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Tamworth Festival Official Guide

The Official Guide to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, produced and published by Capital News, is set for delivery in the first week of January.

Recognised as one of the world's biggest festival publications, The Guide is billed as "the original and definitive Tamworth Festival Guide" featuring the official day-by-day festival program and A to Z artist directory.

The 2015 Guide will be a bumper issue with more than 260 pages covering the Festival Countdown (seven days prior to the official start of the Tamworth Country Music Festival) as well as the program proper for the 10-day festival period from Friday January 16 to Sunday January 25.

For the coming year. the Guide will include a special free Capital News souvenir music CD as a bonus.

The most popular feature of the Guide is the exclusive A to Z Artist Directory, a valuable guide for fans to follow their favourite artist concerts, including where they are appearing, times and dates, as well as numerous artist photos and biographies.

Main content will be what's new in 2015, venue information, venue map, Tamworth town map, bus routes, bus timetable, ticket outlet information, Country Music Capital points of interest and helpful visitor guide information covering the Tamworth region.

Other content will iclude historical facts and inside stories covering the finalists of the 43rd Country Music Awards of Australia and 36th Toyota Star Maker talent search and other major events, Hands of Fame and Roll of Renown inductees, new music product releases, artist CD launches, talent quests and new insightful stories into the famous festival.

The Tamworth Country Music Festival Official Guide will be available from newsagents in and around Tamworth and selected newsagents throughout NSW, Queensland and Victoria from early January.

Copies can also be purchased on line via, by telephoning free call 1800 649 866 or by emailing



Vale – Frank Daniel

Frank Daniel, a former President and Vice President of the Australian Bush Poets Association and recipient of the Judith Hosier Heritage Award in 2008, passed away early yesterday (December 22). He was 72.

One of Australia's foremost performance bush poets, Frank toured over a wide area of the three eastern states taking his home-spun bush humour and bush poetry to many schools and clubs. He was in demand as an after-dinner speaker and festival compere.

A true-blue Aussie with an Irish Heritage, Canowindra, NSW, based Frank believed in keeping his country's traditions alive.

With a unique laid-back Aussie country-style inherited from his late father, coupled with more than a touch of the blarney after five generations in Australia, he could make an audience laugh their heads off reminiscing about days gone by or turn them to tears with nostalgia.

From his early days at school and the works of the great masters Paterson and Lawson, he maintained a keen interest in bush poetry over a wide and varied career from his childhood on the family farm through a life of rough-riding, droving and truck driving.

Frank appeared at all of the major festivals in Australia and annually from 1993 at the famous Longyard Hotel as part of Tamworth's Country Music Festival.

For many years from 1997, he hosted the Traditional Longyard Hotel Bush Poets Breakfasts held daily during the 10 days of the Tamworth Festival. In 1997, he was inducted to the Bush Poets Wall of Renown at the Longyard's Fireside Festival.

Frank self-published a number of books of yarns and verse, his first, Bush Yarns & Poetry. In 1998, he took out Single Recorded Performance of the Year with his single recording of the Claude Morris poem A Grave Situation from the 1998 Album of the Year Dipso Dan & Other Silly Buggers. His work has appeared in no less than five anthologies and on five compilation albums.

In 2002, Frank beat all comers in the Australian Yarn Spinning Championships at Mulwala during the annual Australian Bush Poetry Championships.

Many people believed whatever Frank told them but, as he so often said, "Only half the lies I tell are the truth!"

His passing, and that of another revered Judith Hosier Memorial Award winner Carmel Randle earlier this year, make this a sad year for followers who remember the early days of the Bush Verse Revival.

A funeral and service to celebrate Frank's life will be held at Canowindra Catholic Church at 10:30am on Monday December 29.



Finalists announced for 2015 People's Choice Awards

Finalists have been announced for the 2015 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards to be announced in Tamworth in January.

"The increase in the number of votes, reflecting increasing awareness of 'the people's awards'," according to Awards spokesman Bob Kirchner.

"This year again, we received tens of thousands of votes with hundreds of artists, groups, duos, albums, songs, videos, radio stations and presenters nominated."

The finalists (in alphabetical order by artist surname or work title) are...

For Best Female Vocal – Beccy Cole, Amber Lawrence, Shaza Leigh, Dianne Lindsay and Amber Joy Poulton.

For Best Male Vocal – Dale Duncan, Adam Harvey, Nathaniel O’Brien, Luke O’Shea and Graham Rodger.

For Best Group or Duo – Brothers 3, Dozzi, The Long And Short Of It, Simply Bushed and The Wolfe Brothers.

For Best Song – Dust & Leather written and recorded by Graham Rodger, Fight Me written and recorded by McAlister Kemp (Drew McAlister & Troy Kemp), Old Shoes written and recorded by Terry Clark, They Call The Country by Brothers3 (written by Shardyn Fahey-Leigh & Alita Fahey) and Without You written and recorded by Nathaniel O’Brien.

For Best Bush Ballad – The Dreamers by Dale Duncan & Dianne Lindsay (written by Shaza Leigh, Billy Wye & Dale Duncan), He’s Droving Once Again written and recorded by Graham Rodger, The Boy From Cooroy by Brothers3 (written by Alita Fahey & Colin McKenzie), Dusty Floors by Simply Bushed (written by Paul Grierson & Chris Rieger) and Who Knew Ben Hall by Sami (written by S Cooke & D Cooke).

For Best Album – Dust & Leather by Graham Rodger, Foolish Things by Amber Joy Poulton, Terry Clark by Terry Clark, This Country by Simply Bushed and Travelling by Brothers3.

For Most Promising Future Star – Brett Clarke, Sami Cooke, Jay Seeney, Karrie Hayward and Taylor Pfeiffer.
For Best Video Clip – Every Passing Minute by Sami, Fight Me by McAlister Kemp, I Need You Tonight by Dozzi featuring Drew McAlister, Oxygen Thief by Terry Clark and They Call The Country by Brothers3.

Best Vocal or Musical Event – The Dreamers by Dale Duncan & Dianne Lindsay, I Need You Tonight by Dozzi featuring Drew McAlister, My Country My Land by Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley, Reach Out by Graham Rodger & Catherine Britt and Truck Stop Flowers by Aleyce Simmonds & Luke O’Shea.

The Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards also recognise popularity in country music broadcasting with two awards, the finalists being...

For Most Popular Country Music DJ – Carter Edwards of the Super Radio Network, Trish Espin of Hot Country Radio Queensland, Jane Kellaway of 2MCR Sydney, Ron Trundle of Today’s Country 94.1 and Geoff Williams of Radio Northern Beaches.

Most Popular Country Music Radio Station or Program – 2MCR FM (Sydney), Carter Edwards Show (Super Radio Network), Hot Country Radio Network (Queensland), Radio Northern Beaches (Sydney), Today’s Country 94.1 (Central Coast, NSW).

Winners of 2015 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards will be announced at a gala concert and awards ceremony at 2pm Tuesday, January 20 at the Tamworth’s Capitol Theatre.

A number of Awards finalists previous winners and special guests will perform during the night.

Tickets can be purchased via

Further information regarding the Awards can be obtained from the website...www. which will also have details of guest performers as confirmed.



Bush Laureate finalists announced

Finalists have been announced for the 2015 Australian Bush Laureate Awards to be presented in Tamworth this January.

In alphabetical order by title of work, they are...

For Book of the Year... The Billy That Died With His Boots On by Stephen Whiteside of Melbourne (Vic), The Bronze Swagman Award 2013... Winton Business & Tourism Association, The Bronze Swagman Award 2014... Winton Business & Tourism Association (Qld), Mr Eddie Emu by Kathy Edwards of Merewether (NSW) and Under The Southern Cross Sky by Brenda Joy of Charters Towers (Qld).

For Album of the Year... The Anzac On The Wall by Jim Brown & Vince Brophy of Melbourne (Vic), Bargo Bargo by Manfred Vijars of Morningside (Qld), The Dead Come Home by Maggie Murphy of Heathcote (Vic), Prousty: Still A-live & Dangerous by Dave Proust of Forrester’s Beach (NSW) and Something For Everyone by C J Kessey of North Rothbury (NSW).

For Published Poem of the Year… The Checkup by Irvin Beeston of Mt Beauty (Vic), The Ghost Of Long Tan by Tom McIlveen of Port Macquarie (NSW), The Last Judgement by Brenda Joy of Charters Towers (Qld) and Scooter Stan by Neil Smith of Junee (NSW).

For Single Recorded Performance of the Year... Anzac Spirit by Greg Aitken of Mullumbimby (NSW), The Auction by Dave Proust of Forrester’s Beach (NSW), The Dead Come Home by Maggie Murphy of Heathcote (Vic),
Our Culture's Alright by Manfred Vijars of Morningside (Qld) and Ownerless by Jim Brown of Melbourne (Vic).

For Recorded Traditional Australian Song Lyric of the Year... A-U-S-T-R-A-L-I-A by Johnny Greenwood of Brisbane (Qld), The Dreamers by Shaza Leigh, Billy Wye & Dale Duncan of Tamworth (NSW), Land Of The Free by Greg Bain of North Rothbury (NSW), He's Droving Once Again by Graham Rodger of Nambour (Qld) and The Tattered Flag by Manfred Vijars of Morningside (Qld).

For Recorded Contemporary Australian Song Lyric of the Year... 3 Brothers by Luke O'Shea of Sydney (NSW), Dust & Leather by Graham Rodger of Nambour (Qld), Hail Australia by Shaza Leigh of Tamworth (NSW), The Lifesaver by Amber Lawrence of Sydney (NSW) and When We Were Young & Stupid by Allan Caswell of Sydney (NSW).

Also to be announced and presented on the night of the Awards gala concert is the Judith Hosier Heritage Award, for a significant contribution to Australian bush poetry.

The 2015 Australian Bush Laureate Awards will be staged in the famous Tamworth Town Hall on Tuesday, January 20... for the first time an evening event starting at 7pm.

A star-studded line-up of bush poets, including Awards finalists, will appear during the gala awards concert together with special guest country music artists and compere Jim Haynes.

Tickets are now available here... at or by telephoning 02 6767 5300.

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Chart Update – Christie at number one for fourth week

Christie Lamb (pictured) retains her hold on the top spot of the national Country Tracks Top 40 chart in the coming week for the fourth week in a row with her hit song Wish You Were A Cowboy.

Kristy Cox's This is steady at number two while The McClymonts Forever Begins Tonight edges up one to number three and Connie Kis Andersen's The Other Side Of Midnight is up two to number four.

Roo Arcus' Let's Get Out Of Here is at five, Melinda Schneider & Beccy Cole's 9 To 5 is at six and Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart is at seven.

Tanya Self's Mischief (Your Backside's Gonna Pay) is at eight, Allan Caswell's Sometimes When You Lose You Win is up one to nine and The Wolfe Brothers You Got To Me enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Ben Ransom's One More Beer (20 to 12), Lee Kernaghan's Driving Home For Christmas (33 to 13), Victoria Avenue's Knock Knock (34 to 18), Harmony James' 30,000 Feet (36 to 19), Dozzi's Weakness (chart re-entry at 20), Lyn Bowtell's Happy (new at 25), Jared Porter & Kaylee Bell's Pieces (re-entry at 29), Kathy Coleman's They Call 'Em Coopers (38 to 31), Shelley Jones Band's Almost Perfect Man (39 to 33) and Tom Maxwell's Reasons To Quit (new at 35).

The full chart can be viewed at



Rob reappointed to CMA Board

Australian music industry promoter, Rob Potts, Chief Executive of Rob Potts Entertainment Edge, has been reappointed to the American Country Music Association (CMA) board for the 13th consecutive year.

Rob is the only Australian-based member of the board and only the second Australian-based person to have served on the board since its establishment in 1958. During his time on the board, he has been an advocate of opportunity for Australian country music artists in the US market and, working with Chugg Entertainment, helped establish an international touring market for US country music artists in Australia.

Through his tenure on the CMA board, he has also chaired the board's International Committee, served on the Artist Relations Committee and Awards and Recognition Committees.

In 2004, Rob was instrumental in establishing the CMA Australian Advisory Group (AAG) which he currently chairs. The group, which works on a voluntary basis and without any external funding, provides regular input into the CMA Board and administration on the state of the industry in Australia and regular reports on interaction and engagement between the two markets.

The CMA AAG is made up of representatives from major record labels, pay television, commercial radio, the Australasian Performing Right Association and the live music industry. The CMA board has since adopted this model for advisory groups in the UK and Canada.

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TSA finalists announced

The Tamworth Songwriters' Association yesterday announced finalists in its annual awards presented during the January festival in Country Music Capital including the Songwriter Salute Awards.

Finalists for the New Songwriter Award are Megan Cooper with Jailsong and Virginia Fall, Garry Jones with Anzac Day, Liam Kennedy-Clarke with No One's There and Justin Standley with Hard Easy.

For Traditional Bush Ballad of the Year... Coopers Creek by Dean Perrett, He’s Droving Once Again by Graham Rodger, Hillbilly Dream by Patricia Thompson & Tom McIvor, Grandpa’s Farm by Lester Treuer and Tribute to a Bushman by Patricia Thompson & Keith Jamieson.

For Contemporary Song... 27 Degrees by Megan Cooper & Dana Hassall, Dulcify by John Busby & Halfway, Fairytale by Wendy Wood, Some Kind of Habit by Gretta Ziller & Jasper Hollis and You Still Turn Me On by Sandra Humphries.

For Contemporary Ballad... My Country My Land by Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley, My Tank’s On Empty by 8 Ball Aitken, Sometimes When You Lose You Win by Allan Caswell & Marian Caswell, Teardrops by Amber Joy Poulton & Sam Hawksley and Texas by Megan Cooper.

For Comedy/Novelty... Cooper’s Run by Peter Coad, Hard To Have Your Mother As Your Drummer by Alita Fahey & Brothers 3, Oh Far Canal by Justin Standley, Smithy And The Flying Emu by Pete Smith & Rob Howland and The Walk-Up Artist by John Battle & Tony Roberts.

For Children's Song... G’Day Mate by Dale Duncan & Ben Jacobs, The Last Laugh by Karl Mohr, Little Shipmates by Stuart Hale & Roger Corbett, Our Gumtree Home by Glen Naylor & Chris Wilson and The Wombat Wobble by Stan Lenz.

For Gospel Song... I’ve Got Your Song by Nell Brown, The Light House by Dean Perrett, Lord Take My Hand by Pam Thomasson, Old Country Church by Ged Hintz and Treasured Old Bible by Patricia Thompson.

For Alternative/Blues/Bluegrass... A Little Weird Round Here by Allan Caswell & Lachlan Bryan, Coming Down Blue by Stuart Hale & Roger Corbett, Fear God by Dean Perrett, Raise Your Voice by David Carter & Merelyn Carter and Rust & Bones by Gretta Ziller and Jess Holland.

In the Association's National Country Songwriting Contest, semi finalists are...

Novice section... Anytime, Anyplace by Katie King, Black Saturday by Warren Morgan & Brian Garde, Call Me and Got Me Falling by Emily Markham, Great And Ancient Land by Lloyd Clarke, I’m Coming Home by Bill Amos and Whiptails by Garth Brand.

Alternative/Blues/Bluegrass... Bringing Me to Tears by Adam James & Graham ‘Buzz’ Bidstrup, Lonely Town by Karen Craigie, Say Amen by Steven Sherrah, Slaughterhouse Blues by Gretta Ziller and The Worry Tree by Justin Standley.

Junior... Fall For You by Abbey Gardner, Finding My Way Out by Cassi Hilbers, What Do You Do and You Did Me Wrong by Kaitlyn Thomas and Will He Be Fed Tonight? by Taylor Pfeiffer.

Lyrics only... The Bony Mountain Mare and My First Ever Love Song by Maurie Marion, The Drovers Reunion by Lex Kunst, Let’s Not Forget by Allan Thompson, Lipstick Wearing Wombat by Lisa Scelzi, No One Gets Left Behind by John Walsh and One song From Heartbreak by John Walsh.

International... I Want To Dance by Beau Renfro and Read Your Mind by Ryan Morris & Erica Sunshine Lee.

Open Traditional... Bringing Me To Tears by Adam James & Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup, Country Of Gidyea And Stone by Patricia Thompson, Dusty Slopes & Drives by Graham Rodger & Andrew Black, Ghosts of the Murranji by Graham Rodger, Just An Old Felt Hat by Gregory Dillon, Nora Goodhelp and Little Ronny's Ghost by Justin Standley, Just One Of Our Mistakes by Sharon BenjaminStraight Down the Line by Cody Bracken and Today I Could Be Dead by Lola Brinton & Sven Tydeman.

Open Contempotary... Are You Coming and Rivers Run To Red by Demi Barton, Billy-Cart Days by Ben Ransom, Brand New Life by Samantha Mooney, Dianne and My Father's Son by Cody Bracken, I Can't Read Those Books No More by Jay Sullivan, I Got Your Back by Adam Power, I Wrote This One For You and Walk Away by Becci Nethery, The Last Days by John Walsh & Imogen Clark, Oh No, Not Another Love Song and Till The Buzzer Goes Off by Justin Standley, Red Heart by Greg Champion, Standing On Bindii by Kelt Twidale, Trying To Pray by Lola Brinton & Jasper Hollis and Your Heart's Got Wheels by Getta Ziller.



Golden Guitar Awards on television, Toyota returns as sponsor

Two major announcements were made by the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) this week... the 2015 Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) are set to be featured on television in February and Toyota is returning as name sponsor.

Country Music Capital's Northern Daily Leader reported on Wednesday that the Awards would go to air on the TEN Network's regional Channel 11 network via Southern Cross Ten and that Toyota has returned as naming rights sponsor for the Awards on Saturday January 24.

In its 43rd year in 2015, the Golden Guitar Awards is Australia's longest-running music awards scheme.

CMAA Vice-Chairman Roger Corbett said the organisation was excited about the collaboration with Toyota and Southern Cross Ten.

"The partnership will take the Awards to more Australians than ever before and that’s exciting," he said. 

Toyota Australia Sales & Marketing Executive Director Tony Cramb said the sponsorship was the company's way of thanking those who had supported the brand.

The company is already celebrating 20 years of support for Star Maker, a highlight event of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, and was the major sponsor of the Golden Guitar Awards for almost a decade from the mid 1990s.

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McAlister Kemp go separate ways

Australian country hit songwriters and recording artists McAlister Kemp have announced an indefinite hiatus in which they say they will focus on solo projects.

Having released three albums in the past six years and become a staple of the Australian country scene, the duo of Drew McAlister and Troy Kemp have increasingly – and separately – become "hired guns" for songwriting spots more recently.

They were signed to ABC Music as a duo after their own solo careers and – along with final shows – will finish this chapter with a compilation release in March covering their duo career.

In a post on facebook, they wrote: "Adam Brand, Linda Chamarette and our incredible record company, ABC Music, really took a chance signing us as a duo after considerable time developing our solo careers, a huge blessing which opened up unexpected and incredible new phase in our lives.

"Now it's time for a change and a new chapter in both of our careers. We don't know what the future holds but you can be guaranteed that some great songs are coming your way from both of us."

Their most recent album Harder To Tame was released in January this year and they are finalists for four Golden Guitars in Tamworth this January. Both Harder To Tame and their previous 2012 record Country Proud peaked at 18 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

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Star Maker finalists announced

The 10 up and coming country acts who will battle it out for the 2015 Toyota Star Maker crown were announced today.

And they are... Tommy Contor (from NSW), Sian Evans (Qld), Rachel Fahim (NSW), Dana Hassall (Qld), Jess Holland (NSW), Tyler Hudson (Vic), Taylor Moss (Qld), Mickey Pye (NSW), Jonny Taylor (WA) and Greta Ziller (Vic).

Of the 10, four have been finalists previously, Tommy, Jess, Mickey and Jonny.

Star Maker will run over two sessions, 7pm Sunday January 18 in the Tamworth Town Hall to decide a number of grand finalists who will compete on Friday January 23 in Country Music Capital's Bicentennial Park as part of Toyota's Concert for Rural Australia.

This will be the 36th staging of the talent quest, dubbed "Australia's most prestigious country music talent search". It will be the 20th year of support by Toyota.

Toyota Star Maker Co-Ordinator and Editor of Country Music Capital News Cheryl Byrnes praised all the entrants saying: "The Toyota Star Maker competition continues to unearth some of the most exciting new country music talent."

Barry Harley, General Manager of Rural Press Events, publisher of Capital News, said: "Toyota Star Maker has been associated with so many country music icons, from Keith Urban to Lee Kernaghan and more recently Samantha McClymont, Kaylee Bell and 2014 winner, Jared Porter. Every year the competition gets bigger and better and 2015 will be no different – festival-goers will again be in for a treat.

Tony Cramb, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing for Toyota Australia, said: "The company is proud of its long-standing support of emerging country music artists through Toyota Star Maker."

Tickets to the Sunday night final can be purchased via or by phone on 02 6767 5300.

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Tamworth wins at NSW Tourism Awards

The Tamworth Country Music Festival has won Gold for Major Festivals & Events at the NSW Tourism Awards.

The announcement was made in Darling Harbour last night where Tamworth Regional Council General Manager Paul Bennett and Director, Business & Events, John Sommerlad were in attendance to collect the award on behalf of the event organisers, sponsors, other stakeholders and the residents of Tamworth.

"We're extremely excited and very proud to accept this Award," Paul said. "This Award belongs to the residents of Tamworth as much as it does to the organisers and stakeholders. The passion and commitment of our 'Tamworth Ambassadors' contributes each year to the success of the Festival.

"We also acknowledge our strategic partners, Toyota and Destination NSW. Without their support our Festival would not be possible."

Tamworth Regional Mayor Col Murray said the city was ready to welcome the festival crowds and special visitors, many of whom he said had made Tamworth an annual pilgrimage.

The Tamworth Festival is now up for the national award – for Australia's best major festival and event – at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Adelaide. The Festival took out this accolade at the 2012 event.

The NSW Tourism Awards celebrate and acknowledge tourism businesses that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and success throughout the year.

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