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Keith "lights the fuse"

Keith Urban's "Light The Fuse" tour in support of his new Fuse album is underway this week in America and dates have been announced for the Australian leg.

The Grammy, Golden Guitar and ARIA Award winning Keith will get to Australia in June with concerts at four city and two regional venues... Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, regionally, Narrabri in NSW and Townsville in Queensland.

Promoters say "the all-new show will not only feature first-time performances of new music from his number one album..., but will boast a production size and scope that has become synonymous with Urban's electrifying concert experiences.

"If Urban's previous tour of Australia, the 2013 'The Story So Far Tour' is any indication, as it was completely sold-out, then fans shouldn't wait to buy tickets for the 'Light The Fuse Tour Australia'."

Advance tickets for the tour will be available to all Visa Credit, Debit and Prepaid cardholders from noon (local time) next Tuesday (December 3) until 5pm Thursday December 5 or until presale tickets sell out at www.visaentertainment.com.au.

General tickets go on sale at 9am Monday, December 9 from www.ticketek.com.au.

The tour will kick off following Keith's performance at the 2014 Clipsal 500 After Race Concert in Adelaide on Sunday March 2.

Weblink – www.keithurban.net.



Catherine releases "greatest hits"

Reigning Australian country music Female Artist of the Year Catherine Britt today releases her first "greatest hits" album tomorrow.

Titled The Hillbilly Pickin' Ramblin' Girl So Far, the album is described as "a collection of Britt's finest work, her greatest songs and for a limited time, a 'Deluxe Edition' featuring all the hits, plus previously unreleased material and music videos across two CDs and a DVD will also be available.

The new release features one new song in its opening track and Catherine's latest single, Who Cares.

"I wrote my new single with lifelong friend Bill Chambers and the legend Guy Chalk. We wanted to write a song about how people like to talk about everybody else's business and judge each other when in reality, we all make mistakes and have our moments we regret. Let's make love, not war, hey? Cos...Who Cares?!"

The new song is produced by the Grammy-nominated Mark Moffatt.

Catherine spent six years in Nashville and has toured, performed and recorded with some of music's most respected names, like Kasey Chambers, Elton John and Paul Kelly, and has worked with some of Australia's and America's finest producers.

Her recording career began in 2000 when, at the age of 14, she released the EP, In The Pines; the release gaining critical acclaim and followed by her debut album, Dusty Smiles And Heartbreak Cures in 2001.

In 2006, Catherine released Too Far Gone and her third album, Little Wildflower, containing the hit single What I Did Last Night, in 2008. The track earned her the 2009 Female Artist of the Year Golden Guitar. Catherine went on to win the award again in 2013 and remains the youngest Australian ever to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

Weblink – www.catherinebritt.com.



CSU honours Tommy

Tommy Emmanuel will receive an honorary Doctor of Arts from Charles Sturt University (CSU) at an Alumni event at the Australian Museum in Sydney today.

CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the University Council resolved to confer the honour in recognition of Tommy's commitment to rural Australia and contribution to music education.

"Born and raised in the University's footprint, Tommy Emmanuel is one of Australia’s most respected musicians," Professor Vann said. "With a professional career spanning five decades, Tommy has always maintained a strong connection to rural and regional communities including significant interaction with Indigenous Australians.

"Tommy is also one of the most prodigious music educators in the world, meeting with both amateur and professional musicians at every show and location when he travels, often giving hours of his time to teaching and collaboration.
"At his last show in Bathurst several years ago, he visited a local high school, which had recently been destroyed by fire, the day after the show to spend time with the students and play for and teach them.

In addition, Tommy gives regular workshops, sometimes spanning several days, and has music festivals named in his honour, where he both performs and teaches. He was also one of the pioneers among professional musicians in the use of online media such as YouTube in the teaching and sharing of his music."
Professor Vann said Tommy's career could be an example to all rural Australians... he "is a musician, teacher and a living representation of Charles Sturt University's vision of regionality being no hindrance to both national and international excellence.


Further change to Golden Guitar finalists

After an error in the Bush Ballad of the Year category was discovered on the day the finalists for the 2014 Golden Guitar Awards were announced, the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) proceeded to conduct an internal review of all 2014 finalists and category eligibility and found discovered another ineligible nomination.

The review discovered that Peter Denahy's Sayonara Nakamura was not eligible for a nomination for Male Artist of the Year and so Peter's finalist nomination in that category has been replaced by the "next highest" eligible nomination, that of Doug Bruce's Thank God I'm A Cowboy.

In relation to Peter's nomination, the Awards nomination criteria dictates that "Nominations for Male Artist must be a track from an album by the nominating artist(s) that is eligible to enter Album of the Year or Alternative Country Album of the Year in the current eligibility period".

Sayonara Nakamura had only been released as a single and not part of an album so it did not meet the set criteria for inclusion.

Jeff Chandler, Chairman of the CMAA said: "Talking to Pete and informing him of the error was not something to look forward to. Pete was very gracious and after explaining the review he understood the error and why his song was not eligible for inclusion in that category.

"We would like to remind all those wishing to enter the... Country Music Awards of Australia to take care to read the nomination booklet which is available on the CMAA website for easy access and use which outlines the eligibility of categories."

The CMAA Board says it is now reviewing the process for confirming the eligibility of finalists before they are announced.

As with the previous alteration, the listing on this website has been altered to reflect that change.



Kris to tour "down under"

American country music legend Kris Kristofferson has announced an extensive Australian tour in March and April next year.

On the back of the release of his new album Feeling Mortal, 77-year-old Kris will travel across Australia in a tour bus performing in an "intimate" mode that will allow audiences to hear first hand the stories of his life on and off the road.

The American Country Music Hall of Famer will be on guitar playing hits such as Me And Bobby McGee, Help Me Make it Through the Night, Sunday Morning Coming Down and For the Good Times.

Feeling Mortal, the singer/songwriter’s 28th album, was recorded and produced in only three days with instrumental work from guitarist Mark Goldenberg, bassist Sean Hurley, pedal steel master Greg Leisz, keyboardist Matt Rollins, drummer Aaron Sterling, violinist and vocalist Sara Watkins.

Kris says he is looking forward to being able to play for Australian fans.

"I am very much looking forward to heading 'down under' to play to all of my Australian fans and taking in the beauty of the country as we tour far and wide. To be able to play songs from my new album to my Aussie fans is a great privilege, along with all of my classics of course!"

The tour kicks off at Red Hill in WA on Sunday March 30 then moves to venues and locations (in date order), Adelaide, Renmark, Geelong, Shepparton, Melbourne, Albury, Canberra, Newcastle, Tanworth, Lismore, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.



Kristy signs to Nashville label

Multi-award-winning Australian bluegrass artist Kristy Cox has signed to a Nashville label to whom she is in the process of recording a new album due for release early next year.

Pisgah Ridge is the label, an imprint of Mountain Home Music, home to artists including Balsam Range, The Boxcars, The Grascals and Doyle Lawson.

Kristy has been performing in the US, Europe and her Australian homeland for years, resulting in number one hits on Australian radio charts as well as winning several Victorian & National Country Music Awards.

Now she is focusing efforts on America, including the recording contract with Pisgah Ridge, plans for a new tour and band lineup and an exclusive songwriting contract with Asheville Forest Music (SESAC).

On her new venture, Kristy says: "I have had huge support from the Australian country music scene which has helped me realise my potential as an artist and reach my goals. I am now ready to spread my wings even further and release my first project in the USA.

"I believe the Pisgah Ridge family is going to help me reach new heights. I am very excited about what the future holds and becoming apart of such a reputable team."

The new album is being produced by Jerry Salley.

Photo (from left): Ty Gilpin (A&R Director for Pisgah Ridge), Kristy, Tim Surrett (Staff Producer, Pisgah Ridge).

Weblink – www.kristycox.com.



A new sponsor for country

NRMA BusinessWise will be a first-time sponsor of country music at Tamworth 2014 as the company supports a concert starring Dianna Corcoran and Aleyce Simmonds.

The concert with two-time Golden Guitar winner Dianna (left) and rising star Aleyce (right) will be staged at the city's Capitol Theatre on Friday January 24 at 8pm.

Both Dianna and Aleyce have been announced as finalists in the Female Artist of the Year category in the 2014 Golden Guitar Awards and both currently have strong performing albums, Love & Therapy for Dianna, Believe for Aleyce.

"I'm so happy to have NRMA sponsoring me at the 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival," said Dianna. "Having the support of such a reputable Australian brand is a real honour and greatly appreciated. My dad was an NRMA approved mechanic in Parkes for many years and I know how proud he would be of this partnership."

"Dianna and I have performed this show in many venues and towns but to bring this show to my home town with the support of NRMA is a blessing," said Aleyce.

The concert event is also supported by Market The Music, NBN Television, Country Music Capital News, Quality Hotel Powerhouse, Ben Sorensen's Real Country & KrisKat Publicity.

Tickets are available from www.tcmf.com.au or by telephone on 02 6767 5300.

Weblinks – www.diannacorcoran.com, www.aleycesimmonds.com.


And Graeme is back for 2014

Details have been announced for Graeme Connors appearance at the 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Under the banner "Still Heading North" Graeme is set to perform at his favourite Festival location, the iconic Tamworth Town Hall, at 3pm on Friday January 24 in celebration of his career to date spanning 40 years of recording and performing and 25 years since the release of his landmark album North.

"In December 1973, I walked out of the classroom – the next day I hopped on a Fokker Friendship flight to Brisbane – jumped in a waiting hire car – and two hours later stepped on stage to open the show for Kamahl in Toowoomba. Hard to believe it's 40 years ago – and it feels like yesterday," says Graeme.

The first half of his upcoming Tamworth show will be dedicated to "the complete album North, from beginning to end, for the first time ever, plus the premiere of a special bonus track Our True Native Son recorded during the original sessions in 1988 and now finally seeing the light of day on North... 25 Years On, the multi award-winning singer/songwriter's remixed, remastered and repackaged CD for 2014.

In the second half of the show, songs from all and any of Graeme's 17 CDs and numerous number one hits will feature, from And When Morning Comes to his 2013 release Kindred Spirit... "the best, of the best, of the best... of Graeme".

To mark the occasion, Platinum seating has been made available for the concert including an autographed copy of North... 25 Years On and an "up close and personal seat" in the first five rows of the Tamworth Town Hall.

Tickets are available from www.tcmf.com.au or by telephone, 02 6767 5300.

Weblink – www.graemeconnors.com.



Canberra Awards

More recognition was afforded Australian country acts during the Canberra Country Music Awards in the nation's capital at the weekend.

The Best Country Album Award was presented to Dianne Lindsay for All Things Country while Dianne's husband Peter Simpson (pictured at right wrh Dianne) shared the Open Country Instrumental Award with renowned guitar picker Lindsay Butler for their version of Wind Up Gramophone.

Dianne and Peter also joined with J Hall to win the Country Gospel Song Award with The Salvo.

And Lindsay Butler (left) was honoured in a major presentation by organisers with a Life Achievement Award.

Dale Duncan was named winner of the Bush Ballad Song Award for The Heart Of Australia, which also won him the Album/EP/Single Cover Artwork Award.

Dale (pictured at right) also won the Live Recording (All Genre) Song Award with Miracle Girl and Traditional Country Song with Springtime On Monaro.

The Australian Heritage Song Award went to Greg Bain for Land Of The Free and Paul Colyvan took out the Alternate Country Song Award for Someday.

Brothers3 (pictured below) won the Music Video (All Genre) gong and the Folk/Australiana Song Awards with Tiny's Mandolin and were also successful in the Bluegrass/Mountain Music Song category with Let The Music Ring Out and Children's Country Song with Teeny Tarni Tumbleweed.

The Country Rock Song Award went to Geoff Williams for Play The Country Blues, Open Contemporary Country Song was presented to Natalie Howard for Hit The Hay and Merilyn Steele won the Rockabilly Song Award for Millionaire.

Best Production (Engineer/Arrangement) went to Jimmy Lee Sloas & Justin Cortelyou for Natalie Howard's Under Love's Umbrella.

The festival also saw presentation of a series of dedicated awards to songwriters, some tying in with the awards for recorded material.

Best Country Song Gold and Best Country Song by a Professional Songwriter went to Dale  Duncan, Shaza Leigh & Billy Wye with The Heart Of Australia and the Traditional category with Springtime On The Monaro.

Best Country Song Silver and the Outstanding Country Lyrics Award went to Greg Bain (NSW) with Land Of The Free.

Peter Christie won the Outstanding Country Music Award with My Father's House while Taylor Pfeiffer received a Judges' Commendation for Policeman Yodel and Sami Cooke was named winner of the Country Composition Youth Award (under 18 years) with One Thing Left.

In sub-genre categories, Dianne Lindsay won Australiana with Chimney In The Paddock, Jeff Aschmann won Bluegrass with I Don't Need No Plastic Jesus (I Got My GPS) and Alita Fahey won the Children category with Teeny Tarni Tumbleweed.

Alita Fahey & Makirum Fahey-Leigh won the Comedy category with Huntsman In The Harmonica and Country Blues with Night Creature Blues while Colin MacKenzie & Alita Fahey won the Contemporary category with Let It Drift and Alita Fahey & Shardyn Leigh-Fahey won Folk/Alternative with Tiny's Mandolin.

Peter Christie took out the Gospel category with My Father's House, Sami Cooke won Country Rock with I Grew Up Country and Geoff Williams won Rock-A-Billy with Play The Country Blues.

Weblink – www.canberracountry.com.



Australian song competition finalists

A number of Australian entries have made the finals of the 2013 USA Songwriting Competition.

Brent Lillie (pictured, right) and Paul Mostyn (left) are among finalists in the Lyrics category with their entry To Be A Highwayman.

In the Country category, Dianna Corcoran & Gary Burr are finalists with Not Ready To Lose and Natalie Howard & Brian Dean Maher are finalists with Hit The Hay.

It is the second time Brent has been named a finalist in the competition. The winning lyric is a tribute to the legendary country music group formed in the mid-eighties by Johnny Cash, Kris Krisfofferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.

It has been a successful year on the songwriting front for Brent. Earlier in the year, a panel of judges including Chris Farren and Chris Van Belkom from Combustion Music Group Nashville, chose Brent Lillie as the winner of the We Are Listening International Lyric Award.

Winners of the USA Songwriting Competition will be announced later this month.


Chart Update – O'Shea at number one

O'Shea has taken over the top spot on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart with their latest hit Be With You Tonight.

The Wolfe Brothers' The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory edges up one place to number two while Jasmine Rae's number one for the last three weeks, If I Want To, is at three and Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon is steady at four.

America's Lady Antebellum is at five with Goodbye Town, Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey's cover of Good Hearted Woman is at six and Tori Darke's No You No Me is at seven.

Kaylens Rains' Waiting On A Bus is up one to eight, Dianna Corcoran's Therapy enters the top 10 at nine and America's George Strait is at 10 with I Believe.

Bullet performers for the week include Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar (14 to 11), Natalie Howard's The Girlfriend (15 to 12), Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear (18 to 15), McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame (19 to 16), Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner (20 to 17), Luke O'Shea's Lady Of The Land (21 to 18), Jayne Denham & Shannon Noll's Beyond These City Lights (23 to 19), Greg Champion's Mercy, Lord, Where Is The Melody? (26 to 23), Aleyce Simmond's Believe (27 to 24), Amber Joy Poulton's Foolish Things (28 to 25) and Lee Kernaghan's It's Only Country (new at 27).

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



Gidgee winners

Winners in the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards were announced at the weekend.

Bec Hance took out the Female Vocal award with Albert Campbell while Jeff Brown won the Male Vocal title with I Love Australia.

Ernie Constance won the Album award with The Songs I Wrote For Slim and Shirrelle Jackman & Dean Perrett took home the Songwriter award with Brumby.

Johnny Kaye won Instrumental with Pickin' Country, Pete Smith the Comedy/Novelty section with Sunday Calling and the Group/Duo gong went to Dianne Lindsay & Anne Kirkpatrick with Akubras In The Snow.

Ged Hintz was named Best New Talent with Playing Good Old Country Music, Rex Baldwin was presented with the Encouragement Award and Ernie Constance and John Staunton were acknowledged with Legend Awards.


A whole load of "festival bull"

A 1,200 kilogram Brahman bull will help launch the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth in Sydney tomorrow (Tuesday).

The "Northern Daily Leader" reported that Wildfire, a nine-year-old placid bull, would be the main attraction along with special guests including The McClymonts, who may ride him at the 2014 Festival launch in the city's Martin Place.

"Sydney will get a taste of the festival at the launch... at 8.10am tomorrow, appearing on (the) national breakfast show 'Sunrise'."

Tamworth Regional Council Director of Business & Events John Sommerlad reportedly said "they" were sure Wildfire would attract plenty of attention.

"We're trying to attract media attention for the festival, so the way to do it is put a 1,200 kg Brahman bull in Martin Place, which doesn't happen too often," he said.

"There will be peak hour commuter traffic passing through Martin Pace at that time. Wildfire has a liking for the Tamworth Country Music Festival, is a regular attendee, so why not have one of our festival fans tell the city of Sydney about our festival."

Star group The McClymonts will perform during the launch.

"It will be a photographer's dream," John said, The McClymonts sitting on a 1, 200kg bull," John said.

"I'm sure Wildfire will be more than accommodating in that regard. The McClymonts will show what the Tamworth Country Music Festival is all about, which is Australian country music."



Golden Guitar finalist list amended

The Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) has amended the list of finalists for the 2014 Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars).

According to a report in today's "Northern Daily Leader", two finalists have been replaced.

"An error in the eligibility of the Bush Ballad of the Year category has meant Dianne Lindsay and John Smith have been removed and Bec Hance and Ernie Constance are the new finalists," the report said.

"The correct finalists in Bush Ballad of the Year are: Albert Campbell, by Bec Hance & Vaughan Baker, recorded by Bec Hance; Brumby by Dean Perrett & Shirrelle Jackman, recorded by Dean Perrett; I Love Australia, by Keith Jamieson, recorded by Jeff Brown; The Stockman, by Ray Rose, recorded by Tom Maxwell; and Worship The Water (He Walked On), by Ernie Constance.

Nominations in the Bush Ballad category have to be original release material. The nominations removed from the finalist list had been previously released and were, therefore, not eligible, according to "The Leader" report, and this had not been discovered until after this week's finalist announcement.

"We feel for the disqualified artists and this position we have taken does not reflect in any way on the quality of their work," the CMAA said.

"We wish to acknowledge that as a result of inquiries made by Dianne Lindsay and Peter Simpson they genuinely believed their recording was eligible for nomination however the eligibility rules, as clearly defined in the nomination booklet must apply in this and every situation."

Weblink – www.country.com.au.

Note: for future reference sake, the list published on this website on Tuesday has been amended to include the correct information.



Queensland Champs winners

Another of Australia's major amateur country music talent quests – the Queensland Country Music Festivals Champion of Champions – was held at the weekend and organisers say it was "a great weekend for everyone".

"Artists played to packed houses on both days, the competition was of an extremely high quality again this year and our judges had a huge task to undertake."

Judah Kelly (pictured, photo by MiMi & Frank Photography) was named Queensland's Champion of Champions for 2013 (as well as the Junior Champion), The Sweetman Family took out the Senior Champion title, Laura Veasey the Juvenile Champion and Jim Dionysius the Masters Champion.

The Lyn Drage Encouragement Award went to Bridget O'Shannessey and Alan McMonagle was presented with the Jim Mitchell Award.

Australian Academy of Country Music scholarship winners were Aiden Patrick (junior) and Leigha Moore (senior).

Detailed results from the weekend were...

Junior Instrumental, first Aiden Patrick, second Jack Hickey; Senior Instrumental, first Judah Kelly, second Charlie Scott.

Junior Male Vocal, first Judah Kelly, second Angus Hiern, third Liam O'Donoghue; Juvenile Male Vocal, first Kasey Kilsby, second Chandler Mowles; Senior Male Vocal, first Greg Sweetman, second Damien Agius and third Scott Douglas.

Juvenile Female Vocal, first Kasey O'Donoghue, second Laura Veasey, third Billy Rose Copeland; Junior Female Vocal, first Kiara Rodrigues, second Rebecca Nethery, third Katelyn O'Donoghue; Senior Female Vocal, first Leigha Moore, second Jacynta Lee Glaspy and third Alice Benfer.

Junior/Juvenile Duet, first Katelyn O'Donoghue & Judah Kelly, second Tia Gostelow & Jack Gray, third Laina & Kiara Rodrigues; Senior Duet, first Keely & Erin Hilton, second Tori Somers & Amber Goldsmith, third Kelsie & Greg Sweetman.

Junior Songwriters, first Bridget O'Shannessey with Mess With The Blonde, second Karrie Hayward with Battle Of Fears and third Karen Maimon, Caitlyn Wessels & Emily Rowlan with Mama Doesn't Believe.

Senior Songwriters, first Jim Van Fleet with One More Season, second Jack Bade with Time To Hit The Track and third Kylie Bradburn with Bumpy Road.

Open Group, first the Sweetman family group The Bridge, second the O'Donoghues as "Up And Coming" and third Aiden Patrick, Talisha Young, Oliia Nolan and Blake Wardle as "Two And Fro".

Masters 50 to 65, first Jeannie Kleynhans, second Steve Wootton; Masters 65 plus, first Tony Shepherd, second Jim Dionysius and third Bill Healey.



Parkes Festival success

The recent 2PK Parkes Country Music Spectacular festival has been hailed as very successful... in the words of organisers... "a great week of music".

Parkes own Jim Williams took out the Festival's coveted "Champion Post" Australian Country Talent Seekers Quest with Peta Lynch & Julie Butcher Duo from West Wyalong in second place and Brad Marks of Balmoral Village third.

Described as "an outstanding singer/songwriter", Jim received $600 prizemoney, recording time with Flying Fox Recording Studio and a guest spot on next year's Parkes festival.

Another Parkes resident, Peter Scully, won the Festival's songwriting award in its first year. Peter, who has been President of the Songwriting Society of Australia for the past 15 years with a self imposed mission to spread knowledge of the Society and increase membership numbers past the city boundaries to as far west as possible.

Senior Overall winner was Kobie Midson of Bradbury (pictured with all of her Parkes trophies) with Brad Marks of Balmoral Village taking home the Senior Overall Encouragement Award.

Emma Boxsell from Nowra was judged Junior Overall Winner while the Junior Overall Encouragement Award went to Paige Amarant of Wyalong and the Busking Award went to Terry Simpson from Tasmania.

Other winners from the Festival were...

In Sub Junior Open, Harry Sneddon (Goulburn) was first; Molly Sneddon (Goulburn) second; and Alicia Alchin (Beckom) third. An encouragement award was presented to Lucy Sneddon.

In Junior Vocal, Josh Maynard (Cowra) was first, Emma Boxsell second and Paige Amarant third. An encouragement award went to Jessica Payne of West Wyalong.

In Junior Gospel, first was Emma Boxsell, second, Paige Amarant and third, Jessica Payne. A special award was presented to Alicia Alchin.

In Junior Duo/Group: first was Paige & Brody Amarant (Wyalong); second Molly & Charlie Sneddon (Goulburn); and third Jessica Payne and Alicia Alchin (Wyalong/Beckom).

In Junior Australian, first was Paige Amorant, second Emma Boxsell and third Jessica Payne while in Junior Country Rock, Emma Boxsell was first, Paige Amarant second and Harry Sneddon third.

Senior Participation Awards went to Una Parker and Terry McGrath.

Senior Male Vocal was won by Vic Avila from Dubbo with Graeme Drury (Leongatha, Victoria) in second place and Terry Simpson (Tasmania) third.

Senior Female Vocal went to Kobie Midson with Vicki Walsh (Young) second and Narelle Sellick (Temora) third.

In Senior Gospel, Brad Marks was named the winner with Kobie Midson second and Vic Avila third.

Senior Duo/Group went to Kobie Midson & Emma Boxsell with Katie Gould & Vicki Walsh second, Brad Marks & Jonnie Hamblin third.

Brad Marks won the Senior Australian section with, Kobie Midson in second place and Jim Willams third.

Veteran Vocal was taken out by Vic Avila with Narelle Sellick (Temora) in second place and Martin Bowland (Scullin, ACT) third.

Senior Country Rock went to Kobie Midson with Brad Marks second and Katie Gould (Cootamundra) third.

In Open Instrumental, Phil Redding (Forbes) was the winner with Vicki Walsh runner-up and Keith Noakes (Forbes) in third place.

In Open Songwriting, John Battle & John Seers were first with Bush Ballad Pioneers, 2 Jim Williams was second with Gypsy In My Heart and Vicki Walsh was third with The Man Who Had Everything.

Open Bush Poetry was taken out by Lyn Townsend (Parkes) with Stan Kingham (Parkes) second and Vicki Walsh third.

The Gloria Nicholson Memorial Bush Ballad Award went to Jonnie Hamblin.

Guest artists this year were John Battle, Kel-Anne Brandt, Garry Hemming, Leather & Lace, Grant Luhrs, Kobie Midson, Amos Morris, Alan Neal and Cill Van Der Velden. The Wayne Ryder Band provided backing.

The 2013 Parkes festival was the 46th consecutive event to be staged during the October long weekend.


Chart Update – Jasmine's third week at the top

Jasmine Rae's latest hit If I Want To remains at number one for the third week on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

O'Shea Be With You Tonight is steady at number two, as is The Wolfe Brothers' The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory at three while Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon is up another two places to number four.

America's Lady Antebellum is at five with Goodbye Town, Tori Darke's No You No Me is at six and Sara Storer's Lovegrass is at seven.

Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey's cover of Good Hearted Woman enters the top 10 at number eight, as does Kaylens Rains' Waiting On A Bus at nine while America's Zac Brown Band is at 10 with Jump Right In.

Bullet performers for the week include Dianna Corcoran's Therapy (14 to 11), Paul Cowderoy's Could've Loved You (19 to 16), Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear (21 to 18), McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame (22 to 19), Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner (23 to 20), Luke O'Shea's Lady Of The Land (24 to 21), Jayne Denham & Shannon Noll's Beyond These City Lights (27 to 23) and Aleyce Simmond's Believe (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include Amber Joy Poulton's Foolish Things (new at 28) and Dianne Lindsay's Akubras In The Snow (at 30).

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



Golden Guitar finalists announced

Finalists in the 2014 Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) were announced in Sydney today.

Lee Kernaghan scored the most finalist nominations with seven from his Beautiful Noise album.

Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey and Sara Storer gained six places, Sara from her album Lovegrass, Troy and Adam for their hit album The Great Country Songbook.

The finalist announcement for the 2014 Awards also highlighted a new and "rising star" pool of talent including O'Shea and The Wolfe Brothers with four finalist nominations each followed closely by the likes of Jasmine Rae with three and Ashleigh Dallas with two.

A star-studded gala concert will accompany the presentation of Golden Guitars in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, on Saturday January 25 at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre.

The full listing of finalists is...

For Album of the Year... Beautiful Noise by Lee Kernaghan (produced by Garth Porter), Fuse by Keith Urban (Keith Urban, Dan Huff, Butch Walker, Zach Crowell, Stargate, Mike Elizondo, Nathan Chapman, Jay Joyce, Ross Copperman), The Great Country Songbook by Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey (Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey), If I Want To by Jasmine Rae (Luke Wooten) and Lovegrass by Sara Storer (Matt Fell).

Male Artist of the Year... Luke Austen with Let's Just Go With It, Doug Bruce with Thank God I'm A Cowboy, Lee Kernaghan with Flying With The King, Russell Morris with Squizzy and Keith Urban with Little Bit Of Everything.

Female Artist of the Year... Dianna Corcoran with Therapy, Ashleigh Dallas with Me, Jasmine Rae with If I Want To, Aleyce Simmonds with Believe and Sara Storer with Lovegrass.

Group or Duo of the Year... The Greencards with Black, Black Water, Kaylens Rain with Waiting On A Bus, O'Shea with Thank You Angels, The Sunny Cowgirls with Green And Gold and The Wolfe Brothers with The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory.

Song of the Year... Come On Rain by Sara Storer & Greg Storer, recorded by Sara; Flying With The King by Lee Kernaghan, Colin Buchanan & Garth Porter, recorded by Lee; The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory by Nick Wolfe, recorded by The Wolfe Brothers; Lady of the Land by Luke O'Shea & Drew McAlister, recorded by Luke; and Thank You Angels by Mark & Jay O'Shea & Matt Scullion, recorded by O'Shea.

Bush Ballad of the Year... Albert Campbell by Bec Hance & Vaughan Baker, recorded by Bec Hance; Brumby by Dean Perrett & Shirrelle Jackman, recorded by Dean; I Love Australia by Keith Jamieson, recorded by Jeff Brown; The Stockman written by Ray Rose, recorded by Tom Maxwell; and Worship The Water (He Walked On), by Ernie Constance.

Heritage Song of the Year... Ballad Of Les Darcy by Russell Morris & Garry Paige, recorded by Russell; Flying With The King by Lee Kernaghan, Colin Buchanan & Garth Porter, recorded by Lee; Lady of the Land by Luke O'Shea & Drew McAlister, recorded by Luke; Lights On The Hill by Joy McKean, recorded by Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey; and Pozie by Sara Storer, Greg Storer & Tom McCullough, recorded by Sara & John Williamson.

Instrumental of the Year... Allegheny by Mustered Courage, Blackberry Blossom by Bob Corbett & The Roo Grass Band, Cotton Eyed Joe by Pete Denahy, I Won't Last A Day Without You by Tommy Emmanuel & Martin Taylor, and Paddle the Torrens by The Greencards.

New Talent of the Year... Kaylee Bell with Heart First, Ashleigh Dallas with Me, Adam Eckersley Band with Long Enough To Disappear, Kaylens Rain with Waiting On A Bus and The Wolfe Brothers with The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory.

Vocal Collaboration of the Year... Beyond These City Lights by Jayne Denham and  Shannon Noll, Lights On The Hill by Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey, Pozie by Sara Storer and John Williamson There's No Place Like Home by O'Shea & McAlister Kemp and Turn The Page by Travis Collins, Luke Austen, Luke Dickens & Liam Brew.

Video Clip of the Year... Flying With The King by Lee Kernaghan (directed by Duncan Toombs), Harder To Tame by McAlister Kemp (Matt Inglis), Lights On The Hill by Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey (Rusty Gate Films), Thankyou Angels by O'Shea (Duncan Toombs), Two Worlds Collide by The McClymonts (Duncan Toombs).

Single of the Year... Flying With The King by Lee Kernaghan, If I Want To by Jasmine Rae, Lights On The Hill by Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey, Little Bit Of Everything by Keith Urban and Lovegrass by Sara Storer.

Australian Top Selling Album of the Year... Beautiful Noise by Lee Kernaghan, Fuse by Keith Urban, It's On by The Wolfe Brothers, Life Is A Highway by Jason Owen and The Great Country Songbook by Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey.

Alternative Country Album of the Year... A Side B Side Seaside by Karl Broadie (self produced), Australian Songbook Three by The Bushwackers (Roger Corbett), Black Coffee by Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes (Lachlan Bryan, Mat Duniam, Shaun Ryan & Rod McCormack), Powerlines by Mustered Courage (Jimi Maroudas) and Sweetheart Of The Sun by The Greencards (Gary Paczosa).

International Top Selling Album of the Year... 40 Years of Pride by Charley Pride, Based On A True Story by Blake Shelton, Golden by Lady Antebellum, Red by Taylor Swift and Thirty Miles West by Alan Jackson.

Weblink – www.country.com.au.



Stan Coster Bush Ballad Awards finalists announced

Finalist nominations have been announced for the 2014 Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards run in conjunction with the annual Bungendore Country Muster.

They are...

For Male Vocal... Jeff Brown with I Love Australia, Ernie Constance with Saddle Up And Ride and Brian Letton (pictured) with Pocket Bible.

For Female Vocal... Bec Hance with The Dog That He Can, Dianne Lindsay (pictured) with RM and Patti Morgan with The Old Cattle Dog.

For New Talent... Pat Brown Jr with Those Mountains Of Mine, Kate Hindle with Won't Those Memories Let Me Be and Margaret Stokes with Channel Country Ground.

For Group or Duo... Bec Hance & Sharon Benjamin with In Queensland, Dianne Lindsay & Anne Kirkpatrick with Akubras In The Snow and Reg Poole & Keith Jamieson with Aussie Mates.

For Instrumental... Ginger Cox & Terry Bennetts with Medley, Ginger Cox with Road To Beagle Bay and Peter Simpson & Lindsay Butler with Wind Up Gramophone.

For the songwriter award... Ernie Constance with I Worship The Water, Keith Jamieson with I Love Australia and Peter Simpson with Akubras In The Snow.

For Comedy Song... Jeff Brown with Paddy's Mistake, Ernie Constance with Just Can't Miss it Mate and Trevor Day with Lady Luck.

For Album... Jeff Brown with Hard To Let Go, Peter Coad & The Coad Sisters with The Road Of Song and Ernie Constance with Songs I Wrote For Slim.

Award winners will be announced at the Muster on Saturday night February 1, followed by the Finalists Concert, with all finalists being invited to perform.

The Muster runs Saturday and Sunday, February 1 and 2.

Weblink – www.bungendorecountrymuster.com.au.



Kate wins at MusicOz

Rising country star Kate Cook last night won Country Single of the Year at the 2013 Musicoz Awards in Sydney.

"I'm over the moon and still in shock," she said after winning the accolade.

This is the first major milestone achieved by Kate since departing as a finalist in "Australian Idol".

"Her winning song Give The Girl A Spanner has become an anthem across Australia for the working woman doing what is traditionally a man's job," said a spokesman for the artist.

"Reports of the song being boomed out across factory floors, mechanical workshops and even Navy yards have shown how this musical tribute, co-written with Allan Caswell, has captured the hearts of the female workforce everywhere."

Give The Girl A Spanner is currently number 20 on the Australian Country Tracks National Top 30 singles chart.

No further details regarding the MusicOz Awards were available at post time but this year's finalist list included a number of country or country aligned acts including The Bostocks, Brad Cole, Alison Forbes and Hussy Hicks, as well as Kate.



People's Choice voting underway

Voting in the 2014 Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards is underway.

The awards will recognise "the best" in Australian country music, as voted by "the people".

"This is your chance to have your say about who should be recognised," said Bob Kirchner, publisher of the Country Music Bulletin, organiser and promoter of the Awards.

"We certainly recognise the validity of all genuine awards scheme as they provide recognition and promotion for artists and musicians in our industry, but the People's Choice Awards are the only ones that are determined wholly by the fans.

Voting in the 2014 Awards will close at midnight on Saturday November 30.

The gala awards presentation will take place during the January country music festival in Tamworth on a date and at a new venue to be announced.

This January will be the 42nd year of the Tamworth Festival and the 15th year of the People's Choice Awards in their current format.

Weblink – www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.


More awards for Keith

Australia's Keith Urban has featured as a winner again in America's leading Country Music Awards, the CMAs, organised and staged by the Country Music Association.

The song Highway Don't Care by Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban has won both the CMA Musical Event of the Year and CMA Music Video of the Year (directed by Shane Drake).

The two awards were announced live on the television show "Good Morning America" (GMA) as a pre-cursor to the 47th annual CMA Awards which were being staged in Nashville about now (or Wednesday night American time).

"We got a jump start... by announcing our winners on 'Good Morning America' and sharing the news with the GMA viewers and the enthusiastic fans here in Nashville," said Ed Hardy, President of the CMA's Board of Directors.

Keith, who is also up for Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year (also for Highway Don't Care) at the main awards presentation, has been named Male Vocalist of the Year three times (2004-2006) and is now an eight-time CMA Awards winner with 29 career CMA Awards nominations. He will also perform on the CMA Awards show.

One of the top CMA Awards winners of all time, Tim has now won 14 trophies throughout his career, including two for Male Vocalist of the Year and one for Entertainer of the Year. He is also up for Single of the Year for Highway Don't Care.

And Taylor, now a nine-time CMA Awards winner, is a top nominee this year with six nominations including Entertainer and Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year and Single of the Year.

Weblink – cmaawards.com.



New from Neil

Neil Anthony has released a new CD, Neil Anthony City Meets Country.

The CD has 15 tracks, some cover versions of well-known songs plus nine of Neil's originals. "Lots of radio friendly songs which are getting airplay around Australia including on 'Macca's Australia All Over'," Neil said.

One special new track Neil highlights is Tamworth Country Gold – his song about Tamworth and the pioneers of Australian country music. As the song says, "the crowd charmers, the music farmers, the chord millers and the song tillers".

Neil has uploaded a video of Tamworth Country Gold to his NEILAB100 YouTube Channel – click here to view. The video has recorded 200 hits in just a few days. The video shows scenes around Tamworth from a visit the singer/songwriter made to the city in September.

Now based in Sydney, Neil is well known for his "over 55s" concerts which he regularly performs in clubs and for community groups.

Neil has previously made news for his music... in April 2012, he received national radio coverage for his song ANZAC Day April The 25th.



Sister City Committee takes on Queen Quest

Country Music Capital's Sister City Committee has taken on the running of Tamworth's Queen of Country Music Quest.

Instigators of the Quest, the local chamber of commerce, announced several weeks ago that it would no longer run the quest as it didn't consider the activity "core business".

About a week after the chamber announcement, the news an organisation or "group of people" were going to put their hand up to keep the quest going came to light and it was announced last night via facebook "the group" was the Tamworth Regional Council's Sister City Committee.

The very successful Queen of Country Music Quest has been running since 1984, mostly organised and promoted by the Tamworth & District Chamber of Commerce & Industry (more latterly the Tamworth Business Chamber) but also for some years by the Tamworth City and Regional Councils.

Described as one of the great traditions of the city's January Country Music Festival, the Queen of Country Music was originally established as a promotional event for local business involvement in the annual festival. Entrants are traditionally sponsored by their employer or local business and see the event as a way of participating in and promoting the festival.

The Quest aims to find two young women to act as ambassadors for the Tamworth region and the Tamworth Country Music Festival with their roles involving many official and some informal duties during the festival.

It is not a beauty pageant. "Quest entrants should be confident, intelligent and mature," said a spokesman for the organisers. "They must have a genuine interest in, and good knowledge of, the Tamworth region and the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

"Each year, entrants meet other local young women, become actively involved in one of the top 10 music festivals in the world and gain great insights and development through this very special experience.

"The quest runs throughout the festival culminating in a Crowning Dinner at Tamworth Memorial Town Hall. The Queen of Country Music will then spend the next 12 months involved in a range of civic and community events including guest speaking engagements, social and cultural presentations, and corporate and festival functions."

The major prize of the Queen of Country Music Quest has been an annual official visit to Tamworth's New Zealand sister city Gore to attend the 2014 Gore Country Music Festival.

Weblink – www.qcmq.org.


Chart Update – Jasmine at number one

Jasmine Rae's latest hit If I Want To has taken over the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 singles chart.

Keith Urban's Little Bit Of Everything remains steady at two while Sara Storer's number one from the last two weeks – Lovegrass – is at three and O'Shea Be With You Tonight is up two places to number four.

America's Zac Brown Band is at five with Jump Right In, The Wolfe Brothers' The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory is also up two to six and America's Carrie Underwood is at seven with See You Again.

Chelsea Basham's By The Light Of The Moon bounds into the top 10 at eight, as does Tori Darke's No You No Me at nine while America's Darius Rucker is at 10 with Wagon Wheel.

Bullet performers for the week include Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey's cover of Good Hearted Woman (18 to 15), Amber Lawrence's Pretty Little Liar (23 to 20), Allan Caswell's The Next Time That You Hear (26 to 23), McAlister Kemp's Harder To Tame (27 to 24), Kate Cook's Give The Girl A Spanner (28 to 25) and Luke O'Shea's Lady Of The Land (30 to 26).

New to the chart this week are Jayne Denham & Shannon Noll's Beyond These City Lights (new at 29) and Greg Champion's Mercy, Lord, Where Is The Melody? (at 30).

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



Nathaniel is South Australia's Champion

Seventeen-year-old Nathaniel O'Brien has scooped the prize pool at the 2013 South Australian Champion of Champions.

Nathaniel's other wins at the Championship event, held in Kingswood on Saturday October 26, were Senior Champion of Champions, Senior Male Vocal, Overall and Modern Song of the Year with Without Me, Traditional Song of the Year with Rod Porter (pictured) and their song Light Years Away in the Traditional.

Taylor Pfeiffer won the Junior Champion of Champion title as well as the 14 to 17 years section.

Senior Female Vocal winner was Natasha Higgins while Ella Radbone took out the 13 years & under section.

The Country Music South Australia Industry Award was presented to Alison Hams & Mark Tempany.

As part of his prize, Nathaniel will attend the 2014 Australian Academy of Country Music. Taylor will also attend the Academy.

Nathaniel will also compete in the Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year Quest during the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival in May.


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