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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

Nats leave hats on for skin cancer prevention

Federal Nationals MPs and Senators have compiled an irreverent video clip to support the new "Leave Your Hat On" campaign which aims to raise greater awareness of melanoma prevention, treatment and to raise funds.

The North Queensland Register reported that other celebrities had backed the national promotion running this month including Lee Kernaghan and Australian cricket star opening batsman David Warner.

But the Nationals’ cheeky contribution – especially Transport Minister and Victorian MP Darren Chester in the never to be unseen, closing scene – moving to the tune of Joe Cocker’s iconic You Can Leave Your Hat On, is sure to set political tongues wagging.

Darren was the brainchild behind the short and cocky video clip promotion and says it’s all for a good cause.

"It's all meant to be a bit of fun with my Nationals colleagues but at the same time we want to highlight an important health issue in regional areas," he said.

"Too many country people die from skin cancer or have serious health issues and we want to encourage everyone to take precautionary measure like wearing a hat.

"I want to congratulate the Melanoma Institute for the 'Leave Your Hat On' campaign and urge everyone to make a donation, large or small, to support research and awareness of this disease."

Nationals leader and Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce also makes a tongue in cheek contribution in the video promotion and also leaves a poignant message about his own personal experiences with melanoma and the importance of wearing a hat.

"You might think the hat looks a bit silly but I can tell you, when they start cutting bits of your body off – if they cut your nose off or your ear off to get rid of the cancer – that looks even sillier." he said.

The incidence of new cases of melanoma is higher in regional areas than in major cities, with farmers more likely to die of skin cancer than any other group, with a 60 percent higher death rate.

Farmers 65 and over are twice as likely to die of skin cancer than other Australians.

"Leave Your Hat On" is a new national campaign to raise awareness and much-needed funds for early detection and treatment research on melanoma which one Australian dies of every five hours and kills more 20-39-year old Australians than any other cancer.

According to the campaign material, almost 14,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma.

“The good news is that if melanoma is identified at an early stage, simple treatment can often result in a complete cure,” it says.

 

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017

Vale – Maureen Gordon

Maureen Gordon – long-time co-organiser of the annual Bungendore Country Music Muster – has died. She was 78.

Together with her husband Greg and his brother Terry Gordon, Maureen was part of the small group that started the Bungendore Muster.

Greg predeceseased Maureen in December 2004.

A life member of the Bungendore Country Music Muster Committee, Maureen is survived by children Bev and Brian and also brother-in-law Terry and their families.

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

Tamworth gears up for January festival

With a little over a 100 days to go until the 2018 Tamworth Country Music Festival, planning is in full swing with organisers gearing up for an event to remember.

The city's Northern Daily Leader reports that ticket sales have already increased from this time last year with even more shows yet to be announced for the 46th event.

According to Festival Manager Barry Harley, the planning ramped up last month and it’s all looking positive for January. "Preparation is always constant, it sounds a bit trite but you do finish one festival and start the next," he said.

"We aimed our marketing to start with intensity in August, which is a month earlier than normal, and we launched that with our first round of ticketed events.

Photo: Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer and John Williamson, just three of the leading Australian country stars with shows at Tamworth 2018.

"It’s important to get those big events and those ticketed events covered because without them the A-listers don’t come, so we do a lot of support marketing for those groups regardless of what venue they’re at.

"Our philosophy is to market the entire festival which includes all the other venues and contributing stakeholders," Barry said. "An important part of the festival also is about 75 percent of the events are free and we don’t want to just send the picture that we’ve got all the big ticketed items, there are opportunities across those 2800 events that a lot of them are going to be free."

Recent feedback had seen growing interest among families and younger demographics to the festival, he said.

"Some of the points of emphasis for us in our marketing are a result of the surveys we conduct over the years through destination NSW, we take that information very seriously."

Events on sale now are for venues like the Capitol Theatre, Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre (TRECC) and West Tamworth League Club for major stars including Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence, The McClymonts, Melinda Schneider, Sara Storer and John Williamson.

Artists including Melissa Bajric, Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, Carter & Carter, Darren Coggan, Travis Collins, Paul Costa, Kristy Cox, Adam Eckersley Band, Hurricane Fall, Kaylens Rain, Christie Lamb, Fanny Lumsden, The Pigs, Shane Nicholson and the Viper Crek Band also have shows currently with tickets on sale.

Weblinks – www.tcmf.com.au, wtlc.com.au.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

New from Drew

Drew McAlister has released the title track from his upcoming new album Coming Your Way which is due out at the end of this month.

Drew enlisted the help of Los Ageles and Sydney-based producer, Andy Mak from Grove Studios to, in his wordsm, "achieve a progressive, modern country sound" with the new work.

The McClymonts' latest album – Endless – was produced by Andy who has also worked with stars including Tina Arena in the pop market.

Coming Your Way the single is described as "one of those anthemic tunes that is sure to connect and inspire everyone that wants to look brightly into the future".

"This is a song I wrote on my own," Drew said, "which isn’t something I do very often. I love the message in this song. It’s for anyone who’s trying to stay afloat, doing it tough and near the end of his or her tether.

"I know plenty of friends and people who are going though struggles or coming out of it. I know it’s called life but I wanted to salute the silent majority who don’t complain and just get on with their struggle," he said.

Coming Your Way the album follows Drew's second solo outing and ABC music debut Black Sky and the number one country album with his country superstar mates in Adam Brand & The Outlaws.

Drew has built a solid career that has already seen him nominated for an ARIA Award and win a Golden Guitar.

Weblink – www.drewmcalistermusic.com.​

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

Manmimup blues...

Bluegrass musicians will descend on Manjimup, Western Australia, to host workshops, instrument tuition and jam sessions later this month.

The Manjimup-Bridgetown Times reports that the Manjimup Bluegrass JamCamp Weekend – a three-day event providing musicians the opportunity to learn from some of Australia’s finest bluegrass musicians, including Ian Simpson (pictured) and Donal Baylor – will run from Friday September 22 to Monday September 25.

The weekend will start with a tutors’ concert on Friday night, then workshops all day Saturday and Sunday and Monday morning.

A concert for participants is planned for Sunday night.

All the music action will take place in the Manjimup central business district with several venues all within walking distance of each other.

Organiser Mary Nixon said there was also a variety of entertainment available to those not enrolled in the JamCamp, including the Friday night tutors concert and the Saturday night bush dance featuring Shortgrass Bluegrass Band.

"It's a very community orientated event," she said. "It's all about getting together to dance, sing, jam and make friends. Manjimup is really starting to get a reputation for becoming the centre of Bluegrass music in WA."

Ian Simpson is best known as one of Australia’s most accomplished Banjo players, winning the Australian National Banjo Championships at Tamworth in 1983, 1986 and 1987.

He has supported high-profile Australian entertainers such as Paul Kelly, Anne Kirkpatrick and Keith Urban and played on more than 20 of Slim Dusty’s albums.

The JamCamp weekend is presented by the Warren Arts Council.

Weblink – www.manjimupbluegrass.com.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017

Americana awards

Record producer Nash Chambers and music promoter Michael Chugg have teamed up with the Americana Music Association to present an Americana Honours Night in Melbourne next month.

Americana is described as the current name for "alt country" taking in elements of "country rock" and "roots music".

Australian country star Kasey Chambers and festival promoter Brian BT Taranto will receive honours on the night at the Thornbury Theatre on Monday October 2.

Kasey and "BT" – who founded the Out On The Weekend Festival, to be held again this year on Saturday October 14 at Williamstown, Victoria – will both receive the inaugural Americana Vanguard Award.

Guest artists on the night will include Emily Barker, Ruby Boots, Catherine Britt, Busby Marou, Kasey, Bernard Fanning, Shane Howard, Valerie June, Jordie Lane & The Sleepers, the Old Crow Medicine Show, Henry Wagons and Kevin Welch.

Weblink here.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

Vale – Don Williams

Award winning American country singer/songwriter Don Williams has died at age 78 from emphysema.

Don began his solo career in 1971 singing popular ballads and amassing 17 number one country hits. He was inducted into America's Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

Prior to forming the folk-pop group Poco-Seco Singers, which he stayed with until 1969, Don served in the United States Army for two years.

In December 1971, he signed on as a songwriter for Jack Clement and in 1972, with JMI Records as a solo country artist. His 1974 song We Should Be Together reached number five, and he signed with ABC/Dot Records.

His more well-known global country hits included I Believe In You, I Recall A Gypsy Woman and You're My Best Friend. Don also had some minor roles in Burt Reybnolds movies including Smokey And The Bandit II.

In March last year, Don announced he was retiring from touring and cancelled all his scheduled shows. "It's time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I'm so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support," he said in a statement at the time.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

Jonny signs with Red Rebel

Red Rebel Music has announced the signing of Western Australian singer/songwriter and Star Maker finalist Jonny Taylor.

Jonny is one of the most talented, interesting and hard working artists I’ve ever met and I am excited to be working with him for the next chapter of his career," said Red Rebel's Karen Waters.

Following the signing, Jonny said: "I can’t describe how stoked I am to be working with Red Rebel Music. It’s exciting to begin a new album cycle with an awesome team of people who believe in the music first and foremost, and understand the importance of an artist’s individuality. Karen Waters thinks outside the square which is exactly what I need for this album, so I’m pumped for the next phase."

Following a standing ovation on Australia’s Got Talent in 2012, Jonny has gone from strength to strength.

Weblink – jonnytaylormusic.com.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

Trundle Bush Tucker Day success

The original camp oven/bush cooking festival in the NSW Central West region has celebrated another successful staging of its annual event.

The 31st Trundle Bush Tucker Day was held last Saturday in ideal spring conditions, according to a report in the Parkes Champion-Post.

Committee Secretary Jo-Anne Clarke said more than 2000 people went along to enjoy all that was on offer. 

"Those numbers are 15 percent up on previous years, the campgrounds were filled with caravans," she said. 

There was plenty of entertainment throughout the entire day. 

"Ranger Nick's camp oven cooking demonstrations were very popular," Jo-Anne said. "He’s known as the guru of camp oven cooking.

Whip cracker Stewart Bryant was also a huge crowd pleaser, as were our regular bushie relays, dog jumping and sheep shearing."

Children enjoyed the free kids corner with jumping castle, gold panning and kids activity table. 

The Trundle Central School Band, St Pats School, singer Sophie Edwards, and the Em & Gerry band kept crowds entertained during the day.

"Australian country music sweetheart Beccy Cole was our headline act in the evening followed by Jess Holland 'n' 35%. Everyone had a fantastic night," Jo-Anne said.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

Star Maker entries open

Entry has opened for the 39th Toyota Star Maker quest.

Australia’s longest running search for a new country music star, Star Maker has been a crucial launching pad for some of our biggest country music stars including James Blundell, Beccy Cole, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban.

"In 2018, competition will be as tough as ever with former winners setting strong examples of what is possible when committed to a career in the country music industry," according to Co-ordinator Cheryl Byrnes.

"Toyota Star Maker has a responsibility to deliver a new winner who is not only the 'next big thing' but who also becomes an automatic ambassador for the Australian country music industry.

"We want someone who is already making a considerable impact in country music, who has the country music x-factor, is driven and articulate, motivated and talented and someone who 'lives' country music," she said.

"Entrants should already be working the scene and have basic business knowledge and prepared to work with a team with nearly 40 year’s experience.

"Toyota’s commitment to Star Maker is inspiring both finalists and, in particular, the annual winner, their passion to progress, setting the benchmark in showcasing Australian country music's best new talent.

Entry can be made via the website www.starmaker.com.au.

Further information, including entry detail, can be obtained by telephoning 02 6767 5050 ot by emailing info@starmaker.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2017

Heath and Blake tops at Gympie

Heath Milner (pictured at left) and Blake O'Connor (right) were talent search winners at this year's Gympie Muster.

Blake, who was judged Overall Junior Champion at this year's CCMA National Talent Quest in Tamworth, won the Muster's "people's choice" accolade; Heath was the judges choice for a spot on the Gympie Main Stage.

Health performed along with last year's Muster Talent Search winners Sophia Chesworth (Junior) and Main Hope in a special showcase of emerging artists on Sunday afternoon. Blake performed a solo spot before the All Star Newgrass Showcase at on Sunday night.

Many will remember Heath from when he performed in the Blind Auditions on season 2017 of The Voice Australia and gained attention from Boy George. Although he didn't go any further in the relevision talent search, Boy George offered to buy him a ticket to Nashville to pursue his career.

Both Blake and Heath joined the "all star" lineup – Kirsty Lee Akers, Lyn Bowtell, Catherine Britt, Travis Collins, Pete Denahy, Faceless Men, The Hillbilly Goats, Troy Kemp, Fanny Lumsden and Brendan Radford – for the Muster closing song.

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2017

Muster success

A special report from Muster organisers

Perfect weather drew close to 30,000 patrons to this year’s Gympie Music Muster which concluded on Sunday.

The Amamoor Creek campgrounds were at capacity by Saturday and, true to the Muster’s family friendly atmosphere, security faced next to no trouble both in camping and on site. In the festival precinct itself, patrons enjoyed a host of exciting performances, with some unexpected surprises as well!

Friday night created Muster history, with a meaningful Paint This Land sing-along on the natural amphitheatre hill, led by Busby Marou. The crowd joined together and raised their voices in celebration of music, mateship and making a difference.

Young rising star Caitlyn Shadbolt got the audiences going on Saturday and even brought her friend and duet partner Reece Mastin up on stage as a special surprise. The two performed their song Me Without You from Caitlyn’s new album to an enthusiastic main stage crowd.

What makes the Muster so special is its emphasis on collaboration which saw many acts making surprise guest appearances in one another’s sets. As well as Reece and Caitlyn, Brooke McClymont jumped on stage with hubby Adam Eckersley, Dean Ray and Melanie Dyer surprised fans with a sweet duet, Adam Brand and Travis Collins shared the stage for a rendition of I Fought the Law and Jessica Mauboy invited friend from Tamworth Loren Ryan to join her highly anticipated set on the main stage.

Line-dancing and bush poetry kicked off each day at 8:30am, and the fun didn’t stop until the last act at the Crow Bar at 2am. The kids were catered for, with Amber Lawrence getting tiny toes tapping Friday and Saturday in The Grove, and plenty of fun around the site for the little ones.

A well-received new element of the program was The Electric 80’s Show in the Crow Bar. Decked out in tutus, tights, headbands and fluro, patrons danced until the wee hours, before wandering down the Muster’s lantern-lit forest paths to their tents. Also popular in the Crow Bar were rising talent Hurricane Fall who played Friday, Saturday and Sunday to a packed tent.

The Fender Jam highlighted some of the country’s best guitarists in a night of pure shredding, featuring big names Travis Collins, Adam Eckersley, Joe Robinson, Matt Smith of Thirsty Merc as well as surprise crowd-favourite Reece Mastin.

The Gympie Music Muster, made famous as the biggest not-for-profit camping and music festival in Australia, has raised over $15 million for various charities over its 36 years. This year’s charity partner Mates4Mates is an organisation which assists ex-servicemen and women when they return from duty. The Mates4Mates team at the Muster this year collected patrons’ kind donations across all four days, highlighting the true giving spirit of the festival.

Overall, the Muster showcased some of the best Australian music talent – the diverse line-up highlighted acts young and old, male and female, across a range of blues, roots, country and folk genres, making sure there was something for everyone. With huge numbers of patrons, perfect weather and a killer line-up, the 36th Gympie Music Muster will be hard to beat.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 28, 2017

Lizzie announces national tour dates

Brisbane based Lizzie Flynn has announced an extensive tour to support the release of her new album You And The Open Sky through to the end of the year.

The tour will various venues and festivals in towns across Queensland, NSW and Victoria starting at the Maleny (Qld) Music Festival on Saturday September 2 and currently set to conclude at Bellingen (NSW) on Saturday December 8. 

You And The Open Sky is described as a collection of original songs that "weave audiences through toe-tapping country to tender ballads with songs of lessons learnt and love lost."

One of the songs on the album – Prisoner In My Own Town – was shortlisted in the 2016 Vanda & Young Songwriter Awards.

Lizzie has produced several independent albums including Hush which received an Arts Queensland Grant, the title track described as "stunning" by The Courier Mail's Noel Mengel.

Highlights of 2016 and 2017 so far include performing live on ABC radio and being interviewed by Christine Anu, composing songs for the theatre production of "Two Weeks with the Queen" and performing at the Bellingen Turtle Festival, Gold Coast Music Festival and this year's Illawarra Folk Festival with her band.

You And The Open Sky is set for digital release on September 1 and physically from September 2 at the Maleny Music Festival.

Weblink – www.lizzieflynn.com.

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SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017

Tim is a country Wheatley

Tim Wheatley is one of the guest artists at this year's Gympie Muster and if his surname sounds familiar, that's because he is the son of John Farnham's manager and Masters Apprentices bass player Glenn Wheatley.

Queensland's Sunshine Coast Daily reported Tim was to launch his new album at the Muster last night.

Dubbed an alternative folk/country troubadour, Tim was set to play two shows at the Muster. His new album is titled Pillar To Post.

"It was a calculated effort to come back here in time,” Tim was quoted as saying. "We set up the dates so I would be at the Muster. It's going to be one of the first shows I have played all these new songs since recording them.

"I'm looking forward to gauging the reactions. One of the most important things as an artist is when you're standing up there, you can sense what songs the audience likes."

This is the Melbourne native's third Muster – his only Queensland shows before he travels to Nashville for AmericanaFest.

"I was always worried I wasn't country enough for the Muster and Tamworth, but then when I got there, they just embraced me," he said. "It's a vibe like none other.

"My songwriting and my lyrics - they may not be as conventionally country or folk as others, but when it comes down to me playing the guitar and harmonica and being Australian, it comes across as country.

"Sonically, they are the sounds I love: steel guitars and real drums. I'm a bit old-fashioned in that sense."

Tim's family ties haven't guaranteed a smooth ride in the music industry. After playing in several bands, he nearly gave up music for good when he signed a modelling contract and moved to Los Angeles.

But he decided to give a solo career a go, releasing his critically acclaimed debut album Cast Of Yesterday in 2015.

Weblink – timwheatley.net.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2017

Gympie proud to support female artists

Forty-six female-fronted acts are taking centre stage at this year’s Gympie Music Muster, representing nearly half of the event's 100-strong line-up.

The Muster got underway yesterday and runs through to and including Sunday with thousands of fans trekking into the Amamoor State Forest site just south of Gympie.

Muster Program Director Jeff Chandler said, "We didn’t have to look too far for strong female representation at our event. Programming was made easier by the fact there are many very talented female artists across the country, folk and roots genres.

Pictured (from left): Lyn, Catherine, Amber, Fanny and Jessica.

"In light of recent discussions about female representation at Aussie music festivals, we at the Gympie Muster are proud to say that our line-up has more than 46 strong and talented women ready to entertain our 30,000 expected punters."

Golden Guitar winner and Muster favourite Amber Lawrence said, "Australian country music fans base their love of artists on music, not gender, and so I feel very lucky to be part of an industry that likes me and picks me for my music alone, not whether they need to have more females on the lineup!"

Acts will include an Emerging Artists Showcase with an all female line-up and the ladies will also dominate Saturday’s Songwriter Sessions, with Amber Lawrence, Catherine Britt and Fanny Lumsden taking the stage.

Amber will also be bringing her "Kids Gone Country" show to The Grove.

Tomorrow night, Jessica Mauboy, who got her start in the entertainment business via country music, will be the headline act on the main stage.

"And there is plenty more girl power in the line-up," Jeff said, including Kaylee Bell, current Country Music Channel Female Artist of the Year Chelsea Basham, Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell, Melanie Dyer, Anne Kirkpatrick, Seleen McAlister and Luella Widt.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 2017

Roo to perform at US festival

Roo Arcus is a featured act for the second time at this year's Western Legends Roundup at Kanab near the Utah/Arizona state border north east of Las Vegas tomorrow (Saturday our time).

The annual festival celebrates the town’s starring role as the backdrop for movies in the Western genre.

Roo was a 2016 Golden Guitar Awards finalist for Male Artist of the Year and has been nominated for Heritage Song of the Year. After a break from performing, he returned to the music scene in 2012 with a comeback album titled This Here Cowboy.

Roo's success continued with the release of a follow-up album, Cowboys & Sunsets.

"We are so excited to have Roo coming back to Western Legends this year," said Camille Johnson, Director of Tourism in Kane County.

"The Office of Tourism invested in him as a performer because he’ll captivate the next generation of Western Legends attendees. His modern, yet traditional country music will appeal to the young and young at heart."

The Western Legends line-up also includes The Bellamy Brothers.

Weblinks – www.rooacrew.com, www.westernlegendsroundup.com.

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And Jayne stars at GATS

A little further west, meanwhile, Aussie country rocker Jayne Denham will star at the Great American Trucking Show (GATS) in Dallas, also tomorrow (and Saturday, our time).

Though Jane has never worked as a truck driver, her music makes it quite clear how she feels about truckers and the industry.

"I just love writing trucking songs to cheer on the truck drivers and an industry that we certainly can’t do without," Jayne said.

With her recently released single Stacks, Jayne will be performing along with OOIDA (US Owner, Operator, Independent Drivers Association) members Tony Justice and Bill Weaver.

The concert will be stahed at Eddie Deen’s Ranch in downtown Dallas.

Stacks is also the name of Jayne's next album which is scheduled for release early next year. The album will include such other "trucker-centric" songs as Highway Rock Star and Black Coffee And White Lines.

Jayne grew up around family and friends who operated big rigs.

"While writing for my next record... my producer Brian White and I were brainstorming ideas about trucking songs," Jayne said. "He mentioned the title, Stacks, which immediately took me back to my childhood.

"I remember as a kid going to truck races and seeing all those blinged-up rigs screaming around the track. One of my favorite parts of the day was when the drivers would put the pedal to the metal and you would hear this loud roar and smoke came from those 11 feet of galvanized chrome stacks."

Jayne's country rock style has achieved quite a bit of success in Australia. She won the Australian Independent Country Music Awards Best Rising Star Award in 2008 and her song Addicted To The Diesel reached number one on Australian country singles charts in 2014.

Shake This Town, Trucker Chicks, Farmers’ Wife and Shelter are a few of Jayne's other hit songs.

She works to make her songs authentic. "I like to do my research," she said. "I want to make sure my lyrics are accurate. Truck drivers tell me the songs resonate."

Jayne's popularity is increasing among truck drivers in the United States as well as Australia.

She performed at GATS in 2016 and in March was on the Red Eye Radio stage at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. At GATS, she played songs for the Women in Trucking organisation.

"That was an incredible experience to get to meet all of those women truck drivers," Jayne said. "Many of them had been driving for a long time."

Weblink – www.jaynedenham.com.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2017

The Littles in Bathurst

The daughter and grandson of music legend Jimmy Little will be in Bathurst next month to perform at the annual Jimmy Little Gathering.

The Western Advocate reported that Frances Peters-Little and James Henry Little would lead a talented line-up that includes acclaimed soul, rap and spoken word artist Radical Son alongside local acts Smith & Jones, Jade Flynn and other guests.

The Jimmy Little Gathering was developed by local elder Kalmadyne Goombridge as a healing event for the Aboriginal and broader community.

"Kalmadyne Goombrydge approached the Jimmy Little Foundation about setting the event as a way to acknowledge Jimmy Little as Australia’s first successful recording artist and for his long-time humanitarian work," Frances said.

The performance will be at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Saturday, September 23.

During the afternoon there will be public workshops in areas of Aboriginal culture such as language, weaving, beading, tool making and dance.

Jimmy Little was a Yorta Yorta man, hailed as one of Australia's founding and premier country music stars.

His career spanned six decades from the 1950s and he topped the charts and became a household name with Royal Telephone in 1963.

Jimmy is also remembered for his advocacy and education work. He was elevated to Australia's Country Music Roll of Renown in 1994 and inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame in 1999. He died in 2012.

The event will also promote the Jimmy Little Foundation which focusses on excellence in health care for Indigenous Australians with a special focus on renal health. Donations will be taken towards their nursing scholarships at Charles Sturt University.

Produced by regional arts development organisation Arts OutWest, the event is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund and by the Bathurst Aboriginal Lands Council, and with the support of the Jimmy Little Foundation and Black Theatre.

Weblink – www.jlf.org.au.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

Beccy heads to Trundle

Beccy Cole will headline at this year's Trundle Bush Tucker Day next month.

Saturday September 2 is the day for the 2017 Bush Tucker Day at the Trundle (NSW) Showground, the 31st annual event and the only camp oven/bush cooking festival in the region.

"The Adelaide-born star's glowing warmth, honeyed voice, bawdy sense of humor and perpetual smile have helped make Beccy one of the nation's best and most celebrated artists," said a spokesman for the event organisers.

"The TBTD committee is hard at work to make this year bigger and better than ever with their ever popular bush tucker cooking competition, camp oven cooking demos with Ranger Nick, junior bush chef cooking competition and free bush tucker taste testing.

"There will be live entertainment on stage throughout the day and evening as well as a free kid’s corner, full of lots of fun activities to keep the little ones entertained for hours.

"Whip cracker and sheep shearing demos are a favorite as are the dog jumping competition, bushman’s relay and billy boiling race. Market and food stalls will also be available.

"Come for the day or book a camp site and make a weekend of it."

Weblink – www.trundlebushtuckerday.com.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 2017

Lee swaps his hat for a helmet and promotes safety

Lee Kernaghan is swapping his hat for a helmet in his role as Yamaha ambassador.

The country music legend and winner of 36 Golden Guitars is a passionate supporter of safe All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Side by Side Vehicle (SSV) use.

"At the centre of my life is family, so being able to get out with my boys and do some scrub bashing and get on the bikes is a real passion," Lee said.

ATV safety is an important agricultural issue. ATVs were accounted the highest cause of death and injuries on farm in 2016.

Mark Collins, ATV safety expert and representative for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), said there were some key learnings from recent coronial inquests into ATV fatalities.

"Twenty percent were children who should have not have been on the bike in the first place," he said, speaking to journalists at a Yamaha event where he also spoke to the statistic that in 30 percent of cases the fatality could have been avoided by wearing a helmet.

Ten percent of fatalities were attributed to riding with extra passengers and another 10 percent related to alcohol use, he said.

Combined, this indicates that 70 percent of ATV fatalities are directly preventable with control measures. The remaining 30 percent could be reduced through training and advice.

The statistics are that one in five quad bike fatalities are children under the age of 16 on adult sized bikes, according to the FCAI.

Lee said that when the family travel to their property in Pottsville there are some rules in place to ensure safety.

"Number one safety rule on our property, we don’t let kids under 16 on adult size ATVs, I've looked at the statistics," he said.

Lee also recommends training, encouraging his sons Jet and Rock to do the training, both online and face to face.

The online training is an initiative of the FCAI and targets remote users. The training is available at atvsafety.snaplearn.com.au at no charge.

Lee is a believer in helmet use. "I never want to see my boys or anyone really riding around without a helmet on. I want to encourage everyone to wear a helmet, they are not only doing themselves a favour they are doing it for their family."

Weblink – www.leekernaghan.com.au.

Photo: Lee pictured with Fiona O’Sullivan, Manager Agriculture Strategy Unit at Workplace Health & Safety Queensland, and Mark Collins from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017

Muster showcases emerging talent

As well as its extensive list of well-known artists, the Gympie Music Muster has a 36 year history of showing off the best of Australian new music talent.

At this year's Muster – next week – an Emerging Talent Showcase will be staged.

Muster Program Director Jeff Chandler said: As an artist manager and now as a festival programmer I know just how important it is for new and emerging talent to receive opportunities along the path to what will hopefully be a professional career.

"It is the aim of the Muster to give a platform to some of Australia’s finest aspiring talent and where possible, support them into the future," he said.

To be held each of the four days of the Muster (Thursday August 24 to Sunday Augist 27) the Showcase will feature 20 new artists selected by the Muster Programming Team from online applications.

Each artist will have the opportunity to perform for 20-minutes, in performances scheduled at the various venues throughout the event including The Crowbar, the Muster Club and the Grove stages. There is no requirement for an artist to perform in any particular genre or to do only covers. Artists are free to perform 100 percent original material if they choose.

"One of the most exciting new acts to be appearing at this year's Emerging Talent Showcase," Jeff said, "is 16-year-old Sydney-sider Sophia Chesworth (pictured), winner of last year's Junior Muster Talent Search."

After the 2016 Gympie Muster, Sophia recorded her Talent Search winning song Shine On Me which debuted at number one on the iTunes Country Music Charts and has had airplay on a number of country music radio stations.

After the Muster launched her career, Sophia has won a host of awards, including the 2016 Youth Section of the Australian Songwriters Association (ASA) National Songwriting Contest, 2017 Capital Country Music Association Junior Songwriter at Tamworth and top five in the Youth Section at the 2016/2017 National Country Songwriting Contest.

"I'm really excited and grateful to have been chosen to perform... at the Gympie Music Muster," Sophia said, "and to be included in a lineup of so many great artists."

In addition to Sophia, the list of "emerging stars" at Gympie this year includes... Anais Campbell, Brook Chivell, Alex & Bec Crook, the Dennis Sisters, Jamie-Lee Griffiths, Cassi Hilbers, Izack Hunt, Finnian Johnson, Liam Kennedy-Clark, Gemma Kirby, Tyson Lucas, Hayley Marsten, Heath Milner, Jen Mize, Wal Neilsen, Blake O'Connor, Sista Lee (Natalya and Kiarnah Lee), Bek Thornton and Hayley Wilson.

Held in the Amamoor Creek State Forest in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, the 2017 Muster will feature more than 100 artists in more than 300 performances across multiple stages.

The artists cover a range of genres including country, bluegrass, folk, blues and rockabilly.

"An unmissable event for music lovers," said a spokesman. "One ticket price gives Muster goers free camping and multi-venue access to all performances to experience everything Australia’s biggest country music celebration has to offer."

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

Dusty Doo

Our Dusty Doo – a celebration of songs by Slim Dusty – will be held at Malanda on Queensland's Atherton Tablelands next month.

The venue is the Malanda Show Pavilion, dates are Friday and Sunday, September 8 and 9.

Friday evening kicks off festivities weith a meet 'n' greet concert, Saturday features a bush poets' breakfast, a stock whip display, "Slim's Songs Syung By You & Me" from midday, the official opening at 3pm, Tableland International Singers from 3:30, Australiana Kids Around The Campfire and Albina's Talent Time and a Slim Dusty hat raffle at 7:30.

Guest artists during the weekend will include Keith Bagley, Col Edmonds (pictured, left), John Kilcullen (pictured centre), Dave Kirk (pictured) and Albina Niceforo and Bill Smith.

Further information can be obtained from Marie Kirk on 0438 177 711.

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Southern Stars finalists

Finalists have ben announced for the 2017 Australian Independent Country Music Awards Finalists (or Southern Stars).

For Single of the Year, the finalists are Defeated by Aleyce Simmonds (pictured below right), It’s Good To Know by Jeff Gibson, That’s A Tradie by Tania Kernaghan and The Wide Horizon by Darren Coggan (far right).

For Album of the Year... 50 Years In Oz by Allan Caswell (right), More Than Meets The Eye by Aleyce Simmonds, Walk In Circles by Sandra Humphries (below left) and The Wide Horizon by Darren Coggan.

For Heritage Track of the Year, Traditional... InAsMuch by Darren Coggan, In Like Flynn by Pat Drummond, Lefty O’Reilly by Allan Caswell and We Still Sing Three Rivers Hotel by Ian Quinn.

For the Rising Star Male award... Will Day with Seasons, Jeff Gibson with It’s Good To Know, Chris Staff with Storm’s A-Comin’ and Chris Williams with Speed Of Light.

For the Rising Star Female award... Rhiannon Cooke with Don’t Call Me A City Girl, Hayley Marsten with Until You, Kora Naughton with Wrong and Hayley Wilson with Somnus.

For Male Vocalist of the Year... Casey Barnes with The Way We Ride, James Blundell with Rain On The Scarecrow, Allan Caswell with Hero Just The Same and Darren Coggan with The Wide Horizon.

For Female Vocalist of the Year... Sandra Humphries with Still Going Strong, Tania Kernaghan with Light In The Window, Seleen McAlister with Even God Must Get The Blues
and Aleyce Simmonds with Defeated.

For Group/Duo of the Year... Michael Carpenter & The Cuban Heels with Ain’t Nothing Left To Say, Carter & Carter with Stand Tall, The Long & Short Of It with Kangaroo Rodeo
and The Woodpickers with Bakelite Babies.

Award winners will be announced on Saturday October 7 at the 21st Southern Stars awards presentation concert, 5.30pm in the Mercy Theatre, St Joseph’s College, Mildura, during the annual Mildura Country Music Festival.

The Festival will run from Friday September 29 to Sunday October 8 with more than 70 artists performing over the 10 days at 27 separate venues. A festival program, with a full list of 2017 artists and further information, can be obtained from the Festival website www.milduracountrymusic.com.au.

The awards evening, co-hosted by Aleyce Simmonds and Dave Prior will feature an impressive list of performers including Allan Caswell, Stephen R Cheney, Pat Drummond, Toyota Star Maker Rachael Fahim, Paul Gibbs, The Long & Short Of It, Hayley Marsten, Taylor Pfeiffer, Reg Poole, Kim Ritchie and Bryen Willems.

Enquiries for Awards tickets, programs and accommodation can be directed to the Mildura Visitor Information Centre on 1800 039 043. Tickets for the Awards can also be obtained from the Festival website.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 14, 2017

Troy picks up two NIMAs

Troy Cassar-Daley has picked up the Artist of the Year award at the National Indigenous Music Awards (NIMAs).

He also won Album of the Year for Things I Carry Around.

"Things I Carry Around is one of the most personal things I’ve ever made and talking about my family in depth like that and my culture as well was vitally important to what the album meant," Troy said. "I just want to say thanks to everyone who voted."

The National Indigenous Music Awards recognised excellence across all genres of Indigenous talent. Briggs and Trails side-project A.B. Original also picked up two awards.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017

Central Coast Festival kicks off today

The 2017 Central Coast Country Music Festival kicks off today at The Entrance running through to and including Sunday.

Now in its 17th year, the Festival takes place over a number of local venues on the Coast, with the free main event at Memorial Park, on Sunday.

Central Coast Council Connected Communities Group Leader Julie Vaughan said the Festival continues to impress visitors each and every year.

"It's great to see the Festival embraced by the whole region with local venues getting on board with the theme and hosting country artists," she said.

"This is one event Council is excited to be hosting and is sure to be a weekend of great music and entertainment. This year we have a great line up of artists..."

The headline act on Sunday at The Entrance will be Australian country music legends, Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey (pictured) who are stopping off at The Entrance as part of their "Great Country Songbook Volume 2" tour.

Adam, who has numerous awards to his name, lives on the Central Coast.

Memorial Park’s main stage will also have a line up of local and interstate country music artists including Tori Darke, 2017 Toyota Star Maker Rachael Fahim, Hurricane Fall and award-winning trio The Wolverines.

The live music will start from 10am with buskers, amusement rides, food and market stalls.

A signing tent will be set up so fans can meet artists with after their performances and festival-goers will be able to buy artist merchandise.

Council Administrator Ian Reynolds said the Festival is anticipated to draw in country music fans from near and far, providing a great tourism boost for our region.

"The Entrance is already a popular tourist destination, and it’s free events like this that really make our region even more attractive to residents and tourists alike," he said.

"So bring along your chair or blanket to listen to some of Australia’s best country musicians in one of the best outdoor entertainment venues the Coast has to offer."

In conjunction with the free Country Music Festival on Sunday, the weekend will be filled with entertainment in nine local licensed venues across the region featuring 24 local performers which is sure to appeal to all country music fans.

A full festival program can be viewed via the website – theentrance.org.au.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9, 2017

Vale – Glen Campbell

Country music legend Glen Campbell has died at age 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Glenn recorded more than 70 albums during his career, up to four in one year during his peak in the late 1960s.

His first, Blue Grass Special (with Green River Boys) was released in 1962. Glen was already in his late 20s at the time. His first platinum release was his sixth album Gentle On My Mind.

It was the next album, however – By The Time Get To Phoenix – that saw Glen gain worldwide fame as a country superstar. The album started a long association with songwriter Jimmy Webb who would go on to craft many Glen Campbell hits.

In the 1970s, Glen's albums were guaranteed number one releases for his record label Capitol Records so they kept him in the studio as much as possible. Over a three year period from 1967 to 1969 Glen Campbell recorded an incredible 10 studio albums.

Most will know of his hit songs, including classics like Bonaparte’s Retreat, I Knew Jesus (Before He Was A Superstar), Rhinestone Cowboy, Southern Nights and The Wichita Lineman.

In 2011, Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He managed to record three more albums since he was diagnosed and continued to tour.

Glen died in Nashville yesterday.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2017

New from Amber and Travis

Amber Lawrence and Travis Collins have released a duet EP titled Our Backyard.

The two, who are prominent artists in their own right, released the recording today (August 4).

According to Country Music Capital's Northern Daily Leader, the title single has been met with rave reviews and has been gaining momentum on country music charts nation wide.

When speaking to The Leader last month, Amber said the idea of a joint album between the two friends had been on the cards for some time – but the songs had to be original.

The duo met in 2014 when they were both students at the Country Music Association of Australia Senior Academy of Country Music.

Award-winning producer Matt Fell produced the new work.

Billed as "brimming with classics that tell quintessentially Australian stories", the music and lyrics on Our Backyard "reflect the true Australian experience across life, love and friendship."

Apart from the title album, tracks are Boxes, Drink, Here I Stand, How Good You Got It, In Reverse and Millionaire.

The duo kicked off an Our Backyard tour yesterday in Goulburn which, so far, has gigs scheduled for Albion Park, D’Aguilar, Dalby, Forbes, Hamilton, Lithgow, Merimbula, Warwick, Windsor and Young.

Weblinks – www.amberlawrence.com.auwww.traviscollins.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2017

TSA entries open

Entries have opened for the Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA) awards and competitions.

The TSA recognises songwriting in the National Songwriting Contest, the New Songwriter Award and the Songwriters Salute Awards (including the Anzac Song Competition).

Entry for all close on Saturday September 30. Winners will be announced during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

The National Country Songwriting Contest is for unreleased material in the following categories... Novice (all styles), Open (contemporary/modern), Open (traditional), Open (blues, roots & bluegrass), the John P Toomey Commemorative Award (for youth songwriting, under 18 years) and Lyrics Only. Entries in the National Country Songwriting Contest should be made online via www.songcentral.biz/tsa.

The New Songwriter Award, which carries a prize of $1000, is open for material released by an Australasian country music artist between October 1, 2016, and September 29, 2017, by any person who has had their first commercial release after October 1, 2012. Entry is online via www.songcentral.net/salute.

The Songwriters Salute Awards of Australia are for commercially released songs in the following categories... the Bev Daniel Commemorative Award for Traditional Bush Ballad, Contemporary Country Song, the Geoff Mack Commemorative Award for Comedy/Novelty Song, Gospel Song, Contemporary Ballad, Alt Blues &Bluegrass Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year (a song which achieves the highest winning scores from all the competitions). Entry is online via www.songcentral.net/salute.

The Anzac section, sponsored by the Australian War Memorial, is for songs with the main subject/theme "Anzac". Both released and unreleased songs can be entered into this category with half of all entry fees being donated to Legacy. Entry for this special category is also online via www.songcentral.net/salute.

Weblink – www.tsaonline.com.au.

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2017

TCB reunites for "Travellin’ Still – the Songs of Slim Dusty"

When Slim Dusty’s Travelling Country Band played their last full show with Slim in 2002, the band members all went their separate ways.

Fast-forward to 2016, at the Slim Dusty Music Festival in Kempsey, NSW, they found themselves on-stage together for the first time in years. And it felt like only yesterday as the old songs, friendships and memories came flooding back.

One comment from an audience member, "This show has to go on the road!" got them all thinking, why not? There aren’t many bands around where all the members were part of the Slim Dusty Show!

So, Rod Coe, Peter Denahy (pictured at right), Mike Kerin and Jeff Mercer have decided to take the show on the road. And with Joy and the family’s approval, the show is now touring...

Fve musicians who will be sharing stories, some of their own music and, of course, the songs of Slim Dusty which will sound pretty darn genuine because they’ll be played by his own original band.

Front man Pete Denahy said he was very much looking forward to getting back on stage with the band. "This will be like putting on an old comfortable pair of boots. (I) can’t wait to be playing the boss's great old songs again," he said. "I never thought we'd be playing these songs again in these venues!"

Fans on the NSW North Coast will be able to catch the show this month in Grafton, Casino and Macksville.

A little more on the show members (Rod, Doug, Mike, Jeff from left above)...

Rod Coe on bass; Slim’s long-time producer and a man who has seen more of Slim inside a studio than anyone.

Pete Denahy on guitar and vocals; Slim’s last band member who played as a musician and support artist.

Doug Gallacher on drums; did a number of shows with Slim and also the long-time drummer with the Midday Show Band on Channel 9.

Mike Kerin on fiddle; Slim’s longest serving fiddle player, more than 25 years in the band.

Jeff Mercer on lead guitar; Slim’s right hand man on stage, keeping "the sound" alive.

Tour dates announced to date (tickets available from the venues)...

Thursday August 17, Grafton District Services Club www.gdsc.com.au

Friday August 18, Casino RSM Club www.casinorsm.com.au

Saturday August 19, Macksville Services Club www.macksvilleexservices.com.au

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MONDAY, JULY 31, 2017

People's Choice voting opens

Voting has opened for the 2018 Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards.

The voting link can be directly accessed here.

Votes, restricted to one per person, are called for in 11 categories...

– Best Female Vocalist
– Best Male Vocalist
– Best Group or Duo
– Best Song
– Best Bush Ballad
– Best Album
– Best Video
– Most Promising Future Star

– Most Popular Country Music Broadcaster
– Most Popular Country Music Program or Radio Station

There is one change to categories from the 2017 Awards. The Best Music/Vocal Event is no longer a voted award and will only be presented if broader interest in the category, or specific recorded works, increases.

Voting closes at 5pm on October 31.

Winners will be announced in January during the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Weblink – www.peopleschoiceawards.com.au.

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FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2017

Vale – Rick Carey

Rick Carey – one half of Australian country music pioneer duo Rick & Thel – has died. He was 89.

Rick was born on August 13, 1927, in Sydney. He joined the RAAF as a radio mechanic for the last two years of the second world war and learned to play a guitar his father gave him while he was in the Air Force.

Rick met Thel Hoctor in 1949 at a Hillbilly Club and the pair decide to form a duet.

In January, 1950, Rick & Thel topped Sydney radio’s 466th Amateur Hour program, equivalent to the likes of today's Australia's Got Talent or The X Factor talent quests.

The couple married two years later in January 1952.

In 1954, the duo made their first recordings with EMI Regal Zonophone. I’ll Never Be Fooled Again and She Was Happy 'Till She Met You were the first songs released.

Rick & Thel were to stay with EMI for the next 25 years.

In the late 1950s, the duo undertook short tours that fitted in with their day jobs – Thel as a teacher and Rick as a motor mechanic, followed by stints with the All Star Western Show and the Chad Morgan Show.

In 1960, the now legendary Rick & Thel Show started touring featuring the likes of Curly Aylward, Johnny Heap, Athol McCoy, Eddie Tapp, the Woolhouse Twins and Brian Young.

Rick was inducted with Thel into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 1977 and elevated ti the Country Music Roll of Renown in 1985.

Sadly, Rick lost Thel in 1998 after a long battle with cancer. They had performed their final show in Bunbury WA in 1987 and retired from the music scene due to Thel’s health after 30 years "on the road".

In subsequent years, Rick came out of retirement on a number of occasions for special performances.

He released an album – Beyond The Dream – with daughter Lynne and friends in 2008.

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TUESDAY, JULY 25, 2017

Fanny wins Country PDA

Fanny Lumsden has been named winner of the 2017 APRA Professional Development Award (PDA).

She joins other genre winners Jess Beck, Julian Day, Nick Drabble, Gordi (Sophie Payten), Julia Jacklin, Damien Lane and Ainslie Wills who shate in the $135,000 cash prize pool.

Eric Avery was announced winner of the Indigenous Music and Media Award.

Fanny won the New Talent Golden Guitar at this year's Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth and has also received recognition as CMC (Country Music Channel) New Talent of the Year and AU Review Country Artist of the Year.

Her first, crowd-funded, album Small Town Big Shot, debuted at number six on the ARIA Country Album Charts and went on to be nominated for Best Country Album at last year's ARIA Awards.

Fanny is no stranger to the road, tirelessly traversing thousands of kilometres with her band to reach thousands of people deprived of live music.

Held every two years, the PDAs are designed to help create serious career boosting opportunities for highly talented songwriters and composers across a variety of genres.

The winners were selected from more than 1,000 entries from songwriters and composers in the early stages of their careers.

Weblink – www.apraamcos.com.au.

 


FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2017

Vale – Geoff Mack

Legendary Australian entertainer Geoff Mack has died. He was 94.

Albert Geoffrey McElhinney, (better known and loved as Geoff Mack) passed away peacefully just after 6pm yesterday.

Geoff's career was established during World War II.

He enlisted in the RAAF on June 4, 1942, and was trained as an aircraft mechanic. He was discharged on January 7, 1946, with the rank of corporal from 62 ACW (Airfield Construct Wing).

In 1944, while serving in Borneo, Geoff's ability to play the guitar and sing was noticed and he was seconded to entertain the troops with visiting guest stars.

In May 1946, as an ex-serviceman performer in a theatre concert, Geoff was credited for being "responsible for most of the laughs with his vocal gymnastics, in his number, In Der Fuhrer's Face, a gem of its kind, which had the audience in hysterics."

At the end of the war, Geoff went to Japan with the Occupation Forces to perform and was appointed to Radio WLKS as the voice of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. In August 1950, he returned to Australia after performing for British, American, French, German, and Japanese audiences, including his rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

His 1959 composition I've Been Everywhere became a hit in Australia in 1962 with the release of a cover version by Lucky Starr. It later reached the top of the song charts in the USA, Germany, and Japan. The song has now been recorded in 131 different versions, notably on Johnny Cash's 1996 album Unchained.

In 2005, the song was used in The Simpsons' episode "Mobile Homer" when Homer sang part of the American version to fellow RV owners in his yard.

During the late '50s to mid '60s, Geoff (along with fellow legendary Australian entertainer Lucky Grills) operated the famous touring "tent" variety attraction "Carlols Variety Show" which toured the length and breadth of the country entertaining hundreds of thousands in the pre-TV era.

Geoff was inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee in 1963, into the Hands of Fame at Tamworth NSW in 1978, the Tamworth Songwriter's Association Song Maker Award in 1997 and was elevated to the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown in 2008.

Geoff is survived by his wife, fellow entertainer, Tabbi Frances (aged 91), whom he met and married post WW2. They have been inseparable ever since. The photo above documents their famous trip from Europe back to Australia, which was mostly executed via motorbike, as the image attests. Geoff and Tabbi were happy to give the motorcycle to Country Music Capital's Walk A Country Mile interpretive exhibition which us now a part of the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth.

"Our Entertainment industry has lost one of our most loved veteran performers," said a spokesman for The Golden Years of Australian Variety. "The lights shine a little less bright tonight.

"Vale Geoff. You will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tabbi."

This tribute with thanks to The Golden Years of Variety.

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 19, 2017

Clelia's classic hits

Internationally acclaimed, multi award winning singer/songwriter Clelia Adams, an integral part of Australian country music since l975, has released an album of "classic hits".

Clelia’s Classic Hits traces the artist's solo musical journey beginning with the albums Bring It On in 2000, Heartbeat Highway 2004, Wildflowers 2008 and River Valley Dreaming in 2011.

Prior to her solo career, Clelia performed in a duo act and was a session singer on thousands of tracks recorded in all Tamworth studios for 25 years.

From the outset, Clelia's music has been embraced by the international country music radio community, seeing her become "the darling" of the European, UK, NZ and Australian country music airplay charts with each successive album. 

Classic Hits is a collection of 22 of Clelia’s top five, top 10 radio hits during her international recording career through the past 16 years. The release also includes bonus tracks, La Paloma and Forever Young.

All songs were recorded and produced by long time friend Stuart French and the A Team, who have included Mick Albeck, Kevin Bennett, Brad Bergen, Bill Chambers, Camille French, Doug Gallacher, James Gillard, Chris Haigh, Donnie Hopkin, Rudy Miranda, Bill Risby, Michel Rose and Garry Steele.

Weblink – www.cleliaadams.com.

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MONDAY, JULY 17, 2017

White Ribbon hosts free country music concert at the Isa

Troy Cassar-Daley will play a free family concert in Mount Isa next month to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The Isa's North West Star newspaper reported the event was sponsored by the Queensland Police Service in support of White Ribbon Australia. The concert will be held on Thursday August 17 at the Buchanan Park Complex.

"Domestic violence is a serious issue in Australia affecting families and communities nationwide," said a spokesman for concert organisers.

"On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia. One in three women will experience abuse by someone known to them."

More than 200,000 Australian men have taken the White Ribbon Oath to stand up, speak out and prevent men’s violence against women. Domestic & Family Violence Co-ordinator Sgt Paige Barrow of Mount Isa Police said the issue of domestic violence was prevalent locally too.

"Superintendent Kev Guteridge initiated the event to support the work of White Ribbon in the local community," according to Sgt Barrow. "The first reason to have the event is for the community. There ard no tickets – it's free entry, so just show up."

The concert will also feature the local Emergency Services and defence band The Hoax. Gates open at 6pm with The Hoax at 6:30 and Troy Cassar-Daley at 7:30pm.

Troy’s career has spanned nine albums over a 26 year career.

He has been awarded numerous accolades including 32 Golden Guitars, four ARIAs, two APRA Country Song of the Year awards, nine Deadlys and four CMAA Entertainer of the Year awards.

Troy is an ambassador for White Ribbon Australia.

"I'm proud to be supporting White Ribbon with my music and equally proud to be playing in front of another Mount Isa crowd," Troy said.

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FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2017

New from Jasmine

Baldivis, WA, singer/songwriter Jasmine Atkins recently released a new EP.

Titled Key To My Heart, the EP contains six songs all written by Jasmine with the assistance of "West Australian heavyweights" Mark Donohoe, The Murphy Brothers, Ian Simpson, Mike Hagerty Jr, Travis Bryant, and Johnny Taylor in recording the tracks.

Jasmine said she loved working with Mark who pushed her to be the best she could be. "Mark is very good at encouraging me," she said. "I love him as a producer and engineer because he has a way of getting the best out of me and I still don’t know how he does it — he’s straight to the point and I respect that.

"I want my listeners to learn a little bit about me and I hope I can help a few people along the way if they’re having a few issues."

In an article in The West Australian, Jasmine, who started her musical career when she got her first keyboard at three years old before teaching herself how to read music and starting lessons at age six, said her songs touched on topics including mental illness, domestic violence, being in love and the loss of loved ones.

Three-time Golden Guitar and 1997 Star Maker winner Lyn Bowtell described Jasmine as a vibrant young artist who sung like an old soul.

Her love of country music stemmed from her grandmother who introduced her to the genre at an early age with her influences including the likes of Kasey Chambers, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood.

After winning the Overall Senior Champion title at the Capital Country Music Association National Talent Quest and graduating from the Academy of Country Music in Tamworth in 2015 and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music, Jasmine says she is ready to take her music across the nation and beyond.

"I love the songwriting in country music," she said. "I want to get my music out to everyone I can and break through new markets."

Weblink – www.facebook.com/jasmineatkinsmusic.

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 2017

Junior Academy graduates

Twenty-five students graduated from this year's Australian Academy of Country Music Junior Course conducted in the lead-up to the 2017 Hats Off to Country festival in Tamworth.

The graduates are Maxine Baker from Leichhardt (NSW), Isabella Burnup, Airlie Beach (Qld), Madi Colville (Laura Byrnes Music Scholarship), Moama (NSW), Billie-Rose Copeland, Charters Towers (Qld), Ella Hebberman (SA Mid North Country Music Scholarship) Jamestown (SA), Elyssa Hawkins, Rankin Park (NSW), Chloe Heyman, East Corrimal (NSW), Justess Jones, Weston (NSW), Kasey Kilsby (Pioneer Valley Country Music Festival Scholarship), Andergrove (Qld), Felicity Kircher (RNA Ekka Troy Cassar Daley Scholarship), Tingalpa (Qld), Matilda Rose Lawler, Bredbo (NSW), Addison Marshall (Capital Country Music Association Scholarship), Ulverstone (Tas), Skye Montana, Tannum Sands (Qld), Kora Naughton, Albion Park (NSW), Harriet Oates, Loomberah (NSW), Lucy Parle, Lisarow (NSW), Sally Pottinger, Serpentine (WA), Chelsea Rollings, Ashtonfield (NSW), Teagan Smith (Far North Qld Country Music Festival Scholarship), Mareeba (Qld), Eliza Spalding, West Wodonga (Vic), Georgie Taylor, Thornlands (Qld) and Trinity Woodhouse, Abernethy (NSW).

In addition, three graduates too part specifically in the Instrumental Course run in conjunction... Jack Carnaby from Waterview Heights (NSW), Dan Henwood, Wangaratta (Vic) and Leyon Milner, Mackay (Qld).

The Australian Academy of Country Music is run by the Country Music Association of Australia.

Photo: students and tutors of the 2017 course.

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MONDAY, JULY 10, 2017

Anne to headline at Laura

Anne Kirkpatrick will headline at this year's Laura (SA) Country Music Festival at the end of this month.

The three-day festival, running Friday to Sunday July 28 to 30, will feature Anne on the Sunday night of this year's event.

Also on the program will be Isabelle Adam, Bernie & The Bandits, Bill Chambers, Craig Giles, Ian List, Trevor Philbey, Ernie Schultz, Kiera Smith, the Wild Card Band and Des Will.

Festival Chairman Ian White said "It is great for the festival to bring such strong country music talent to Laura.

"If you want to experience great country music, and a great country town in Laura, this is the festival for you. In previous years we have had people visit from the south-east, the Riverland, Broken Hill and interstate – we are expecting the same again this year."

Set to be held at the Memorial Civic Centre, the 2017 festival will also offer a talent quest across nine genres and 10 age groups. The competition will be held in conjunction with Burra Country, Port Pirie Harnessing Young Talent and Laura Events.

In addition to $2,000 in prizemoney on offer, the groups are set to offer one junior and senior scholarship to the Australian Academy of Country Music in 2018 to further their musical development.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/lauracountrysa.

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FRIDAY, JULY 7, 2017

Hats Off underway

The 2017 Hats Off to Country festival is underway now in Australia's Country Music Capital, Tamworth.

It lanched on Thursday night and swung fully into gear today with numerous events including a performance by graduates of the 2017 Australian Academy of Country Music Junior course.

A new activity this year is the Hats Off Cowboy Crawl tonight which will see a dedicated group of festival goers visit a number of key Country Music Capital venues.

Tomorrow will see two major concerts at West Leagues, the first, Melinda Schneider with guest 2017 Toyota Star Maker Rachael Fahim at West Leagues from 2pm and at night, Catherine Brott and Amber Lawrence in concert.

Dozens of other shows are scheduled at pubs and clubs through Tamworth during the official four days of the event, including two fundraising events.

At 1pm tomorrow at Southgate Inn, the Australian Bush Balladeers Association will stage a fundraiser for a bronze bust for the legendary Frank Ifield while at 6pm tomorrow evening at Tamworth City Bowling Club, a Brian Young commemorative CD launch will be held, the aim of this activity to raise funds for a bronze bust of Brian.

A special Hats Off to Stan Coster tribute concert will be run by the Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) at the South Tamworth Bowling Club on Sunday at 1pm featuring Stan's daughter Tracy with Anthony Baxter, Clancy, Brian Howard and Brendan Smoother.

The CCMA event is inline with the very essence of Hats Off which started back in the year 2000 with a Hats Off to Slim Dusty concert.

More information about Hats Off can be found on the website hatsofftocountry.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 5, 2017

Judah booked to perform at the Muster

Just a few days after his stunning win in The Voice Australia 2017, Judah Kelly has been booked to appear at this year's Gympie Muster in August.

A long time player in Australian country music, Judah's talents were recognised by the Muster in 2011 when he was named runner-up in the 2011 Muster Talent Search.

"His success in (The Voice) has highlighted the diverse talent that Australian country music artists have to offer," according to Muster organisers, "and Judah brings this to the Muster again this year."

Another headline act for 2017 will be pop star Jessica Mauboy who gained her start in the music business via the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent quest staged leading up to the annual country music bash in January each year.

Rounding out the headline acts for Gympie 2017 will be Lyn Bowtell, Adam Brand, The Bushwackers, Graeme Connors, Anne Kirkpatrick, Busby Marou, Chad Morgan, and Caitlyn Shadbolt.

Dozens more will perform during the four day event... Kirsty Lee Akers, 8 Ball Aitken, Chelsea Basham, Kaylee Bell, Liam Brew, Catherine Britt, Travis Collins, Davidson Brothers, Pete Denahy, Adam Eckersly Band, Rachael Fahim, Georgia Fall, Hurricane Fall, The Hillbilly Goats, Christie Lamb, Amber Lawrence, Seleen McAlister, Shelley & Lawrie Minson, Kaylens Rain, Troy Kemp, Fanny Lumsden, Karin Page, The Sunny Cowgirls and Viper Creek Band.

Events during the main event will include a Slim Dusty tribute show, performances by students from the Australian Institute of Country Music, the Gympie Blues Club, bush poets, Songwriters Sessions, Toyota Star Maker Showcase and Fender Guitar Jam.

Held in the Amamoor Creek State Forest, the 2017 Muster will feature more than 100 artists in total in more than 300 performances across multiple stages. One ticket price gives Muster-goers free camping and multi-venue access to all performances.

Run by the community, for the Community, the Muster is a not-for-profit charity event which has raised in excess of $15 million for charities Australia wide since its inception. Proceeds from this year’s Muster will again go to charity partner Mates4Mates to help Australian Defence Force personnel with mental and physical injuries as a result of their service.

The Muster runs from Thursday August 24 to Sunday August 27.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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MONDAY, JULY 3, 2017

APRA PDA finalists

Five country acts have been announced as finalists in the 2017 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Professional Development Awards (or PDAs).

In line for a share of the $135,000 cash prize pool are Kaylee Bell, Danielle Blakey, Timothy James Bowen, Christie Lamb and Fanny Lumsden (pictured below from left).

A total of 40 Australian songwriters and composers have been announced as finalists across six categories... Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander, Classical, Country, Dance/Electronic, Film & Television, Jazz and Popular Contemporary.

"Held every two years, the APRA PDAs create serious opportunities for emerging songwriters and composers," said a spokesman for the organisation, "just ask previous winners Gotye, Abbe May, Timothy Carroll, Ruby Boots, Briggs, Vassy, Jeremy Rose and screen composer Caitlin Yeo who have all benefited from this career boosting initiative."

A panel of local judges including Kevin Bennett, James Blundell, Mia Dyson, John Ferris, Leah Flanagan, Cat Hope, Lior, Johannes Luebbers, Brooke McClymont, Jenny Morris, Iain Shedden, Graham Thompson and Dan Zilber determined the finalists.
 
Five finalists have also been named for the Indigenous Music and Media Award – a special award and grant of $12,000 – from Smugglers of Light, a foundation set up in memory of Eli Westlake who was tragically killed in 2008 at the age of 21.

PDA winners will be announced on July 25.

Weblink – www.apraamcos.com.au.

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SUNDAY, JULY 2, 2017

The Voice update

Judah wins!


FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2017

"King" Judah on The Voice

Sunday night sees the culmination of television talent search The Voice Australia with country talent Judah Kelly in the final four competing for the 2017 winner's crown.

Judah has been somewhat of a sensation in the talent quest entering initially from a background as a backing musician in the Australian country music scene but making a huge impact in the series with his impressive singing talent and ability.

Soon after gaining the attention of all four coaches, Judah hit the right note with millions of Australians and notched up a few significant achievements, including the "most downloaded" of all competitors and the "most viewed" blind audition clip.

Judah (Team Delta) will be up against fellow voices Fasika Ayallew (Team Kelly), Hoseah Partsch (Team George) and Lucy Sugerman (Team Seal).

The winner will walk away with a Universal Music Australia recording contract and $100,000 in cash.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/TheVoiceAu.

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THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2017

Vale – Coral Dasey

Coral Dasey, a songwriter and poet of note, has died. She was 77.

Late of Redfern, a suburb of Sydney, Coral was originally from Inverell and is probably most well-known in country music for her award-winning song The Warrumbungle Mare which won her and Reg Poole Golden Guitars for the Heritage Award in 1981.

Among her published works of poetry are A Tale of The Never Never published in 1976 in Australian Bush Verse : Selected from The Bronze Swagman Book of Bush Verse, The Clearing Sale, published in the Bronze Swagman Book of Bush Verse in 1981, and The First Encounter published in The Bronze Swagman Award Celebrating 40 Years of Bush Verse in 2011.

Coral also released an album – Listen To A Country Song – recorded at CM Studio, Dubbo, which included five of her own songs – Buddy Williams At The Opera House, Country Jamboree, Echoes In The wind, One Man Girl and Vietnam Lullaby – as well as tracks by Johnny Ashcroft, Henry Kendall, Eric Watson and her father George Dasey.

Industry-wise, Coral was on the first committee of the Tamworth Songwriters Association alongside Joy McKean, Diane Hawking, Nev Nicholls, Eric Watson, Ian Betteridge and Rocky Page.

Her funeral service will be held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Inverell, at 2pm Monday (July 3).

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MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2017

Countdown on for Hats Off

The countdown is on to this year's mid-year festival in the Country Music Capital, Hats Off to Country in July.

Running from July 6 to 9, Hats Off will feature more than 100 individual acts and dozens of events and activities over the four days and before.

Headline acts include the likes of Catherine Britt, Brothers3, Ashleigh Dallas, Amber Lawrence, Shannon Noll, Luke O'Shea, Melinda Schneider, Simply Bushed and Felicity Urquhart.



Pictured (clockwise from top left) Catherine, Brothers3, Felicity, Melinda, Ashleigh, Luke and Amber.

Now in its 18th year, Toyota Hats Off To Country is Tamworth's chance to welcome back artists from the January Festival and will see country music on show at a host of locations across the city including West Leagues and Wests’ Diggers, Tamworth Services Club and its North Tamworth Bowling Club and Manilla RSL, South Tamworth Bowling Club, Tamworth City Bowling Club, The Longyard Hotel, Family Hotel, Southgate Inn and The Pub, The Albert Hotel, Oasis, Post Office Hotel plus one of the city's newer entertainment venues the Cattleman Steakhouse.

The Dag Sheep Station at Nundle will see up and coming country artists gaining tuition from writers Kevin Bennett, Jeremy Edwards, Shane Nicholson, Luke O'Shea, Aleyce Simmonds and Felicity Urquhart. During Hats Off The Dag will also showcase the students and their mentors with a number of performances scheduled.

A new event this year will be the "Cowboy Crawl" – tagged as "a fun-filled tour of the city’s nightspots which will see participants get dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls for the crawl through town".

For up and coming artists, the Country Music Association of Australia Junior Academy of Country Music will be in full swing. David Carter, Doug Gallacher, Amber Lawrence, Simon Johnson and recent senior graduate and Toyota Star Maker finalist Liam Kennedy-Clark will instruct and inspire the contingent in a week-long workshop.

"It’s extraordinary that Hats Off can boast more artists than any other festival in Australia even though in terms of scale it is much more moderate when compared to January," said Tamworth Regional Council Country Music Unit Manager Barry Harley.

"We are looking forward to Hats Off becoming bigger and better because it continues to attract big name artists and is another fantastic reason to draw people to Tamworth – the home of country music in Australia."

A full program and further information can be obtained at www.hatsofftocountry.com.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2017

Yellowbelly Festival

The annual Yellowbelly Country Music Festival kicks off for seven days on Monday June 26 in St George, Qld.

In its fifth year this year, the festival features a number of well known country stars including Jeff Brown (pictuired, left), Rex Dallas (second from left) and Keith Jamieson, Brian Letton (right) supported by well known artists such as Ernie Constance, Amanda Faulkner (pictured), Kev Groves, Caitlyn Jamieson, Anita Ree, Alisha Smith, John & Christine Smith, Pete Smith and Daly Stephenson.

The event also features bush poetry with the likes of Ray Essery and Gary Fogarty.

St George Showgrounds is the venie with camping available and, according to organisers, "you can wet a line if you wish" (in line with the festival's name... fishing in the Balonne River... not quite "catchin' yellowbelly in the old Barcoo", but...)

Further information can be obtained by ringing 0427 731 088 or 0439 130 617.

Weblink – facebook.com/yellowbellycountrymusicfestival.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017

Slim's Odds & Sods

In celebration of Slim Dusty Day today, the day that would have been Slim's 90th birthday, EMI Music Australia has announced the release of Odds & Sods, a new collection of "hard to get, vintage Slim Dusty recordings.

The special five CD set will be released on Friday August 4 with pre-order available here.

Containing 130 tracks in a special hardback book, the packaging includes photos from across Slim’s career and is being made available for a limited time. The front inside panel features liner notes from Slim's wife, manager and co-songwriter Joy McKean, who shares the story behind the album title.

Working in a record store in the late 1940s, Joy noticed a colleague replacing her "Miscellaneous" titled section with the sign "Odds & Sods".

"This girl persisted with her re-labelling my beloved 'Miscellaneous' selection," Joy said, "and I was just as persistent in altering it back each and every time I returned to work. It took a minor explosion between my co-worker and myself to finally remedy the issue. Happy to say I won the battle."

But Joy has now come to love the term, enough to name the new collection of songs after it.

Odds & Sods is a much varied collection of recordings, all harvested from Slim’s early 78s, seven inch singles, EPs and unavailable compilation albums. Many of the tracks have been out of print for a while but the continued requests for these songs from fans have spurred on the release.

For the Slim Dusty fan, Odds & Sods is described as "an exciting re-discovery" and for new fans, "a first discovery of some of Slim’s early and lesser known songs".

Also being announced today is a new range of Slim Dusty merchandise. Designed by EMI Music and Slim Dusty Enterprises, the new "Signature Range" features a selection of polo shirts, a cap, a visor and a t-shirt, a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle and an Old Purple car keyring.

The new merchandise range is available from www.slimdusty.com.au and for visitors to the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey.

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MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2017

Honours for Denis, Lorraine, Peter and Desree

Four music industry identities – Denis Handlin, Lorraine Pfitzner, Peter Coad and Desree-Ilona Crawford (picturd below from left) – have been recognised in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours.

Denis, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Australia and President, Asia, received an AO – Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia – for distinguished service to the Australian recording industry, through leadership and mentoring roles, as a supporter of young artists, and to charitable organisations as a director, patron and contributor.

He commenced his career with the company in 1970 and has been leading it since 1984. Outside of work, he plays a strong role in the community and is the founding member of the Sony Foundation of Australia which has raised closed to $27 million since 1998 for youth bases charitable causes.

Denis has a deep involvement in the music industry, served on the committees of several industry associations and has held various positions including Chairman of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).

Lorraine – a tireless worker in Australian country music – has been honoured with an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for service to country music.

For many years Country Music Capital based Lorraine, originally from South Australia, has been heavily involved in major country music activities.

Most notable of her achievements has been the establishment of seven of the nine busts of country music pioneers located in Tamworth's Bicentennial Park, the most recent, of Chad Morgan, unveiled just yesterday.

Well known also as a country music broadcaster, writer and reviewer, Lorraine has been involved with hundreds of artists, songwriters, musicians and other industry people for decades.

More recently, she has been a mainstay of two of the nation's most successful industry organisations, the Australian Bush Balladeers Association (ABBA) and Tamworth Songwriters' Association (TSA).

She is also heavily involved in the Australian Country Music Foundation and its public operation, the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, and was a founder of one of that organisation's predecessors, the Australian Country Music Heritage Hall.

Lorraine was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 2005.

Peter received an OAM for service to the performing arts, particularly to country music. Originally part of the popular Coad Brothers), Peter performs with his sisters Lynette and Virginia as Peter Coad & The Coad Sisters, now full time professional entertainers with more than 30 years experience working in the music industry.

Currently President of the Australian Bush Balladeers Association, he was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in January 2007.

Desree is a long-time clountry music recording and touring artist and industry participant. She was presented with an OAM for service to country music as an entertainer.

Her first exposure to performing was in 1947 when she joined other family members as The Melody Kids on Radio 4BU Bundaberg in Queensland.

As well as her own performing, which took her from Brisbane and Ipswich to Melbourne and many other places, Desree would train youngsters to dance on television.

She recorded her first single in 1970 for the Dayman’s Sunshine Label (Festival) backing that up with an eight-piece country music show group called Desree Crawford & The High Chapparalls.

Desree’s first album – Rodeo Queen – came in 1978.  It was recorded in Dubbo by Ken Cameron's CM Records’ and produced by Ken Cameron and Lindsay Butler.

Currently working on a new album to commemorate 43 years of entertaining, Desree was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 1983.

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SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 2017

Chad unveiled

The bronze bust of Australian country music pioneer Chad Morgan was unveiled in Tamworth yesterday.

A good crowd of supporters and industry folk attended the event.

Thanks to Eric Scott for the photo which shows Chad responding to the bust unveiling.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 9, 2017

Kasey wins state scholarship

Fourteen-year-old Kasey O'Donoghue has been named as one of five students in Queensland to win a music mentorship through the Queensland Music Festival On Song 2017 Competition.

From All Souls Saint Gabriel’s in Charters Towers, Kasey entered the competition after seeing it on Facebook through a friend. She said it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

"I sent in an original song, with a copy of the lyrics and a recording of me singing it," she told the North Queensand Register. "We also had to write a few words on what we wanted to achieve if we got it.

"The song was called Freefalling. It was written about a relationship that seemed perfect but you then realise something bad happened but you still can’t help falling in love with the person."

Kasey's mentorship is with Australian musician Jack Carty, including two Skype workshops and a two-day songwriting intensive in July. At the end of each two-day workshop, a concert will be presented to premiere the new material written by Kaycee, alongside other school musicians and choirs.

Already in an established country music band, called Homegrown with suster Katelyn and brother Liam, Kasey is no stranger to the music industry. After winning a national competition, the band released a successful EP.

Kasey says if she had not started busking with her family from the age of seven, she would not know what she might be doing today.

"I have been performing for a long time, locally but also travelling to Tamworth Country Music Festival and gigs in Sydney," she said. "While I am still at school, I plan to continue my music by studying music as an OP subject.

"After school, I would like to continue my music career in conjunction with my new (clothing, accessories and home decor fashion) business Wild Moonfire.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/homegrownmusic1.

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THURSDAY, JUNE 8, 2017

Blue Water Festival underway

The Blue Water Country Music Festival kicked off yesterday at Port Stephens just north of Newcastle and continues through to, and including, Monday of the June long weekend.

Festival favourites Brothers3, Beccy Cole and Steve Passfield (all pictured) return to the Bay Festival this year; Beccy performing on Sunday night at Soldiers Point Bowling Club.

Steve has played the Blue Water Country Music Festival nearly every year since it commenced and has been the lynchpin for the main free festival stage for many years.

Steve considers himself "almost a local" having played at many other major Nelson Bay events. Steve told News Of The Area: "Going back each year to the blue water of the Nelson Bay area is such a wonderful thing to do.

"It’s great to catch up with locals and country music fans who we don’t see at some of the far flung festivals throughout the year. But then again, why would you leave the area, you’re almost in heaven and add some good music and, well, Eureka!"

This year, Steve has a key role hosting the Port Stephens Toyota Marquee in Apex Park on Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend.

Festival regulars Brothers3, who appeared on the X Factor in 2014, performed at the Blue Water Country Music Festival first in 2010 while still school aged.

Headliners will be supported by well-known names including Allan Caswell, Bob Easter, Johanna Hemara, Sandra Humphries, Kathryn Jones, Troy Kemp, Amber Lawrence, Dianne Lindsay, Aleyce Simmonds, Gina Timms and The Viper Creek Band will stump up through the weekend.

This artist roster will be supported by the likes of Greg Bain, James Bennett, Chelsea Berman, Bowen & Clare, Sophia Chesworth, The Footloose Band, Jade & Willow, Finnian Johnson, Justess Jones, Mick Jones, Kim McKenzie, Karen O'Shea, Thor Phillips, The Rough Diamonds, Luke Schweizer, String Loaded, Cassidy-Rae Wilson and Bryen & The Bayou Boogie Boys, Coastal Bootscooters and Whistle Dizie.

Songwriter sessions will also run organised by the TSA (Tamworth Songwriters' Association) and bush poets Murray Hartin, Graeme Johnson, Bill Kearns, Peter Mace, Claire Reynolds and Kerry Sprigg will also appear.

Weblink – www.bluewatercountrymusic.com.

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7, 2017

Chad bust unveiling

Unveiling of the Chad Morgan bronze bust will take place in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital, this Saturday.

This unveiling is unique for a number of reasons... firstly the timing, as these ceremonies usually take place during the July Hats Off or January Tamworth Country Music events, and because this will be the first bust unveiling with the guest of honour present.

In the past, only Australian country music pioneers who were no longer with us were honoured with the special sculptures.

The historic event takes place in Bicentennial Park in Kable Avenue at 10.30 on
Saturday morning.

Chad will join eight of his country music mates (in order of unveiling) – Tex Morton, Buddy Williams, Stan Coster, Gordon Parsons, Barry Thornton, Shirley Thoms, Reg Lindsay and Jimmy Little.

The busts have been augmented in recent years with statues of the late Smoky Dawson and, more recently, Joy McKean and the late Slim Dusty which are all located in Tamworth's Peel Street, also known during January as "the boulevarde of dreams".

Saturday's ceremony includes the formal handover of the bust, produced from funds raised within the country music community, to Tamworth Regional Council. It was sculpted by Kate French.

Fundraising has already commenced for the next pioneer to be cast in bronze, Frank Ifield.

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MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2017

Celebrating Slim Dusty Day

Next Tuesday – June 13 – is Slim Dusty Day with a number of special activities set to commemorate the birthday of Australia's King of Country Music.

It's 13 years since Slim died and this year, the question was asked "What Does Slim Dusty Mean To You?" A montage of messages was collected from friends, family and fans and compiled into a video created by media company Cadence Media. Click on the following image to watch the video.

Rich Thompson, Director of Cadence Media, reflected on the process: We saw how everyone responded to Slim Dusty – the man and his music – through social media, at the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey and in letters posted over the years. To celebrate and embrace this collective love and respect it needed to be a collaboration of music, vision, and messages. It was a privilege to be involved in this special tribute."

Following the launch of the video on Facebook, it received a strong global response.

Featuring vision from inside the Kempsey Slim Dusty Centre Museum at Kempsey (NSW), as well as messages from fans and personalities including the likes of Colin Buchanan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Beccy Cole, Pete Denahy, Ray Hadley, Lee Kernaghan, Brendan Nelson, Felicity Urquhart, The Wiggles and Warren H Williams, the video also includes some Kempsey locals who have forever embraced their local hero.

Messages from around the world are flooding in as people share their own story of Slim and can be added by clicking on the image above and viewing the video (viewers need to be logged in to Facebook to do so).

Another highlight of this year’s celebrations will be the official launch of a new and exclusive Slim Dusty Movie Exhibition at the Slim Dusty Centre. This additional exhibition is dedicated solely to Slim and Joy McKean's ground-breaking 1984 docudrama The Slim Dusty Movie.

Only showing for a limited time, the new exhibition will feature props, costumes and memorabilia plus many previously unreleased/unseen behind the scenes images from the movie.

To further celebrate this year's Slim Dusty Day, EMI Music has released a special limited edition vinyl LP of Slim’s 100th album Looking Forward, Looking Back. Originally released on CD and cassette, the album has been meticulously represented in the vinyl format for the first time ever with a special gatefold sleeve packaging.

Weblink – www.slimdustycentre.com.au.

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SATURDAY, JUNE 3, 2017

Riverland Festival in full swing

South Australia's Riverland Country Music Festival got underway yesterday and will run for through next week concluding on Monday June 12.

Around 5,000 visitors are expected to head to the region over the next 10 days for the annual event.

Almost 100 official events are listed on the program which comes to a head on the main final weekend.

Highlight activities will include Murray Mac's Campfire Concert, the SA Country Music Concert and the SA Country Music Spectacular.

New to the festival this year will be the Running of the Sheep, the first time this has been held during the festival as a precursor to the Barmera Sheep Dog Trials.

A full program can be obtained from www.riverlandcountrymusic.com.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2017

New Zealand Award winners

Jody Direen was named winner of Best Country Album with her latest work Shake Up at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore last night.

Chester Travis was announced the winner of Best Country Song with Toothache.

And winner of the Songwriting Award was Mal McCallum with After The Storm; the runner-up being announced as Kaylee Bell with Mayday.

The New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards festival continues throughout this weekend.

Weblink – www.goldguitars.co.nz.

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