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Legacy releases McClymonts song

As the last Australian troops withdrew from Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, recently, Legacy quietly released a tribute single – Where You Are by The McClymonts.

The track, from The McClymonts most recent album Two Worlds Collide, is considered deeply personal for sisters Brooke, Mollie and Samantha.

The Golden Guitar-winning trio performed for Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007. And it was in the dusty Middle East that Sam met her now fiancee Ben Poxon.

While the majority of our defence personnel are heading home, 400 will remain in Afghanistan next year and Ben, an Airforce squadron leader, will redeploy soon.

"The song was inspired by a mixture of everything," Sam said. "All three of us have gone through different situations where we've been away from our partners but my connection is having Ben constantly away in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You're constantly worried about something happening and that feeling of them being taken away from you. I guess the song's about the feeling of being stuck in a moment when you're waiting for that person to walk through the door, thinking of all of those memories you have with that person, and wondering if you'll ever get that back again.

"It also makes you feel very grateful that you have your partner and you don't take anything for granted. The girls have had their own losses and were thinking of other situations when we wrote it."

Sam says her pilot partner suggested lending the track to Legacy.

Legacy is a charity providing services to Australian families suffering financially and socially after the incapacitation or death of a spouse or parent, during or after their defence force service.

"We'd always wanted to do something for Legacy. Having gone over to Iraq and Afghanistan we always felt a connection to the troops over there and the organisations that help those men and women out," Sam said. "It kind of just took a few years for us to work out how we could contribute.

"When I was chatting to Ben about it, he actually brought that song up and said he felt it really related to the men and woman over there... so it started from there.

"We wanted to draw attention to Legacy because we feel like it's perceived as a charity for older veterans but it's also supporting the young men and women who are coming home and their partners."

Photo: Mollie, Sam and Brooke pictured at the recent 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival launch in Sydney.

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Chart Update – Dianna's third week at the top

Dianna Corcoran's latest hit Therapy tightens its grip on the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the third week in a row.

The Troy Cassar-Daley/Adam Harvey cover of Good Hearted Woman is steady at two while McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame edges up one to number three and the Jayne Denham/Shannon Noll duet Beyond These City Lights jumps another two places to number four.

Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear is up two to five, as is Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner to six while the Wolfe Brothers' former number one The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory, is at seven.

Lee Kernaghan's It's Only Country bounds into the top 10 at number eight, America's Toby Keith is at nine with Drinks After Work and Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include the Keith Urban/Miranda Lambert duet We Were Us (18 to 15), Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels (21 to 18), The Bobkatz' Reelin' One In (26 to 21), 8 Ball Aitken's I'm Going To Jail (28 to 24) and Christie Lamb's All She Wrote (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week are Catherine Britt's Who Cares (new at 28), Doug Bruce (pictured) with Clock Out At Five (at 29) and Jasmine Rae's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Urban Country tickets on sale

Tickets to the 2014 Urban Country Music Festival at Caboolture (Qld) from May 2 to 4 are now on sale at "mates' rates" for existing members and loyal fans, organisers have advised.

"Tamworth... may be the next big country music event on the calendar, but don't forget about us...".

The 2014 Urban Country Music Festival is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet with some of the best known artists in Australia to be named along with an exciting new festival venue, music and accommodation initiatives.

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said plans were underway to enhance the 2014 Festival experience. "We're giving the Urban County Music Festival's loyal followers the opportunity to get in early and be rewarded for their support by securing tickets for the 2014 festival at special mates’ rates," he said.

"I'm very excited about the changes in store... with more music, ticketing and accommodation packages to suit a wide range of tastes and budgets. We'll be making an announcement about a fresh line-up of headline acts for the festival in late January and expect tickets will move fairly quickly, so now is the time to act."

For the first time in 2014, the Urban Country Music Festival will introduce "Urban Bring Your Mates Weekend Rates" with tickets from $210 for four adults including free camping close to the festival venue at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre.

"The options are almost endless with the opening night concert featuring a jam-packed night of great entertainment, plus the Main Concert on Saturday night with two stages and eight hours of non-stop music from some of the biggest names in Australian country music," Mayor Sutherland said.

"It's also a big weekend of country thrills and spills with the separately ticketed National Finals Rodeo event held in-conjunction with Urban Country."

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Call for Golden Damper entries

A call has been issued for entries in the 2014 Tamworth Bush Poetry Competition, also known as the Golden Damper Awards.

Entries close on Friday January 10 for performing poets who perform their own compositions or those of traditional or established bush poets.

Running in Tamworth for more than 25 years now, this competition has been the first stepping stone for new performers, many of whom have gone on to be leading bush poetry entertainers in shows all around Australia.

"The Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA) is always encouraging new poets to 'have a go' but there is always room in this competition for experienced bush poets too," said a spokesman for the Association.

"Poetry must be recited, be 'proper' bush poetry, with rhyme and rhythm and have an Australiana theme, which can be bush or town these days.  Australia's experiences at war are also used as subjects in this genre of poetry."

This Golden Damper Awards (trophy pictured) are renowned as one of the best all round bush poetry concerts in Australia attracting large and enthusiastic audiences. The 2014 event will be held at the West Tamworth League Club on Tuesday January 21, Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th with the competition finals on Saturday January 25.

Over the years, the competition has become an integral part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Entry details can be obtained from the ABPA website or enquiries can be sent by mail, with a stamped, self addressed envelope to: 2014 Golden Damper Competition PO Box 701, Morningside Qld 4170.



Woodford on track for growth

The Woodford Folk Festival, underway now at the event's South East Queensland site, was abuzz this morning, according to organisers, as thousands of patrons arrived checking out new venues and installations constructed by hundreds of volunteers over the last few months.

General Manager Amanda Jackes says she is thrilled with the public response so far: "We've seen strong growth figures coming into this festival which have not waned once since the release of our program in October."

Hundreds of vehicles queued at the gates on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to claim their favourite camping spots they will call home for duration of the event. With sunny weather forecast for the remainder of the week, this year the festival is on track to grow by 15 percent, the organisers say.

"We've already got thousands of patrons checked in and set up in our campgrounds. The annual town of 'Woodfordia' has arrived. If the weather stays clear, we can expect thousands of day trippers to attend over the week as well," said Amanda.

Tickets are still on-sale at

Patrons are encouraged to buy online to avoid higher gate prices and longer waiting queues to get their tickets. "Even if you buy online in the morning before you arrive, you will be saving time and money that can be better spent enjoying the festival," Amanda said.

Among the 500 or so acts or special guests appearing at Woodford this time round are a number of country or country-aligned acts including 8 Ball Aitken (pictured), Busby Marou, Andrew Clermont, Beccy Cole (pictured), Penny Davies & Roger Illott and Warren H Williams, plus bush poets Ray Essery, Shirley Friend, Murray Hartin, Denise Scott and Manfred Vijars.


Woodford streams live to remote communities

Woodford organisers, meanwhile, have announced that this year for the first time, the Festival will stream a live show, MALPA, via its website this Sunday (December 29 from 7:15pm (AEST)).

The MALPA show is a joint production between the Pormpuraaw and Injinoo dance groups from the far north of Cape York who will be presenting a specially commissioned production created for the Woodford Folk Festival.

The live stream site will begin streaming just after 7pm (AEST) on Sunday. The performance will run for about 35 minutes, however the live stream content will continue until about 8:15pm.

"MALPA (meaning friend or companion), supported by Arts Queensland, is about bringing the arts from remote communities into the mainstream space as well as taking larger festival experiences like the Woodford Folk Festival to people from remote and regional areas that may otherwise not access these types of arts and cultural exchanges," said Project Producer Kate McDonald.

"Through the use of the internet and live streaming, we can share the MALPA performance in real time to the communities of Pormpuraaw and Injinoo so the people at home can also share in this great experience. We are so excited to make this live connection.

"The performers will be able to deliver special messages back to their communities as well as to people tuning in across the world. We have an excellent film, broadcast, and satellite team on-board who will technically make this all happen in great definition and quality so that the online viewers feel right amongst the spectacle of it all."

The groups arrived on-site today after almost two days of travel to develop the final show together under the project direction of Jeremy Geia (a former NITV reporter, political correspondent and artist).

Director Jeremy Geia said: "Both groups are excited about showcasing their culture at one of the greatest festivals in Australia. This project has given us new ways to communicate our lore and culture to new audiences here and abroad."

Kate McDonald said: "The groups have been talking about the future potential of better using technology to showcase their amazing dance, song and art to audiences across the globe. After watching just a few rehearsals, I know that this show will not only be a must-see feature for our festival patrons, but also a must-see for anyone who can get to their computer on the 29th December and tune in, especially those from remote communities."


Gulgong Festival

A much smaller but no less important event than Woodford is underway tomorrow and Sunday in the NSW Central West... the 27th Gulgong Folk Festival.

Among the numerous acts appearing this year are a number of country or country-aligned artists including multi Country Music People's Choice winner Brothers3, multi Golden Guitar winner Allan Caswell (pictured), Cletis Carr, Mick Fetch, Caitlin Harnett, Jess Holland and Melanie Horsnell.

Although it isn't planned that way, the Gulgong Festival is a decent curtain-raiser to the Parkes Elvis Festival which is a major curtain-raiser to the giant Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Although the Festival doesn't officially get underway until tomorrow, the "official launch party" will be staged tonight at Gulgong's Prince Of Wales Hotel.

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People's Choice flooded with votes

Organisers of the annual Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards have been inundated with votes for the 2014 presentation.

The voting, which closed only a few weeks ago, has been the strongest in the Awards' 14-year history with well over 90,000 individual votes cast for hundreds of different artists, groups, songs, albums, videos, radio presenters, stations and/or programs.

"We've been working on validating, sorting and counting the votes since the voting closed," said Bob Kirchner, spokesman for the Country Music Bulletin, organisers of the scheme that provides a means for members of the public to vote for their favourites.

"Normally we would have announced our finalists by now," Bob said, "but we will need to work through some of the Christmas/New Year break to make sure everything is right."

He said it was expected finalists would now be announced on or near New Year's Day.

"To say we are delighted with this result is an understatement," Bob said. "And what a great reflection this is on the country music industry. For so many people to take the time to reflect on and vote for their favourites tells me the grassroots support for country music in Australia is huge.

"It also speaks volumes for the work artists are putting in on the ground, recording, touring and promoting their music.

"Not to forget Australia's hard-working broadcasting sector, too," Bob said. "Dozens and dozens of individuals and stations are recognised through the People's Choice Awards scheme for what they do in bringing the music to the people and supporting our artists."

The Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards, sponsored by the Trans-Help Foundation, recognises finalists and winners in 11 categories and will be staged in Country Music Capital's Capitol Theatre at 10am on Wednesday, January 22.

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Aleyce's Christmas single for charity

Last year, rising country star Aleyce Simmonds recorded the Christmas song When A Child Is Born to raise funds for Camp Autism Australia.

This year, in time for Christmas, Aleyce has decided to re-release the song to radio and iTunes with all proceeds going to the Oncology Information Centre in her home town of Tamworth, which, co-incidentally, is Australia's Country Music Capital.

"I knew that I wanted the funds, however small or large, to go to a cause connected with Tamworth," Aleyce said. "I believe it takes a special kind of human being to work in Oncology.

"Almost every family is forced to deal with Cancer in one way or another, and the support of organisations like the Tamworth Oncology Information Centre is crucial. The centre, in turn, needs our support.

"Personally, and on a much smaller scale," she said, "I too have endured the ups and downs of a health condition. I know how important awareness and understanding of their conditions is for patients and their loved ones. The Centre provides that for Cancer sufferers."

The single can be downloaded now from iTunes or the physical CD is now available direct from Aleyce's website


And Truckin' Santa does well for Jayne

Meanwhile, Jayne Denham has another hit on her hands, this time with a Christmas special release Truckin' Santa.

It's Jayne's first ever Christmas song on record and to say she's pretty pleased with the reaction would be an understatement.

The song is only available via iTunes download (click here) or GooglePlay (click here).

This month, Jayne has been working with "Big Rigs Magazine" "to do a big promo and give everyone a Christmas pressie – so grab yourself a copy to see what it's all about".

And the success of her duet with Shannon Noll on Beyond These City Lights (set to enter the top 10 on the Country Tracks Top 20 Singles Chart this week) is also making the rising star a very happy camper in the lead-up to this Christmas.

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Chart Update – Dianna hangs on to number one

Dianna Corcoran's latest hit Therapy remains at number one on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week for the second week.

The Troy Cassar-Daley/Adam Harvey cover of Good Hearted Woman is up two to number two while the Wolfe Brothers' former number one The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory, is at three and McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame is also up two to number four.

Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar is up one to five, the Jayne Denham/Shannon Noll duet of Beyond These City Lights jumps four places to number six and Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear is steady at seven.

Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner is up one to eight, Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon is at nine and America's Toby Keith is at 10 with Drinks After Work.

New entries to the chart this week include 8 Ball Aitken's I'm Going To Jail (new at 28) and Christie Lamb's All She Wrote (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Kristy announces Tamworth showcase

After a year based in the United States, Kristy Cox is returning to Australia for a special show at the 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival to showcase tracks from her forthcoming album Living For The Moment.

The album is due for world-wide release on February 18 through US bluegrass label Pisgah Ridge and is described as "a perfect representation of where this talented singer/songwriter is in her personal and professional life".

First single from the album – One Heartbreak Away – hit the airwaves earlier this month.

Kristy's career has been going from strength to strength since the release of her debut album From My Eyes in 2006. She has had a string of top 10 hits on country radio and country music television and has been recognised as a rising star of Australian country.

In her career so far, she has been a Star Maker finalist and APRA Professional Development Award finalist and her subsequent albums – Breaking New Ground (2010) and Miles And Timezones (2012) have all earned her praise for her songwriting capabilities.

Signing to Pisgah Ridge (an imprint of Mountain Home) in the US was a huge coup for the songstress and saw her move to the States for most of 2013 to work on the new album. She also signed an exclusive songwriting contract with Asheville Forest Music.

Picking One Heartbreak Away as the first single from the new album was an easy decision, Kristy said: "It's a great up-tempo bluegrass track about a relationship that's worth keeping, but that some things need to change. The song is a great reflection of where the album heads musically and how it expands on the bluegrass influences of my previous projects."

The album is a mixture of self-penned and chosen material and is an apt representation of where Kristy is heading musically, according to a spokesman for the artist.

"The last 12-months have been a huge change for me," Kristy said. "This album was recorded with both the Australian country market and the US bluegrass market in mind. The songs on the album feature many different musical influences of mine with everything from a fast-paced bluegrass song to ballads and a country shuffle."

Being based between the US and Australia has been both a great experience and a challenging one for Kristy.

"The time difference means it is hard to get a lot done in work hours back in Australia, however I'm glad we live in the age of the internet as it makes everything feel closer than it is," she said.

"I miss my loved ones and sometimes feel out of the loop with what's going on back home. However I'm writing music every day and for the first time in my life, I'm solely focusing on my career. I will continue to be back and forth – Qantas are going to love me!"

Returning to Australia to showcase the new material from her album at Tamworth is an exciting prospect for Kristy. She says she can't wait to share the new songs – "and all the old favourites" – with Aussie audiences.

"I have had huge support from our great industry back home," she said. "I will be forever thankful for that. Not much could keep me away from it all for too long. I'm excited to bring this new stage of my music to everyone in the land of Oz, and to share some of my new songs and stories with those that know me best. There's just no place like home."

The show at Tamworth will be a world exclusive showcase for Living For The Moment. While the album won't be released until February, fans attending the show will have the chance to buy advance copies.

"We will also have some featured special guests that are going to make an appearance. Overall it's going to be a great fun night. I'm looking forward to it more than anything."

The show is set for Country Music Capital's iconic The Pub at 8pm on Wednesday January 22.

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New from Ruckus

Ruckus will launch a new album, Love This Country, next month and has just released the second single from the work, titled Dear John.

Dear John is a song about how tough life on the road can be on relationships and the consequences arising from life away from home.

Ruckus are Michael Abrey (vocals/guitar), Bazza Tiplady (bass/vocals), Craig Nicholls (drums), Roland Kretchmar (guitar) and Penelope Somerville (fiddle/backing vocals).

The new album, which will be officially launched in January, was mixed and mastered by Gavin Parker.

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First Tamworth for Jason

The 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival will be the first for 2012 "X-Factor" runner-up Jason Owen.

Jason is joining country starlet Amber Lawrence as her special guest and will be "a rare chance" for audiences to see two premier young country artists sharing the same stage.

Throughout this year, Jason has been touring Australia beside Amber and they already have "a swag" of tour dates locked in for 2014.

"The show has been a hit," said a spokesman for the pair, "selling out metropolitan centres and regional areas, earning Jason a whole new fan base."

The 19-year-old's debut album Life Is A Highway landed at number five on the ARIA Album Chart and number one on the iTunes Country Chart in its first week out. The album has also been nominated for a Golden Guitar for Top Selling Album of the Year.

"Amber and myself have so much fun together on stage," Jason said. "We both love to perform our hearts out so our audience members can expect fun, great songs and a whole lot of entertainment. The show contains songs from Amber's three albums (to date) and me singing songs from my current album."

"Life Is A Highway is a collection of classic songs given a modern slant with Jason's interpretations. They are renditions of the tracks he performed on "X-Factor", and it’s easy to see why this teenager won fans and critics over.," a spokesman for the artists said.

Jason says he’s really been enjoying touring the country and meeting fans face-to-face with fans. He acknowledges it's been a humbling experience. "What I've enjoyed the most is meeting all the fans that I have made from "X-Factor"..." he says. "Also working with people like Amber and the other musicians is just amazing.

"The tour continues through 2014 – I think what appeals to fans the most is the way we engage with the audience. We try to entertain people no matter where we are or how many people are in the audience."

With the tour continuing indefinitely throughout the next year, Jason’s calendar is jam-packed. With lots of things in the pipeline, including a new album release.

"It has been a massive year for me," Jason said. "All I can hope for is that all the fans and people that Amber and myself meet around the country have enjoyed our shows. Just being given the privilege to work with the people I have in 2013 has been amazing and I want to thank all my fans for making it possible..."

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Two Aussie country Grammy nominations

Two Australian country acts are up for Grammy Awards in January following the recent announcement of finalists.

Both The Greencards and Keith Urban are up for America's most prestigious music award... Keith for the umpteenth time, The Greencards for the third.

Keith is nominated with Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift in Best Country Duo/Group Performance for Highway Don't Care while The Greencards are actually up for Best Folk Album with Sweetheart Of The Sun.

The Greencards (predominantly comprising founding Australian members Kym Warner and Carol Young) are yet to take home one of the famous gramophone trophies while Keith has four to his name so far, all for Best Male Country Vocal Performance... in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010.

The 56th annual Grammy Awards will take place on January 26 in Los Angeles.



Lou to launch new album at Tamworth

Lou Bradley is set to launch her new album, The Other Side, with a run of shows during the upcoming Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The album, to be released to iTunes on January 17, is described as "a perfect way" of kicking off her time at the biggest country music festival in the Southern Hemisphere next month.

From her debut release in 2007, through to various festival appearances alongside many artists, Lou has been working hard on what has become her highly-anticipated third studio album. The Other Side was co-produced by Lou with Anthony Lycenko who has also worked for artists like Busby Marou and Pete Murray.

"(It) was kind of like working with myself," Lou said, "but with better ideas just when I needed them. (Anthony) is very skilled at his craft, but also stays quite invisible or transparent, so as not to get in the way of the creative process; just right for me and this project."

Aside from her duet with Bill Chambers on One Of Those Nights, The Other Side features no co-writes between Lou and another, making the album all the more personal and noteworthy. Many of the songs are reflective and hold special stead with the songwriter herself, detailing many different points in her life or notes on observations made over the past year or so.

"Lou Bradley is the real deal," said producer Anthony. "She's one of the most talented songwriters I've ever had the pleasure of working with and she has a voice to match. There's nothing phony about her; she's lived every lyric of every song on this album."

"As a live performer, Lou has continued to hone her craft and has remained a popular touring artist, as well as a consistently touring one. With her sights firmly set on ensuring Tamworth gets the full Lou Bradley treatment, the Byron Bay native is ready to bring more fans into the fold and showcase her latest material to those fans who may have not been able to see her give such songs a run yet," said a spokesman for the artist.

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Chart Update – Dianna hits the top

Dianna Corcoran has taken over the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with her latest hit Therapy.

The Wolfe Brothers' number one from last week, The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory, is at two while Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon is at three and the Troy Cassar-Daley/Adam Harvey cover of Good Hearted Woman is steady at four.

McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame edges up one place to number five, Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar is at six and Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear jumps two places to number seven.

The Jayne Denham/Shannon Noll duet of Beyond These City Lights bounds into the top 10 at number eight, as does Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner at nine while O'Shea's former number one, Be With You Tonight, rounds out the top 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Lee Kernaghan's It's Only Country (17 to 13), Amber Joy Poulton's Foolish Things (19 to 16), Ashleigh Dallas's Me (26 to 23) and Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels (27 to 24).

New entries to the chart this week include The Bobkatz' Reelin' One In (new at 29).

The full chart can be viewed at



New CMAA President calls for calm

New Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) President Dobe Newton has called for calm in the industry following recent debate after the high profile resignation of long-standing President John Williamson over his concern that the Golden Guitar Awards were becoming "Americanised".

"At a time when I've been honoured to accept the CMAA's invitation to accept the presidency of our peak body, I'm saddened by the very public debate inspired by comments from the past president," Dobe said who was appointed as President of the organisation earlier this week.

"The CMAA usually welcomes any debate which puts country music in the spotlight, however the recent commentary has included statements which directly impact the reputations of two of our most dedicated and decorated country music artists.

"As a consequence, we – as an organisation – have a duty to speak out in support of our members. While Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey's decision to withdraw their album from the 2014 Golden Guitar Awards may be seen as a drastic move, it is perfectly understandable given the unnecessary media attention that's been generated. How disappointing that a wonderfully received and commercially successful product should be 'tarnished' at a time when it should be celebrated.

"It is important for fans of country music – as well as casual observers – to understand that it is not the organisation's place to dictate what can or cannot be recorded, nor what people like or want to listen to. A nomination and judging process took place strictly in line with the CMAA's published rules.

"If anyone has a comment or a suggestion on that process, we would encourage them to contact us, so that a full and informed debate can take place, rather than the unedifying sound-byte exchanges we're now witnessing. To draw Keith Urban into the 'debate', just makes it all the more unfortunate.

"We regret the hurt that the public airing of these issues has caused Troy and Adam and their families, management, friends and fans. Their joint statement that they will attend the Awards ceremony to support their colleagues is a testament to their professionalism and an example of a generosity of spirit that we hope others will follow.

"I trust that the dust will now be allowed to settle so that our industry can focus on the business of promoting the great talent from our diverse country music community and the businesses and fans that support them."


20th Australian Bush Laureate Awards finalists announced

Poet David Campbell from Beaumaris, Victoria, leads the finalist list for the 20th Australian Bush Laureate Awards to be staged in Tamworth in January.

The all Australian Awards, also one of the nation's peak bush poetry events, started in 1995 and have become one of the headline events of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.

David (pictured at right) is a finalist in four categories… Book and Album of the Year with his works titled "Riders On The Wind" and in Single of the Year for "My Son" and Published Poem of the Year for "The White Man's Way".

He also edited "Award Winning Bush Verse & Stories 2013" which is also a finalist for Book of the Year.

Robyn Sykes (pictured), from Binalong, NSW, is another prominent among finalists with three places… for Album of the Year with "Voices Of The Fire" and Single of the Year with "Old Bill's Regret" and also Published Poem of the Year with "Lovely Lies".

Laurie McDonald (below right) from the ACT and Greg North (below left) from the Blue Mountains, NSW, are among multiple finalists in the 2014 Awards with two each, both in Album and Single of the Year.

Greg is a finalist in both categories for his works titled "Frackin' Fricker" while Laurie is a finalist for Album of the Year with "Laurie McDonald... Live At The Murrumbateman Pub" and Single of the Year with "Cabaret Cafe".

Joining the bush poets are Golden Guitar winners Lee Kernaghan, Colin Buchanan, Allan Caswell, Drew McAlister, Norma O'Hara Murphy, Luke O'Shea, Garth Porter, Graham Rodger and Tamara Stewart – all finalists in the two Australian Song Lyric categories. Lee, Garth and Colin's tribute to Slim Dusty – "Flying With The King" – is a finalist in Contemporary Song Lyric of the Year.

In addition to the judged categories, a special award – the Judith Hosier Heritage Award – will be presented to honour a person or organisation for a significant contribution to Australian bush poetry.

The 2014 Australian Bush Laureate Awards had one of the most competitive fields ever seen for the 20th year with almost a hundred individual nominations from poets and lyric writers from all over Australia.

A gala Awards presentation and concert with many celebrity guests and artists will salute the winners of the prized Golden Gumleaf trophies in the famous Tamworth Town Hall on Tuesday January 21 from 2pm.

Tickets are available via the Tamworth Country Music Festival website or by telephone 02 6767 5300.

The full listing of finalists is...

For Book of the Year...

Award Winning Bush Verse & Stories 2013
Bronze Swagman Book of Bush Verse 2012
Candlelight Reflections by Will Moody (Bellingen, NSW)
Lawson Country by Kevin Pye (Mudgee, NSW)
Riders On The Wind by David Campbell (Beaumaris, Vic)

Album of the Year

Frackin' Fricker by Greg North (Blue Mountains, NSW)
Listen! by Maggie Murphy (Heathcote, Vic)
Laurie McDonald... Live At The Murrumbateman Pub by Laurie McDonald (Watson, ACT)
Riders On The Wind by David Campbell (Beaumaris, Vic)
Voices Of The Fire by Robyn Sykes (Binalong, NSW)

Single Recorded Performance of the Year

Cabaret Cafe by Laurie McDonald (Watson, ACT)
Frackin' Fricker by Greg North (Sydney, NSW)
My Son by David Campbell (Beaumaris, Vic)
Old Bill's Regret by Robyn Sykes (Binalong, NSW)
The Water Of The Wells by Jack Drake (Stanthorpe, Qld)

Published Poem of the Year

A Snowy Mountain Holiday by Tom McIlveen (Port Macquarie, NSW)
Curio – The Legend Will Survive by Brenda Joy (Coochiemudlo Island, Qld)
Lovely Lies by Robyn Sykes (Binalong, NSW)
The White Man's Way by David Campbell (Beaumaris, Vic)
Your Shout! by Allan Goode (Beechmont, Qld)

Traditional Song Lyric of the Year

A Farming Man by Grant Luhrs (Wagga Wagga, NSW)
The Bushranger & His Lady by Graham Roger (Paterson, Qld)
Celtic Blood by Shaza Leigh (Tamworth, NSW)
Chimney In The Paddock by Diane Lindsay (Newcastle, NSW)
Gilbert, O'Meally & Hall by Norma O'Hara Murphy (Bony Mountain, Qld)

Contemporary Song Lyric of the Year

Dreamtime Cathedrals by Manfred Vijars (Morningside, Qld)
Flying With The King by Lee Kernaghan, Garth Porter, Colin Buchanan (Sydney, NSW)
Lady Of The Land by Luke O'Shea & Drew McAlister (Sydney, NSW)
Survive by Kate Cook (Toowoomba, Qld)
You Can't Get Good Help These Days by Allan Caswell & Tamara Stewart (Sydney, NSW)

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Troy and Adam withdraw album from Golden Guitars

Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey have requested that all voted nominations for their album Great Country Song Book be withdrawn from the 2014 Golden Guitar Awards.

In a media release issued late today, the pair said their decision had been made after careful consideration.

"There was, and still is, no problem with the album's legitimate qualification in the categories for which it was nominated," the release said, "however, due to recent objection and the ensuing industry debate, both Troy and Adam have decided (with respect) to withdraw their nominations."

"The conversations and debates about the album over the past few days has fragmented an already fragile music community," the pair said. "We are very proud of the achievements of the project however wish to not have the album as part of the Awards. We are just sad for country music that this has all happened. The last thing we wanted to do was cause any controversy. It was just two mates paying tribute to our musical heroes."

"The Great Country Song Book is a lovingly hand-picked bunch of country music classics, recorded entirely in Australia, top-heavy with both Troy and Adam's favourite childhood songs," the release continued. "Songs that evoke memories of families that lived and loved country music; songs that have formed the fabric of their musical careers such as their faithful rendition of Slim Dusty's Lights On The Hill which was released as the first single from the album in direct response to pleas from their fans."

The album went Gold after five weeks following release. It jumped to the top of the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) album charts, debuting at number one on the Country Album chart and number two on the mainstream album chart. It held top 10 on the mainstream album chart for eight weeks and number one on the Country Album chart for 13 consecutive weeks. The album currently sits at number three on the Country Albums chart and has sold more than 60,000 copies to date.

"The Great Country Song Book has been extremely special to both Troy and Adam and they have had a lot of fun touring the country together over the past five months with a talented band of Australian musicians, many of whom recorded the album with them," the release said.

"Troy and Adam have been singing, writing, recording and performing for the best part of 20 years and both hold the Tamworth Country Music Festival very close to their hearts. They wish all the nominees the very best of luck for the 2014 Awards and are looking forward to celebrating those achievements on country music's night of nights."

The album should still remain in contention for Australian Top Selling Album of the Year which is not a judged or voted category.



Flying Emus back in 2014

One of Australia's best known, most popular and most successful country groups – The Flying Emus – will play a select run of performances in 2014 to celebrate the release the group's "best of" album The Collection: 1984 to 1990.

The Emus will be performing with the original five-piece line-up formed 30 years ago featuring Genni Kane, John Kane, Mike Kerin, Ian Simpson and Michael Vidale.

During the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the group will play a show at The Longyard Hotel on Thursday January 23. This will be followed by three dates so far announced in Sydney at Marrickville, Rooty Hill and Dee Why.

The Flying Emus won six Golden Guitars during their career... Instrumental and Vocal Group of the Year in 1986 (for Look Out Below and Diamond Creek, respectively) Instrumental of the Year in 1987 (for Emu Strut), Instrumental and Vocal Group of the Year in 1988 (for Jackaroo and Auctioneer) and Instrumental of the Year (for Dixie Breakdown) in 1991.

In 1988, the Emus won the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) award for Best Country Album for their work This Town.

The new album is being released through Warner Music.

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JW resigns CMAA Presidency

John Williamson has resigned as President of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) after 10 years saying that its annual Golden Guitar Awards have become too American.

In a letter to CMAA Chairman Jeff Chandler, John said: "It's as though the Golden Guitar Awards are the American Country Music Awards of Australia. It seems the industry is hell-bent on producing more Keith Urbans. If we are not respected as a legitimate organisation to promote original Australian country music, I cannot be associated with it any longer."

He pointed out that the problem with the Awards was that "an album with 90 per cent American covers can get in (referring to Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey's album The Great Country Songbook which is up for Album of the Year). We should be nurturing what Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson started.

"This is not just over the obvious mistakes this year... the current turmoil was bound to happen," John said in his letter of resignation.

"It's as though the Golden Guitar Awards are the American Country Music Awards of Australia.  It seems the industry is hell-bent on producing more Keith Urbans. If we are not respected as a legitimate organisation to promote original Australian country music, I cannot be associated with it any longer."

John also had a problem that US-based Keith, although raised in Australia, should be in line to win Male Artist of the Year. Although he did congratulate him for "selling coal to Newcastle".

Jeff Chandler thanked the outgoing President for his service to the CMAA: "John was one of the founders of the organisation and we will be forever indebted to him for his vision and commitment to the growth and future development of country music in Australia."

Dobe Newton of the Bushwackers has stepped in as CMAA President.

Image: a scan of John's full letter printed in The Leader today – click on the letter for a larger version.


Former Mayor moves on Awards

Meanwhile, according to a report in Tamworth's Northern Daily Leader, John Williamson's resignation comes as former Tamworth Mayor James Treloar has expressed "serious concern" about the integrity of the city's country music festival showcase event, following a series of changes to Golden Guitar finalists in recent weeks.

The Leader said Councillor Treloar had lodged an urgent notice of motion for tonight's regular Council meeting, raising the spectre of Council playing a far greater role in the running of the Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars). The credibility of the awards has been dented in recent weeks after two artists announced as 2014 finalists were discovered to be ineligible.

The Leader reported John saying it was crucial Tamworth played a role in revitalising the awards. "It's got to that stage that we're no longer capable of running the Awards the way it should be run and things are bound to go wrong. I said to (Mayor Col Murray) that Awards like this should always belong to a classic country town like Tamworth. Tamworth owns the Golden Guitars, so it needs to take more responsibility for it."

Just over a month out from the start of the 2014 festival, Councillor Treloar said it was timely for council to "look at its options".

"There have been a couple of errors in the last few years and perhaps we should look at playing a bigger role in the presentation and judging (of the Awards),” he said. "The Awards, for many years, have been a pinnacle event and I don't want to see that diluted."


Star Maker finalists announced

It's been a big day (so far!) in Country Music Capital, with Rural Press Events (RPE) announcing finalists in the 2014 Toyota Star Maker Quest."Ten of Australia's most exciting emerging country music artists from across the country have today been announced as finalists in the 35th national talent competition," according to RPE.

Star Maker has been a launching pad for the careers of many, including James Blundell, Darren Coggan, Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban.

The 10 finalists will compete at the Toyota Star Maker final which has been the main event on the first Sunday of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival for 35 years. Four grand finalists will be selected at this event, to be staged in the Tamworth Town Hall, to compete in the grand final on Friday January 24 in Tamworth's Bicentennial Park as a part of Toyota's Concert For Rural Australia for the title of Toyota Star Maker 2014.

And the finalists, selected by a judging panel of six from more than 50 entries, are...

Damien Agius (from North Eton, Qld), Kalesti Butler (Emerald, Qld), Tommy Contor (Mackay, Qld), Tori Darke (Harrington Park, NSW), Melody Feder (Phegans Bay, NSW), John Flanagan (Thornbury, Vic), Jared Porter (Tinbeerwah, Qld), Bryce Sainty (Woy Woy, NSW), Justin Standley (Kalkie, Qld) and Jonny Taylor (Pinjarra, WA). Three of the finalists have been involved before... Tori Darke, John Flanagan and Jonny Taylor.

Pictured, clockwise from top left, are: Damien, Kalesti, Tommy, Tori, Melody, John, Bryce, Justin and Jonny.

"The finalists represent a broad cross section of country music styles with three from NSW, five from Queensland, one from Western Australia and one from Victoria," said Toyota Star Maker Co-ordinator and Editor of Country Music Capital News Cheryl Byrnes.

"Star Maker sets out to uncover new country talent and we believe we have a good representation. Toyota Star Maker has a great pedigree, as the perennial Golden Guitar nominations show and we are excited that in the 2014 Golden Guitars there is a credible 19 nominations from previous Star Maker winners including Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Samantha McClymont, Luke Austen and Kaylee Bell."

Barry Harley, General Manager of Rural Press Events, explained that the format will still see the Toyota Star Maker Top 10 as the main event of the first weekend with four entrants being carried through the Festival to the Grand Final on the Friday night where Toyota Ambassadors Lee Kernaghan (1982 winner), The McClymonts featuring Samantha McClymont (2005) and Kaylee Bell (2013) will also appear.

"Toyota, celebrating over 20 years supporting country music, and 19 years of supporting Star Maker has a strong bond with Australia's rural and regional community, and through Toyota Star Maker continues to be the premier talent developing event providing independent artists with a highly-coveted, career-launching platform," Barry said.

"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, 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 over 600 artists have been through the process and all have gained from that experience." he said.

Brad Cramb, Divisional Manager National Marketing for Toyota Australian said: "We would like to congratulate the 10 very talented finalists who will be competing in Toyota Star Maker this year. Each has deservedly earned a place to challenge for the 2014 crown in a competition which promises to be as enthralling as ever.

"The Toyota Star Maker competition is Australia's oldest and most successful country music talent search. We are very proud of our association with such a prestigious initiative."



TSA finalists announced

Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA) has announced finalists in its contests and awards announced during the annual January country music festival.

For the APRA/TSA New Songwriter Award, the finalists are Kylie Castle with A Settler's Wife and Ropin' The Wind, Jackie Dee with Doors And Windows and Through These Eyes and Allison Forbes (pictured) with What'll Happen To Me Now?

In the Songwriter Salute Awards, the finalists are...

For the Bev Daniel Commemorative Award for Traditional Bush Ballad of the Year... Heart Of The Kimberley by Graham Rodger (pictured), Ochre Man by Justin Standley, Old Tobacco Tin by Peter Simpson & Dianne Lindsay, The Picture On The Wall by Pete Smith and The Young Jillaroo by Glen Perrett & Jeff Brown.

For Contemporary Song of the Year... Do You Want Love With That? by Wendy Wood, Give That Girl A Spanner by Kate Cook, Allan Caswell & Andrew Cochrane, If There's A Honky Tonk In Hell by Wanita, It's A Country Song by Allan Caswell and Weeping Annie by Graham Rodger.

For Country Ballad of the Year... Akubras In The Snow by Peter Simpson, The Chimney And The Rose by Graham Rodger, Fingerprints by Peter Shurley, Hilda's Rest by Dean Perrett, and You Can't Get Good Help These Days by Allan Caswell & Tamara Stewart.

For Comedy/Novelty Song of the Year... Bits N Pieces by Michelle Walker & Peter Salata, Huntsman In The Harmonica by Alita Fahey & Makirum, If Only You by Bec Hance, Snakes In Suits by Peter Simpson & Dianne Lindsay and Wouldn't It Rip You by Stan Lenz.

For Children's Song of the Year... Aussie Welcome by Ron Millner, Gaylene Jennings & Leanda O’Brien, Canola by Bec Hance, Sunday Calling by Pete Smith, Teeny Tarni Tumbleweed by Alita Fahey and Where Does A Wombat Live? by Glen Naylor & Chris Wilson.

For Gospel Song of the Year... The Buryin' Ground by Jim Hermel & Virginia Hermel, Hear Me Lord by Pam Thomasson, On This Road by Virginia Hermel, The Salvo by Peter Simpson & Dianne Lindsay and When My Time Comes by Peter Christie.

In the TSA's National Songwriting Contest, the finalists are...

In Novice, Traditional... Always In Love by Kenneth Shaw & Linda Shaw, He Moved The Land and The Wombat Song by Lynda Barnes.

In Novice, Contemporary... Little Girl Dreams by Angela Easson, Love Online by Stephen Pike & David Pike, Loving You by Barbara Llewelyn, The Railways by Brian Carter, Sunshine When It's Raining by Jim Fury and When The Sun Goes Down by Lisa Scelzi.

In Blues & Roots & Bluegrass... 2nd Hand Man by Alita Fahey, Guitar Man by Stan Lenz, Life Is Good by Paul Penton, Unforgiven Sins by Gretta Zilla, Wollondilly Blues by Alex Varlow and Worse For Wear by Magdalena Macdonald.

In Junior... Apple Tree by Abbey Gardner, Daddy by Kaitlyn Thomas, Footprints by Cassi Hilbers, Mix Tape by Abbey Gardner, Secret Dreams by Katie Marie Hearne, Turn Around by Abbey Gardner and You Were The Stranger by Taylor Pfeiffer.

In Lyrics Only... Bluey–Bluey–Bluey by Sherry Tarrant, Charlie Trevor's Fence by Alec Raymer, The Good News And The Bad by Terry Bennetts, Let's Say Adieu Instead and The Old JC by Merv Webster, The Saddle In The Shed by Kevin Pye, Songlines by Paul Clairs and The Truth Hurts by John Walsh.

In Open, Traditional... A Truckie's Last Letter by Dale Duncan & Graham Rodger, Branding Fire With Smoke by Graham Rodger & Andrew Black, Field Of Sun Flowers by Fiona Karamanlidis, Fitzroy River by Terry Bennetts & Keith Lethbridge, Ghost Of The Yaraka Line and He's Droving Once Again by Graham Rodger, Lady Of The Land by Luke O'Shea & Drew McAlister, The Life Of A Drover by Jayson Watkins, Rommel by Tony Jewell and Today by Wanita.

In Open, Contemporary... Ball And Chain by Cathy Dotson, Big Wheels Rolling by Graham Rodger, Billy by Jory McMillan, Black Ice by Lola Briton & Trisha Roldan, Crosses At The Gate by Magdalena McDonald, Daddy’s Time To Go by Pam Griffin & Sarah Griffin, Even The Score by Allison Forbes, Faith In Me by John Walsh & Mike Carr, Frangibility Bay by Jayson Watkins, Go To Hell With You by Cathy Dotson, Just Fine by James Donnelly, Please Be Mine by James Donnelly, Sleep With The Angels by Carolyne Morris, Soon As This Song's Over by Stephen Kiley, Standing On Your Feet by Jory McMillan and Storm With You by Adam Power.

The TSA's big Awards night is Tuesday, January 21, at The Long yard Hotel.

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Chart Update – The Wolfe Brothers still at number one

The Wolfe Brothers maintain the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with their hit song The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory.

Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon is at two while Dianna Corcoran's Therapy is up five to three and the Troy Cassar-Daley/Adam Harvey cover of Good Hearted Woman is at four.

Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar is up one to five, McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame jumps three places to number six and O'Shea's former number one, Be With You Tonight, is at seven.

America's George Strait is at eight with I Believe, Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear enters the top 10 at nine and Natalie Howard's The Girlfriend is steady at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Jayne Denham & Shannon Noll's Beyond These City Lights (15 to 12), Lee Kernaghan's It's Only Country (21 to 17), Amber Joy Poulton's Foolish Things (22 to 19), Keith Urban's duet with America's Miranda Lambert, We Were Us (28 to 24), Asheligh Dallas (pictured) with Me (29 to 26) and Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels (30 to 27).

The full chart can be viewed at



2014 National Talent Quest entries roll in

Entries are rolling in for the National Talent Quest to be staged during the January 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

"And we are open to many more," says the Capital Country Music Association (CCMA), organisers of the event which is recognised as one of the most significant events of the annual festival.

"This will be the 48th staging of what is believed to be the longest continuous running country music talent quest in Australia and still known as one of the most important," according to President Steve Newton.

Many of today's stars, like Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban and Felicity Urquhart to name just three, came through the CCMA National Talent Quest that began six years before the Tamworth Festival, as it is now known, six years before the Golden Guitar Awards... indeed, around the same time the longest-running recognition of country music talent – the CMA Awards in America – were first staged.

The 2014 Talent Quest will run along the same lines as 2013 but there will be a change of timing for the iconic event. From 2014, the talent search will be staged on Monday and Tuesday of the main Tamworth Country Music Festival week rather than the last weekend.

That's Monday and Tuesday January 20 and 21. The Talent Quest will run each day from 9am at St Stephens Church Hall in Mathews Street, Tamworth, culminating in the Country Music Jamboree Spectacular which highlights category finalists and includes performances by category winners – and special guest stars – on Tuesday evening January 21 in the famous Tamworth Town Hall.

Asked why the change in timing, the CCMA said it was mainly because the second weekend had become so busy there were many difficulties, including commitment clashes of category finalists, availability of accommodation and the  lack of availability of guest artists to be involved with the Jamboree Spectacular.

The CCMA also found that audiences were difficult to attract on during the afternoon of the biggest day of the annual celebration of Australian country music.

"And this has been such a shame because the Jamboree, highlighting so much brilliant new talent, deserves to be seen by thousands," according to Steve Newton.

The CCMA surveyed the last two year’s entrants in the January talent quest and the feedback gained showed a change for the talent quest to Monday/Tuesday was preferred with the Jamboree on either Tuesday or Wednesday night.

"We also believe the new timing will be very advantageous to National Talent Quest winners and finalists who will be able to highlight their success in our talent quest at other performances during what will now be the remainder of the Festival," Steve said.

Entry details for the 2014 CCMA National Talent Quest, to run Monday and Tuesday January 20 and 21, are now available for download from the website Entrants can also enter on-line if they prefer at the website.



Tamworth busking back to normal

Busking during the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival will return to its traditional form next year, it was announced yesterday by Festival co-ordinators Tamworth Regional Council.

Media reports from an event in the city yesterday had Tamworth Mayor Col Murray saying comments from this year's regular "wash-up" meeting and the "extensive (festival) survey" indicated people wanted the busking left as it was.

"They said clearly 'don’t mess with busking'," the Northern Daily Leader reported.

Council's Business & Events Director John Sommerlad said getting the busking right was "a bigger challenge than NASA had getting man on the Moon".

Buskers will now negotiate with businesses to play on Peel Street outside the premises, as they have done in the past.

Special guest at the event Troy Cassar-Daley said busking needed to be "organic".

"I was a busker and it's like life," he said, "nothing can be perfect. It's what makes the Festival. You can walk down the street and hear every walk of life and that's what country music is all about.

Business & Events Manager Gavin Flanagan said Council would take a hard line on noise levels.

As previously reported, the focus of the 2014 Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth will be on saluting Slim Dusty's contribution to the festival and country music.

Tamworth State Member of Parliament Kevin Anderson said Festival organisation was a continual improvement exercise.

He said the focus needed to be on the artists who made the event. :Without the artists, we don't have a Festival," he said.

Among other announcements made yesterday, 2014 will see more focus on Tamworth regional talent, with "Tamworth Pride" performances on a stage in the city's Bicentennial Park.

There will also be FamilyZone, the Leader reported, changes to FanZone with it running from the Post Office building, the traders will be back in Fitzroy Street and the Telstra "bluey" will set up on the Peel-Brisbane Street corner.

Photo (by James O'Brien): the perennial Tamworth busker, South Australia's "Chook Man" Frank Turton.

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New from Buddy

The latest offering from Australian country comic Buddy Goode is It's A Buddy Goode Christmas, billed as "an essential component of any Christmas stocking this holiday season".

The ARIA Award winner for Best Comedy Album of 2012 has crafted a 13-track album that "captures the Christmas spirit one could only expect from the man himself," according to a spokesman for the artist's record label, Universal.

"Forget Silent Night and Deck The Halls – get your family singalong happening this Christmas with some sure-fire favourites... It's a Buddy Goode Christmas is the album which Goode is confident will become a mainstay in every household's December 25th shenanigans.

"Many artists have made incredible Christmas albums over the years; Michael Bolton, Wham, Darryl Somers just to name a few. Deep down in my heart, I know this album would take pride of place in their home, as other albums have done mine.”

Songs include Carol's (the first single), Joseph The Chippy, Kevin Bloody Wilson's Bike, Cheeses and Too Big for Santa's Knee.



Academy attendees announced

The Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) has announced participants in the 2014 Australian Academy of country music.

In the senior course, they will be Alice Benfer (from Glastonbury, Qld), Jenni Boone (Karama, NT), Kylie Bradburn (Eudio, Qld), Bill Gray (Geelong, Vic), Tiah Guillot (Lakes Entrance Vic), Trent Holder (Coffs Harbour, NSW), Judah Kelly (Mackay, Qld), Kim Koole (Noonamah NT), Brendan Lines (West Hindmarsh, SA), Emily Markham (Mount Kembla, NSW), Brad Marks (Balmoral, NSW), Joanne McDonnell (WA), Kobie Midson (Bradbury, NSW), Jemma Nicole (East Brunswick, Vic), Eizabeth Nunn (Kybong, Qld), Nathaniel O'Brien (Burra, SA), Michelle Plozza (Townsville, Qld), Kylie Price (Otago New Zealand) and Levena Stewart (Mackay, Qld).

In the junior course, participants will be Tayla Alcock (Toowoomba Qld), Sarah Grace Buckley (Mullumbimby, NSW), Anais Campbell (Nudgee, Qld), Cassi Hilbers (Beerwah, Qld), Kate Hindle (Collie, WA), Amelia James (Canterbury, NZ), Liam Kennedy-Clark (Canterbury, NZ), James McDonald (Gympie Qld), Ashlyn Nell (Sandiford, Qld), Katelyn O'Donoghue (Charters Towers, Qld), Liam O'Donoghue (Charters Towers, Qld), Bridget O'Shannessy (Bellbowrie, Qld), Juliet Oliver (SA), Taylor Pfeiffer (Walkerville, SA), Mackenzie Pringle (Cessnock, NSW), Carmel Rodrigues (West Pymble, NSW), Maddison Rose (Warialda, NSW), Amy Sherrah (Cherry Gardens, SA), Ebony Wickham (Killarney, Qld) and Kate Wilcox (Mareeba, Qld).

Senior instrumental participants are Dan Kerin (Brisbane, Qld), Jordan Lacey (Kilsyth South, Vic) and Rheanna Leshke (Wanora, Qld).

The senior class will experience two weeks of intensive training and mentoring from Saturday January 4 while the junior class will gain a basic overview of business and musicianship for a one week period.

Although the senior course ran at this time of year since it began in 1997, for the last several years it ran mid-year. The CMAA says January is an "overall better time" as it leads into the Tamworth Country Music Festival period and makes accessing tutors easier.

Tutor-wise, familiar names like Kevin Bennett, Brad Bergen, David Carter, Roger Corbett, Pete Denahy, Jayne Denham, Simon Johnson, Amber Lawrence and Tamara Stewart will help the next generation of country music stars realise their dreams.

The Academy's Roger Corbett said: "The Academy is an incredible opportunity for a young performer.

"The knowledge and expertise they're able to digest in such a short time cuts years off their learning," Roger said. "They mightn't all go on to become great stars but they will all come out with enhanced skills and a great attitude to country music."

Numerous acts have gone on to have successful careers in country music after they emerged from The Academy over the 15 years since it began, including Travis Collins, Drew McAlister, Brooke and Samantha McClymont, Sara Storer and The Sunny Cowgirls.

All students will perform at one of two graduation concerts at the end of each course, both to be held at West Tamworth League Club - the junior graduation on Thursday January 16, the senior on Friday January 17.

Photo: two of Australia's hottest new up and coming talents – Nathaniel O'Brien and Kylie Price – both are winning multiple awards in numerous talent quests across Australia and New Zealand and both are looking at honing their skills and talents during the 2014 Australian Academy of Country Music. They are pictured here receiving acknowledgement for their overall wins at the 2013 Capital Country Music Association National Talent Quest in Tamworth.


Chart Update – The Wolfe Brothers at number one

The Wolfe Brothers have bumped O'Shea off the top of the national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart this week with their hit song The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory.

Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon is up one place to number two, as is the Troy Cassar-Daley/Adam Harvey cover of Good Hearted Woman at three and O'Shea's former number one, Be With You Tonight, is at four.

Dianna Corcoran's Therapy is steady at five, Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar is up two to six and Kaylens Rains' Waiting On A Bus is steady at seven.

America's George Strait is at eight with I Believe, McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame enters the top 10 at number nine and Natalie Howard's The Girlfriend is also new in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear (14 to 11), Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner (16 to 13), Luke O'Shea's Lady Of The Land (17 to 14), Jayne Denham & Shannon Noll's Beyond These City Lights (18 to 15), Aleyce Simmond's Believe (21 to 18) and Lee Kernaghan's It's Only Country (25 to 21).

New to the chart this week, Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels (new at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at



Kasey & Shane win the Country ARIA

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson have taken home the Country ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) award for Best Country Album with Wreck & Ruin.

The recording duo were up against Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey's duets album The Great Country Songbook, Lee Kernaghan's Beautiful Noise, Jasmine Rae's If I Want To and Sara Storer's Lovegrass.

Russell Morris, the controversial finalist in this year's Golden Guitar Awards, took out Best Blues & Roots album with his Sharkmouth, beating the country aligned Archie Roach's Into The Bloodstream.

Award winners were announced in Sydney last night.

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