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Tamworth busking 2015

Registrations have opened for the Toyota LandCruiser Country Music Busking Championships at Tamworth Country Music Festival 2015.

One of the most hotly anticipated events of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth 2015, the Busking Championships annually sees hundreds of performers line Peel Street – "the Boulevard of Dreams" – filling parts of the the city's sidewalks with " incredible tunes, day and night," according to a spokesman from Tamworth Regional Council.

The buskers will perform to the crowds of people who teem along Tamworth's Peel Street during the annual January festival.

Up to 600 buskers are expected to register and vie for the prizes up for grabs.

The Best of the Buskers Concert will be staged in the city's Bicentennial Park on Saturday January 24. One will be awarded the title of 2015 Toyota LandCruiser Country Music Busking Champion.

"The Busking Championships continue to grow as one of the most exciting parts of the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth," according to Festival Director John Sommerlad. "It's the perfect launch pad for aspiring country music stars or for those who just want to perform at Australia's largest music festival.

"The buskers always generate a fantastic response and really are one of the cornerstones of the Festival, helping to build the wonderful atmosphere that our event celebrates each year," John said.

Buskers are encouraged to register early and contact Peel Street retailers to secure their busking positions.

Registrations can be made on-line through the Festival's official website



Kasey wins 2014 Country ARIA

Kasey Chambers Bittersweet has taken out the 2015 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award for Best Country Album.

In other country related ARIA Awards news, Buddy Goode won Best Comedy Release with It's A Buddy Goode Christmas, the John Butler Trio took out Best Blues & Roots Album with Flesh And Blood and Keith Urban was named as Best Live Australian Act.

Long time music industry stalwart Denis Handlin was announced as this year's ARIA Industry Icon and Ian "Molly" Meldrum and his pioneering television program "Countdown" were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.



Vale – Fabian Webb

Fabian Webb of the famous Webb Brothers has died, just a little over six months after the passing of his younger brother Marius.

Fabian was farewelled at St Patrick's Church in Gympie last week.

Fabian Webb was born in 1930, one of eight children born to William and Hilda Webb and lived at their property "Thornside" in Widgee just to the west of Gympie. Though not the oldest brother in the family, he was the oldest of the three brothers who went on to form The Webb Brothers and gain success in the country music industry, one of the longest running sibling groups in Australian music.

In the early to mid 1950s, The Webb Brothers gained experience on the radio both in Gympie on 4GY and in Shepparton Victoria on 3SR. This then expanded to a wider stage when compere Terry Dear of "Australia's Amateur Hour" introduced them to a national audience as the "bodgies from Widgee".

The trio stayed together for more than 60 years and as can be imagined, there were great changes in the technology associated with the music industry during that time. Compare standing on stage in a local hall with performing on main stage at the Gympie Muster.

Not only technology changed for the Webb Brothers. Their success in the music industry grew and they were pleased to be awarded with two Golden Guitars as a result of their contribution to Australian country music.

The first was presented  to them in 1976 as Vocal Group of the Year for The Palmer River Song. The second was the Webb Brothers’ Golden Guitars was for a song that caused lots excitement both inside and outside the country music industry, Who Put The Roo In The Stew.

The Webb Brothers were elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown in January 2004.

As well as a strong interest in the music industry, Fabian was very community minded. He was elected to the former Kilkivan Shire Council in 1967 and remained active in local politics in that council for 38 years. During that time, he was also instrumental in initiating the Gympie Muster and the Kilkivan Great Horse Ride.

His involvement in the local community of Widgee was extensive and it is fair to suggest that his work at all levels had a big influence on the Widgee that locals and visitors know and enjoy today.



Scene set for Boyup Brook 2015

The Country Music Club of Boyup Brook has announced the line-up for next year's Festival which will run over four days from Thursday February 12 to Sunday February 15.

It's the 30th anniversary event and will be presented by Live Lighter.

Known as one of Western Australia's most popular family camping festivals, Boyup Brook is described as "a phenomenal experience of country music" – a very large community owned festival with numerous fringe activities and events.

"The Festival is a friendly celebration of country music in a hassle free bush land site," according to a spokesman for the organisers. "The Music Park is a wonderful festival venue with mature river gums situated on the banks of the beautiful Blackwood River. Over the four days, the venue comes alive with music on the main stage and around the town. Over the past 30 years, the Country Music Festival has presented some fabulous local, national and international artists."

Stars of the 2015 event will include Connie Kis Andersen (pictured), Band of Mates, Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured), Courtney Conway, Country Horizon, Peter Delle Coste, Fitzroy Xpress, Steve Hill, Billy Higginson & The Pale Moon Riders, Kate Hindle, Marie Hodson, Ray Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan, Codee Lee, Vicki Lee & Hideaway, Brian Letton, Magnificent 7, Tom Maxwell, Paul & Kristy, Amber Joy Poulton, Jonny Taylor and Wild Dogs.

Bush poets will also feature at the festival, including John Best and Melanie Hall & Susan Carcary.

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Tamworth Council enlists Barry

Well-known Country Music Capital-based industry identity Barry Harley will become Tamworth Regional Council's Country Music Manager from late January.

Currently the General Manager of Rural Press Events, Publisher of Capital News and organiser of Toyota Star Maker (among other things), Barry's career has paralleled the history of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Previously with the Myer group, BAL Marketing and The Northern Daily Leader, Barry has been at the helm of Rural Press Events for almost two decades since Rural Press bought the country music and agricultural field day business from the 2TM radio group.

Named the 2013 Tamworth Business Leader of the Year, his association with the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Australian country music industry began when he was employed as a stage design artist for the Golden Guitar Awards in the mid 1970s.

A former board member of the Country Music Association of Australia, Barry is currently Chairman of the Tamworth Country Music Stakeholders Group and has played a role in many of the famous Festival's key activities over the years including establishment of the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre where he also oversaw the hugely successful Toyota Country Theatre promotion for a number of years.

Barry said he was relishing the prospect of helping guide the future of the January festival from 2016.

The festival is so important to Tamworth. It has been a large part of my life for some four decades and I am looking forward to helping create an environment where country music entrepreneurs can flourish."

He is also keen to see further consolidation of Tamworth as Australia's Country Music Capital and the promotion of year round country music in the city and region.

Tamworth Mayor Col Murray said Council had been fortunate to secure the services of one of the most experienced country music operators in the nation.

"Barry understands what makes Tamworth tick and he absolutely reflects the culture of the community. He's such a strong part of the Festival's history and a very pro-active player."



Kasey and Luke dominate Golden Guitar finalists

Kasey Chambers and Luke O'Shea dominate the finalists listing for the 2015 Country Music Awards of Australia (Golden Guitars) to be presented in Tamworth on Saturday January 24.

Kasey and Luke were named as finalists in six categories each in the the Awards at a special function in Sydney today.

Adam Harvey and John Williamson are finalists in five categories while Lyn Bowtell, Kristy Cox, the Davidsion Brothers, Harmony James, McAlister Kemp and The McClymonts are finalists in three categories each.

Kasey, who is currently on a doctor imposed break from performing due to small nodules and inflammation on her vocal cords, is a finalist for Female Artist of the Year, Album, Vocal Collaboration (with Bernard Fanning), Song, Single and Video Clip of the Year.
Luke, who took home two Golden Guitars at the 2014 Awards for his song Lady Of The Land, is a finalist for Album of the Year, Male Artist, Heritage Song, Vocal Collaboration (with Aleyce Simmonds), Song and Video Clip of the Year.

Roger Corbett, Vice Chair of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) who, in partnership with Tamworth Regional Council, presents the Awards as part of the annual Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth, said there had been a record number of nominations for 2015.

"This record number (is) spread between signed artists and independents and is a great testament to the strength and diversity of the Australian country music brand," Roger said.

The full list of finalists is...

Album of the year... Bittersweet by Kasey Chambers (producer Nick DiDia), Cautionary Tales by Harmony James (producer Herm Kovac), Family Life by Adam Harvey (producer Graham Thompson), Honest People by John Williamson (producers John Williamson & Matt Fell) and Sing You Up by Luke O'Shea (producer Luke O'Shea).

Male Artist of the Year... Adam Brand with My Side Of The Street, Morgan Evans with Morgan Evans, Adam Harvey with Family Life, Luke O'Shea with Sing You Up and John Williamson with Honest People.

Female Artist of the Year... Lyn Bowtell with Heart Of Sorrw, Kasey Chambers with Bittersweet, Kristy Cox with Living For The Moment, Harmony James with Cautionary Tales and Amber Lawrence with Superheroes.

Group or Duo of the Year... Davidson Brothers with Wanderlust, Adam Eckersly Band with The First Album, McAlister Kemp with Harder To Tame, The McCkymonts with Here's To You And I and The Wolfe Brothers with Nothin' But Trouble.
Vocal Collaboration of the Year... Lyn Bowtell & Kevin Bennett with How Long?, Kasey Chambers & Bernard Fanning with Bittersweet, Luke O'Shea & Aleyce Simmonds with Truckstop Flowers, Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley with My Country My Land and John Williamson & Beccy Cole with It's All About Love.

Bush Ballad of the Year... Bloodwood And Clover by Dean Perrett (written by Ian Quinn), Jack Bridle by Dianne Lindsay (written by Dianne Lindsay & Peter Simpson), He's Droving Once Again by Graham Rodger, Honest People by John Williamson and That Day In Cunnamulla by Tom Maxwell (writen by Geoff Sidebottom).

Heritage Song of the Year... Coal Seam Gas by Harmony James, Clouds Over Tamworth by John Williamson, The Lifesaver by Amber Lawrence, My Country My Land by Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley and Three Brothers (The Great War) by Luke O'Shea.

Instrumental of the Year... Bottle Cappin', Back Crackin' Blues by the Davidson Brothers, Candle Creek by
Mustered Courage, Old Hickory by 8 Ball Aitken & Troy Cassar-Daley, Riders Of The Kimberley by Terry Bennetts/Ian Simpson and Young Gun by Michael Fix.

Bluegrass Recording of the Year... Kiss From A Rose by Mustered Courage, Making Hay by Simply Bushed, Oh Ye Must Be Born Again by Dean Perrett, One Heartbreak Away by Kristy Cox and Take Me To The Mountains
by the Davidson Brothers.

New Talent of the Year... Adam Eckersley Band with Give Her The World, Christie Lamb with Wish You Were A Cowboy, Jared Porter with Deep End, Jenny Queen with Blood Meridian and Simply Bushed with Making Hay

Song of the Year... Bittersweet by Kasey Chambers & Bernard Fanning, Family Life by Adam Harvey (written by Adam & Clint Crighton), Fight Me by McAlister Kemp, Here's To You & I by The McClymonts (written by Stuart Crichton & The McClymonts) and Three Brothers (The Great War) by Luke O'Shea.

Video Clip of the Year... Bittersweet by Kasey Chambers & Bernard Fanning (directed by Renny Wijeyamohan), Canoe by Sara Storer (directed by Duncan Toombes), Fight Me by McAlister Kemp (directed by Duncan Toombes, Sing You Up by Luke O'Shea (directed by Ross Wood) and Somewhere In My Car by Keith Urban (directed by John Urbano).

Single of the Year... Bittersweet by Kasey Chambers & Bernard Fanning, Canoe by Sara Storer, She Don't Know She's Beautiful by Adam Harvey, Somewhere In My Car by Keith Urban and That Kinda Night by The Wolfe Brothers.

Top Selling Australian Album of the Year... Family Life by Adam Harvey, Harder To Tame by McAlister Kemp, Here's To You And I by The McClymonts, If I Want To by Jasmine Rae and My Side Of The Street by Adam Brand.

Alternative Country Album of the Year... Heart Of Sorrow by Lyn Bowtell (produced by Shane Nicholson), Living For The Moment by Kristy Cox (produced by Jerry Salley), The Other Side by Lou Bradley (produced by Anthony Lycenko & Lou Bradley), Sometimes When You Lose You Win by Allan Caswell (produced by Roger Corbett) and Wanderlust by the Davidson Brothers.

During the launch function, the winner of Top Selling International Album of the Year was announced... Dolly Parton's Blue Smoke.

The 2015 Country Music Awards of Australia will be staged in the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre from 7.30pm on 24 January 24.

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Lee to the Roll

Lee Kernaghan will be elevated to Australian country music's highest honour this January when he is inducted to the Country Music Roll of Renown.

In a departure from usual procedure, the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame has chosen to pre-announce the 2015 inductee.

At age 50, Lee will be the youngest artist so far to be elevated to the Roll of Renown.

Lee will be formally inducted to the Roll on Saturday January 17 in the famous Tamworth Town Hall, the same venue where he gained two major career boosts, wins in the Capital Country Music Assocition National Talent Quest and his Star Maker win in...

He will perform on the night with his sister Tania Kernaghan, Aly Cook, Dale Duncan, Johana Hemara, Jan Kelly, Bridget O’Shannessy, Dean Perrett and Justin Standley.

Eric Scott, President of the Australian Country Music Foundation, custodians of the Roll of Renown, said: "We are proud of Lee and his achievements and we believe this award is one that is very well deserved. To have his name on the granite rocks alongside all the pioneers of our industry will be a big thrill for this humble 'boy from the bush', I'm sure."

The Roll of Renown honours those who have made "a lasting and significant contribution" to Australian country music". Lee will be the 46th inductee since the honour was established in 1978 and will join (in order of induction) Tex Morton, Buddy Willi, Smoky Dawson, Slim Dusty, Shirley Thoms, Tim McNamara, Gordon Parsons, The McKean Sisters, Reg Lindsay, Rick & Thel Carey, Johnny Ashcroft, Chad Morgan, John Minson, The Hawking Bros, Stan Coster, Barry Thornton, Nev Nicholls, Shorty Ranger, Jimmy Little, Ted Egan, Dusty Rankin, John Williamson, Rocky Page, Brian Young, Rex Dallas, Arthur Blanch, The Schneider Sisters, Frank Ifield, The Webb Brothers, Kenny Kitching, The Singing Kettles, Athol McCoy, Reg Poole, Lindsay Butler, Kevin King, Geoff Mack, Jean Stafford, Slim Newton, Anne Kirkpatrick, Phil & Tommy Emmanuel, Terry Gordon, Wayne Horsburgh, Norm Bodkin and Les Partell.

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New from Connie

West Australian based Connie Kis Andersen has released her fifth album, Naked Under The Radar.

The release features 12 tracks all of which were written by Connie Kis who also plays acoustic guitar on 10 of them.

First radio single is On The Other Side Of Midnight which has already grabbed the attention of radio presenters and is steadily gaining momentum on air.

Since the release of her previous album, Connie Kis has dealt with and survived treatment for cancer. "Releasing this album has great significance to me," she said. "It symbolises new life and opportunities on so many levels. New life for me personally and new life for my songs."

Connie's career highlights include being named Western Australia's Best Country Female Artist three times, winning the Best Independent Country Music Album for Western Australia twice, and receiving a TIARA for Female Vocalist in 2012 along with multiple awards for songwriting.

She has already enjoyed chart success in Australia with her self-penned songs.

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