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JW signs to Warner

John Williamson has signed to the Warner Music Australia record label.

The signing will see Warner release John's latest album, his 48th to date, The Big Red on Friday January 27, the day of his major concert in Tamworth's historic Town Hall during the 40th Country Music Festival.

Warner Music Australia's Managing Director Tony Harlow said he was very pleased to announce the signing.

"John Williamson is a great person, a great artist and a great Australian. And he has a great new record, chock full of new stories and beautifully sung. The team behind him are full of ideas and not ready to rest on his (already considerable) laurels.

"What more could you ask for in renewing an old friendship, and bringing a legendary artist to a new home busting to work with him?"

With iconic Australian songs such as True Blue, Cootamundra Wattle, Salisbury Street, Galleries Of Pink Galahs, Raining On The Rock and Rip Rip Woodchip to his name, John is known as the prolific singer/songwriter and one of Australia's greatest musicians... a legend within the industry.

An ARIA Hall Of Fame member, John has sold more than four million albums in Australia alone, won three ARIA awards, four APRA awards, as well as a staggering 24 Golden Guitar awards in his career to date.

Speaking of his new partnership with Warner, John said: "The Big Red is my first all original release in almost four years and I'm pleased that songs from the new album have pushed out other material from my show. For instance, Prairie Hotel Parachilna is the kind of song I know Aussies want to hear. It's great to join with Warner Music who share the same passion for the material and I'm looking forward to what we can achieve together."

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Taylor to tour "down under"

Country superstar Taylor Swift will include Australia and New Zealand as part of her "Speak Now World Tour" next year.

The four-time Grammy winner has awed critics and fans around the globe this year with the Broadway-inspired extravaganza and last week, she announced that the CD/DVD and standalone DVD of the show would be available from Friday (November 25), just days after her US tour wrapped up with the second of two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden.

This year, Taylor's tour will have played to capacity crowds in stadiums and arenas... around 100 shows in 17 countries spanning three continents. The tour will extend into 2012 and include shows in Australia and New Zealand.

The "Speak Now World Tour - Live" DVD will give fans the complete Taylor Swift concert experience, showcasing performances of all 17 songs from show which features elaborate costumes, dancers, aerialists, changing sets and innovative choreography and instrumentation showcased on a multi-level stage.

Taylor plays five different guitars in the show, including electric, acoustic, and 12-string. She also plays two banjos, the ukulele and the piano, and changes costumes nine times over the course of the evening. She moves around the venue and uses different stages to give every audience member "a great seat".

With sales of more than five million copies worldwide, Taylor's Speak Now album is the number one selling album in all genres of music over the past 12 months, and the disc has thus far spawned three consecutive number one singles. Taylor's worldwide record sales exceed 20 million albums and 40 million song downloads.

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Third Meet n Greet Awards to be staged

Organisers are expecting record attendance at the third Meet n Greet Country Awards being staged during the 40th Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

The Awards were "born out of a need to acknowledge the tremendous contribution independent country music artists and media make to the Australian country music industry and their fans.

Monday January 23 is the day, The Family Hotel in West Tamworth is the venue. Doors open at 10am and the presentation of all awards will take place between 11am and 12noon, "so that we can allow time for fans and artists to mingle at the meet and greet before the next function," said Donna Lowe, Team Leader and Organiser.

Live performances by nominees will take place during the presentations.

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Slim Dusty Centre key handed over

The ceremonial, handcrafted Nulla Nulla red cedar key of the newly completed Slim Dusty Centre building at Kempsey has been handed over to Slim's wife and Chairperson of the Slim Dusty Foundation Joy McKean.

Friday November 28 was the day, hailed as as another major step closer to the highly anticipated opening of the Centre.

Federal Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development & Local Government & The Arts Simon Crean (pictured at right with Joy and Anne Kirkpatrick) made a special trip to Slim's hometown to officiate at the handover.

In lieu of the cutting of a ribbon to celebrate the handover, Minister Crean happily "strummed the first chord" of the red cedar Maton that was modelled on Slim's own guitar and recently played on tour by fellow Australian Keith Urban.

Ensuring the look was complete, Akubra's Roy Wilkinson presented the Minister with a "Cattleman Sand hat, another of Kempsey's icons.

Completion of the Slim Dusty Centre building was largely funded under the Australian Government's Better Regions Program.

The Centre will house Slim and Joy's vast collection of memorabilia from their 50 years of touring around Australia. It will also be the major facility for the region in hosting community events and major touring exhibitions.

As the only major all-weather facility of its type in the region, the Centre has long been anticipated as an opportunity to generate a major economic boost to the Mid North Coast tourism industry.

Slim's strong affinity with the indigenous people of Australia was reflected in the opening ceremony with Colleen Campbell of the Dunghutti People, the traditional custodians of the land, greeting dignitaries with a traditional Welcome to Country.

The occasion was not only an acknowledgement of the Foundation's achievements but also a tribute to what can be achieved when a regional community has a common goal.

One of the guests on the day Councillor Liz Campbell, the new Mayor of Kempsey Shire, said: "The completion of the building of the Slim Dusty Centre is significantly important to the whole of the Kempsey Shire, and also to the Mid North Coast region as a unique Australian Cultural Centre.

"To the Foundation Board and the Foundation CEO Kathryn Yarnold, the passion and belief that has gone into this project is remarkable."

Independent Member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott, Country Music Association of Australia President Joan Douglas, Phil Lahey from Lahey Constructions, Project Director John Kent, Joel de Carle from Schreiber Hamilton Architects, Jason Becker of Tyrrells Wines, John Sheppard from Golden Chain Australia and other Foundation donors and supporters attended the handover.

The Slim Dusty Foundation team is now working toward the final stage, the exhibition fit-out, with an opening date anticipated to be announced in 2012.

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Chart Update – Harmony's fifth week at the top

Harmony James' latest hit Pride is at number one for the fifth week in a row this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30.

Beccy Cole's Shiny Things edges up one more to be in second place while Carter & Carter's Dance In The Rain jumps three to number three and America's George Strait is at four with Long Way To Go.

Jasmine Rae's I Faked It is steady again at five, Tracy Killeen's Good Lies is edges up one to six and Jetty Road's I'm A Dreamer jumps three places to number seven.

Jason Lee's Ordinary Guy is steady at eight, Kasey Chambers' Luka edges up one to number nine and Graeme Connors' I'm Travelling At The Speed Of Life enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Adam Harvey's Falling Into Place (15 to 12), Lee & Robby Kernaghan's Fire (20 to 16), the Davidson Brothers My Heart Can't Believe My Eyes (24 to 21), Shane Nicholson's Jimmie Rodgers Was A Vampire (25 to 22), Kaylee Bell's Strawberry Sunset (26 to 23), Craig Morrison's Fences (28 to 25), Tamara Stewart's Butterfly (30 to 26) and Dianna Corcoran's Here's Your Damn Song (new at 27).

Other new entries to the chart this week include Luke Dickens' True Love Never Dies (in at 30).



Kasey wins 2011 Country ARIA

Kasey Chambers won her eighth solo ARIA Award tonight when her Little Bird was named Best Country Album.

Tonight's win brings to 10 the number of ARIA (Australasian Performing Right Association) awards Kasey has either won in her own right or been directly involved with.

Kasey won Best Country Album in 1999 with The Captain, Best Female Artist in 2000 with The Captain, Best Album, Best Female Artist and Best Country Album in 2002 with Barricades & Brickwalls, Best Female Artist and Best Country Album in 2004 with Wayward Angel.

Her other two were with her family band the Dead Ringer Band for Home Fires (Best Country Album in 1996) and with husband Shane and their duet album Rattlin' Bones (Best Country Album 2008).

Shane was also a finalist for Best Country Album tonight with his solo album Bad Machines, together with Troy Cassar-Daley's Live, Jasmine Rae's Listen Here and Keith Urban's Get Closer.

This year's ARIAs were dominated by the five piece folk band Boy & Bear who took home five awards including Best Group and Best Album, with Moonfire.



Golden Guitar Awards finalists...

Adam Harvey dominates the list of finalists in the 2012 Jayco Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) announced in Sydney this morning.

Adam (pictured below left) scooped the pool picking up eight finalist places, for Male Artist of the Year, Single, Song, Album (for Falling Into Place), and Video as well as two finalist placings in the Top Selling Album category (for both Falling Into Place and Best So Far) and in Vocal Collaboration of the Year with Beccy Cole on A Good Woman Can.

Alt Country artist Shane Nicholson (pictured above) was close behind Adam with seven finalist placings from his critically acclaimed album Bad Machines, Album of the Year, Male Artist, Song, Single and Video Clip of the Year as well as in Vocal Collaboration with Paul Kelly on Whistling Cannonballs.

Industry observers say one of the most interesting category results is Female Artist of the Year. Apart from Beccy Cole (above centre), all finalists are known as "rising stars" rather than established acts like Kasey Chambers who missed the cut for the 2012 Awards.

Indeed, two of the finalists – Katrina Burgoyne (second from right) and Aleyce Simmonds – are also finalists for the New Talent Golden Guitar.

The full list is...

For Album of the Year... At The Speed Of Life by Graeme Connors (produced by Matt Fell), Bad Machines by Shane Nicholson (self produced) Falling Into Place by Adam Harvey (Rod McCormack), Get Closer by Keith Urban (Dann Huff & Keith Urban) and Songs & Pictures by Beccy Cole (Shane Nicholson).

For Top Selling Album of the Year... Best So Far by Adam Harvey, Falling Into Place by Adam Harvey, Get Closer by Keith Urban, In Symphony by John Williamson and Little Bird by Kasey Chambers.

For Male Artist of the Year... James Blundell with Move Into The City, Graeme Connors with The Mouth Of The River, Adam Harvey with You Don't Know My Love, Shane Nicholson with Bad Machines and Keith Urban with Long Hot Summer.

For Female Artist of the Year... Kirsty Akers with Sweet Ol Jackson, Katrina Burgoyne with White Flag, Beccy Cole with Waitress, Jasmine Rae with I Faked It and Aleyce Simmonds with The Healing Hands Of Time.

For Group or Duo of the Year... The Bobkatz with In The Coals, Carter & Carter with Dance In The Rain, the Davidson Brothers with Write Me A Letter, Jetty Road with Serves You Right and O'Shea with Smash.

For Song of the Year... Bad Machines, written and recorded by Shane Nicholson, Butterfly, written and recorded by Tamara Stewart, Falling Into Place, written by Adam Harvey & Troy Cassar-Daley, recorded by Adam Harvey, The Mouth Of The River, written and recorded by Graeme Connors and Waitress, written and recorded by Beccy Cole.

For Bush Ballad of the Year... A Fencer From The Outback, written and recorded by Rod Williams, Channel Country Ground, written by Merv Maltman, recorded by Dean Perrett & Lee Kernaghan, Gentleman Joe, written by Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson, recorded by Dianne Lindsay, Kiandra Gold, written by Ben Jacobs & Shaza Leigh, recorded by Brian Letton and Son Of The Red Dirt Country, written and recorded by Graham Rodger.

For Single of the Year... Bad Machines by Shane Nicholson, Dirt by Lee Kernaghan, Long Hot Summer by Keith Urban, Sweet Emmylou by Catherine Britt and You Don't Know My Love by Adam Harvey.

For Heritage Song of the Year... Australian Woman, written by Beccy Cole & Luke Austen, recorded by Beccy Cole, Bondwood Boat, written by Aleyce Simmonds & Graeme Connors, recorded by Aleyce Simmonds, I am Australian, written by Bruce Woodley & Dobe Newton, recorded by The Bushwackers, The Mouth Of The River,written & recorded by Graeme Connors and The Old HR, written by Garry Koehler, recorded by The Bobkatz.

For Instrumental of the Year... Arkansas Traveller by Mike Kerin, Ian Simpson & John Kane, Demolition Derby by Michael Fix with Brendan Radford, Locomotivation by Tommy Emmanuel, OMFG by the Davidson Brothers and The Waves of Bondi by The Bushwackers.

For New Talent of the Year Katrina Burgoyne with Ghost, Luke Dickens with True Love Never Dies, Jason Lee with Ordinary Guy, O'Shea with Smash and Aleyce Simmonds with The Healing Hands Of Time.

For Video Clip of the Year... Children Of The Gurindji by Sara Storer & Kev Carmody (directed by Duncan Toombs), Dirt by Lee Kernaghan (Rusty Gate Films) Famous Last Words by Shane Nicholson (Duncan Toombs), In Spite Of Ourselves by Kirsty Akers & Bob Evans (Jason Millhouse) and You Don't Know My Love by Adam Harvey (Duncan Toombs).

For Vocal Collaboration of the Year... A Good Woman Can by Adam Harvey & Beccy Cole, An Affair of the Heart by Graham Rodger and Sara Storer, In Spite Of Ourselves by Kirsty Akers & Bob Evans, Millionaires by Beccy Cole & Kasey Chambers and Whistling Cannonballs by Shane Nicholson & Paul Kelly.

Winners will be announced in Tamworth on Saturday January 28.

Pictured above (from left): Adam Harvey, Shane Nicholson, Katrina Burgoyne and Aleyce Simmonds.

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Stop Press !! Deadline for listings in the Tamworth Festival program extended

The deadline for listings in the 2012 "Official Guide to the Tamworth Country Music Festival" has been extended to 12noon this coming Monday, November 29.

See original story below.


Chart Update – four weeks at number one for Harmony

Harmony James is at number one for the fourth week in a row this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 with her latest hit Pride.

America's George Strait is steady at two with Long Way To Go while Beccy Cole's Shiny Things edges up one to number three and Alan Jackson's Here For The Good Time is at four.

Jasmine Rae's I Faked It is steady again at five, Carter & Carter's Dance In The Rain is up two to number six and Tracy Killeen's Good Lies is steady again at seven.

Jason Lee's Ordinary Guy edges up one to number eight, Kasey Chambers' cover of Luka enters the top 10 at nine as does Jetty Road's I'm A Dreamer at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Graeme Connors' I'm Travelling At The Speed Of Life (16 tp 12), Adam Harvey's Falling Into Place (18 to 15), O'Shea's Meant To Be (22 to 19) and Lee & Robby Kernaghan's Fire (24 to 20).

New entries to the chart this week include Tamara Stewart (pictured) with Butterfly (in at 30).



Golden Guitar finalists to be announced tomorrow

Finalists in the 2012 Golden Guitar Awards will be announced tomorrow in conjunction with the official launch of the 40th Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The function will be staged at Sydney's Australian Technology Park by Tamworth Regional Council and the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) and streamed to Country Music Capital's Capitol Theatre from 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

Country music stars Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey will host the event, a highlight of which, according to organisers, will be the presentation to Graeme Connors and producer Matt Fell of their Golden Guitars for the 2011 Album of the Year Still Walking.

Tamworth Mayor Col Murray (pictured) said: "The Tamworth Country Music Festival is ranked as one of the top 10 music Festivals in the world and 2012 is our 40th birthday so we are planning to make it our biggest and best year yet."

Details to be released tomorrow will include much of the line-up of acts across the 10 days of the festival, more than 800 artists at around 2,200 separate events across 80 different venues.

The 40th year of the Festival is tipped to be one of Tamworth's biggest and most exciting yet, organisers say. Some of the big names already announced to appear include Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, Graeme Connors, Adam Harvey, The McClymonts, Shane Nicholson, Shannon Noll, The Sunny Cowgirls and John Williamson.

In addition, the wide and varied program of events will include the 46th Capital Country Music Association National Talent Quest and the Toyota Star Maker and Telstra Road to Discovery talent searches.

The 10 days will culminate in a "red-carpet show-biz night of glitz and glamour" at the 40th CMAA Jayco Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) on Saturday January 28. The Festival kicks off officially on Friday January 20, preceded by the seven-day "Festival Countdown".

"The 40th Jayco Tamworth Country Music Festival is going to be a birthday party not to be missed and the launch will be the big reveal that has been eagerly anticipated for months," organisers say.

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A Season For Giving

Featuring mainly Australian country stars, A Season For Giving is a 12 track Christmas CD raising money for the Street Swags charity organisation.

Featured are Rob Black, Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Diana Corcoran, Tommy Emmanuel, Col Finley, Steve Forde, Lee Kernaghan, Katie Noonan, Luke O'Shea and Tamara Stewart.

"This CD is going to be iconic for Australian Christmas music," said Tamara, "and its theme is very much the Street Swags message of looking after each other. Which is something that really encapsulates and celebrates what our Australian community has done this year."

Street Swags is a charity organisation that provides much needed bedding for the homeless. Founder and current Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year (Innovation) Jean Madden said she was "humbled by the support of so many high profile artists who have given their time so generously and written songs especially for this fund raising project."

Enjoying the success of her latest single Butterfly, award-winning singer/songwriter Tamara has captured the true meaning of the season in her Christmas song Happy Little Christmas on the album... "a song of hope about a couple dealing with the ups and downs of life throughout the year, and counting their blessings at Christmas," Tamara said.

"I've always wanted to write and record a Christmas song, and when Street Swags approached me, I was thrilled to have found a very good reason to. I'm very honoured to be part of helping Street Swags continue their incredible work."

Aussie music icon Rick Price has been busy touring the world with Tommy Emmanuel, also performing and writing songs from his new home base in Nashville. Rick was more than willing to do his part with the Christmas album by singing with Tamara on her track. Thanks to modern technology, he added his trademark voice to the song while recording his new album Waters Edge in America.

And, in an opportune moment while Rick was in Australia working on the critically acclaimed theatre show "The John Denver Story", award-winning video producer Ross Wood captured Tamara and Rick (pictured above) on film for the clip of Happy Little Christmas which promotes A Season For Giving.

The album can be purchased here...

The video clip can be viewed here...



Canberra winners

The Canberra Country Music Awards presented on the Sunday of the Canberra Country Music Festival saw Doug McIntyre (pictured, left) take three awards while Connie Kis Andersen, Brewn', Steve Cheers and Chris E Thomas took home two each and Steve Passfield (pictured) was the big winner in songwriting categories.

"The Canberra Country Music Awards has a unique national and regional component with all the artists judged together under the various category headings," said a spokesman for the organisers. "Where the best in a category is won by someone outside the Canberra region, they receive the national award and the best artist from within the Canberra region is given the regional award.

Doug's awards were for Best Album and Folk/Australiana Song with Australian Son and Australian Heritage Song with Carrathool Races.

Connie's awards were for Open Contemporary Song with A Man In Boots and Gospel with Life's Railway To Heaven while Chris's awards were for Swing Song and Honky Tonk Song with Workin'.

The Brewn' awards were Regional Bush Ballad with Brown Snake and Rockabilly Song with Write Off.

Steve's awards were for Regional Open Contemporary Song with Roger That and the Regional Country Rock Song with Speed Of Love.

Lindsay Butler & Peter Simpson won Open Instrumental with Gidgee After Rain and Bowen & Clare were named winner of Bluegrass/Mountain Music Song with Hillbilly Hippy.

Paul Seils won Traditional Country Song with Old Fashioned while Kel-Anne Brandt won the National Country Rock Song award with My Baby Loves Me.

Dianne Lindsay won the National Bush Ballad award with Gentleman Joe, the Children's Country Song awards went to Brothers3 with Tony's Farm (National) and Jeff Aschmann with The Fish Song (Regional).

Alt Country Song was won by Marta Pacek with A Girl Gets By (National) and Sami Cooke with She Never Looked Back (Regional).

The Best Production (Engineer/Arrangement) award went to Michael Bond & Steve Newton with Rusted On.

An up and coming local artist, Sami Cooke from Young (NSW), received the special Brindabella Award (sponsored by Brindabella Airlines to encourage local artists to develop) of two tickets to attend the Tamworth Festival in January 2012.

Steve Passfield was judged the best in the Canberra Country Songwriting Awards taking out four gongs... Best Country Song Gold, the Outstanding Country Lyrics award and Folk/Alternative COuntry all with Old Friends and the Bluegrass award with She Gets To Me.

Kathy Coleman was a double winner taking home the Australiana award with Dunedoo Station and the Judges Commendation Award for Why Did You Go.

Patricia Thompson also won two... Traditional with Western Plains Drover and the Balladeer award with A Fair Dinkum Aussie Bushman.

Jennifer Renee Hannam was also a double winner, presented with the Country Composition Youth Award, for a writer aged under 18 years and the Contemporary award, both for No One's Girl.

Chris Booker won the Best Country Song Silver Award with One Step Closer, Brothers3 took out the Children category with Tony's Farm, Michael Bond & Anthony Barbara won Country Rock with Get Up while Juanita Cucinotta won Western Swing with The Only Thing.

The Country Blues award was won by Alita Fahey with Slimy Bob, Alita teamed up with Makirum Fahey-Leigh yo won the Rockabilly award with That Happy Feeling and Loorena Quinlavan was the winner of the Country Gospel award with Choir In Heaven.

"The judges commented on the high standard of entries received," the spokesman said.



Final call for gig listings in the Tamworth Festival program

"Capital News" – publishers of the annual "Official Guide to the Tamworth Country Music Festival" – have issued a final call for "gig listings" for the 40th Festival program this coming January.

Entertainers, promoters and venue owners and operators have until this coming Wednesday, November 23, to upload listings for inclusion in the "Guide".

Recognised as one of the world's biggest festival publications, "The Official Guide" is the primary source and most comprehensive festival guide for Tamworth, featuring the official daily program including events and activities in the Festival countdown period (seven days prior to the main event) and the 10 days of the Festival itself (from the Friday January 20 to Sunday January 29).

"The 'Official Guide' carries the biggest Australian country music gig guide," according to Barry Harley, General Manager of Rural Press Events and publisher of "Capital News" and the "Official Guide".

Festival gigs can be uploaded easily via the website

"When you do this, you can update and take control of your listing information," Barry said.

"When you visit the site, click on the heading 'Tamworth Country Music Festival Gigs' and follow the prompts. First time users will need to register."

The 2012 "Official Guide" will be celebrating the 40th year of the Tamworth Festival and will be a bumper issue with 258 pages.

"The most popular feature of the 'Guide' is the exclusive A to Z artist directory," Barry said, "which is a treasured index for fans to follow their favourite artists concerts during the Festival.  It includes where the artists are appearing, times and dates as well as numerous artist photos and biographies."

Venue information, including venue map, the Tamworth town map, bus routes and timetable, country music points of interest and helpful visitor guide information to Country Music Capital and the district are all in the "Official Guide".

In celebrating the 40th Festival year, the "Guide" will also feature historical facts and inside stories about foundation events including the Golden Guitar Awards, Hands of Fame, Roll of Renown, Toyota Star Maker talent search, Capital Country Music Association National Talent Quest and Jamboree plus new music product releases, artist CD launches, more about key events and new insightful stories into the famous Festival.

Further information can be obtained by ringing 02 6768 5800 or by emailing


Illawarra Folk Festival coming up

The state's biggest folk festival – the Illawarra Folk Festival – will be held for the 27th time from January 12 to 15 at the Bulli Showgrounds near Wollongong.

With more than 150 acts and 500 performers, the folk festival is a major cultural event that attracts around 10,000 music lovers. Each year the festival features major international acts and this year the visitors will include the legendary Peggy Seeger as part of her farewell tour to Australia.

The festival is run entirely by volunteers.

Billed as "four days of folk, world, acoustic, Celtic, traditional, gypsy, blues and bluegrass music, as well as poetry" the Festival venue has 12 venues nestled at the base of the Illawarra escarpment, an hour's drive south of Sydney at the end of the Grand Pacific Drive is "all weather" and has camping available and ample on-site parking.

Scottish folk icon Dougie Maclean will join Peggy Seeger as the two key international acts.

Numerous country or country-aligned acts will appear during the four days including Pete Denahy, Jim Haynes, Karen Lynne, Gleny Rae Virus & her Tamworth Playboys.

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Christie to release EP

Rising talent Christie Lamb will release her debut EP in December.

After graduating from the Talent Development Project (TDP) and Academy of Country Music in July last year, Christie was chosen as the only singer in NSW to enter the National Mentoring Project JUMP for young and emerging artists.

As part of her prize, Christie has been working with and been mentored by country music heavyweights Gina Jeffreys and Rod McCormack for the past 12 months.

As a result, the singer/songwriter has worked regularly with Gina and written with some of Australia's leading songsters including Gina and Rod, Lyn Bowtell, Karl Broadie, Mike Carr, Allan Caswell, Jay Collie, Roger Corbett, Amber Lawrence and Jasper Somerville-Collie.

All of which led to Christie's debut EP, produced by Rod, which will be launched at the Rooty Hill RSL on Thursday December 1 at 8pm.

Special guests on the night will be Kaylens Rain and Christie will perform duets with Glenn Harrison as well as Jay Collie from Jonah's Road.

Mr Wrong, the first single from the EP, is scheduled for release to radio also in December. Co-written with Jay Collie and Jasper Somerville Collie, the song is a tongue-in-cheek take on failed relationships.

"I'm really excited about releasing my first single," Christie said, "and I will be making a film clip with Duncan Toombs early February."

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CMAA members vote for Awards changes

Members of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) have voted for a series of significant changes to the annual Golden Guitar Awards, changes that will come into effect for the 2013 Awards including two new categories.

New will be Golden Guitars for Alternative Country Album of the Year and Top Selling International Album.

The introduction of the Alternative Country Album award aims to recognise artists who sit stylistically outside the mainstream of country, the Association says.

"It increases the chances of winning an award for fringe artists who operate partially or wholly within the country music community such as Kevin Bennett, Lou Bradley or Karl Broadie. It also creates opportunities for artists who may have previously considered themselves too far outside the mainstream to consider nominating. Alternative country recordings by artists generally considered mainstream will also be eligible.

"Alternative country is a loosely defined sub-genre of country music that includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream country music," the CMAA said. "It can be used to describe artists who push the boundaries of country music from the inside by incorporating influences ranging from roots, rock, bluegrass, rockabilly, honky-tonk, alternative rock and folk rock. It can also include outsiders who love the sound and spirit of country music and reinterpret it in personal, contemporary and idiosyncratic ways."

The Top Selling International Album award, to be decided by sales in Australia only, aims at recognising significant achievements by an international artist in Australia and encouraging interaction with country music communities in other territories.

In changes to the Awards, nominees will now be allowed to enter digital-only releases, obviating the need for an actual CD which had been a requirement up until now for all but one category in the Awards. Release will still be eligible if released only on CD without any digital release.

Album Of The Year will now be judged online by the entire judging panel and the CMAA professional membership. Previously, 40 members of the judging panel were sent a physical CD to judge Album Of The Year and their vote decided the winner in the first round of voting. "This change will see all judges and the professional membership voting for Album Of The Year in two rounds, utilising the BigPulse online voting system in the same way the other awards are judged.

The nominating party will upload album tracks and a pdf file of album art and credits to BigPulse.

Developing artists will now be able to nominate for New Talent Of The Year one more time  after being a finalist in that category.

Previously, the rules stated that an artist could nominate for New Talent Of The Year in three Awards years unless they had previously been a finalist in any category. This meant that once an artist had been a finalist for New Talent, they could not nominate again in that category.

An artist who has previously won an award in any category or been a finalist in any category other than New Talent Of The Year will not be eligible to enter the New Talent category. An artist who has not previously been a finalist in any category would still be able to nominate for New Talent Of The Year in three Awards years.

In addition to these substantial changes, the CMAA has updated it's definition of the APRA Song Of The Year category... "The previous rule stated that a nominated track may combine lyrics previously published as poems or ballads with new music or vice versa, creating a substantially new song.

"This change (will) exclude songs that contain lyrics previously published as poems or ballads combined with new music or vice versa so that only newly written songs released for the first time during the eligibility period will be eligible."

And the organisation has realigned the Awards eligibility and delivery deadlines.

"The previous practice of submitting entries to the Awards two weeks before the end of the eligibility period was introduced to allow the CMAA office to collect and collate the material and send it to judges in time for them to meet their deadlines.

"With new systems in place this is no longer necessary so the deadline for delivery of entries and the last day of the eligibility period will now be the same date.

The CMAA is committed to ensuring that the Awards continue to be dynamic and relevant and represent the best that country music has to offer," the spokesman said. "The Awards Advisory Committee will continue to meet regularly to review all aspects of the awards."

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New album for McAlister Kemp

McAlister Kemp have announced that the follow up to their award winning debut album All Kinds Of Tough, will be released in March through ABC Music/Universal Music Australia. 

The album will be titled Country Proud and the duo will launch it on the main stage at the 2012 CMC Rocks The Hunter festival. 

The album's title track and opening single was released to radio stations last week.

"Country Proud is set to be the new country anthem of the summer," said a spokesman for the duo, "with it's powerful core message, gospel backing singers and even a hint of reverse banjo!

"McAlister Kemp write, record and perform music that touches on core values, real people, great fun and great music."

Their debut album produced three number one singles (All Kinds Of Tough, Hell Yeah and Hard Work) and the duo won this year's New Talent Golden Guitar and the CMC Music Award for Best New Oz Artist.

McAlister Kemp also had the opportunity to open for country superstar Alan Jackson and perform at the CMA Music Festival Global Artist Party in Nashville.

"Country Proud will continue to touch on the themes typified in All Kinds Of Tough," the spokesman said, "but this time with bigger, fresher, bolder and more ambitious sound quality and production".

The new album was recorded primarily in Australia and is produced by 2011 Country Music Awards of Australia Album of the Year winning producer Matt Fell.

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Publicist signed for Tamworth 2012

Destination Tamworth and Tamworth Regional Council have announced the signing of publicist Max Markson to promote the 2012 Jayco Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Max's company, Markson Sparks!, one of Australia's leading publicity, celebrity management and events organisations, has developed and implemented publicity and promotional campaigns for events, corporations, consumer goods and businesses within Australia and internationally.

"In partnership with Destination Tamworth, Max and his team will be working to secure unique and high profile TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, and internet exposure for the 2012 Festival," said a Council spokesman. "Combining the unique relationships and experience of Markson Sparks! with the commited core group of Festival stakeholders, the sky is the limit for the 40th festival."


Canberra Festival

The artist roster for the 2012 Canberra Country Music Festival has been announced with Catherine Britt and Carter & Carter (pictured) heading the bill.

Aly Cook will represent New Zealand at the Festival while Americans Bobby Marquez and Sean Patrick McGraw will also appear.

The Festival is billed as featuring 50 artists across five stages, contemporary and traditional, four Golden Guitar winners and 10 TSA winners.

Also appearing during the two day event this Friday, Saturday and Sunday are acts including Acoustic Radio, Alita, Bowen & Clare, Kel-Anne Brandt, Brewn, Brittle Jack, the Brothers3, Lachlan Bryan, Peter Christie Mountain Folk, Sami Cook, Rod Dowsett, Louise Egan, John Flanagan & The Begin Agains, The Fry Brothers, Hannah Gillespie, Jaymy-Lyn, Emma Kelly, Mark Lucas & The Dead Setters, Marta, Doug McIntyre, Lorraine McCrimmon, Leanne Melmoth, Mustered Courage, Alan Neal, Steve Passfield, Alice Plumb, Queen Juanita & The Zydeco Cowboys, The Rain, Melissa Robertson, the Round Mountain Girls, Louise Saint John, Mark Shay, Sharon Smith, The Turrells, The Wedded Bliss, Ian Wholohan, Bryen Willems and Geoff Williams.

The extensive program kicks off at the True Blue heritage stage tomorrow afternoon at 2 and also includes a series of music, industry and dance workshops.

A number of special events will be staged including a ute and truck muster and the regular "Music Row" traders area which this year includes exhibitors as diverse as Brindabella Airlines, Regional Rodeos and the Festival Shop.

The 2011 Canberra Country Music Festival is sponsored by The Tradies Club in association with the CFMEU and Quality Hotel.

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Chart Update – Harmony's third week at number one

Harmony James (pictured) is at number one for the third week in a row this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 with her latest hit Pride.

America's George Strait edges up to second place with Long Way To Go while Alan Jackson's Here For The Good Time is at three and Beccy Cole's Shiny Things jumps two places to number four.

Jasmine Rae's I Faked It is steady at five, Doug Bruce's Coffey Road is at six and Tracy Killeen's Good Lies is steady at seven.

Carter & Carter's Dance In The Rain jumps two places to number eight, Jason Lee's Ordinary Guy enters the chart at nine and Markus Meier's A Perfect Night is at 10.

New entries to the chart this week include Craig Morrison's Fences (in at 30).



Finalists announced for 2011 ASA songwriting awards

Finalists have been announced in the Australian Songwriters Association 2011 Australian Songwriting Contest.

In the Country category, the finalists are Michael Baker with Every Way You Love Me, Debbie-Lee Bowling with 3 Boys Road, Kathy Coleman (pictured) with I Can't See You Anymore, I Couldn't Help Myself, It's Been A While and You Should've Said, Bob Corbett with Slow Dancing, Stuart Hall with Melinda M'lay, Vanessa Lea with Awkward, Magdalena Macdonald with Crosses At The Gate, Stay With Me and We Are All The Same, Craig Morrison with Hot Kinda Love, Katie O'Donnell with Fireproof and Where's The Man, Paul Owen, Sabrina Alison & Roger Corbett with Back In The Saddle, The Devil Made Me Do It and Make a Man Out Of You, Donna Reynolds with Beauty & The Bush, Jon Roberts with Inevitable, Jacque Taylor with I Wanna, Jessica Belle U'Brien with Nothing Left To Lose and On My Own, Christy Wallace with Rainbow, Luella Widt with Play To Win By Rain Tonight, John Williams with Gypsy in my Heart and Andy Zarins with I Miss You.

Some of the country writers are also named as finalists in other categories.

Winners will be announced in Sydney on Wednesday November 23.

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More artists announced for CMC Rocks The Hunter

Organisers of CMC Rocks The Hunter have announced 12 more artists in the 2012 line-up.

Luke Austen, Kaylee Bell, Doug Bruce & The Tailgaters, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, the Davidson Brothers, Harry Hookey, Harmony James, Travis List (pictured), The Sunny Cowgirls, Ross Ward's Express and Peter McWhirter will now all be appearing at the Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley (NSW) over the three-day weekend of March 16-18 next year.

They will join country superstars Tim McGraw and Faith Hill who will headline at the festival in their first Australian tour together, Lee Kernaghan and America's Dierks Bentley who have already helped establish this annual event as the biggest country and roots festival of its kind in Australia.

Artists already announced to appear include Kirsty Akers, James Blundell, Catherine Britt, Pete Denahy, Jayne Denham, Morgan Evans, Steve Forde, Buddy Goode, Jedd Hughes, Jetty Road, Tex Perkins & The Dark Horses, Jim Lauderdale, McAlister Kemp, Shane Nicholson and Felicity Urquhart.

More artists are to be announced.

The festival will be hosted by Darren Carr, Mike Carr and American television personality Storme Warren.

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Applications close soon for music touring grants

Applications for the next round of funding in the Federal Government's Contemporary Music Touring Program close on Friday December 2.

Applications are open to professional musicians "creating original and contemporary Australian music".

"he Contemporary Music Touring Program helps emerging and established musicians take their music on tour to Australia's regional and remote areas," according to a spokesman for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Office for the Arts.

The Program provides assistance with touring costs such as transport, accommodation, insurance, production and marketing and supports all types of genres including, but not limited to, blues, country, folk, fusion, jazz, new classical, pop, electronic, alternative and rock.

Applications are invited from performers, managers, agents, music organisations and music networks on behalf of professionals working in the Australian music industry for tours starting from July 1, 2012.

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More on 2012 Golden Guitar Awards

Further to our story two weeks ago, the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) announced on its website today that the organisation would look to its roots and refocus its energies on a live Golden Guitar Awards event for 2012.

Preparing for the 40th anniversary of the Awards, CMAA Chair Joan Douglas said: "The Board has chosen to take this opportunity to concentrate our resources on the creation of a live event that really demonstrates the breadth of talent and excellence of the industry.

"In keeping with the theme of the 2012 Festival – Looking Forward Looking Back – the (CMAA) Board has chosen to cement 40 years of history as the premier country music event in Australia.

"We are certainly not ruling out a television event for future years, but we are committed to ensuring the live event is to the highest professional standard and that it reflects our artists and all that the industry has to offer."

The Jayco Country Music Awards of Australia will be staged held in the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre from 7.30pm on Saturday January 28.

"This is Australia's longest running music awards concert and there is always hot competition to see who takes home a coveted Golden Guitar," Joan said.

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New single from Connie

Connie Kis Andersen has released a new single to Australian radio, Where My Heart Was Born.

The single is the third release from Connie's critically acclaimed self-titled album and, according to the accompanying publicity, reveals "a profoundly passionate and patriotic side to Connie Kis Andersen's feelings for Australia".

Described as a departure in feel and style from her previous two top five hits from the album, the new releases was inspired by "the vastness of our beautiful country and the depth of connection that Connie Kis feels, not for her birthplace, but for her homeland Australia – the place where her 'heart' was born.

"Melodic arrangements exquisitely capture a wide open, majestic space and lyrical references in each chorus connect East and West – so important for Connie Kis, who hails from Western Australia and has made many solo sojourns across the Nullabor in the pursuit and promotion of her musical passion."

Connie Kis is a multi-award winning singer/songwriter and is currently the 2011 WA Best Country Music Female Artist and winner of the 2011 Senior Songwriter Category at the WA Go for 2 & 5 Country Music Awards, accolades that are testament to her dedication toward her professionalism and craft.

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Special Not So Dusty II winners announced

The young duo Brade and Merv Webster have been announced as the winners of the competition looking for a "fan" track to go on to the upcoming Slim Dusty tribute album Not So Dusty II.

Brade (Breanna Gerritsen and Jade Mellor) won with their version of the Slim classic When The Rain Tumbles Down In July while Merv won with his song I Never Cried For Elvis But I Shed A Tear For Slim.

A spokesman for Slim's label Nulla Records said they were "totally overwhelmed" with response to the competition both in quantity and quality.

"It was a diverse mix of covers of Slim's classics and song tributes to Slim which fans had written and recorded over the years since Slim's passing in 2003," he said.

"We were all a bit taken aback to be honest, we sort of expected to receive 10 or 20 tracks max... not 50 or 60!!. It was a really nice surprise to receive so many but the large number of entries and the high standard of so many of them made it impossible for us to pick just one track.

"Consequently, it was decided that two 'fan tracks' could be squeezed on to the album rather than just the one track originally intended." One track selected being a cover version and the second an original Slim tribute song.

"In fact we could have easily picked another 20 of them... we even discussed the possibility of doing a fan tribute album next (and) that is still a possibility some time in the future."

With the final two tracks decided, the album has been sent off for mastering.

"Nulla wish to thank all the artists that sent in their wonderful tributes to Slim," the spokesman said, "we wish we could have included all of them!"

Not So Dusty II (The Bushie's Tribute To Slim Dusty) is set for release on CD and by digital download on Friday January 13.

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The McClymonts win 2011 CMA Global Country Artist Award

The McClymonts have been named winners of the 2011 CMA (American Country Music Association) Global Country Artist Award.

Sisters Brooke, Mollie and Samantha were presented with the honour during the annual CMA International Reception held on Monday as part of festivities surrounding the 45th annual CMA Awards. The Award was presented by CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore (pictured here with, from left, Mollie, Sam and Brooke).

"Wow," said Brooke speaking for the group, "after five months of living here in Nashville, to have picked up the CMA Global Country Artist Award is an absolute honour."

The McClymonts won Group of the Year at the Golden Guitar Awards in four of the past five years and Best Country Album honours from the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) in 2008 and 2010.

Their second album, Wrapped Up Good, made the 2010 top five in national sales.

This year, they have been touring and performing in America in an effort to develop a market there for their music following the US release of Wrapped Up Good. Among their other achievements to date was a encore call to the Grand Ole Opry.

The Global Country Artist Award recognises outstanding achievements by a country music artist originally signed outside of the United States in both furthering the popularity of country music and bringing attention to the format in their foreign based territory.

Previous winners of the Global Country Artist Award have been Lee Kernaghan (2003), Kasey Chambers and Slim Dusty (2004), Paul Brandt, Canada (2005), Jason McCoy, Canada (2006), Adam Harvey (2007), Troy Cassar-Daley (2008), Catherine Britt (2009) and Tommy Emmanuel (2010).

The McClymonts are currently recording in America, their fourth studio album scheduled for release next year.

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Photo: Christian Bottoroff/CMA.


Chart Update – Harmony's second week at number one

Harmony James latest hit Pride is at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the second week in a row.

Doug Bruce's Coffey Road is steady at two while America's Alan Jackson and George Strait are at three and four, respectively, with Long Way To Go and Here For The Good Time.

Jasmine Rae's I Faked It is up two to five, as are Beccy Cole's Shiny Things to six and Tracy Killeen's Good Lies at seven.

Markus Meier's A Perfect Night is at eight, America's Dierks Bentley is at nine with Am I The Only One and Carter & Carter's Dance In The Rain enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Kasey Chambers' Luka (19 to 16), Jetty Road's I'm A Dreamer (21 to 18), Adam Harvey's Falling Into Place (24 to 21), O'Shea's Meant To Be (27 to 24), Katrina Burgoyne's White Flag (28 to 25) and the Davidson Brothers with My Heart Can't Believe My Eyes (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week are Lee & Robby Kernaghan with Fire (in at 28), Shane Nicholson Jimmie Rodgers Was A Vampire (at 29) and Kaylee Bell (pictured) with Strawberry Sunset (at 30).



A new album from Warren H

Warren H Williams – of the most celebrated indigenous identities in the local music scene – has released a new album titled Urna Marra.

Warren's music is described as "uniquely Australian touching mainly on core Australian values."

Urna Marra, meaning "good country" in indigenous language, is dedicated to Warren's father, acclaimed musician Gus Williams who died last year.

"Urna Marra... is a tribute and celebration to all the musical influences of my life," Warren said. "To all those who have inspired me over the years, you'll find a bit of yourselves in this album!"

The new work represents a more mature Williams, according to a spokesman for the artist, with the confidence to explore both musically and lyrically.

Warren H Williams released Looking Out through ABC Music in 2009 following a number of independent albums and has recorded and performed with the likes of Greg Champion, Johnny Chester, Ted Egan, Jimmy Little and John Williamson.

Northern Territory-based Warren H won a Golden Guitar at the Country Music Awards of Australia in 2009.

To support the release of the album, Warren H will be hitting the road in this month and next in venues at Brisbane, Cherbourg, Cunnamulla, Moree, Tamworth and Toowoomba.

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Keith to undergo throat surgery

Keith Urban is to have throat surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal cord later this month.

In various reports, including the BBC, a spokesman for the 44-year-old said the surgery was a minor outpatient procedure.

He added the singer would "require complete vocal rest followed by an undetermined period of recuperation".

All of Keith's scheduled performances this year will be postponed until 2012.

But the spokesman said the singer would still honour his commitments that require only a one-song performance until his surgery.

He is scheduled to perform at the American Country Music Association Awards on 9 November where he is nominated for Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year.

Keith is the latest in a string of singers to undergo throat surgery in recent months.

America's John Mayer had an operation last month to remove an inflamed nodule from his vocal cords and Kiss frontman Paul Stanley also revealed he needed an operation to fix his voice after damage caused by his rock career.


People's Choice Awards votes pour in

Votes have been pouring in for more than a month now for the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards to be announced this coming January.

"Thousands of fans have already voted," according to Awards spokesman Bob Kirchner, "nominating hundreds of individual Australian country music artists, writers, albums, songs and radio stations and country music broadcasters."

Voting closes at the end of this month for the Awards, the 13th to be staged since they were first were first held in the current format in 2000.

Fans can vote for their favourites in 10 categories... Best Female and Male Vocal, Best Group or Duo, Best Album, Best Song, Best Bush Ballad, Best Video, Most Promising Future Star, Favourite Country Music DJ and Favourite Radio Station or Program.

"The 2012 People's Choice Awards will be staged in an exciting new venue in Australia's Country Music Capital during the 40th Tamworth Country Music Festival," Bob said, "that comfortably seats around 300 and is fully equipped with stage, sound and audio/visual equipment."

Votes can be made at



Dianna signs US deals

Two-time Golden Guitar winner Dianna Corcoran has signed deals with America's BMI (Broadcast Music Inc) and Silent Gate Music.

The signings come following Dianna's move to Nashville where she has been co-writing with leading writers Kristian Bush (Sugarland) and Jeff Cohen (Big & Rich, Sugarland, Band Perry and Evan & Jaron). 

After one writing session, Kristian and Jeff were reportedly convinced of Dianna's "unique style" and immediately started negotiations with the Parkes-born songstress for a writing and recording deal.

The deal will see Dianna writing for numerous projects throughout Europe and the USA while recording a new album for global release produced by Kristian.

Dianna has also signed to Global Records of Germany which saw her award-winning album Keep Breathing re-released throughout Europe last month.

Dianna has returned to Australia for live performances and promotional commitments including the announcement of her major sponsor, Rolfe Subaru of Phillip, ACT. Her time in Australia will be spent in Sydney, Canberra and her hometown of Parkes, NSW.

Photo: Dianna at the signing with Jeff Cohen.

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Chart Update – Harmony hits the top

Harmony James latest hit Pride has concluded its meteoric rise on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week jumping four places to take over the number one position.

Doug Bruce's number one from last week – Coffey Road – is at two while Markus Meier's A Perfect Night is at three and America's Dierks Bentley is at four with Am I The Only One.

Alan Jackson is steady at five with Long Way To Go is at five, George Strait is at six with Here For The Good Time and Jasmine Rae's I Faked It is steady at seven.

Beccy Cole's Shiny Things enters the top 10 at eight, as does Tracy Killeen's Good Lies at nine while Lee Kernaghan's long running number one duet of Scars with Dierks Bentley is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Amber Joy Poulton's Taking Goodbye (14 to 11), Carter & Carter's Dance In The Rain (17 to 12), Jason Lee's Ordinary Guy (16 to 13), Kasey Chambers' Luka (23 to 19), Jetty Road's I'm A Dreamer (25 to 21), Graeme Connors' I'm Travelling At The Speed Of Life (26 to 22), Adam Harvey's Falling Into Place (29 to 24) and O'Shea's Meant To Be (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Katrina Burgoyne with White Flag (in at 27) and the Davidson Brothers with My Heart Can't Believe My Eyes (at 30).


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