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Vale – Dot Dawson

Dot Dawson, wife and partner of the late Smoky Dawson, died in her Sydney nursing home this afternoon after a long illness.

Dot celebrated her 104th birthday just a couple of weeks ago on October 12.

Florence Dawson (nee Cheers) was born in Maryborough, Victoria, in 1906 to a mother with an Italian background and a father with a Welsh background.

In an interview by Rob Willis on file at the National Library of Australia, Dot recalled winning four guineas in a voice training competition in Bendigo, her first public performance at the Melbourne Town Hall and teaching elocution to young hopeful stars of radio and stage through the 1920s and '30s.

She recalled working at an amateur radio station in the late 1920s and being one of the first female broadcasters on radio.

In the interview, Dot says she was offered a job in radio, starting in voice production, radio plays, early radio advertising and children's radio programs including the 3KZ children's program after which she was called up by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) to work for them during the war including in the drama section and sound effect studios.

When she met Smoky in the early 1930s, she said Smoky's ambition was to succeed.

She recalled their early courting days, Smoky's songs and his illness after the war when he was laid up in hospital for more than a year. Dot and Smoky met doing their radio work.

After her time at the ABC, she returned to 3KZ where she stayed until she and Smoky took up an offer to go to America. While in the USA, Dot worked at a radio station in Tennessee as well as with Smoky.

Though the Dawsons, who married in 1944, never had children of their own, the couple loved children. This love extended to taking in a foster child for four years and to a long association with the Bear Cottage children's charity.

Among Dot's memorable radio career, she said, was getting involved with promoting Police on radio programs for children ("My Friend The Policeman") and the "Aunty June" program (Dot was Aunty June).

As recently as 2006, Dot and Smoky were still involved in radio, presenting a weekly country music program on a community station on Sydney's north shore.

Photo: Dot Dawson, at one of her last official functions, the 2007 Australian Country Music Hall of Fame Salute dinner to her and Smoky in Tamworth.


Entries open for Toyota Star Maker 2011

Entries have opened for the 32nd staging of Australia's leading country music talent search Toyota Star Maker 2011.

The winner will be determined at the event's grand final on Sunday, January 16, at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre.

Star Maker has been responsible for launching the careers of many of today's major country stars including James Blundell, Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban since it was first staged in Country Music Capital in 1979.

"Toyota Star Maker is an annual search for an individual star who has the greatest potential to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the prize package valued at more than $150,000 including a full album record deal," said a spokesman for organisers Rural Press Events.

"The message is: if you are ready to take the next big step, enter and you could join previous winners on the ride of your life."

As well as the album deal and a "big budget" recording session the Star Maker 2011 prize package includes 12 months use of a Toyota motor vehicle, a fuel card for the year after winning the quest, guaranteed performance bookings at a designated list of major events and a return air ticket to Nashville for the CMA (Country Music Association) Festival in June 2011.

"Reigning Star Maker Luke Austen is reaping the rewards offered by winning... he has enjoyed writing with major artists including his former employer Troy Cassar-Daley as well as Adam Harvey and Shane Nicholson," the spokesman said.

"He recorded his debut album as part of his prize with producer Graham Thompson of Compass Brothers Records and has been touring throughout the year.

"An addition to the prize this year, unbeknown to Luke at the time of his win, was the return flight to Nashville in June where he had a guest performance on the Global Artist Party joining artists from around the world to showcase his talents in front of industry experts.

"Artists seriously looking for a professional long term career in country music are invited to apply.

Application forms can be downloaded at


Troy "live"

Just before Troy Cassar-Daley headed off to Nashville earlier this year, he recorded a live show in Sydney.

The show, at Sydney's Seymour Centre, was the last one on his 18-month long "I Love This Place" tour and was recorded on June 23.

The resulting CD is a double CD set with 26 songs while the accompanying DVD is more than two hours in duration and includes exclusive behind the scenes footage.

The works include two new tracks, duets with Jimmy Barnes and Joy McKean.

Both the CD and DVD will be available from this Friday (the 29th).

Meanwhile, Troy has announced details of his annual "Friends" show during the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival.

To be staged again at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre, the show is set for Thursday January 20 at 4:30pm.

Tickets are now on sale here.

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Alan to star at CMC Rocks The Hunter

American country superstar Alan Jackson has been announced as the headline act for CMC (Country Music Channel) Rocks The Hunter to be staged at the Hope Estate winery Polling in the NSW Hunter Valley in March.

The event line-up was announced today and follows the news in recent days of the complete sell-out of Alan's five concert tour of Australia at the same time, including two additional shows which had to be added due to strong demand in Brisbane (the third Brisbane show sold out just 23 minutes after tickets went on sale).

Alan will be joined in the Hunter Valley by Australian stars Troy Cassar-Daley, Dianna Corcoran, Harmony James, Jonah's Road, The McClymonts, Russell Morris and Jasmine Rae together with fellow US stars Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert and Joe Nichols and Canada's Emerson Drive.

Additional local acts appearing will include Victoria Baillie, Liam Brew, Stephanie Brownlee, Mike Carr & Springfield, Jayne Denham, Busby Marou, Peter McWhirter, McAlister Kemp, Markus Meier, Mark Wells and The Wilson Pickers and from overseas Dean Brody (Canada), Buxton Hughes (America) and O'Shea (ex-pat Aussies Mark and Jay O'Shea from America) and a surprise guest artist.

Hosts for the event will be Steve Forde and America's Storme Warren (host of the top-rating US television program "Headline Country").

Now in its fourth year, CMC Rocks (previously The Snowys) has built a reputation for offering music fans "mind-blowing" line-ups not seen anywhere else in Australia, organisers say.

The event will be staged on the weekend of March 5 and 6. Tickets go on sale next Wednesday (November 3).



Chart Update – Graeme takes top spot

Graeme Connors (pictured) takes the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with his hit All The Money's Gone.

Kasey Chambers' Little Bird jumps two places to be at number two, Dianna Corcoran's Wrong Girl, number one for the last four weeks, is at three and Adam Harvey's Better Than This is at four.

Adam Brand's It's Gonna Be OK edges up one to five, Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl jumps three places to number six as does Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze to seven.

Lianna Rose's Smoking Gun is at eight, Alan Jackson's Hard Hat And A Hammer is at nine and Lee Kernaghan's Love In The Time Of Drought enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Peter McWhirter's I Will Stand By You (20 to 17), Darren Colston's Fly Away (23 to 20) and Luke O'Shea's Midnight Train (30 to 25).

New entries to the chart this week include Jason Lee's Up A Creek (in at 28), Tania Kernaghan's Droving Cattle With The Boys (at 29) and Don Costa's Mystery Train (at 30).

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"Pop" Kernaghan's last ride

Drover Patrick "Pop" Kernaghan, late father and grandfather to Australia's Kernaghan musical dynasty, has been honoured in the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame.

ABC Radio reported that Patrick's son Ray and Ray's daughter Tania, have penned the life story of their father and grandfather who spent his life droving.

They delivered his story and a portrait to the Hall of Fame last week where it will be displayed.

Following the presentation, Ray and Tania performed Patrick's favourite song, Leave Him In The Longyard.

Ray Kernaghan said his father often talked about the Hall which recognises the contribution drovers have made to the development of Australia.

"He was a drover all of his life in the Riverina," the ABC reported Ray saying.

"When he was a young boy he used to help his father who had bullock teams hauling wool."

Ray said his father was the first person in the Riverina to introduce the caravan as a mode of transport and accommodation for drovers.

Meanwhile, Ray and Tania also performed a number of songs at a charity concert fundraiser for Angel Flight with school and community choirs at the Hall of Fame.

Tania is the Patron of Angel Flight and has been travelling with her parents through Queenland's central-west with the Outback Trailblazers.

She said she's been amazed at the community support behind the event.

"We're aiming over the next five years to raise a million dollars for Angel Flight and we're well on our way. But it has been terrific the support, we've got twice as many teams this year as last year, so goodness only knows what might happen next year.

"This is my second year with the Outback Trailblazer group and I tell you it just keeps getting better every year. It's just amazing."

The Outback Trailblazer event started in Barcaldine (Qld) and travelled to 12 different towns over seven days.

Photo (by Julia Harris): Ray and Tania Kernaghan unveil a portrait of their father and grandfather at the Stockman's Hall of Fame.


Golden Fiddle entries open

Entries are now open for the 2011 Golden Fiddle Awards.

To be judged at the end of the year, winners will be announced at the Awards' gala concert in Tamworth on Thursday January 20.

Entries close on November 30. Entry forms can be downloaded from

Entries can be made in eight categories... Best fiddler (as a soloist); Best band, group, ensemble, club or orchestra featuring a fiddler; Best CD by a fiddler as soloist; Best CD by a band, group, ensemble, orchestra or club featuring a fiddler; Lifetime Achievement Award; Youth Achievement Award; Best Fiddle Teacher in 2010; and Best Fiddle Composition.

The Golden Fiddle Awards were launched in 2005 as an awards system for violin players embracing all musical styles and focuses on nurturing, supporting and rewarding the wealth of violin playing, performance and composing talent in Australia and New Zealand.

Winners to date have included the likes of Andy Baylor (pictured), The Bostocks, Marian Burns, Jane Coleman, Ian Cooper, the Davidson Brothers, Fiddlers Feast, Khalida Foster, Catherine Fraser, Pixie Jenkins, Paul Kelly & The Stormwater Boys, Mike Kerin, Mykl Lozin, Jodie Moore, Emma Louise Nixon, Clare O'Meara, Jess Randall, Marcela Taylor, Jenny Thomas, George Washingmachine and Asmira Woodward-Page.

Tickets for the Awards concert and presentation can be obtained here.



Illawarra Folk Festival

The Slacky Flat Showground at Bulli (NSW) will host 120 acts with 600 performers and up to 8,000 people when the Illawarra Folk Club presents its 26th annual Festival between January 13 and 16 next year.

With the full program to be released in November, organisers say already some of the greatest folk performers from every state and overseas have indicated that they will be there.

"Twenty-three years ago, in 1988, when the Festival was in its infancy and still held at Jamberoo, Ted Egan and Eric Bogle both came to give the Festival support and started the growth pattern that has occurred ever since.

"Eric and Ted are reunited (for the 2011 event) for the first time in the Illawarra since those heady days. (And) this year they will be supported by a cast containing some of the best contemporary performers..."

Australian acts will include The Barons of Tang, Tracey Bunn, John Broomhall, Jack Flash, The Go Set, the Handsome Young Strangers, Emma Hannah, Neil Murray, The Pigs, Nick Rheinberger, Claire Roberts, Rough Red, The Tealeaves, Ami Williamson and Graham Wilson.

Overseas performers will include Fay Blais from Canada, Jonathon Bob Lynn from Canada, George Mann from the USA, Barry McGrath from Ireland, the 11-piece Orkestra Del Sol from the UK, Sleepy Lou from the USA and Swiss singer Bettina Schelker.

Local talent will include Big Erle, Paul Greene, Wongawilli and many, many, more, organisers say.

Friday and Saturday of the event will again feature a special Youth Folk Concert presenting more than 20 up and coming folk artists.

"Poets will be led by Carol Heuchan and Peter Mace and there will be a huge dance program and as usual plenty for the kids with their own dedicated venue.

"With 12 venues operating simultaneously, the problem for the thousands who flock there every year is making the hard decision about who to see and what to do.

"The Festival park becomes the Mecca for Food and Craft stalls over the three days and the whole festival winds up with a colourful parade and a great finale concert."

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Chart Update – Dianna's four weeks at number one

Dianna Corcoran is at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the fourth week in a row with her hit Wrong Girl.

Adam Harvey is steady at number two with Better Than This, as is Graeme Connors with All The Money's Gone at number three while Kasey Chambers' Little Bird is up two places to number four.

Jetty Road's I Have Been is at five, Adam Brand's It's Gonna Be OK is up two to six and Lianna Rose's Smoking Gun is steady again at seven.

America's Alan Jackson is at eight with Hard Hat And A Hammer, Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl enters the top 10 at nine as does Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Lee Kernaghan's Love In The Time Of Drought (20 to 14), Luke Austen's She's So You (18 to 15), Beccy Cole's Here You Come Again (19 to 16), Graham Rodgers' Angels Without Halos, Katrina Burgoyne's Ghost (22 to 19), Peter McWhirter's I Will Stand By You and Darren Colston's Fly Away (26 to 23).

New entries to the chart this week include Luke O'Shea (pictured) with Midnight Train (in at 30).

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Jayco announced as Tamworth sponsor

Recreational vehicle maker Jayco has been announced as the exclusive naming rights partner for the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival and Country Music Awards of Australia.

A sponsor of the Awards for a number of years and of the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre this year, the 2011 involvement for Jayco will be the first time a sponsor has had naming rights for both the Festival and the Awards.

Councillor Col Murray, Mayor of Tamworth Regional Council, said: "We warmly welcome Jayco as our exclusive naming rights partner and look forward to working together to further enhance our world famous event.

"The trusted Jayco brand has reinforced their support of the annual January celebration that welcomes over 50,000 visitors to Tamworth to celebrate all things Australian and country music."

Jayco Marketing Director Andrew Ryan said his company was thrilled to be able to increase its sponsorship of the "iconic event".

"We believe the Jayco brand and the Tamworth Country Music Festival go hand-in-hand. We're delighted to be able to support Australian country music at the grassroots, and an event that brings so many people to country NSW."

Jayco's involvement within the Country Music Capital event stems back to 2007 when they first became sponsor of the Awards.

President of the Country Music Association of Australia John Williamson also welcomed Jayco's expanded sponsorship role.

"I love the fact that you have a truly Australian brand backing Australia's music," he said. "Jayco's progression to exclusive naming rights sponsor is a natural and fantastic outcome for Tamworth and country music."

For 2011, the festival and Awards will be promoted as the Jayco Tamworth Country Music Festival and the 39th Jayco Country Music Awards of Australia.

The official Festival dates are Friday January 14 to Sunday January 23. The Awards will be staged on Saturday, January 23.

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Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass this weekend

The town of Dorrigo in NSW will stage its annual Folk & Bluegrass Festival this weekend from Friday night to Sunday afternoon with what organisers describe as "another fantastic program".

"There will be performances and workshops featuring interstate and local talent from a variety of traditional and contemporary folk and bluegrass genres," they say. "Visiting performers just love our friendly country town atmosphere and the intimate style of the Festival."

As in previous years, many of the performers will present workshops covering all aspects of bluegrass and "old timey" music. There will  be a variety of vocal workshops as well as fiddles, clawhammer banjo, bluegrass mandolin, autoharp, several styles of guitar including Celtic rhythm, flatpicking, Manouche, Bluegrass, dobro and finger picking suitable for beginners upwards.

There will also be dedicated kids events each day, including singing, Bollywood dance, yodelling, storytelling, kazoo and ukelele.

Artists appearing in the weekend's "packed program" include Josh Bennett with his Beat Box, Bluestone Junction, Innes Campbell & Present Company, Kristy Cox (pictured), The Junes, Anabele Kay, the Ewan Mackenzie Duo, Lyn & Evan Mathieson, the Miles to Go Trio, Mothers of Intention, My-T-Fine String Band, Ruby for Lucy, the Slickville Pickers, Stars of Thursday, Stiff Gins and Bonnie Ware.

"A must-do for those who love to sing will be a Festival Choir. The choir will rehearse on Saturday and Sunday mornings and perform on Sunday afternoon on the Festival's main stage with duo Mundy-Turner (Catherine Mundy and Jay Turner), an internationally touring acoustic and songwriting duo."

The Dorrigo Festival also features musical breakfasts at town cafes on Saturday and Sundays mornings and a Bush Poet's Breakfast with award winning poets Gabbi Colquhoun and Peter Mace at the Heritage Hotel on Saturday morning.

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Alan sells out Down Under

American country music superstar Alan Jackson sold out a third Brisbane concert in 30 minutes this morning.

The sell-out equals the record set by heavy metal band Metallica, the only other announced touring act with three sell-outs at the venue.

"It's fantastic," said co-promoter Michael Chugg.

"The Eagles, Michael Buble, Andre Rieu and Muse have all got two Brisbane concerts, but country and metal take the lead with three and they sell-out!

"Country's the new heavy-weight and most of the mainstream hasn't even really noticed yet," he said.

Alan extended his first tour of Australia on Friday when tickets to all four of his east coast concerts, including two in Brisbane, sold-out within an hour.

Co-promoter Rob Potts, in Nashville with the artist's management at the time, undertook swift negotiations and a third Brisbane concert for Saturday March 12 was added. Tickets went on-sale at 9am Queensland time this morning.

"This is such great news," Rob said. He's spent more than a decade working to get country music's big names like Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson to Australia.

"I always knew there was a market for the big names to come here," he said, but I am so grateful to the fans who have made it even bigger and better than I thought it could be.

"To be sitting above the likes of the Eagles and alongside Metallica is just amazing."

Alan Jackson will be supported by fellow American Miranda Lambert and Australia's Jasmine Rae.

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Chart Update – Dianna's third week at the top

Dianna Corcoran (pictured) is at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the third week in succession with her hit Wrong Girl.

Adam Harvey edges up one to be at number two with Better Than This, as does Graeme Connors with All The Money's Gone to number three and Jetty Road to number four with I Have Been.

Harmony James' Good Enough is down to five, Kasey Chambers' Little Bird is up three places to number six while Lianna Rose's Smoking Gun is steady at seven.

Adam Brand's It's Gonna Be OK bounds into the top 10 at eight, America's Alan Jackson is at nine with Hard Hat And A Hammer and The Bobkatz' The Old HR is steady at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze (15 to 12), Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl (16 to 13), Luke Austen's She's So You (21 to 18), Beccy Cole's Here You Come Again (22 to 19), Lee Kernaghan's Love In The Time Of Drought (24 to 20) and Katrina Burgoyne's Ghost (25 to 22).

New entries to the chart this week include Marie Hodson with Cowboys Love Texas (in at 30).

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Tracy wins Golden Saddle

Tracy Killeen (pictured) was named winner of the main Golden Saddle Award in Sydney last night.

Tracy won the Golden Saddle Business Award while Tori Darke took home the Golden Saddle People's Choice Award and Gemma Luxton was announced as winner of the Music Video Award.

Earlier in the day, the Junior Saddles competition was held with Margie-May Hockey taking out the main title and Cameron Cusack named winner of the Junior Saddles Artist Development Award.

Golden Saddles Convenor Donna Boyd said both day and night activities were "fantastic".

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Roll Of Renown 2011

The announcement of the recipient of the Australian Country Music Roll Of Renown honour will be made at the reinstated Roll Of Renown Concert at the Tamworth Town hall on the first Saturday of the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

This follows a trial change in 2010 which saw the announcement made in Bicentennial Park later in the week.

"The fans were instrumental in the decision to change back to the traditional Saturday show," Australian Country Music Foundation Secretary Jon Wolfe said.

"They were very vocal in wanting the big show which features many artists and the announcement of the Roll Of Renown in the Tamworth Town Hall."

The 2011 Roll Of Renown Concert will feature 2010 Roll inductee Anne Kirkpatrick (pictured) as well as Bill Chambers, Rex Dallas, Carter Edwards, Matt Manning, Bruce McCumstie, Pixie, Nicole Taylor, Chris E Thomas and a number of surprise guest artists.

As well as the announcement of the Roll Of Renown announcement, the concert will also reveal the names of those whose handprints will go into the Hands Of Fame cornerstone, the Broadcasters' Hall Of Fame and the 2011 recipient of the Eric Watson Australian Country Music Literary Award.

The Roll Of Renown Concert gets underway at 2pm on Saturday, January 15. Tickets can be obtained on line here or by telephoning (02) 6767 5300.

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40th album from the Howies

The Howie Bros have released a new album – their 40th – titled Heartbeat.

Twins John and Graeme Howie have always been attracted to lyrical ballads and in particular, they say, songs about love and human interaction.

"We first heard If I Had My Life To Live Over on the One Day At A Time LP by The Hawking Bros," Graeme said, "and every time we heard their version, thought "we must record a Howie Bros version of that one day. Well that day arrived!

"Home Isn't Home Anymore by Merv Gleeson from Ulverstone in Tasmania was on the short list for our award-winning album Memories back in 1978, but didn't make the final cut. Here we have recorded it 32
years later. John and I have always loved the song. Merv wrote House Where The Wind Blows Cold off our 1901 album An Old Fashioned Country Way Of Singing which won our first Golden Guitar (Best New
Talent 1979), at the Australasian Country Music Awards. We think he is a great songwriter."

Most of the songs on the album are Graeme Howie originals (three of these co-written with Melbourne songwriter Maree White) – My Geisha Girl's An Angel In Disguise, I'll Be Your Lighthouse, If You'll Be My
and The Glue That Binds Us All Is You.

Other Graeme Howie originals include Two Hearts Beating As One, What If You'd Asked Me To Dance, Waltz Me All Night Long, If Only You'd Hold Me LIke I Hold You, I Wonder Why You Love Me and If Only I Could Hold You One More Time.

"The final track on the album is Caroline Moon, a song that we never get sick of performing. It has a wonderful melody & beautiful chord progression," Graeme said.

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Chart Update – Dianna still at number one

Dianna Corcoran maintains her grip on the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the second week with her hit Wrong Girl and follows on from her major wins at the weekend's Australian Independent Country Music Awards.

Harmony James and Adam Harvey remain at two and three, respectively, with Good Enough and Better Than This while Graeme Connors' All The Money's Gone edges up one more place to number four.

Jetty Road is also up one with I Have Been at five, The McClymonts' Hearts On Fire is at six and Lianna Rose's Smoking Gun is up to seven.

The Sunny Cowgirls' Naughty Side is at eight, Kasey Chambers' Little Bird enters the top 10 at nine as do The Bobkatz with The Old HR at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Tracy Killeen's Metrosexual Craze (18 to 15), Adam Brand's It's Gonna Be OK (18 to 13), Kaylee Bell's Ride That River (20 to 17), Markus Meier's Rope A Cowgirl (20 to 16), Graham Rodger's Angels Without Halos (26 to 23), Lee Kernaghan's Love In The Time Of Drought (28 to 24) and Peter McWhirter's I Will Stand By You (29 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week include Steve Forde (pictured) with the title track to his new album Hurricane (at 30).

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Sunny Cowgirls headline at Red Hill

The Sunny Cowgirls – nationally recognised as one of the "hottest country groups" around – have been booked as headline act for the 2011 Red Hill Country Music Festival on Sunday January 9.

"Sophie and Celeste Clabburn will be singing up a storm when they perform songs from each of their four albums they've released since they started out in 2005 so we're going to be in for a treat," said a spokesman for Festival organisers.

The Red Hill Country Music Festival is held at the Red Hill Showground and is a regular family day out on the Victorian Mornington Peninsula holiday entertainment calendar.

Organised by Mornington Peninsula Lions Clubs, all proceeds from the event are donated to local health care services.

Compere for the day will be local country music identity Gary Turner who will introduce, in addition to The Sunny Cowgirls along Doug Bruce & the Tailgater, The Moonee Valley Drifters, Amber Joy Poulton and local outfits Bona Fide Travellers, Tim Farren, Phoenix and The The Prairie Oysters.

As well as the top-line artists, the Festival will feature "a huge Hot Rod Show and Ute Muster".

"It's worth coming along to see how these vehicles are presented, and each visitor gets to vote for the trophies that are awarded," the spokesman said.

"To encourage young country stars of the future, the Festival also presents some of the best up-and-coming youth talent who get to perform during the day.

"Overall, this is a great day out for the whole family, with music, cars, food and market stalls and rides for the kids. The show runs from 9am to 6pm, and at $25 per adult (pensioner $20) with 14 years and under free, it's great value for money.

"We look forward to seeing you there on the 9th January at the Red Hill Country Music Festival."

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New Mayor for Country Music Capital

Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, has a new Mayor.

Previous Deputy Mayor Col Murray was elected last week to replace James Treloar who served as Mayor almost continuously since 1995.

Councillor Murray, who won the position from Paul Durant in a two way tussle at last week's Council meeting, said he had large shoes to fill.

A three-way ballot saw Russell Webb elected as Deputy Mayor from Phil Betts, Ray Tait and Juanita Wilson.

Council also has a new General Manager in Paul Bennett who took over from Glenn Inglis recently.

Pictured (from left): new Tamworth Mayor Col Murray, Deputy Mayor Russell Webb and outgoing Mayor James Treloar.

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Ian gains success in Europe

Victorian singer/songwriter Ian "Bidge" Boyd has achieved European chart success with the title song of his second CD Among The Lakes And Craters.

The song, written about the changes Ian says he has seen in his lifetime living at Weerite in south west Victoria following several years of drought, debuted at number 78 and was number one in Norway, Slovakia and Sweden as well as number three in Germany and The Netherlands.

Among The Lakes And Craters follows Too Many Pockets which reached number 27 in the ECMA (European Country Music Association) charts and was number one in Italy earlier this year.

Ian's debut CD – Every Second, Every Minute – was recorded in 2006, the current release was recorded last year, both at Swingin' Door studio under the production of Stuie French.

Leading musicians featured including Mick Albeck, Brad Bergen, Chris Haigh, Ian Lees, Bill Risby, Michel Rose in addition to Stuie and Camille Te Nahu.



Dianna scoops 2010 Southern Stars

Dianna Corcoran has scooped the pool at this year's Australian Independent Country Music Awards – the Southern Stars – announced during the Mildura Country Music Festival last night.

The Awards, sponsored by Neighbourhood Cable, saw Dianna take home three titles... Single of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year (for Thank You For Cheating On Me) and the prestigious Australian Independent Artist of the Year award.

Luke O'Shea was another multiple winner capturing Male Vocalist of the Year and Heritage Track of the Year with Shadow Of A Cloud.

Amber Lawrence won the highly sought after Album of the Year award with When It All Comes Down.

Jason Lee was named winner of the Australian Independent Rising Star Award with A Memory while Sarah McMonagle took out the Rising Star Female Award with Tea On Tuesday, both awards sponsored by "Country Music Capital News".

The multi-awarded Davidson Brothers won Group/Duo of the Year with their track Born To Play.

The Barry Thornton Memorial Award was presented posthumously to Peter Menzies as a significant contributor to the Mildura Country Music Festival. Pete was Vice President of the Festival at the time of his death in June this year, a position he had served in for 18 years.

The Australian Independent Country Music Awards were instigated in 1997 by the Mildura Country Music Festival Committee to recognise the recording achievements of independent artists in Australian country music.

Pictured (from left): Sarah McMonagle, Dianna Corcoran, Luke O'Shea and Amber Lawrence with their awards.

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Tamworth tickets on sale on line today

Tickets for many of the major events organised for the 2011 Tamworth Country Music Festival in January went on sale on line today.

These include the annual Golden Guitar Awards, Roll of Renown Concert, Toyota Star Maker, Australian Bush Laureate Awards and star shows such as "My Stories… My Dreamings" with Sara and Greg Storer, "The Rematch" featuring Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey (pictured) and Troy Cassar-Daley's "Friends" concert.

The Golden Guitar Awards (Country Music Awards of Australia) will be staged at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre (TRECC) on Saturday, January 22.

The Roll of Renown Concert will return to the Festival schedule on Saturday January 15 at the historic Tamworth Town Hall.

Toyota Star Maker will run as usual at the TRECC through Sunday and Sunday night while the Bush Laureate Awards take place at the Town Hall on Tuesday.

Beccy and Adam will appear at the TRECC on Wednesday afternoon, January 19, at 2:50pm, Sara and Greg Storer will perform there on the Thursday afternoon from 12:30 and Troy's concert is scheduled for the same day at 4:30pm.

A new event this year will be the return of the John Butler Trio which will perform in a one off show on Wednesday January 19 from 6:30pm at the TRECC.

Dozens of shows are now available to book on line and we will be featuring more on these pages as January approaches.

The Tamworth Country Music Festival will run this year officially from Friday January 14 to Sunday January 23. The Festival Countdown takes place from Friday the 7th to Thursday the 13th.

The on line ticket sales can be accessed via the official Festival website Telephone enquiries can be directed to Tourism Tamworth on (02) 6767 5300.


Big guitar sold

The business surrounding Tamworth's big "golden guitar" has been sold.

Known as the Big Golden Guitar Tourist Centre and incorporating the big guitar on the New England Highway on the southern outskirts of Country Music Capital, the business has been operated for the last decade or so by Wendy and Noel Bennet.

It has been on the market for some time and has now been bought by a well-known local businessman who has expressed his desire not to be identified at the moment.

The business will operate under current management with no changes proposed before the end of January.

The Big Golden Guitar was established by Warwick Bennet and Max Ellis and officially opened in 1988 by Australia's King of Country Music Slim Dusty.

It stands 12 metres high, weighs in at half a ton and is made of fibreglass over a steel frame.

The icon would be among the most photographed visitor attractions in Australia.

Included in the complex is Australia's Country Music Gallery of Stars wax museum and the city's biggest range of souvenirs.

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New album from Johnny

Long-time country singer, songwriter and recording artist Johnny Greenwood has released a new album.

Although he has been reasonably consistent as a recording artist since first recording in 1962, Johnny's new CD – There's Still A Country Boy In Me – is his first since Through The Years was issued some five years ago.

Recorded at Spartek Studio in Queensland and produced by Steve Sparrow, Johnny's new album features 16 tracks including two bonus tracks.

Nine of the tracks are from Johnny's own pen including the title track. He is well known as a songwriter having been presented in 2003 with the Tamworth Songwriters' Association Songmaker award.

Two singles released so far are both his own compositions, How Ya Goin' Mate? and When The Brisbane Wattle Blooms Again.

Two tracks have historical significance, The Ballad Of Forby Sutherland (about the first white man to be buried in Australia) and The Rescue From Beaconsfield Mine.

A gospel offering is A Beautiful Place while Charlie's Dreams and Mother Longed For A White Christmas relate to Johnny's parents and My Richmond River Home, was previously recorded and made popular by bush balladeer Matt Manning.

Several tracks are covers of older Australian songs written and recorded by some of Johnny's early heroes... the late Billy Starlight's Roses And Crinolines, Mike O'Malley's My Old Australian Home, Dusty Rankin's Springtime In The Valley and New Zealander the late Les Wilson's Rolling Waggons.

The new CD has been receiving considerable attention on radio and Johnny has been making a number of appearances to promote the new work, including the Nanango Country Muster and a tour with Victorian bush balladeer Gavan Arden.

Johnny will be one of the guest artists at the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards at Pittsworth, Qld, in November and will also be making a number of appearances at the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The album can be obtained from The Country Music Store.


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