to appear due to his recent surgery. I am so pleased he is back fighting fit and can help us make June 30 a day that will be remembered for many years to come by the thousands of families that will join us in Grenfell.

"There is something for everyone here," Lee said, "and it is a lineup that will probably never be repeated. I want to thank the artists for their support and generous donation of their time and talent."

The first Spirit of the Bush Concert that at Horsham in the Victorian Wimmera in March saw a turn-out of 20,000 people who enjoyed a day of music as a community and put aside the pressures created by drought for what was a very special day celebrating the Spirit of the Bush.

The concert idea was born during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January as Lee and NSW Premier Morris Iemma led the Toyota Country Music Cavalcade.

"I was telling the Premier about the Victorian concert," Lee said. "He was fast to express his interest in helping us produce an event for NSW. Within a couple of weeks his staff called us and said the Premier will fund a drought relief event for NSW.

"The organisation and infrastructure for these events is huge and I want to acknowledge the other sponsors who help us deliver the services, infrastructure and security required for a safe event of this magnitude... Woolworths, Smorgon Steel Great Scrap Round Up and Rex Airlines. Our media sponsors are also a vital part of the organisation and I also want to thank them… Rural Press, WIN TV, Country Music Channel and the Caralis Radio Network."

The Spirit of the Bush concert is a free event. Admission is by way of a wristband that will be available at multiple outlets around the Central West region of NSW. The distribution points will be announced in local media during the first week of June. A limit of 10 wristbands per person will be allowed.

Event organisers are working closely with the Grenfell Mayor and Council on the event. Local Service clubs have been approached to supply all the catering for the event in an effort to keep the funds in the local community.

Although the event is not a fund-raiser, Lee will "pass the hat around" to assist Aussie Helpers, a grass roots organisation that helps families deal with the effects of drought.

A website for the event opens today at

CMC Top 50 – Carrie at number one

Carrie Underwood (pictured) has taken over the number one spot on the CMC (Country Music Channel) playlist this week with the clip of her hit Wasted.

Keith Urban is at two with I Told You So, Adam Brand jumps two places to three with Can't Live Without Your Love while Gretchen Wilson's number one from last week – Come To Bed – drops to four.

The McClymonts and Tania Kernaghan jump two places each with, respectively, Baby's Gone Home and Life Don't Get Much Better Than This while Alison Krauss' Missing You drops to seven.

Rounding out the top 10, Martina McBride rises to eight with Anyway, Rascal Flatts is at nine with Stand while Sugarland is at 10 with Settlin'.

Bullet performers this week include The Sunny Cowgirls, debuting at 15 with Cuttin' Up B&S Style, Markus Meier's Matilda Road (23 to 20), Dianna Corcoran's Stepping Stones (31 to 28), Amber Lawrence with The Things That Bring Me Down (36 to 32), Steve Eales' Girls On Horses (39 to 35), The Audreys' Banjo & Violin (40 to 36), Peter Denahy's The Bloke Who Serves The Beer (43 to 39), Tom Curtain's Chew Like Hell (46 to 40), Angie Whiteley's Brightest Light (44 to 41), Tony Morris' Small Town (45 to 42), The Greencards (new at 44) with Waiting On The Night, Kimber Sparks' Somewhere Between (debuting at 45), Allan Caswell's A Little Bit Of Country In Us All (new at 46) and Steve Passfield's Goin' It Alone (new at 47).

The full playlist can be viewed at

Karl signs to ABC

Karl Broadie has signed a new record deal with ABC Music/Warner Music Australia.

Announcing the signing, Karl said his new album – One Million Emeralds – has been slated for release on July 7.

He also announced the upgrading of his website at

"We’ve waved goodbye to the ol’ and flung open the door for the new," he said. "Goes without saying, I’m chuffed with these pages. Of course, the brand new website is in anticipation of (the) brand new album."

Of the new album, Karl said "I really did want to make a very special record. In my humble opinion and in accordance with my personal taste at least, I sincerely feel that, together with producer Matt Fell and his abyssal talent! This has been achieved with One Million Emeralds."

First single off the album will be Sleepy Head, which "will be with radio stations real soon," Karl said. "There will also be a new video clip which I’ll keep you posted about on (the) new website."

SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2007

Ginny walks the line with Johnny

Otorohanga, NZ, singer Ginny Peters is to join legendary country singer Johnny Cash in an American hall of musical fame, writes Kelly Gregor in "The Waikato Times".

The US National Traditional Country Music Association has invited Ginny, who met Johnny during a New Zealand tour, to be inducted into an international category, and she says she was stunned to be remembered in the same hall of fame as the influential singer.Mrs Peters, who met the late Mr Cash during a New Zealand tour, said

"You can't get your head around it. I walked so many halls of fame he's in. It means something that it will be there forever," she said.

Ginny will travel to the US in August to perform at the Association's old-time country music festival together with other leading New Zealand singers.

"I don't feel there's any separation between the countries (in music). It's going to be a Kiwi invasion. They're going to raise the flag and even have kiwifruit to eat," Ginny said. "I love music. It makes me think, it moves me. I'm a wordsmith with a guitar, not an entertainer. They (America) have taken me for what I am."

Ginny and her husband run a successful publishing company called Pegasus which distributes lyrics to artists such as Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood.

Photo by Mark Taylor, Waikato Times.

Wayne to feature in Kentucky Down Under County Days

International Australian country star Wayne Horsburgh (pictured) will be special guest at America's Kentucky Down Under, an Australian themed animal park, when it hosts its annual County Days for locals on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10.

Born and raised in the Victorian countryside near Benalla, Victoria, Wayne started singing at a young age, forming his own dance band at 11.

Wayne’s career has taken him all over the world and he has shared the stage with performers such as Emmylou Harris, The Oak Ridge Boys, Freddy Fender, Ricky Van Shelton, Sammy Kershaw, Lorrie Morgan and Toby Keith, to name a few.

He has recorded 16 albums during his career to date, the latest CDs being Land Of Enchantment and Memories & Guitar Strings. His numerous awards and achievements have made him one of the busiest and most respected entertainers in Australian country music.

Kentucky Down Under is described as a fun, interactive and educational Australian animal park with a beautifully decorated cave.

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Chart update – Tim hits number one

Tim McGraw (pictured) hits the top of the Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart this week with his latest hit Last Dollar (Fly Away).

Carter & Carter's number one from the last two weeks – Run Away – slips to number two while Travis Sinclair's Rockin' The Rig rises to three and Tom Curtain's Chew Like Hell is steady at four.

James Blundell edges up one place to five with Higher Than Heaven, John Williamson's Wildlife Warrors: It's Time drops to six while Keith Urban's latest hit – I Told You So – zooms into the top 10 at seven.

John O'Dea's Old Rusty Ute is steady at eight while Karen Lynne and Nicki Gillis swap ninth and 10th places respecively with Roses In The Snow and Leaving You For Myself (Karen's at nine, Nicki at 10).

Bullet performers this week include Tania Kernaghan's Life Don't Get Much Better Than This (19 to 15), Paul Costa's A Lover's Question (23 to 19), Adam Brand's Can't Live Without Your Love (28 to 23), Jeff Brown's Counting Down The Ks (27 to 24) and Melinda Schneider with Stronger (29 to 25).

New entries this week include Anita Ree with the title track to her current album Bush Girl's Heart (in at 30).

The Top 30 Countdown goes to air tomorrow night, Sunday, on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.

The full chart can be viewed at

FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2007

Tourism Tamworth warns of accommodation scam

Tourism Tamworth – Country Music Capital's local tourism organisation – has warned visitors to the city to be aware of an Internet scam currently running in relation to the annual country music festival in January.

"Internet scams have become significantly less over the years," the organisation says, "thanks to strict online content monitoring, however one is now targeting our interested travellers of the Festival."

A number of individuals who have left classified ads on a local website with accommodation requests for the city's busiest time of year have been targetted by a "scammer" offering accommodation at the "Pop Star Motel" which does not exist.

The "scammer" requests full payment of accommodation required by credit card.

"This is a huge concern for us," said Rebel Thomson, Tourism Tamworth's General Manager. "The last thing we want is for anyone anticipating a great festival experience to arrive here only to find that their accommodation does not exist.

"We have contacted the website who has since put a notice on their classifieds page however we are asking all interested visitors to ensure they book their accommodation through legitimate channels."

Meanwhile, Tourism Tamworth is putting the final touches on their Festival Information Guide which is the booklet sent out to all interested Festival-goers. This guide contains factual information that is compiled by Tourism Tamworth and all information including contact details are checked with the operators.

The 2008 Tamworth Country Music Festival presented by Telstra Information Guide will be available from the beginning of June 2007.

Visitors can request a guide by contacting Tourism Tamworth on 02 6767 5300 or by visiting

Song fund-raiser

Drew McAlister (pictured) and Alan Caswell have written a song for the charity Tourdecure which is raising money for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and Camp Quality.

"We are trying to get 88,000 views on You-tube," Drew says, "that being the number of people diagnosed with cancer each year in Australia."

All proceeds from the song and $1 from every album sale goes straight to Tourdecure.

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New single for Donna

After the success already from her acclaimed new album Luckiest Girl Alive, Donna Boyd is releasing a new single, Angels Fly Close To The Ground.

The first single – the title track – made it to number three while A Good Day went to number five on the country charts.

Angels Fly Close To The Ground is described as "a beautifully crafted ballad about Donna's grandmother's passing, penned by Donna with Merelyn and David Carter.

The single has been released to radio this week on NfS 14.

This year is shaping up as another big year for Donna as she has been asked to co-host the 11th annual Australian Independent Country Music Awards (the Southern Stars) in October.

Among Donna's other major appearances this year will be the 2007 Toyota National Country Music Muster at Gympie and the Mildura Country Music Festival in September.

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Entries open for WAM Song of the Year

Amateur or professional songwriters are invited to enter the WAM Song of the Year 2007.

With more than $30,000 in prizes to be won, including the grand prize– a four day recording session supplied by James Hewgill Music, a full page advertisement and feature article in "Groove" magazine and the pressing of 500 CDs by Disk Bank – organisers say the competition is designed for writers who want to "take their career to the next level".

Entrants can enter their original songs into the categories of pop, country, blues & roots, jazz, rock, heavy rock/metal, urban, world, folk, electronic/dance, mixed bag, love, gospel, professional and school aged categories.

Prizes for Indigenous and Regional Song of the Year are drawn from entrants in every category.

"No one misses out in 2007 because this year WAM Song of the Year introduces a professional category where published Western Australian based songwriters are given the chance to enter their works," organisers say.

Entries close on August 10.

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Kel-Anne to sing for the troops

Kel-Anne Brandt will be part of the next troupe to entertain members of the armed services on the Solomon Islands.

The Tour de Force tradition of providing entertainment to Australian service personnel overseas goes back to before the Vietnam War. The performers are all volunteers and Kel-Anne's group will also include her brother-in-law Izzy who is in the Screaming Jets.

"We'll be on Guadalcanal," Kel-Anne said, "the main island of the Solomons. We won't get put up in fancy accommodation. We'll share the same food and drink and sleep in the same type of accommodation as the diggers who are on duty out there. We'll be singing at their main base near Honiara, the capital, and also putting on mini-shows at other places where they are on duty."

The service personnel on the Solomons are all part of Operation Anode, the Australian Defence Forces’ part in RAMSI (the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands) which began in 2003 at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.

"Our soldiers – along with soldiers from three other Pacific nations – are supporting police from a total of 16 Pacific nations," Kel-Anne said, "including Australian Federal Police as they back up the Solomon Islands Police Force in its task of restoring law and order."

Norfolk Island Festival this weekend

The winter festival season gets into swing this weekend with the annual Norfolk Island Country Music Festival which has a big line-up of guest artists and the 2007 TransTasman Entertainer of the Year quest.

Headlining the Festival as guest stars from New Zealand are The Topp Twins (pictured) with The Cattlestops and Eddie Low.

Guest stars from Australia include multi-award winner Paul Costa and 2006 Coopers Golden Saddle title holder Amber Lawrence, together with last year's TransTasman Entertainer of the Year Briana Lee.

The 14th annual Festival and 13th annual TransTasman quest, organised and staged by the Norfolk Island Country Music Association (NICMA) kicks off on Sunday and runs through to the following Sunday, June 3.

Over the past 13 years, Norfolk Island has seen some of the great name artists performing on the island and audiences have been thrilled with the calibre of artists who perform at the NI Country Music Festival which is staged over four main nights, leaving days free for visitors to enjoy the beauty and history of Norfolk Island.

The first of the main nights is Tuesday which sees the staging of the TransTasman Entertainer of the Year Quest with finalists, from Australia, Krystal Donnelly, Tony Fracchia, Lee Kirby, Vanessa Lee Shirley, Penelope Somerville and from New Zealand, Kylie Austine and Brendon Liley.

And Cessnock...

Also this weekend is the very first Cessnock (NSW) Country Music Festival which will feature the Wolverines in a special fund-raiser in aid of the quest for a cure for cystic fibrosis (CF).

The Wolves, longtime supporters of Cystic Fibrosis Australia, will appear ar lunchtime on Friday as part of a fundraising launch for national CF day where the public is being asked to purchase merchandise such as the Breathe Life wristband, or 65 Roses Day ribbon.

There will be a fundraising sausage sizzle organised by LJ Hooker Cessnock in Harold Sternbeck Park (opposite the LJ Hooker Cessnock office) from noon to 3pm and all it will cost is a donation of $1.

The day will be full of fun for locals with the LJ Hooker Bear handing out balloons and there will be face painting for the young ones. Locals will get a taste of what’s to come for the weekend of music with The Wolverines performing live.

Cessnock Mayor Cr John Clarence will officially launch the Festival during proceedings.

65 Roses Day raises national awareness of cystic fibrosis which affects one child born every four days in Australia.

“LJ Hooker has raised over $1.7 million to date for CF research. The serious genetic condition affects the ability to breathe and digest food, and seriously impairs life expectancy; and as yet there is no cure,” real estate principal Todd Fisher said.

He explained that Cystic Fibrosis Australia adopted the "65 Roses Day" name from a young boy’s inability to pronounce his sister’s condition. "Ironically, he thought she had a gift of sixty-five roses."

The Festival proper begins with the The McClymonts concert on Friday night at the East Cessnock Bowling Club where Karl Broadie will open the show, and on Saturday night, the big show will be presented by the Wolverines.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday artists such as Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French, Alby Pool, Kirsty Lee Akers, Karen Lynne and Acoustic Shock, Bruce McCumstie and more will provide entertainment free of charge for patrons.

All activities will be held at the East Cessnock Bowling Club. Ticket inquiries can be made at the club by phoning (02) 4990 1444.

And Tenthill !!...

Meanwhile, the 2007 Tenthill Turnout will be staged on Saturday (May 26) at Ma Ma Creek Hall via Gatton Queensland.

Stars of the show this year include Rick Carey, Tracy Coster (pictured), Glenn Jones, Anne Kirkpatrick, Matt Manning, Ian Quinn and Brian Young.

The Tenthill Turnout is an annual event held on the weekend closest to the late Stan Coster's birthday and pays tribute to Stan, one of Australia's best known bush balladeers, and his music.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the event.

Krystal and Troy out of "It Takes Two"

Troy Cassar-Daley and Krystal Forscutt were voted off the Seven/Prime networks' "It Takes Two" series last night after just three weeks.

Krystal’s nominated charity for the program (which received proceeds from weekly voting) was Father Chris Reilly’s Youth Off The Streets.

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Carrie's debut sells six million

Carrie Underwood's debut album Some Hearts has been certified sextuple platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for shipments of six million copies to retailers.

According to her record label, Carrie is only the second solo female country artist to reach the six-million milestone with a debut album. LeAnn Rimes accomplished it with her 1996 release, Blue.

Released in November, 2005, Some Hearts has spent a total of 26 weeks at number one, topping Billboard's Top Country Albums chart for multiple weeks in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Carrie is currently working on a new album planned for release this year.


EMI sold

EMI has been sold to Maltby, a new company formed at the direction of Terra firma.

The board of directors of Maltby, along with the directors of EMI, has announced the terms of a recommended cash offer for EMI at a price of 265 pence in cash for each EMI Share.

This puts the value of EMI at approximately £3.2 billion.

More details are expected soon.


TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2007

Shock Country launched

Shock Records, Australia’s biggest independent music company, yesterday announced the launch of Shock Country.

For many years Shock has been recognised as a purveyor of "niche excellence" and yesterday’s announcement signalled a major push and refocus into the Australian country music industry.

In addition to the company’s international roster, Shock is looking to expand its Australian country artist roster.

As well as such top acts as Paul Costa, Tania Kernaghan, Travis Sinclair and Felicity Urquhart, Shock is as "pleased as punch" to announce the addition of five new acts to the Australian roster... Mike Brady (of "up there Cazaly" fame), Jayne Denham ("the gal behind the wheel of the 'Chick Ute'), Markus Meier (produced by Garth Porter), Corrina Steel (produced by Bill Chambers) and Bec Willis (from the Jeff Chandler management stable).

Shock’s resident country music guru Dave Laing said: "Australia's country music heritage goes back almost as far as that of the US – early Australian artists like Tex Morton and Buddy Williams were directly influenced by the music's originators like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family while the bush ballad influence is uniquely Australian and goes back to Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson.

"This is a vital, legitimate music. Young country singers like Markus Meier and Jayne Denham are an authentic voice of rural Australian youth, whilst young singer-songwriter Bec Willis' accent is as Australian as Missy Higgins', and her songs as universal.

"There is an increasing interest in roots music in both the mainstream and alternative music scenes," he said, "and we're looking forward to working on all fronts."

Shock's international roster features such acts as Steve Earle, The Greencards, Patty Griffin, George Jones, Alison Krauss, Linda Ronstadt, Gillian Welch and Dwight Yoakam.

Shock Country is currently distributing albums by Paul Costa (Restoration), Tania Kernaghan (Higher Ground), Travis Sinclair (Rush) and Felicity Urquhart (My Life) with product coming "real soon" from Mike Brady (Country To Country), Jayne Denham (Sudden Change In The Weather), Markus Meier (Raindance), Corrina Steel (Blues Is A Good Woman Gone Bad) and Bec Willis (with her self titled release).

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MONDAY, MAY 21, 2007

Big Golden Guitar for sale

Country Music Capital's Big Golden Guitar is up for sale.

Reports in Sydney's "Daily Telegraph" and "Sun Herald" report the iconic tourist attraction, established in Tamworth, NSW, in 1987 and officially opened by Slim Dusty in Australia's bi-centenary year 1988, is on the market with a price tag of $1.5 million.

Made of fibreglass over a steel frame, the 12-metre tall landmark, a replica of the trophy for the annual Golden Guitar Awards held in the city each January, and attached tourist centre is located on the New England Highway at the southern entrance to the city.

The tourist centre, which includes a country music star wax museum, gift shop, music shop and coffee shop, is visited by about 150,000 people each year. During the annual country music festival in January, artists hold meet and greets where they sing out the front of the complex and sign autographs.

It has been used in advertisements for companies such as Toyota and Bundy Rum and next month it will appear on postage stamps in a series celebrating Australia's giant replicas by Mambo artist and Mental As Anything band member Reg Mombassa.

"Australia is preoccupied with big things," LJ Hooker Tamworth real estate agent Richie Thornton said. "Once you get outside a metropolitan area, towns have got to find ways to market themselves."

He said if a buyer wanted the site without the Big Guitar it would be relocated to another part of town.

Owners Wendy and Noel Bennett bought the centre from Noel's brother Warwick – a former Tamworth Mayor – and his business partner Max Ellis 10 years ago. Both aged in their 60s, the couple has decided it is time to retire and travel.

"Back in those days, it was just the wax museum and a small shop," Wendy said. "We have put our whole life into it. I am going to find it sad because I have met some really lovely people and you're busy all the time.

"But there comes a time when you want to stop and take things a bit easy."

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JW and Ken "Chainsaw" to star at Koala Hospital fundraiser

John Williamson and Ken "Chainsaw" Lindsay will star at a Black Tie and Gum Boot Gala on Saturday June 2 as a fundraiser for Port Macquarie's Koala Hospital.

Aim of the night is to raise funds to purchase an ambulance for the Koala hospital. Well-known sport star Steve Sterling will also be in attendance and part of the entertainment will include some fire twirling.

Tickets ars $145 and include dinner and beverages. An ice sculpture will be placed on each table. During the night there will be auctions and prize give a ways. The entertainment commences at 5pm and concludes at 10:30pm.

The gala will be held at the old school on Rawdon Island near Wauchope just west of Port.

Further information can be obtained from Jules on 0401 178 088 weekdays during office hours.

New single from Nellie

Up and coming country star Nellie Donovan this week releases the third single to country radio this week.

Titled Steppin' Out the single is the title track from Nellie's album and is a follow-up to the successful Sing Me An Angel which, Nellie reports, is still receiving "great feedback" from overseas and Aussie radio presenters.

Nellie showcased songs off Steppin' Out "to a very attentive and enthusiastic crowd at Queen Street Mall for the 2007 Urban Country Music Roadshow… great stuff! I also had an absolute ball at the Urban Festival.  It’s always great to catch up with everyone for some stories and laughs.

"I was honoured to share the stage with Rod Dowsett, Rose Carleo and Kelly Llewellyn at the Songwriters Café.

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came along to us at the Urban Festival. Thanks also to all the organisers, for creating such a wonderful festival which seems to be growing larger each year."

A video clip of the new single will also be released soon, Nellie said.  "Keep an eye out as there are a few surprises in this one," she said, "which I'm very excited (and a little nervous) about. Clips of Nellie's songs Cruising and Sing Me An Angel are still playing on CMC Country Music Channel.

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Keith screams into CMC Top 50

As if to celebrate his current tour in Australia, the clip of Keith Urban's new single – I Told You So – has screamed into the top 10 of this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist at number three.

Gretchen Wilson sits at number one with Come To Bed while multi Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards winner Carrie Underwood is at two with Wasted and Alison Krauss is at four with last week's number one Missing You.

Adam Brand edges up one place to five with Can't Live Without Your Love while another multi ACM winner, Brooks & Dunn, are at six with Hillbilly Deluxe and The McClymonts are steady at seven with Baby's Gone Home.

Tania Kernaghan also bounds into the top 10 this week at number eight with Life Don't Get Much Better Than This while James Blundell's new top 10 video hit Higher Than Heaven is up to nine and Martina McBride is at 10 with Anyway.

Bullet performers this week include Gina Jeffreys, debuting at 16 with Stepped Right In It, Paul Costa's A Lover's Question (22 to 19), Markus Meier's Matilda Road (26 to 23), Jayne Denham's Chick Ute this week at 27 after debuting only four weeks ago at 46, Dianna Corcoran's Stepping Stones (new at 31), Amber Lawrence with The Things That Bring Me Down (new at 36), Steve Eales' Girls On Horses (42 to 39), The Audreys' Banjo& Violin (43 to 40) and Peter Denahy's The Bloke Who Serves The Beer (49 to 43).

Other new entries (or re-entries) to the playlist this week include Tony Morris at 45 with Small Town, Tom Curtain at 46 with Chew Like Hell and The Bobkatz at 50 with Sweet Water.

The full playlist can be viewed at

SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2007

Johno’s Old Rusty Ute hits top gear

South Australian singer/songwriter John O’Dea can’t stop smiling. His new single, Old Rusty Ute, the title track of his second album, has this week become his first top 10 hit.

The mild-mannered bloke from Orroroo in the upper north of South Australia only ventured into the studio a few short years ago to put down his first album, If Stones Could Talk. He’d been performing in and fronting bands for something like 30 years prior to that – but hey – you can’t rush these things.

Two years later, he recorded his second album, Old Rusty Ute, and the title track earned Johno the prestigious Frank Harding Award for Excellence at the South Australian Country Music Festival in Barmera. Now it appears the song has done the trick again with his first ever single to chart (see chart rundown below).

"I am so thrilled with the response and the interest shown by radio and other media outlets all over the country," Johno said. "I’ve done heaps of interviews with DJs from Tassie to Darwin and all points in between – and it’s great to know people are enjoying the album I had so much pleasure putting together with some wonderful people."

Johno is currently planning a video clip for the next single to come from Old Rusty UteParachilna Sunset. That song is played every afternoon (at sunset, of course) in the bar of the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna owned by Jane and Ross Fargher. Johno reckons it’s a top spot for a beer.

After returning home from the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January, Johno was shot by a film crew from TV3 in Ireland performing that song at Parachilna. It was screened nationally throughout the Emerald Isle on the channel's popular morning TV show which resulted in his music being heard even further than he could ever imagine.

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– Story: Anna Rose • Photo: Tim Froling


Chart update – Carter & Carter still at the top

Carter & Carter maintain the number one position on this week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart this week with Run Away.

John Williamson's Wildlife Warrors: It's Time is steady again at number two while Tim McGraw's Last Dollar (Fly Away) rises to three and Tom Curtain's Chew Like Hell remains at four.

Travis Sinclair's Rockin' The Rig is steady at five, James Blundell jumps to six with Higher Than Heaven at and Tim McGraw's Last Dollar (Fly Away) rises to six and Brad Paisley's She's Everything falls to seven.

John O'Dea's Old Rusty Ute bounds into the top 10 at eight while Nicki Gillis drops to nine with Leaving You For Myself and Karen Lynne scores another top 10 entry with Roses In The Snow at 10.

Bullet performers this week include Keith Urban's I Told You So (15 to 11) and Tania Kernaghan's Life Don't Get Much Better than This (22 to 19).

Two new entries to the chart this week, the title track to Melinda Schneider's current album Stronger (in at 29) and Jonah's Road (pictured) with Counting Down The Days (at 30).

The Top 30 Countdown goes to air tomorrow night, Sunday, on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.

The full chart can be viewed at

THURSDAY, MAY 17, 2007

America's ACM award winners

Brooks & Dunn (pictured), Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Carrie Underwood have come out big winners at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards announced in Las Vegas yesterday (Australian time).

Brooks & Dunn won Top Vocal Duo and shared Vocal Event of the Year for Building Bridges with Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow as well as being presented with the Humanitarian Award.

Kenny Chesney took out the prestigious Entertainer of the Year title while George Strait won two awards (Single and Song of the Year for Give It Away, written by Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson) and Carrie Underwood took out three awards – Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for Some Hearts and Video of the Year with Before He Cheats.

Top Vocal Group went to Rascal Flatts, Top Male Vocalist was Brad Paisley, Top New Female Vocalist was Miranda Lambert, Top New Male Vocalist was Rodney Atkins and Little Big Town was named Top New Duo or Vocal Group.

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Troy and Krystal "rock" the house

In the second episode of the Seven/Prime networks' hit series "It Takes Two", Troy Cassar-Daley and his singing partner Krystal Forscutt proved that they can "rock" when they performed a "smoking version" of the classic hit Good Times, according to Jeff Chandler from Troy's management company Face The Music.

Krystal and Troy scored 30 from the judging panel, "proving that they have what it takes to have a shot at the grand final," Jeff said.

Krystal’s nominated charity for the program (which receives proceeds from weekly voting) is Father Chris Reilly’s Youth Off The Streets, "so to help this very worthy cause and to keep Troy and Krystal on your screens, vote by texting 'Krystal' to 191 977 or phoning 1902 557 719".

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Yodelling The Classics to be released in America

Mary Schneider’s two Yodelling The Classics albums are to be released in America as The Complete Collection by noted major independent, the New York based Koch International.

"Finally these recordings that I enjoyed so much creating with my collaborators Rita Schneider and the maestro Tommy Tycho are being released in the biggest record market in the world," Mary, Australia's Queen of Yodelling said.

The release, on May 22, will see the deluxe two CD set released across America and is likely to get picked up by Koch affiliates in other key markets around the world. Koch International are also making the recordings available digitally (on iTunes, etc).

"So finally the world will have direct access to Mary’s unique treatment of the classics," said a spokesman for the singer, "including Yodelling Mozart, Tritsch Tratsch Polka Yodel and Brahms’ Lullaby Yodel, to name a few of the gems.

"There is nothing like it in the world to compare with Mary Schneider’s remarkable recordings.

"Mary’s recordings were made available in Europe and the USA previously and she has done some touring in support of those releases but nothing compares with the scale in which this release via Koch International will achieve.

"I’ve had so many requests from around the world for my music and now, thankfully, it will be available worldwide," Mary said.

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New single for Nicki

Following the top 10 chart success of Leavin You For Myself, Nicki Gillis is about to release her second single – Remember Me – to radio from her award-winning album Lucy’s Daughter, released through One Stop Country late 2006.

Remember Me is descibed as "a song for Mum’s to remember that they are important too".

"Sometimes we get so involved with children, work and other family commitments that we lose sight of who we really are," Nicki said, "but let’s not forget the Dad’s either.

"When I first started writing this song I was marvelling at the fact that one day you can be a person full of hopes and dreams, then you’re pregnant and all of a sudden everyone treats you completely differently. As an expectant mother you are then poked and prodded by doctors and specialists, you very quickly find out the truths of childbirth and beyond, and then finally, once the baby is born, you become that child’s 'Mum'.

"In fact, people stop calling you by your first name. Being a Mum is one of the most difficult roles you can ever take on in your life but full of so many amazing moments and rewards. You find that nothing else will ever measure up to that feeling and bond a mother has for her child but if you lose who you are in the process then your children won’t know who you really are."

"This is the first of many songs off Lucy’s Daughter that reflect a pure intimacy into Nicki’s own experience," said the release announcing the new single.

"Up until now, my songs have only skimmed around the edges of personal experiences," Nicki said, "but when I was writing for this album I took on a deeper challenge to write on a more personal level."

Nicki's achievements over the last few months have included winning the 2007 Horsham Country Music Awards Open Album of the Year award for Winner of Lucy’s Daughter and being named Independent Female Vocalist of the Year at the same Awards, winner of the 2006 Blue Mountains Music Award for outstanding Contribution to Blues/Jazz Music and her naming as a finalist in the 2007 Coopers Golden Saddle Award.

Lucy’s Daughter is available at independent music retailers including JB Hi Fi and Leading Edge stores.

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TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2007

Cat's return makes mum's day

Country music star Cat Southern gave her mum Joyce the best Mother's Day present she could imagine on Sunday when she returned home safe after a tour of the Middle East.

Cat returned home after a 17-day tour entertaining Australian troops. "It was an amazing experience," she said, "and such an honour to be invited."

Cat jumped at the chance to perform. "My uncle used to be in the defence force, my cousin is now and my father used to be an officer a long time ago," Cat said. She and her band performed in Afghanistan and in Iraq, including Baghdad.

"It was my chance to see what's going on in the world. I wish every civilian got the opportunity to go," Cat said. The performances were well received, she said. "They don't have any alcohol or live entertainment so (I thought) if I can go over there and provide some entertainment for a few hours, so be it."

It wasn't as easy as just rolling up, though. "I had to wear 15kg of body armour. Iraq is very humid. Afghanistan is like Adelaide, dry heat, 45 degrees and very windy."

Cat said the trip took plenty of preparation. "It's voluntary and took close to a month. We had all this pre-training we had to go through, like hostage training." While Cat says she'd love to go again, Joyce is delighted to have her daughter back for a while.

"We're extremely proud to get out and support the troops. While we don't always necessarily agree with where they are, it's really important as Aussies that we support our guys," she said.

Cat was in Iraq as part of the seventh morale-boosting Tour de Force concert tour for Australian Defence members serving in the Middle East, a showbiz tradition that dates back to even before the Vietnam War.

In addition to Cat, performers in the troupe, hosted by MC Renee Brack, were Big Brother Little Brother (Adam and Mat Hedditch), Wayne Deakin and The Dickster (Richard Kaminski).

Photo: Cat performs on stage for the troops at Ali Air Base, Tallil.

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Ashley pushes 100 year dam project along

Words from the chorus of Ashley Cook's new hit song The Dam On the Dawson aired across ABC Radio in March just prior to the launch of his second CD at the local pub the Hotel Thangool.

Written by local writer Trevor Shaw, the song is included on Ashley's latest album Beneath The Queensland Moon.  Most balladeer fans will know the title track originally recorded by Australian country music pioneer Buddy Williams.

Mayor of Banana Shire Glen Churchill thinks the launch couldn't come at a better time given the current water debates in southern Queensland and the focus on the 100 year project on the Dawson River. *

He says: "The planned major inland water storage infrastructure on the Dawson must be built on behalf of the people of Queensland and the future of the Central Queensland hinterland.

"Ashley launched his CD. Now all we need is the launch of the dam."

Photo: Ashely (right) with Glen Churchill.

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* The proposal to build a dam on the Dawson River is a project which would see the Dawson Valley and the Banana Shire become the next major development area in Queensland. When constructed, the dam would provide water to irrigate approximately 25,000 hectares of land, and for industrial use. This development would result in over 1,000 permanent jobs and an additional $40 million worth of agricultural production annually. – Banana Shire website.

MONDAY, MAY 14, 2007

Keith dazzles Brisbane

Keith Urban dazzled fans in Brisbane on the first shows of his whirlwind metropolitan tour on Friday and Saturday, performing to capacity crowds at the Entertainment Centre.

It's the first time the 39-year-old country star has brought his band's full-scale arena show to Australia and even attracted his wife Nicole Kidman on Friday night when he energetically ploughed through his repertoire built over two decades on the road.

Keith will perform again in Sydney tomorrow night, Melbourne on Friday night, Adelaide Sunday night and Perth next Tuesday night before heading back to America early June for the US leg of the "Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy World Tour".

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Telstra Road prize upgrade

Organisers of the annual Telstra Road To Tamworth talent search – culminating during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January – have upgraded the winner's prize pool to a value of $140,000.

It was announced in yesterday's "Sun-Herald" that the 2008 winner would receive a full album deal – bringing it in line with Australia's other major talent search, Toyota Star Maker – as well as the trip to Nashville during America's CMA Music Festival and other prizes including a management deal.

Previous winners – Jessica Mauboy, Aleyce Simmonds (pictured), Nick Kingswell and Morgan Evans – received a single release as well as the Nashville trip and other prize elements.

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Geoffrey's "knockout shows"

Geoffrey Graham reports "knockout shows" at the recent Narrandera John O'Brien Bush Festival and the Corryong Man from Snowy River Festival.

Doing his 'Banjo" impersonation show as well as a variety of other presentations and spots, the two festivals have been regulars for Geoffrey for several years combining music, comedy and verse in one man show formats to the delight of a range of audiences from primary schools to clubs.

Late this month will see a short NSW tour for Geoffrey performing at Oaklands, Nyngan, Bourke, Wee Waa, Gilgandra, Mendooran and Forbes in NSW. His show at Gilgandra is "A Taste of the Outback" at the Bowling Club, "something country people can relate to very well," he said.

Though Geoffrey has yet to publish an original book of verse (it will happen in 2007, he says) his CDs (The Man From Ironbark and 100 Not Out) are selling well and his book of Banjo verse has sold out.

Recently, Geoffrey picked up second place in the original humorous written verse at the Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts. The winning poem – Never Take A Train – will appear in the soon to be published book which will be titled "Rhythm of the Bush".

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-I -N -T -E -R -N -A -T -I -O -N -A -L - - U -P -D -A -T -E

Les Paul returns home

Guitar legend Les Paul returned to his hometown, Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Thursday to perform a concert that will raise about $100,000 for a museum exhibit on his life.

The 91-year-old Grammy winner hasn't played in Waukesha in decades. And his trip back, he said at a news conference, was stirring up memories. Chief among them was his motivation to invent the solid-body electric guitar in the 1940s.

He recalled coming home from a gig after an audience member told him his guitar needed to be louder.

"I went home and I said to my mother, 'I've got a critic and the critic has something to say. It's up to me to do something about it. So I'll make an electric guitar,'" he said. The invention caught on and helped Paul and his wife at the time, Mary Ford, record a series of hit records in the 1950s.

Guitar-maker Gibson began mass-producing the Les Paul model in 1952. Many musicians became famous playing on the model. "Thank God the younger generation latched on to it and said 'Look what we got here,'" he said.

Tickets for the Les Paul performance cost $300 each. All 350 were sold with the money going to the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum. In March, the guitar maestro donated $25,000 to the museum.

He is also known for developing recording techniques such as close miking, multitracking and use of echo and delay and is credited with introducing in the 1950s the first eight-track tape player and building an early model synthesizer.

The Les Paul exhibit is a multimillion-dollar project expected to open in 2010.

Photo: Les Paul with some of the items he has donated to the museum.


Gretchen releases new album

Grammy Award winning Gretchen Wilson released her third studio album – One Of The Boys – in Australia on Saturday.

With the new work, Gretchen solidifies her position as one of contemporary country's most original and multi-faceted female artists.

"When it comes to the music," she says, "I get involved on a personal level in everything that counts. I'm involved in the writing, recording, producing, mixing and promoting of the music, down to which photos we pick and how the lyrics are laid out on the paper."

Building on that freedom, One Of The Boys is described as a tour de force, "a musical extension of the complex woman sometimes underappreciated by those who only know her rowdy aspects. One Of the Boys cuts a wider swath through both the hell-raising and the softer sides of a woman who has been in the public eye just three short years," said the media release accompanying the new album.

"Overall, One Of The Boys is as strong and authentic a musical statement as Gretchen has ever made."

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Honour for Bear Family Records founder

Richard Weize, founder and owner of German-based Bear Family Records, is to receive a lifetime achievement award from Belmont University in Nashville for his work in producing CD reissues.

Established in 1975, Bear Family became a leader in reissuing country, rock, jazz and other roots-related music. The company is perhaps best known for its boxed sets of complete recordings by numerous country artists, including Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.

Bear Family has also released compilations on relatively obscure artists and reissued individual albums that were out of print. Awards chairman Don Cusic noted, "Richard Weize has consistently produced top quality books of liner notes to accompany his boxed sets.

"These complement the boxed sets and add an important addition to the story of artists and their recordings. He certainly deserves this award for linking books with country music."

The award presentation is scheduled for May 25 during the International Country Music Conference at Belmont University.

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SUNDAY, MAY 13, 2007

Amos signs to Nulla

Young Kempsey (NSW) bush balladeer Amos Morris has signed to Nulla Records, the label started by Slim Dusty in 1981.

Announcing the signing, Australian country music legend Joy McKean officially welcomed Amos to Nulla Records.

A very popular new artist on the bush balladeer scene, Joy said Amos was committed to introducing the bush ballad to his generation and preserving its heritage.

"It is a happy coincidence that this young balladeer comes out of Slim Dusty’s hometown and will continue Slim’s legacy through Nulla Records.

"The influence of the master is still strong throughout this project with Amos recording his debut Nulla album in Slim’s Columbia Lane studios, while having production by Anne Kirkpatrick with the assistance of longtime Slim Dusty Travelling Country Band member Mike Kerin."

Amos’s highly anticipated second album will be released early August on Nulla Records through EMI Australia, both fitting homes historically for a fine young balladeer’s work.

Photo: Joy McKean watches over Amos as he signs to Nulla Records.

Daisy May on tour

Reigning Queensland Champion of Champions Daisy May is currently undergoing an extensive tour of Queensland.

Also a grand finalist of the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search Daisy May is touring for two months all up in the current round.

Her tour partners are Tom Curtain, Col Finley and The Sunny Cowgirls.

The tour kicked off early May at Toowoomba and will conclude on July 4 in Brisbane.

New album from Dean

Dean Perrett has released a new album, Return Of The Stockman, following the major success of his multi-award winning New Traditions album.

The new album had been on Dean's mind for many years, a spokesman for the artist said, "and something his fans have been requesting of him for a long time – Return Of The Stockman is an album of bush ballads that have inspired him as an artist."

Once again Stuie French and his Swingin' Door Studio were Dean's choice for the project. "It was a privilege to co-produce the new album with a musician and producer of the calibre of Stuie," Dean said. It was recorded as a "live" studio album which has given the new work "a character all of its own."

The songs on the CD run with a theme of stockmen, horses, cattle or, in other words, "songs that are the essence of a real bush ballad – songs like Blackened Quarts Are Boiling, Return Of The Stockman, Arcadia Valley and Banjo's Man.

"Some of the great songs that grace the record, among some well known classics like By A Fire Of Gidgee Coal, Camooweal and Plains Of Peppimenarti."

The album also contains an original song – Songs Like These (a co-write between Ian Quinn and Dean)... nicely setting the mood for the album and explaining Dean's heritage and love for this style of music," his spokesman said.

This special new album has hit the mark, Dean reports, selling well at his shows since its release.

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FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2007

Aussie country stars invade Nashville

In a little over three weeks, a contingent of Australia's hottest country artists will take part in the 2007 CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival (formerly FanFair) in Nashville.

Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Morgan Evans, Adam Harvey, Troy Kemp, Briana Lee and Mark O'Shea lead the charge which will be augmented by a number of those already working out of America at the moment like Catherine Britt, Jedd Hughes, Jamie O'Neal, Kate Russell and, undoubtedly, a number we don't know about yet.

While in Nashville, several of these acts will collaborate with writers and producers to record songs for release in their home territories. The CMA Music Festival will give these international artists an opportunity to reach American fans and to network with the Nashville music industry.

Rob Potts, of Australia's Entertainment Edge booking agency and events company and a CMA Board member, said: "It’s fantastic to see these Aussie artists performing at the CMA Music Festival. CMA’s support of global country music is excellent."

Rob will lead an Australian industry delegation at the CMA Music Festival which includes Peter "Skip" Beaumont-Edmonds of Cranium Management, Jen Carmody from Sony BMG, Tim Daley of Australia's Country Music Channel, Tim Holland, Label Manager of ABC Country, Gayle Madill, Editor of Country Update Magazine, Mary Olivieri of Venture Travel and Telstra's Greg Swain.

Australian artists will appear throughout the week of CMA Music Festival at several different venues.

Jeff Walker, President of AristoMedia and Chairman of the CMA Global Markets Committee, said: "It is wonderful to have such representation from Australia. The diversity of talent that these artists represent reflect very positive growth for country music in that territory.  I am sure the Nashville community will roll out the red carpet for our visitors from down under."

"It is a pleasure to spotlight the success of the Australian country music industry by including several of their artists in CMA Music Festival activities," said Bobbi Boyce, CMA Director of International. "We look forward to welcoming them to Nashville in June."

Expatriate Australian and Nashville resident Mark Moffatt will serve as Music Co-ordinator for a number of events involving Australians.

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New single for the Davidson Brothers

The Davidson Brothers have released a new single – Don't Turn Me Down – described as "100 percent bluegrass" and co-written with their "good friend" Brooke McClymont.

Lachie and Hamish Davidson are riding on a high after a string of successes with their current album, Raised On The Road which has been nominated for a total of nine awards.

The first single from the album – the title track – reached 21 on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart and 15 on the CMC (Country Music Channel) video top 50.

It won two TIARA (Tamworth Independent Artist Recognition Awards) for Instrumental and Album of the Year in Tamworth. Then in February it won the Bluegrass & Traditional Country gong at the Victorian Country Music Awards.

Don't Turn Me Down is the title of the song which gained the boys the Victorian Awards trophy.

Another milestone achieved by the duo this year was their first sold-out shows, initially at their home town of Yinmar in Victoria then, more recently, at Noble Park, also in Victoria.

In September, the boys are returning to Kentucky and Tennessee in America to make some festival appearances and they say they might also sneak into the studio to record some more of their award winning brand of bluegrass.

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Chart update – Carter & Carter hit number one

Award-winning duo Carter & Carter have taken over the number one spot on this week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart with their hit Run Away.

John Williamson's Wildlife Warrors: It's Time is steady at number two, Brad Paisley's She's Everything drops to number three while Tom Curtain's Chew Like Hell rises one mor eplace to number four.

Travis Sinclair's Rockin' The Rig leaps three places to five and Tim McGraw's Last Dollar (Fly Away) rises to six while Nicki Gillis is steady at seven with Leaving You For Myself.

James Blundell bounds into the top 10 with Higher Than Heaven at eight while Catherine Britt's I'm Gone falls to nine and Ian Quinn's Can't Cut Gidgee slips to number 10.

Bullet performers this week include Karen Lynne with Roses In The Snow (17 to 13), Keith Urban with I Told You So (18 to 15), Tania Kernaghan's Life Don't Get Much Better than This (26 to 22) and Paul Costa with A Lover's Question (27 to 24).

Only one new entry to the chart this week, Adam Brand with Can't Live Without Your Love (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at

THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2007

APRA Awards nominations announced

Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts and Travis Sinclair are this year's nominees for Most Performed Country Work at the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards.

The nominations are Troy's self-penned Going Back Home, Kasey Chambers' self-penned Nothing At All, Lee Kernaghan's New Bush (co-written with Garth Porter and Colin Buchanan), The McClymonts' Something That My Heart Does (written by Brooke McClymont and Erik Bernholm) and Travis Sinclair's Midnight Run (co-written with Garth Porter),

In addition to the "most performed" categories (determined by returns from radio) and the member-voted Songwriter of the Year, the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music (previous recipients include Slim Dusty, Ian Meldrum and Triple J) and the Breakthrough Songwriter Award (decided by APRA’s Board of Writer and Publisher Directors) will be announced at the awards presentation in Melbourne on June 5.

The 2007 APRA Music Awards are the 25th to be staged.

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Caroline releases her first single

Caroline Taylor-Knight – a singer/songwriter based in Caboolture, Queensland – has released her first single, the title track from her debut album, Fall For Me.

Caroline is signed to award winning producer Duncan Wood's independent label Touchwood Productions.

The album has just been released through Green Distribution (a division of MGM) and is also available on iTunes and through her website shop (see weblink below).

Caroline reports the single is currently being played on medium to high rotation on 60 or more stations around Australia and is also receiving some Australian and international (USA, Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands so far) internet radio airplay.

The new artist was interviewed recently on John Nutting's "Saturday Night Country" on the ABC and received a glowing review for her album in Capital News. In addition, Caroline's songs are currently on high rotation on instore radio in seven national retail chains ("so listen out while you shop," she suggests) and have just been added to five cable radio stations.

Caroline will soon have completed a video clip for Fall For Me and will be shooting a live DVD of the album soon after. She performed at the Songwriters' Cafe at the Urban Country Music Festival over the long weekend and will soon be announcing a series of shows with Touchwood label-mate Dane Sharp as well as performing at various festivals.

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Troy and Krystal survive week one of "It Takes Two"

Troy Cassar-Daley and Krystal Forscutt have been paired for this year's season of "It Takes Two" on the 7 network and have survived the first week.

Troy, of course, is one of Australia's most popular and successful country music stars.

Reality star Krystal burst to prominence last year on "Big Brother" and has since become an in-demand cover girl for Australia’s leading men’s magazines.

No stranger to a national audience, the "Big Brother 6" housemate was one of the most popular of the 2006 series after entering the compound with her mum Karen.

Krystal was then snapped up by "Zoo Weekly Magazine" to join their team post "Big Brother" and has been appearing as a regular columnist in the magazine, the face of their TV campaigns and as a "Zoo Weekly" covergirl since.

Troy has sent out an appeal seeking support for he and Krystal, and particularly for Krystal's chosen charity for the series which is Youth Off The Streets, a NSW based charity established by Father Chris Reilly that helps to turn around the lives of homeless and drug addicted young Australians.

Fans wanting to vote for Troy and Krystal can do so by texting Krystal to 19 19 77 or by telephoning 1902 557 719.

Photo: Troy and Krytal "strut their stuff".

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Amber signs to MRA

MRA Entertainment has announced the signing of emerging country music star Amber Lawrence.

"She may be a city girl," the announcement read, "but the country is where Amber’s heart and music really lies."

Amber's new single – Things That Bring Me Down – is the first release from her upcoming debut album, The Mile.

"The new single showcases Amber’s unique style of country music and this single, along with all songs on The Mile were written or co-written by her.

"Amber Lawrence is a dynamic performer and her ability to engage audiences with her enthusiasm, honesty and humour is truly captivating," the release said.

The past few years have seen Amber’s career blossom, with a grand final berth at Toyota Star Maker 2005, two top 20 CMC hits, a top 100 ARIA position, a TIARA (Tamworth Independent Artists Recognition Award) nomination and, last year, taking home the Coopers Golden Saddle Award.

Amber’s career is set to continue to rise with her recent signing to MRA Entertainment. MRA were quick to recognise Amber’s talent and experience as a performer and are pleased to announce their association with her and look forward to the release of The Mile.

Ken Outch, CEO of Destra Entertainment, parent company to MRA Entertainment, said: "We are very proud to have Amber as part of the MRA family. Amber is an extremely talented singer, songwriter and performer. We see her as an integral part in the development of our country music roster and we look forward to a successful partnership together."

The Mile is due to be released through MRA Entertainment on July 7.

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Paul features on "Today Show"

Award-winning singer/songwriter Paul Costa will perform his new hit single A Lover’s Question on national television tomorrow (Thursday, May 10).

Paul has been invited to sing the song, the latest release, from his successful album Restoration, on the "Today Show" on the 9 Network (including affiliates NBN and WIN). His appearance is scheduled for about 8.50am.

Restoration is the follow-up to Paul’s first solo album, Walkin’ In These Shoes, which also earnt high acclaim from his peers and from the country music industry in general.

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New album on the way for Anita

Australian Bush Balladeer Star Quest winner 2003 Anita Ree is planning to start recording a new album this month.

Anita has been busy writing material for the new work which she hopes will be released in November.

A new round of touring will go with the new album. Anita is currently taking a break from touring to concentrate on her songwriting.

The 2007 Coopers Golden Saddle Award finalist has the title track to her current album – Bush Girls Heart – with radio (and "receiving great airplay") and has featured at a number of major events including last weekend's Urban Country Music Festival at Caboolture.

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Registered clubs vie for awards

Registered clubs in NSW will be recognised on June 1 when winners in the ClubsNSW Awards for Excellence are announced in Sydney.

Among finalists with a "country connection" are Blacktown Workers' Club, Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club, Revesby Workers' Club and Country Music Capital’s recently refurbished Wests’ Diggers Club (pictured), one of the biggest venues during the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival in January, which has been named a finalist in an impressive eight categories.

Diggers is a contender for Best Feature Bar, Outstanding Human Resource Management, Best ClubTAB, Best Club Entertainment, Best Club Restaurant, Best Club Gaming Venue, Outstanding Community Service and the prestigious Club of the Year Award.

Wests Entertainment Group Chief Executive Rod Laing said he was delighted with the finalist nominations, considering Wests’ Diggers was up against clubs from city and country all over the state.

"Diggers is a relatively new club, although it has been established for a number of years as its former identity, the Tamworth RSL Club," he said.

"To be nominated in a massive eight categories in those prestigious awards is quite an achievement. I just hope we can follow that up with some wins – and that would be the icing on the cake.

"It’s a real testament to the foresight of the Board and to the members who voted for the amalgamation of the two clubs. When we go to Sydney on June 1 (when award winners will be announced), I would be delighted to accept even one award for Diggers – more than that would be outstanding."

A full rundown of finalists can be found at

Wests’ Diggers was redeveloped over a seven month period at a cost of $6 million. It was officially opened by New England Federal MP Tony Windsor in November 2005.

One of the highlights of the Diggers’ launch was the appearance of guest of honour, Australian country music pioneer Smoky Dawson who was on hand to see "his" restaurant – Smoky’s Bar & Grill – opened to the public.

Invited guests on that evening included leading Australian country music stars Adam Brand, Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, Gina Jeffreys, Aleyce Simmonds and The Sunny Cowgirls.

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New team for SAL Victoria

Christie Eliezer reports in his weekly column at that Support Act Limited (SAL) Victoria has announced a new Committee following the departure of original leader Bob Valentine.

Brian Cadd (pictured), who represents Victoria on SAL's national Board, has appointed Ausmusic key figure Sue Gillard as Chair; PR, marketing and communications exec Sara Hood (marketing), producer, music technology consultant, product manager John Grant (Technical), former punk guitarist turned computer company operator Vic Crump (Computer and IT) and performer Mae Parker (Organisation and Personnel). The new Committee met for the first time last week and has already devised an impressive agenda of projects and events for the rest of this year and beyond.

SAL's Sydney based Chair Meryl Gross says: "I am thrilled with the new structure of the SAL Victorian Committee and the expertise, professionalism and enthusiasm they bring to the organisation.

"Their commitment to building SALVIC as a key player in the national SAL picture is very much appreciated and the Board looks forward to working closely with them to maximise their outcomes. We would also like to acknowledge all the hard work of the inaugural committee over the past year and offer them our sincere thanks."

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TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2007

Claye wins Voice of Urban Country quest

Claye Middleton has taken out the professional section of the Voice of Urban Country talent search conducted as part of the 2007 QUT Urban Country Music Festival at the weekend.

Kris Wason and Kimberley Bowden won the amateur – senior, section while Liam Brew was named amateur – junior, winner.

In the Festival's busking competition, senior individual winner was Jordan Aarts while Graham Parfit won the traditional category, Daly Stephenson took out junior individual and Liam Brew and Kris Wason won the duo category.

Festival organisers report attendances of 2,000 for Friday night's Burbs 'n Bush concert, 6,000 for Saturday night's Main Concert and 3,500 for Sunday night's Urban Blaze concert – "our biggest crowd ever".

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McClymonts appointed Jeans for Genes ambassadors

The McClymonts have been appointed ambassadors for this year's Jeans for Genes Day campaign.

The event, held on the first Friday in August, is a registered charity fundraiser to support the ongoing research and operations at the internationally renowned genetic research facility, the Children's Medical Research Institute.

The girls will participate in a project run for Jeans for Genes Day... the Jamm For Genes event on the weekend of August 3-5, the weekend where venues across Australia will raise funds for the cause through live music.

Earlier this year, Brooke Molly and Samantha toured the Children's Medical Research Institute as part of "Discovery Day" to see where all the funds raised from the Jeans for Genes Day go. They also met with scientists who explained their ongoing research and development into curing childhood diseases.

Further information on Jeans for Genes Day, including how to support, can be obtained from the website

For artists wanting to get involved, the website to visit is

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Craig's new album moves closer

The finishing touches are now being put on Craig Giles’ new album, his 12th, which is due for release later this year.

No title has yet been determined but this is expected to be announced in the next couple of months.

Roz Giles reports the album has an all-Australian theme with some re-releases of a few of Craig’s earlier songs that are no longer available together with some new tracks by various Australian writers "and a couple of classics".

Craig has always recorded a large majority of Australian works on his previous albums and has had 20 chart singles, 18 of which were Australian compositions.

Meanwhile, Craig's latest single – A Million Beerdrops – has just been released to radio.

Written by Craig and Roz, the song took out first place in the  Open Contemporary Section of the Tasmanian & New Zealand Songwriting Awards and is the third radio single from his popular Kick It album.

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MONDAY, MAY 7, 2007

Frank to be inducted into ARIA Hall of Fame

Australian music icon, country singer and yodeller Frank Ifield is to be inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame.

Frank, who was elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown in 2003, was also a pioneer of Australian popular music internationally through the 1960s, '70s and '80s when his name was synonymous with chart-topping hits and concerts in major theatres around the world.

He was the first artist to achieve three consecutive number one hits in the UK pop charts, he won multiple awards and ranked as a singer alongside Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and he was known around the world primarily as a chart-topping star counting among his peers such names as Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison, Kathy Kirby, Brook Benton, The Everly Brothers and The Beatles.

And as such, he was, together with acts like The Seekers (who came a little later), a trailblazer for Australians succeeding in international markets.

Frank hit it big with I Remember You, Lovesick Blues and The Wayward Wind. The latter two were country standards and, while Lovesick Blues had to be recorded with a twist beat in order to be commercially viable, Wayward Wind managed to sound both country and commercial.

Since returning home to stay permanently, Frank has immersed himself in numerous industry activities including as a mentor of new and developing talent, especially through the annual presentation of his own International Spur Award.

Frank will be joined in this year's ARIA Hall of Fame inductions by Marcia Hines and the Hoodoo Gurus. Other inductees are, apparently, yet to be announced with the possibility of Brian Cadd, an Australian pop icon who has dabbled in country music, a possibility for inclusion.

Details for the 2007 induction ceremony are yet to be announced.

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Vale – Neil Beeby

After a long battle with cancer, country music enthusiast, commentator and reporter Neil Beeby has died.

Canberra's Mike Crozier reports that Neil passed awat at 3.10am on Sunday morning (May 6).

"In spite of his illness, and up until a final examination a few weeks ago, Neil had been keeping his spirits high and continued to actively report on people and the country music events taking place in the Australian Capital Territory and southern NSW."

As well as a number of programs on Canberra community radio station 2XX, Neil wrote for a number of publications including Capital News and the Country Music Bulletin.

He had been a member of the Country Music Association of Canberra for more than 30 years since 1974.

Neil's funeral will be held on Thursday (May 10), 1:30pm at St Bridget’s Catholic Church at the corner of Bancroft and Wiltshire Streets, Dickson, ACT. Flowers or cards can be sent to the church and any donations can be forwarded to Clare Holland House (palliative care), 5 Menindee Drive Barton Act 2600.

Then at the Gungahlin cemetery (for a graveside service).

Urban sounds just like country

Caboolture's Urban Country Music Festival has once again gone off with a bang, reports Namoi Hockins in the "Sunshine Coast Daily".

Fireworks lit up the night skies last night as the Urban Blaze concert finished off the entertaining and packed weekend of music, food and fun.

The Urban Country Music Concert was enjoyed by more than 6,000 wide-eyed music fans on Saturday night. John Williamson, Adam Brand (in his first appearance at the Festival), ARIA Award-winning favourite Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole (pictured), Aussie rocker Jimmy Barnes and other seasoned performers joined together to cap off a day of fun.

The day kicked off with a Bush Poets Breakfast at the Historical Village, with the Nova Ford Beaut Ute show during the day proving to be popular with the blokes and sheilas.

Entertainment was scattered throughout the heart of Caboolture, from street performers and singers to more mouth-watering food and even a little boot-scootin'.

To top it all off, a free farewell concert will be held from 9.30am this morning at Caboolture’s Town Square.

NZ Best Country Album finalists

Two relative newcomers and one of New Zealand’s favourite country duos have been announced as finalists for the Best Country Music Album of 2007 award.

Perennial Kiwi country favourites The Topp Twins (pictured) join Wellington’s Warren Love Band and Johnny Possum’s Good Time Hootin’ Band from Christchurch as the three to compete for this year’s Tui Award.

The winner will be announced at the Gold Guitar Awards in Gore next month and will also be acknowledged at the New Zealand Music Awards in October.

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Terri to open CMA Music Festival

Canada's Terri Clark (pictured) will open the CMA Music Festival with a June 7 performance at Nashville's Riverfront Park.

Also appearing during the show are John Anderson, Craig Morgan, Jamie O'Neal and Chris Young. Newly-added artists performing at the daily concerts at Riverfront Park include Lynn Anderson, T Graham Brown, Jason Michael Carroll, John Conlee, Nashville Star winner Angela Hacker, Steve Holy, Hal Ketchum, Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Louvin, Rockie Lynne, Lorrie Morgan and Connie Smith.

The Festival, which runs through to and including June 10, also features nightly concerts at LP Field. Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson are just a few of the artists schedule to appear at the evening concerts.

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Capitol launches "Road to Nashville"

Capitol Records in America have launched an online talent quest called "The Road To Nashville".

The contest gives aspiring country singers the chance to become "Nashville’s next big country star" by auditioning online at

"For anyone with vocal talent and anyone who enjoys discovering great singers, this contest provides a new road to fame based on the votes of the online community," a Capitol spokesman said.

The contest winner will receive $50,000 and a demo deal with Capitol. Grammy-nominee Jamie O’Neal is on the panel of judges

"To demonstrate (our) commitment to discovering new talent, Capitol Records Nashville, with the help of Bix, Yahoo!’s online contest site, is allowing people to share their vocal gifts and interact with each other," the spokesman said.

"The online audio and video karaoke contest provides a unique opportunity for an aspiring country singer to ultimately win $50,000 and a trip to Nashville to record three demos and experience in-studio time with... Capitol Records executives."

Contestants will be judged by the public voting online during the first two rounds of the contest and an elite panel of judges to select from 10 finalists and crown the grand prize winner as Nashville’s newest singer.

"There’s an incredible amount of unheard talent out there waiting to be discovered and I’m thrilled to be part of a project that opens up the discovery process to the estimated one billion members of the online community,” Jamie O’Neal said.

"I can’t wait to see the performances and help discover Nashville’s newest voice of country."

First round of the contest runs until June 26. Fifty semi-finalists will be voted on to move to the second round which runs from July 10 to August 70.

During the second round, semi-finalists will be given free webcams and asked to submit one video karaoke performance, from which 10 finalists will be chosen by the Internet community.

The final round will air between August 21 and August 28. Performances by the 10 finalists will be taped live in front of an expert panel of judges on August 21 and 22. The judging panel will choose one grand prize winner.  

"With the growth of the Internet and the amazing undiscovered talent that we know exists across the country – as evidenced by the success of American Idol – we now have the opportunity to let the public vote on our next big country star," said Larry Willoughby, Capitol Records vice president of A&R.  "The future of talent discovery will include participation from the very audience that is the true test of ultimate success because they are the purchasers of records or albums online.

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Jeanette to play for drought affected farmers

South Australian country star Jeanette Wormald is performing two free concerts over the next two months for drought affected pastoralists and farmers in the State's far northern region.

This month she and her band will travel to Hawker in the Flinders Ranges for a concert on Sunday, May 13. The family oriented day will start at 1pm with a free barbecue followed by a concert starting at 3pm organised through Frontier Services and Hawker based patrol minister Rev John Dihm.

The second concert on June 2 is at the Nackara Hall near Oodlawirra and has been organised through the Uniting Church. The free barbecue and concert starts at 5.30pm.

"Dean (Jeanette's husband) and I have been affected ourselves by this awful and prolonged drought. We are also in an Exceptional Circumstances area. It does get you down but I believe you need to remain positive and to focus on the things you can change or manage.

"I felt it was really important to do these concerts," she said. "Free music and food can create a focus that helps build on our community strengths in rural areas. Getting together and sharing troubles can help overcome feelings of isolation and despair."

Meanwhile, Jeanette has been officially recognised as one of Australia's most significant women. She learned last month she had been included in the 2007 edition of the "Who's Who of Australian Women". Inclusion in the highly respected biographical reference book cannot be bought but is by invitation only.

"To be honest, I didn't even know I had been nominated," Jeanette said. "I was still recovering from the honour of being nominated and then included in the inaugural edition of 'Who's Who in South Australia' when the call came from publishers, Crown Content, to say I had been included in the national edition."

And Jeanette Wormald has been named a finalist in two categories of the SA Folk Awards. She has been named a finalist in the Most Outstanding Vocalist Award and the Most Outstanding CD Release for her album Opal Blue.

Award winners will be announced during the Folk Federation of SA's annual awards dinner on May 19 in Adelaide.

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New album for Mark & the Dead Setters

Mark Lucas (pictured) & the Dead Setters are currently finishing work on a new album, "a mixture of live and new material co-produced by departing band mamber Glenn Skarratt," Mark said.

("Makes you wonder if he's ever gonna actually leave!")

Tonight, the country roots band plays the third show of their current monthly residency at the Bald Faced Stag Hotel on Parramatta Road in Sydney's Leichhardt. The show starts at 9.30.

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Chart update – Brad hangs on for another week

America's Brad Paisley is at the top of this week's Country Tracks National Top 30 Singles Chart for the fifth week with She's Everything.

John Williamson's Wildlife Warrors: It's Time edges up one more place to number two, Carter & Carter's Run Away bounds up another three places to number three while Catherine Britt's I'm Gone drops to number four.

Tom Curtain's Chew Like Hell rises two places to five while Ian Quinn's Can't Cut Gidgee slips two places to six and Nicki Gillis moves up one place to seven with Leaving You For Myself.

Travis Sinclair debuts in the top 10 at eight with Rockin' The Rig, Rascal Flatts' What Hurts The Most drops to nine while Tim McGraw enters the 10 at 10 with Last Dollar (Fly Away).

Bullet performers this week include Markus Meier with Matilda Road (22 to 19) while new entries to the chart include Jeff Brown (pictured) with Counting Down The Ks (in at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at

FRIDAY, MAY 4, 2007

Urban Country '07 underway today

The 2007 Urban Country Festival at Caboolture, Queensland, gets underway today with the Burbs 'n' Bush Party in the Town Square from 5.30 this afternoon.

Thousands of people are streaming into the city for one of Queensland's biggest annual weekends of country music.

Tonight's show, which gets underway at 6.30, stars, in order of appearance, Jetty Road, 2007 Toyota Star Maker Kirsty Lee Akers, Adam Kilpatrick and Tom Curtain and his band. Also included will be the official opening of the Festival and a fireworks display.

Tomorrow, the Festival gets into full swing with a bush poet's breakfast from 7am, "beaut ute" show, line dancing, busking competition, the Voice of Urban Country Talent Search, "songwriter's cafe", bush balladeer concerts and the main event, the Urban Country Music Concert at the showgrounds starring, in order of appearance, The Pigs, The McClymonts, Beccy Cole, John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Brand and Jimmy Barnes.

Sunday continues with a bush poet's breakfast, line dancing, the Voice of Urban Country Talent Search, busking championship, "songwriter's cafe", bush balladeer concerts, "bush poet's corner" and the Urban Blaze Concert at the Caboolture Showgrounds also featuring another fireworks display.

Monday is a public holiday in Queensland and the Urban Country Music Festival wraps up with a big "farewell" day including bush poets breakfast, farmer's market, "bush poet's corner" and the Urban Country Farewell Concert.

Weblink (with full program, ticketing details, accommodation, etc) –


Jonah's Road stars on major website

A song by Australian band Jonah's Road will be featured as "Track of the Day" this Sunday and Monday on the internationally renowned website

The song, Why Does She Love Me, achieved the highlight status "as a result of some very enthusiastic reviews from members," the band says.

The track will feature this Sunday (May 6) in America which is Sunday night/Monday morning Australian time.

Link to the feature, when it comes on line Sunday night, is

Jonah's Road's page is at

The band's own website is


Top 10 for Natalie on US Independent Music Network Chart

Rising Australian country star Natalie Howard has achieved a top 10 placing this week in America with her 2006 IMA (Independent Music Awards) Country Song of the Year winning track I Don't Want To Live Like That.

Last week, the song was nominated as a "hot track" on the Independent Music Network Country Top 30 Countdown and this week reached the number 10 spot.

The Independent Music Network Chart (Los Angeles/New York) is determined by fan votes, radio station requests and DJ reports.

Natalie is presently at the 12th annual Key West Songwriters Festival in Florida where she was invited to perform at the world famous Hog's Breath Saloon as well as other venues. 

She is currently writing and recording new material for her next album to be released later this year as a follow-up to her successful debut album Yesterday's Makeup.

Weblinks –,,


Col features on UK/Euro charts

Meanwhile, another Aussie country artist – Col Millington – has scored placings on christian music charts in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Col's song Jesus Got Rhythm has entered two charts, the New Christian Music Country chart at number seven and the overall New Christian Music chart at 16.

The song is taken from Col's album Somewhere Between.

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Linedance festival in Tamworth

Australia's largest linedance event kicked off yesterday in Tamworth, Australia's home of country music.

Running until Sunday, the four-day event is attracting visitors from all over Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the USA.

Consisting of workshops, competitions, socials, street dancing and choreography, the Festival is organised by Tamworth's Chris Watson and a group of volunteers from Dare 2 Dance.

This is the third year the event has been held and it is anticipated it will be the biggest yet.

Numbers for the 2007 event have grown with more than 300 entries in the competitions and hundreds of social dancers booking tickets.

This year's event is being promoted as a spectator's delight with the highlight of the festival, the Ashby Cup – Australia's most prestigious line dance competition event – being held at 7pm on Saturday at West Tamworth League Club.

The event will host some of the biggest names in world linedancing including special guests Justine Shuttleworth, Carl Sullivan, Jessica Lamb, Adrian Lefebour, Kevin and Maria Smith and Philip Sobreno from Singapore.

Local linedancing group Dare 2 Dance has been taking part in rigorous training sessions leading up to the event, having just returned as international champions from New Zealand.

– Northern Daily Leader

Photo: Chris Watson pictured with a group of line dancers.



Stampede announces Trailblazing Arena

The Queensland Gold Coast's Dreamworld has announced the introduction of a Trailblazing Arena for its Stampede Festival coming up in June.

The lineup for the Arena, billed as "the cream of Australian country's up and coming stars" is Kirsty Lee Akers (reigning Toyota Star Maker, pictured), Lou Bradley, Dianna Corcoran and Nik Phillips.

The rising stars play support to established names Troy Cassar-Daley, Jim Haynes, Lee Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Sara Storer, Felicity Urquhart and the Wolverines.

Organisers of the Stampede say the full lineup represents one of the most impressive bills of talent ever assembled for one show.

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New album from Peter

Outback Chapters is the name of the latest album release from bush balladeer Peter Coad.

Known as one of the nation's finest balladeers, songwriters and touring artists, Peter's latest release is his first solo release in some years.

With backing and production provided by The Coad Sisters, the album presents new material with strong storylines and the inclusion of a couple of songs Peter wrote which were recorded by other artists – You've Got To Go West Young Fella (Matt Manning) and Old Time Photo (Jeff Gibson).

Peter, who was inducted into Australia's Country Music Hands of Fame in January, will be touring throughout May/June promoting the album in Queensland through to Bundaberg.

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Bill Walker's 80th birthday celebrated

The Country Music Association in America recently celebrated the 80th birthday of ex-patriate Australian Bill Walker who served as Musical Director of the CMA Awards for 15 years in the 1970s and 1980s.

The prolific arranger/conductor also served as Music Director for the classic "Johnny Cash Show" on television in the late 1960s and "The Statler Brothers Show" on cable television in the 1980s and 1990s.

In addition, he earned gold records for his work as a record producer, arranger and/or conductor on such classic country recordings as Eddy Arnold's Make The World Go Away, Johnny Cash's Sunday Morning Coming Down, Donna Fargo's The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA and Sammi Smith's Help Me Make It Through The Night, among many others.

Bill left Australia in the 1960's to work in Nashville and ultimately settled there permanently.

Pictured (from left) Terri Walker (wife of Bill's son Jeff), Ed Benson (CMA Chief Strategic Officer); Jeff Walker (President, AristoMedia/Marco Promotions and CMA Board member), Tammy Genovese (CMA Chief Operating Officer), Jeanine Walker (Bill's wife); Bill, Jon Walker (Bill's grandson), Christy Walker (Bill's granddaughter) and Jo Walker-Meador (no relation, former Executive Director of the CMA, 1959-1991). Photo by Amanda Eckard, CMA. Click on the photo here for a lager image.



Katherine Muster this weekend

The 2007 Katherine Muster in the Northern Territory is this weekend.

Among stars on the bill are Tracey Bunn & the Bareback Riders and Gleny Rae Virus and her Tamworth Playboys. Tracey and Gleny were originally the now disbanded successful Territory based duo the Toe Sucking Cowgirls.

Harmony James, the Lionel Cold Band featuring Kate Oliver and Theresa Harris, Whiskey Creek with Rod Esam and Jacky Izod, Patrick Webster and many more will be featured during the Muster.

"The Cowgirls are no longer together," Tracey said, "but Gleny and I are both performing separately with our new bands so you'll get double the dose of Cowgirl fun plus a whole lotta other fine acts as well."

Saturday May 5 is the day at the Katherine Museum Grounds. "The Muster has been consolidated to a one day event due to funding issues, but will spawn two more events later in the year," according to organisers.

As well as the country entertainment, the Katherine Muster includes a Beaut Ute Competition. Entry forms and more info can be obtained at or email


Keith cancels Manchester show

Keith Urban cancelled a show in Manchester, England, on Saturday night citing voice problems.

On April 30, Keith was scheduled to perform at Manchester Academy, reports the Manchester Evening News on its website, but pulled out at the last minute because he had "lost his voice".

Fans were not told that the show was cancelled until they arrived at the venue. Promoters say tickets for the cancelled date will be valid for Keith’s October show at the Manchester Apollo, while fans who cannot attend that performance can receive a refund.

Keith’s next scheduled tour date is May 11 in Brisbane.

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Aaron and Aleyce star at Mittagong

Rising country stars Aaron Bolton and Aleyce Simmonds will perform this Saturday (May 5) at the Mittagong (NSW Southern Highlands) RSL Acoustic Showcase.

Aleyce has recently signed with SonyBMG and is currently working on an album to be released later this year. In 2005 she won the prestigious Telstra Road to Tamworth talent quest, shooting her to national prominence.

Aleyce’s four track EP Mighty Mighty Love reached number one on the Country Music Channel's Top 50 playlist and number four on the Country Tracks National Top 30 radio chart.

Aaron is a 22-year-old singer who hails from Canberra, now based in Tamworth. He fronts leading Tamworth band, The Rockerfellas and released his debut single Rockin' Up in January this year.

Aaron has toured with Golden Guitar winners Mike Carr, Jim Haynes and Brendon Walmsley. Since being signed to The Pub Management as an artist in development, he has been steadily working on crafting his career and furthering his songwriting and musical skills.

Weblinks – Aaron, Aleyce.


TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2007

Hats Off to John Williamson

Organisers of the Tamworth Country Music Capital mid year festival Hats Off to Country have announced that the festival's major event will be a salute to Australian country music icon John Williamson.

John will feature in the concert with fellow stars including Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Sara Storer, Brendon Walmsley and Brian Young. The concert will be staged at the West Tamworth League Club on Saturday night July 7 and will be compered by country comedy star Jim Haynes with Jeff Brown, Lindsay Butler and Tracy Coster also lining up for the tribute.

The annual Hats Off to country music celebration has grown steadily since its inception in the year 2000 and organisers say they expect more than 10,000 fans to attend the 2007 event.

Pubs and clubs in the city are currently putting together their entertainment programs with details to be announced.

Visitors to the Festival, which runs from Thursday, July 5 to Sunday July 8, will also have the chance to see some of the best up and coming talent in the industry with the Tamworth Camerata Graduation Concert (following the conclusion of the week-long Tamworth Camerata College, see story below) being held on the first night of the Festival. Many of these graduates will then take part in the annual CCMA Winter Junior Talent Quest which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

"We are absolutely thrilled by the line-up and program for the 2007 Hats Off to Country Festival," said Tourism Tamworth General Manager Rebel Thomson, "the big names, the new names, the young ones and the old favourites all coming together in the Country Music Capital."

Tickets for the major concert, as well as a number of other events, went on sale through Tourism Tamworth yesterday. Tickets can be purchased by phoning 02 6767 5300 or via the website or in person at the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Peel and Murray Streets, Tamworth).

Tourism Tamworth is in the process of producing the Festival program which will be available by mid-May.


Camerata 2007 students announced

This year's 21 participants in Tamworth Camerata (youth school of country music) have been announced, including 15 on scholarships provided by industry organisations and individuals.

Participants will be...

Kaylah Anne from NSW (Sue Keating scholarship winner), Liam Brew from Queensland, Bryan Browne from NSW, Hannah Cosgrove from New Zealand (Bundaberg Rum Jazzer Talent Quest/Axiom scholarship winner), Melanie Dyer from NSW (Jim Haynes Big Bush Brekky scholarship winner), Makaylie Foodey from NSW, Johanna Ford from New Zealand (Best Of The West scholarship winner), Olivia Hally from Victoria (Dairy Farmers scholarship winner), Caitlin Harnett from NSW, Dana Hassall from Queensland (Tamworth Songwriters' Association scholarship winner) Mitchell King from Queensland (Queensland Champion Of Champions scholarship winner), Candy Latham from South Australia (SACCM Cindy Shelton Memorial scholarship winner), Jesse Leslie from Victoria, Jay Messenger from Queensland (Australian Bush Balladeers Association scholarship winner), Charley Phypers from Victoria (The Pub, Tamworth, scholarship winner), Brianna Ridge from Victoria, Kiera Smith from Victoria (Ross & Robyn Johnson scholarship winner), Tiffney Stroh from South Australia (Tamworth Regional Council CCMA WJTQ scholarship winner), Jeremy Turner from Queensland (Property & Financial Investment Network scholarship winner), William Verri from Queensland (Tamworth Regional Council CCMA Jamboree scholarship winner) and Kris Wason from Queensland (Walkamin CM Festival scholarship winner)

Five of this year's participants hail from NSW, two from New Zealand, seven from Queensland, two from South Australia, five from Victoria with ages ranging from 12 to 18 (and an average age of 16). After this July’s Camerata is completed, there will be 105 graduates who have participated since the school commenced.

"Now in its sixth consecutive year, Tamworth Camerata is recognised as a vital stepping stone in the learning process for young people seriously interested in a country music career," said Camerata co-Founder Greg Williams. "With an already strong songwriting focus, 2007’s course will concentrate even more on this skill, and a real 'push' has been made in the past few years for instrumentalists to apply, and this year's intake reflects both of these facets.

"Every year Camerata graduate students continue to set a very high standard and I’m really looking forward to the end result of the July 2007 course as I expect the already high standard to increase. One thing's for sure, they’ll have a unique learning experience!

"An especially pleasing thing to me," he said, "as now six years on from our first Camerata, we’re seeing excellent results with many graduates establishing a musical career and some poised for major success in the music industry."

Underwritten from inception by The Pub Group, Tamworth, Camerata continues to gather support from numerous scholarship awarders, local and national business sponsors who "adopt" a student and follow their progress during and after Camerata. "This support is an important factor in Camerata's existence," Greg said.

Tamworth Camerata 2007 runs from June 30 to July 5 culminating in a Gala Finale Concert at West Tamworth League Clubs "where all graduates will display their impressive talent".

Photo: Sinead Burgess, a Camerata graduate who went on to win last year's Toyota National Country Music Muster Talent Search at Gympie.

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Rob releases new album

After the success of his debut album Rough Around The Edges, Rob Wilson has released a follow-up titled The Real Deal.

Rob says the title of the album tells fans what they can expect to hear on the new release.

The Real Deal, distributed by One Stop Country, consists of all original songs, self produced and recorded in Rob's own studio and he says "it's country through and through".

The first single to be released is the title track which tells of Rob's love of country music "and shows exactly where I'm coming from these days," he said.

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Cowpoke release two singles

Cowpoke has released a new single – Who Stole The Rain – which has already been added to multiple playlists, the band says, including the KIX FM Network.

The song is Cowpoke's dedication to the countless Australian families who have suffered at the hands of the country's worst drought on record and was recently used by the ABC as a leader for a national current affairs program. The song tells the story of the crippling effect of drought on one family.

Who stole the rain from the sky?
There ain't nothing he can do all day but sit around and watch things die.
Who stole the rain from the sky ?
Well it better come back because it's lonely at the table tonight.

April also sees the international release of the track Fool through the Canadian Hillcrest label distributed to 650 radio stations throughout Europe. In the first three weeks of release, the band has received or identified more than 100 playlist reports from England, Scotland, France, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Israel as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Complementing their Australian distribution deal with One Stop Entertainment, Cowpoke recently secured international distribution through US company CD Baby to retailers and 38 international Mp3 download sites including itunes.

After a successful Tamworth Festival, band members, from Mittagong in the NSW Southern Highlands, are back in the studio working on their next full length release scheduled for August 2007 and accompanying tour.

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Kelly goes fishin'!

April was a busy month for Kelly Llewellyn and her band the Redhanded Gang who are now preparing for one of their most exciting gigs for the year, the Toyota Fraser Island Fishing Expo.

"We'll be playing for the grand closing night on the 25th May," Kelly said, "to an audience of anxious fishermen keen to find out who has won the biggest catch. I'm also showcasing my own songwriting at the inaugural Caboolture Urban Country Music Festival Songwriter's Cafe on Sunday the 7th of May."

Kelly's current single – Easy Me – from her debut album Easy Me has been hitting airwaves across Australia, New Zealand and Belgium. "My next single will be released soon and I'm very excited to announce that I am also working on a film clip, so keep your eyes peeled," she said.

Kelly's debut full-length recording, produced by Glen Hannah, is getting some rave reviews. In her "Country Music Capital News" review, Sue Jarvis said: "Kelly's distinctive, husky voice has the capacity to pack a huge emotional punch, evidenced by her impressive version of the Fleetwood Mac hit Rhiannon.

"But it's Kelly's own compositions that are the real highlights of this album, including the album's title track, Easy Me, which is a sure-fire hit, the touching Letting Go, the funky Don't – a classic example of how Kelly is making country music cool – and Natahalie, a song inspired by stories of missing children. And the icing on the cake is a stunning song written by former Star Maker Kylie Sackley, Done a Lotta Livin' In These Shoes which Kelly delivers brilliantly."

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