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MARCH, 2014
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MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2014

Americana Music Association launches Australian Group

The Americana Music Association (AMA) has announced an Australian advisory group to "provide opportunities to national artists".

The group comprises five members... Dan Biddle (label veteran and founder of management company TCO Artists), Jeremy Dylan (Australian filmmaker and owner of production company Seven Shells Media), Marty Jones (Editor of roots publication Rhythms Magazine), Dobe Newton (President of the Country Music Association of Australia, pictured) and Brian Taranto (Director of long-standing merchandise company Love Police).

Nashville-based producer and current AMA Board President Mark Moffatt says: "As an expat, I have ensured the AMA is fully aware of the incredible depth of talent in Australia and the contribution artists such as Kasey Chambers, Paul Kelly and many others have made to our genre.

"We look forward to strengthening these ties through the newly formed advisory group and to the opportunities this relationship will provide on both sides of the Pacific."

The group has three goals: "to create awareness of the genre in Australia, to foster opportunities for Australian artists in the US and to create connections for US artists in Australia."

"The AMA was formed in 1999 to advocate American roots music globally. In America, the genre is more accessible and segmented by radio format whereas Americana in Australia is captured under alt-country, thus denying the acts the type of full front line promotion afforded to US artists." Mark said.

The Association holds an annual Americana Music Festival & Conference each September. Last year's event saw the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Billy Bragg and Adelaide's Paul Kelly perform.

Mark was named AMA President earlier this month.


FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014

Artist interest invited for Boyup Brook's 30th

Organisers of the annual Boyup Brook Country Music Festival are inviting expressions of interest from artists who would like to be involved in next year's 30th event.

The Festival is to run over the third weekend of February 2015.

"All country music bands and performers are invited to apply," a spokesman said. "We will be continuing in the footsteps of the festival's proud history and wish to make sure we keep a focus on all things 'country'.

"Along with national artists, we do also like to showcase a variety of regional and local talent.

An expression of interest form is available on the website

Telephone enquiries can be directed to 08 9765 1657.



"Chookman" premieres"

A feature documentary focusing on one of the most recognisable characters of the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival – Frank "The Chookman" Turton – will have its world premiere next month.

Also recognised as one of South Australia's most colourful characters, Frank will see the premiere in his home state, at Renmark, on Saturday April 5.

French filmmaker Marc Cousin took almost five years to create "The Chookman", a feature-length story about the eccentric entertainer whose fame has spread across Australia and beyond.

Taking viewers on a journey from Northern Territory's iconic Daly Waters Pub, through central Australia and to Frank's hometown of Paringa "The Chookman" showcases some beautiful scenery, while exploring the man behind the local legend.

The film came about when Marc – midway through an round-the-world trip – "discovered" Frank at the Daly Waters Pub. The filmmaker soon learned of Frank's musical ability, his wood-burning ability, how he got his nickname... and his "big dream" of building a houseboat.

Marc and his travelling companion stayed on at the Daly Waters Pub for a week, then travelled to Paringa with Frank.

They saw Frank's dream in its early stage, stayed for a week, departed, then returned months later for the launch of "Wilitsinkorwon'tit".

They stayed until the boat had its maiden voyage, before returning to their respective careers in France. Marc returned to shoot more footage for "The Chookman" and the result is the 111-minute feature documentary.

The world premiere takes place at the Chaffey Theatre in Renmark from 7:30pm on April 5.

Both filmmakers will attend the premiere.

Photo: Filmmaker Marc Cousin with Frank and the infamous "houseboat".



Slim Dusty Memories Week 2014

Organisation of the successful Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week in Kempsey is to run from this year under the umbrella of the Slim Dusty Foundation, operators of the Slim Dusty Centre.

The Foundation is now planning and organising the 2014 event, "with sincere thanks to the incredible long term efforts of Bruce and Trish Woods and the Rotary Club of Kempsey West for establishing such a wonderful activity," said Foundation Chief Executive Officer Kathryn Yarnold.

"The success of this tremendous festival for our community can only continue with the kind assistance of the committee members that dedicate their time and expertise to the running of the event."

Bruce and Trish, who will remain as key players in Memories Week, said that after 10 years, they had seen it grow from strength to strength but it had been obvious for some time that ownership and organisation of the event in Slim's home town and birthplace should rest with the Slim Dusty Foundation.

"Our involvement with the Slim Dusty Memories Week has been a very rewarding and enjoyable experience, meeting so many people, country music singers/songwriters and music fans from all states of Australia. We will continue to work with the committee in the coming years and would like to wish the Slim Dusty Foundation and its volunteers all the very best with this wonderful event, long into the future."

Preliminary details of the 2014 Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week have been announced, with Ray Kernaghan, patriarch of the Kernaghan country music dynasty, announced as one of this year's special guests together with daughter Tania.

"Slim and his music have always been a huge part of the Kernaghan family musical heritage," Ray said. "I am truly looking forward to being a part of this year's great event and paying tribute to Australia’s King Of Country."

Tania said: "It is a great honour to be performing alongside the stellar lineup of artists appearing at the Slim Dusty Music Memories Week in October. If you love Australian country music, you will love this terrific family event."

Also appearing will be Luke O'Shea, a major new Australian country star on the rise following his second and third Golden Guitar wins this January with the song paying tribute to Joy McKean as Lady Of The Land.

A full rundown of guest stars at this year’s Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week will be announced shortly. In the meantime, organisers say, bookings are now open for the week-long event, including for campsites.

Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week 2014 will run at the Kempsey Showground from Monday October 20 to Sunday October 26.

Pictured: Ray Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan and Luke O'Shea.

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Lachlan signs

ABC Music Publishing has signed Lachlan Bryan, winner of the 2014 Golden Guitar for Best Alternative Country Album for his work Black Coffee.

Lachlan is a Melbourne native "whose heart is steeped in the drama and imagery of country, roots and Americana music," according to the publishing house. "A songwriter with true authenticity, Lachlan's songs are draped with dark characters... and sub plots flavoured with dustbowl balladry, old school country and nu folk undertones."

The singer/songwriter emerged in 2009 as front man and songwriter for The Wildes, a band that quickly established itself as a unique crossover act between the Melbourne alternative and Tamworth based Australian country music scenes.

Lachlan "smashed" his way up the ARIA Country Charts with the release of Black Coffee late last year while winning accolades for his songwriting.

Playing standout performances around Australia, Lachlan has toured with Steve Earle, Paul Thorn and Shawn Colvin and has performed at major festivals including Apollo Bay, Bluesfest, The Gumball, Gympie, Tamworth and extensively across the USA.

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Chart Update – 8 Ball still at number one

8 Ball Aitken's latest hit – I'm Going To Jail – remains at number one on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five edges up one to number two while Christie Lamb's All She Wrote jumps to number three and America's Eli Young Band is steady again at four with Drunk Last Night.

The Bobkatz' former number one – Reelin' One In – is at five, Catherine Britt's Who Cares is steady at six, as is Jasmine Rae's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am at seven.

Sara Storer's Come On Rain edges up one more to eight, Kaylee Bell's Little Bit Small Town enters the top 10 at nine and America's Zac Brown Band is at 10 with Sweet Annie.

New to the chart this week are Kate Cook with Hit The Highway (at 29) and Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters (at 30).

The full chart can be viewed at


FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014

Gympie line-up announced

This year's Gympie Music Muster line-up boasts "every single Australian Golden Guitar winner" from the 2014 Country Music Awards... and then some.

In alphabetical order, the country stars of this year's Muster, to run from Thursday to Sunday August 28 to 31, will include...

Gord Bamford, Doug Bruce, Kaylee Bell, Lyn Bowtell, Jeff Brown, Lachlan Bryan, Adi Burgess, Mike Carr, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, Ashleigh Dallas, Peter Denahy, Jayne Denham, Adam Eckersley Band, Bob Evans, Buddy Goode, Adam Harvey, Harry Hookey, Harmony James, Keith Jamieson, Pixie Jenkins, Lee Kernaghan, Christie Lamb, Luella & The Heelers, Grant Luhrs. McAlister Kemp, The McClymonts, Chad Morgan, O'Shea, Luke O'Shea, Brittany Pavlo, The Pigs, Jarod Porter (2014 Toyota Star Maker), Ben Ransom, Shandell, Aleyce Simmonds, Sara Storer, The Sou'westers, The Sunny Cowgirls, The Viper Creek Band, John Williamson and The Wolfe Brothers.

Tickets for this year's event are also now on sale.

In 2014, The Muster is aiming to surpass $15 million of giving to rural and regional communities.

When asked to comment on what he considers to be one of the more exciting features of the 2014 Muster line-up, Program Manager Jeff Chandler said: "It's an amazing time for music in Australia right now with so many fresh and original artists coming through. While the Muster prides itself on presenting the cream of the established stars, it's the strong showing by new artists that tells us that the future of music is in great hands.

"As well as the stunning array of artist musical performances, the entertainment within six venues and eight bars includes the hilarious Muster Bush Poets hosted by the inimitable Marco Gliori, the informative and highly entertaining Songwriter's Sessions, the return of musical instrument workshops and the ever popular Muster Talent Search."

Photo: part of a Gympie Muster crowd.

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Taylor on TV

Taylor Pfeiffer – "the Banjo Girl" – will be a guest on ABC Television's "Spicks and Specks" next Wednesday evening (26th) as the player on one of the show's most popular segments.

Taylor will be the key to the coming week's "Look what they've done to my song, ma" where she will "disguise" five songs by playing the banjo and yodelling. The teams have to guess what the songs are.

The show, which goes to air at 8:30pm, will be repeated on ABC2 the following day (Thursday), also at 8.30pm.

Taylor will then closes the show with a duet with Ben Mingay, Music Theatre/TV Actor from Wonderland, Packed to the Rafters, Blue Heelers and All Saints who is a show guest on the night.

Ben will join team leader Adam Richard and fellow guest Denise Drysdale while the opposing team, led by Ella Hooper, will feature country, blues and rock singer Dan Sultan and comedian and writer Gen Fricker.

This coming week will be busy for Taylor in other media as she has ab in-studio interview on Monday night with Peter Goers on ABC 891 Radio Evenings (Adelaide) and will also appear on the "Our Time" television show on Channel 44 & Channel 31, Monday at 7.30pm with repeats on Wednesday 26th at 1pm. and Friday 28th at 4.30pm.

Taylor was interviewed by television personality Malcolm Harslett and performed her original song Policeman Yodel from her latest EP You Were The Stranger, co-produced by Bill Chambers and Taylor.

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New home and title for Country Jamm for Genes

Jamm for Genes 2014 has a new address at "Sydney's Home Of Country Music" – Rooty Hill RSL – and the event will be held on Saturday May 24 as "Total Country Jamm for Genes" with the RSL Club coming on board as the major sponsor.

The location and name change acknowledges the success of the event and its growth in the last four years. Outgrowing its original residence in the Blue Mountains, the event will be bigger and better at Rooty Hill RSL's 732-seat Tivoli Showroom, according to organisers.

The event will now be fully ticketed and feature an evening concert starting at 7.30. Headline act 2013 Female Artist Of The Year Catherine Britt (pictured) will be joined by ARIA and the APRA award-winning Mike Carr/Buddy Goode, 2013 X-Factor runner-up Jason Owen plus rising country acts The Viper Creek Band and Seleen McAlister.

An all-star band with highly respected musician/producer Simon Johnson (who's production credits include Buddy Goode, Aleyce Simmonds, Tori Darke and many more) at the helm will provide musical backing on the night.

The charity component of the night will include an auction for a pair of jeans painted by award-winning portrait artist Fonda Shae which have been signed by artists who performed at the 2013 CMC Rocks North Queensland. All proceeds including auction and ticket sales will benefit Children's Medical Research Institute.

Jeans for Genes is one of Australia's most loved fundraising campaigns with a 20-year history. Every year two million Aussies wear their jeans and donate funds in support of children’s medical research – more than $60 million since it began.

The Children's Medical Research Institute was founded in 1958 by Australians who were determined to protect their children from disabling and fatal childhood diseases. Their many staggering achievements include: developing microsurgery techniques enabling life-saving operations on babies and small children, identification of the components of telomerase, which will be important for treating 85 percent of all cancers, and discovering and developing a new class of drugs for treating epilepsy.

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Natalie nominated for independent album award

Natalie Howard's album Under (Love's) Umbrella has been nominated for Country Album of the Year in the Independent Music Awards in America.

Natalie said she was proud and elated to hear she had been selected in the final five of submissions received from around the world. The four other nominees are all from the USA.

Several years ago, Natalie won Country Song of the Year with I Don't Want To Live Like That" from her album Yesterday's Makeup in these awards and "to represent Australia and be nominated for this year's Album of the Year is a high honour," she said.

Natalie joins nearly 400 self-released and independent label artists, as well as former major label acts, named by Music Resource Group (MRG) as nominees in the 13th Independent Music Awards, an influential awards program for independent artists, bands and fans. Winners will be announced in May.

Weblink here.

Meanwhile, Natalie's new single Paradise has been released to radio. The album has produced three consecutive Country Tracks Chart Top 10 Hits and won the 2013 Best Production Award (Engineer/Arrangement) in the Canberra Country Music Awards.

Natalie’s earlier single Hit The Hay won Contemporary Country Song in the 2013 Canberra Country Music Awards, was named in the Top 10 in the USA Songwriting Awards and reached the number nine spot in the Top 100 Country Hits of 2013. The video clip, directed by five time Golden Guitar winner Duncan Toombs, took out the Australian Independent Music Video Awards Best Cinematography Music Video 2013.

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CMA expands international concert

America's Country Music Association (CMA) has announced a re-branding and expansion of the international concert staged during its annual CMA Music Festival in Nashville in June.

The announcement was made at the CMA's second annual International Marketing Summit in London.

"The Summit was the perfect platform and this was the ideal audience to announce the strategic growth of the international showcase from a club gathering to a main-stage event," she said.

Presented under the "CMA World" global brand, the CMA World GlobaLive concert (previously running since 2004 as the Global Artist Party) will be staged on Monday June 2 from 6pm on a free, outdoor stage on Broadway in downtown Nashville.

The concert will be open to the public and feature performances by country music artists from territories including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK.

"Moving this incredibly popular event from a club setting to a large stage... will enhance the experience for our visiting artists and create a bigger platform to reach an even broader audience of fans and press from around the world," Sarah Trahern.

"Country music is not limited by its American roots. Closer than a click, through technology we are reaching a broader audience and developing new fans around the world.

"Opportunities for advancement of the format have never been more promising and it is our goal to provide the resources and educational initiatives necessary to help our international constituents build visibility and business opportunities."

The CMA Board of Directors has four international members (Australia, Canada, and two from the UK).

Throughout the year, CMA honours individuals of the international community with awards including the International Country Broadcaster Award, International Artist Achievement Award, Global Country Music Artist Award, the Wesley Rose International Media Achievement Award, and the prestigious Jo Walker-Meador International Award, which is named for the original executive director of CMA.

The 2014 CMA Music Festival will be held Thursday to Sunday, June 5 to 8 in Nashville.

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Chart Update – 8 Ball hits the top

8 Ball Aitken's latest hit – I'm Going To Jail – has taken over the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

The Bobkatz' number one for the last two weeks – Reelin' One In – drops to number two while Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five jumps three places to number three and  America's Eli Young Band is steady at four with Drunk Last Night.

Christie Lamb's All She Wrote is also steady at number five, Catherine Britt's Who Cares edges up one place to six as does Jasmine Rae's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am to seven.

Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels is at eight, Sara Storer's Come On Rain edges up one to nine and the former Keith Urban/Miranda Lambert number one We Were Us is stready at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include The McClymonts' Going Under (Didn't Have To) (21 to 18) and O'Shea's It Never Goes Away (27 to 24).

The full chart can be viewed at


MONDAY, MARCH 17, 2014

Wendy wins Songsalive Songwriter of the Year

Country Music Capital based singer/songwriter Wendy Wood has been named joint Songwriter of the Year at this year's Songsalive Awards.

Wendy won the accolade for taking out two categories at the Awards, Country/Australiana with Do You Want Love With That and Comedy/Novelty/Childrens with Trick Or Treat.

She shared the honour with folk singer/songwriter Daniel Bartulovich who also won two categories... Folk/Singer Songwriter with A Little Chorus To Say and Rock with Let It Out.

Other country writers successful at this year's Songsalive Awards were Christie Lamb, who won the Pop category with her work Love Me Tonight and Abbey Gardner who won the Barebones Song of the Year category with Apple Tree.

Fellow finalists in the Country Category were Cathy Dobson (winner of this year's Capital Country Music Association Songwriter prize in January) with A Man Like You and Go To Hell With You... Stephen Kermode with Joboticaba Moonshine and Brian Ralston with Oldest Roadies On The Eartch.

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Morgan wins big at this year's CMC Awards

Rising star singer/songwriter Morgan Evans won three CMC Awards during CMC Rocks The Hunter in the NSW Hunter Valley last night.

Morgan took home Oz Artist of the Year, Australian Video of the Year and Male Oz Artist of the Year.

Female Oz Artist of the Year was awarded to Jasmine Rae off the back of her album If I Want To, while New Oz Artist of the Year went to Tasmanian country rockers The Wolfe Brothers.

CMC's "International" awards went to Taylor Swift (Artist of of the Year) and Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban (Video of the Year for their clip Highway Don't Care.

CMC – Country Music Channel – will air an Awards show special on Monday night, March 31, at 8.

CMC Rocks The Hunter continues Sunday.

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FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2014

Adam and Troy sing for drought relief

Country music stars Adam Brand and Troy Cassar-Daley will perform at the inaugural Mount Isa (Queensland) Isa Fest music festival "to boost the spirits of drought-affected graziers".

The festival, due to be held on Saturday May 10, is the brainchild of Mount Isa mayor Tony McGrady who told ABC Radio that people on drought-affected properties will be given free entry to the event, as a way to show them Mount Isa cares about their plight.

"It's about saying to those people, you're going through a very difficult time and you're not on your own," he said. "We who live in the city and we still have our jobs – want to help.

"I think (the graziers) will realise what we're trying to doand if they can't come in at least they know the offer's been made and we're working towards putting on this show for them.

"The comments I've heard is they're very touched by the gesture of the Mount Isa community."

Isa Fest us being funded by the Queensland Government, Mount Isa Mines, the Australian Workers Union and businesses in Mount Isa.

Thirty-six artists and musicians will be flown into Mount Isa for the event.

Councillor McGrady says even though parts of north west Queensland have been "transformed" by recent rain, the drought is far from over.

"It's not over, but at least we've got this rain and you already see the smile and the change of attitude on people's faces," he said.

"We need lots more rain but it just changes the feeling of people in the outback."

People on drought-affected properties who would like to attend the festival should register their interest with Mount Isa City Council.

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Troy and Adam 2

Meanwhile, Troy and the other Adam (Harvey) are set to perform at the Sydney Opera House on the 28th of this month.

Last year, Troy and Adam realised their dream of recording what they've been performing on tour for "a bit of fun".The result, of course, was The Great Country Songbook, an album of classic country songs.

Both have had their sights set on performing their own show at the iconic Sydney Opera House for many years.

"I have always been in awe of the Sydney Opera House since I was a kid fishing with my dad on the Harbour," Troy said. "Now I have the privilege of playing a show there with my good mate Adam Harvey."

"I'm really proud to be part of this concert," Adam said "I have always dreamt of playing at the Opera House, but never thought it would happen! And to perform the classic country songs that Troy and I grew up with in this beautiful iconic venue just makes it even more special."

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CMAA changes

A report in Country Music Capital's Northern Daily Leader this week revealed some major changes within the nation's country music industry organisation, the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA).

According to the report, Chairman Jeff Chandler and Director Graham Thompson have resigned and left the Association Board while Treasurer Marius Els has also resigned but is staying on until a replacement can be found.

President Dobe Newton (pictured) is Acting Chairman, and the report said the CMAA had big plans for 2014, with a focus on Tamworth.

The report quoted Dobe saying the organisation would take time to re-establish full credibility after issues in recent months.

"While these three stalwarts will be sorely missed, it provides us with an opportunity to inject some fresh thoughts and voices," the report quoted Dobe saying. "We are in discussions with a whole list of names and want to replace strength with strength."

"Plans for the year ahead included working closely with Tamworth Regional Council and establishing a secretariat that has executive functions, rather than just the administration functions it has had in Tamworth," the report said.

"We are caught in a catch-22 situation where if you don’t have the resources, you can't have a fully functioning office," The Leader quoted Dobe saying, "but if you don't have the office, you can't create an executive that is fully functional.

"We are utilising the Academy, which is the most wonderful thing we do. At the moment it's completely self-funding, so if we can replace some of that funding, we can have resources to have a functioning executive."

Other priorities included better communication, creating a Tamworth-based integrity committee to oversee the awards eligibility nomination process, exploring possibilities for national and international expansion of the Academy and working with Tamworth Regional Council to maximise the value of the sister city relationship with Nashville.

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ABC Music Publishing signs Lachlan

ABC Music Publishing has signed Lachlan Bryan, winner of the 2014 Golden Guitar for Best Alternative Country Album for Black Coffee.

"Lachlan is a Melbourne native whose heart is steeped in the drama and imagery of country, roots and Americana music," according to an ABC Music Publishing spokesman.

"A songwriter with true authenticity, Lachlan's songs are draped with dark characters, back stories, and sub plots flavoured with dustbowl balladry, old school country and nu folk undertones."

Lachlan emerged in 2009 as front man and songwriter for The Wildes, a band that quickly established itself as a unique crossover act between the Melbourne alternative and Tamworth based Australian country music scenes.

"The Golden Guitar winner (pictured with his trophy) smashed his way up the ARIA Country Charts with the release of Black Coffee late last year," the spokesman said, "whilst winning accolades for his songwriting.

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Chart Update – Bobkatz hang on to number one

The Bobkatz' latest hit – Reelin' One In – maintains its hold on the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

8 Ball Aitken's I'm Going To Jail is steady at number two while Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels edges up one place to number three and America's Eli Young Band is at four with Drunk Last Night.

Christie Lamb's All She Wrote is up two to number five, as is Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five at six and Catherine Britt's Who Cares at seven.

Jasmine Rae's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am enters the top 10 at eight, Sara Storer's Come On Rain debuts in the top 10 at nine while the Keith Urban/Miranda Lambert hit We Were Us is at 10.

New entries to the chart this week are Sandra Humphries with You Drink (in at 29) and Ashleigh Dallas Sail Away at 30.

The full chart can be viewed at


MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2014

Leaping Lizards celebrate 30 years

The Leaping Lizards are celebrating the band's 30th anniversary this year.

"It's hard to believe that 30 years have passed since the band started back in 1984," said a spokesman. "What a very different musical world it has become...

"Perennial bands have great foundations and that's something they do have. The early members set the course, Ron Dimmick being one of them, they fueled the band with perseverance and persistence and the musical trajectory was set.

"In defiance of the usual musical parade of members that come and go in a band with a 30 year history, The Lizards have retained and cultivated the very seeds of their beginnings with fortitude and resilience.

"They have conserved and weaved the very essence the band began with, and maturated it into an influentially edgy, yet round, rootsyness you hear clearly in their music today.

"The Leaping Lizards are an important contributor to the musical fabric of our times."

Marking the occasion of The Lizards' special anniversary is the release of a new double album, "covering selected works resurrected from dusty boxes," according to the spokesman, chronologically representing 1984 to 2014.

"The album identifies a seamless evolution from raw to round, it has captured the syncopated tonal modulations, embedded within the band from its very beginnings... regardless of changing membership over the years.

"It recognises and names the efforts of no less than 13 members and 17 regular others, for their invaluable contribution to recordings, live performances and continued support, during this 30 year journey."

"Producer Michael Fix has woven his wonder once again putting this difficult project together, painstakingly remastering each track, pulling the overall sound together and coaxing some very old recordings into the current century... all in record time!" said The Lizards' Donna Reynolds.

The album will be launched at a special function at Country Paradise Parklands, Nerang (Qld) at 7pm on Saturday, March 29.

All proceeds from the bar and food on the night will support the Nerang Country Paradise Association.

Half the profit from the sales of the new album will be donated to the Beyond Blue charity.

Photo (by Ron Bloxham): Ron Dimmick, Donna Reynolds and Hugh Curtis are The Leaping Lizards today.

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Central Coast Festival underway

The 2014 Central Coast Country Music Festival gets underway today at The Entrance, NSW, and runs up to and including Sunday.

Stars of this year's event include Brothers3, Allan Caswell, Gina Jeffreys, Steve Passfield, Lucky Starr and Tamara Stewart.

Other artists on the bill include Ash Mountain, Baylou, Kate Cook, Jackie Dee, the Adam Eckersley Band, Melody Feder, Col Finley, Troy Henderson, Michael Muchow, Gayle O'Neil, Alby Pool, the Round Mountain Girls, Roland Storm, Adam Toms, Tourmaline, the Viper Creek Band and Lauren Wheatley.

This year's Toyota Star Maker winner Jared Porter (pictured) will also appear and two special sessions presented by the Central Coast Country Music Association will feature the About Face Country Duo, Daniel Allars, Caitlin, Jason Carruthers, Margaret Cooper, Wayne Doyle, Alison Dunlop, Ezy Street, Tanya Johnston, Julia & Al, Barry Kennedy, Theresa MacVay, Kay Mathews, Ross McGregor, Adam Price, Lorna Rand, Mia Rose and Julie Sartori.

The festival also features bush poetry, busking, clogging, line and square dancing.

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Finalists announced for CMC Awards

After eight weeks of voting, Country Music Channel (CMC) has announced finalists for the CMC Music Awards 2014.

Winners will be announced on Friday March 14 during CMC Rocks The Hunter at the Hope Estate Winery in the NSW Hunter Valley.

Finalists for Oz Artist of the Year are Adam Brand (pictured), Morgan Evans, McAlister Kemp, Amber Lawrence (pictured) and O'Shea.

For Male Oz Artist of the Year... Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daley, Travis Collins, Morgan Evans and Lee Kernaghan.

For Female Oz Artist of the Year... Chelsea Basham, Kasey Chambers, Jayne Denham, Amber Lawrence and Jasmine Rae.

For New Oz Artist of the Year... Chelsea Basham, Matt Cornell, the Adam Eckersley Band, Kaylens Rain and The Wolfe Brothers.

For Australian Video of the Year... Carry On by Morgan Evans, Flying With The King by Lee Kernaghan, I Was Here by Adam Brand, If I Want To by Jasmine Rae and Thank You, Angels by O'Shea.

For International Video of the Year... Boys Round Here by Blake Shelton, Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain) by Gary Allan, Highway Don't Care by Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban, Hope On The Rocks by Toby Keith and Little Bit Of Everything by Keith Urban.

For International Artist of the Year... Toby Keith, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Chris Young.

The Awards ceremony will be hosted by The McClymonts and will feature special guest appearances by Lee Kernaghan and American broadcaster Storme Warren, as well as performances by American acts Blackjack Billy, Craig Campbell and Love & Theft.

"The CMC Music Awards celebrate country music in Australia," said a CMC spokesman.

The Channel will run a half-hour special on the Awards from Monday March 31 at 8pm.

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Lizotte's up for sale

Lizotte's, one of Australia's most frequented music establishments, is up for sale.

Brian and Jo Lizotte have decided to put their three NSW restaurant/venues, on the Central Coast, in Newcastle and Sydney, up for sale after 25 years.

"This is something that I am very proud of as the nurturing of up and coming talent is the future for the music industry," Brian said, "and I hope to be able to find a passionate new owner to keep this legacy alive."

The restaurant and venues have featured many well known acts including country stars like Kasey Chambers and Beccy Cole.

"It was one of the hardest decisions that Jo and I have had to make and we've pondered over it for quite some time," Brian said.

Business will continue as usual during the sale period.

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Aussie Mark named Americana Music Association President

Nashville-based Australian producer Mark Moffatt has been appointed President of the Americana Music Association

He told The Music Network that while the term "Americana" was generally seen as meaning alt-country in Australia, it encompassed a wider spectrum of artists in the United States.

"A lot of Australian artists are a great fit for the genre but often don't realise it and I can help join the dots for them," he said.

"There is an accessible and affordable industry resource base within the Americana community that could be of great benefit to Australians looking to break in the US on a manageable scale."

The Association runs the Americana Music Festival & Conference each September.

Last year, export body Sounds Australia organised performances by 23 Australian acts, with 11 executives attending. As a result, Mustered Courage left with a US booking agency deal while Newcastle's Melody Pool and Breaking Hart Benton from Brisbane attracted label interest.


CMA Directors

Meanwhile, in news we missed in December, Australia's Rob Potts and ex-pat Jeff Walker were both elected to the board of America's Country Music Association (CMA).

The terms of service are both effective from January 1 this year.

Rob is serving as an International Director while Jeff was elected as a representative of the Advertising Agency/PR/Marketing sector.


Kristy launches EP via live stream

Kristy James launched her debut EP Nobody's Gonna Make Me via a live internet stream last night.

Undecided on whether to launch in her hometown of Newcastle, head to Sydney or during the just concluded Tamworth Country Music Festival, Kristy realised that an internet-based launch would mean none of her fans would miss out.

The launch took place on the streaming website

Kristy’s debut EP is five-track production comprising works from the singer/songwriter's own pen plus the EPs title track and first radio single which is a co-write with APRA and ARIA award-winning songwriter Mike Carr.

"The EP is written from real life experiences and Kristy completely strips back and bears all in this intense, emotionally raw filled EP," said a spokesman for the artist.

"Kristy has gathered a who's who of Australian country music to release her original works. In the producer's chair again is Simon Johnson of Hillbilly Hut, engineering by Jeff McCormack, mixed and mastered by Ted Howard at Rancom St Studios with photography and design by Glen Hannah.

"Helping to bring the music to life are musicians Jedd Hughes, Luke Davis, Pete Drummond and Mick Albeck with backing vocals by Mike Carr, Marty Worrall and Chris E Thomas."

The EP debuted at number 12 on the iTunes Top Country Albums chart and peaked at number two, only kept out of the top spot by Taylor Swift.

For the first radio single's associated video clip, Kristy again teamed up with producer Glenn Wilson (who also produced Golden Guitar winning video clip Big Black Cloud for Felicity Urquhart and is also the man behind set designs on TV's "X Factor"). The clip can be viewed here.

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Chart Update – Bobkatz take the top spot

The Bobkatz' latest hit – Reelin' One In – has taken over the top spot on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

8 Ball Aitken's I'm Going To Jail jumps three places to number two while the Keith Urban/Miranda Lambert number one from the last three weeks – We Were Us – is at number three and Adam Brand's Freedom Rebels is up two to number four.

Lee Kernaghan's former number one – It's Only Country – is at five, America's Eli Young Band is at six with Drunk Last Night and Christie Lamb's All She Wrote is up three places to seven.

Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five bounds into the top at eight, Catherine Britt's Who Cares is in at nine and Amber Joy Poulton rounds out the top 10 with Foolish Things.

Bullet performers for the week include The Wolfe Brothers' Lovin' In The Summertown (25 to 22) and The McClymonts' Going Under (Didn't Have To) (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week include O'Shea with It Never Goes Away (in at 29) and Dozzi with Drew McAlister at 30 with I Need You Tonight.

The full chart can be viewed at



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