This website dedicated to bringing you the latest Australian country music news
FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2008
The NSW Government yesterday presented a cheque for $1.5 million to Joy McKean (pictured) as a further contribution to the Slim Dusty Centre being built at Slim's home town of Kempsey on the mid north coast.
The money comes on top of Federal Government funding and $300,000 the State Government provided to buy 12 hectares of Crown land on the Pacific Highway for the Centre.
State Premier Morris Iemma said, while making the presentation, the Centre would house memorabilia to showcase the legendary Australian's life story.
Accepting the cheque, Joy said she was excited as now construction of the Centre could finally start.
The second Cessnock City Country Music Festival, held last weekend, has been hailed a huge success.
The Festival was expanded this year to include bush balladeers who were enthusiastically supported, according to organisers.
The official opening on last Friday was conducted by the Mayor of Cessnock John Clarence who introduced Kirsty Lee Akers and Brad Bergen as the Festival's first performers, followed by Greg Bain and Slim Newton.
Saturday kicked off with a good crowd to welcome Hunter based singers Lisa White and Makaylie Foodey. They were followed by the Central Coast’s Bob Pigott and his band The Working Man’s Dream, Hunter singer/songwriter Rob Wilson and Nikki Gillis with duo partner Bryen Willems.
Amber Lawrence then entertained the crowd with songs from her debut album The Mile. Popular solo performer, John Wilson kept patrons entertained through the dinner break.
"The fabulous Feral Swing Katz provided us with a wonderful evening of music ably supported by the lovely Tamara Stewart and 2000 Toyota Star Maker winner Grant Richardson who opened the show," said Festival organiser Rhonda Astill. "Tamara’s band consisted of Brad Bergen on drums and Ian Lees on bass and Grant had Brad on drums, Ian on bass and Russell Crooks on guitar."
Sunday’s entertainment began with Alby Pool and Melody Pool, Paxton entertainer Kellie Cain, Victoria McGee, Sharnee Fenwick and Ryan Sampson. "Bruce McCumstie, who was also the MC for the weekend, performed a wonderful 'Luv Ya Willie' set and our day finished with Felicity Urquhart who did a great set with the band and finished with an acoustic set which delighted the crowd," Rhonda said.
"Our fabulous band for the weekend consisted of Brad Bergen, our musical director, who played drums, Russell Crooks on guitar and Simon Johnson on bass.
The balladeers – Bob Easter, Melissa Bajric, Greg Bain, Rick Hopkins, 2008 Golden Guitar Bush Ballad winner Amos Morris and the very popular Laura Downing – played to a very enthusiastic audience. They were backed by Charley Boyter, Ben Kelly and Tony Machlin. Borris Bajric supplied the sound for this room with Kevin Parsons the compere."
Rhonda said she was absolutely delighted with the outcome of the festival for Cessnock, this year sponsored by pfinet. "Attendance was well up on the inaugural year. The response from the patrons to the raffle, in aid of the Leukaemia Foundation was fantastic. Over $850 was raised for this worthy cause."
The Festival committee of Rhonda and Greg Astill, Bev and Bruce McCumstie and Kevin and Peg Parsons would like to thank all the sponsors, particularly pfinet and local businesses that helped make this a huge success. "We also had support from Country Music Capital News and Country Music Roundup magazine and John Nutting from ABC’s Saturday Night Country, Carter Edwards from 2HD Newcastle and many community radio stations," Rhonda said. "Without their support getting the word out would have been more difficult.
"We also wish to thank Marlene Hartog, Secretary-Manager and the staff of the East Cessnock Bowling Club for their support and providing such a great venue.
"We are very happy to be another established event on the Australian Country Music Calender."
The 2009 Festival will run over the weekend of May 22, 23 and 24.
Photo: pictured after their Friday night performances at Cessnock, David and Merilyn Carter, Donna Boyd and Kirsty Lee Akers.
Country music icon Hank Willams' radio performances are going to be released after years of legal battling between the late legend's family and music publishers.
His "Mother's Best" radio programs will be released later this year after a deal was made with the Time Life Group by his children, Jett and Hank Williams Jr.
Hank, who died in 1953 at the age of 29, made the 143 previously unreleased recordings in 1951 for his radio show on Nashville's WSM-AM radio station. The shows were salvaged by a WSM employee who attempted to sell the recordings upon realising what they were.
America's Country Music Television reported that after eight years of legal battle to establish sole ownership of the tapes, his children won over the rights to sell his old recordings made for the radio station. They will be released periodically over the next three years.
The recordings include songs he was never known to have performed and others he never recorded commercially.
Daughter Jett has been quoted as saying: "These recordings were my vehicles to get to really know the father I never met. Everyone will get to know the man and his musical genius as never before."
American country stars hold the top three places on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart... Alan Jackson (pictured) at number one with Small Town Southern Man, Kenny Chesney & George Strait with Shiftwork at two and Brad Paisley at three with I'm Still A Guy.
Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls is steady at four, Tracey Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful bounds up three places to number five, George Strait is at six with I Saw God Today while Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright is at seven.
Tom Curtain's Heatwave is at eight, Jetty Road's City Lights enters the top 10 at nine, as does Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones at 10.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Clelia Adams' Wildflowers (16 to 13), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (17 to 14), Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night (19 to 16), Amber Lawrence's Good Girls (20 to 17), The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue (27 to 24) and Rose Carleo & Drew McAlister with Sometimes You Just Know (29 to 25).
New entries to the chart for the coming week include Darren Coggan's Too Dark For The Light Horse (in at 29) and The Harmonators' Don't Come Back (at 30).
The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 28, 2008
The 30th annual South Australian Country Music Festival will be held throughout the South Australian Riverland from this Friday (May 30) to the holiday Monday (June 9).
The SA Country Music Awards will be held from the June 6 to 9 with 12 sections of talent quest held over three days in four venues. Winners of all sections will compete for the SA Award of Excellence at the Sunday Spectacular on the 8th at the Riverland Field Day Site Exhibition Hall at Barmera.
"New and young talent is discovered every year," said a spokesman for Festival organisers, "and presentations will be made at the South Australian Awards Concert on Saturday June 7 in Bonney Theatre Barmera.
"The SA Sunday Spectacular is another highlight with the beautiful Riverland region as a backdrop to the day long show. National artists along with the best South Australian talent will appear at some 90 shows over 10 days in 20 venues. Only three daytime shows are held outdoors.
Stars of the 10 day festival will include Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured), Kristy Cox, Royden Donohue, the Feral Swing Katz, Bob Magor, The Sherrahs, Mark Tempany & Alison Hams, Darin Warner and Trev Warner.
"Thousands of visitors from (throughout) Australia... and New Zealand make the trip to the Riverland to enjoy 10 days of fun. Each year, fans visit from places as far away as Sweden, England and the USA."
The SA Country Music Festival is now recognised as the biggest and most important event on the South Australian country music circuit and one of the Riverland's major events.
Weblink – www.riverlandcountrymusic.com.
Leading bush balladeer and Golden Guitar winner Jeff Brown has released a new trucking album titled The Open Road.
Jeff has taken five tracks from his previous albums and added seven new songs, including a new version of Poverty Liner, to make up the new work. He says his goal with The Open Road is to expose traditional Australian country ballads to a broader audience, "therefore, most songs on the album are a little more contemporary without losing that true Australian ballad feel".
Three songs on the album were co-written by Jeff while others include songs from Kelly & Marion Dixon, Slim Dusty, Keith Jamieson, Les Lawson and Ian Quinn. "Each song is sung from the heart of a man who has been involved in the transport industry for over 14 years," said the release announcing the new CD.
Co-produced with Marc Lea, "The Open Road brings out the best in Jeff’s singing and the talented musicians that back him on this album including Lawrie Minson, Ricky Shipp, Hughie Curtis and Clinton Ireland."
Jeff kicked off his 2008 at the Tamworth Country Music Festival as a finalist in the Golden Guitar Awards for the fourth time and his previous album, Harvest Time Again winning the Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Award for Album of the Year at Bungendore.
Jeff wrapped up a three week tour of Tasmania in February and is just home from a successful two-week tour with legendary guitarist Charley Boyter and fellow bush balladeer Dean Perrett.
Weblink – www.jeffbrown.com.au.
Nominations for the 2008 Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards are now open.
Entry is open only to Australian citizens whose bush ballad material has been written and recorded wholly in Australia and has been commercially released for distribution in Australia for the first time between August 31 2006 and August 31 2008.
Nominations are open for independent bush ballad artists or songwriters in Male Vocal, Female Vocal, Group or Duo, Instrumental, Album, New Talent, Songwriter and Comedy/Novelty categories.
Entries in the Awards close on August 31. The top five finalists in each category will be announced on or just after September 30. Winners will be announced at the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards at Pittsworth (Qld) Town Hall on November 16 this year.
Winners receive a hand-crafted trophy made from pure gidgee by John Staunton of Millmerran.
Full details of Awards nominations and rules can be downloaded here.
Further information can be obtained by telephoning Awards organisers on 07 4934 0950 or 0427 731 088 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hundreds of fans turned out for last year's 10th anniversary of the Tenthill Turnout celebrating and paying tribute to the music of, and the man, Stan Coster, and this year's event on this Saturday is expected to be just as successful.
Event coordinator Kevin Perks says it was fantastic to see so many people come and support the night and "we are hoping for yet another record crowd this year.
"Stan Coster was, in my opinion, the finest bush ballad songwriter this country has ever seen, and I feel very strongly that his music and heritage should be preserved. So we came up with the idea to hold a tribute concert in Stan’s honour each May on the Saturday closest to the date he was born, May 27.
"Stan had a real affinity with the people in the Tenthill district, so many of the folks from around the area became good friends of the Costers. Arnie Schulz was one of those folks. Stan first met Arnie in the late '80s and they got along really well. At the time, Arnie mentioned to Stan that there was a mountain, near Ropely, that he one day hoped to buy. From that conversation, Stan wrote the song Shulzies’ Mountain for Arnie, so that song is really quite special to folks around Tenthill," Kevin said.
"Arnie passed away last Christmas and he will be sorely missed this year at the Turnout."
The Stan Coster Show first started playing the Tenthill Hotel back in the '80s, the crowd swelling to the point that the pub couldn’t hold the people. So every year on their annual tour, the Costers would play at the pub on Saturday night, then the following morning, Stan, Dottie, Tracy and the whole band would head up to Shulzies mountain.
"There they would meet up with around 100 or so locals for a barbecue and a yarn with Shulzie," Kevin said. "From there everyone would head on back down the mountain to get spruced up for a Sunday afternoon show at the pub.
"So now, every year, Stan’s daughter Tracy makes the pilgrimage up to Ma Ma Creek Hall to host the night that honours her father."
"I have really fond memories of playing at the pub," said Tracy, "and heading up the mountain. I’m not exactly what you’d call a great horsewoman, but I remember one year we all rode up the mountain and Arnie picked out this really big quiet old horse called Moby for me and I rode him up the mountain alongside my Dad. The view is amazing from up there.
"It’s interesting how the Tenthill Turnout came about," she said. "You see, after Dad passed away, long time friend and country music enthusiast Kevin Perks and a few locals got together to form the Lockyer/Darling Downs Stan Coster Memorial Committee with the intention to erect two memorial plaques to honour Dad. One in the car park area of the Tenthill hotel, and one in Centenary Park at Clifton.
"To raise the funds necessary to erect the memorials, it was decided to have a concert just over the range at the local hall, in the little town of Nobby. This was back in 1998. Many up and coming bush balladeers offered to help out with the show and gave of their time voluntarily.
"In time, the money was raised and the plaques were erected in 2000. The show was so popular it was decided to make the Tenthill Turnout tribute concert an annual event."
This year, Tracy will be presenting a new CD for the first time at Tent Hill, The Best of Stan Coster. Tracy says with so many favourites and hits it was tough to decide which songs to put on the album.
"I hadn’t listened to a lot of the songs for quite a long time (couldn’t really). While I was compiling the tracks it was like hearing them for the first time. I remembered the little things that went into the recording of them originally. It is all his original work fully remastered and I’m very proud of the end result... I think it showcases the enormous writing talent he had.
The Tenthill Turnout will be held at the Ma Ma Creek Hall via Gatton (Qld) on Saturday night (May 31). Tickets are available at the Ma Ma Creek Store, telephone Nola on 07 4697 3570 or visit www.tracycoster.com or www.tenthillturnout.com.au for more information.
Stars of this year's event, in addition to Tracy, will include Norma O'Hara Murphy (pictured), Slim Newton and Dean Perrett.
Greg Champion will join four fellow musicians to reform their "old rock band" The Maniac Rockers From Hell for a special fund-raiser this Saturday.
The fund-raiser is for Neville Barley and his family. Neville, who is only in his late 40s, was the roadie with the band and is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
Joining Greg in the reformed band are Wayne Bunt (now ex Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons and The Black Sorrows), Wayne Duncan and Ross Hannaford (both ex Daddy Cool) and Tony Thornton (ex Paul Kelly & The Dots).
The gig will take place at The Slovenian Club in the Melbourne suburb of Research.
Tickets are $25 with all funds raised going to the Barley family.
Photo: Neville Barley (second from right) with (from left) Tony Thornton, Wayne Burt, Champs and Wayne Duncan.
The video clip of Rip It Up – the latest hit from Travis Collins (pictured) – takes over the top spot on the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week.
The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue jumps two places to be in the number two position while Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh is steady at three.
Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night is down to five and Amber Lawrence's Good Girls jumps two more places to number six.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson are at seven with Rattlin' Bones while Jetty Road's City Lights bounds into the top 10 at number eight..
Bullet performers this week include The Distance & James Reyne with Country Life (28 to 22), Billy Bridge's Everything I Needed To Say (35 to 29), Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (30 to 26) and Lou Bradley's Too Far Gone (47 to 41).
New entries to the playlist this week include Luke O'Shea & Medicine Wheel with Pay Day (new at 48).
The full playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008
Tourism Tamworth, co-ordinators of the annual Hats Off to Country Festival in Country Music Capital, has announced that Country Energy is to become a sponsor of the musical celebration starting on July 3.
With more than 400 employees throughout the New England and North West, Country Energy supplies and maintains an essential service to over 150,000 customers in the region.
"The Hats Off Festival is a great asset to Tamworth and the sponsorship of Country Energy allows us to communicate our Country Music Capital message beyond January," said Tourism Tamworth General Manager Rebel Thomson (pictured).
"We are extremely grateful to have Country Energy come on board and work with us on promoting, developing and delivering the 2008 Hats Off to Country Festival."
The annual mid-year country music celebration has seen huge growth since its inception in 2000, Rebel said, and is expected to attract more than 10,000 fans in 2008.
A sell out is expected for this year’s highlight concert "The Slim Dusty Reunion Tour" bringing Hats Off to Country full circle as the first one was staged in Slim’s honour, titled Hats Off to Slim.
"We are pleased to be involved with the Hats Off to Country Festival and as an active corporate citizen," said Country Energy's Matt Patterson, Regional General Manager Northern. "Country Energy supports and contributes to events throughout the region as we live here too."
The 2008 Hats Off to Country Festival will take place in Tamworth from July 3 to 6 with the Tamworth Camerata and Capital Country Music Association Junior Winter Talent Quest unofficially extending the event into the following week and weekend.
Confirmed entertainment, apart from the major concert, includes Chasing Bailey, The Flood, Jonah's Road, The Noll Brothers, Those Gals, the Wolverines and The Young Balladeers. In total, more than 80 acts, 150 hours and 60 shows will feature during Hats Off.
Tourism Tamworth is in the process of producing the Festival program which is expected to be available late this month. Further information can be obtained by telephoning 02 6767 5300 or by visiting www.visittamworth.com.
MONDAY MAY 26, 2008
The 2008 week-long Norfolk Island Country Music Festival got underway yesterday (Sunday May 25) and runs through to next Sunday (June 1).
And organisers say the event is set to be yet another crowd pleaser.
Artists on the bill this year include, in alphabetical order, Jenny Blackadder, Marion Burns, Bill Chambers, The Darlings, The Flood, Charley Groth, Steve Passfield and Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French (pictured).
Last year's Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year quest winner Kylie Austin will also return as a featured entertainer. The Entertainer of the Year quest is the main event of the Island festival.
"Audiences won’t be disappointed at the 2008 Norfolk Island Country Music Festival," organisers said, "with a line-up like this, fans are sure to have a great time.
"The festival runs over four main nights and leaves plenty of time to explore the beauty of Norfolk Island, take in the tours or simply check out the many bargains in the main street of Burnt Pine."
Now in its 15th year, the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival is a sought after event on the country music calendar throughout Australia and New Zealand. The festival showcases some of Australia and New Zealand’s best talent, with a Pacific twist. Norfolk Island has its very own talent, and the locals have an opportunity to perform alongside the visiting performers during this week.
Local clubs are a part of "country music week" and feature daytime shows with some well-known acts and showing off local talent.
"Audiences are amazed at the calibre of talent displayed on these shores during 'country music week'," organisers said. "The concerts are the best value for money and the program is designed to appeal to all age groups and vary between traditional country, modern country and country rock. Our audiences are varied and the NICMA (Norfolk Island Country Music Association) endeavor to provide a happy balance so that there is a little something for everyone."
Further information can be obtained by emailing email@example.com or bookings can be made with travel agents.
Weblink – www.nicma.nf.
Queensland based ex-pat New Zealander Michael King has been signed up to judge the 2008 Gore Gold Guitar Awards, the pinnacle of amateur country music in his home country.
Michael will fly out on Thursday for Gore. "I grew up competing at these awards before moving to Australia to pursue a career," he said. "I have been invited back to judge the awards, both junior and senior events."
The Gore festivities include the TUI Awards which are the Golden Guitar equivalent recognising New Zealand's best professionally recorded music.
Back in Australia, Michael is currently in the final stages of editing a new music video for the song When A Son Becomes A Father.
Weblink – www.michaelking.com.au.
Meanwhile, 2008 Telstra Tamworth Queen of Country Music Renae Sweeney is off to the city’s sister city Gore to fly the local festival flag.
Renae has been farewelled by sponsors and festival executives – "she’s off to play our Aussie ambassador at the Kiwi Gold Guitar festival in the south of NZ from May 28," a spokesman for Tamworth Regional Council said.
In Gore, Renae will be one of the international stars of festival events. Tamworth Deputy Mayor Phil Betts and Festival Director Steve Bartlett will "play second fiddle" to the music queen at the five-day festival.
Renae will experience the Gore Gold Guitar awards week through visits to street busking, music auditions and acoustic walkup concerts, the New Zealand Country Music Awards, the Songwriting Awards and the NZ Gold Guitar Awards series in intermediate, junior and senior finals over the long weekend.
Deputy Mayor Phil will present the special Tamworth trophy to the winner at the Saturday awards event and Renae will hand out others with the Gore Young Ambassador Melissa Whitefield.
Along with the musical lineup, Renae will take in some of the famous tourist sites around Gore and visit two local schools where she can read to students.
"Apart from taking in lots of Kiwi country music in Gore, Renae will also see the Gore equivalent of the festival cavalcade, a parade of classic commercial vehicles, and take to the stage for a civic speech at the busk off finals," the Council spokesman said.
Among the civic duties to cement the close sister city relationship between Tamworth and its Tasman country music counterpart will be a tree planting ceremony in the Tamworth Gardens, established a few years ago and every two years planted up with another tree to mark the musical bond between the centres.
Photo: Phil Betts, Telstra Events Manager Justin Contegiacomo and Tamworth Festival Director Steve Bartlett wish Telstra Queen of Country Music Renae Sweeney "a musical trip".
Weblink – www.goldguitars.co.nz.
Keri McInerney has released another duet track to radio, this time, the title track from her upcoming album Stay recorded with guitar whizz Michael Fix.
Keri has found continued success in the Australian and international country charts, including last year with the top 20 success of the collaboration Stuck In The Middle With You recorded with Steve Eales and Michael O'Rourke.
This single also gave Keri three major awards finalist accolades.
"Keri's... vocals, teamed with Michael's expressive... guitar work, has produced an absolutely haunting performance from the very first note," said the release announcing the new single. "Together, Keri and Michael give a dynamic, classy performance that ultimately makes for a very high quality single release."
Keri's new album will be officially launched later this month.
Weblink – www.myspace.com/mcinerneykeri.
Lance Friend, described as "a singer/songwriter with a larrikin sense of humour", says his latest single – I Like Girls, Girls, Girls – was inspired by "the beautiful women of Australia".
The single was recorded late last year with producer/guitarist Brendon Radford and an "a list" of musicians including David Bailey on drums, Hugh Curtis on fiddle, Chris Haigh on bass, Lawrie Minson on banjo, Michael Muchow on guitar and Michel Rose on lap steel.
It will be the last offering in a round of singles released in Australia by Lance over the last few years.
Well known for hits like Longreach Sky, Just Met An Angel and Don’t Ring This Ringer, Lance and his band Friends In No Places, released their debut album Hard To Be A Man after a more than successful introduction to country music touring and festival appearances on the northern NSW coast into central Queensland and in Country Music Capital.
Friends In No Places is a familiar name at the Monto Country Music Festival, the Australian Bush Poets Festival, Outback Festival at Winton, Ipswich Country Music Festival, The Gemfestival, Lismore Country Music Festival and the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2008
Matt Manning has released his new album, Borderline.
"The album has 12 tracks, about trucking, bush ballads, drinking and one instrumental," Matt said.
Produced in Sydney by Stuie French, Borderline features Stuie on guitars and dobro, Michel Rose on steel guitar, Chris Haigh on bass, Mick Albeck on fiddle, Bradley Bergen on drums with Camille Te Nahu and Stuie providing backing vocals.
"The album has kept the bush ballad tradition," Matt said, "plus a couple of different tracks for me to explore a few new roads. I have co-written one song with Ian Quinn – My Bulldog Loves Bitumen – and have recorded a duet with Mike McClellan of his hit Song And Dance Man.
"Mudcarter Blues eventuated after a conversation with Keith Jamieson about my first truck driving job in an old Volvo tipper. There are three new songs penned by Chris Pritchard, What Is Wrong With That, Bush Girl and Grew Up Hard And Grew Up Quick... these songs reflect the life of people working in the bush.
"There are two songs previously recorded by Slim Dusty, Old Bush Mates Of Mine and Highway One. Some Day I'll Sober Up is the drinking song and a version of the Buck Owens song It Takes People Like You is dedicated to each and everyone who has played some part in my music career this far," Matt said.
"John O'Dea has penned a song called The Saddle that will touch many people who have lived on the land. The Instrumental with Stuie is one previously recorded by Chet Atkins titled Prissy and it has an easy listening style for all to enjoy."
Rose races to sing national anthem
Leading trio The McClymonts will also appear at the Carnival where they are scheduled to perform later in the day.
This is the third Saturday Rose has performed the national anthem at Doomben for the Turf Club's "three big days of racing".
Rose says she cannot believe how busy and exciting the last six months have been with the release of her current single, Sometimes You Just Know (written by Allan Caswell & Drew McAlister), the Golden Guitar nominated vocal collaboration with Drew McAlister, her guitar sponsorship from Takamine, and being named, with Drew, winner of the 2008 TIARAs (Tamworth Independent Artists Recognition Awards) Vocal Collaboration of the Year.
Her previous single, Eyes Don't Lie, became her first number one hit (on the Sounds Like Café chart) and other singles have had success on CMC (Country Music Channel) and the Mildura Hot FM Top 100 Country Hits playlist.
"The support of my distributor One Stop Country has been fantastic," Rose said, with her debut album, Everything I Need, being showcased in their Next Generation Country campaign.
Weblink – www.rosecarleo.com.
Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist 2008 Adam James has announced he will be giving away his new single.
The Country Singer is the name of the new work, just released to radio, and "tells the familiar story of country singers putting in the hard yakka to make their dreams a reality," Adam said. "It's something that is close to my heart because for the last two years I have spent every opportunity performing my own brand of country songs to anyone will listen.
"This often means sacrificing personal areas of life including family, relationships and home," he said, understand the whole "blood sweat and tears" saying far too well.
Adam James has been causing quite a stir within country music circles lately – not only as a Star Maker Grand Finalist in January but with the launch of his self funded debut EP Messages & Memories to rave reviews and a packed Tamworth Hotel. The first single, Many Who Pretend, generated good airplay around Australia and Adam has been invited to play at a number of prestigious music festivals, including The Dreaming, Urban Country Music and MIldura Country Music Festivals as well as the 2008 North American Indigenous Games being held in Canada in August.
The rising star has also been hard at work co-writing with a "who's who" of songwriters including Mike Carr, Adam Harvey, Fiona Kernaghan, Drew McAlister and Rod McCormack in preparation for his debut album due for release next year.
The Country Singer is available for free download at www.adamjames.com.au.
Sydney-based country rock outfit Craig Morrison Little Cowboys have announced their new single Losin' It is to feature in Warren Ryan's new bullriding movie "Shadows Of The Past" which is due for release later this year.
Warren also recorded the band's video clip of the single.
"The high energy live act is fast becoming an audience favourite," according the release accompanying the announcement, "and, utilising the swag of prizes from wining the inaugural Battle of the Country Rock Bands late last year in Rockhampton, have been putting down an album full of original material at Ramrod Studios with producer Herm Kovac."
Losin' It is the first single from the album released to radio this month.
In other news, the band has also been invited to host a workshop for budding musicians at the Gympie Country Music School of Excellence leading up to the Toyota National Country Music Muster in August.
Entries opened this week for the 2009 Telstra Road to Tamworth talent quest offering a total prize package valued ay $140,000.
"The Telstra Road to Tamworth competition has grown rapidly in the six years since its inception," according to Telstra's National Sponsorship Manager Greg Swain.
As was the case this year, the 2009 Grand Final winner will receive a full album deal with ABC Music and a return trip to Nashville to record and play at the CMA Music Festival.
Songwriting is also recognised through the Telstra Road to Tamworth Songwriters Award with another trip to Nashville, including a series of co-writing appointments with leading industry songwriters, up for grabs.
For the third year, multi Golden Guitar winner and recent "It Takes Two" singing mentor Adam Harvey will continue in his role as Ambassador for the competition.
"It’s really outstanding to see the strength of talent coming out of this competition and I'm really impressed with Telstra’s continued commitment to nurturing young country music stars in Australia," Adam said.
The competition will see 14 heats held across the nation this year visiting every State and Territory. Heats will be presented in a concert format featuring performances from major Australian country music stars and 2008 Grand Final winner Jasmine Rae (pictured).
The 2009 competition will kick off with a free event on Saturday June 28 at the Ballarat (Vic) Woolshed. Adam Harvey and 2007 winner Morgan Evans will perform alongside Jasmine Rae and this year's Songwriter Award winner Mark Wells both fresh from their award winning Nashville experience.
This event will also feature the launch of Jasmine's self penned debut single Country Singer.
Each of the 14 heat winners will receive $1,000 cash and will qualify for the finals series to be held at during the 2009 Tamworth Country Music Festival Presented by Telstra between 16 and 26 January.
From these 14 heat winners, the top eight contestants will receive an Epiphone DR-100 acoustic guitar and progress through to the Grand Final series showcase.
Weblink – www.beinvolved.telstra.com/countrymusic.
America's Kenny Chesney & George Strait hang on to the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for the second week with their duet Shiftwork.
Alan Jackson's Small Town Southern Man edges into second place pushing Adam Harvey's I'm Doin' Alright back to number three with Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls bounding up three places to number four.
Another overseas act, Brad Paisley, is at five with I'm Still A Guy while Tom Curtain's Heatwave is steady again at six and Markus Meier's The Beating Heart is down to seven.
Tracey Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful jumps two places to eight, George Strait's second top 10 track – I Saw God Today – is at nine and Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue is at 10.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night (23 to 19), Amber Lawrence's Good Girls (24 to 20) Adam Brand's Comin' From / Khe Sanh (25 to 22), Travis Collins' Rip It Up (28 to 24), Melinda Schneider's Heart Of A Woman (30 to 25) and The McClymonts' (pictured) Finally Over Blue (new at 27).
Other new entries to the chart for the coming week include Kirsty Lee Akers' The Territory (in at 28) and the Rose Carleo/Drew McAlister duet Sometimes You Just Know (at 29).
The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2008
Nominees in the 2008 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards were announced in Sydney today.
Nominees for Country Work of the Year are Everything’s Going To Be Alright by Troy Cassar-Daley & Don Walker (recorded by Troy), Higher Than Heaven by James Blundell & Lyndsay Hammond (recorded by James), Rockin' The Rig by Colin Buchanan & Garth Porter (recorded by Travis Sinclair), Run Away by Carter & Carter and Spirit Of The Bush by Lee Kernaghan, Colin Buchanan & Garth Porter (recorded by Lee, Adam Brand & Steve Forde).
In the overall list of nominees, The John Butler Trio leads the tally for the 2008 APRA Music Awards with three nominations (including Song of the Year). The band is also nominated twice in the category of Blues & Roots Work of the Year.
Weblink – www.apra.com.au.
"Directory of Australian Country Music" – call for entries
Presented by the publishers and Toyota, the Directory is described as "the little black book" of the Australian country music industry and those who work in, around and with it. The "Directory" takes in more than 50 categories including a comprehensive coverage of country music artists and industry people, artist management, booking agents, clubs and associations, consultants and specialist services, festivals, fan clubs, line dancing clubs, country music media, musicians, promoters, publicists, record and publishing companies, retailers, studios, trade and industry organisations, writers and broadcasters and more.
"Directory" publishers Rural Press Events has launched an invitation for individuals, companies and organisations to get their free listing details in as soon as possible. One free listing per artist, company or entity applies. The deadline for submission of free listings is Friday, May 30.
"Advertising opportunities are also available," the publishers said. "Cheryl Byrnes can supply more information on 02 6762 2399.
"The 'Directory' continues to grow with the Australian country music industry and is committed to staying at the forefront with up-to-date listings and information," Cheryl said.
"The next edition will include a range of new categories including airlines, car hire, insurance, tourism and travel services."
After 11 months of planning, PFI Net Cessnock City Country Music Festival organiser Rhonda Astill is counting down the hours to "high noon" this Friday.
That’s when Cessnock (NSW) Mayor Councillor John Clarence will declare the second annual festival officially open in Sternbeck Park, after which Golden Guitar winner Kirsty Lee Akers (pictured) will perform.
Accompanying the "Hunter Valley sweetheart" will be Central Coast multi-instrumentalist Brad Bergen on guitar. "Together they will give listeners a taste of what’s to come over the next two days," Rhonda said.
"I’m really thrilled with the lineup we’re presenting this year. We have a number of Golden Guitar winners and crowd favourites on the bill with 36 artists in total. You can see a range of country from traditional to contemporary all at the one convenient location – East Cessnock Bowling Club," she said.
"Kirsty Lee Akers and Donna Boyd open the show at 8pm Friday for multiple Golden Guitar winners Carter & Carter, then on Saturday there’s non-stop free entertainment from 10.30am until 8pm. The free entertainment features Amber Lawrence, Nicki Gillis, Lisa White, Makaylie Foodey, Rob Wilson and Bob Pigott. A new inclusion to Saturday’s lineup is John Wilson performing in the bar from 5pm to 8pm.
"Golden Guitar winners the Feral Swing Katz will present one of their first gigs back at 8pm with the 'man of steel' Michel Rose after his prolonged recuperation from wrist and arm surgery following a fall in January. The Katz will be ably supported by Grant Richardson and Tamara Stewart," Rhonda said.
"Sunday’s free entertainment will be provided by Felicity Urquhart, Alby Pool, Bruce McCumstie, Melody Pool, Kellie Cain, Victoria McGee and Sharnee Fenwick."
A new component in the 2008 Cessnock Festival, as previously reported, is the inclusion of a dedicated bush balladeers event featuring Australian Bush Balladeers Association Star Quest winner Greg Bain, Melissa Bajric, Charley Boyter and his band, Laura Downing, Bob Easter, Rick Hopkins and 2008 Golden Guitar winner Amos Morris (pictured).
Further information, and tickets, can be obtained from the Club on 02 4990 1444.
This weekend also sees the staging of the Western Plains (NSW) Country Music Championships for juniors and seniors.
The quest will be held at the Dubbo RSL from this Friday to Sunday, May 23 to 25. Further information available from Amanda Hollier on 02 6885 0786 after hours.
Meanwhile, Patricia Cruzado reported in "The Wellington Times" that country music fans were given a special treat at the Wellington Bowling Club on Mother's Day just past.
Hosted by Wellington Country Music Club, which has recently changed its name to the Australian Country Music Artists and Supporters Association, the audience was treated to performances by special guests including Radio National announcer Billy Beerens (pictured) and his wife Mary of the Blacktown Country Music Club.
Dan Aylott also impressed the crowd with a Tex Morton tune.
Artists and guests travelled from Dubbo, Bathurst, Orange, Tamworth and Lyndhurst to enjoy the raffles and a free sausage sizzle.
There was also a free monthly walkup which is always held on the second Sunday of the month at the Wellington Bowling Club from 2pm. Further information can be obtained from Allan King on 02 6845 1258.
And on Monday (May 26), New Zealand's key country music event, the Gore Gold Guitar Awards celebration, gets underway.
Activities during the week-long event include the Hands of Fame induction show on Tuesday, songwriting seminar next Wednesday, busking competition on Thursday and Friday, the MLT (Mataura Licensing Trust) Songwriting Awards on Thursday and the New Zealand Country Music Awards on Friday (May 30) including announcement of the winners of the RIANZ (Recording Industry Association of New Zealand) Best NZ Country Album (or Tui Award) and the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Best NZ Country Song.
Finalists for the Best Country Album Tui are Jackie Bristow (pictured) for Crazy Love, The Cattlestops for (Back to) Rosetta Road and Melissa Partridge for Melissa. Dunedin-based Melissa Partridge also features in the Best Country Song Award for 2008 in partnership with co-writer Gordon Jones for I’ll Be On My Way with fellow finalists Bruce Dennis with Ain’t Gonna Run and Red McKelvie for Ridin’ On Trains.
A truck parade will be a highlight of events on Saturday May 31 which also features the busking competition finals and commencement of the Gold Guitars Awards (talent quest) which concludes the following day, Sunday June 1.
Weblink – www.goldguitars.co.nz.
Response to the "new" Golden Saddle Awards has been great, according to Awards Director Donna Boyd (pictured), and entries have started rolling in.
"As well as the new entry conditions, there are some changes to the prizes which are really exciting," she said.
These include the Golden Saddle Award perpetual trophy – a custom made Tomkins acoustic/electric guitar – made especially for the Golden Saddle Awards. "This perpetual trophy will be in the possession of the overall winner for 12 months and then handed on to the overall winner the following year at the Awards night," Donna said. A plaque on the guitar will list the year and name of each winner.
The overall winner will also receive $1,000 and a Golden Saddle trophy. Winner of the Golden Saddle Performance Award and the Golden Saddle People's Choice Award will each receive $500 and a trophy.
The overall winner will also receive bookings at Canterbury Country, Sydney's premier monthly country music night, and the Galston Country Music Festival the following year.
Entries in the Golden Saddle Awards for this year close on May 31 at 5pm.
Entry details and more general information can be obtained from www.galstonfestival.com.
The video clip of Catherine Britt's latest hit What I Did Last Night is at number one for the second week on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist.
Travis Collins' Rip It Up is steady at number two while Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh jumps another two places to be in third position and The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue slips one to number four.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson (pictured) are at number six with Rattlin' Bones while Amber Lawrence's Good Girls bounds into the top 10 at number eight and Ronnie Rae Rivers' Cowboys Come Home is at 10.
Bullet performers this week include Jetty Road's City Lights (debuting at 14), The Distance with Country Life (new at 28), Billy Bridge's Everything I Needed To Say (35 to 29) and Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (37 to 30).
The full playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
MONDAY, MAY 19, 2008
Melinda Schneider has announced the release of her new album Be Yourself, a new management team and the launch of her own label.
The album, Melinda's fifth studio album, will be released on the Be Music label with distribution through destraMusic, on Saturday July 5.
With commitments to her previous record label honoured following the release of 2006’s Stronger, Melinda says she chose to move on and started to make plans for her own label. She is looking forward to heading up Be Music. "I feel so liberated launching my own label," she said, "(it's) given me a wonderful sense of freedom."
In keeping with the Schneider family music heritage, Melinda says she is in the music business for the long haul and intends to keep striving to make better records year after year. "I want nothing more than to be writing, singing and touring into my 60s and 70s just like the country music artists of old whom I respect so much, Slim, Smoky and my mum, Mary, and Aunty Rita. Starting my own record label will enable me to do just that, I will always have a home."
destraMusic CEO Ken Outch echoed Melinda's enthusiasm: "Everyone at destraMusic is very excited to be distributing Melinda’s new album. Melinda is a truly exceptional performer and songwriter and I consider this to be her finest album to date."
To complete her new team, Melinda has secured management with Nicole Hart and Tom Sioris at Revolutions Per Minute, who count Shannon Noll among their clients. "I believe the new songs Melinda has written for Be Yourself will once again resonate strongly with her audience," Nicole said. "She continues to go from strength to strength as a singer and songwriter. I am thrilled to be working with Melinda in this new phase of her career."
Weblink – www.melindaschneider.com.au.
Eric Bogle is currently working on a new studio album to be released on Rouseabout Records later this year.
Eric's music is consistently played on folk music radio nationwide and the star was recently featured by Henk de Weerd on 5EBI's "Good Morning Folk".
Weblink – www.undercovermusic.com.au/eric_bogle.htm.
New Australian country singer, songwriter and recording artist Kell Stoner has announced, on the eve of the release of her debut EP this week, that she has signed to Shock Music Publishing.
As Kell heads off on her EP launch tour, Clive Hodson, General Manager of Shock Music Publishing, says he is proud to officially welcome Kell aboard the books of Shock Publishing and looks forward to representing her music in the future.
"I first heard Kell at a listening seminar at Newcastle Music Week. I was immediately taken with the honest, earthy approach to her songs and vocal performance," he said. "I believe Kell has international appeal and am very proud to be able to now represent Kell's songs as her global publisher."
Kell’s EP was produced and recorded by Bill Chambers and Jeff McCormack.
A spokesman for the artist said the recording brought together "Kell’s love of blues, alt. country and soul laden lyrics and melodies… polished, but still raw enough to have feeling and guts – it's got heart!"
To celebrate the launch of her long awaited recording debut, Kell and her "little band of misfits" will be touring up and down the East Coast of Australia throughout May, June and July.
Weblink – www.kellstoner.com.
More than 80 artists providing 150 hours of non-stop music at 60 shows is the essence of the four-day Hats Off to Country Festival in Country Music Capital this July 3 to 6.
The highlight concert will be the Slim Dusty Family Reunion Tour show at West Tamworth League Club on Saturday July 4 featuring family matriarch Joy McKean, daughter Anne Kirkpatrick, son David Kirkpatrick and grandchildren Kate and James Arneman and Daniel and Hannah Kirkpatrick on stage together for the first time in Tamworth.
Other acts announced on the festival roster so far include Chasing Bailey, Don Costa, the Rod Dowsett Band, The Flood, Jonah’s Road, The Noll Brothers, Luke O’Shea & Medicine Wheel, the Wolverines and the Young Balladeers.
Established artists and emerging talent will be among those performing with some from the local area and others from Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and places in between. Most of the shows are free.
The Australian Bush Balladeers Association is staging a show, Bill Davy’s Outback Show is on the schedule and Jim Haynes' Big Bush Brekky shows will be back.
Local talent at the festival includes Darren Clarke, three generations of the Dallas family, Donella, Buddy Knox and Fiona Peters.
Homegrown rock-pop outfit Chasing Bailey (formerly The Baileys) will release their first album in August and will also appear during Hats Off.
Since the Country Music Capital winter festival started in 2000 it has steadily grown to become a four-day event.
"The musical mid-year-celebration is a perfect complement to the annual January 10-day country music festival," said Tourism Tamworth General Manager Rebel Thomson.
"The cooler weather tends to bring out some fans not so keen to experience the summer heat of the January festival and the shorter stretch of four days makes it much easier for fans who find it hard to fit the 10-day event into their schedule."
Students from the 2008 Tamworth Camerata – junior school of country music for performers aged 17 or younger – and entrants in the Capital Country Music Association Winter Junior Talent Quest will also be part of the celebrations.
The Camerata Graduation Concert is usually part of Hats Off to Country but this year will be staged the week after making the 2008 Festival unofficially a two week program. Students will, however, be at a festival meet and greet event at The Family Hotel on July 5.
With performers 17 years and younger, the Capital Country Music Association Winter Junior Talent Quest will also be run the week after Hats Off. Entrants compete from across NSW and interstate for prizemoney and trophies during the two-day event at The Family Hotel.
Weblink – www.visittamworth.com.
Meanwhile, it has also been announced that a new CD will be launched during the Hats Off to Country Festival, the catalyst for which was the emotional upheaval resulting from a family tragedy.
Light Of Hope is a new collection of songs by acclaimed songwriter Brenda-Lee Heathcote (pictured).
The inspiration behind the recording was the violent death of Brenda-Lee’s brother Brian James Heathcote in Brisbane in January last year. Brian was a recognised and respected radio announcer.
"Most of these songs were written from my personal experience of trying to make sense out of a senseless event," Brenda-Lee said, "and with the intention of trying to help others who have had similar experiences through their dark times.
"With the support of Arts Queensland, the Matthew Stanley Foundation, Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group and the One Punch Can Kill campaign and all of the incredible artists who have lent their talent and time to this project, we hope to raise awareness of the growing amount of violence within our communities and the devastating and lasting effects it has on families and friends of victims," she said.
Light Of Hope includes the 2007 Australian Songwriter’s Association Rudy Brandsma Award-winning song So This Is Life.
"Anthony Snape, The Matekis from the US, Candice Long, Michael King, Vanya, Sharon Lane, Brad Lee, Pam Spencer, Bobby Cash and Jason Kemp all sing on the CD," Brenda-Lee said. "A song from Tania Kernaghan’s Higher Ground is a bonus track."
A percentage of profits from album sales will go to the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group to help families in financial difficulty because of homicide.
An acrylic painting by Brenda-Lee and artist Cath Grant, which was the basis for the album cover, will be auctioned at the CD launch at Southgate Inn in Tamworth from 5pm on July 4. Money raised will go to the support group.
Tamworth-based Shaza Leigh has taken two of Brenda-Lee's songs into the top 10. Bobby Cash has recorded five of her songs on two albums, one of which went to number one on the independent charts. The Wolverines recorded her song The Ballad Of Young Bobby Dale which was nominated for a 2007 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Award.
Weblink – www.brendaleeheathcote.com.
SUNDAY, MAY 18, 2008
ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association) has announced two of five inductees this year into its Hall of Fame.
A spokesman for ARIA said Dragon (current line-up pictured performing) and Russell may, on the surface, have little in common, but they were "connected by their love of creating unabashed pop music".
One was essentially a solo artist who defied convention by releasing a song that clocked in at more than seven minutes and still climbed to the number one position on the record charts of the day. The other act was able to produce a string of songs that to this day remain etched in the Australian public’s music loving consciousness.
"Both were highly inventive pop artists who in their own way triumphed over adversity to become two of the most popular acts of their time," the spokesman said.
"It is fitting that this should happen exactly 10 years after Marc died. I wish he was here and I know he would be thrilled. There have been 35 members of Dragon since 1973, from the original members to the current band, and this induction is for all of them. The guys you will see on the night are myself, Robert Taylor, Kerry Jacobson and Alan Mansfield, but it’s also for original member Ray Goodwin, for Paul Hewson, Neil Story, Doane Perry, Tommy Emmanuel, Terry Chambers and many others who all served their time, and the current members of Dragon, Mark Williams, Bruce Reid and Pete Drummond.
"As a member of a band that has been playing on and off for 35 years, I’ve got to say it’s been a great pleasure and this is a great compliment for all involved."
On hearing of his induction, Russell said: "When I first began the music path on which I eventually embarked – and walked the full distance – I thought it would be all over at the age of 25, and by 30 I would be back doing accounting! So to be here right now and receiving this wonderful award is not only amazing but a beautiful surprise."
Weblink – www.aria.com.au.
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2008
Lee Kernaghan will headline a star-studded tribute to the late, great Slim Dusty in June.
The tribute, being held in Sydney on the 81st anniversary of Slim's birthday on June 13, will feature a host of high profile country and pop entertainers to honour the legendary Australian.
Titled "Many Happy Campfires", the tribute is being staged as a fund-raiser for the Slim Dusty Centre being built at Kempsey on the NSW North Coast.
Radio star Ray Hadley will act as MC on the night with Graeme Connors, Barry Crocker, Peter Denahy, Gina Jeffreys, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick, David Kirkpatrick, Jimmy Little, Amos Morris and Melinda Schneider joining Lee to entertain, performing with Slim’s original Travelling Country Band.
The Kempsey project is being built to realise Slim’s dream of building a Centre in his home town where the memorabilia collected all over Australia during his long and illustrious career could be preserved and shown and where visitors would be involved in "an interactive journey through the heart and soul of Australia".
The Centre will also develop scholarships to assist young talented musical artists to obtain the best possible start to their country music careers. The Museum will be an iconic Australian experience built around Slim Dusty, his links with the nation’s indigenous people and his vision of Australian culture, as depicted through his eyes and the lyrics of his timeless songs.
Tickets for "Many Happy Camp Fires" (including VIP packages) can be obtained by telephoning Kelly Wong on (02) 8306 9555.
Weblink – www.slimdustycentre.com.au.
Jane Kellaway has released her debut video clip, described as one that "will have viewers in fits of laughter from start to finish", to the Country Music Channel (CMC).
Wife, and "exasperated mother" of four Jane put together the clip of For Crying Out Loud – featuring three of her
The clip, of the title track from Jane's debut album, was produced by "the ever-so-talented Duncan Toombes" from Nacnud Media and filmed at Jane's house where the kids were "truly in their element".
"We had such a wonderful time filming the clip. It still puts a smile on my face whenever I think about it", Jane said. "It was a long day but the kids did a great job. They're wondering when are we filming the next one!"
Jane has also found success with her music overseas with an article to be run in French country music magazine "Le Cri du Coyote" in July.
"I never even dreamed of my music being played in France," she said. "I know it might sound naive but I didn’t know they liked country music over there! I look forward to the day when I tour through that part of the world and meet the
So what’s next on the agenda for Jane?
"For now, my focus is on the video clip and getting my name out into the country music community a bit more. I’m constantly writing new songs for future albums and have just started working in conjunction with radio station 94.1FM on the Central Coast of NSW.
"I have to say life at the moment is great. Hectic, but great. I love what I do and cant wait to do more of it and I just thank all the people who have helped guide me along the way."
Adam Harvey and Catherine Britt are set to "cook up a storm" on Network 10's "Ready Steady Cook" on Monday.
Adam teamed up with pro chef Jeff Campbell who showed him the ropes and "set him straight" in the kitchen.
Word from the producers is that they have never had so many jokes and so much laughter on the show during filming.
The program goes to air on 10 at 2pm this coming Monday (May 19).
Photo: Catherine, Adam and the pro chefs Manu Feildel (left) and Jeff Campbell during taping of Monday's show.
Weblink – www.adamharvey.com.au.
Following the success of previous sessions at Sydney's Orphanage venue, this month sees "a double-shot" of country/roots music.
Dave Walls will guest with The Orphans on Saturday May 24 with The Yearlings joining The Orphans on Saturday May 31 for the Sydney album launch of their third album Highway Dancing (photo: The Yearlings – Robyn Chalklen and Chris Parkinson).
Dave Walls is billed as an emerging, new, local alt-country songwriter who will be appearing to present "a swag" of new songs he's written especially for the night. "He'll be helped out on stage by a few friends who will help highlight the wealth of musical talent that Dave possesses," said a spokesman for The Orphanage.
Adelaide alt-folk band The Yearlings have just returned from New York where they appeared at the prestigious International Guitar Festival. Immediately after that, they headed into the studio with one of Bob Dylan's former guitarists, Larry Campbell, to record their new album.
"The results are spectacular and The Yearlings will be appearing at The Orphanage Sessions as part of their Highway Dancing National Album Launch tour."
The Orphans are a country/bluegrass outfit comprised of Nick Payne and Lyn Taylor. Both born in Australia, but with very different musical roots. Nick and Lyn have brought their unique experiences and abilities to produce the distinct sound and feel that is The Orphan's music.
The Orphanage is located at Mars Hill Café in Church Street, Parramatta.
Weblink – www.myspace.com/theorphansau.
America's Kenny Chesney (left) & George Strait have taken over the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their duet Shiftwork.
I'm Doin' Alright, Adam Harvey's number one from the last four weeks, slips to number two while Alan Jackson's Small Town Southern Man is at three and Markus Meier's The Beating Heart is steady at four.
Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue is down to five, Tom Curtain's Heatwave is steady at six while Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls jumps two places to number seven.
Brad Paisley's I'm Still A Guy is at eight, Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' is down one to nine while Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful enters the top 10 at 10.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Jetty Road's City Lights (17 to 14), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones (19 to 15), Clelia Adams' Wildflowers (20 to 17), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (23 to 19), Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night (26 to 23), Amber Lawrence's Good Girls (29 to 24) and Adam Brand's Comin' From / Khe Sanh (30 to 25).
New entries to the chart for the coming week are Travis Collins' Rip It Up (in at 28) and Melinda Schneider's Heart Of A Woman (at 30).
The Top 30 Countdown goes to air Sunday nights on CMR (Country Music Radio) on the Super Radio Network.
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008
Three Australian country acts will feature in this year's CMA (Country Music Association) Global Artist Party being staged as a lead-up to this year's CMA Music Festival.
Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured), Shea Fisher and Jasmine Rae are the Australian representatives on the showcase which will also feature Jessie Farrell and Johnny Reid from Canada, Kat'Lee Jones from Belgium, The Murphy Band from Ireland and Wim van de Vliert from The Netherlands.
Host of the event will be American country artist Jace Everett.
Meanwhile, Adam Harvey, Jetty Road, Tracy Lee Killeen, Felicity Urquhart and Mark Wells will fly the Australian flag at the AristoMedia Global Showcase on Tuesday June 3 at The Second Fiddle.
This showcase will also feature Victoria Banks, Jason Blaine and Amber Nicholson from Canada with Robert Reynolds (ex Mavericks) acting as host. Ex-pat Aussie Mark Moffatt will serve as musical co-ordinator for both events.
The CMA Music Festival gets underway on Thursday June 5 and will run through to and including Sunday June 8.
Weblink – www.cmamusicfestival.com.
In other news regarding Australians in Nashville for CMA Music Festival 2008, "The Sun Herald" reports that young up and coming Australian country stars Shea Fisher (left) and Jasmine Rae say they are determined "to prove that Australian country music is coming of age."
The paper reported the 20-year-olds planned to show a different side of the genre when they represented Australia at the in Nashville next month.
"There are a lot of younger people in country music now and I think it's going to expand generations because we're singing about everyday issues." Shea was reported as saying. "We sing about things we've done in our lives. It's really exciting in country music now because we can make the genre bigger."
"No genres stay the same," Jasmine was reported as saying. "Everything crosses over ... you've got rock, pop, country rock and country pop. People need to see that country is moving forward, just like every other genre."
Jasmine, the winner of this year's Telstra Road to Tamworth talent search, will spend three weeks in Nashville recording her
Shea will spend six weeks in America working on her second album.
On Sunday night, more than a million Australians watched Peter Denahy perform his hit single Sort Of Dunno Nothin' on Network Ten’s "Big Brother Eviction".
Peter re-wrote the lyrics of the song especially for Sunday night’s appearance to incorporate the goings on in the house over the past week.
Sort Of Dunno Nothin' depicts a conversation with a monosyllabic teenager and has resonated with teenagers and parents around the world. It has received more than 400,000 hits on "YouTube".
The Compass Bros Records office was inundated with calls and emails on Monday morning from viewers wanting to know more about Peter and where they could buy his album.
Peter’s performance can be seen at www.myspace.com/compassbrosrecords.
Sort Of Dunno Nothin’ features on Peter’s January 2008 album release, Picture In A Frame.
Victorian and Canberra dates have been announced for the upcoming Slim Dusty Family Reunion Tour.
The tour will visit three Victorian locations – Barooga, Kyneton and Warrnambool – and play one date in Canberra.
Details can be found on the official Slim Dusty website www.slimdusty.com.au. Tickets are now on sale.
Johanna Hemara will launch her debut album Goodnight Sweetheart at Sweeney's, Ingleburn (NSW) on Saturday May 31.
Doors will open at 6.30pm for the show which kicks off at 8pm. Tickets are $12 per person, children under 10 are free (and available from Sweeney's on 02 9618 5555 or 0409 828 209)
Well-known country music broadcaster Frankie T will act as compere and a number of special guests will appear including Liam Brew, Jessie Fairweather, Jason Lee and 11-year-old singing sensation Bianca Vitalone.
Johanna's first single off the album – Daddy – has just made its debut on the Country Music Channel.
Weblink – www.myspace.com/johannahemara.
This week marks the release of Harmony James third single, Home.
The acoustic number is described as "a change of direction" from the quirky Somebody Stole My Horse which spent four weeks at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart following her multiple award nominated debut single Tailwind.
"Home celebrates Harmony's affinity with the land and may do a little to explain the reasons she continues to make her home in the remote reaches of the Northern Territory," according to the release accompanying the new single announcement.
"Showcasing the diversity of her songwriting talent and heartfelt vocals, Home has captured the imagination of many listeners who already own her high selling debut record and has been chosen to feature on John Nutting’s compilation CD Saturday Night Country Volume 4.
"Harmony has been busy in recent months performing all over the country and will feature in 'the Top End' at the Fred’s Pass Show alongside James Blundell, Tom Curtain and The Sunny Cowgirls on this weekend."
Live at the Darwin Entertainment Centre on June 7, Harmony will launch her own show where she will be performing her hits and many new songs with support by former Telstra Road to Tamworth finalist Jackie Izod.
Weblink – www.harmonyjames.com.
The video clip of Catherine Britt's latest hit What I Did Last Night has taken over the number one spot on this week's CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist.
Travis Collins' Rip It Up edges up one more place to number two while The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue is up two to third position.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson are at number four with Rattlin' Bones, Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh jumps five places to number five and Ronnie Rae Rivers' Cowboys Come Home debuts in the top 10 at number nine.
Bullet performers this week include Kirsty Lee Akers' The Territory (15 to 11), Amber Lawrence's Good Girls (new at 12), Billy Bridge's Everything I Needed To Say (39 to 35) and Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (40 to 37).
This week's CMC Country Pick is Jetty Road's City Lights. After their successful Australian tour, Jetty Road are heading to Canada to play alongside Alan Jackson and Emerson Drive at CountryFest.
The full playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
MONDAY, MAY 12, 2008
The Wolverines will feature in ABC Television's "Australian Story" on air at 8 o'clock tonight.
The first of two documentary episodes covers the group of "home-grown entertainers" – including the Wolverines – entertaining our troops during 15 "jam-packed" days in the Middle East earlier this year.
"Australia has a proud history of entertainers visiting war zones to lift the morale of our troops," the ABC says. "On the face of it, a tour of Afghanistan and Iraq would not appeal to everyone. But this program is about a group of entertainers who did step forward to sign up for the journey. They were rewarded with the ride of a lifetime."
Also on the trip were Angry Anderson, Brielle Davis, comedian Fred Lang, Ami Williamson, MC Tania Zaetta and the 12 piece RAN (Royal Australian Navy) Band.
After tonight's main screening, the program will be repeated on ABC2 at 8 tomorrow night (Tuesday, May 13) and on ABC1 at 12:30pm on Saturday (May 17).
Weblink – www.wolverines.com.au.
Adam Harvey is the latest recruit to help promote the sport of bull riding in Australia.
The seven-time Golden Guitar winner will open both of the prestigious Professional Bull Riders (PBR) 2008 two-night Cup Events, the PBR Troy Dunn International at the Townsville Entertainment Centre on Friday May 23 (the richest bull ride in Australia) and the PBR Brendon Clark Invitational at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Friday May 30.
"Adam, a bull riding fan since he first caught the super-sized PBR on USA TV during one of his Nashville stays, will not only sing each Friday night’s opening national anthem and provide intermission entertainment," organisers say, "but he’s going behind-the-chutes to get dirt-deep in the action, interview riders, and deliver it all on the big screen as the night's guest commentator."
In a competition format called Australia Vs The Rest Of The World, each PBR Cup Event’s Friday night opener will feature 10 international bull riders, including four in the world’s PBR Top 20, competing against 10 of Australia’s best ranked bull riders including Brendon Clark and Jared Farley (currently competing on the USA PBR circuit).
Each rider bucks out twice and the scores are tallied as a team to determine whether it's Australia or the internationals who win. "I’ll be cheering our boys on to show the world just how good our riders are!" said Adam.
"The PBR Cup Events are not rodeos," organisers say. "They are the Professional Bull Riders, ranked number seven in the USA’s professional sports’ leagues and the purveyors of standalone bull riding spectaculars that include pyrotechnics, big-screen replays and all the edge-of-your-seat action only the best bulls and bull riders can kick out."
Adam, a born and raised Geelong boy who now lives on Australia’s Central Coast, has seen enough just watching the sport he reckons is "suicidal, massively heart-stopping" to know you wouldn’t catch him doing it.
Convinced that chute-side is "close enough thanks", Adam thinks it’s a great gig, "one of those jobs you dream about really," and he’s chuffed to be giving fans a back-stage tour.
Weblink – www.pbraustralia.com.
Brisbane's 2008 Steel Guitar Festival will be held next month.
And organisers say it seems to be up for a "resurgence in public appreciation" as the specialist country music television channel CMC (Country Music Channel) is to film "a featured expose" of players appearing on the main concert.
"It’s a great weekend for every one who loves steel guitar, country, jazz, Hawaiian and the dobro," they say. "If you love this genre, then you will have a great time seeing and hearing players from New Zealand, Australia and the USA."
This year's bill includes local players Bob Alloway, Gary Brown (dobro), Ian Kerr, Kenny Kitching (pictured) and Milton Quackenbush, New Zealanders Paddy Long and Ivan Posa and, from America, Mike Kirkley. The Smokin' Crawdads will provide backing, Daryl Kirkup will be compere.
The event also plays host to the Brisbane Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, sponsored by country music radio station 989FM, and where two inductees who have contributed significantly to the Australian music industry, steel guitar genre, are honoured each year.
Last year's inaugural inductees were Kenny Kitching and George Xanthos.
Organisers urge patrons to "come one and all to tell your friends and make up a party for a great weekend here in the music heart of Queensland".
The event will run over the weekend of June 21 and 22 with a concert and social night on Saturday from 4pm, the main Festival on the Sunday from 10am including the 2008 Hall of Fame announcement.
All activities take place at the Kedron Wavell Services Club in the Brisbane suburb of Chermside.
Weblink – www.brissteelguitar.com.
The 14th annual Redlands Bluegrass Convention will be held from July 11 to 13 at Redland Bay in south east Queensland.
The festival is well known throughout Australian folk and bluegrass circles for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, catering for beginners through to professional musicians. Each year, it's attended by highly respected bluegrass musicians from Australia and overseas.
The line-up for 2008, which has just been announced, features some of the best bluegrass acts from all over Australia, organisers say.
"From the Blue Mountains in NSW, we're excited to welcome singer/songwriter Karen Lynne (pictured) who was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame during the 2008 Tamworth Country Music Festival. Her latest bluegrass album Changes has been hailed a 'truly international album in the class of Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent'. The first three singles from the album reached the top five. Karen will be joined by husband Martin Louis who was awarded Banjo Player of the Year at Tamworth this year.
"Australian bluegrass legend Trev Warner from Adelaide will front Bluegrass Junction. Trev is regarded as a pioneer of bluegrass in Australia and, together with Bluegrass Junction, always delights audiences with renditions of traditional bluegrass favourites sung in three-part harmony. The band of gifted instrumentalists includes John Bridgland on mandolin, Geoff Bridgland on banjo and Nick Crawthorne on guitar.
"Of course no Redlands concert would be complete without an appearance by Australia's premier bluegrass act, the Davidson Brothers from Victoria. Brothers Lachlan and Hamish always put on a superb show for audiences with their brilliant instrumentals, strong songwriting skills and vocal harmonies."
The Convention's Friday and Saturday night concerts showcase the talent that attends the weekend. Other local favourites appearing include the Bluegrass Kittens, Bushfire, The Pirates Brides, Redlands Bluegrass Boys and Willow. The rest of the weekend is full of workshops, jam sessions, sing-a-longs and the more casual walk-up concerts.
The Convention is held at the Kindilan Outdoor Education Centre at Redland Bay. All accommodation, meals, workshops and concerts are on-site. Workshops cater for all skill levels and are taught by professionals. Workshops covered this year include banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, double bass, dobro and harmony singing. Ticket prices range from $90 for a full weekend pass to $25 for the Friday night concert only (accommodation extra).
Further information, including tickets and accommodation enquiries can be obtained from the website www.redlandscountry.asn.au/bg.htm or by telephone on 07 3206 9226.
Applications open this week for the Australian College of Country Music course run by the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA).
The training initiative has been in operation since 1997 focussing on singers and/or musicians aged 18 to 35 who are "ready to take the next big step in their careers".
Over the years, more than 250 students have graduated from the College.
Graduates from the 2009 course will showcase their skills at the Graduation Concert on Friday night January 16 at the West Tamworth League Club.
The CMAA says applications will be available to download from this Wednesday (May 14) and close on Friday August 29.
Weblink – www.country.com.au.
Award-winning artists Travis Collins and Felicity Urquhart have joined forces for two Sydney shows this month.
The first is on Friday May 16 at the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club, the second at Riverstone RSL Club on Saturday, May 17.
Felicity has only recently returned from a songwriting sojourn in the United States, while Travis is heading to the United Kingdom in July for a tour. Both will be performing their hits, as well as some new material.
Two-time Golden Guitar winner Felicity has had a busy year, releasing through Shock Records her debut DVD titled The Video Collection which "revisits the finest video clips from Felicity’s career so far, from the early days of Sugar Town and Country Girl, right through to her Golden Guitar award winning video Big Black Cloud," a spokesman for the artist said.
The past 18 months saw Felicity perform for troops in the Solomon Islands, a two month tour of WA, working as a travel presenter on the Channel 7/Prime Network's "Sydney Weekender" and "even" performing for American President George W Bush during his visit to Sydney.
"Felicity’s travels have inspired her while working on her new album. She is heading into the studio mid 2008 with US-producer Brad Jones to record her sixth album, and so these will be her last shows before jetting off."
Travis originally was a graduate of the prestigious Talent Development Program through NSW Public Schools which has helped launch the careers of artists such as Human Nature, Paulini and Hi 5’s Nathan Foley as well as Felicity Urquhart.
After being crowned Toyota Star Maker in 2004, He hasn’t looked back, following in the footsteps of stars like James Blundell and Keith Urban. "His debut album Start The Car had two number one hits on the Country Music Channel. His latest album, No Boundaries, is his second album for ABC Music and the first single, Yeah She Does (co-written by Keith Urban) again proved a hit by the new generation of young country fans."
Matt Frost has released the second single from his All That I Am album... Second Home Town.
Second Home Town is the first track on the album and is a song Matt says is very close to his heart. "This original song (penned by Matt) is a tribute to the small country town of Gilgandra where I spent a lot of time when I was growing up."
Matt’s mother Margaret was a Collison before she married and her ancestors settled in Gilgandra in the early 1800s. All through his childhood, Matt says his school holidays were spent in "Gil" and there are still family members living there today.
With a rich heritage, which includes the historic Cooee March, Gilgandra – the windmill town – is perched on the banks of the Castlereagh River which flooded in 1955 causing incredible, widespread damage to homes and businesses. Gilgandra is a town Matt says he knows and loves and he "shares his feelings for the town, its history and its people with this song".
Weblink – www.mattfrost.com.au.
FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2008
Pat Drummond and Karen Lynne have released a new album – The Long Journey Home.
"This album is a celebration of the eight and a half years (we) have spent on the road before the birth of Marty and Karen's little boy, William," said Pat.
It contains nine new songs and seven new duet re-recordings of the songs from Pat's previous albums which became favourites at Pat and Karen Gigs. "All of which makes for an extremely generous 72 mins of wonderful acoustic music reflecting (our) journeys and adventures (through) those wonderful years.
"With Lindsay Martin on fiddle and mandolin, Martin Louis on banjo, Dave De Santi on squeezebox and Rob Frencham on bass, the album was always going to be very special and very intimate," Pat said.
The album was produced by Karen and Rob Spenogna at Mainstreet Studios, Wollongong.
Country star Gina Jeffreys will make a special appearance in Country Music Capital on Saturday, May 17, to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).
Gina will be performing with the Australian Girls Choir at the Qantaslink Pink Link cocktail function being held in Tamworth by the airline and the Foundation.
A limited number of tickets are also available for a charity flight on the Qantaslink Pink Q400 with Gina as special guest.
In support of the NBCF, QantasLink has painted one of its Q400 aircraft NBCF’s signature pink and is putting NBCF's Pink Ribbon logo on all aircraft in their fleet. These aircraft operate services across QantasLink’s extensive network and help "fly" the message to regional Australians regarding the need for prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Attendees at the Tamworth event, one of many to be held in regional centres serviced by the airline, "celebrate the NBCF/QantasLink diamond partnership and... hear about the ground breaking research that is being funded," according to a Pink Link spokesman.
Guests will be treated to a pink champagne reception followed by cocktail food, auctions, raffles and lots more.
The flight will depart at 2pm (check in 1:15pm). Tickets are $50 per person with all funds being donated directly to the NBCF.
Weblink – www.pinklink.org.au.
I'm Doin' Alright, the latest hit from Adam Harvey (pictured), retains its hold on the number one position on the coming week's Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart for the fourth week in succession.
Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue and Kenny Chesney & George Strait's Shiftwork are steady at two and three respectively while Markus Meier's The Beating Heart jumps three places to number four.
Alan Jackson's Small Town Southern Man is at five, Tom Curtain's Heatwave jumps two more places to six while Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow is at seven.
Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' is also up two to eight, Sara Storer's Long Live The Girls enters the top 10 at nine and America's Brad Paisley is at 10 with I'm Still A Guy.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (16 to 13), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones (23 to 19), Shea Fisher's Everyday Girl (25 to 22), Carter & Carter's Slow Dancing At Midnight (28 to 23) and Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night (29 to 26).
New entries to the chart for the coming week are Amber Lawrence's Good Girls (in at 29) and Adam Brand's Comin' From / Khe Sanh (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
American country music pioneer Eddy Arnold died early yesterday morning (May 8) at an assisted living facility near Nashville at age 89.
One of the Nashville area's wealthiest residents, Eddy reportedly leaves an estate estimated to be in excess of $40 million. Before Garth Brooks came along, he was easily country music's biggest record-seller with sales of his discs from the mid-1940s to the present, in every recorded medium from 78s to CDs, topping 80 million.
Along the way, Eddy became a key figure in "urbanising" country music – smoothing it out, opening it to influences from the wider world of pop music. The list of those he influenced is headed by Marty Robbins and Jim Reeves.
Richard Edward Arnold was born in the West Tennessee community of Henderson in Chester County (he titled his 1969 autobiography "It's a Long Way From Chester County") on May 15, 1918. He learned to play just enough guitar on a mail order Sears Roebuck model to accompany his pleasing and expressive singing voice at area social events.
Every little bit of income helped his widowed mother, as the Arnolds lost their family farm to foreclosure and became sharecroppers after his father's death in 1929. By the time Eddy turned 17, he was singing part time on radio and at venues in and around Jackson, Tennessee, where he worked for an area funeral parlour.
Leaving his home country for larger entertainment markets, Eddy moved on to radio work in Memphis and St Louis, where, like many other rural entertainers of his day, he mixed singing with comedy. His big break came in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1940 when he was hired by future Country Music Hall of Fame member Pee Wee King to play guitar and sing in King's Golden West Cowboys, a band that had previously starred on the Grand Ole Opry and been featured in at least one Gene Autry film.
Eddy's career record sales reached 60 million by 1970, then 80 million by 1985. He won the Academy of Country Music's Pioneer Award in 1985 and, after an all-but-continuous association of more than five decades with RCA, moved over to Curb Records in the late 1990s.
He performed his last concert at the Hotel Orleans in Las Vegas on May 16, 1999 (the day after his 81st birthday), though he continued to do some recording and maintained his Brentwood business office for some years thereafter. He returned to RCA in 2005 to record his 100th album, After All This Time.
Besides the aforementioned and rather sketchy 1969 autobiography, there are two published Arnold biographies, both from 1997 – Don Cusic's "Eddy Arnold: I'll Hold You in My Heart" (Rutledge Hill Press) and Michael Streissguth's "Eddy Arnold: Pioneer of the Nashville Sound" (Schirmer Books-Prentice Hall).
Eddy is survived by a son, Richard Edward "Dickie" Arnold Jr of Nashville, a daughter, Jo Ann Pollard of Brentwood, Tennessee, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
American country singer Jerry Wallace died on Monday (May 5) from congestive heart failure at age 79.
Jerry enjoyed success in the late '50s and early '60s with a string of pop hits including In The Misty Moonlight before signing to Mercury Records in 1965, moving to a stronger country sound and charting 35 country singles in the USA.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2008
Winners in the Northern Territory Country Songwriting Awards and Country Songwriting Competition were announced during the Katherine Country Music Muster at the weekend.
In the Songwriting Awards, Ray Rose won the Bush Ballad award with Our Women Pioneers, Clelia Adams (pictured) took out the Contemporary Song award with Wildflowers and Rita Schneider & Kath Fleming were presented with the award for Comedy/Novelty with The Boobs Song.
In the Songwriting Competition, Lola Brinton won in the Professional Section with Temporary Loan, Lindy Lou took out the Amateur Section with Katherine Through The Ages and Lindy Lou & Zac Finden won in the Lyrics Only section with The Fire At Granite Creek.
Clelia's Wildflowers was also named Song of the Year.
Talented singer/songwriter Amanda Halloran is certain her career has received just the boost it needed after taking out the Voice of Urban Country title at the QUT Urban Country Music Festival on the weekend.
The 25-year-old from Stanthorpe was named winner at the competition’s final on Sunday night at Club Caboolture.
Amanda, who grew up in Toorbul, said winning the competition meant the world to her.
"It’s a dream come true for me," she said. "I’ve entered the competition every year for the past five years and each year I’ve done a little bit better. This year, I decided to sing songs that I love rather than trying to find the perfect song for the competition. The crowd seemed to really enjoy it."
For placing first in this year’s semi-professional competition, Amanda took home about $10,000 worth of prizes including recording time, a referral to a major management company, Ellaways Music Gift Voucher, advertising and marketing package, cash and four performance bookings.
Amanda, a graduate of the Australian College of Country Music, said the competition was a fantastic launching pad for her burgeoning musical career.
"I’m going to use the money to make a film clip for my single I Should Have Known and I’m really excited about the referral to a management company because that’s something I’ve wanted for a while now," she said. "Hopefully, I’ll also get to finish recording my first album too."
Second place went to Sydney band Little Cowboys, third to local talent Jesse Davis of Wamuran.
Caboolture’s QUT Urban Country Music Festival has been described as a huge success attracting an estimated 35,000 day visitors throughout the May long weekend.
The record number of festivalgoers enjoyed an action-packed festival that boasted 500 artists across 11 different stages, organisers said.
Thousands of visitors from across Australia made the pilgrimage to Caboolture for what has become one of the hottest events on the country music calendar.
The festival kicked off with a free Burbs ‘n Bush Party in the Caboolture Town Square on Friday night that attracted a record 3,500 people. The town square was bustling with both visitors and locals making the most of the festivities in the heart of the central business district.
"Energetic performances by Jonah’s Road, Sinead Burgess, Markus Meier and Casey Watt, set the scene for four days of non-stop entertainment," organisers said. "Rides and activities for the children, market stalls and a spectacular fireworks display all made for a fun-filled party.
Photo: a recent Urban Country stage and crowd pic.
"Saturday’s entertainment kicked off early with the Beaut Ute Competition at Centenary Lakes. About 100 vehicles lined up, all vying for a winning title. Three local ute enthusiasts took out categories – Damon Hair of Sandstone Point for Best Urban Ute, Grant Shuttleworth of Bellmere for Best B&S Ute and Michael Lawler of Caboolture for Best Tradesman Ute.
"Adding to the fun of the Beaut Ute Show was the Best Butts competition with more than 120 people strutting their stuff for the ultimate 'Best Butt' title."
The day’s free concerts and activities in the town square had something for everyone, from the Bush Poets Corner and Songwriters Cafe to the Grass Roots and Gospel performances.
"Saturday night’s Main Concert was the festival’s premiere event with about 5,000 people making their way to the Caboolture Showgrounds to enjoy the extraordinary talents of Lee Kerngahan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, The McClymonts, Travis Collins and Kirsty Lee Akers.
"The Voice of Urban Country Talent Search on Sunday unearthed an amazing depth of talent while the town centre was filled with country music and a festive atmosphere."
Sunday night’s Urban Blaze Concert attracted its biggest crowd ever of 4,000 partygoers. "Jetty Road, Rob Black, Tom Curtain and Talia Wittmann played to an appreciative crowd who relaxed by crackling campfires and enjoyed a sensational fireworks display."
A local team with the inventive name "No Idea" took out the Weyerhauser Tuff As Nails competition winning a trophy and a $100 voucher from Black & White Cabs.
"The weekend’s beautiful weather continued for Monday’s Urban Country Farewell Concert in the town square which featured the talented Nicki Gillis.
"Word has spread about the growing success of the QUT Urban Country Music Festival with visitors travelling from all over Australia to take part in this year’s celebrations. Among our distinguished guests was Mayor of Mildura (and co-ordinator of the annual Mildura Country Music Festival) John Arnold."
Weblink – www.urbancountry.com.au.
Long Distance Love Affair, the second single from the Davidson Brothers self-titled album, hits radio this week.
The song was written by Hamish and Lachie about trying to hold a relationship on while travelling on the road, this being such a large country and "wondering when you're going to see them again". They say the song will relate to many Australians who would have experienced a "long distance love affair" when working away from home.
Meanwhile, the boys a working on a video clip to accompany the new single. "The clip for I Miss The Sound Of Rain reached number seven on CM (Country Music Channel) in April and spent 10 weeks in the top 30." It was directed by Duncan Toombs. The song is still being played all around Australian radio.
In July, the Davidson Brothers will release I Miss The Sound Of Rain as their first ever single in the USA. It will be sent out to more than a thousand bluegrass stations. The boys are already receiving good airplay in the States and booking another US tour for September next year.
This weekend, the Davidson Brothers Band will be performing in Melbourne, Carrum and St Arnaud in Victoria (see on tour for details).
In 2008, Lachlan is the reigning Australian Bluegrass Mandolin Champion and the Davidson Brothers were named Band Of The Year in the Golden Fiddle Awards as well as being awarded Best Composition for Tipsy Gypsy.
The boys 2006 album Raised On The Road is being re-released through Shock in the next month and both albums are availble to download on iTunes.
Weblink – www.davidsonbrothersband.com.
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson are at number one for the second week on this week's CMC Top 50 playlist with the first single and video and title track from their duo album Rattlin' Bones.
Catherine Britt's What I Did Last Night jumps two places to be in the number two spot while Travis Collins' Rip It Up rises to number three.
The McClymonts' Finally Over Blue rises to fifth position while Adam Brand's Comin' From/Khe Sanh enters the playlist at number 10.
Bullet performers this week include Kirsty Lee Akers' The Territory (18 to 15), Mark O'Shea'sLook At You Now (38 to 35), Billy Bridge's Everything I Needed To Say (42 to 39), Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time (44 to 40) and Matt Frost's Get A Little Love (50 to 48).
This week's CMC Country Pick is Good Girls by Amber Lawrence (pictured). Director Glen Wilson exposes Amber’s "naughty and nice" sides in the video of the third single from her album The Mile.
The full playlist can be viewed at www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.
TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2008
Artists have been confirmed for the Tent Hill Turnout, an annual event held in May each year to celebrate and remember the music of legendary songwriter Stan Coster.
This year's Turnout will be held at the Ma Ma Creek Hall (via Gatton) in Queensland on Saturday, May 31.
The line-up will be headlined by Norma O'Hara Murphy, Slim Newton and Dean Perrett, together with Stan's daughter Tracy Coster.
Norma, a five times Golden Guitar winner, ARIA Awards finalist and Songmaker winner who is considered one of Australia’s finest songwriters, says she is delighted to be able to perform at the Turnout to pay tribute to Stan who Norma credits as being a huge influence and inspiration to her taking up the pen.
Slim Newton is a man steeped in the tradition of authentic Australian country music. His first record, Redback On The Toilet Seat, made history and earned Slim three gold records.
Dean Perrett will be making his fourth appearance at the Turnout this year. He is considered one of Australia's finest bush balladeers.
Tracy became a professional entertainer at 13 years of age and began touring Australia as part of her Dad’s country music show. Twenty odd years of travelling later she is still singing, writing songs and recording.
Local artists performing at the Turnout this year will be Alec Beckett, John Coleville, Dusty Fraser, Les Lawson and Sharon Smith. Tickets for the event are available at the Ma Ma Creek Store and/or by telephoning Nola on 07 4697 3570.
Photos (clockwise from top left): Norma O'Hara Murphy, Tracy Coster, Dean Perrett and Slim Newton.
From his home town Albury, NSW, to Broome, Tennant Creek, Sydney and everywhere in between, Korey Livy has announced he will be flying around Australia in a single engine aeroplane hand built by his local parish Catholic priest, "fuelled on the smell of an oily rag for the Fly-Away-To-Heaven initiative.
Enterprising Korey is no stranger to "big ideas" ... his appearance as an "Australian Idol" contestant in 2006 being only one of many. However, this time round, Korey says he will be "flying on charitable spirit and generosity with a team of passionate fundraisers, heaven bent on making a difference and raising a million dollars for East Timorese projects in dire need of financial support."
The Fly-Away-to-Heaven initiative was founded by Father John Fowles, parish priest at Thurgoona, NSW, who recognised Korey's energy and passion for "lending a hand". Initially, Korey was invited to lend support to fellow songwriter Vanessa Selwyn. With the help of veteran songwriter and producer Roger Corbett, the three were inspired to write a song titled Earth Angels Care.
Until June 2, Korey and the Fly-Away-To-Heaven crew will touchdown in more than 33 towns and cities all around Australia – performing Earth Angels Care and songs from Korey’s new country album That’s The Way We Do It Round Here.
Pinnacle of the trip will be a performance at World Youth Day in Sydney to an expected crowd of 200,000 people. Details on when Korey and the Fly-Away-To Heaven crew will be "on the tarmac in your town" can be obtained at www.flyawaytoheaven.com.au or www.koreylivy.com.au.
Photo: Korey with Father Fowles and his hand-built plane.
Country rock band Craig Morrison Little Cowboys have released their debut single, Losin' It.
The band stormed on to the scene six months ago, gathering numerous "battle of the bands" awards, critical acclaim for
Losin' It was released to radio yesterday.
Weblink – www.craigmorrison.com.au.
Kell Stoner grew up in a "motorbike mad" family and so it was only natural that she raced bikes too – earning her one and only title, Queensland Motorcross Champion in the under 9s.
While her little brother Casey has ridden on to win a world championship and international recognition, Kell went on to become interested in a slower and more melodic pursuit – music. After carefully honing her songwriting craft over the years, she is now releasing her debut recording which is now available in stores across Australia through Vitamin Records.
The EP has been recorded and produced by country and roots stalwarts Bill Chambers and Jeff McCormack and is described as bringing together Kell’s love of blues, alt. country and soul laden lyrics and melodies… "polished, but still raw enough to have feeling and guts".
To celebrate the launch of her recording debut, Kell and her "little band of misfits" will be touring up and down the East Coast of Australia throughout May, June and July (click here for details).
When considering producers for her debut, Kell’s first choice was Bill Chambers. She approached him at a gig and handed over her demo. Bill rang the very next morning.
"Kell’s influenced by the world’s great singer/songwriters," he said of her music. "But she still sounds uniquely like herself. Very cool music indeed."
Two of Kell's original songs from the EP have just featured on the nationally televised "Australian of the Year Awards" and the follow-up documentary where her little brother Casey picked up young Australian of the Year.
Weblink – www.kellstoner.com.
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2008
A record number of people gathered at the Charters Towers Showgrounds at the weekend for the annual Charters Towers Country Music Festival.
The 2008 Festival saw more than 500 entrants in the largest Australian country music amateur talent quest. Competition was described as outstanding with many new faces entering the competition this year. Entrants travelled from as far as the Northern Territory and Victoria to take part.
Paul Carney, President of Charters Towers Country Music Festival, said: "I would like to personally congratulate the winners and thank the local community of Charters Towers for their tireless efforts in making the annual Charters Towers Country Music Festival possible."
Mitchell Steele took out the Male Vocal Solo title while Krystal Donnelly won Female Vocal Solo and Kylee Champion the Amateur Vocal Solo section.
Peta-Maree Duffin won Country Gospel Solo, Roadside Gang took out the Country Gospel Duo/Group award and Colleen Sheppard the Australian Bush Ballad section.
Roadside Gang were named winners of the Group Versatility section, Doris Kelly the Golden Oldies Award and Peta-Maree Duffin Country Rock Solo.
Roadside Gang also won the Country Rock Duo Group award while Jude Rodrigues took out the Songwriting section and Donna-Maree Allard was presented with the Barry Thornton Open Spirit of the Festival Award.
In junior sections, Melanie Taylor won Junior Vocal Solo, Katelyn O’Donoghue Juvenile Vocal Solo, Kiara Rodrigues Junior Gospel Vocal Solo and Shawnee Tweedie Juvenile Gospel Vocal Solo.
Bree DeRome won Junior Australian Bush Ballad Solo, Romany Elmas Juvenile Australian Bush Ballad Solo, Kiara Rodrigues Junior Country Rock Solo/Duo and Shawnee Tweedie Juvenile Country Rock Solo/Duo.
The World of Winners Junior Encouragement Award went to Shannae Sclippa, the Juvenile Encouragement Award to Caitlyn Smith, the Barry Thornton Junior Spirit of the Festival Award to Katelyn, Kasey & Liam O’Donoghue and the Jim Harney Juvenile Spirit of the Festival Award went to Sammy White.
Kiara Rodrigues was named winner of the Commonwealth Bank sponsored Junior Overall Winner award and the Stan Pollard Perpetual Memorial Trophy (sponsored by Meg & Graham Ogilvie, Charters Towers).
Miah Jarrett was named winner of the JJ's Music sponsored Juvenile Overall Winner award while Katelyn O’Donoghue won the Juvenile Princess title, Monique Champion the Junior Princess crown and Bethany Skase the Charity Princess title.
Click here for a full listing of results from the Festival.
Organisers, meanwhile, announced last night during the Festival's grand final presentation that the event would now be known as the Queensland Country Music Awards.
Festival President Paul Carney said: "We are about to embark on a new era with the Festival and from 2009, it will be known as the Queensland Country Music Awards hosted by the Charters Towers Country Music Festival."
"(We have) held this name for approximately 20 years," he said, "and have sole rights to this name. We feel it’s now time to take the Festival to a new level with the promotion of the Queensland Country Music Awards.
"For 31 years, the Charters Towers Country Music Festival has brought the community (and greater rural area) together to host this significant musical event. It has grown to become of the region's signature events and one of the major events on the North Queensland calendar.
"This has been an excellent year with record crowds and entrants, with entrants coming from around Australia. We are excited to build on the already successful event with bigger guest artists and programmed events in future years. We look forward to launching a new brand and an even bigger and better Queensland Country Music Awards in Charters Towers in 2009!"
Weblink – www.charterstowerscountrymusic.com.
The Broome based Pigram Brothers will support Elton John on his Perth concert during his brief tour of Australia this year.
The Perth concert is scheduled for May 10.
Aussie soul sensation Eran James (who supported Elton by special request last year), will support the superstar’s stage for all three concerts (Sydney on May 12,Darwin on May 17.
Blind aboriginal multi-instrumentalist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, who will perform songs from his Gumatj country, one of the First Nations of North East Arnhem Land, and mostly in his Yolngu tongue, will also appear on the Darwin show.
The day of balladeers entertainment at the upcoming Cessnock City (NSW) Country Music Festival has had a change of venue and will now also be held at the East Cessnock Bowling Club.
Greg Bain (pictured), Melissa Bajric, Charley Boyter and his band, Laura Downing, Bob Easter, Rick Hopkins and Amos Morris will feature on a packed program on Sunday May 25 from 10.30am to 5.00pm.
The full Festival will run over three days... Friday May 23 to Sunday the 25th at the East Cessnock Bowling Club.
Stars of the event include Kirsty Lee Akers, Donna Boyd, Kellie Cain, Carter & Carter, the Feral Swing Katz, Sharnee Fenwick, Makaylie Foodey, Nikki Gillis, Amber Lawrence, Victoria McGee, Bruce McCumstie, Bob Pigott, Alby Pool, Melody Pool, Grant Richardson and Tamara Stewart, Felicity Urquhart, Lisa White and Rob Wilson.
Further information can be obtained from co-ordinator Rhonda Astill on 02 4990 6861, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2008
Hot on the heels of the inaugural Song Summit Sydney music expo, APRA (the Australasian Performing Right Association) has announced the APRA Music Awards will be held in Sydney on Monday, June 16, "celebrating the achievements of Australian composers and publishers".
APRA CEO Brett Cottle said: "Maintaining the momentum established by Song Summit Sydney, it is with great excitement that we now turn to the 2008 Music Awards in our on-going efforts to support Australian songwriters. The... Awards ceremony is a unique event that recognises the achievements of our outstanding songwriter, composer and publisher members; an annual opportunity to celebrate the songs that define and inspire us all."
With the prestigious, peer voted Song of the Year award the centerpiece of the event, the 2008 APRA Music Awards will pay tribute to the songwriters who have achieved the highest performances of their work and excellence in their craft over the previous year.
The nominees in all categories will be announced at an industry event in Sydney on Wednesday May 21.
Nominations and winners in each category are chosen either by the voting members of APRA (in excess of 30,000 eligible voters), members of the APRA Board or APRA based statistical analysis.
The celebrated Song of the Year award – the largest peer voted music award in Australia – is voted by APRA members. All songs written by an APRA member and released in the preceding calendar year are eligible for consideration.
The APRA Board of Writer and Publisher Directors decide the celebrated Songwriter of the Year award, the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Services to Australian Music and the Breakthrough Songwriter Award which recognises emerging songwriter talent.
Weblink – www.apra.com.au/awards.
Australian independent country music newcomer Michelle Little will represent the genre this month at Darling Harbour’s Buddha's Birthday Multicultural Festival in Sydney.
Michelle (pictured) is one of 10 artists from many different genres who have been invited to share their own style of music in "the multicultural melting pot".
A country girl from Mendooran (NSW), Michelle is now based in the heart of Sydney’s ethnic belt, inner western Sydney, and says country music has a place in a multicultural city like Sydney.
She says she is delighted to have the chance to display the diversity and scope of contemporary Australian country music: "It’s not all cowboy boots and hats, we are a pretty big mix within ourselves. We start out in the bush from all over Australia and move to where we can best make a life for ourselves – a lot like most of multicultural Australia."
Michelle is promoting her debut album Hear Me Now, with her first single to radio titled Free To Be Me, "a song about truth and acceptance," she said.
As well as performing at the Budda’s Birthday Multicultural Festival on May 10, Michelle will also appear at this year’s Toyota National Muster at Gympie.
The 2008 Gympie Stampede will be held through the weekend of June 13 to 15 raising money for the Energex Sunshine Coast Rescue Helicopter Service.
Billed as a weekend of traditional country music, the Stampede will feature "a great line-up" of artists including Owen Blundell, Lisa Bye, Margaret Bye, Laura Downing, Craig Giles, Michael King, Ian B Macleod, Ray Mackay, Noel Parlane, Reg Poole and steel guitarist Sandy Atkinson.
Special guest artist will be The Webb Brothers (pictured).
The Stampede will be held at the Gympie Showground with a full weekend ticket priced at $40 including a Friday night dance, music from 9.30am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am till 9pm.
Organisers have advised that the Stampede will not include any walk-ups this year.
Tickets can be purchased by sending a cheque or money order to Gympie Stampede at PO Box 2556, Nambour West, 4560, with a stamped and self addressed envelope.
Further information can be obtained from Joy or Baz on 0414 87 3178.
Adam Harvey's latest hit I'm Doin' Alright reigns supreme this week for the third week in a row at the top of the Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.
Dianna Corcoran's All Gone Blue edges up one place to number two, Kenny Chesney & George Strait are at three with Shiftwork while Drew McAlister's Somewhere Somehow is steady again at four.
The Flood's Can't Work No Longer is at five while Nicki Gillis' Honey, I Don't Have Time is also steady again at six as is Markus Meier's The Beating Heart at seven.
Tom Curtain's Heatwave jumps two places to number eight, Alan Jackson is at nine with Small Town Southern Man and Peter Denahy's Sort Of Dunno Nothin' is at 10.
Bullet performers for the coming week include Tracy Killeen's All Kinds Of Beautiful (19 to 16), Jetty Road's City Lights (22 to 18), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Rattlin' Bones (27 to 23), Shea Fisher's Everyday Girl (29 to 25) and The Noll Brothers' A Country Heart (30 to 27).
New entries to the chart for the coming week are Slow Dancing At Midnight by Carter & Carter, pictured (in at 28), What I Did Last Night by Catherine Britt (at 29) and Lessons (I'll Survive) by Tamara Stewart (at 30).
The full chart can be viewed at www.nfspublicity.com.au.
THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2008
In the Country categories, Bosco Bosanac, Troy Cassar-Daley, Travis Collins, Adam Harvey and Wayne Horsburgh are nominees for the Country Male Vocal Performer award.
Donna Boyd, Kel-Anne Brandt, Beccy Cole, Allison Durbin and Melinda Schneider are nominees for Country Female Vocal Performer.
And Buckshot, The Flood, Hillbilly Heaven, The McClymonts and the Wolverines are nominees for the Country Group award.
All three country categories are named in honour of the late Slim Dusty.
Country or country-aligned acts in other categories include Aubrey & Martin (nominated for the Variety Duo or Trio award), Bosco & Jaqui Bosanac (Tribute Show award for their tribute show "Cash On Delivery"), Darren Carr (Australian Performer of the Year, Versatile Performer, Comedy Performer and Speciality Performer categories), Cate (Three Man or More Performer Band award and Variety Duo or Trio), "From Tamworth To Tennessee" Production Show award), Bob Howe (Instrumental or Vocal Instrumental Performer award), Mary Schneider (Versatile Performer and Instrumental or Vocal Instrumental Performer categories) and Roland Storm (Instrumental or Vocal Instrumental Performer award).
Bill Cate, Frankie Davidson, Mary Schneider, Lucky Starr and Judy Stone are among nominees for the "MO" Hall of Fame award.
The 32nd "MO" Awards will be staged at Bankstown Sports Club in Sydney on Tuesday, June 17.
Photo (from left): "MO" Awards nominee Hillbilly Heaven – Allan Tomkins, Nicki Gillis, Terry Phillpot, Bob Howe, Tomi Graso and Doug Boyd.
Sydney's Canterbury Country will celebrate its eighth birthday next Thursday (May 8) with a star-studded show.
Special guests for the evening will be The Harmonators, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French (pictured) and Peter Pratt who will perform from 8pm in the Starlight Auditorium of Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club.
The artists will be backed, as usual, by the Hillbilly Heaven Band and regular co-host Nicki Gillis will again feature.
"For eight years fans have flocked to the free shows on the second Thursday of each month," said event producer/host Bob Howe, "making the venue a regular destination for fans and artists alike."
The 2008 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame event will be staged in Melbourne on Tuesday July 1 with the first of six inductees to be announced on May 18.
ARIA Chairman and President and Chief Executive of Warner Music Australasia Ed St John said: "2008 marks the 50th anniversary of Johnny O'Keefe's The Wild One – the ground zero of Australian rock and roll. So in our 50th anniversary year, it's so exciting to be again celebrating... the many incredible artists who have made it so special.
"The ARIA Hall of Fame has become the most memorable night in the Australian music calendar – a time to remember our fallen heroes and celebrate careers that have lasted longer than one or two albums. We're talking about whole lives devoted to music – and it's an honour just to be a part of it."
Five artists and one industry figure will be inducted this year.
A limited number of general admission tickets for the event, now in its fourth year, will go on sale at 9.00am on Monday May 12 through Ticketek (www.ticketek.com.au or Phone 132 489).
A new dedicated website for the ARIA Hall of Fame will be launched early this month at www.ariahalloffame.com.au.
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