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Applications open for 2013 PDAs

Applications have opened for the 2013 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Professional Development Awards (PDAs).

A total of $240,000 in prizes will be shared by eight award recipients, including one from the Australian country music sector.

Each awardee will receive $13,000 cash, airfares, radio publicity packages, a half page ad in Street Press Australia, mentoring opportunities, studio time, distribution deals, instruments and more.

Winners will also receive a Music Industry Consultancy Package that involves one-on-one sessions with managers, publishers and music industry business teams, so they can work towards being fully "set up" to take their career to the next level.

In addition to the PDAs, the UTAS Stephen Schwartz Songwriting Award will be up for grabs. Sponsored by the University of Tasmania's Conservatorium of Music and their unique Bachelor's Degree in Singer-Songwriting, this award is being offered only for the second time following its inaugural success in 2010.

Valued at $10,000, the unique award aims to advance the career of an emerging individual songwriter or song writing team. Second and third runners up will receive $1,500 and $500 respectively.

The PDA categories are Popular/Contemporary, Country, Jazz, Film/TV, Classical and ATSI (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander).

Applications for the 2013 PDAs close on January 11.

Weblink – www.apra-amcos.com.au.


Inverell Ute Muster

The inaugural Inverell (NSW) Ute Muster will be staged tomorrow with an impressive line-up of entertainment headed by Golden Guitar winners McAlister Kemp (pictured) and The Sunny Cowgirls.

An initiative of the Inverell Show Society, that has held agricultural shows in the Inverell district for 145 years, the Muster is being run by a sub-committee of volunteers with the aim to stimulate significant tourism income to the local Inverell community.

"The Inverell Ute Muster is a celebration of Australia's ingenuity, the ute," said a spokesman for the committee.."It is a unique gathering of youth who share an appreciation for a national tradition of the ute culture... similar in aspects to a b&s ball, rural show or a music festival, thus reflecting the region's agricultural and rural history."

Being held at the Inverell Showgrounds, the Muster will include competitions range from ute barrel racing to mud wrestling. Ute categories will include "farm ute", 4x4 ute", "town 'n' country ute", "street ute", "tradies ute" and "classic ute".

Supporting the the headline acts on the day will be Melanie Dyer, Morgan Evans and Max Fredericks.

Other attractions will include racing lawnmowers, Flair Action Sports Stunt Bikes, Can-am Challenge with Michael Guest and Scooter Soccer.

Weblink – www.inverellshowsociety.com.au/Inverell-Ute-Muster/.aspx.



The McClymonts win their second ARIA

The McClymonts won their second ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award tonight when they took out the 2013 gong for Best Country Album with their latest release Two Worlds Collide.

They had previously won the same award in 2010 for Wrapped Up Good.

Fellow finalists up for this year's Country award were Catherine Britt for Always Never Enough, Troy Cassar-Daley for Home, Beccy Cole for Songs And Pictures and McAlister Kemp for Country Proud.

In other categories of "country" interest, Buddy Goode took home the ARIA for Best Comedy Album with Unappropriate.

And Keith Urban was beaten in the Best Male Artist category by pop artist Gotye who took out a total of four awards (every one he was nominated for).

The country flavour among performers at this year's ARIAs was provided by America's Taylor Swift.



Fifteen Star Maker finalists announced

Fifteen finalists have been announced to compete for the title of Toyota Star Maker 2013.

The number is three more than organisers intended with judges so impressed with the talent on offer they were unable to get down to the planned 12.

They are... Kaylee Bell (from Bathurst, NSW), Courtney Conway (Mandurah, WA), Cameron Cusack (Burnett Heads, Qld), Victoria Edwards (Toowoomba, Qld), Sarah Head (Varsity Lakes, Qld), Jess Holland (Mungindi, NSW), Jasper Hollis (Sydney, NSW), Stephanie Jansen (Cranebrook, NSW), Christie Lamb (Kirkham, NSW), Nathan Lamont (Wagga Wagga, NSW), Seleen McAlister (Bracken Ridge, Qld), Ben Ransom (Randwick, NSW), Danni Stefanetti (Sorrento, WA), Jonny Taylor (Ravenswood, WA) and Nathan Williams (Strathpine, Qld).

Nine of the 15 finalists are girls stacking the odds slightly which could see a female take home the prize after four male winners in as many years, said a spokesman for the organisers, Rural Press Events, publishers of Capital News.

Ten are making return visits to the quest. Seven are from NSW, five from Queensland and three from Western Australia (one is originally from New Zealand, Kaylee Bell, and one from America, Jasper Hollis, but both now live in Australia).

In a major change to the Star Maker format, the talent quest will be held over two nights in 2013, and had originally said there would only be 12 finalists.

Co-ordinator, and Capital News Editor, Cheryl Byrnes said the judges had found it very difficult to reduce the 70 plus valid entries down to 12 without seeing them perform, and they felt the fans had the right "to see as many of these fine acts as possible".

"Some artist names were familiar to the judges," Cheryl said, "however, as in previous years, there were many applicants unknown to the judges. And as that's what Star Maker sets out to achieve – to uncover new country talent – they wanted to see as many as possible.

"The year we decide to stream-line just happens to be a year of very high quality entrants," she said. "We could have had many more in the final, and with the impossible task for judges a compromise from 12 to 15 was taken.

"Star Maker has a great pedigree, as the perennial Golden Guitar nominations show, and it is always difficult to be sure at this point whether we are leaving potential stars out of the final mix. Star Maker is the premier event that all emerging artists aim for."

The finalists in the 2013 Golden Guitar Awards were announced early this month and they included 16 nominations from previous Star Maker winners Lyn Bowtell, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Bob Corbett, Lee Kernaghan and Samantha McClymont (as part of The McClymonts).

Barry Harley, Rural Press Events General Manager, explained that the format changes would still see the Toyota Star Maker Final Fifteen (formerly 12) as the main event of the first Sunday of the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival with four Grand Finalists carrying through the to the Toyota Star Maker Grand Final to be staged as part of the giant free concert in the city's Bi-centennial Park featuring Lee Kernaghan and special guests on the Friday night.

"Toyota, celebrating 20 years supporting country music and 18 years supporting Star Maker, has a strong bond with Australia's rural and regional community," Barry said, "and Toyota Star Maker continues to be a foundation of that support by providing independent artists with a highly-coveted, career-launching platform.

"Star Maker is associated with so many country music icons, including Keith Urban, James Blundell, Gina Jeffreys, Beccy and Lee and more recently new stars Travis, Samantha, Liam Brew, Luke Austen, Luke Dickens and Bob Corbett. With the level of talent this year, and the inclusion of audience voting, we've no doubt we'll be adding yet another great name to this already legendary list.

"One of the exciting results from the Star Maker process is not only the eventual winner but it also provides a huge step up the ladder for all contestants," Barry said, "mixing with the emerging elite, and with many of them using the positive experience and brand to 'open doors' and to ultimately succeed.

"In the 34 years of Star Maker, more than 600 artists have been through the process and all have gained from that experience.

"The 2013 'cast of 15' now have two months to prepare for a competition that will change their lives in one way or another. The battle commences on Sunday, January 20 at 7:30pm."

Contestants are vying for a prize valued at more than $100,000 including a full album and use of a Toyota vehicle for 12 months.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/StarMakerAustralia.


Amy and Kym win SA Championships

Amy Sherrah (pictured) and Kym Wilson-Neale have been named winners of South Australia's Junior and Senior Champion of Champions for 2012.

Amy took out the Junior title while Kym won the Senior category in the Championship staged at Kingswood on Saturday.

Amy was the Under 17 Years winner from runner-up Stephanie Ward-Wrigley.

Kym won the Senior Female section on the day from runner-up Tanya Cornish and third placegetter Deidre Reed.

In Senior Male, first was Jim McMullen with Tristan Newsome in second place.

Taylor Pfeiffer was named winner of the 13 Years and under section with Breanna Kinlough in second place and Tyler Paterson third.

In the SA Song of the Year Awards, Nathaniel O'Brien was named winner of Song of the Year with Take Me Back.

In the Traditional Song section, Nathan won with Never Gonna Go Home while Fiona Karamanlidis was runner up with Field Of Sunflowers and Doug Venning was third with The Nuri Undertaker.

In the Modern Song section, Nathan's Take Me Back was the named the winner with Amber Joy Poulton in second place with Windmills and Deidre Reed third with All My Life.

The 2012 Industry Award was presented to Natalie Pearce while Karen O'Brien was presented with a Certificate of Excellence for her tireless work in recent years for Country Music South Australia.

Weblink – www.countrymusicsa.com.



Vale – Deb Beckett

Funeral services are being held today for Western Australian artist Deb Beckett who passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by family last Wednesday morning, November 21.

After four years, the multi-award winning singer/songwriter lost her struggle with cancer.

Well respected and much loved, Deb was a popular figure on the Western Australian country music scene and will be sorely missed.

Her memory will live on in the contribution she made to songwriting across all genres – from her clever novelty songs such as Ode To Elsie and The Ballad of Henry Beckett to the more poignant and moving ballad When My Time Comes.

Sincere condolences and deep respect are extended to her family.

Deb is survived by husband Glen McBride and children Courtney and Samuel.

— Connie Kis Andersen


Chart Update – Troy's second week at the top

The top five places on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart remain unchanged with Troy Cassar-Daley's latest hit – Homeat number one.

This Here Cowboy, the former number one by Roo Arcus, is at two, Luke O'Shea & Dianna Corcoran's New England Sky is at three, McAlister Kemp's Home is at four and Chelsea Basham's Laugh It Off is at five.

The McClymont's Two Worlds Collide bounds up four places to be at number six, America's Zac Brown Band is at seven with The Wind, Kaylens Rain's Outta Here is up one to eight, The Harmonators' Save Her Soul is at nine and America's Blake Shelton is at 10 with Over.

Bullet performers for the week include Jetty Road's Wrong (14 to 11), Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind (20 to 17) and Amber Lawrence's Try (24 to 20).

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



Tamworth wins NSW's leading festival award

The Tamworth Country Music Festival has been named the best festival in all of NSW for 2012.

At the NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney last night, the Festival won the Gold award in the Major Festivals and Events category, edging out the 23rd annual Bluesfest at Byron Bay which took home the Silver award and the Sydney Royal Easter Show which won Bronze.

The Major Festivals and Events category recognises "Hallmark Festivals" or events that create substantial economic impact, attract visitors from interstate and/or overseas, generate national and/or international media profile, and positively promote the destination.

As the largest and most prestigious event on the NSW tourism calendar, the Tourism Awards Ceremony and Dinner provides the opportunity to publicly recognise and showcase the State's tourism operators.

By winning this Award, the Tamworth Festival is now automatically a finalist in the Australian Tourism Awards which will be announced at a gala dinner in February.


Storms didn't dampen inaugural Mountview Music Muster


Despite severe storm warnings on the day, over 400 country music enthusiasts turned up to enjoy the music at the inaugural Mountview Music Muster last Saturday.


The day included performances from stars such as a Toyota Star Maker winners Luck Dickens and Luke Austen, plus a Talent Quest, with part of the proceeds going to the RACQ CareFlight Toowoomba and the local Glen Aplin Rural Bush Fire Brigade.


Vineyard owner David McGrath was glad to see so many country music lovers brave the weather to attend.


"We only had a short period of time to actually get the Music Muster up and running," Mr McGrath said.  


"We contacted Amanda Lindenberg of Toowoomba, who has done a wonderful job in planning the inaugural event - it turned out to be a huge success, despite the rain!"


The Talent Quest, which was run in conjunction with the QLD Country Music Festivals Champion of Champions Association, had entrants come from all around the district and interstate to be a part of the day.


There was plenty of local talent entered as well with former Toowoomba girl Leigha Moore taking out first prize, Erin, Keely and Tegan Hilton from Warwick as runner-ups, and Toowoomba talent Colin Lindenberg coming in third in the hotly-contested competition.  Also  Toowoomba youngster who came up triumphs in the top 10  Cheylee Berther  11 years of age.


Enthusiasm wasn't even dampened when headline act Toyota Star Makers Luke Austen and Luke Dickens had to be moved inside to the Cellar Door due to a storm.


Country music lovers were amazed at the intimate nature of the impromptu indoor stage, and many left saying how grateful they were for the unique opportunity to see the stars perform up close.


David De Vito, of 2011 Australia's Got Talent fame, almost stole the show himself by making a surprise appearance to sing with Tarscha and then performing the song that made him famous, Nessun Dorma.


Rising stars Amanda Faulkner from Warra and Amanda Halloran from Stanthorpe also won the hearts of the crowd with their beautiful voices.


Even the Elvis Presley Tribute - Toowoomba talent Glen Lindenberg - had the grapevines dancing, in a costume made especially for the day by the people who used to make Elvis's own costumes.  Elvis arrived to the stage in his Ford Lincoln Continenatal Mark 5 one of Elvis's favourite cars.

 Keely Berther from Toowoomba School of Dance contributed her wonderful display of dancing that she choreographed herself to add colour to the tribute.


"After such a successful inaugural event and from all the positive feedback from the guests on the day, Angela and I are committed to bringing some of the countries finest artists to next years  Mountview Music Muster, to further promote and showcase the Granite Belts natural beauty, Agri business and some of the finest wines Australia has to offer." Mr. McGrath said.


The Mountview Music Muster will be held in the October long weekend every year, with the 2013 Muster to be held on 5th-6th October.


Already on the agenda for the two day event are major stars John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Jetty Road, McAllister Kemp and many more well-known country music artists. 


Leigha Moore will come back as a performer instead of a talent quest entrant, for the amazing opportunity to perform with the greats of Country Music.


The Melissa Bajric Show Tamworth Edition Capitol Theatre 22 January 2013


A sequel to more than a year of change for Melissa Bajric is coming to Tamworth in January, when the now Sydney based singer songwriter will entice audiences with an array of material from her forthcoming album Diamonds and Wine at ‘The Melissa Bajric Show Tamworth Edition’ at the Capitol Theatre on Tuesday January 22 at 10.00am.


The intimate concert venue is the perfect location for the ‘Small Town Girl’ she once described herself as when she recorded her previous album of the same name, a collection of songs based upon her life in the Hunter Valley. 


The transition to ‘Uptown Girl’ as Susan Jarvis writes in July’s Capital News is best captured in the lines  “Now Melissa is focused on her own career - in particular the very successful Melissa Bajric Show and her forthcoming album Diamonds And Wine.’


‘Her live show, which features Melissa with a band and slick multimedia production, is booked all over Australia.’


‘The show is very much my journey - I do some of the old songs, and take the audience with me through the years and right through to the new material that's going to be on the album’ she said.”


Preludes to Melissa’s new experiences widens to getting married and moving to Sydney, travelling overseas several times, one to these to her dad’s homeland of Croatia, touring the country taking ‘The Melissa Bajric Show’ across Australia, and holidaying in landmark places like Uluru she once only sang about on ‘Small Town Girl’.


She says ‘It going to be a really exciting this year with a fantastic line up of special guest joining me at the Capitol Theatre for one big show’


‘The band and I have been working on a brand new set list with a few favourite songs from last year and lots of new ones that will also be released later in the year on my new album.’


Diamonds And Wine is due for release later in 2013.  Recorded at LBS Studios with producer Lindsay Butler, the album is supported by a video clip by award winning video producer Ross Wood, who like Lindsay has played a major part in Melissa’s career over the last few years.


Go to Melissa’s webpage for the latest audio and video samples.


The Melissa Bajric Show Tamworth Edition with special guests Lloyd Back, Bob Easter, Donnie Soper, Peter Salata, Slim Newton, Lynette Guest, Charley Boyter, and Lindsay Waddington.





Slim Dusty Centre launches new fund-raiser

A new fund-raiser has been launched to raise funds to complete the last phase of construction and fit-out for the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey (NSW).

Subtitled the "Mates Membership Muster", the campaign invites members of the public to "become a mate of Slim Dusty" by signing up to a loyalty program that offers a range of benefits.

"Australia's King of Country, the late Slim Dusty, was everybody's mate," said a spokesman for the Slim Dusty Foundation, the organisation tasked with establishing the Centre. "From the man on the land, to city dwellers and politicians of all persuasions, Slim was loved and admired for his humble demeanour.

"The lyrics of his timeless songs paint a picture of our great Aussie culture. Now, that heritage is to be preserved for the education of future generations, through the development of the Slim Dusty Centre, a major cultural tourist attraction."

The building stands completed at the gateway to Slim's hometown, but funding is still needed to complete road work for access to the site and the exhibition fit out which will be the heart and soul of the experience. It will house the permanent exhibition of rare artefacts from Slim's own collection, along with innovative, interactive displays depicting his Australian story.

The iconic tourism drawcard is also designed as a multipurpose facility to accommodate functions, events and travelling exhibitions, along with a cafe, retail area and a visitor information centre.

In the new campaign, a television and radio advertisement calls for "Aussies" to "be a mate" and join the "Mates of Slim Dusty Membership Muster".

Dick Smith, Patron of the Slim Dusty Foundation, is the presenter of the ad.

"Slim Dusty is a personal hero of mine," Dick said. "I urge all Aussies to get behind the Membership Muster."

The ad features the famous Slim Dusty song Duncan, written by Pat Alexander. Duncan shot to fame in 1980 and has been a great Australian favourite that is destined to remain ageless.

"The song depicts the true Australian spirit of mateship," the Foundation spokesman said, "which goes hand in hand with Slim's identity. Slim also recorded this popular song live with Rolf Harris, and who could forget I Love To Have A Dance With Dorothy – the version Slim recorded with the Wiggles."

Anthony Field of The Wiggles reflected on the time they recorded with Slim: "Slim Dusty was a great bloke; his musical portraits of Australia and the bush will live forever!"

The "Mates" membership is $50 and will include exclusive benefits including merchandise discounts and a special member's pack with a ticket in a raffle that has as first prizes, a rare collection of every LP Slim Dusty ever released... housed in a handcrafted Nulla Red Cedar cabinet with a glass decal image of Slim.

Further information, and sign up, is available at www.slimdustycentre.com.au.



The Hillbilly Killers – new to Tamworth

The Hillbilly Killers – Catherine Britt, Bill Chambers, James Gillard, Michael Muchow, Shane O'Mara and Tim Rogers – have announced their first ever show for the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Subtitled "musical perversity at its best" the band says it has a clear foundation and love for music... and fun.

"Disciple Chambers spoke to the lone sister Britt, who in turn spoke to disciple Rogers. And yes. Complete conformity (that in it self was a miracle) was reached.

"This journey could be precarious, treacherous and gnarly but we shall do it anyway," they vowed.

"But we need help. Soon two more disciples from the backwaters, Gillard and Muchow, fell under the spell and joined the caravan of soul. Yet something was still missing. Enter disciple O'Mara. The rabble was complete, the caravan full and it was ready to roll through the wilderness to spread the good word that is The Hillbilly Killers, playing live and recording new music, the likes of which had never been seen or heard before."

And so ended the, er... media release! 

The Hillbilly Killers will perform live for the very first time at the Tamworth Services Club on Wednesday, January 23 at 10.30pm.

Tickets are available from www.oztix.com.au.

Weblink – facebook.com/TheHillbillyKillers.

Photo: three of the The Hillbilly Killers – Bill, Catherine and Tim.


Chart Update – Troy hits number one

Troy Cassar-Daley's latest hit – Homehas taken over the top spot on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

This Here Cowboy, the former number one by Roo Arcus, has slipped to second place while Luke O'Shea & Dianna Corcoran's New England Sky edges up another place to number three and McAlister Kemp's Home is up two more spots to number four.

Chelsea Basham's Laugh It Off is also up two to number five, Tamara Stewart's Sisterhood (Of Feeling Good) is at six and The Harmonators' Save Her Soul is another two place riser to number seven.

America's Zac Brown Band is at eight with The Wind, Kaylens Rain's Outta Here debuts in the top 10 at nine, as does The McClymont's Two Worlds Collide at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Jetty Road's Wrong (17 to 14), Morgan Evans' While We're Young (21 to 17), Luke Austen's Drive (22 to 18), Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind (24 to 20), Amber Lawrence's Try (27 to 24), Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road (29 to 25) and Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise (30 to 27).

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



Gidgee winners

Winners in the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards were announced at Pittsworth (Qld) at he weekend.

The Female and Male Vocal awards went to Sharon Heaslip with Blacksoil Plains Of The Outback and Graham Rodger with I Am. Sharon is back  after a long break from country music to raise her children and is also a finalist in Bungendore 2013.

In the Album section, the winner was Peter Coad with Old Bush Mates, while in Instrumental, the gong was taken out by Lawrie Minson & Lindsay Waddington with The Warrumbungle Mare.

Tom McIvor took out the Songwriting and Comedy/Novelty awards with, respectively, We Make Things To Last In The Bush and Piddle In The Middle. Tom, an ex bullriding champion as well as country songwriter, has written many great classics including the song Chainsaw about a rank old bull and recorded by Reg Poole who was a guest artist on this year's Gidgee Coal Awards along with Terry Gordon.

The Group/Duo gong went to Ged & Trudy Hintz with I'll Be Home Soon and in New Talent, Ginger Cox, who plays lead guitar in the style of the late Barry Thornton and came over from Broome for the Awards, was the victor with Rusty It's Goodbye.

Jim Strohfeld was presented with the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Legend Award.

The Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards have been running for seven years and are getting better every year, according to organisers Ros Scotney and Keith Jamieson.

Their objective is to promote Australian independent bush ballad artists, "a genre of music that tells of the history of our people and our land".

Pictured (from left): Jim Strohfeld, Tom Mcivor, Ged & Trudy Hintz, Sharon Heaslip, Graham Rodger, Maggie Stokes (collecting for Peter Coad) and Ginger Cox. Photo by John Elliott.


Adam lends a hand to the Salvos

Multi Golden Guitar winner Adam Brand is lending his vocal skills to this year's Salvation Army Christmas Appeal with his new single I Was Here.

The single is the official anthem of the campaign and will appear throughout the organisation's advertising messages this Christmas.

Adam, who, along with Sony, lent his services pro bono to the campaign, says that he is excited to help out The Salvos during their busiest time of year.

"I have always valued the work of The Salvation Army and its Officers and am thrilled that my song can be a part of this year's Christmas campaign," Adam said.

"I'm honoured to have the work of The Salvos feature in my latest clip – it's a great way to remind people of their important contribution to the Australian community and will hopefully encourage fans to give generously this Christmas."

There are many synergies between Adam's single and the work carried out by The Salvation Army, said a spokesman for the artist, with the song's chorus "I changed a life, touched a heart, took a stand, left a mark" ringing true to the real difference the organisation makes to thousands of Australian families each year.

During the Christmas and New Year period, The Salvation Army aims to provide support to more than 300,000 people, including serving 8,000 Christmas meals and distributing approximately 500,000 toys and gifts.

Major Bruce Harmer, Territorial Communications and PR Secretary for The Salvation Army, said The Salvos were grateful that a personality as well known as Adam was able to show his support "during this important time of year for the organisation".

"Christmas marks the busiest time of year for The Salvos who will spend the holiday season providing valuable support and assistance to thousands of people in need," he said.

"We are grateful to both Adam and Sony Music Australia for donating such a wonderful gift to our Christmas campaign and hope that people will remember to show their support to The Salvation Army this festive season.

"The Salvos expect to distribute over $20 million worth of food vouchers, hampers and toys to those in need this season, so every dollar donated will assist us in providing the greatest gift this Christmas – hope."

Weblinks – www.adambrand.com.au, www.salvos.org.au/christmas.



New album from Sally-Anne

Country Music Capital based singer/songwriter Sally-Anne Whitten is releasing a new album titled Sell My Soul.

The new work is a follow-up to the artist's 2009 debut album Blurring The Lines and features 10 tracks (plus a bonus track/radio mix of one – The Other Side Of Me (the lead single released in December) mixed by award-winning producer Matt Fell).

With production credits going to musical and marital partner Alwyn Aurisch (producer of Golden Guitar winning albums for Michael Roycroft and The Crosby Sisters), seven of the tracks came from Sally-Anne’s own or co-writing pen plus three covers, one each from Don Henley, American blues musician Sonny Landreth and Bonnie Raitt.

The album's title track was a work in progress over a year and a half, according to a spokesman for the artist, "written in the style of Sally-Anne's song writing heroes John Hiatt and Rodney Crowell... with her honest approach at songwriting and pouring herself into the songs, Sally-Anne has not only successfully emulated her heroes but created a strong and honest album to be proud of."

Recorded at Tamworth's Enrec Studios, the album features Sally Anne's live band The Rumour Mill (Alwyn on guitar, mandolin and backing vocals), Trevor Stacey (bass) and Michael Thompson (drums).

A former Star Maker finalist, Sally-Anne has been playing guitar and singing in touring cover bands since she was 15 years old and considers supporting Keith Urban on his 2000 Australian tour in her hometown as a career highlight ("after all, Keith has only been back once since then and invited Lady Antebellum to open his show, a replacement I am totally comfortable with," she said!).

"Sally-Anne walks a fine line that winds its way through country, soul, blues and rock," said Allan Caswell, "wherever it takes her you can bet she will handle it with class, humour and all the right notes."

Sell My Soul was set for official launch tonight in Tamworth.

Weblink – www.sallyannewhitten.com.au.


Women the highlight of annual Mountain Cattlemen's festival

"Women Of The High Country" will be the theme of the Mountain Cattlemen's Association Victoria 2013 annual festival.

To be staged over three days and nights at Licola, Victoria, in early January, the festival's headline act will be The Sunny Cowgirls with support acts including Peter Denahy and Korey Livey.

In addition to the music, the festival will also feature bush poetry, the Mountain Cattlemen's Cup, the Great Australian Packhorse Competition, whip cracking, tug-o-war and Stockman's Challenge.

The festival will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 11 to 13 at Basin Flat, Licola.

Weblink – www.macv.com.au.



Canberra festival kicks off

The 2012 Canberra Country Music Festival kicks off tomorrow for three big days with an extensive program running across five stages, numerous displays, an industry exhibition, dance presentations, workshops and ute, car and truck muster.

Fifty artists will appear, including Troy Barrett, Bowen & Clare, Brewn', Brothers3, Allan Caswell, Aly Cook, Sami Cooke, Paul Costa (pictured), Paul Cowderoy, Rod Dowsett, The Fry Brothers, Nicki Gillis, Errol Gray, The Harmonators (pictured), Steve Passfield, Melissa Robertson, Lana Ross, Louise Saint John and Geoff Williams.

A major part of the program will be a number of awards presentations and talent search activity including the Canberra Country Songwriting Awards, the Canberra Country Music Awards and Canberra's Got Talent.

The ute, van and truck muster is another big attraction with awards including BNS, Feral, Chicks, Vintage, Work, Street, Street Modified, 4WD vehicles as well as overall Best Ute, Best Van and Best Truck.

Festival "venues" include the main Southern Cross Stage, the True Blue Stage (the heritage venue for bush balladeers, linedancers, talent quest and bush poets breakfast) and the Federation Stage (the Festival's secondary grassed outdoor venue located near the camping areas and "home" to country workshops, forums and special concerts for country travellers – "lots of Australian, bluegrass, country folk, country blues, swing and western").

"Music Row" is a southern indoor area not far from the True Blue Stage and home to a range of music industry organisations. "Here can be found the grassroots music clubs, dance groups, institutes and festivals that keep the country music industry alive and innovative," Festival organisers say.

"This is also where music instrument suppliers, manufacturers, recording studios and other related industry service providers gather exhibiting their quality products and services. For the serious musician, vocalists, engineers, teachers and related industry interests! This is the place for networking and promoting country music."

Festival organisers say they are also proud to be associated with the Canberra concert of Lee Kernaghan and Dwight Yoakam in the city.

Website – www.canberracountry.com.


New album on the way for Doug

Doug Bruce has released the first single and title track from his third upcoming album Made That Way.

Written and produced by Doug, the album "reflects the quiet resolution the artist has come to after riding out the trials and tribulations that have marked his six year singing career thus far," a spokesman said.

"Made That Way is about staying true to yourself and who you want to be," Doug says himself, "not being swayed by the latest trends and who you think you need to be to succeed."

With three of his previous radio releases reaching the top two spots on Australia's Country Tracks Top 30 (Sweet, Coffey Road and Honky Tonk Shoes), Doug is hoping listeners will embrace his latest song with equal enthusiasm.

Since moving to Australia seven years ago, the Texas ex-patriate has transformed from drummer and backing vocalist to hone his craft as a singer/songwriter, gathering several industry awards and an ever-increasingfan-base.

Doug self-produced his first two award-winning albums (A Good Place in 2010 and All I Need in 2008) from his recording facility, Shoo Fly Studios. This third album was produced out of a newly located and expanded studio set-up.

With a busy 2012 almost behind them, the next 12 months are shaping up to be another big one for Doug and his band The Tailgaters. They are scheduled to perform at many of Australia's major country music events in 2013 including Tamworth and CMC Rocks the Hunter.

Website – www.dougbruce.com.au.



Tamworth announces Festival Village

Details have been announced for a Festival Village that will be set up to provide "budget-priced accommodation" for visitors to the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Located at the city's Viaduct Park, two blocks away from the main street, the new "budget conscious, convenient accommodation option" will offer visitors the opportunity to book a tent for between three and 10 nights during the annual country music bash.

The move, initiated by Tamworth Regional Council, has been made to "introduce additional quality, low-cost accommodation on the back of a bumper Festival visitation" this year.

Festival Co-ordinator Kate Baker said: "2012 saw a huge increase in visitor numbers to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Numbers grew enormously on the year before. As a result of the influx the need for additional quality accommodation options became apparent and the Festival Village option allows us to offer a convenient, safe, family friendly option starting at just $35 per night."

"Tents will be set up with a travel bed, mattress and lighting and facilities will include showers, toilets, parking and a barbecue and family area. Overnight security will ensure the safety of the grounds and the high quality. All-weather tents are available in two, three and four man sizes."

"The Festival Village will be family friendly," said Catherine Burton, Business Events Officer at Tamworth Regional Council. "Designated family zones will have a 9pm curfew for sleeping children and families and other areas will remain open until midnight for those returning from later events and looking to enjoy the camaraderie and campground atmosphere."

Campers in the Village will receive a complimentary Festival Express wrist band that will entitle them to access the regular buses that service the whole city for the 10 days of the Festival.

Bookings for Tamworth's Festival Village 2013 can be made at www.rentatent.com.au.


Chart Update – three weeks at number one for Roo

The current hit single This Here Cowboy by Roo Arcus records its third successive week at number one on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart .

Troy Cassar-Daley's Home jumps another two places to be hot on Roo's heels while Tamara Stewart's Sisterhood (Of Feeling Good) edges up one place to number three and Luke O'Shea & Dianna Corcoran's New England Sky is also up one to number four.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson are at five with Adam & Eve, McAlister Kemp's Home is up two to six, as is Chelsea Basham's Laugh It Off to number seven.

The Bobkatz' Underneath The Hat is at eight, The Harmonators' Save Her Soul edges up one to nine and America's Zac Brown Band is at 10 with The Wind.

Bullet performers for the week include Kaylens Rain's Outta Here (15 to 11), The McClymont's Two Worlds Collide (17 to 13), Jetty Road's Wrong (21 to 17) and Luke Austen's Drive (25 to 22).

New entries to the chart this week are Catherine Britt's Charlestown Road (in at 29) and the title track to Lee Kernaghan's latest album, Beautiful Noise (at 30).

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



The Borderers, Tracey Rains & Claypan win SA music awards

The Borderers and Tracy Rains & Claypan have taken out awards at the inaugural Fowlers Live Music Awards in South Australia.

Two awards went to The Borderers (pictured at right)... the first for Most Popular South Australian Band or Artist, the second for Most Popular South Australian Release for their new double album Tales Of Love & Loss.
The release is a tribute to Jim and Alex's son Rowan who took his own life two and a half years ago.

"It took a year to record as we wanted it as perfect as possible," said Jim, "and it's fast becoming the fans favourite album."

Tracey Rains & Claypan (pictured below right) won the award for Best Country Act.

Other winners included The Audreys (Best Acoustic Act) and Heather Frahan (Best Folk Act).

A total of 24 awards were presented last Thursday night. Event Organiser Peter Darwin said the Awards were a celebration of independent SA based music, "and I think the nominees showcased the strength, diversity and enthusiasm of our industry players.

"My hope is, that after a gap of seven years, tonight's event will ignite debate and encourage action toward making our sector stronger, and more sustainable."

In other news for The Borderers, Jim and Alex, the duo has been headlining festivals in Europe and are heading to the USA and Canada next September to perform at events including the Americana Festival.

Closer to home, they will be performing five concerts at the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival.


Gidgee Awards

Winners in the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards will be announced at Pittsworth (Qld) this weekend.

Finalists in the Awards are...

For Female Vocal... Sharon Heaslip (pictured) with Blacksoil Plains Of The Outback, Trudy Hintz with My Heart Is Where The Roper Flows Tonight and Dianne Lindsay with Gentleman Joe.

For Male Vocal... Tom McIvor with You Buggered Our Land, Graham Rodger (pictured) with I Am and Pete Smith with Dad's Big Lousiville.

For Album... Peter Coad with Old Bush Mates, Tom McIvor with Son Of The Southern Cross and Graham Rodger with Stronger For It All.

For Songwriting... Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson with Gentleman Joe, Merv Maltman with The Devil's Bull and Tom McIvor with We Make Things To Last In The Bush.

For Instrumental... The Coad Sisters with Anzac's Song, Ginger Cox with Rusty It's Goodbye and Lawrie Minson & Lindsay Waddington with The Warrumbungle Mare.

For Comedy/Novelty... Peter Coad with The Kid On The Kangaroo, Terry Gordon with Dr Day's Green Pills and Tom McIvor with Piddle In The Middle.

For Group/Duo... Terry Gordon & Jamie Davis with A Few Old Country Boys, Ged & Trudy Hintz with I'll Be Home Soon and Graham Rodger & Allan Caswell with Darling Downs

For New Talent... Ginger Cox with Rusty It's Goodbye, Jay Podger with Happy Jack's Hotel and Maggie Stokes with Behind The Boundary Gate.



Catherine and Troy lead 2013 Golden Guitar finalists

Catherine Britt and Troy Cassar-Daley lead the finalist nominations announced in Sydney this morning for the 2013 Country Music Awards of Australia (or Golden Guitar Awards).

The announcement was made by Awards organisers, the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA), for what will be the 41st annual staging of the event, the nation's longest running music industry awards scheme.

Catherine and Troy have seven finalist nominations each, Catherine from her fifth studio album – Always Never Enough, produced by herself with Bill Chambers – Troy from his self-produced current album Home.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson have five finalist nominations from their latest release Wreck & Ruin (produced by Kasey, Shane and Kasey's brother Nash), as do The McClymonts from their album Two Worlds Collide (produced by Peter Asher, Nathan Chapman & Luke Wooten).

Other multiple finalists include Colin Buchanan, Sara Storer and John Williamson each with four nominations, Bob Corbett, Harmony James, Luke O'Shea and Tamara Stewart each with three.

"The 2013 (finalist) nominees are an exciting mix of established artists and new faces," according to a spokesman for the CMAA, "some signed to labels and an increasing number self funded. They also represent a broad stylistic range.

"The New Talent category has the strongest group of nominees in many years and will be a hard one to pick. Bob Corbett, Chelsea Basham, Chris E Thomas, Harry Hookey and Kristy Cox are all outstanding new artists worthy of the recognition that comes with a Golden Guitar.

"Equally hard to predict will be the outcome for the established nominees in what has been an exceptional year for Australian country music."

The finalists, in detail, are...
For Album of the Year – Catherine Britt with Always Never Enough, Troy Cassar-Daley with Home, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson with Wreck & Ruin, McAlister Kemp with Country Proud (produced by Matt Fell) and The McClymonts with Two Worlds Collide.

For Female Artist of the Year – Lyn Bowtell with Beautiful Liar, Catherine Britt with Charlestown Road, Harmony James with Emmylou's Guitar, Amber Lawrence with The Man Across The Street and Tamara Stewart with Sisterhood (Of Feeling Good).
For Male Artist of the Year – Adam Brand with There Will Be Love, Troy Cassar-Daley with Home, Travis Collins with Fired Today, Luke O'Shea with The Drover's Wife and John Williamson with Prairie Hotel Parachilna.

For Group or Duo of the Year – Camille & Stuie with Things Change, Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson with Adam & Eve, The Harmonators with Perfect Storm, McAlister Kemp with Country Proud and The McClymonts with Piece Of Me.

For New Talent of the Year – Chelsea Basham with Laugh It Off, Bob Corbett with Blown Away, Kristy Cox with Miles & Timezones, Harry Hookey with Audrey's Song and Chris E Thomas with Stone Cold.

For Song of the Year – Adam & Eve, written and recorded by Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson; Charlestown Road, written and recorded by Catherine Britt; Emmylou's Guitar, written and recorded by Harmony James; Home, written and recorded by Troy Cassar-Daley; and Women In Song, Written by Tamara Stewart and Colin Buchanan, recorded by Tamara, Sara Storer & Felicity Urquhart.

For Bush Ballad of the Year – The Ballad Of Castlereagh, written by Vaughan Baker, recorded by Bec Hance; Heartbeat Of Australia The Man Of The Land, written by Dean Perrett & Stuart French, recorded by Dean Perrett; Looking Back, written and recorded by Graham Rodger; Mystery Of Saddle Girl, written and recorded by Rex Dallas; Old Tobacco Tin, written and recorded by Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson.

For Single of the Year – Adam & Eve by Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Always Never Enough by Catherine Britt, Country Is by Troy Cassar-Daley, Piece Of Me by The McClymonts and Waitress by Beccy Cole.

For Heritage Song of the Year – Charlestown Road, written and recorded by Catherine Britt; The Drovers Wife, written by Luke O'Shea & Peter Gabrielides, recorded by Luke; Marree Girl, written and recorded by John Williamson, Song Of Australia, written by Colin Buchanan & Garth Porter, recorded by Colin Buchanan, Lee Kernaghan & Sara Storer; and Tall Dark Ringer, written by Troy Cassar-Daley & Colin Buchanan, recorded by Troy Cassar-Daley.

For Instrumental of the Year – Frankenbeanz by Bob Corbett & The Roo Grass Band, One Christmas Night by Tommy Emmanuel, Transpacific by the Davidson Brothers, The Warrumbungle Mare by Lawrie Minson & Lindsay Waddington and Yackandandah 1852 by Pete Denahy.

Top Selling Australian Album of the Year – The Big Red by John Williamson (Warner label), Home by Troy Cassar Daley (Liberation), Songs & Pictures by Beccy Cole (Core), There Will Be Love by Adam Brand (Sony) and Two Worlds Collide by The McClymonts (Universal).

For Video Clip of the Year – Adam & Eve by Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, directed by Duncan Toombs; The Big Red by John Williamson, directed by Mark Jago; Country Is by Troy Cassar-Daley, directed by Duncan Toombs; Charlestown Road by Catherine Britt, directed by Jefferton James; Piece Of Me by The McClymonts, directed by Duncan Toombs.

For Vocal Collaboration of the Year – New England Sky by Luke O'Shea & Dianna Corcoran, Reach For You by Harmony James & Shane Nicholson, Song Of Australia by Colin Buchanan, Lee Kernaghan & Sara Storer, Troubled Man by Catherine Britt & Tim Rogers and Women In Song by Tamara Stewart, Sara Storer & Felicity Urquhart.

Finalists in two new categories are...

For Alternative Country Album of the Year – Lyn Bowtell with Secret Songs (produced by Sean Rudd), Camille & Stuie with Big Days & Little Years (produced by Stuie), Travis Collins with Travis Collins (produced by Travis & Michael McGlynn), Bob Corbett & The Roo Grass Band with Lucky Country (produced by Robbie Long & Bob Corbett) and Kristy Cox with Miles & Timezones (produced by Jerry Salley).

And for Top Selling International Album of the Year – Blown Away by Carrie Underwood (Sony), Emotional Traffic by Tim McGraw (Sony), Home by Dierks Bentley (EMI), Thirty Miles West by Alan Jackson (Sony) and Uncaged by the Zac Brown Band (Warner).

The 41st Golden Guitar Awards will be staged at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre on Australia Day, Saturday January 26.

Weblink – www.country.com.au.


Jayne signs to ABC

Following two successful independent album releases, ABC Music have announced the signing of Australian country music singer/songwriter Jayne Denham.

"From a girl and her ute to a farmer's wife… from legendary truckies to those farming the land… from the outback to life in a country town… or simply, Aussies living it up and having a good time! No matter what it is, if it's about Australian country culture and life, Jayne Denham writes and sings about it," an ABC spokesman said.

Jayne is fast becoming one of Australia's most admired country music performers with impressive and "relentlessly energetic" live shows that have seen her earn performance opportunities at all major Australian country music festivals.

"She's unashamedly Country and a champion of regional and rural life and values," the spokesman said.

Jayne is currently recording her third album, titled Renegade, with leading Australian producer Garth Porter. The album will be released through ABC Music/Universal Music Australia early next year.

"This album will have plenty of rocking country songs," Jayne said, "with a blend of heart felt lyrics and melodies to add to the next step of my journey in Australian country music."

Best known for "rockin'" up-tempo hits like Chick Ute, Shake This Town and Feral Kev & General Leeroy, the first single from Renegade will be Shelter (co-written with Colin Buchanan and Tamara Stewart), a song said to "introduce the more personal side of Jayne Denham to Australian country fans".

"Every song I've ever sung is about real life," Jayne said. "From trucker chicks to mad professors! But Shelter is my most personal song to date. Inspired by all the great folks I've met over the years on the road that live on the land. Hearing their stories and feeling their struggles – but most importantly feeling their passion for what they do."

Shelter will be officially serviced to radio stations and released via iTunes next Monday (November 19).

The Shelter video clip (produced by Paul Denham) can be seen here.

Weblink – jaynedenham.com.


The Beggars "Songbook Tour"

The Beggars are making their biggest tour ever with 15 concerts scheduled in Queensland venues over 23 days from tomorrow (November 13).

Titled "The Australian Songbook Tour" (in reference to the band's 2011 Australian Songbook Vol release), it's billed as a musical tribute to great Australian songs and artists including Johnny Ashcroft, Peter Dawson, Slim Dusty, Johnny O'Keefe, Chad Morgan, The Seekers and Lucky Starr.

"Of course, there are plenty of songs from The Beggars, too."

A highlight of the tour will be the appearance of guest fiddle player Andrew Clermont.

The Beggars are Stuart Day, Renee Donaghey and Quinton Dunne. The band's sound is often compared to The Seekers. Since forming in 2006, they have made multiple Australian and international tours, topped the European country music charts and made more than 150 appearances on the iTunes music charts.

Weblink – www.thebeggars.com.



Bush Ballad finalists announced

Finalists have been announced for the 2013 Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards to be announced during the annual Bungendore (NSW) Country Muster in February.

And they are...

For Male Vocal... Terry Gordon with Australia's Not Australia Anymore, Keith Jamieson (pictured) with The Old Journal and Brian Letton with That's The Way They Were.

For Female Vocal... Sharon Heaslip with Blacksoil Plains Of The Outback, Trudy Hintz with My Heart Is Where The Roper River Flow and Patti Morgan (pictured) with Won't These Memories Let Me Be.

For Group or Duo... Terry Bennetts & Lindsay Butler with Gwangara Sunset, Ginger Cox with Rusty It's Goodbye and Lawrie Minson with The Warrumbungle Mare.

For Album of the Year... Ged & Trudy Hintz with Our Own Aussie Country, Keith Jamieson with Looking Back Along The Track and Tom McIvor with Son Of The Southern Cross.

For the Songwriter award... Keith Jamieson with The Old Journal, Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson with Old Tobacco Tin and Tom McIvor with We Make Things To Last In The Bush.

For the New Talent award... Ginger Cox with Rusty It's Goodbye and Jay Podger with I Love To Sing And Yodel.

For the Comedy Song award... Terry Gordon with Dr Day's Green Pills, Keith Jamieson with My Cleanskin Brand and Tom McIvor with Piddle In The Middle.

No finalists are announced for an eighth award, the Barry Thornton Encouragement Award.

Award winners will be announced on Saturday night, February 2. The Muster runs Saturday and Sunday, February 2 and 3... the first weekend of February every year.

Weblink – www.bungendorecountrymuster.com.au.


Kyabram this weekend

Another major country music event this weekend is the Kyabram RV & Country Music Corral in Victoria.

The artist line-up includes Rick Bartlett, Olive Bice, Owen Blundell (pictured), Graham, Butterworth, Keith Fisher, Callum Gleeson, Briana Lee, Cheryl Lethlean, and Rodney Vincent.

Kyabram is situated between Shepparton and Echuca. The Festival will be held at the town's showground.

Saturday events kick off at 1:45pm and run through the evening while Sunday's program of activity starts with a poet's breakfast from 8am and concludes with a gospel concert that runs from 10am through until midday.

Weblink –www.kyabramtown.com.au.



Christmas release from Jasmine

Singer/songwriter Jasmine Rae is set to release a Christmas EP.

The 2012 CMC (Country Music Channel) Oz Artist of the Year is one of Australian country music's most successful new artists having scored major award nominations for both of her first two albums, Look It Up and Listen Here.

Recently, Jasmine has recorded a duet with US country star Joe Nichols, toured with the likes of Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Lee Kernaghan, performed for Australian troops in East Timor and has achieved more than a million Youtube views for her music videos.

Listen Here topped the Australian country music artist sales chart as well as being a multi-week ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) mainstream Top 40 album.

The new EP – titled Santa's Little Helper – features two original songs, Santa Man and Really Christmas – both co-written by Jasmine and Robyn Payne, plus the classic The Christmas Song and festive favourites Christmas Alphabet and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

It will be released through ABC Music/Universal Music Australia on November 16. The physical CD will be available exclusively through ABC Shops & Retail while the release will also be available digitally via iTunes.

Produced locally by Michael Carpenter, Santa's Little Helper sees Jasmine deliver Christmas tracks with a country/blues flavour and a touch of "big band".

Santa Man will be released to radio on Monday.

Jasmine said her desire to record Christmas songs for her fans stems from a lifelong family passion for Christmas celebration.

"Growing up, we kept our Christmas CDs in the same box as our Christmas tree for 11 months of the year. So when December came around, it was a really special experience for my brother and me to unpack the CDs and put them on as we all decorated the house.

"We'd have at least two sets of lights on our tree, Christmas decorations that had been handed down through the generations, home made bobbles and tinsel galore!! It was, and still is, a really magical time at our place," she said.

Weblink – www.jasminerae.com.au.


Lukes to headline inaugural Mountview Muster this Saturday

Toyota Star Maker winners Like Austen and Luke Dickens will headline the inaugural Mountview music Muster at the Mountview Winery, Glen Alpin (near Stanthorpe, Qld), this Saturday.

"The vines at Mountview Winery will come alive with the best of country, blues and rock," organisers say.

In addition to the Lukes, Tarscha and local talent Amanda Faulkner and Amanda Halloran will also perform.

The day includes an Elvis tribute, a "best country ute" competition and a talent quest with prizes including an acoustic guitar donated by Bandland Toowoomba, the recording of a song CD donated by Rock the House, a guest spot at the 2013 Queensland Champion of Champions and an invitation to return and perform at the 2013 Mountview Music Muster.

Vineyard owners David and Angela McGrath are offering visitors the opportunity to camp overnight at the venue itself.

Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell praised the addition of the Muster to the area's yearly event calendar.

"It's absolutely wonderful to have a country music muster going ahead here. These events have a huge impact on the region and we are looking forward to seeing it grow in the future."

Weblink – www.mountviewmusicmuster.com.au.


Chart Update – Roo's second week at the top

Roo Arcus hangs on to the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with his hit This Here Cowboy.

Tamara Stewart jumps two places to number two with Sisterhood (Of Feeling Good), Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson's Adam & Eveis steady at three while Troy Cassar-Daley's Home jumps three places to number four.

Luke O'Shea & Dianna Corcoran edge up one to five with New England Sky, The Bobkatz' Underneath The Hat is at six and Harmony James' former number one – Emmylou's Guitar – is at seven.

McAlister Kemp's Home edges up one to number eight, Chelsea Basham's Laugh It Off is at nine and The Harmonators' Save Her Soul enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Kaylens Rain's Outta Here (19 to 15), The McClymont's Two Worlds Collide (21 to 17), Camille & Stuie's Things Change (22 to 18), Jetty Road's Wrong (25 to 21) and Graeme Connors' The Love I Leave Behind (29 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week are Amber Lawrence with Try (in at 29) and Christie Lamb (pictured) with Invincible Me (at 30).

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



Smoky & Dot laid to rest

The ashes of late country music legend Smoky Dawson and his wife Dot were respectfully laid to rest in Australia's Country Music Capital, Tamworth, on Saturday (November 3).

In a moving ceremony at the city's lookout, the couple's ashes were scattered by family members after a brief service and the unveiling of a special plaque telling the story of Smoky and Dot.

The plaque was produced by the Smoky Dawson Memorial Committee and installed with the assistance of Tamworth Regional Council.

Smoky died in 2008, aged 94, while Dot passed away two years later at the age of 104.

In January this year, a statue of a seated Smoky, together with a tribute to Dot and his famous horse Flash, was unveiled in Peel Street in the heart of Tamworth's central business district funded by donations from hundreds of fans and supporters across Australia.

The plaque at the lookout reads...

Over eight decades, Smoky and Dot Dawson played leading roles in the great and colourful pageant of Australian Country Music.

While Smoky revelled in his role as showman extraordinaire, Dot, with her creative flair and practical skills, inspired and managed Smoky and kept the show on the road.

Dot met Smoky early in his remarkable career in Melbourne in 1933. He was already a talented, popular entertainer on stage and radio. Dot, known then as Florence Cheers, was a radio personality, writer and producer. Together they created a special magic.

By the late 1930s, Smoky had discovered hillbilly music and when he made his first recording in 1941, it was clear he would be a star. In the decades that followed, he and Dot built an amazing career. In 1953, after a short but brilliant spell in America, they returned home to the incredibly successful Kelloggs radio show, “The Adventures Of Smoky Dawson”. Broadcast throughout Australia, it made Smoky and his horse Flash national identities. Smoky composed, recorded and performed hundreds of songs for his vast audience of loyal fans and received countless awards and accolades.

The Dawsons had a long and personal association with Radio 2TM and Tamworth stretching back to the ‘50s, including an appearance on the first Golden Guitar Awards in 1973 and Smoky’s song Everybody Knows Why Everybody Goes To Tamworth. The city became their second home and Tamworth adopted them too.

Smoky and Dot were treasured by all who knew them as two genuinely warm and talented people supporting and complementing each other personally and professionally.

Together they created the legendary figure that we know as "Smoky Dawson".


ARIA chart action

Lee Kernaghan's new album Beautiful Noise retains the number one position on the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Australian Country Chart this week after debuting last week in the top spot.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson are steady at number two with Wreck And Ruin while Keith Urban's "best of" The Story So Far is at three and Adam Brand's There Will Be Love is at four.

The Very Best Of Slim Dusty is at five, The McClymonts' Two Worlds Collide is at six and Lee Kernaghan's Ultimate Hits is at seven.

Busby Marou's self-titled album is at eight, John Williamson's Absolute Greatest : 40 Years True Blue is at nine and Keith Urban's Greatest Hits: 18 Kids is at 10.

Check the full listing here.



New album from The Pigs

The Great Bluegrass Swindle is the title of The Pigs new album.

Described in typical "Pigs" style as "a shotgun wedding of bad ass musicianship to a mix of crazy good pop ballads and hip hop covers – and Pigs originals added in for your enjoyance" the album combines six original tunes with songs the band has "made their own".

The Pigs are known for both their "righteous interpretations" of other people's songs and for "wowing" audiences at venues and festivals around Australia.

Weblink – www.thepigs.com.au.


Poetry group hands competition over

Tamworth Poetry Reading Group is handing over its annual Essential Energy Tamworth Bush Poetry Competition, conducted every year during the January country music festival, to the Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA).

The competition began more than 25 years ago when a small local poetry reading group began a bush poetry competition in a local hotel.

Now known as the Golden Damper Awards, the competition is held every year at the West Tamworth League Club and sponsored by Essential Energy.

Under the ABPA the competition will continue with the same two sections, Original and Traditional and entries are now being invited from both established and new performers.

Entry forms are available from the ABPA website, www.abpa.org.au or can be requested by sending a stamped, self addressed envelope to ABPA, PO Box 701 Morningside Qld 4170.

The closing date for entries is January 7.



Big changes for Toyota Star Maker

Toyota Star Maker, one of the Tamworth Country Music Festival’s foundation events, is set to undergo significant changes for 2013.

For the first time in 34 years, Australian country music's milestone country music talent search will be staged over two nights and the audience will have a say in the final judging through SMS voting.

The competition will see a reduction in the number of competitors from 20 to 12 with just four acts going through to the Grand Final.

Twelve pre-selected finalists from across Australia will perform on Sunday January 20 at the Toyota Star Maker Final 12, along with a host of former winners.

During this Final, the audience will be invited to vote via SMS while the show progresses with their votes displayed live on screen. "These will not only assist with the judges' final choices," said a spokesman for the organisers, "but the contestant with the most audience votes, regardless of the judges' three choices, will automatically go through to the Grand Final."

Another significant change is that the winner will not be declared at that traditional first Sunday night concert. Instead, the four grand finalists will be announced and then promoted through the week of the festival, finally to compete on Friday January 25 at the Toyota Star Maker Grand Final as part of Toyota's "Stars Under the Stars" concert in Tamworth's Bicentennial Park.

The grand finalists will perform three songs each for the judges in front of several thousand fans, all in a complete show featuring 1982 Star Maker winner and Australia's biggest hit-maker, Lee Kernaghan. Accumulated and live SMS audience voting will account for 50 per cent of the judges' final decision and announcement of the Toyota Star Maker 2013 winner.

Barry Harley, General Manager of Rural Press Events, organisers of the talent search, said there was always a healthy amount of controversy when the winner was announced and this new, positive, change to the way things were done, would ensure the audience and fan base vote would be counted.

"Engaging the fans and audience into the decision-making process and embracing current technologies is very important in keeping the event fresh," he said.

"These changes will also generate a lot more interest and give at least four of our contestants a few extra moments to shine before an enormous number of potential fans.

"Of course, we have to thank our long-time supporter Toyota for embracing and facilitating these changes, and the grand final under the stars with Lee Kernaghan will guarantee many thousands will immediately know who the new Toyota Star Maker is – and will rightly feel part of the selection process. It's a 'win-win' for contestants and fans alike."

The Toyota Star Maker Final 12 will be held at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre on Sunday January 20 from 7.30pm.

Along with the Top 12, the night will feature performances from the reigning Toyota Star Maker Bob Corbett and previous Star Maker winners Travis Collins (2004), Liam Brew (2009), Luke Austen (2010) and 2011 winner Luke Dickens. The event will be compered by 1996 Star Maker Darren Coggan.

Standard tickets for the Sunday event are $24 and VIP Premium tickets are $35 which includes a souvenir program, Star Maker souvenir CD, access to the Toyota Star Maker after party and to VIP seating at the grand final in the park.

Toyota Star Maker, now in its 34th year, is famous for launching the careers of some of Australia’s greats including James Blundell. Darren Coggan, Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban.

In announcing the changes, Barry said although the philosophy and principles of the Star Maker process had remained virtually unchanged for more than three decades, organisers had continually upgraded the prize content for the winner.

"The prize pool is now worth well in excess of $100,000," he said.

"The changes for 2013 are, more than anything, designed to engage the audience and fans more, and to expose the cream of Australia's country talent to a much wider community."


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