So what's this all about? Over the last few months, the Country Music Bulletin has been consolidating and now relaunches with coverage of major news during this time but also with a re-branding to reflect the news and other activity we cover. The Bulletin exists wholly and solely to cover the news of Australian country music and all things to do with country music in Australia... so we've adopted the branding "Australiana" for the music news we bring you "as it happens". From the rich heritage of Australian bush poetry and bush ballads of yester-year and today to the proponents of our newer more modern country music and the thousands of singers, songwriters, events and other activity... Australiana says it all — it says who we are and what we do... all things Australian, and especially Australian country music!


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MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014

TSA finalists announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


OPEN – CONTEMPORARY
Billy-Cart Days – Ben Ransom
The Last Days – John Walsh & Imogen Clark
My Father’s Son – Cody Bracken
Till The Buzzer Goes Off – Justin Standley
Oh No, Not Another Love Song – Justin Standley
Are You Coming – Demi Barton
Walk Away – Becci Nethery
Rivers Run To Red – Demi Barton
Trying To Pray – Lola Brinton & Jasper Hollis
Brand New Life – Samantha Mooney
Red Heart – Greg Champion
I Got Your Back – Adam Power
Your Heart’s Got Wheels – Getta Ziller
Standing On Bindii – Kelt Twidale
Dianne – Cody Bracken
I Wrote This One for You – Becci Nethery
I Can’t Read Those Books No More – Jay Sullivan
Congratulations to all of the Tamworth Songwriters Association Semi Finalists


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2014

Golden Guitar Awards on television, Toyota returns as sponsor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weblink – www.country.com.au.

 


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2014

Star Maker finalists announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weblink – www.starmaker.com.au.

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014

Lee to go on the Roll

Con


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2014

CONNIE KIS RETURNS WITH “NAKED UNDER THE RADAR”

Connie Kis officially releases her 5th album “Naked Under The Radar” through WJO today Friday November 7th. The latest release features 12 tracks all of which were written by Connie Kis who also plays acoustic guitar on ten of them. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Mastermind, Nashville TN by Doug Wayne (Holmquist).

The tracks would be familiar to some of her fans and that’s because Connie chose to re-work some personal gems from earlier albums that had slipped ‘under the radar’ the first time around and the tracks have now been re-recorded acoustically.

The album’s first radio single, ‘On The Other Side Of Midnight’ has already grabbed the attention of radio presenters and is steadily gaining momentum with its up tempo, bare bones, country roots story of love possibilities after a fun night out at the local bar. This week the single came in at #4 on the Country Tracks Top 40.

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

Connie’s career highlights include being named Western Australia’s Best Country Female Artist three times, winning the Best Independent Country Music Album for Western Australia twice, and receiving a TIARA for Female Vocalist in 2012 along with multiple awards for song-writing. She has already enjoyed chart success in Australia with her self-penned songs.


‘On The Other Side Of Midnight’ was serviced to radio earlier this month via
CRS Publicity #177 http://crspublicity.com.au/crs-cd/177/connie-kis-andersen4/ & WJO Content Delivery Service in September

http://www.conniekisandersen.com.au

 


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014

Sydney Country Music Festival coming up

I’d like introduce the Sydney Country Music Festival to you; once known as the Galston Country Music Festival – a real institution for New South Wales and country music followers, this upcoming event is the biggest country music festival outside of Tamworth!

Featuring Golden Guitar and ARIA winners, some of the artists headlining this year include the McClymonts, Beccy Cole, McAlister Kemp, Luke O’Shea, Ashleigh Dallas, Chelsea Basham and many more.

Taking place Saturday week (8 Nov from midday – 11pm) at Bella Vista Farm Park, this fantastic community event is driving thousands of people from all over Sydney, and its surrounding regions, to enjoy an eclectic day of country-infused merriment and over 10 hours of live entertainment.

Offering fun for the entire family, this local event is expecting over 6,000 people in attendance; with more tickets on offer at the door!

That said, we would like offer you and your team media passes to attend the event. From backstage access through to interviews with the artists in our dedicated green room; whether you’d like to film, record or interview with a photo op – we would be more than happy to tee up something for you, please just let me know.

For your information, I have uploaded all relevant media releases, images (high and low res) and artists bios here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yzy5gdoofxm79uo/AAAPYJk0jMm3djNDoShz1nh-a?dl=0

We are working incredibly hard to shine a light on the events occurring just outside Sydney CBD, and are hoping you can help join our cause! For as you know, there’s more to Sydney than just the CBD J

 

LOVERS of country music will be spoiled tomorrow night at the Ex Service’s Club for the Cootamundra Can Assist Night of Stars.

Billed a country music spectacular, the night will see 10 living legends of the scene play a wide variety of covers and originals to suit anyone’s tastes.
The night has primarily been organised by Norm and Joan McVicar, who have dedicated much of their time to giving back to Can Assist after Norm received life-saving assistance not once but twice.
An avid country music fan, Norm made a lot of friends in the business over the 30-odd years he lived in Stockinbingal and is excited to offer this night to his fellow music lovers.
“All my friends have come together now so we can say thank you to Can Assist, and thank you to the people of Cootamundra,” Norm said.
“We’ve lost many friends to cancer so all of us want to do what we can.”
One of the acts performing on the night are Norm’s friends Kath and Mike McCall.
Mike grew up in Liverpool, England, but has been well and truly adopted by the Australian country music scene.
A performer of a diverse mix of musical tastes, Mike has been instrumental in running the Wagga Jazz and Blues Festival for the last 22 years.
With his band Blueridge he was also one of the first acts on the bill for the inaugural Illabo Country Music Stampede back in 1988.
Mike and Kath’s reasons for coming to Cootamundra extend beyond just a love for performing music however, as the fundraiser holds special significance for them.
“My wife survived two bouts of cancer herself,” Mike revealed.
“Now we do whatever we can to support any cancer association, we’re happy to do anything for free for the right cause.”
Mike and Kath perform a few originals but most of their set on Saturday will be covers, with Kath taking to the microphone in the style of some of their favourite performers, including Emmylou Harris and Lacy J Dalton.
Mike is also looking forward to playing alongside some performers he considers at the top of their game.
“Kenny Kitching is one of the best Dobro and pedal steel players in the country,” Mike said.
He and Kath are hoping to get on the stage alongside Emma Hannah and Kenny later in the evening, and Mike is excited overall by the quality of the musicians coming.
“All the performers are well known players in the scene, they have a good all-round style so there will be something for everyone,” he said.
“We like to mix with the punters too so it’s going to be a nice atmosphere.”
Another big name on the bill is prolific songwriter Ernie Constance, who appears in the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.
Among Ernie’s songwriting credits include Slim Dusty’s hits Banjo’s Man and Things I See Around Me.
There are still tickets available for $15 from Totally Gifted & Lollies on Parker St, and will be available at the door on the night.
Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start- for more information call Norm McVicar on 6942 1892.

 


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014

Vale – Pat Ware

Pat Ware – one of Australian country music's most noted authorities and collectors of the genre – was laid to rest in the Country Music Capital today after succumbing to illness a few days earlier.

An early session guitarist in the industry, Pat recorded with Slim Dusty, The McKean Sisters and other singers in the 1950s. He was involved in developing and playing the first electric lead guitar in Australian country music, also introducing the first five-string banjo.

Pat discovered a young Jimmy Little (seen here in this photo with Pat) and helped kick-start Jimmy's career.

Max Ellis – writing in his definitive book "Stars, Guitars & Golden Guitars" – said: "A prolific songwriter with some 60 recorded works, Pat wrote for many singers including Jimmy, Buddy Williams and Rick & Thel Carey. He married Joy, one of The Bell Sisters and they moved to Tamworth in 1973 to be a part of the then 'country music revolution'."

In the 1970s and '80s, Pat presented Pat Ware’s Country Corner on 2TM's famous radio program "Hoedown".

"Many people collect records but for some specialists, it's more than just a hobby," Max wrote. "Such a collector is Tamworth's Pat Ware, who has amassed an incredible library of more than 4000 78rpm country music records, LPs and historic tapes over the past 40 years.

"Many are extremely rare and to appreciate all the subtleties takes real experience and expertise. That's Pat!

"Over the decades, Pat has continually expanded his vast collection and he has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of traditional Australian country music."

Pat was also widely recognised as an international authority on Tex Morton and his music and recordings.

 


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2015

Hit Country 2015

ABC Music yesterday released what it bills as "Australia's premier country compilation" – Hit Country 2015 – featuring "some of the most exciting local and international acts on the country music stage".

The CD/DVD set includes some of the biggest names in Australian country music... Adam Brand, Lee Kernaghan, McAlister Kemp, The McClymonts, O'Shea, Jasmine Rae, Sara Storer and The Wolfe Brothers, together with rising stars Adam Eckersley Band, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Matt Cornell, Morgan Evans, Amber Lawrence, Jared Porter, Aleyce Simmonds, Victoria Avenue and the Viper Creek Band.

A number of American acts also feature, including The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington and Kacey Musgraves.

Weblink – www.abcmusic.com.au.

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Chart Update – The Sunny's break Adam's number one

The Sunny Cowgirls break Adam Harvey's grip on the number one place on the national Country Tracks Top 40 chart with their song The Shed hitting the top spot in tomorrow's chart.

Amber Lawrence's Superhero bounds into second place from this week's number 18 position, The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night is steady at three and McAlister Kemp's Fight Me re-enters the top 10 at number four.

Adam's former number one, She Don't Know She's Beautiful, is down to five, Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart is at six and Jasmine Rae's These Hands is at seven.

Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley's My Country, My Land is at eight, Harmony James' Skinny Flat White is back in the top 10 at nine and the Davidson Brothers Take Me To The Mountain rounds out the leader board at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Brothers3's They Call The Country (19 to 14), Sandra Humphries' Just One Night (25 to 20), Kasey Chambers' Wheelbarrow (33 to 27), the Viper Creek Band's Missing Me (40 to 28), Simply Bushed's Making Hay (new at 29), Kel-Anne Brandt's Green Door (re-entering the chart at 33) and Greta Ziller's Hunt For Love (new at 34).

Other new entries to the chart this include Jason Owen's Damn Right (new at 40).

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

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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2014

ARIA finalists announced

Finalists have been announced for the 2014 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards.

For Best Country Album, they are Adam Brand with My Side Of The Street, Kasey Chambers with Bittersweet, The McClymonts with Here's To You And I, Emma Swift with her self-titled album and Keith Urban with Fuse.

Country acts featuring in other categories include Kasey Chambers, a finalist for Best Female Artist, Buddy Goode with It's A Buddy Goode Christmas, a finalist for Best Comedy Album and Harry Hookey (pictured) with Misdiagnosed, a finalist for Best Blues & Roots Album.

Winners of this year's ARIA Awards will be announced in Sydney on Wednesday, November 26.

Weblink – www.ariaawards.com.au.

 

 


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2014

Luke dominates Southern Stars

Singer/songwriter Luke O'Shea dominated last night's Southern Stars – Australian independent Country Music Awards – held at the Mercy Theatre, Mildura (Vic).

Luke, who has previously won five Southern Stars, took home four more this year... Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year, mostly for his song Three Brothers (The Great War) and album Sing You Up.

The multi award winner said he was humbled at the wins and very appreciative of the Mildura festival because it had been a major influence on the growth of his career.

Aleyce Simmonds won Female Vocalist of the Year with Believe and Heritage Track of the Year, Traditional, went to Dean Perrett for I'm The Land” which is also the title of his new album.

Independent Rising Star Female went to Kate Cook her hit Girl with a Spanner while the Rising Star Male award went to Damian Howard for the song Once In A While.

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes took out Group of the Year for their hit song Black Coffee and country legend Chad Morgan was named winner if the Barry Thornton Award.

Weblink – www.milduracountrymusic.com.au.

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2014

Ballina festival this weekend

The third Coastal Country Music Festival is set for Ballina (NSW) this weekend.

Stars of the year's event include the The 4 Highwaymen, Brothers3 (pictured), Alderman Brothers, Luke Austen, Doug Bruce & The Tailgaters, Dale Duncan, Pete Denahy, Col Finley, Errol Gray, The Hillbilly Goats, Lonesome Train, Taylor Pfeiffer (The Banjo Girl), the Round Mountain Girls, Sami and Felicity Urquhart.

In addition to the entertainment, highlights of the festival will include busking, a special festival opening concert and the major concert on Saturday evening billed as a "Country Spectacular Under The Stars".

Weblink – www.ballinacountrymusic.com.

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Chart Update – The Wolfe Brothers at number one

The Wolfe Brothers have hit number one on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 40 chart with their hit That Kinda Night.

Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley's My Country, My Land jumps to number two while Doug Bruce's number one from last week – Broke Down Heart – is at three and Amber Lawrence's Superhero is at four.

The Sunny Cowgirls The Shed is at five, Carter & Carter's What A Wonderful World jumps to number six. in only its second week in the chart, and Adam Harvey's long-running former number one, She Don't Know She's Beautiful, is at seven.

Simply Bushed's Making Hay enters the top 10 at eight, Christie Lamb's Wish You Were A Cowboy is steady at nine and McAlister Kemp's Fight Me is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Luke O'Shea's Sing You Up (new at 12), Kristy Cox's This (17 to 13), Brothers3's They Call The Country (19 to 14), Dianne Lindsay's Jack Bridle (23 to 16), Graham Rodger's Australia's Colonial Sons (new at 21), Viper Creek Band's Missing Me (31 to 25), Georgia Fall's No Use For You (34 to 26), 8 Ball Aitken's My Tank's On empty (new at 33), Shaza Leigh's Hail Australia (new at 34) and Jared Porter & Kaylee Bell with Pieces (new at 35).

Other new entries to the chart this include Allan Caswell's Love In A Minor Key (new at 40).

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

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2014

Parkes celebrates 47 years of country

This year's 2PK Country Music Festival celebrates 47 years of country music in Parkes (NSW) this October Long Weekend and 12 months of organisation by a small and dedicated committee of the Parkes & District Country Music Association.

The Festival Committee has strived hard and long to compile a program of events in keeping with the long held traditions of this Festival, according to a report in the Parkes Champion-Post.

"The Awards Talent Quest trophies have been polished, the prizemoney counted and packaged and an entertaining field is set to face the judges in the Champion Post Australian Country Talent Seekers Quest, all suggesting an interesting two days of competition of the best of amateur performers," the newspaper reported.

"Guest artists booked are sure to whet the appetite of any discerning country music devotee and a fine backing band has been engaged. The wonderful facilities of the Services Club will see the Starlight Lounge, function rooms and lounge all in operation for various events during the course of the festival."

A number of festival functions are at no cost to patrons but tickets for all other events can be purchased at the respective event entry doors. Admission prices have been kept to a minimum and there are discounted weekend and family passes available to purchase.

Featured Performers at this year’s festival include Melissa Bajric (pictured), Country Keys & Strings, Garry Hemming, Steve Kelleher, Leather & Lace, Charmaine Pout, The Wayne Ryder Band, Justin Standley (pictured) and Jim Williams.

The Festival will open with a street concert tomorrow afternoon from 2pm with performers all members and representing the Parkes & District Country Music Association.

A Family Muster and Social will follow then, on Friday, a big program of activities will be staged... from the Poets Corner in the morning to the Cooke Park Concert and Walk-up Talent Quest from 10:30am, a busking competition concluding with Friday evening's Festival Country Concert.

Saturday features the Central West CM Awards Talent Quest, the Saturday Morning Footpath Concert, entertainment in the Club Lounge and Australian Country Talent Seekers Quest on Saturday night.

Sunday's program has the talent quest continuing, Gospel Service and Awards Night, including Winners Concert, from 7pm.

The Festival's Last Roundup Sausage Sizzle Breakfast will be conducted from 9am on the public holiday Monday morning.

Weblink here to full story with more detail.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

Kasey to headline at Deni

Kasey Chambers will headline at this weekend's Deni Ute Muster following the withdrawal of Jimmy Barnes on doctor's orders following on-going health problems.

Having just announced a national tour starting in November, and releasing her 10th studio album, Bittersweet, Kasey is returning to the Muster stage.

"Sorry that Jimmy can't make the Deni Ute Muster... but I'm happy to be stepping in to fill those mighty shoes..." Kasey said. "I've always loved playing at Deni and can't wait to get that chance again this weekend. Will have to brush up on my Barnsey songs tho... eek!! Get well Jimmy!"

With only a few days left until the Deni Ute Muster kicks off its 16th birthday celebrations, the set-up is well and truly underway with Mack the Transporter and Lightning McQueen – two of the stars of the popular Disney-Pixar animated films "Cars" and "Cars 2" – and the "hugely anticipated, record-breaking, supercharged" Holden GTS Maloo (declared "the world's fastest car") already on their way to Deniliquin.

Also on its way is the 1,000 horsepower JCB GT, a unique "one-off" machine powered by a supercharged Chevrolet V8 big block engine and equipped with a belt driven supercharger and pair of four barrelled Holley carbs.

The JCB GT will be joined in the Arena by the JCB Dancing Diggers whose acrobatics have become a YouTube hit.

Over the two days of the Muster, fans will be treated to the Bull Ride Spectacular, the Australian National Circle Work Championships, Yarn Bombing a Ute, the Ute Museum, Holden Grunt Off, Holden Barrel Race, Show 'n' Shine, Carnivale Corner, the World Record Blue Singlet challenge, helicopter rides, the mechanical bucking bull, woodchop demonstrations and Whip Cracking Championships and many more attractions setting the scene for what will undoubtedly be "one hell of a Muster".

Muster MCs The Sunny Cowgirls will take to the main stage on Saturday afternoon for their own performance and the Muster welcomes back AFL Legend Billy Brownless, five time Olympic Medalist Melanie Schlanger and Olympic Swimmer Chris Wright as official Deni Ute Muster ambassadors at this year's event.

Weblink – www.deniutemuster.com.au.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

McClymonts for Festival of Chocolate

Star country trio The McClymonts have been booked to play this weekend's Festival of Chocolate in Sydney.

Organisers say The Rocks in Sydney will be transformed into a chocolate oasis with visitors able to wander from stall to stall tasting, indulging and taking home all kinds of delectable treats, and even join smoothfm's Cameron Daddo in the Callebaut Test Kitchen.

The McClymonts – Brooke, Mollie and Sam – will sing their track Forever Begins Tonight.

NOVA Entertainment is extending the brand with the festival now sponsored by the second series of Network Ten's "Recipe to Riches".

The smooth Festival of Chocolate will be staged this Saturday and Sunday.

NOVA Entertainment's Group Marketing Director Tony Thomas said: "The smooth Festival of Chocolate is another example of smoothfm creating great experiences for Sydney-siders.

"With so many strong exhibitors, partners and sponsors, this is a must attend event in Sydney for all the chocoholics out there."

Weblink – www.smoothfestivalofchocolate.com.au.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

Mildura Festival kicks off today

The 10 day Mildura Country Music Festival kicks off today with a big program of activities.

To give visitors an idea – and a taste – of some of what's to come...

Camp Oven Country walk-ups get underway at Apex Riverbeach from 6am with host Warren Mahoney and special guest Chooka Williams; Graeme McCardle's walk-ups at the Gateway Tavern run from 7:30; and the Poets' Breakfast is at Buronga's Edge Hotel from 8am...

The Wentworth Club has line dancing workshops from 10am with Rhonda Menzies followed by Cameron Mason at 2 and The Gol Gol Hotel features Rodney Vincent and Slim Newton (pictured, above centre) from 1pm...

The Coomealla Club at Dareton will have shows from 2pm with the tried and true "Girl's Night Out" this afternoon from 4 with host Marie Hodson and stars Connie Kis Andersen, Adi Burgess, Pixie Anne, Amber Joy Poulton, Pixie Anne and Kiara Rodrigues while Bec Hance takes the stage at 6 with Heartbeat taking over at 9...

Woodsies Gem Shop has Don Costa and John O'Dea from 12noon while The Gateway Tavern features Reg Poole (pictured) and Johanna Hemara (also pictured) from 2...

The Comealla Golf Club has the Dwayne Elix Show from 7:30 with stars Ernie Constance, Des Morgan, Slim Newton, Dave Prior and Pete Smith...

Over at Wentworth's Crown Hotel, Tom Maxwell takes the stage from 8pm while the Rodney Vincent Show takes centre stage at the Edge Hotel at the same time with stars Damien Agius, Samantha Bellamy, Big Sky, Paul Gibbs, Johanna Hemara, Cameron Mason and NeillyRich...

The Irymple Hotel features The Gunbarrel Highwaymen at 7 starring Owen Blundell, Terry Gordon and Reg Poole with special guest John O'Dea while the Gol Gol Hotel has Lance Birrell and John Smith at 8pm...

The Mid City Plantation Motel has Don Costa performing from 7 while the Mildura RSL has Kim Ritchie at the same time followed by Allan Caswell at 9...

Mildura's Working Man's Club has the Lee Forster Dance Party scheduled from 8 with guests Courtney Conway and Kate Cook and the Pizza Cafe at The Grand features Sharon Benjamin and Bill Gray from 8, at the same time, The Wentworth Club has Country Horizon...

Late night-wise, the Wentworth Club has CD Requests Line Dancing from 10pm with Rhonda Menzies and the Mildura Brewery stars Dozzi and Star Maker 2014 Jared Porter at 11:30...

The big Friday first day program at Nowingi Place runs from 10am hosted by Sharon Benjamin and features, in order of appearance during the day Sharon, Ernie Constance, Connie Kis Andersen, Damien Agius, Kate Cook, Terry Gordon, Kim Ritchie, NeillyRich, Kiara Rodrigues, HeartBeat, Bill Gray, Adi Burgess, Des Morgan, Jared Porter, Country Horizon, Courtney Conway, Lance Birrell and Samantha Bellamy...

At the Wentworth Wharf, Country On The Darling runs from 11am hosted by Dave Prior and starring, in order of appearance, Steve Passfield, Dave, Alan Caswell, Pete Smith, Amber Joy Poulton, Tom Maxwell, Marie Hodson, Owen Blundell, Bec Hance, Graeme McCardle, John Smith and Dwayne Elix...

And that's just day one!

Full program details for today, and the remaining nine days, can be obtained from the website www.milduracountrymusic.com.au.

Peak event of the Mildura Country Music Festival is the Australian Independent Country Music Awards (or Southern Stars) which will be staged Saturday night, October 4.

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Chart Update – Doug takes over at the top

Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart takes over the top spot on the national Country Tracks Top 40 singles chart tomorrow.

Amber Lawrence's Superhero is steady at number two, as is The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night at three while The Sunny Cowgirls former number one, The Shed, is at four.

Adam Harvey's former number one, She Don't Know She's Beautiful, is steady at five, McAlister Kemp's Fight Me is at six and Jasmine Rae's These Hands is also steady at seven.

America's Maddie & Tae is at eight with Girl In A Country Song, Christie Lamb's Wish You Were A Cowboy is at nine and Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley's My Country, My Land rounds out the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Simply Bushed with Making Hay (28 to 12), the Graham Rodger/Catherine Britt duet Reach Out (37 to 13), John Williamson's Honest People (23 to 15), Kristy Cox with This (new at 17), Travis List's In This Corner (39 to 22), Dianne Lindsay's Jack's Bridle (30 to 23), Victoria Avenue's Knock Knock (new at 24), Clelia Adams' Honky Tonk Moon (new at 28), Georgia Fall's No Use For You (new at 34).

Other new entries to the chart this include Carter & Carter's What A Wonderful World (new at 39).

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

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Nominations open for 2014 Slim Dusty Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2014 Slim Dusty Community Mateship and Youth Awards which will this year become a stand-alone event to be staged at the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey (NSW) in November.

"At a gala dinner in the main gallery of the Centre with entertainment on November 28, we will recognise two members of our nationwide community of mates for their achievements," said Joy McKean, lifelong partner of Slim Dusty and Vice Chair of the Slim Dusty Foundation.

"The achievements are varied; good neighbours, good community supporters and leaders, and worthy recipients of their own community's nomination as prime examples of the values held and depicted by Slim and the people he sang and told about," Joy said.

"I would urge each and every one of you to nominate someone you believe is a good person to represent the Slim Dusty Community and Mateship Awards' values and show them that they are appreciated."

The Awards were developed a number of years ago and recognise and acknowledge worthy people within the community who represent these values and make a positive contribution to society.

"What an honour to be chosen as the winner of the 2013 Slim Dusty Community Mateship Award," last year's award winner Peter Nosow said.

"Winning the award has meant a lot to myself and my immediate family who have been equally thrilled by the achievement. It has been a real joy to be recognised in this way and to be part of the Slim Dusty Legacy to this wonderful nation. It makes me truly proud to call Australia home."

Nominations will be taken over a six-week period, closing on October 31. Nominations can be made via the website – slimdustycentre.com.au – or forms can be downloaded and completed and posted to the Slim Dusty Foundation, PO Box 70 Kempsey NSW 2440.

Any queries can be directed to the Slim Dusty Centre.

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Bush Laureate Awards break new ground

One of Tamworth's headline January Festival events, the Australian Bush Laureate Awards, will break new ground in 2015 by moving to a new presentation timeslot.

While the Awards themselves will remain unchanged, the long established, traditional Tuesday afternoon show in the Tamworth Town Hall will become an evening event.

This is due to a new programming format for the Town Hall in the coming year, according to organisers, Max Ellis Marketing.

The Bush Laureates, which started in 1995, were originally held at the Longyard Hotel and later at West Leagues, but moved into the Town Hall in 1999.

A spokesman for the organisers said an early 7pm start on Tuesday evening should make the event more accessible to both visitors to the Festival and locals alike.

The Bush Laureates present a number of Golden Gumleaf trophies including Book of the Year, Album of the Year, Single Recorded Performance of the year, Published Poem of the Year and the very popular Recorded Australian Song Lyric of the year for both Contemporary and Traditional songs.

The Judith Hosier Heritage Award, which commemorates one of the founders of the Bush Laureates and is presented to a person (or organisation) who has made an outstanding contribution to Australian rhyming bush verse, will also be announced on the night. Last year’s winner was long-time Brisbane supporter and promoter of bush verse, Trisha Anderson.

Other winners in 2014 included well-known poets David Campbell and Greg North and singer/songwriters Lee Kernaghan, Luke O’Shea and Norma O'Hara Murphy.

The Bush Laureates are renowned for the very popular themed concert of verse and song that makes up much of the presentation. This year's theme will feature a tribute to Gallipoli, celebrate the 100th anniversary of C.J. Denis’s "Sentimental Bloke" and salute the great Jack O'Hagen.

The Bush Laureate Awards will be are held in the Tamworth Town Hall at 7pm on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. Tickets, at $25, will be available online via www.tcmf.com.au.

Nominations for the Awards, which are now being accepted, close on Monday October 27.

Nomination forms can be downloaded from the website www.bushlaureate.com.au.

 

First CMAA international award goes to Jeff

Jeff Walker, head of the Nashville based AristoMedia Group, has been presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA).

It's the first ever such award presented by the CMAA and recognises "outstanding and sustained promotion of country music and, in particular, 30 plus years of support, encouragement and mentoring of Australian artists, writers and business practitioners in the North American marketplace.

The award was presented by CMAA President Dobe Newton at an Australian music event during the recent Australian Music Festival and Conference.

No one is more deserving of this first international award determined by the CMAA Board," Dobe said.

Jeff, who is President/CEO of AristoMedia, is an ex-patriate Australian himself who has chalked up 34 years running the entertainment marketing company (Jeff also received this year's CMA [America's Country Music Association] Jo Walker Meador International Award, which is given to someone whose efforts have had an impact in expanding country music globally).

Jeff has played a large part in country music's international reach, with honours including the CMA President's Award, the Canadian Country Music Association's Leonard T Rambeau International Support Award, an Operation Troop Aid Certification of Appointment and being named an International Ambassador by International Country Music Day Organization.

He has also made lasting contributions during his four decades in the music industry through his efforts in other leadership positions outside of his company. He has served on the boards of the Canadian Country Music Association, Leadership Music, NARAS (The Recording Academy) and the Nashville Film Festival where he served as President in 2004/05. Currently, Jeff holds positions on the boards of America's Country Radio Broadcasters and the CMA.

In a business where longevity is often measured in weeks instead of years, the AristoMedia Group stands out. Setting up shop in the attic of his home in 1980, Jeff established Aristo Music Associates. Now, nearly four decades later, the firm's successful track record is embodied in the many gold and platinum albums lining the office walls.

The AristoMedia Group encompasses a broad range of services dedicated to offering the entertainment industry innovative integrated marketing strategies.

Weblink – www.aristomedia.com.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

New from Melinda and Beccy

The covers have finally come off a new album project from Melinda Schneider and Beccy Cole.

Great Women Of Country is a collaboration by the pair, recognised as two of Australia's finest country stars.

The first release from the new album, the Dolly Parton classic 9 to 5, has been distributed to radio nation-wide and "an energetic and fun video clip" has been produced to feature on the Country Music Channel (CMC).

Great Women Of Country is a collection of 22 classic country songs, bringing together Melinda Schneider and Beccy Cole’s love of country music. As Melinda puts it: "both Beccy and I had always thought about doing an album like this individually… but I woke up one morning and the idea wouldn't leave me alone, so I called Beccy and asked: wanna do it together?". And so they have.

The selections the pair chose were so close to the core of who they are and what they've always done that they took on the task of producing it themselves, with Jeff McCormack engineering and troubleshooting.

"We tried to do the duets as real duets – looking at each other while we were singing, pushing each other on, the way you do it live," Melinda said. "That really worked with, for example, the bluegrass medley, which is something we've both loved, as part of our heritage, you might say."

"I loved revisiting the songs that were such a big part of my childhood," said Beccy, "they're timeless, they were old even then! These are some of the songs that I drew from to make my own music, to get to pay tribute to them by recording new versions is a great responsibility but such an honour.

"These are songs that gave women a voice at a time when it was harder to be heard – the songs that paved the way for generations to come. I enjoyed making this record with Melinda, we share a similar passion thanks to the influence of our mothers."

A series of special concert hall performances presenting the album "live in full" will incorporate Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with further dates to be announced. On-sale dates and booking details will be announced soon.

Weblinks – www.melindaschneider.com, www.beccycole.com.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

New from Amber

Amber Lawrence has released her latest album, Superheroes.

"Think about your home. Think about what's in your heart and at home. Write about that." This wisdom belongs to Troy Cassar-Daley and came during a shared conversation between and Amber Lawrence, a spokesman for the artist said, about songwriting.

"Simple, yet affecting words from an inspiring artist which Amber carried throughout the creation of Superheroes," the spokesman said.

The new release is Amber's fourth and described as her most personal full length release.

"The conversation with Troy resonated with Amber and greatly impacted on the lyrical and thematic approach to the new album's 13 tracks."

"There is a huge honesty in this album," Amber said. Much has changed since the "city girl" and University of New South Wales graduate threw in her well-paid accountancy job with Qantas and set out for a life on the road as a professional musician. Her approach to the craft has been extremely constant throughout... hard work and a heavy touring schedule, with the aim of winning over a legion of fans, one at a time if necessary.

Releasing her debut in 2007, Amber said she's taken her music to thousands of shows across the country to really find herself. "It's a fact she cites as crucial to having been able to produce an album which contains her finest work thus far – as a writer, performer and artist," the spokesman said.

Superheroes was produced by award-winner Matt Fell. "Each of the tracks is given its own space, free to flow musically where it may. No two tracks were written or produced in identical fashion, resulting in an exciting mix of tones and moods, with Amber's voice serving as the constant. In many ways, it is the closest studio capture of Amber's stage self."

The Superheroes story began in late 2012 while Amber was touring heavily in support of her third release, 3. "It dawned on her that gathering material for the follow-up release may not be such an easy task. Like many country singers, she had convinced herself that she'd already explored the ups and downs of her life in song and had little left to draw from for the next project.

"Of course this was not the case. Recalling events of recent years, including a relationship breakdown, moving home, dealing with the fringes of depression, healing and finding happiness again, she realised she still had plenty of stories to share."

"As they say, what doesn't break you, only makes you stronger, wiser, or a songwriter," Amber joked.

With a heavy bag of ideas, Amber headed to Nashville, returning three weeks later with 21 "inspiring new songs".

"I headed to Nashville for my first time last year and co-wrote two songs every day for three weeks," she said. "The process put me under great pressure to be the best songwriter I possibly could be. Each session I found myself digging deeper as a writer, and as a woman, to really write songs that I know will connect with my fans.

"As a person I felt I had failed, but I got up and kept going. I overcame sadness, fear and anxiety and I am happy again... all of this is in the album. It's all about finding inner strength and being your own 'superhero'."

"Of the new songs – and taking a nod from Troy's inspiring words – the song The  Lifesaver, serves as a touching tribute to Amber's late father, a surf-lifesaver, whose life was changed dramatically and forever by a 'terrible stroke of luck' when he was 40.

"The track Superhero is equally connected to Amber's personal life, detailing the ability to call on one's own strength... to stand up for yourself and be proud of achieving that which you never thought possible."

Weblink – www.amberlawrence.com.au.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

Bony Mountain this weekend

The Norma O'Hara Murphy inspired and organised Bony Mountain Music Festival is on this weekend... today, tomorrow and Sunday.

In just four short years, this festival has grown to have it's own unique reputation as "one of the best to attend".

"Our campfires are already burning," says Norma, "there's a great crowd already here so come and join us for a fabulous weekend in the bush."

Bony Mountain is located just two hours from Brisbane, and one from Toowoomba.

The street address is 1107 Upper Wheatvale Road Bony Mountain. More details about the festival, or even directions, can be obtained by phoning 0429 674 192.

The star line-up this year includes... Geoff Brown, Gary Fogarty, Errol Gray, Ged & Trudy Hintz, Keith Jamieson, Pixie Jenkins, Murphy's Pigs, Steve Passfield, Dean Perrett, Alisha Smith plus plenty of walk-ups. And... Norma, of course!

Weblink – www.bonymountainmusicfestival.com.

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Chart Update – The Sunny's break Adam's number one

The Sunny Cowgirls break Adam Harvey's grip on the number one place on the national Country Tracks Top 40 chart with their song The Shed hitting the top spot in tomorrow's chart.

Amber Lawrence's Superhero bounds into second place from this week's number 18 position, The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night is steady at three and McAlister Kemp's Fight Me re-enters the top 10 at number four.

Adam's former number one, She Don't Know She's Beautiful, is down to five, Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart is at six and Jasmine Rae's These Hands is at seven.

Dean Perrett & Troy Cassar-Daley's My Country, My Land is at eight, Harmony James' Skinny Flat White is back in the top 10 at nine and the Davidson Brothers Take Me To The Mountain rounds out the leader board at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Brothers3's They Call The Country (19 to 14), Sandra Humphries' Just One Night (25 to 20), Kasey Chambers' Wheelbarrow (33 to 27), the Viper Creek Band's Missing Me (40 to 28), Simply Bushed's Making Hay (new at 29), Kel-Anne Brandt's Green Door (re-entering the chart at 33) and Greta Ziller's Hunt For Love (new at 34).

Other new entries to the chart this include Jason Owen's Damn Right (new at 40).

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

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014

Applications open for Academy

Applications have opened for the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) Academy of Country Music January 2015 courses.

The Academy has influenced the careers of many of Australia's most up and coming country music acts since the first course was conducted in 1997.

Two courses are conducted, one for seniors and one for juniors. Both are "live in" courses, the juniors for one week, seniors for two and both run in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital.

Both courses conclude with a graduation concert just before the beginning of the giant Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Leading Australian country music artists and musicians get involved in the Academy as tutors including the likes of Kevin Bennett, Brad Bergen, Lyn Bowtell, Karl Broadie, David and Merelyn Carter, Jim Haynes, Amber Lawrence and Tamara Stewart.

The Academy is led by Peter Winkler with Roger Corbett and Meryl Davis with a "daily influx" of speakers from the industry as well as a number of visiting country music stars.

Full details are available from the dedicated website academycountrymusic.com.au.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

Gord wins Global Artist Award

Canada's Gord Bamford has been named winner of this year's CMA (Country Music Association) Global Country Artist Award.

The expatriate Australian received the award during the CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) Gala Dinner held last week in Edmonton. The award was presented by CMA Board members Ted Ellis and Jeff Walker.

"As a Canadian country music artist, it's an incredible honor to receive the CMA's Global Country Artist Award," Gord said. "To receive this recognition from CMA, the Nashville music community, and the CMA international membership is something every artist dreams of and I'd have to tell you honestly, I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of humble accomplishment not just for myself, but for all those who play my music, come to my shows, and work behind the scenes."

Gord won two CCMA Awards this year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year for When Your Lips Are So Close, bringing to 18 his total of Canadian Country Music Association awards since 2008 when he won CCMA Top New Male Talent of the Year.

His current release, Country Junkie, debuted in the number one spot on the Nielsen Soundscan Top Country Albums Chart and also garnered Gord his first ever number one single. In March, he won his third Juno Award nomination for Canadian Country Album of the Year for Country Junkie.

Gord recently raised more than CA$500,000 at the Seventh Annual Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic n Alberta, Canada, which benefits the Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation. To date, the singer has raised almost CA$2 million for his foundation which supports a variety of causes including children's hospitals all across Canada, The Make a Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

The Global Country Artist Award recognises outstanding achievements by a country music artist originally signed outside of the United States, in both furthering the popularity of country music and bringing attention to the country music format in their foreign-based territory.

Previous have included Lee Kernaghan (2003), Kasey Chambers and Slim Dusty (2004), Paul Brandt (Canada, 2005), Jason McCoy (Canada, 2006), Troy Cassar-Daley (2008), Catherine Britt (2009), Tommy Emmanuel (2010), The McClymonts (2011 and Jasmine Rae (2012).

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Chart Update – Adam dominates the top spot

Adam Harvey's She Don't Know She's Beautiful continues its stranglehold on the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 40 chart, this week for the eighth successive week.

Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart is steady for the second week at two with The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night is at three and the Davidson Brothers Take Me To The Mountain is at four.

The Dean Perrett/Troy Cassar-Daley duet, My Country, My Land is at five, The Sunny Cowgirls' The Shed is at six and Christie Lamb's Wish You Were A Cowboy is at seven.

The McClymonts' Here's To You And I is at eight, Jasmine Rae's These Hands debuts in the top 10 and nine and John Williamson's Honest People is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include the Dianne Lindsay's Jack's Bridle (new at 14), Brothers3's They Call The Country (24 to 19), Lyn Bowtell's Heart Of Sorrow (31 to 20), Paul Costa's Right Back At Ya (26 to 23), Jess Holland's Revolving Door (34 to 27), The Sou'Westers' Lovers Do (new at 29), Kasey Chambers' Wheelbarrow (new at 33), Lynda Barnes' Flannel Flowers (re-entering the chart at 36) and Justin Standley's Stand By Me (re-entering at 37).

Other new entries to the chart this week are Travis List's In This Corner (new at 39) and the Viper Creek Band's Missing Me (at 40)

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

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

Irish country star Derek Ryan tours Australia

Irish country music star Derek Ryan arrives for an Australian tour this week just as his new album The Simple Things debuts at number one in his home country.

Derek kicked off his "Country Soul" Australian tour last week at the Rooty Hill RSL and takes in Bendigo, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Rockhampton.

"It is a dream come true to perform my music to an Australian audience," he said. "It is one place I have never visited before and I am extremely excited to take my music to a new audience at the other side of the world. Australia, like Ireland, has a great love for country music and I hope my music will be well received."

Derek's Country Soul was released in late 2013 and reached number two on the Irish country music charts and went on to win Album of the Year at the Irish Country Music Awards. It features the hit singles 100 Numbers, Raggle Taggle Gypsy and his version of Avicii's worldwide hit from last summer Wake Me Up.

His current single, Hold On To Your Hat, a duet with Sharon Shannon, is the first release from his next album which is due out this Autumn.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/DerekRyanMusic.

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2014

Bob and Donna salute Hands of Fame

Multi-instrumentalist Bob Howe and vocalist Donna Fisk have joined forces to salute the songwriting and recordings of fellow inductees in the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame.

The first release is a pair of digital singles – Donna sings Still In Love With You and Bob performs The Preacher.

"Still In Love With You was written by Garth Porter (inducted in the year 2000) and Tony Mitchell," Bob said. "At the beginning of the '70s, I was fortunate to see their band Sherbet win the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds.

"By the mid-'70s, while working for Festival Records, I would meet the band and also experience them in concert at the peak of their popularity (I'll never forget the sound of the Hordern Pavilion packed with screaming girls!). In the '90s, Garth would become the uber-producer on the Australian country music scene."

Donna said: "I saw Sherbet as a young girl when my Dad Gene Bradley Fisk and his band were on the same bill and Dad compered the show. I remember trying to listen to the music while the other girls were content to scream.

"Years later, I would work with Garth when he was producing James Blundell's debut album and I was asked to duet on one of the tracks. For this new project, produced by Bob Howe, I chose Still In Love With You to respectfully represent Garth and also pay tribute to Daryl Braithwaite who I regard as having one of the finest and most unique voices in the world."

"I first met Donna in 1980 just before we became part of the Johnny Chester & Hotspur Roadshow," Bob said. "Later I led Donna's own band, Hot Diggity, and, by the mid-'80s, we had toured every state of Australia and cemented (no Hands-of-Fame pun intended) a friendship that has endured more than three decades.

"I've always regarded Donna as one of Australia's finest singers and was delighted that she agreed to join me in this project. She has won countless Victorian and National awards and was herself inducted into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame in 1989. Though we've given Still In Love With You a country twist while still retaining the essence of the song (including the memorable bass line), Donna brings a new vitality to the lyric and melody."

The inspiration for Bob's new version of The Preacher comes from a recording by legendary Australian guitarist Dave Bridge (inducted in 1993). A founding member of The Joy Boys, Dave also had a string of solo instrumental hits. He recorded The Preacher on the B-side of his 1963 single The Swan and it features a distinctive bass part and minimalist approach.

"I've combined that with the influence of the original version by the Horace Silver Quintet and a dash of Western Swing," Bob said.

"Working with a gifted professional like Bob has always been just natural," said Donna. "Cups of sweet tea and biscuits on the 'easy road less travelled'! A true country gentleman.

"He played on many of my early recordings, a professional showing ultimate respect to his fellow music artists in his many roles as musical director, producer and entertainer. I truly cherish this fun time making music together again.

"No-one was more delighted than me when he was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame this year (2014). On The Preacher, Bob shows his multi-instrumental skills by playing (in order) bass, brushes, acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica and electric guitar!"

Weblink – www.bobhowe.com/hands-of-fame.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

Australiana hits Americana

What is billed as the largest ever Australian contingent of artists to ever hit the Americana Music Festival will travel to Nashville this month.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Australians are travelling across the globe, looking to make their mark in Nashville as part of the 2014 Americana Music Festival & Conference with four showcase events between September 16 and 21.

Five Australian artists are officially invited to attend the event while more will head over under their own steam, according to a news report this week.

The artists represent genres including commercial and alternative country, folk and bluegrass, and they will be joined by a number of Australian managers, publishers, labels, festival bookers and promoters.

Artists attending include Kirsty Akers, The Audreys, Kevin Bennett, Katie Brianna, Jackie Bristow, Dianna Corcoran (pictured), Immigrant Union, Mustered Courage and Melody Pool.

Weblink – americanamusic.org.

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2014

Entries open for Blackened Billy

Entries have opened for the 2015 Blackened Billy competition sponsored by the Australian Bush Poets Association.

For 24 years, bush poets from all over Australia have competed for the coveted Blackened Billy trophy. The 2015 Blackened Billy Verse Competition will mark its Silver Anniversary, and to celebrate, the Tamworth Poetry Reading Group will be producing a book featuring all the winning poets and their poems, from the inaugural poem "The Aussie" by Bob Miller in 1991.

"We are challenging all bush poetry writers to come up with something special for this milestone in the history of the Blackened Billy," said a spokesman for the organisers.

"The traditional bush verse of poets such as Paterson and Lawson has moved into the modern era and bush poetry now reflects life in all parts of Australia, not just the outback. Suburban trials and tribulations are just as relevant as the daily problems of living in the bush. What makes it bush poetry is the style in which it is written. Bush poetry must have the rhyme and rhythm of traditional bush verse."

The Tamworth Poetry Reading Group invites poets to enter the Blackened Billy. The competition opens on September 1 and closes November 30 and the winners will be announced during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January 2014.

For entry forms send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Jan Morris, PO Box 3001, West Tamworth NSW 2340, or email janmorris33@bigpond.com.

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014

Weekend wraps on the "best Muster ever"

The campfires have been put out, the tent pegs pulled and a whole host of happy campers have returned home from their pilgrimage to the Amamoor Creek State Forest with fond memories of what will no doubt go down as the best Gympie Music Muster to date.

From Thursday 28th to Sunday 31st, more than 50,000 punters from all over the country (and the world) enjoyed music, dancing, great food, poetry and all round revelry at the Australia's largest charitable music and camping festival.

More than 120 artists graced seven stages over the course of the Muster. Country giants like Kasey Chambers (pictured), Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Sara Storer and John Williamson joined a diverse mix of artists from a range of genres.

Behind the scenes there was a sea of volunteers who were the driving force of the event, without whom there would be no Muster for people to enjoy.

Gympie Music Muster General Manager Jeff Chandler said he couldn't have been happier with the way things turned out.

"We are really ecstatic with this year's Muster, the performances, the weather and of course the crowd," he said. "I don't think you could find a friendlier, happier crowd at any music festival in Australia. I really do think this was the best Gympie Music Muster we've had, but we're going to be pulling out all stops to top it in 2015."

One of the most heart-warming stories of the event came on Saturday when Muster organisers and charity partner Buy A Bale provided tickets and transport to 100 farmers from the South Burnett region who've been struggling with severe drought conditions, for a day off filled with fun, laughter, a private performance by Sara Storer and even a free beer.

The Muster Talent Search was decided with Leigha Moore named as the Senior Winner and Cassi Hilbers shining as the Junior Winner.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 2014

Bolder Music opens for business

Following seven years as Artist & Repertoire/Label Manager at ABC Music, Tim Holland has launched Bolder Music, an artist and music industry services company with the core purpose of "championing great music and creativity".

Bolder Music will specialise in a broad range of artist development, project management and content creation services for recording artists, songwriters, music brands and events, according to Tim.

"Our prime focus will be on getting the fundamentals right in an objective and transparent manner," he said, "while always celebrating our love of great music, originality and creativity.

"We are not about promising fairytale outcomes. Instead we are passionate about focusing specifically on client needs, setting achievable goals, effective planning, utilising our extensive industry network and focusing on the elements we can control with talented artists and clients we truly believe in."

Heading Bolder Music's list of foundation clients is 2014 CMC (Country Music Channel) Female Oz Artist of the Year, three time ARIA nominee, six time Golden Guitar nominee and ABC Music recording artist Jasmine Rae (pictured).

The singer/songwriter's latest album, If I Want To, has achieved significant commercial and critical acclaim with three consecutive number one singles on the Australian Country Charts and a Top 20 result on the USA iTunes Country Charts. Bolder Music is now the official management team for Jasmine Rae.

While other foundation clients include 2014 CMC New Oz Artist of the Year finalist Matt Cornell who will release his new self-titled album on September 5 through WJO Distribution. Matt also begins a 26 show national tour opening for Australian superstar Adam Brand at the start of September.

During Tim's time at ABC Music, the label re-established itself as the market leader for Australian artist country music releases with five Australian country ABC Music artist albums topping the ARIA Country Sales charts in 2013 alone.

Shortly before completing his role at ABC Music, label artists won a combined total of nine Golden Guitars at the 2014 Country Music Awards of Australia (following a record 26 nominations for the label) and then a further two fan voted 2014 CMC Music Awards.

Tim has worked with a significant number of Australian country music's current hit artists in recent times including Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Lee Kernaghan, McAlister Kemp, Sara Storer and The Wolfe Brothers.

Bolder Music is also partnering with Rusty Gate Films co-creator and CMC Music Award winning producer and director Robb Cox to create "top class and affordable music videos".

Robb has produced more than 20 number one Australian Country Music Videos and has worked with the likes of Damien Leith, The McClymonts, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Harvey, McAlister Kemp, Steve Forde, Jetty Road, Harmony James and many more.

Weblink – www.boldermusic.com.au.

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Gympie festivities in full swing

Muster organisers report...

After Day 1... following a spot of rain on Wednesday evening, fans, campers and revellers awoke at the crack of dawn to clear blue skies and the birds of the Amamoor Creek State Forest to get The Gympie Music Muster off to a whip-cracking start.

Early risers came out for all the fun of the "Sunrise" TV weather crosses with bush poetry, sheep dogs and, of course, "X-Factor" starlet Caitlyn Shadbolt (pictured) giving a taste of the celebrations ahead. With the weather report in, the clear skies and sunshine are set to hold up over the weekend.

Performances kicked off with bush poetry at the Muster Club. Festival-goers gathered to enjoy breakfast while taking in the wit, rhyme and storytelling of modern-day Banjo Pattersons who had the crowd in stitches with their rolling yarns, getting audience members up on the stage and into the action.

From then on, the Muster was everything it had promised, fans saw the cream of the country music crop at the Main Stage with artists like Australian music legend Jon English and critically acclaimed husband and wife duo O'Shea.

But, of course, there's something for everyone at the Muster, with stellar acts like Adam Eckersley Band playing over at the Blues and Roots Bar till Midnight. The fun didn't stop there though, diehard devotees stumbled over to The Crow Bar for a graveyard shift performance by The Wolfe Brothers till the early morning hours.

Gympie Music Muster General Manager Jeff Chandler said he was happy with the first day turn out, saying it affirmed everything The Muster is about.

"A lot of festivals are all about the music, and we have that, we have some of the best artists in Australia doing incredible performances over four days. But it's also about the whole experience, fans love it because they can come out to this beautiful venue and experience a great atmosphere with like-minded people. That's why some of them set up their tents over a month ago.

"If you leave the Muster performance grounds and head to the camping sites you'll find a mix of revellers, from the deadly serious to the seriously laidback. Some groups have marked their territories with towering flagpoles, others have gone beyond camping to construct miniature castles, complete with pool tables and bar tops. Others still are happy to just to sit back with a fire and some deck chairs and shoot the breeze."

What's up next?

No matter the set-up, just being present at this year's Gympie Music Muster means these happy campers are bound to see some stellar performances over the coming days. Headliners like Beccy Cole, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Sara Storer and many many more many, many more will bless the Gympie stages today and over the weekend.

There's even more fun to be had around the site with songwriting sessions, line dancing lessons, bush poetry and a silent disco providing entertainment for young and old. Some lucky fans will have the opportunity to meet and greet Kasey Chambers and Lee Kernaghan, or even share a meal with Adam Harvey or The Wolfe Brothers... just by pre-ordering their latest albums at the Merch tent.

The biggest treat though will arrive on Saturday when nearly 100 drought-affected farmers from the South-Burnett region will be bussed in for a day off from the hardships of the farm. The farmers, many of whom haven't had a day off in years, have been given tickets and transport to a day of music, laughs and good times by Muster organisers and their official charity partner, Buy A Bale.

With hundreds more acts to come, and everyone in high spirits, it looks like this is going to be the best Muster yet.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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Chart Update – still at number one

Adam Harvey's She Don't Know She's Beautiful is at number one on this week's national Country Tracks Top 40 chart for the sixth week in a row.

Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart is up two to number two, Dean Perrett's collaboration with Troy Cassar-Daley, My Country, My Land, is at three while The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night bounds into the top 10 at number four.

The McClymonts' Here's To You And I is at five, Tanya Self's Listening In at six and McAlister Kemp's Fight Me is steady at seven.

Brothers3's They Call The Country is up two to number eight, Harmony James' Skinny Flat White is at nine and the Davidson Brothers' Take Me To The Mountains is steady at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Graham Rodger & Catherine Britt with Reach Out (17 to 14), Sandra Humphries' Just One Night (19 to 15), Christie Lamb's Wish You Were A Cowboy (new at 16), Aleyce Simmonds' Stronger (40 to 23), Lynda Barnes' Flannel Flowers (37 to28) and Justin Standley's Stand By Me (new at 31).

Other new entries for the week include Jared Porter's Deep End (new at 38) and Jess Holland's Revolving Door (at 40).

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

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2014

New from The Sunny Cowgirls

The Sunny Cowgirls release their seventh album – My Old Man – tomorrow.

Described as " a collection of carefully selected covers paying tribute to paternal figures across the country" the new work will be launched at the 2014 Gympie Muster.

The girls take to the Muster main stage on Saturday night, followed by a late night performance at the Muster's Crow Bar.

Self-produced by the singer/songwriter sister duo Sophie and Celeste Clabburn, the album is described as a showcase of the country siblings musical influences "and songs that have stood the test of time... and resonated with fathers all over!"

The song choices gives an insight into the sisters musical upbringing and the many influences that have shaped their successful recording and touring career thus far.

Freely admitting the album recordings are also a personal tribute to their own father, Sophie and Celeste said: "Our Dad is a huge inspiration to us and our music. He brought us up on these songs, and taught us what good music was. Our style is very similar to his! We would jam with him as kids and a lot of those old songs ended up on this record! It's our little way of saying 'thank you' for teaching us. I think most Dads will find something they love on this album… and Mums too, because we love our Mum!

"Don McLean to John Williamson, Paul McCartney to Joy McKean and only enhanced further by the likes of Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan and Burt Bacharach to name just a few, the underlying tone of this album is recognising great songwriters domestically and internationally."

The album is also the first time Sophie and Celeste have taken on the role of producer, a new territory they welcomed.

"It was a lot of hard work, but very rewarding! You don't realise how much is involved until you have a crack at it yourself," they said. "It felt great to be behind the wheel and make the decisions we wanted to make. Luckily, we were both on the same page... most of the time! We're very proud of this record."

The first single release from the album is the John Williamson classic The Shed.

The Sunny Cowgirls will be touring Australia with Adam Harvey in October in Victoria and November in NSW.

Weblink – www.sunnycowgirls.com.

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2014

33rd Gympie Muster about to kick off

Every year, masses of country, blues, roots and folk music fans make a pilgrimage to a sacred site near the small Queensland town of Gympie... to the Gympie Music Muster, in its 33rd year this year.

Now well established on its dedicated site in the Amamoor Creek State Forest outside of Gympie and 90 minutes north of Brisbane, the Muster always features a huge line-up of talent.

Festivities kicked off today with the Pre-Muster Party, almost like an opening ceremony for the Muster, where the whole town gets involved in the iconic festival's lead-up. Tourists can cruise down Mary Street and enjoy local buskers and troubadours, or view the artful decoration of local stores and businesses all getting in on the act.

"You can drop in to The Royal Hotel for lunch, wine and a songwriter's session with Linc Phelps, Pete Denahy (pictured) and the girls from Dozzi or get more of a taste of what's to come over at Kandanga or Billy's Hotels or the Gympie RSL for great food and live performances," organisers say.

"Schools are getting involved with a Pre-Muster School Showcase at the Gold City Centre Stage in Mary Street setting the scene as local school-age bands battle it out for big prizes, including a Fender guitar and amp package, and a performance at the Muster.

"The real fun starts on Thursday though, when the Muster gets into full swing with the first act at 9am, the Muster Poets. From then on it's all guns blazing with food, drink, dancing, poetry and performances by every single Golden Guitar winner from this year's Country Music Awards."

An expected 50,000 fans across the weekend will see headline acts including Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts and The Sunny Cowgirls.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2015

Hope Estate announces Campfire Festival 2015

NSW Hunter Valley winery Hope Estate has announced a new three-day music festival for 2015, the Campfire Festival to be held March 13 to 15 and set to feature a top lineup of respected Australian talent.

The event will replace the former CMC Rocks The Hunter concert which has relocated to a raceway in Ipswich.

"After CMC's unexpected exit, we were overwhelmed with messages from the music community," said Hope Estate owner Michael Hope. "So many people were looking forward to spending the three days here with their friends, it had become an annual and planned ritual for them. They’d already booked flights and accommodation, and wanted to know how they could help bring the show back."

Hope Estate has become one of Australia's sought-after concert destinations in recent years. The venue regularly hosts up to 20,000 fans in its amphitheatre, with the likes of Bruce Springsteen playing two nights in February this year and the Rolling Stones and The Eagles booked in for the coming season.

"All the major promoters now view Hope Estate as world-class venue capable of hosting and delivering world-class shows. It's a testament not just to our own people, but the whole Hunter event community that pitches in to show visitors a great time and unforgettable experience," Michael said.

The Campfire Festival will feature bigger staging, a wider variety of food and beverage options, including craft beer from the new onsite microbrewery, and a new "five-star" camping facility.

Impressed by the grassroots loyalty of country music fans, Hope Estate has structured the new event to "let the audience help create it". There will be two stages, major artists on the Main Stage which will be announced over the next few months.

"Ten of the acts out of the 15 scheduled on the B-Stage will be chosen via an online audience member vote leading into the event, giving up-and-coming performers a chance to shine in front of a big audience," Michael said.

"So many people have written in to us suggesting acts. There's a strong sense that the Campfire Festival can really belong to fans and we want to harness that energy and help build the next generation of Australian country stars. It's a great chance for new acts to score a paid gig that will get them noticed."

In addition to main stage and B-Stage performances, there will also be a busking competition voted by the fans using a phone app with the winner getting a paid slot on the main stage.

"The whole Hunter region is ready to get behind this event, and with the passionate support we've already felt from the fans, we think Campfire Festival 2015 will mark the start of something great," Michael said.

Weblink – www.hopeestate.com.au.

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Vale – Colin James

Victorian-based singer/songwriter, recording artist and broadcaster Colin James died yesterday.

Born in 1938, Colin contracted rheumatoid arthritis which confined him to wheelchair. At age 15 in 1953, he started writing songs. Keith Riordan being one of the first to record one of Colin's songs.

Colin began performing in public in 1958 as part of a group called Country Club, which also featured Olive Bice. In the early 1960s, Colin first recorded on Crest, two tracks, Sleepless Nights and What Is It?

Another single and an EP were released later as well as an album for the W&G label. He also started his own entertainment agency which he closed in 1975 after it became too much to handle.

In 1976, Colin moved to Geelong and teamed up with Caroline Sleep, then signed with Hadley records and in 1981 was recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to the community. He was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 1984.

On the international scene, Colin performed at clubs in New Zealand and America, including Honolulu, Nashville, Washington and Seattle where, in 1988, he sang to an estimated crowd of more than 8,000 at the Kiwanis Convention.

In the early 1990s, with the entertainment scene in Victoria in a decline, Colin and his wife Diane set out to travel as widely as they could, not only to see and enjoy the country at a leisurely pace, but to compile sufficient information to publish a travel guide for other "wheelies" listing as many accessible accommodation options and tourist attractions as they could find.

The book – titled "A Wheelie's Handbook of Australia" – was eventually published in 1995 by the couple.

In 1994, Colin was inducted into the South Australian Country Music Hall of Fame and in 1995, he was recognised for his efforts as a campaigner for the rights of disabled people and his efforts in fund-raising, by the National Telstra Phonecard, "Local Legends" promotion.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 25, 2015

Another milestone for Slim

The late Slim Dusty has achieved another milestone in setting a new record for record chart performance.

This week, his The Very Best Of Slim Dusty album chalked up 800 weeks on the Australian Country Chart compiled by ARIA, the Australian Recording Industry Association.

In addition, the release has reached a massive five times platinum in sales or more than 350,000 copies sold.

The album was released initially in 1998.

The DVD compilation of was also released in 1998 and has gone triple platinum.

Weblink – www.slimdusty.com.au.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 22, 2014

Vale – Paul Rowe

Tamworth-based country music broadcaster Paul Rowe died on Friday.

Best known more recently for his annual stewardship of the Tamworth Country Music Festival radio station Festival FM, Paul worked as part of the Rural Press Events (RPE) team on numerous projects.

Previously an announcer at radio stations in New Zealand and Australia, including Tamworth's 2TM, Paul headed up the Festival FM station for the past 15 years and was the first contact for RPE's Official Tamworth Festival Guide publication and the on-site PA for the giant AgQuip field days.

"Paul's sudden passing has, and will affect many of us in different ways and our collective thoughts from not only the Rural Press Events team, but the whole country music family, go out to Paul's wife Marg and son Bradley and extended families," Barry said.

Paul's funeral will be held at Lincoln Grove, Gunnedah Road, Tamworth, at 10am Wednesday, September 3.

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Chart Update – Adam dominates the top spot

Adam Harvey's She Don't Know She's Beautiful has a stranglehold on the number one position on the national Country Tracks Top 40 chart, this week for the fifth week in succession.

Dean Perrett's collaboration with Troy Cassar-Daley, My Country, My Land, jumps four places to number two, The McClymonts' Here's To You And I is at three and Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart is steady at four.

Tanya Self's Listening In is steady at five, Clelia Adams' Honky Tonk Moon debuts in the chart this week at six and McAlister Kemp's Fight Me is at seven.

The Jasmine Rae/Kellie Pickler duet Bad Boys Get Me Good is at eight, Amber Joy Poulton's Maybe Bay is at nine and Brothers3's They Call The Country enters the chart at number 10.

Bullet performers for the week include the Davidson Brothers' Take Me To The Mountains (new at 14), O'Shea's It Never Goes Away (37 to 15), Paul Costa's Right Back At Ya (19 to 16), Graham Rodger & Catherine Britt with Reach Out (30 to 17), Larkham & The Crosby Sisters with Stumblin' In (new at 18), Sandra Humphries' Just One Night (new at 19), Allan Caswell's Love In A Minor Key (new at 22), Kel-Anne Brandt's Green Door (35 to 24), Taylor Pfeiffer's Toughen Up Princess (new at 27), Small Town Culture's The Life Of A Country Kid (new at 28) and Lynda Barnes' Flannel Flowers (new at 37).

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

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2014

CMC Rocks the Hunter moves to Queensland

After four years at the NSW Hunter Valley's Hope Estate, the three-day country and roots festival CMC (Country Music Channel) Rocks the Hunter will move to Ipswich next year and re-badge as CMC Rocks Qld.

The event will be staged at Ipswich's Willowbank Raceway from March 13 to 15.

Stars announced to date are Australia's own Troy Cassar-Daley and America's Lady Antebellum.

The news of the move was met with annoyance by some patrons who had already booked flights and accommodation in the Hunter Valley for next year.

A statement from promoters said "site considerations" were a major factor for their decision.

The new site is serviced by international airports in Brisbane and the Gold Coast (35 percent of attendees come from outside NSW) and direct bus and train services.

Being close to major centres Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich and Toowoomba, each between 10 to 90 minutes away, there will be greater accommodation options, the statement said.

For the first time, CMC Rocks would also introduce a tent-style motel service on-site.

CMC Rocks started in Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains in 2008 before moving to Hope Estate in 2011.

While crowd numbers varied from 6,000 to 11,000 over four Hunter years, it is believed the larger Queensland site could allow numbers to grow to between 12,000 and 15,000.

Weblink – www.cmcrocks.com.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2014

New Zealand winners

Kaylee Bell has triumphed again with another award win in New Zealand.

On Saturday night, Kaylee was named joint winner of Female Vocalist of the year – with Tami Neilson – at the New Zealand National Country Music Awards.

Phil Doublet took out the Male Vocal title while Into The East was named Duo/Group of the Year.

Cam Luxton won the Horizon (or new talent) award and The DAG Songwriting Scholarship was awarded to Sarah Conlan.

Weblink – www.kiwiproamcountrymusic.co.nz.

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New from Adam

Family Life is the latest studio album from Adam Harvey, due for release at the upcoming Gympie Muster.

First single from the new work, She Don't Know She's Beautiful, has already made number one on the Country Tracks national Top 40 while the accompanying video clip is popular on the Country Music Channel (CMC).

With a career spanning almost 20 years, half a million album sales, gold and platinum albums and eight Golden Guitars, Adam is one of Australia's most popular and enduring recording artists.

The new album follows on from the outstanding success of The Great Country Songbook, his platinum selling album of covers with Troy Cassar-Daley.

Family Life is described as Adam's most personal and enthralling album to date... "a a collection of personal stories and observations that will resonate with people of all ages from all walks of life.

"Some are heartfelt, some are humorous and they're all delivered with Adam's impeccable vocal phrasing and expression. They tell of Adam's experience as a husband, a father and a son… of a man who is content with his life."

Adam will be launching the album at this year’s Gympie Music Muster before kicking off a tour to showcase and promote the new work.

Weblink – www.adamharvey.com.au.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 2014

Chart Update – Adam continues to dominate

Adam Harvey's She Don't Know She's Beautiful retains the number one spot on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 40 chart for the fourth week in a row.

The McClymonts' Here's To You And I and McAlister Kemp's Fight Me are at two and three, respectively, while Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart jumps eight places from number 12 to be at number four.

Tanya Self's Listening In enters the top 10 at number five, Dean Perrett's collaboration with Troy Cassar-Daley, My Country, My Land, debuts in the chart at six and The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night is at seven.

John Williamson's Honest People is at eight, Harmony James' Skinny Flat White is steady at nine while Kasey Chambers' Wheelbarrow enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include the Jasmine Rae/Kellie Pickler duet Bad Boys Get Me Good (19 to 13), Aleyce Simmonds' Stronger (new at 28), Graham Rodger & Catherine Britt with Reach Out (new at 30), The Sou'Westers with Lovers Do and O'Shea with It Never Goes Away (new at 37).

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

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 14. 2014

Southern Stars finalists

Finalists have been announced for the 2014 Australian Independent Country Music Awards, or Southern Stars, to be held as culmination of the annual Mildura Country Music Festival.

Luke O'Shea (pictured) leads the finalist pack with four nominations, closely followed by Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes and Aleyce Simmonds with three each.

The full listing is...

For Single of the Year... Believe by Aleyce Simmonds, Black Coffee by Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, The Next Thing That You Hear by Allan Caswell and Three Brothers (The Great War) by Luke O’Shea.

Album of the Year... Believe by Aleyce Simmonds, Black Coffee by Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Sing You Up by Luke O'Shea and Truth About Us by Seleen McAlister.

Heritage Track of the Year – Traditional... Albert Campbell by Bec Hance, Dad's Bottom Drawer by Luke O’Shea, I'm The Land by Dean Perrett and Jack Bridle by Dianne Lindsay.

Rising Star – Male... Damien Agius for Time To Say Goodbye, Damian Howard with Once In A While, Mick Lindsay with Imaginary Girl and Carl Wockner with Simple Pleasures.

Rising Star – Female... Alice Benfer with Driving, Kate Cook with Give The Girl A Spanner, Allison Forbes with What'll Happen To Me Know? and Gretta Ziller with Hunt For Love.

Male Vocalist of the Year... 8 Ball Aitken with I'm Going To Jail, Allan Caswell with The Next Thing That You Hear, Luke O’Shea with Three Brothers (The Great War) and Graham Rodger with Scrub Bull Hunters.

Female Vocalist of the Year ... Bec Hance with Nothin’ More To Say, Seleen McAlister with If I Had Only Known, Tanya Self with You Don’t Love Me (When You're Sober) and Aleyce Simmonds with Believe.

Group/Duo of the Year... Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes with Black Coffee, Carter & Carter with Little Patch Of Heaven, the Davidson Brothers with Travelling Bluebird and Simply Bushed with Makin' Hay.

Winners will be announced on Saturday October 4 during the awards presentation concert at 5:30pm in the Mercy Theatre, St Joseph's College, 11th Street, Mildura.

Tickets are available by calling 1800 039 043 for $33 (including GST).

Weblink – www.milduracountrymusic.com.au.

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TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2014

Two country finalists in X Factor

Television's X Factor is down to it's final 12 and two country acts are still in contention to win.

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt – a member of judge Ronan Keating's "bootcamp" group – is one, while Brothers3, who were not selected as a part of judge Danni Minogue's team, was successful as the wildcard finalist on Sunday night.

Twelve acts, plus Brothers3, played to huge cheers from the audience in Sunday night's first live show in the series.

Last night's show, the first "decider" in the series, saw the elimination of the all-girl group Trill, part of Danni's stable of acts.

Members of the public can help decide the winners as the series pans out.

Weblink – yahoo.com.au/xfactor - or view 6:30pm Sundays, 7:30pm Mondays.

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MONDAY, AUGUST 11, 2014

Clarence Valley Muster

Details have been announced for the 2014 Clarence Valley Country Muster slated to run at Grafton (NSW) from Monday October 27 to Sunday November 2.

Among the highlights of this year's event will be a "best walk-up artist award" of a $2000 recording contract, raffle prizes including a week on a Clarence River houseboat and "spades full of seasoned country music".

"It's a recipe for maximum enjoyment," say organisers, "and it's all on offer at the second annual Muster on a property just north-east of Grafton.

"The ingredients for this feast of country music include more than 20 artists. Among them are Terry Gordon, Glenn Jones (pictured), Lindsay Waddington, The Kross Kut Showband, Marge Graham and acclaimed bush poet Ray Essery."

Fingers were crossed before the first muster last year when organiser Wendy Gordon decided to open her property to the festival at Calliope, a tiny but historically-rich hamlet in the lush Clarence Valley.

There was no need for anxiety. Country music fans, dominated by grey nomads and their vans, turned up to savour the delights of food, friendship and the sweet sounds of professional performers.

"The success of the first muster just blew me away," Wendy said. "But the follow-up was even more staggering. Given the response to bookings for this year's Muster, I wouldn't be surprised to see up to 1500 fans on the property."

The Clarence Valley Music Muster is held at the same time of the year as Grafton's nationally-recognised Jacaranda Festival. And that's no accident.

"Jaca pulls in thousands of visitors every year," Wendy said. "The Muster offers visitors another attraction just a few kilometres down river. The property is close to Ulmarra, an historic river port village settled even before Grafton itself.

"Ulmarra not only takes you back to a time when the Clarence River was the highway for goods crammed into sailing ships and steamers, but it now offers  accommodation at the Commercial Hotel, the now-dry Exchange Hotel opposite and up-market bed and breakfast outlets Woodfordleigh, Rooftops and Lulu's."

Proceeds from the rich raffles on offer at the Muster go towards easing the lot of sick kids through the Camp Quality organisation.

More information can be obtained, and bookings made, by contacting Wendy on (02) 6644 8012, 0432 741 947, on facebook or via email wgordon@cvcmuster.com.au.

Weblink – www.cvcmuster.com.au.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2014

Gretta releases debut EP

Melbourne based alt country artist Gretta Ziller has released her debut EP Hell's Half Acre.

All five tracks on the release were written by Greta, one with Jasper Hollis. The EP was produced, engineered and mixed by producer Matt Fell.

Studio musicians involved in the recording included Matt himself (on "a swag of instruments"), Glen Hannah (guitars), Sam Hawksley (pedal steel), Luke Moller (fiddle) and Josh Schuberth (drums).

The EP's title track and second single was serviced to radio via WJO on Monday July 28, telling the story of a "getting out of the bed you made" situation, according to a spokesman for the artist.

"It's a tale of self-realisation, how you got yourself into this pickle, and how you got the hell out!"

Hell's Half Acre itself is a "badlands" (a type of dry terrain) in Wyoming in America but inspiration for the song came about after a visit to a "badlands" in Alberta, Canada.

The EP’s first single, Hunt For Love, peaked at 29 on the Country Music Channel's Top 50 Countdown. The video clip can be viewed here... youtu.be/wxNVVnyOe_I

Gretta, a 2011 Australian Academy Of Country Music graduate, grew up in Thologolong near Wodonga in the Upper Murray region of Victoria and spent a great deal of her youth dabbling in musical theatre, jazz, rock and classical.

As a teenager, she learnt to play a number of instruments including violin, cello and double bass but took a shine to the bagpipes in particular. "Once you learn of her Celtic and German heritage, it comes as less of a surprise and it presented her with many rewarding experiences like performing alongside legendary artist John Farnham at the 2009 AFL Grand Final," the spokesman said.

Gretta was introduced to country music via her sister who loaned her a Garth Brooks album. In 2006, she made a first and long-lasting impression on the Telstra Road To Tamworth team by winning the Albury heat. She has since gone on to place in the 2012 semi-finals which saw her perform at the Sydney Telstra 500 V8 Supercars event and the grand final in 2013 at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre.

"Through her performances over the years, Gretta's vocal style has often been likened to Emmylou Harris and to her songwriting gods, Paul Kelly and Steve Earle."

Weblink – grettaziller.com.

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Chart Update – Adam still at the top

Adam Harvey's She Don't Know She's Beautiful retains the number one spot on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30 chart for the third week in succession.

The McClymonts' Here's To You And I is steady at number two while McAlister Kemp's Fight Me jumps two places to number three and The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night is steady at four.

Christie Lamb's Manhunt is also up two places to number five, John Williamson's Honest People bounds into the top 10 at six as does The McClymonts former number one Going Under (Didn't Have To) at seven following its re-entry into the chart.

Morgan Evans' Like A Tornado is at eight, Harmony James' Skinny Flat White is at nine and Pete Denahy's Looking At My Phone debuts in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Paul Costa's Right Back At Ya (new at 11), Doug Bruce's Broke Down Heart (new at 12), Tanya Self's Listening In (new at 13), Lyn Bowtell's Heart Of Sorrow (20 to 14), Greg Champion's Welcome To Woop Woop (29 to 20), Johnny Greenwood's Australia's Bert Hinkler (re-entered at 23) and Jared Porter's Deep End (28 to 24).

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

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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2014

Missy records Slim

Pop star Missy Higgins has released a new album featuring the songs of other well-known Aussie artists including Slim Dusty.

Missy Higgins' OZ is described as "something different… an eclectic album of Aussie cover versions and a quirky book of related essays. The music and the prose are best experienced together in a beautiful clothbound CD/book edition but they can also be enjoyed separately in physical or digital forms, and all will be released on September 19," according to the release announcing the new works.

Other artists whose songs are covered include The Angels, Paul Kelly, Something For Kate and the Warumpi Band.

In the book accompanying the album,, Missy uses each of the recordings on the album as the starting point for a sprawling series of essays "reflecting on life, love and how not to wear high heels".

"I wanted to try something different this time around," Missy said. "I couldn't decide between making a covers album or writing a book so I decided to do both at once. Musically it's intended to be a real mixed bag of lollies.

"Obviously part of the reason I called the whole project OZ is that it's all about Australian songs. Plus, for the first time, I recorded the whole thing in Australia. However the title has a second meaning. I like the idea of songwriters being like the Wizard in 'The Wizard of Oz'. Some people think we’re special people who have special powers but really we're just scared little people hiding in a backroom somewhere, working like crazy to make sure we don’t get found out!"

There are four main threads that bind what is described as a disparate collection of tunes. "The first is obviously the lyrical and vocal combinations that allow Missy to truly inhabit each of these works as if she had written it herself. The second is the strikingly live production by Missy and American orchestrator Jherek Bischoff.

"The third thread that runs through the recordings is the presence of contributions from various friends of Missy's. Not only does she cover Dan Sultan’s timeless Old Fitzroy but the Deadly Award winner (and 'Bran Nue Dae' co-star) also adds his unmistakable voice to an ol' timey rendition of (the Joy McKean/Slim Dusty) The Biggest Disappointment. Kate Miller Heidke and Amanda Palmer are among others to feature prominently.

"Finally, the entire collection was mixed by multiple Grammy recipient Jay Newland who also mixed Missy's breakthrough album The Sound Of White."

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MONDAY, AUGUST 4, 2014

A new bluegrass event on the calendar

The new Bangalow (NSW) BBQ and Bluegrass event went off "with a boom" on Saturday, according to Bryon Echo Net Daily, "when the event sold out at around 2pm with 2,000 punters enjoying excellent music, fantastic food, and an awesome atmosphere".

The Daily said organisers were exhausted after a better than expected outcome. Sublime weather and the generous efforts of volunteers also contributed to a great first festival.

Dates for next year's event have already been announced: Saturday and Sunday August  8 and 9.

Weblink – www.bbqbluegrass.com.au.

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014

Chart Update – Adam hangs on to number one

Adam Harvey's She Don't Know She's Beautiful retains the number one spot on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30 chart.

The McClymonts' Here's To You And I and the Jasmine Rae/Kellie Pickler duet Bad Boys Get Me Good retain the second and third places, respectively, while The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night is up three to number four.

McAlister Kemp's Fight Me edges up one place to number five, Morgan Evans' Like A Tornado is up three to six as is Christie Lamb's Manhunt to seven.

Harmony James' Skinny Flat White is at eight, Tanya Self's The Jacaranda is at nine and Lee Kernaghan's Dirt Music re-enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Keith Urban's Somewhere In My Car (17 to 12), Kasey Chambers' Wheelbarrow (new at 13), John Williamson's title track from his new album Honest People (new at 15) and The Long And Short Of It (pictured) with Latter Day Cowboy (22 to 18).

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

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 30, 2014

Kidgeeridge Music Festival

Tickets are about to go on sale for what will possibly be the greatest array of musical talent ever on display at the 2014 Kidgeeridge Music Festival, the last to be held at Graham and Vicki White's farm beside Lake Conjola in southern NSW.

The Milton-Ulladulla Times rerports that Numbers for the event are limited to 500 and will be available from Friday, August 8.

The festival this year has attracted "the cream of Australia's musical talent across a wide range of styles, headed by country star Troy Cassar-Daley (pictured).

Multi award winning Troy will be joined by former Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock frontman Ross Wilson, who has also enjoyed tremendous success as a solo performer.

John Schumann, best known for his leadership of the legendary folk-rock band Redgum and his Vietnam veterans anthem I Was Only 19, will also appear. John has recorded nine albums and, with Redgum, toured the UK, Europe and Ireland where his songs are still played.

As will renowned songwriter and original Cold Chisel member Don Walker who, apart from penning many of Chisel's greatest hits, has also been prolific in the country music scene, including Charleville and Looking Forward Looking Back for the late Slim Dusty.

Folk/country/pop duo Busby Marou, rising Australian country act the Adam Eckersley Band and Doug Bruce & The Tailgaters also feature on the bill.

The Kidgeeridge Music Festival always enjoys a hearty dose of blues and this year will feature Australian blues guitarist and singer Fiona Boyes and Joe Louis Walker, known as being among the greatest bluesmen of his generation. 

And there will even be a traditional welcome to the region performed by Aboriginal elder Noel Butler.

The Kidgeeridge Music Festival will run Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, with tickets including "plenty of music, most meals, beer, wine and soft drinks, and weekend camping".

All profits from the festival help local charities.

Weblink – www.kidgeeridge.com.au.

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TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014

New from Doug

Doug McIntyre has released his third album, Riding Free.

"This great country of ours never fails to provide me with songs," Doug said.

"Riding Free was really born a few years ago in Tamworth during yarns with a mate. He loves to get away after working at his demanding job as a paramedic, and head out west on his red Ducati.

"It was great working with Golden Guitar winning producer Matt Fell to achieve the feel of those wide open spaces. As I wrote each of the 'newies' I found it hard to decide on a name for the album. Then out of the blue came the song Riding Free.

"I thought it said it all. I just love the magic that happens when writing! I hope you feel like you're sitting on that motor bike, out on a lonely highway, riding free!"

The album contains 10 new songs... Have A Little Good Time, Bondi Drover, Wild Fire, Frank The Fox, Australia Day, Back In The Little Town, Tamworth, Riding Free, Kandahar Lullaby and Can't Take The Bush Out Of The Boy.

Weblink – www.dougmcintyrecountrymusic.com.au.

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MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014

Kenny returns to Oz

Kenny Rogers will tour Australia again in 2015 in a nine-date tour announced today.

The superstar will perform his first concert in Sydney on Friday January 23, then Tamworth on Sunday January 25 (at the end of the giant Tamworth Country Music Festival) followed by shows in Newcastle, Melbourne, Launceston, the Gold Coast, Townsville and Perth before wrapping up in Adelaide on Wednesday, February 11.

Kenny is well-known as an international country and pop star, for hits including The Gambler, Coward Of The County, Reuben James, Lucille, Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, Lady, She Believes in Me, Islands in the Stream, We've Got Tonight, Daytime Lovers and You Decorated My Life.

Honoured with an American Country Music Hall of Fame induction and Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, Kenny's accolades also include three Grammy Awards, 18 American Music Awards and eight Academy of Country Music Awards.

He will perform with Glenn Shorrock in Sydney, Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole in Newcastle, Melbourne, the Gold Coast and Townsville, Adam, Beccy and Amber Lawrence in Launceston, Adam, Beccy and Kasey Chambers in Perth and Amber Joy Poulton in Adelaide.

Weblink – www.kennyrogers.com.

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TSA set for Tamworth 2015

TSA – Tamworth Songwriters Association – has announced details of its annual songwriting competitions and awards which will culminate during the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Entries will open from August 1 for the National Country Music Songwriting Contest (for unreleased material), the Songwriter Salute Awards (for commercially released material between 30 September 2013 and 30 September 2014) and the APRA/TSA New Songwriter Award (for material released commercially between 30 September 2013 and 30 September 2014).

Entries this year will be via the TSA's online entry platform provider, Song Central – www.songcentral.biz/tsa.

"This year, there are some ground-breaking rule changes to ensure the TSA's contests are relevant and keep up with trends in music production, co-writing and commercialisation," according to a spokesman.

"In this regard, the National Country Songwriting Contest (for unreleased material) will enable songwriters with co-writers from outside Australia and/or songwriters from outside Australia to enter a new 'International' section. All rules are on the TSA website.

"To allow songs previously ineligible to enter the Songwriter Salute Awards, the TSA will be accepting MP3 files (rather than CDs only), for the contest for this year. In the past, only songs on commercially released CDs were eligible for entry.

"This year, songs for sale via iTunes, Reverbnation and/or other websites for sale will be eligible including songs for purchase from personal websites via MP3.

"The changes to both contests reflect the TSA's desire to move its contests with the times and trends in music," the spokesman said. "In the past, songwriters were precluded from entering the National contest due to international co-writers or precluded from entering the Songwriter Salute Awards if they commercialised songs via online retail sites as opposed to commercially released CDs.

"Sponsor of the new International section is the Tamworth Regional Council Sister City Committee which is keen to further galvanise relationships with the their five sister-city councils including those in Nashville, Tamworth in the UK and the Gore District in New Zealand. Having a section for entry by international entrants and co-writers from Tamworth's sister cities has the potential for further engagement and encouragement of visitors to the January Festival."

The TSA's annual Awards Concert will be held again at the Longyard Hotel on the Festival Tuesday (20th). "The concert is very popular with talented performers both established and new and has limited seating,." the spokesman said. "The Longyard will be selling tickets to the night from December."

"We also welcome as sponsors The Post Office Hotel and the Hogs Breath Café in Tamworth. TSA events in January will be held at these venues plus the Albert Hotel and of course the Longyard. TSA acknowledges and greatly appreciates these businesses as supporters of songwriters and the future of Australian country music.

Weblink – www.tsaonline.com.au.

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FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014

CMC Rocks North Qld forced to downsize

CMC Rocks North Qld has announced it has been forced to revise its lineup and downsize to a smaller venue for 2014.

"Festival promoters are committed to the CMC Rocks events," organisers said in a statement, "with this being the third North Qld instalment since its first appearance in 2010. However, due to less than expected ticket sales, they have been forced to downsize this year's event and move to a concert venue."

The September 27 festival has been moved from Townsville's 22,000-capacity Reid Park to the 5,257-capacity Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre.

Organisers have announced five artists for this year's event... Gary Allan, Blackjack Billy, Morgan Evans (pictured), Karrie Hayward and The Mavericks.

Promoters at Rob Potts Entertainment Edge, Foxtel's Country Music Channel and Chugg Entertainment have offered "generous placation" for the festival's current ticket buyers. Those unhappy with the changes can either receive a full refund, swap their festival ticket for the concert ticket and receive reimbursement of the difference or bring a friend for free.

Weblink – www.cmcrocks.com.

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Chart Update – Adam takes the top spot

Adam Harvey ends Tanya Self's eight-week domination of the national Country Tracks Top 30 chart in the coming week with his She Don't Know She's Beautiful taking over the top spot.

The McClymonts' Here's To You And I is up one to number two while the Jasmine Rae/Kellie Pickler duet Bad Boys Get Me Good is also up one to three and Harmony James' Skinny Flat White bounds up six places to number four.

Adam Brand's What Your Love Looks Like is up two places to number five, McAlister Kemp's Fight Me is new in the top 10 at six as is The Wolfe Brothers' That Kinda Night debuting in the chart at seven.

The Jacaranda is at eight, Morgan Evans' Like A Tornado is back in the top 10 at nine, as is Christie Lamb's Manhunt at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Pete Denahy's Looking At My Phone (27 to 14), Kirsty Akers' That's How You Get Famous (30 to 16), Lyn Bowtell's Heart Of Sorrow (26 to 18), Adam Eckerlsye Band's Tomorrow Night, Same Again (24 to 21) and Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes' Black Coffee (back in the top 30 at 24).

Other new entries to the chart this week include 2014 Toyota Star Maker Jared Porter's Deep End (in at 28).

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

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014

Kimberley Salutes the Benning Brothers

The Benning Brothers were honoured last weekend with a tribute in the Kimberley.

One of the first Aboriginal music groups from the Kimberley in the 1950s, the Brothers were influenced by artists including Slim Dusty, Buddy Williams and John Denver.

The derby tribute featured younger members of the Benning family and other local bands.

Glenys Benning still remembers the old wind up gramophone her family had in the 1950s, and the music they used to listen to. "The likes of Slim Dusty, Buddy Williams. John Denver was one of my Dad's favourites," she told the ABC.

"We grew up basically listening to his music, my Dad's music, and that was all country. The influence was strong on older brothers Frank Senior and Roy Stanley, who ended up forming one of the first Aboriginal music groups in the Kimberley in the late 1950s."

The Benning Brothers Band are now legends in the Kimberley music scene, but sister Glenys recalls the hard work they did in the early years to get a recording deal.

"They used my house on my front verandah to do the demo tape, plus he (Barry Benning) had to get support letters of people who knew our family band. Before we knew it they were packing and heading down to Canberra to do their first recording!"

Glenys remembers her brothers being asked to play for mine workers on Koolan and Cockatoo Islands, and the travel they did through the Kimberley and Northern Territory for concerts.

A tribute concert in Derby this weekend will feature younger generations of the Benning family, as well as other local bands.

Glenys says she is proud to see the music continue through the years, and credits the Derby community for their support. "I'm very proud being a part of the Derby community... all that support there when you want it."

The Barry Benning Tribute Concert is a part of the Derby Boab Festival. Glenys Benning spoke to Hilary Smale for ABC Kimberley.

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MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014

New from the Davidson Brothers

Wanderlust is the latest album from the Davidson Brothers, Hamish and Lachlan, the band's seventh.

Pundits say the new work "is bound to gain them a swag of awards to add to their already impressive list (and possibly overflowing cabinet) of accolades".

Opting against heading to their usual stomping grounds in Nashville, the album was recorded in Australia with seasoned local musicians at Sing Sing Studios.

Both brothers are championship-winning multi-instrumentalists with talents showcased on banjo, mandolin, dorbo and fiddle across the album.

Highlights include the first track on the album, Every Time You Leave.

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FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

Tyson wins at Sarina

He's only 14 years old, but Tyson Lucas' fellow competitors at the 30th annual Sarina Country Music Festival suggested his deep voice could one day rival that of experienced country crooner Adam Harvey.

Channelling Slim Dusty on When The Rain Tumbles Down In July, the Townsville local (pictured with several of his trophies) easily won the Junior Australian Bush Ballad section at the Festival, also receiving a second and third place in other sections.

"I knew the song so I just played it and hoped everyone else would enjoy it," Tyson said.

Col Duncan, a festival judge of five years, said it was important to keep a hold on the heritage music of Australia. "Our younger competitors are now singing the iconic Slim Dusty songs and following storytellers like Sara Storer and bush balladeer Graham Rodger.

"Many of our great country musicians have passed on, but their legacy continues," Col said, whose own enduring ties with the festival have come full circle.

"I entered the Sarina festival in its early years. Then in 2002, the Year of the Outback, I was overall winner at Hughenden Country Music Festival, and a year later I was runner-up Bush Balladeer of Australia in Tamworth."

Sarina Country Music Association Secretary Jean Smith said the festival attracted singers from across the state, with 250 music items on the program this year.
"We"re looking to take the festival open air next year. Competitors will be able to camp onsite to make travel and accommodation a lot easier for them," she said.

The Association was recently granted $4000 from the Sarina Community Bank to cover running costs of the festival and pre-competition music workshops for young entrants.

Senior Overall Winner at this year's event was Kylee Champion, Junior Overall Winner Billie-Rose Copeland and Juvenile Overall Winner,Phoebe Foster Griffiths.

Another standout winner was Judah Kelly who took out Male Australian Bush Ballad, Male Vocal and Male Country Gospel.

Other winners included... April Evans (Junior Vocal); Laura Veasey (Juvenile/Junior Truckin'), Naomi Goodale (Adult Truckin'), Sunshine & The Cowboy (Duo Vocal), Jessica Cash (Junior Country Rock), Mark Absolon (Golden Oldies), Rose n Thorns (Trio Vocal) and Slim Jones (Songwriters).

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014

Don inducted to SA Hall of Fame

Former Robinvale (SA) country music singer Don Costa was recognised for his 27 years in the country music business with his induction into the South Australian Country Music Hall of Fame at Barmera on the weekend.

"It's the first recognition of this kind for me and I am really honoured," Don said. "Things have changed a bit for the independent artists and CD sales are not the same as they were and with country music festivals reducing budgets, it's always a challenge."

Don said he has travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres in the pursuit of being a professional country music artist. "Getting my handprint in cement was awesome for me – the Barmera festival had a good vibe about it and there some good acts at it.

"I am now looking forward to appearances at the Mildura Country Music Festival this year in September and I am contemplating a new album for release at this year's event."

Don began his music career with brothers Paul, Noel and Anthony in the band Shadow Rock. Then followed seven years as a duo with Paul as a country duo, The Costa Brothers, before both embarked on solo careers.

Last year, Don produced a Country Cruisin' album which commemorated his selection as an artist on a seven day south Pacific cruise with the likes of Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, Lee Kernaghan and Gina Jeffreys.

Country Cruisin' was Don's 14th self-funded album recorded by Don Hodge at Ballarat where he is likely do album number 15 in the next month or to.

Weblink – www.doncosta.com.au.
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SA Country Music Awards

In other news from the Barmera festival, South Australian entertainer Jay J Shannon, who attended a number of Mildura Country Music Festivals 20 years ago, was presented with an industry award for his services to the South Australian country music industry.

Winners of the Festival talent quest (also known as the SA CM Awards), were...

Senior Gospel – Venessa Waara (Carrick, Tasmania), Junior Gospel – Josie Rains (Burra, SA), 16 yrs & under – Juliet Oliver (McLaren Vale, SA), 12 yrs & under – Josie Rains, Instrumental – Jason Gwiazda (Houghton, SA), Songwriter – Phil LeMay (Broken Hill, NSW) with Going Home, Duo – Bandanna Beau/Kaalua Cruz (Rushworth, Vic), Australian Bush Ballads – Venessa Waara, Female Vocal: Cynthia Lawrance (Horsham, Vic), Male Vocal – Bandanna Beau, Country Rock – Bandanna Beau, Senior Indigenous – Venessa Waara (New Zealand) and Junior Indigenous – Jamie Slape.

Bandanna Beau (Rushworth, Victoria) was presented with the Frank Harding Memorial South Australian Award of Excellence with Cynthia Lawrance (Horsham, Vic) runner-up.
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MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

New from The Wolfe Brothers

The Wolfe Brothers will release a new album on September 5, Nothin' But Trouble through ABC Music/Universal.

The band recorded the album over two weeks at Studio 301 in Byron Bay under the production of American Luke Wooten and is the follow-up to the band's 2013 debut It's On which hit 18 on the ARIA Album Chart and two on the ARIA Country Chart, the highest ever debut for a Tasmanian band.

Lead single from the new work will be That Kinda Night comes with an accompanying video.

"This ride that we have been on for the past two years just keeps getting better and better," aid band member Tom Wolfe. "We have travelled all over Australia, played to sell-out crowds, met the best fans in the world who have been so supportive of us and now we get to do it all again with a new album that we are very proud of.

"Our future is certain to be, Nothin' But Trouble, and we are loving every minute of it. Huge thanks from us to all who have supported the band so far, we are truly blessed… we hope you enjoy this new album and the music we have made. The best is yet to come."

Following their second placing in "Australia's Got Talent" 2012, The Wolfe Brothers, comprising brothers Nick and Tom Wolfe along with childhood friends Brodie Rainbird and Casey Kostiuk, were signed to ABC Music and scored a deal with Lee Kernaghan's management company.

Having "cut their teeth" over the past 18 months touring nationally with Lee Kernaghan as both his support act and backing band, The Wolfe Brothers have "hit every far-flung corner of Australia" and have now announced an extensive tour to support the release of the new album.

The tour kicks off in Burnie, Tasmania, on Friday July 18 and concludes in Hobart on Sunday December 21, visiting Western Australia, Victoria, NSW and Queensland, some shows in conjunction with Lee Kernaghan and more dates to be announced.

Weblink – www.thewolfebrothers.com.
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FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014

More stars announced for Slim Dusty Memories Week

More star guest artists have been announced for this year's Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week at Kempsey.

Joining Ray Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan and Luke O’Shea will be Anne Kirkpatrick (a regular at this special event!), Amos Morris, Dean Perrett and Taylor Pfeiffer – "The Banjo Girl".

And what do our guest artists think of Slim Dusty Memories Week?

"I love my annual pilgrimage to Kempsey for the SDCMMW!" said Anne. "Who would have thought that Bruce and Trish Woods' idea to hold a Slim Dusty Memories afternoon at their property some 10 years ago, would have grown to this huge weeklong event with campers, caravans and motorhomes from all over Australia
converging on the showgrounds and a crowd that keeps growing every year?

"Well, I can believe it!... as right from the start, there was this wonderful 'extended family' feel to the whole event – backstage between the artists and between artists and audience. It's very special to our family that people want to come together to
'relive' their memories of my dad, Slim. So, as usual, I'm looking forward to another great Festival and catching up with everyone."

"I am truly looking forward to being in Kempsey for the Slim Dusty Memories week to perform my songs of the bush," said Dean, "and to also celebrate the timeless music that Slim left for us all to love and treasure.

"The music will be great and the atmosphere just like a big campfire singalong. So bring your mates and enjoy it to the full!"

Amos said: "I have been delighted to be involved with the Festival over the past 11 years and it warms my heart to think of how it has grown from an evening in the Woods' backyard to the major event it is now.

"Kempsey has always needed such an event to 'put us on the map' so to speak, and I can think of none better than the SDCMMW. May it continue to grow and flourish."

Taylor said: "I am extremely excited to be a part of the Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week. Slim Dusty was an amazing man who had a huge influence on country music as we know it today. Sadly I never met him but I'm excited to be a part of this amazing week, to show my appreciation to Australia's country music legend.

"I'm looking forward to meeting people during the week and hearing all the stories about Slim by those people who did meet him. Thank you to the Australian Bush Balladeers Association and the SDCMMW Committee for this great opportunity."

The 2014 event is shaping up to be a cracker year, according to organisers. It will be held, as usual, at the Kempsey Showground and already, powered camping sites at the Showground have sold out.

"Unpowered sites are still available," organisers say, "and can be booked via the downloadable form from the Memories Week page on the slimdustycentre.com.au website.

"For more updates, join the Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Facebook page.

"Folks are welcome to bring along their generators for use at the Showground
and on unpowered sites. Also, there are many accommodation choices available in the Macleay Valley."

This year's Slim Dusty Country Music Memories Week will run from Monday to Sunday, October 20 to 26, and includes an Open Day at the Slim Dusty Centre on Tuesday the 21st, and a bus trip to Slim's boyhood home at Nulla Nulla on the 22nd.


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MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014

New from The McClymonts

Here's To You And I is the latest album from country sensations The McClymonts, sisters Brooke, Mollie and Sam.

The album is "filled with heartfelt stories, irresistible tunes and that unmistakable honesty," according to a spokesman for the group.

"The multi-talented musicians from Grafton have come a long way since their 2007 debut album Chaos And Bright Lights. They picked up the ARIA for Best Country Album in 2010 for their second album Wrapped Up Good with hit singles Kick It Up, Hearts On Fire, A Women Is A Flame and the title track.

"Then they topped this in 2012 with their third album Two Worlds Collide featuring How Long Have You Known, Piece Of Me and, again, the title track."

Two Worlds Collide again won Best Country Album at the ARIAs. The group also picked up eight Golden Guitar Awards and an APRA Award along the way and won countless fans and critics as they toured extensively around Australia and the USA.

Then it all stopped, when eldest sister Brooke announced her pregnancy in 2012, the girls weren't sure what it would mean for the group. It turned out to be a blessing.

"We were just fried," said Sam, looking back. "After so many years on the road, there had been no time for life beyond the band. So while Brooke had daughter Tiggy, everyone took a well-earned break. Now our priorities are different. It's worked out for the best because music is still the number one priority but we are so much more happier because we have more balance."

"They are refreshed and ready to go again," said the spokesman. "They have been working on Here's To You And I for over a year and they wanted it to be perfect."

"We wanted every song to be reflective of us so we would sit down and talk about what we were going through," Sam said.

And there's been plenty to talk about. Aside from the birth of Brooke's daughter, Sam is planning a wedding to her long time partner Ben while Mollie has bought a home and been through a relationship break up.

"In the last seven years, we've gone through a lot and we've got a lot more experiences to sing about," said Brooke. "We wouldn't touch on a subject if someone wasn't comfortable," said Sam.

"Yet the trio remains disarmingly honest," according to the spokesman, "and unafraid to explore personal topics including life, love, heartbreak and family. In fact, these big life changes inspired the new album's title: Here’s To You & I refers to their ever evolving relationships with each other and with those they are closest to."

Weblink – themcclymonts.com.au.
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THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014

Allan loses lawsuit

Allan Caswell has lost his lawsuit claiming American country band Alabama's song Christmas In Dixie copied his On The Inside, theme of the television series Prisoner.

The writer failed in his bid to sue Sony, claiming he was "ripped off" by the publication of the similar composition.

Allan launched legal action against Sony Australia after hearing Christmas In Dixie in 2003.

He said the 1982 tune infringed the copyright of his 1979 hit and that Sony had failed to take appropriate steps to protect this copyright with their US counterpart.

If Sony had done so, substantial damages would have been recovered, he argued.

But Supreme Court Justice Michael Pembroke dismissed Allan's claim saying there was no evidence any copyright infringement claim by Sony Australia would have been successful.

During a hearing of the matter, the Court heard from a founding member of the band Alabama, Teddy Gentry, who "recalled with obvious and detailed affection the circumstances of the creation of Christmas In Dixie on a hot, mid-summer day in 1982 at Lookout Mountain in Alabama", Justice Pembroke said.

"He said that the first time he heard the plaintiff's song was many years later, in the Nashville office of Sony US, after the plaintiff had made a complaint."

Gentry lived on a farm and had little exposure to television.

"I am satisfied that it is unlikely that he could have heard the plaintiff's song by picking it up from the theme music of episodes of Prisoner," Justice Pembroke said.

The court also heard that the central element of both songs is "one of the most basic and common harmonic patterns in all music".

"There was no failure by Sony to exercise its discretion and, in the circumstances, nothing unreasonable, or lacking in good faith, in the way the discretion was exercised," Justice Pembroke said, dismissing the claim.

Allan is considering follow-up legal action.
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MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014

Brent wins lyric award

For the second year running, Brent Lillie has won the We Are Listening International Lyric Writer Award.

The Ballad Of Tommy Laidley, Brent's ode to the Mississippi paddle wheelers, picked up first prize, with another of the writer's original songs, I'm a Survivor, also making the final four. It is the first time a songwriter has won the International Lyric Award twice.

The win will give Brent the opportunity to turn his words into recorded music and work with the music industry's leading songwriters, session players, producers, and engineers.

Weblink – www.facebook.com/brentlilliemusic.
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Natalia signs

Australian born and currently Nashville based Natalia Starzynski has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Warner/Chappell Music Nashville.

Natalia grew up in the suburbs of Melbourne. At the age of 17, she was accepted into the Belmont University in Nashville Tennessee to study and began co-writing.

In 2013, she was accepted into the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Guidance from Publishers for Songwriters (GPS) Class, where along with 11 other singer/songwriters, she was paired with publishers, attorneys and other industry influentials to help develop her songwriting craft and music career.

Natalia has been working with some or Nashville's well-known songwriting heavyweights.

The agreement sees the publisher sign Natalia to an artist development deal and as a singer/songwriter.

"I'm excited and honored to get to pursue what I love and have always been passionate about and worked at, as a career," Natalia said. "To have the opportunity to write music on a professional level with Warner/Chappell giving me the platform to pitch my music to some of the greatest artists in the world, is what I have dreamed of achieving.

“In fact, this exceeds my dreams. I couldn't be more excited to be a part of the Warner/Chappell Nashville team and member of the Warner family worldwide and look forward to working hard and achieving great things."

Natalia plans to remain living in Nashville while she works on a debut album.

Weblink.
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FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014

Chart Update – The Jacaranda still at number one

Tanya Self's The Jacaranda continues its reign at number one on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30, this coming week for the fifth successive time.

Carter & Carter's Little Patch Of Heaven is steady again at number two, while Tania Kernaghan's Call Home bounds into the top 10 at number three, as does Harmony James' Skinny Flat White at four.

Christie Lamb's Manhunt is at five, Bec Hance's Nothin' More To Say is another newcomer this week to the top 10 at six and Amber Joy Poulton's Maybe Baby is up two to seven.

Natalie Howard's Paradise is also up two places to eight, The McClymonts' Going Under (Didn't Have To) is at nine and Arthur Blanch's Buy That Man A Beer is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include 8 Ball Aitken's Hillbilly Disco (21 to 12), Karen Lynne's Will I Be Good Enough (20 to 15), The Long & Short Of It's Latter Day Cowboy (25 to 19), Sara Storer's Come On Rain (26 to 21), Allan Caswell's Kick The Bucket (27 to 23) and Kaylee Bell's Just A Little Crazy (30 to 26).

New entries to the chart this week are Adam Brand's What Your Love Looks Like (in at 28) and Kel-Anne Brandt's Green Door (at 29).

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

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THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2014

Stagecoach the venue

Stagecoach Music is the name given to Brisbane's new "Home of Country Music" – the Underdog Hotel in Fortitude Valley.

The Underdog, formerly known as The Step Inn and Shamrock Hotel, has embraced live music for decades, according to a spokesman for the venue but, in recent times, genres such as jazz and "indi rock" had featured.

"Now it's country music's turn," the spokesman said, "with a regular night of 'New Country Sounds' every Thursday, five hours of live country music in the offering, plus a soloist in the front bar."

Stars including Rob Black, People's Choice winner Terry Clark (pictured), Seleen McAlister and Toyota Star Maker 2014 Jared Porter have performed at The Underdog in recent times.

Chris Cameron, owner and publican, said: "Having country as part of the broad base of live music offerings was an obvious choice, the genre is growing and Brisbane was crying out for a regular consistent base for artists and fans to meet and come together on weekly basis."

The Underdog Hotel is on the corner of Brunswick Street and St Pauls Terrace in Fortitude Valley.

Weblink – www.theunderdogpub.com.

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014

Mildura set to roll

Australian country music fans are set for a "feast of quality performances" at the 28th Mildura Country Music Festival in September/October.

The Festival has recently received $18,500 in Victorian Government funding through Tourism Victoria's Events Program.

Member for Mildura Peter Crisp said the funding would support marketing activities designed to attract visitors from across Victoria and interstate to the 10-day festival.

"The Mildura Country Music Festival is the largest event on the Mildura region's rich arts and cultural events calendar, attracting visitors from Victoria, across Australia and even overseas," he said.

"Festival visitors stay in Mildura and surrounding towns for more than nine nights on average, providing a significant economic boost for local hotels, restaurants and tourism-focused businesses."

Renowned as Australia's largest fully independent country music event, Mildura includes the Australian Independent Country Music Awards, known as The Southern Stars, which are broadcast nationally by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia and the National Indigenous Radio Service.

This year’s Mildura Country Music Festival will run from Friday September 26 to Sunday October 5 and will feature a broad selection of performers, from bright newcomer Kiara Rodrigues to national living treasure Chad Morgan.

Tourism Minister Louise Asher said the Victorian Government was committed to ensuring regional Victoria shared the economic benefits of the state's thriving tourism and events sector.

Weblink – www.milduracountrymusic.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014

Sara named Gympie Muster ambassador

Country star Sara Storer has been named Ambassador of the Gympie Muster’s Buy A Bale charity.

The charity, the recipient of the Farmer's Aid Appeal, a concept integrated into the Gympie Muster since 1993, helps farmers facing tough times.

In addition to being one of Australia's major country music events, the Muster is also a charitable festival that comes together to help the community, according to Charles Adler, Buy A Bale campaign coordinator.

"We are so grateful for the support the Muster gives Buy a Bale, both financially and in bringing awareness to the plight of farmers, and we will continue to support them in the great work they do."

Sara grew up in the Mallee region of rural Victoria in the same hometown as John Williamson. She comes from a family of farmers. Sara and John collaborated on the song Raining On The Plains in 2004 and on her recent single Come On Rain.

Gympie is 90 minutes north of Brisbane, Queensland. The Muster will run from August 28 to 31 at the dedicated Amamoor Creek State Forest Park site.

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Notes from a supporter of Graham's tour

By Ray & Carol King, Adelaide

My self and my wife have just spent the most amazing three weeks of our lives touring with Graham Rodger through outback Queensland witnessing a truly amazing performer giving something back to country Australia.

His idea of a "tag along tour" was sheer brilliance... the pleasure and enjoyment it gave to the people, not to mention the financial gain by over 100 people spending in those areas, was pure heaven.

The places and scenery were breathtaking, not to mention the true Australian hospitality shown by all to our touring group.

Graham, we take our hats off to you for a truly unforgettable time – thanks again.

Mention must also go to all the other artists who supported Graham on this quest... Deirdre, Laurel Calvert, Trevor Tolton and Pat Brown plus those people behind the scenes who helped put it all together... thanks to you all.

Finally, let's hope Graham's example will be followed and other artists will follow in his foot steps.

Weblink – www.grahamrodger.com.au.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 24, 2014

Aussie live performance industry worth $2.5bn

Report on a study by Christie Eliezer

The Australian live performance industry is worth $2.5 billion, according to a second study of the economic size and scope of the sector by Live Performance Australia. The study was prepared by EY (formerly Ernst & Young), based on the latest data available, from 2012.

The June 2014 study is broader in scope than the previous issued in 2010 (based on 2008 data). It includes the key organisations of the Australia Council for the Arts, and regional and metropolitan venues that are members of the Australian Performing Arts Centre Association (APACA).

It now shows that the live sector accounts for 34,131 employees, greater than the 20,439 people employed in film and video as their main job.

Among the numbers making up the $2.5 billion output, 49.6 percent comes from box office income ($1.2 billion), 28.9 percent from corporate sponsorship and support ($99.9 million) and 17.6 percent from government funding ($44.7 million).

The study also shows that the industry's Value Added – the market value of goods and services produced by an industry after deducting the cost of goods and services used – is $1.53 billion, a 17 percent growth from $1.15 billion in 2008 to $1.3 billion in 2012.

LPA attributed growth to an overall rise in industry wages and a 21 percent increase in the number of full time equivalent employees. LPA's chief executive Evelyn Richardson explained: "The industry's value add is significantly higher than analogous industries, including Film, Television & Digital Games ($930 million – ABS data)."

NSW and Victoria continue to comprise 65 percent of the total value of the industry in terms of industry output and value add. The study also includes new per capita analysis that shows NSW has the highest value add per capita at $79.79.

NSW's live performance sector contributed $586.5 million to the NSW state economy, Victoria's $422.4 million to its state economy, Queensland $236.5 million, Western Australia $161.7 million, South Australia $87.9 million, ACT $19.4 million, Tasmania $13.2 million and the NT $1.5 million.

In terms of value added, NSW had a 38.4 percent share worth $967.4 million. Victoria's share was 27.6 percent with $693.8 million. Queensland was 15.5 percent ($400.1 million), WA 10.6 percent ($275.6 million), South Australia 5.7 percent ($151.3 million), ACT 1.5 percent ($32.1 million), Tasmania 0.9 percent ($22.7 million) and the Northern Territory 0.1 percent ($2.7 million).

In event category terms, Contemporary Music had the highest share of value add at nearly 37 percent. It generated an output of $830.9 million. In terms of value add, the category contributed $564 million to the Australian economy, representing 36.9 percent of the total value add by the industry. Musical Theatre which created output of $371.8 million and value add of $186.3 million, representing 12.2 percent of the total value add of the live performance industry.

LPA's Evelyn Richardson commented that the live performance industry also generated less tangible benefits such as improved social cohesion, lifestyle improvement, diversity and increased creativity, not reflected in economic metrics. "Our industry is a significant contributor in terms of financial, employment, and quality of life metrics to the Australian economy," she said.

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MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014

John and Wayne go "outback"

John Howie and Wayne Horsburgh (pictured) have launched a tour from Victoria into NSW and South Australia.

With a tour group, the pair perform in centres including Adelaide, the Barossa Valley, Birdsville, Broken Hill, the Flinders Ranges, Innamincka, Melbourne, Mildura, Mungo National Park, Tibooburra and White Cliffs.

It's "a fabulous tour, visiting many of the most remote and beautiful places in outback Australia," said John. "Plus a feast of great Aussie music and bush poetry!"

Other stars scheduled to perform include The Borderers, Corinna Cordwell, Arthur Coulthard, Gill Delaney and Dave Prior.

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25 years North

Graeme Connors has re-released his ground-breaking album North to celebrate the album's 25th anniversary.

In an interview with the ABC, Graeme told presenter Pip Courtney and reporter Megan Woodward that 1988 was "a breakthough year".

It was 30 years ago, on a cold winter's morning in Sydney, that North Queensland boy Graeme Connors sat down to pen the lyrics that would change his life.

Five years later, A Little Further North was released on his breakthrough album titled North.

"It was such a fresh start for Graeme Connors, for me. It was indicative of my story and it was a huge success in its day. It was just – and has continued over... it's one of... it's one of those strange albums, groups of songs, that people today are hearing for the first time and buying." Graeme said.

"It's nice to have something that sort of has a sense of timelessness about it. It's almost like, yes, 25 years are gone, but it's sort of the story's the same, you know? We haven't really altered too much."

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Broadbeach Festival

The 2014 Broadbeach Country Music Festival on Queensland's Gold Coast gets underway today.

Billed as a three-day free event, stars of the Festival include Troy Cassar-Daley, Paul Costa, Ashleigh Dallas (pictured), Pete Denahy, Dozzi, Col Finley, Adam Harvey, Harmony James, Amber Lawrence, Ben Ransom, Simply Bushed and Adam Toms.

Other featured performers include Casey Barnes, The Bostocks, Liam Brew, Brad Butcher, Terry Clark, Tim Guy, Hillbilly Goats, Harry Hookey, Kerry Kennedy, The Lamplights, Tash Le Strange, Seleen McAlsiter, Thor Phillips Band, Livi Robins, The Round Mountain Girls, Jonny Taylor, The Viper Creek Band, Trevor White & Route 66 and Craig Woodward & The Lonely Dogs.

Presented by Broadbeach Alliance, who also stage the multi-award-winning Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival, the event will run through to and including Sunday.

Venues include The Beach Hotel, Broadbeach Mall, The Envy Hotel, Grumpy's Barefoot Bar & Grill, Niecon Plaza, Oasis Shopping Centre, Surf Parade, TC's Sofitel Gold Coast and Wave Corner.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 2014

JW to release his 50th album

John Williamson has announced the released of his 50th album, Honest People.

Set to debut on July 25, the new work will celebate an exceptional longevity for one of the nation's most prolific artists.

"John captures the Australian spirit, character and landscape with honesty, integrity and passion through his words and music," according to a spokesman for his record label.

"During a career that has spanned almost forty-five years, and now delivering his 50th album, John has produced some of the greatest songs written about Australia and its people... Galleries Of Pink Galahs, Raining On The Rock, Cootamundra Wattle, Sir Don... to name a few. And not forgetting True Blue, the song that many consider should be our national anthem.

"At the age of 68, you might think that John would rest on his vast catalogue of work, put his feet up and say, 'that's enough'. But not John."

His new milestone album was co-produced with award-winning producer Matt Fell, and is described as an album that showcases a joint quest for perfection in their craft.

"As usual with Williamson, the album is full of songs about real people, places and moments. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry and others will simply make you feel proud of this great land and to be Australian.

"The opening track, Heatwave, pounds with the shimmering heat of the Australian landscape under conditions only too familiar to us in summer. John's childhood town of Quambatook is the inspiration for the title track which will also be the first single to be released.

"It portrays the simple innocence of growing up in a small country town and the changes that have taken place in a tight-knit community. But it also conveys John's concern for similar changes faced by 'progress' in many rural towns across Australia and the loss of a sense of community.

To coincide with the release of Honest People, Penguin Books will release John's autobiography "Hey, True Blue" on July 23.

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Troy and Adam to headline Deni

Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey have been announced as the new headline acts for this year's Deni Ute Muster.

The twin Golden Guitar winning pair will join the likes of

Troy and Adam were signed up for the starring role to replace a previous headlining act who had to withdraw due to clash of commitments.

Now in its 16th year, the Deni Ute Muster celebrates "all things Australian" and is billed as the largest event of its kind in the world. Year on year, the Muster continues to grow bigger and better and 2014 is on track to again break all its records.

In addition to the live performances, the Muster will include such activity as the Bull Ride Spectacular, the Australian National Circle Work Championships, Ute Museum, Holden Grunt Off, Holden Barrel Race and Show 'n' Shine, plus a host of trade sites and food stalls.

Carnival Corner, helicopter rides, a family centre, the mechanical bucking bull, woodchop demonstrations and Whip Cracking Championships will also be included.

The 2014 Deni Ute Muster is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Weblink – www.deniutemuster.com.au.

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Chart Update – The Jacaranda holds number one

Tanya Self's The Jacaranda maintains its hold on the number one position for the fourth successive week on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Carter & Carter's Little Patch Of Heaven is also steady, at number two, while Christie Lamb's Manhunt zooms up seven places to number three and Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters is at number four.

The McClymonts' Going Under (Didn't Have To) is back in the top 10 at number five, the Jasmine Rae/Kellie Pickler duet Bad Boys Get Me Good debuts in this week's chart at six and the Dozzi/Drew McAlister duet I Need You Tonight is up one to seven.

Arthur Blanch's Buy That Man A Beer is at eight, Amber Joy Poulton's Maybe Baby debuts in the top 10 at nine as does Natalie Howard's Paradise at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes' Black Coffee (19 to 11), Dale Duncan & Johanna Hemara's duet I Told You So (27 to 13), Morgan Evans' Like A Tornado (25 to 14), Tania Kernaghan's Call Home (23 to 15), Lee Kernaghan's Dirt Music (24 to 18), Harmony James' Skinny Flat White (new at 19), Greg Champion's Welcome To Woop Woop (new at 24) and The Long & Short Of It's Latter Day Cowboy (new at 25).

Other new entries to the chart this week include Bec Hance's Nothin' More To Say (new at 28).

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

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MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2014

New from Aly

In the coming months, Aly Cook will be travelling extensively promoting her new album Horse Shoe Rodeo Hotel.

Aly is planning a series of house concerts in between other concerts and festivals and is first offering this opportunity to "the crowd funding believers in the album, those that have invested in my music along with people who are just good mates who might be keen.

"It works very simply really... you get a minimum of 20 friends together for a barbecue or evening and I come to your place and perform. You can do BYO food or work it how you want but basically the tickets are $30.. each ticket buyer/friend gets to come and gets an autographed copy of the new album.

"You and your friends get the opportunity to hear the new songs and some songs from my current album in the intimate setting of your home."

Aly will be travelling to the Northern Territory/Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, in New Zealand, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch in the months of July, August, September October and again around January in NSW.

Weblink - www.alycook.com.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2014

Chart Update – Tanya still at number one

Tanya Self's The Jacaranda is at number one for the third week on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Carter & Carter's Little Patch Of Heaven is steady at two while Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm is at three and Doug Bruce's former Clock Out At Five is steady at four.

Kate Cook's Hit The Highway is up five to five, Arthur Blanch's Buy That Man A Beer is steady at six and Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters is at seven.

Dozzi's duet with Drew McAlister – I Need You Tonight – is at eight, Christie Lamb's Manhunt enters the top 10 at nine and Karen Lynne's Will I Be Good Enough is new in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Natalie Howard's Paradise (18 to 11), Kaylee Bell's Just A Little Crazy (new at 15), Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away (21 to 16), 8 Ball Aitken's Hillbilly Disco (new at 17), Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes' Black Coffee (new at 19), Sara Storer's Come On Rain (26 to 21), Lee Kernaghan's Dirt Music (new at 24) and Dale Duncan & Johanna Hemara (pictured) with I Told You So (30 to 27).

Other new entries to the chart this week include Maybe Baby by Amber Joy Poulton (new at 28).

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

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2014

Natalie's album achieves top honours

Natalie Howard's album Under (Love's) Umbrella has won the Country Album section of this year's Independent Music Awards.

The awards, the 13th to be staged, werre announced in America on Wednesday by the Music Resource Group.

Nashville based Natalie – described as "the contemporary-driven country music songstress from Queensland" – is among the established and rising stars named as the judge-determined winners.

Weblink – www.nataliehoward.net.

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MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2014

From Parkesbourne to Nashville

Rising country star Roo Arcus has a growing international fan base, evidenced by his appearance on the cover of an European magazine "Cowboys".

To say Roo, a cattle producer from Parkesbourne near Goulburn (NSW), was surprised when the Italian magazine wanted to put him on its front cover would be an understatement.

The shock was also mixed with pride as it meant his music had gained more international recognition.

Roo juggles work on his property "Candlebark" with a music career that is gathering momentum, years after he thought the opportunity might have passed him by.

The title track from his album This Here Cowboy made it to number one on the Australian country music charts in late 2012 and, by 2013 and early 2014, Roo's music was getting played across the world.

It was a different story back in 2004, though, after he walked away from a promising start in the country music scene due to the pressures of drought, starting a new family and the tragic loss of his mother.

"I started in 1995 after coming back home from a year jackarooing up in Queensland at Headingly Station west of the Isa," he said. "I ended up hooking up with a couple of friends who had their own band, the Mustang Billys, and helping them out as a roadie."

By the end of that year, however, Roo was in his own band and by 1998 he was touring with Slim Dusty.

The legend of Australian country music even recorded a song Roo wrote called Ringers, Rigs And Drivers, and put it on one of his albums.

In 2000, Roo's first album, Station Boy, was nominated for two Golden Guitars and it looked like the sky would be the limit for the up and coming country music star.

Only a few years later, the demands of running his parents' property during a crippling drought, combined with the emotional upheavel of his mother's long struggle with leukaemia, resulted in Roo being ready to quit the music industry.

Then, when his daughter was born in 2004, he decided it was time to put his guitar away.

It wasn't until early 2012 he felt he could have another crack at fulfilling a passion he'd had since he first taught himself to play the guitar as a youngster.

Weblink – www.rooarcus.com.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2014

Blue Water Festival

Running from today until Monday is the Blue Water Country & Blues Festival at venues in and around the NSW coastal towns of Nelson Bay, Salamandar Bay and Shoal Bay.

Previously only a country music event, Blue Water this year incorporates blues music as one of its features.

More than 50 artists are scheduled to perform across 20 outdoor and indoor venues, including Catherine Britt (pictured), Brothers3, Bobby C, Carter & Carter, Bob Corbett & The Roo Grass Band, Paul Costa, Jayne Denham, Emile, Georgia Fall, Chris James, Graeme Johnson, The Harmonators, Brooke Harvey, Johanna Hemara, Jack Daniels & Co Duo, Kathryn Jones, Amber Lawrence, Bec Lewis, Kim Mackenzie, Wayne Metcalf, Amos Morris, Ian Moss, Karen O'Shea, Luke O'Shea, Steve Passfield (pictured), Zane Penn, Gleny Rae & Her Playboys, Ben Ransom, Tanya Self, Milton Taylor, the Mark Wells Trio, Rob Wilson and The Blue Water Cowboys.

Venues include d'Albora Marina, Country Club Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay Sports & Recreational Club, Ibis Styles, Mantra Aqua Resort, Mavericks on the Bay, Nelson Bay Bowling Club, Nelson Bay Foreshore, Ramada Resort Shoal Bay, the Salamander Bay Shopping Center, The SeaBreeze Hotel, Soldiers Point Bowling Club, Vues on the Bay and West Diggers.

Weblink – www.bluewatercountrymusic.com.au.

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Chart Update – Tanya hangs on to the top spot

Tanya Self's The Jacaranda – from her new album Random Truths – retains the number one position on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Carter & Carter's Little Patch Of Heaven edges up one to number two while Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters jumps two places to number three and Doug Bruce's former number one – Clock Out At Five – is at four.

Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm is at five, Arthur Blanch's Buy That Man A Beer is up three places to six and Keith Urban's Cop Car edges up one place to seven.

The Black Sorrows debut in the chart at number eight with Save Me while Tania Kernaghan's Call Home debuts in the top 10 at nine and Kate Cook's Hit The Highway is also new in the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Christie Lamb's Manhunt (20 to 12), Morgan Evans' Like A Tornado (25 to 14), Karen Lynne's Will I Be Good Enough (23 to 17), Kylee B's This Girl's Got A Men's Shed (20 to 27) and Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away (28 to 21).

Other new entries to the chart this week include the duet by Dale Duncan and Johanna Hemara, I Told You So (new at 30).

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

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THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2014

CMA MusicFest underway

America's biggest country music festival, CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival is underway in Nashville.

The celebration kicked off on Wednesday and runs until Sunday and will attract thousands of visitors to 11 stages with 450 artists and celebrities participating at a number of major venues in America's Music City.

"We are so proud to present the 2014 CMA Music Festival to the fans," said CMA Chief Executive Sarah Trahern. "The sheer volume and level of talent and activities this year will offer the best Festival experience to date."

Earlier this week, an annual international curtain-raiser event featured a number of country acts from around the globe including Australia and New Zealand.

Kaylens Rain (pictured), O'Shea, 2014 Toyota Star Maker Jared Porter and Tamara Stewart from Australia joined New Zealand's Cameron Scott and Canada's Jaida Dreyer, Emerson Drive, Kira Isabella, Wes Mack and the duo One More Girl (sisters Britt and Carly McKillip), Sweden's David Park and the UK's David Bradley for the CMA World GlobaLive! on Monday.

Morgan Evans featured in the Festival's Kick-Off Concert while Keith Urban (pictured) stars during a showcase tomorrow night (Saturday). Roo Arcus was scheduled to appear at a venue by the name of Durango Music Spot.

Weblink – cmamusicfestival.com.

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2014

New studio album from Adam

Adam Brand is set to released a new studio album this August.

Titled My Side Of The Street, the new work is Adam's 10th release with 13 tracks.

It features a duet with Jasmine Rae on Quit This Time and also has a cover of the Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs classic Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy.

"They say you get your whole life to write and record your first album," Adam said. "In some respect I feel I have been waiting my entire life to release this album. I threw the rule book out the window and said everything I wanted to say, exactly the way I wanted to say it."

Whatever gives Aussie music its heart, Adam Brand breathes plenty of life into its soul, according to a spokesman for the artist.

"For more than 15 years, Brand has been one of the country's best-loved and most successful recording artists."

First single from the album will be What Your Love Looks Like. A national tour to support the new release will kick off in Sale, Victoria, on Wednesday September 3.

"Adam Brand is undeniably a fixture on the local music landscape," the spokesman said.

"The versatile star has three Platinum and five Gold albums to his name, along with 12 Golden Guitars, an ARIA Top 5 album in 2012's There Will Be Love, and multiple ARIA Nominations for Best Country Album.

"He has toured with the likes of Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss and James Reyne locally, and hit the road with Taylor Swift across the USA."

Weblink – www.adambrand.com.au.

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TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 2014

Choir gives voice to power of music

Beccy Cole firmly believes music can be a tool for breaking down the barriers of race, disability and sexuality.

"When you hear someone singing and they have a great voice, all of those other things don't matter," she said.

Beccy said her long-held view was reaffirmed by a visit to Perth earlier this year for the Variety Youth Choir's 15-year anniversary concert.

The group formed in 1998 after rave reviews of what was supposed to be a one-off performance by Variety WA scholarship recipients.

It has grown into a successful 55-person choir that includes able-bodied, disabled and disadvantaged youth.

Choir member Katie O'Donnell, 31, said the group aimed to promote the Variety message, encourage inclusion and put on good shows.

"The choir showcases what Variety is all about and shows audiences that things like disabilities don't have to be an obstacle," she said.

Story and photo from The West Australian

Photo (by Nic Ellis): Beccy with Variety Youth Choir members Chris Cutler, Perri Hinton and Lilyan Smith.

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MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2014

APRA finalists

Finalists in the 2014 APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards were announced on Thursday.

In Country Work of the Year, the finalists are...

Be With You Tonight, written by Tim Nichols, Jay & Mark O'Shea, recorded by O'Shea...

Flying With The King written by Colin Buchanan, Lee Kernaghan & Garth Porter, recorded by Lee...

The Girl, The Bottle, The Memory, written by Nicholas Wolfe, recorded by The Wolfe Brothers...

I Learned The Hard Way, written and recorded by Chelsea Basham... and

Thank You Angels, written by Jay & Mark O'Shea & Matt Scullion.

Busby Marou feature strongly in the Blues & Roots Work of the Year with Get You Out Of Here, written by Tom Busby & Jeremy Marou, and Luck, written by Tom Busby and Don Walker.

Another nominee with strong country roots is Kylie Sackley (pictured), the winner of Toyota Star Maker 2001 and the 2002 Golden Guitar for New Talent of the Year. Kylie is a finalist for Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year.

Although not so well known in Australia since her Star Maker and Golden Guitar wins, Kylie has had a good deal of success in America in particular, during the last decade or so.

The 2014 APRA Music Awards will be announced and presented on Monday, June 23, in Brisbane.

Television partner MAX will film the Awards for broadcast on Wednesday July 9 at 8pm with an encore presentation at 10pm on Sunday July 13.

Two special awards decided by the APRA Board of Directors will be presented on the night, Songwriter of the Year and the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. Lindy Morrison has already been announced as the recipient of this award.

Weblink – www.apra-amcos.com.au.

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FRIDAY, MAY 30, 3014

"MO" winners

Winners in the 2014 "MO" (Australian Entertainment) Awards were announced in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Country Act of the Year went to Benn Gunn, from fellow Kel-Anne Brandt, Beccy Cole, Nicki Gillis, Wayne Horsburgh and Snowy Robson.

Country Act finalists Kel-Anne Brandt and Snowy Robson were named winners of Best Female Vocal Performer and Best Solo Performer, respectively.

Country broadcaster Carter Edwards took home the John Campbell Fellowship Award and country comic Buddy Goode was named joint winner of Comedy Act of the Year with Harriet Littlesmith.

Photo: Kel-Anne with her awards trophy.

Weblink – moawards.com.

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MONDAY, MAY 26, 2014

New Zealand winners announced

Winners of the New Zealand Country Music Awards have been announced.

Twenty-five-year old Kaylee Bell (pictured) won Best Album for Heart First at the awards ceremony held in Gore.

Originally from Waimate, south of Timaru, Kaylee now lives in Australia where she was the first Kiwi since Keith Urban to win Australia's Toyota Star Maker title.

Her win also follows a Tui for Best Country Music Album.

Tami Neilson & Delaney Davidson won best song with Whiskey & Kisses.

The New Zealand Country Music Awards, which attract 5,000 fans, are part of a week-long celebration of country music.

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FRIDAY, MAY 23

Chart Update – Tanya at number one

Tanya Self's The Jacaranda – from her new album Random Truths – has taken over the number one spot on the coming week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Doug Bruce's number one from last week – Clock Out At Five – is at number two while Carter & Carter's Little Patch Of Heaven is steady at three and Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm is at four.

Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters is back up to five, the Johnny Cash track She Used To Love Me A Lot bounds into the top 10 at six and The McClymonts Going Under (Didn't Have To) is at seven.

Keith Urban's Cop Car enters the top 10 at eight, Arthur Blanch's Buy That Man A Beer debuts in the chart at nine and the Adam Eckersley Band's Give Her The World is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Seleen McAlister's I Wanna Live Like That (23 to 18), Morgan Evans' Like A Tornado (new at 25) and Tania Kernaghan's Call Home (new at 26).

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

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2014

Norfolk winners

Cheryl Anderson from Gore, New Zealand, has taken out the main prize of Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year at Norfolk Island.

Judah Kelly from Queensland was the runner up while Hannah Cosgrove from Tauranga in New Zealand won the Encouragement Award.

Cameron Scott from Nelson, NZ, won the category for Most Original Song and also for Most Promising artist.

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MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014

Gympie announces initiatives

Organisers of the Gympie Muster staged a 2014 launch event recently and announced a number of initiatives they say will have "a significant and beneficial impact" on the local community and economy.

But it wasn't all speeches and protocol as Muster Ambassadors The McClymonts also graced the stage and giving attendees "a rockin' taste of what's in store when they perform at The Muster on Saturday August 30".Muster General Manager Jeff Chandler announced the re-launch of the Farmers Aid Appeal, a concept that they hope will raise more than $30,000 for its recipient, the Buy A Bale Campaign.

"Queensland is once again in the grip of drought which has been described as the worst drought ever," Jeff said. "The aim is to enable Buy A Bale to provide as many bales of hay as possible to farmers in drought stricken areas of Qld and NSW with the funds generated.

"This is just one of the many ways in which the Muster event works to celebrate the true spirit of Country Australia and the strength and resilience of regional communities."

The Gympie Muster has a strong focus on community and fundraising. In the past 31 years, it has raised almost $14.7 million for organisations and charities, bringing benefits to local and regional communities.

The Muster also has a direct economic impact on the regional economy, of which more than $10 million will benefit the state of Queensland. An estimated $4.6 million is delivered into the Gympie region alone.

One of the initiatives announced is the return of the Pre-Muster Street Party being held the day prior to the event, this year on Wednesday August 27 in the Gympie township.

This event has been in hiatus for the past few years and is being re-introduced by popular demand from the local community. Australian Institute of Country Music students will perform a showcase at the street party with some of the Muster's Talent Search entrants performing throughout the day as well. Fans can also expect to see buskers, join songwriter sessions and catch performances from line-up acts such as Adi Burgess, Pete Denahy and Stealing Lincoln.

Another initiative is the focus of this year's event on "celebrating our own" with the Muster lineup primarily consisting of Australian music acts. New talent is expected to travel from all areas of the country and more than 50 emerging acts will be selected through on-line entries for the New Kid in Town and Talent Search showcases which will take place across the four days.

"This year shapes up to be even more exciting for our Talent Search showcase, as for the first time ever, acts will perform on the main stage," Jeff said. "Heats will be held on the Saturday, with the grand finale taking place the next day. This is a great opportunity for singers and musicians to experience the 'real deal' and perform on a festival main stage in front of thousands of people."

The Music Muster has also revealed a special show ticket offer for this year's event. Fans are able to buy any combination of one day tickets (Thursday to Sunday) at the special Gympie Show price of $70 for adults and $40 for 5 to 17 year olds. Including booking fee, tickets also give fans free camping at the Muster grounds.

Now in its 33rd year, the Gympie Music Muster will be held from Thursday August 28 to Sunday August 31 in the Amamoor Creek State Forest Park just south-west of Gympie and a little more than a 90 minute drive north of Brisbane.

Weblink – www.muster.com.au.

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FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014

JW's life story

Australian country star John Williamson will release his life story in July.

The long-awaited book is titled, not surprisingly, "Hey True Blue".

In the book, John takes readers on his life journey from growing up on the land in the Victorian Mallee and Moree in NSW in a family of five boys, to being the recognised as one of Australia's leading songwriters and recording artists.

Since Old Man Emu launched his career after he performed in television's "New Faces" John has steadily grown to become one of the nation's most successful entertainers.

After his huge initial success, his music career did flounder for 10 years or so until he reinvented himself by chronicling the subjects and issues that are close to his heart.

John's songs are all about Australia – he expresses his love of our land (Mallee Boy), his outrage at environmental destruction (Rip Rip Woodchip), his pride in the Australian character and spirit (Hey, True Blue) and captures our sense of humour (Old Man Emu).

His life story is also all about Australia – his love of the land, the importance of family and what it really means to be "true blue".

John has performed at huge public events, ranging from the Sydney Olympics, NRL grand finals and Tamworth Country Music Festival to smaller more intimate events like the upcoming Big Red Bash at Birdsville in July and his own Live In The Hinterland concert in early June.

Beyond the songs, he has revealed barely anything about his private life in his 40-year career. But in the book, he opens up, talking about the tough times, the great times and what matters to him, according to his publisher Penguin Books Australia.

The book will be available from July 23.

Weblink – www.johnwilliamson.com.au.

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Chart Update – Graham bounds into number one

Bush ballad star Graham Rodger will debut in the top 10 at number one on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 with his hit Scrub Bull Hunters.

Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five has also bulleted... from number nine to number two as does Luke O'Shea's Three Brothers (The Great War) from 10 to three while Sara Storer's Come On Rain is also new in the top 10 at four.

Christie Lamb's number one from last week, All She Wrote, is at five, Roo Arcus's former number one Out On The Farm is at six and McAlister Kemp's Tats is at seven.

Sandra Humphries You Drink is at eight, The McClymonts Going Under (Didn't Have To) is at nine and a release from the late Johnny Cash – She Used To Love Me A Lot – is at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Allan Caswell's Kick The Bucket (30 to 11), Carter & Carter's Little Patch Of Heaven (new at 12), Ashleigh Dallas' Sail Away (20 to 17), Kaylee Bell's Little Bit Small Town (21 to 18), Korey Livey's Route 63 (23 to 19), Karen Lynne's Will I Be Good Enough (new at 20), Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away (26 to 23), Taylor Pfeiffer's You Were The Stranger (new at 24) and Christie Lamb's Manhunt (new at 25).

Other new entries to the chart this week include Seleen McAlister's I Wanna Live Like That (in at 28).

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

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THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014

Graham on tour

Award winning bush balladeer Graham Rodger is launching a new tour concept which will take place later this month and in June.

Since the age of 12 when he first learnt to play the guitar, Tex Morton has been a major influence on Graham's professional development. It wasn't too much longer before Slim Dusty was also becoming a major influence in his life.

Several decades later, Graham is setting out to pay tribute to both men as he tours from Miles to Birdsville determined, as was often Slim's way, to take good quality country music to his fellow Australians living in the outback.

Touring 15 towns, Graham will zig-zag his way through outback central Queensland but doing it with a bit of a twist. Just like Tex Morton about half a century ago, Graham has invited his supporters from the Queensland coast and interstate to join him on a tag-along... more than 55 vans and a hundred people will be touring with Graham, commencing on May 23 at Miles and concluding on the June 14 at Birdsville.

When asked why such a successful artist would take so much time out of his schedule to tour to towns like Windorah or Muttaburra (both with populations of about 50), Graham's replied...

"Over the years I have been fortunate enough to win 27 Tamworth Songwriters' Association awards. So many of these have been inspired by true and often very personal stories entrusted to me by my fellow Australians living in the outback.

"It is a trust nearly impossible to repay, but I do like to think that a tour like this is a start. Besides, I cannot think of a better way to spend a cold Australian winter than in sunny outback Queensland accompanied by a hundred friends and supporters, enjoying incredible vistas and history by day and entertaining by night."

For most of his life, the Channel Country has been Graham's back yard. He firmly believes it is the most beautiful and interesting part of the planet and he is as excited to be taking fellow Australians to the outback as he is to be taking his music to the isolated towns along the tour route.

Photo: Graham in front of an old caravan with the towns marked on a tour map.

Weblink – www.grahamrodger.com.au.

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Lindy to receive Ted Albert Award

Musician, teacher and advocate Lindy Morrison has been named the 2014 recipient of the Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

The annual award is decided by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Board of Writer and Publisher Directors, with the recipient deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to Australian Music over a number of years.

Lindy has been heavily involved in the Australian music industry since her membership of pop group The Go-Betweens.

She teaches music business at the Sydney Institute, is the National Welfare Co-ordinator for musical charity Support Act and sits on the board of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).

Last year, she received an Order of Australia medal for services to the industry.

The award will be presented to at the APRA Music Awards on June 23 in Brisbane, the town in which The Go-Betweens were formed.

Previous recipients have included Ian "Molly" Meldrum (1993), Harry Vanda and George Young (1995), Ron Tudor (1996), Michael Gudinski (1998), Slim Dusty (1999), Don Burrows (2004), Michael Chugg (2005), Bill Armstrong (2006), Denis Handlin (2009), Jimmy Little (2010), Paul Kelly (2011) and The Seekers (last year).

Weblink – www.apra-amcos.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014

Goldheist concerts for drought relief

Sydney based Goldheist (aka Hester Fraser) is playing a series of concerts promoting the single Dust raising money for drought relief.

All proceeds from the song, available via iTunes, is going to the "We're For The Bush" Drought Appeal, helping to raise funds and awareness for drought in rural Australia.

The accompanying video for the song can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5u12IFtmmA

Hester, who often includes guest artists in her shows, has played Armidale, Sydney and Gloucester so far in the concert series and will be at Tamworth this Saturday night (with Natalie Magee), Canberra on Saturday May 24 (again with Natalie), Yass on Sunday May 25 (with Natalie and Katie De Veau and Mudgee on Saturday June 7 (with Natalie).

Weblink – www.goldheistmusic.com.

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TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014

Felicity's City Of Light

Felicity Urquhart's most recent release is an EP titled City Of Light.

The EP follows the three most successful recent albums which established her as one of the most respected writers and singers in Australian music.

"Five years after the last collection from Urquhart," said a spokesman for the artist, "the inspirational spark has returned.

"Working on this project was her most trusted and talented musical partner Glen Hannah as producer with a supporting cast that included Jeff McCormack, Steve Fearnley and Michel Rose."

Felicity has enjoyed a change of lifestyle in the last 12 months with a step back from playing gigs and her weekly national radio program on ABC Radio "Saturday Night Country" since taking time to have a family.

The Tamworth-born and raised star says her home town holds a special place for her. The first single from the EP, the title track, pays tribute to the city which is also now known as Australia's Country Music Capital.

(The City Of Light tag comes from the fact that Tamworth was the first city in the southern hemisphere to have electric street lighting, even before the likes of Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane).

The EP contains new songs Slow It Down and Gone By The Wayside & Give.

“After visiting my folks back home in November, I finished the song City Of Light which... I guess it's the sequel to Girl In The Mall and that's why I showed it to Mark Seymour, co-writer of the song.

"He sorted the wheat from the chaff and I had this rush inside me, to record it immediately for January," Felicity said.

"Life used to be quite crazy but since motherhood it's eased up and I've learnt to slow things down, which is what Slow It Down is all about. It would be a shame to miss the good stuff. Karl Broadie and I have worked and written together for many years now, and we have a great time. It must be the Scottish names that make us kindred spirits. He loves the song too.

"Give is for the amazing people in this world who are carers. They do so much for everyone else that there’s often nothing left for themselves. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things who get lost along the way.

"Gone By The Wayside is a cheeky look at reminiscing about the things we let go and the quirks we forget about.

"I had been putting songs together for a new album," Felicity said, "with no particular release date in mind but these songs just had to come out now. The rest of the album will be later in the year when the songs dictate."

Weblink – www.felicityurquhart.com.

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Chart Update – Christie takes the top spot

Christie Lamb has taken over the top spot of this week's national Country Tracks Top 30 with her hit All She Wrote.

The McClymonts Going Under (Didn't Have To) edges up one to number two while Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm – number one for the last two weeks – is at three and McAlister Kemp's Tats is up one to number four.

Sandra Humphries You Drink bounds into the top 10 at five, as does Kate Cook's Highway at six and Kaylens Rain's She's A Wildflower is up two to seven.

Adam Eckersley Band's Give Her The World enters the top 10 at eight, Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five is at nine and Luke O'Shea's Three Brothers (The Great War) is at 10.

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

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FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014

Entries open for Southern Stars

Entries are now open (closing June 30) for the 2014 Australian Independent Country Music Awards, or Southern Stars as they are also known.

Awards will be presented in nine categories, eight open to all CD product by independent Australian country music artists, as the highlight of the annual Mildura Country Music Festival which runs from Friday September 26 to and including Sunday October 5.

The categories are Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Heritage Track of the Year, Rising Star Male, Rising Star Female, Male Vocalist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and Group/Duo of the Year.

The ninth category, Independent Artist of the Year, is judged separately, the winner selected from artists entered in any of the other categories.

Full details of eligibility can be found on the entry form which can be downloaded from the website www.milduracountrymusic.com.au.

Photo: Allan Caswell, the big winner from last year's Southern Stars.

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THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2014

Adam and co win song gong

Adam Eckersley (pictured), Jason Reeves and Danelle Joy Leverett have taken out the Country section of the 2013 International Songwriting Competition.

Adam is front man of the Adam Eckersley Band while Jason and Joy are well-known American songwriters.

The songwriting team won the award for Give Her The World which is on the band's debut album.

An Australian placegetter of country note was Charles Jenkins (Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos) with Pray, My Dear Daughter, achieving second place in Folk/Singer-Songwriter.

Grand prize winner in the competition was New York based virtuosic jazz trumpeter and accomplished composer and arranger Shunzo Ohno with Musashi.

Honourable mentions across all sections included Cyndi Boste from Victoria with Outta Here (Ballad Of Chris Green) and Casey Barnes & Rick Price from the Gold Coast with Flesh And Bone.

Entry in the 2014 competition is now open.

Weblink – www.songwritingcompetition.com.

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TUESDAY, MAY 6, 2014

Vale – Martin Erdman

Renowned Australian record producer Martin Erdman has died at the age of 77.

Martin started his career in Sydney in the mid 1950s in his parents record store in Rose Bay. He built his first studio at the back of the shop. He is best known as in-house producer for Festival Records from the 1970s.

He produced the first Australian single to sell a million copies in the US with Sister Janet Mead's "rocked-up" The Lord's Prayer reaching number one there.

Martin was behind Peter Allen's I Still Call Australia Home, Abigail's Je T'aime and John Waters & Jackie Weaver's They're Playing Our Song.

Festival Artist & repertoire Manager at the time Peter Hebbes said Martin was one of the most active and prolific producers of Australian talent, having a tremendous success with a cross-section of artists. And, "many of today's recording engineers and producers owe a lot to Martin and those exciting pioneering years in the Australasian music industry."

His first commercial recording was four songs for country singer Nev Nicholls' Country Playboys. In 1993 he opened his own record store in Ramsgate in Sydney and rebuilt the studio at that store.

In 1969, Martin started his own record label Du Monde Records. The label quickly became one of Australia's most successful independent labels generating the hits Life Is Getting Better for Flake, Unforgotten Dreams for King Fox and The Wheat In The Field for Harry Young & Sabbath.

Following his work at Festival, Martin ran an audio/video studio with wife Sandra. More latterly, his activities at Du Monde included a number of special country releases including from Jimmy Little and Nev Nicholls' Country Playboys.

He was also a staunch fundraiser for Support Act Limited through his "Break-a-leg" lunches.

Martin died in Sydney yesterday following a brief illness. He was 77.

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Chart Update – Roo holds number one

Roo Arcus retains the number one position this week on the national Country Tracks Top 30 with his hit Out On The Farm.

America's Zac Brown Band is at two with Sweet Annie while The McClymonts Going Under (Didn't Have To) jumps another two places to number three as does Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away to number four.

McAlister Kemp's Tats is steady at five, Christie Lamb's All She Wrote is at six and Sara Storer's Come On Rain is at seven.

America's Dierks Bentley is at eight with Hold On, Kaylens Rain's She's A Wildflower enters the top 10 at nine and The Wolfe Brothers' Lovin' In The Summertime is steady at 10.

Bullet performers this week include Adam Eckersley Band's Give Her The World (15 to 11).

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

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MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014

Joy's Riding This Road

EMI Music have released the album Riding This Road (The Record Collection) by Joy McKean.

Described as a time capsule of Joy's early career as a performer and songwriter, the album was collated from rare vinyl and reel-to-reel recordings. "This truly unique collection of songs shows why Joy McKean is one of Australia's most prolific songwriters," said a company spokesman.

"From country halls to showgrounds, cities to the most remote communities, Joy performed everywhere and won the hearts of legions of fans. She became famous performing with her sister Heather in the 1950s, writing songs that have become Australian country music classics, and creating a lifelong partnership with Slim Dusty."

Joy wrote many of Slim's most famous songs, has been awarded six Golden Guitars and was a founder of the Country Music Association of Australia.

She has received lifetime achievement awards from the Country Music Association of Australia and Australian Country Music Foundation, the Song Maker Award from the Tamworth Songwriter's Association, an Australian Bush Laureate Award, an Order of Australia Medal and the McKean Sisters (Joy with Heather) have been elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown and inducted into the Country Music Broadcaster's Hall of Fame.

Several of the songs on the album have been unavailable for many years and were only uncovered during a recent trip to the EMI archives and through contacting some avid Slim Dusty/Joy McKean music collectors.

Of the process, Joy's daughter Anne Kirkpatrick commented: "Putting together an album of Joy's solo recordings tracing her unique musical journey proved quite a challenge as it covers seven decades of writing, performing and recording, with all the subsequent changes in recording technology!"

Now available on CD for the first time the special release is in companionship to the new book by Joy McKean from Hachette Australia of the same name.

"For the first time, Joy turns her talent as a writer to telling us about her own life. On the way she reveals a lifestyle that has long gone, when performers would load up their trucks and caravans and drive across the country, putting on a show at every town –big, small and tiny – then moving on to the next place to do it all again the next night.

"With honesty and love, Joy explores her life from childhood to the present, decades of marriage to Slim, songwriting, recording and constantly touring right around Australia while raising their children Anne and David.

"Joy's is a life full of music and memories that will inspire and entertain."

Weblink – www.slimdusty.com.au.

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FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

Nominations open for National Indigenous Music Awards

Nominations have opened for the 2014 NIMAs (National Indigenous Music Awards) to be announced in Darwin on Friday August 15.

Nominations are open to the general public and close on Friday June 20. Finalists will be announced on Wednesday July 16.

Awards will be presented for Artist of the Year, Album, Song, New Talent, Film Clip and Cover Art of the Year, plus the Community Music Project Award – Community Music Clip of the Year 2014.

There are also special Northern Territory categories... the Traditional Music Award, School Band of the Year and the G R Burarrawanga Memorial Award.

The Awards ceremony will star Dan Sultan with a full line-up of guest artists yet to be announced.

Winner of triple j's Unearthed competition will also perform. Entries for this have also just opened.

Weblink – www.musicnt.com.au/national-indigenous-music-awards/home.

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Rob and Carter

A chance meeting in March saw Rob E G (Robie Porter) guest star on the Carter Edwards radio show which airs nationally on the Super Radio Network every Saturday and Sunday night.

But it wasn't an "average" interview – after an hour and three quarters, the pair had to call it a day but fans will be delighted to hear, the marathon interview is to be continued this Saturday night (May 3) from 8 o'clock.

Live from Carter's home station (2HD Newcastle) studios, Robie will once again join Carter to celebrating the star's return to the performing stage, and the radio program is being billed as a "This Is Your Life" type show.

Guest stars will include Gary Young and Wayne Duncan of Daddy Cool, Les Gock, leader of Hush, and up-and-coming Australian country star Ben Ransom.

Originally finding fame as a singer and instrumentalist under the name Rob E G, Robie was Australia's number one selling recording artist in the mid-1960's, Logie Award winner and "This Is Your Life" honouree. His own 15 hit singles include the hits 55 Days At Peking, Jezebel and Si Senor.

He moved to America in 1966 and went on to be a successful singer, television performer and movie actor there, at the same time becoming Australia's all-time number one hit record producer. Included in his 29 number ones as a producer, songwriter and publisher are the iconic Daddy Cool's Eagle Rock, Air Supply's All Out Of Love, Marcia Hines version of I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl, Hush's version of Boney Maronie and Tommy Emmanuel's Dare To Be Different.

Photo: Robie (left) and Carter.

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THURSDAY, MAY 1, 2014

Injune... Where Country Is...

Another major country music event in Queensland this weekend is in the South-Western Queensland town of Injune where the Where Country Is (Outback Festival) is being staged.

In a town of less than 400 people, such an event is always going to be a "big deal" according to organisers.

An hour north of Roma and about seven hours north-west of Brisbane, the former cattle and dairy hub town is surrounded by scenic national parks including Carnarvon Gorge, Ka Ka Mundi, Mt Moffatt, Salvator Rosa, Nuga Nuga, Lonesome, Expedition and Beilba.

The make-up of the Where Country Is festival changes each year, organisers say, but everyone agrees, "the entertainment and activities are first class".

Artists appearing at the festival, which runs tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, include Chris Pritchard, Travis Holland and Gary Fogarty.

Weblink here for more information.

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Charters Towers wraps up

This weekend is also the final big weekend for Charters Towers Ten Days In The Country.

Tomorrow night sees performances from Roo Arcus, Peter Denahy (pictured) and last year's Charters Towers Country Music Talent Search Overall Winner Christie Polinelli, last year's Juvenile Winner Kasey O'Donoghue and this year's Overall Winner and the Anthony Taylor Band.

Saturday night showcases the talents of Lyn Bowtell, Tommy Contour, McAlister Kemp, Mustered Courage and the Anthony Taylor Band.

Weblink – www.charterstowerscountrymusic.com.

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New from Harmony

Brisbane singer/songwriter Harmony James will release her third and highly anticipated album Cautionary Tales on Friday June 13.

The former jillaroo, who has always preferred to "drift in lonely outposts, learned her songwriting craft under wide-open skies. Now, thanks to the success of her first two albums, she hasn't been near a horse for a couple of years.

And the change of scenery has inspired her songwriting further.

Cautionary Tales was recorded mainly at the famous Alberts Studio on Sydney's lower North Shore and Ramrod Studios, also in Sydney, with long-time producer Herm Kovac and her regular band (guitarist Glen Hannah, bassist Jeff McCormack and drummer Steve Fearnley).

The album features appearances from Mike Carr, Drew McAlister (McAlister Kemp), Brooke McClymont (The McClymonts) and Mark Sholtez.

First single from the album will be Skinny Flat White, written with Brooke as an observation of interaction in the city. It will be released to radio on Monday May 19.

Harmony’s 2009 debut album Tailwind gained numerous accolades including a breakthrough award and APRA, Golden Guitar nominations for Female Artist and Album, eight top 10 hit songs and first prize in the country division of Nashville's International Songwriting Competition.

The follow-up, 2012's Handfuls of Sky, won Country Music Artist of the Year at the 2013 Queensland Music Awards and produced Pride which spent six weeks atop country music airplay charts.

Weblink – harmonyjames.com.

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TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014

Urban Country this weekend

One of Queensland's biggest country music events – the Urban Country Music Festival at Caboolture – gets underway this Friday and runs through to and including Sunday.

Adam Brand, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole and The McClymonts booked as headline acts with a star-studded "support cast", including...

Don Allen, Luke Austen, Ky-lee B, Casey Barnes, Alice Benfer, The Buckleys, Busby Marou, Adi Burgess, Brad Butcher, Terry Clark, Megan Cooper, Paul Costa, Michael David, Jesse Davis, The Deadliners, Dozzi, Morgan Evans, Lee Fielding, Mary Finch, Wally Finch, Michael Fix, Good Oak, Johnny Greenwood, Dana Hassall, Karrie Hayward, Sarah Head, Harry Hookey, Adam James, Jim Harding, Harmony James, Vaughan Jones, MACK, Seleen McAlister, Cameron Milford, Jen Mize, Noisy Minors, Noel Parlane, Taylor Pfeiffer (the Banjo Girl), Richard Perso, Penny Rides Shotgun, The Pigs, Kylie Ann Price, Brendan Radford, Ben Ransom, Redlands Bluegrass Boys, Josh Rennie-Hynes, Livi Robins, Graham Rodger, SAMI, Tanya Self,Caitlyn Shadbolt, Mark Sholtez, Chad Shuttleworth, Simply Bushed, The Smokin' Crawdads, Justin Standley, The Sunny Cowgirls, Te Whanau Tautoko, Reg & Ellie Thompson, Sara Tindley, Trevor Tolton, Trainwreck Trio, the Viper Creek Band,Whiskey Ridge and Carl Wockner.

Last year's Voice of Urban Country Winner Kiara Rodrigues will also appear, as will 2014 Toyota Star Maker Winner Jared Porte r and Mud Bulls & Music Talent Search winner Julieann Lynch.

The three-day Urban Country Music Festival is being held at Caboolture's Queensland State Equestrian Centre and the Caboolture Historical Village with more than 160 artists appearing.

Also on the program is the National Finals Rodeo and the all new Country Fairground.

Weblink – www.urbancountry.com.au.

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Chart Update – Roo takes over the top spot

Roo Arcus (pictured) has hit the top of the national Country Tracks Top 30 this week with his hit Out On The Farm.

Christie Lamb's number one from the last two weeks – All She Wrote – slips to number two while America's Zac Brown Band is at three with Sweet Annie and Sara Storer's Come On Rain is up one to number four.

McAlister Kemp's Tats bounds up three places to number five, The McClymonts Going Under (Didn't Have To) jumps four places to six and Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away is up two to seven.

Doug Bruce's Clock Out At Five is at eight, The Wolfe Brothers' Lovin' In The Summertime enters the top 10 at nine and Kaylee Bell's Little Bit Small Town is at 10.

Bullet performers this week include Kaylens Rain's She's A Wildflower (14 to 11), Adam Eckersley Band's Give Her The world (18 to 15), Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters (22 to 19), Kate Cook's Hit The Highway (23 to 20) and Luke O'Shea's Three Brother The Great War).

New to the chart this week is Korey Livey's Route 63 (in at 30).

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

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MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2014

Big Red Bash in June

Details have been announced for a two day music festival to be staged at Australia’s "magnificent outback desert sand dune" the "Big Red" at Birdsville in July.

Some of Australia’s most recognised music legends will appear at the new two-day event titled, appropriately, The Big Red Bash.

Kasey Chambers and John Williamson (pictured) will headline the festival with Daryl Braithwaite, Joe Camilleri, James Reyne and Ross Wilson, supported by Bill Chambers, Ashleigh Dallas, Victoria Edwards, Harry Hookey and Saxanova.

Organisers say "the natural amphitheatre on top of Australia’s largest sand dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert played host to John Williamson last year and has inspired The Big Red Bash."

“It was a country entertainer's dream, John said. "The show flew like a wedge-tail eagle soaring on a thermal and I can't wait for the next one with some of my music mates."T

The Big Red Bash will take place on is on Wednesday and Thursday July 9 & 10. Tickets and packages are on sale via Ticketek.

It is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as well as Outback Queensland Tourism and the Diamantina Shire Council.

Birdsville is one of Australia’s most iconic outback towns, perched on the edge of the vast Simpson and Sturt Stony deserts and the famous Channel Country. Despite its isolation and wild foreboding country, it has been named Queensland’s friendliest town and its famous pub is noted for true outback hospitality.

Weblink – www.bigredbash.com.au.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2014

Long and Short Of It launch new work

The country duo known as The Long And Short Of It – Dave Baird and Patsy Toop – launched their latest album, You Made Me Stronger, in Country Music Capital tonight.

Dave and Patsy played songs from the new release to a delighted audience of mainly industry identities at Tamworth's Big Golden Guitar, including one of their own, the title track.

You Made Me Stronger is the duo's fifth album since the pair created their act just over five years ago.

David, on guitar and lead vocals, and Patsy on keyboards and vocals, are both classically trained musicians but never played professionally until they teamed up in 2009.

Latter Day Cowboy will be the first single release from the new album.

Weblink – www.thelongandshortofit.com.au.

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New from Tanya

Star Maker 1995 Tanya Self is on the comeback trail with a new album set to be released.

Tanya has released the first single from the new work this week, The Jacaranda. The album's title is Random Truths.

After 10 years away raising her family, the first single lifted off the album signals a welcome the return of the Brisbane-based artist.

The Jacaranda is described as "a toe-tapping Aussie love story about family life, enduring 'flying in, flying out' for work in the mines – the story gripping from the first bar."

Random Truths is a collection of 14 "heartfelt, brave and insightfu" songs, all country, all penned by Tanya with co-writers on four tracks including Olivia Crick, Sarah Godden and Rick Price.

Weblink – tanyaself.com.

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014

Vale – Marius Webb

The Australian flag flew half-mast at Widgee yesterday as the tight-knit rural community awoke to the sad news that one of its favourite three sons, Marius Webb, the second eldest Webb Brother, had died suddenly on Sunday.

The gentle, quietly spoken husband, brother, father, grandfather and grazier succumbed to pneumonia in a Brisbane hospital on Sunday night, leaving behind his wife Julia, daughters Maria and Philomena and six grandchildren.

Along with his brothers Fabian and Berard, Marius was Gympie's most famous musical export to date.

He put Gympie on the map in 1981 and catapulted the Webb Brothers to the highest echelon of Australian country music when he penned, and the group sang, the song that asked Australia who put the roo in the stew.

It took him one day and most of the night to write the song, and nine days later it roared up the charts, debuting at number seven in the 4BK Top 40 Hits and reaching number one on October 1. It was the fastest-selling single ever for RCA Records.

Before that, Marius and his brothers had already had hits with, among others, The Call Of The Bellbird, been inducted into the Tamworth Hands of Fame, received a Golden Guitar for Best Group and elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown, Australian country music's highest honour.

They won another Golden Guitar for Roo In The Stew in 1982 and founded the Gympie Country Music Muster on their family property "Thornside" at Widgee.

Marius retired from the Webb Brothers in 2007, though he went on to do several guest performances and continued to drive the Widgee school bus for some time.

— The Gympie Times

Marius's funeral will be held at 11am in Gympie next Tuesday, April 29.

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TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014

Dueling Banjos composer dies

Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith, the multi-instrumental country musician who wrote the song that would become Dueling Banjos, died earlier this month at the age of 93.

Together with his brothers Ralph and Sonny, Arthur formed a dixieland group called the Carolina Crackerjacks who had some local success including radio appearances.

In 1951, he began hosting "The Arthur Smith Show" on Charlotte (South Carolina) television station WBTV, a program that would eventually become the first syndicated country music show nationally with a 32 year run in 90 markets.

Arthur's early morning program, "Carolina Calling", was also carried on CBS television during the summer during the 1950s.

He was a very active composer with more than 500 copyrights including his 1955 piece Feudin' Banjos which he recorded with Don Reno. In 1972, the song was performed as Dueling Banjos by Eric Weissburg and Steve Mandel for the movie "Deliverance", going on to reach number two on the Hot 100, number five on the Country Singles and number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Arthur wasn't given credit for the composition at first but, after filing a lawsuit, his name was added as its composer.

As a recording artist, Arthur hit the Country top 10 in America three times with Banjo Boogie (1948), Guitar Boogie (194) and Boomerang (1949).

Over his life, he amassed a long line of honours including a Grammy for Dueling Banjos and a number of awards for his broadcasting and songwriting.

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Chart Update – Christie still at the top

Christie Lamb's latest hit All She Wrote retains the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Doug Bruce's former number one – Clock Out At Five – is steady at two while Sara Storer's Come On Rain edges up one to number three and Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm bounds up three places to number four.

America's Zac Brown Band is at five with Sweet Annie, Kaylee Bell's Little Bit Small Town is steady again at six and Catherine Britt's Who Cares is at seven.

McAlister Kemp's Tats edges up another place to number eight, as does Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away at nine while The McClymonts Going Under (Didn't Have To) enters the top 10 at 10.

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

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THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014

Easter's big country weekend

The Easter weekend always features a number of regular country music (and other related) festivals and events, and this year is no exception. Following we highlight just a few. A full listing can be found here.

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Bundy Roundup kicks off tomorrow

The 30th Bundy Easter Roundup kicks off tomorrow and runs through to and including Sunday.

Organised by the Bundaberg Country Music Club and staged at the Bundaberg (Qld) Recreational Precinct, the Roundup features a talent quest with 31 sections open to junior and senior contestants.

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Hartwood...

The Hartwood Campfires & Country Music weekend runs at the property "Hartwood" off the Black Stump Way (between Coolah and Tambar Springs) in NSW.

Stars of this year's event are Charley Boyter, Jamie Davis, Royden Donohue, Laura Downing, Peter Horan, Wayne Horsburgh, Tania Kernaghan, Tom Maxwell, Paul McCloud, Rodney Vincent, Lindsay Waddington and compere Barry Williams.

The event runs tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday.

Weblink here.

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Stone The Crows

A unique event taking place at Wagga Wagga, NSW, is the Stone The Crows Festival aimed to cater to an audience, particularly, of "grey nomads".

Launched last year, the Festival runs before, through and after every Easter weekend, Thursday to Tuesday.

This year's event takes place at the ACTA Grounds in Tasman Street and will feature music, bush poetry, seminars, workshops, markets and the gReyVee Awards.

Entertainers will include Darren Carr, Jim Haynes, Mike and Thom Jackson, Amber Lawrence, Grant Luhrs and Neil Smith plus a raft of bush poets.

Weblink – stonethecrows.com.au.

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MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014

Roma Easter in the Country

This weekend, the Queensland town of Roma will stage it's 35th annual Easter in the Country festival which this year will feature leading Australian group The Wolfe Brothers as the headline act.

The Brothers will perform in the inaugural country rock concert on Saturday evening (April 19).

The band came to the nation's attention after finishing second in "Australia's Got Talent" in 2012. The band’s debut album, It's On, remained in the ARIA charts for 35 weeks and generated three hit singles.

The Hobart-based band was nominated for four Golden Guitars at this year's Country Music Awards of Australia and will release their second album in June.

Support acts for the concert will be Jamahl Hamilton's El Vaquero, Tamika Taylour and the band Unwritten.

Weblink – www.easterinthecountryroma.com.au.

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Chart Update – Christie at number one

Christie Lamb's All She Wrote has taken over the number one position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Doug Bruce's number one from last week – Clock Out At Five – slips to second place with Catherine Britt's Who Cares steady at three and Sara Storer's Come On Rain up one to number four.

Jasmine Rae's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am is up two to five while Kaylee Bell's Little Bit Small Town is steady at six and Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm is up one to number seven.

America's Zac Brown Band is at eight with Sweet Annie, McAlister Kemp's Tats edges up one to number nine and Kristy Cox's One Heartbreak Away enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include the Adam Eckersley Band's Give Her The World (23 to 20), Graham Rodger's Scrub Bull Hunters (27 to 23), Natalie Howard's Paradise (29 to 26) and Luke O'Shea's Three Brothers (The Great War) (30 to 27).

New entries to the chart this week include One Eye For An Eye (at 28).

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

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FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014

Slim Dusty Foundation and TAFE support youth skill development

The Slim Dusty Foundation and North Coast TAFE will sign an agreement at the Slim Dusty Centre on Tuesday to formalise their collaboration in supporting workplace training for local youth.

Representatives from both organisations will be present, along with special guest Joy McKean and a range of community leaders.

"Slim supported youth and learning," Joy said, "and I believe he would be really pleased to see this Centre contributing to skills development for students in our community.

"The Slim Dusty Foundation is looking forward to working with North Coast TAFE to achieve tangible outcomes that will benefit the Centre, TAFE and its students."

Kathryn Yarnold, Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation, said the partnership was aiming to build regional capacity.

"Together, we will be providing students, including long term unemployed, young people and Aboriginal community members with opportunities for training and work experience."

A series of agreed projects will help the Slim Dusty Centre become a community asset as a regional cultural centre.

Elizabeth McGregor, Institute Director for North Coast TAFE, said the organisations would work co-operatively on those projects by supporting workplace training in a variety of skill areas.

"The areas could include, for example, construction, tiling, carpentry and joinery, shop fitting, landscaping… even media, hospitality and events management."

Photo: from the announcement function.

Weblink – www.slimdustycentre.com.au.

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THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2014

Doug announces new album

Australian Independent Country Music Awards Rising Star winner Doug McIntyre has announced he will soon be releasing a new album.

"I've have been having so much fun in the studio recording my new album Riding Free with Matt Fell," Doug said.

"The songs are sounding awesome, and that's before mixing and mastering! I have just one more day in the studio myself, laying down the vocals for the song everyone's been keen to see me record – Frank The Fox.

The new album will be available by ordering direct via the singer's website (weblink below).

It will also be available through WJO Distributors, Bigpond, i-Tunes and Sanity Music.

"Ever since I won the award for Male Rising Star... at Mildura, so many of you have been asking when on earth I will actually perform there. Well finally, I am pleased to say that I will be there this year!

"I really look forward to performing songs off the new album. And, of course, it will be great catching up with old friends Don Costa, Johanna Hemara, Dean Perrett and Luke O'Shea.

Doug has also announced a partnership with NG Management who will be performing a booking agent and management role with the artist.

And, he has also launched a facebook page... www.facebook.com/doug.mcintyre.180.

Weblink – www.dougmcintyrecountrymusic.com.au.

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2014

New from Jess

Mudgee NSW born "powerhouse" country singer Jess Holland has released her second album, Whole Lot To Say.

After the success of her 2011 debut release Introducing… Jess Holland, the 2011 Voice of Urban Country winner made some big steps in her music career, and it's been a steep learning curve to say the least, according to a spokesman for the artist.

Stepping away from outside employment, Jess pursued her love of music full-time. "and she hasn't looked back since.

"The result is evident in her music, her latest album shows a more mature focus and a sound that perfectly suits the former Country Music College graduate's incredible vocals.

"Whole Lot To Say is tipped to be a career-defining release that will see Jess Holland's music embraced by country and rock fans alike."

The first single from the album – Fine Lines – was released to radio last year and garnered positive reviews.

Jess says she is really comfortable with the way her latest offering sounds.

It features some "rippin' rock tunes" as well as some beautiful ballads. "I have learnt a lot as a songwriter and artist since my first album," she said. "I think my sound has become more definite. The style of the tracks are still brazen and feisty, however, this new material reflects how much I have matured in the past few years.

"I love that rockier-bluesy side of country music and a lot of my music influences reflect that. I tend to naturally steer towards this style rather than purposefully set out to write for a certain genre. As my lyrics are quite sassy, they tend to be suited to the rock-bluesy side of country."

As a proud independent musician, Jess continues to self-fund all her music projects, and Whole Lot To Say was no exception. This time she also took out a crowd-funding campaign with Indiegogo to help raise the collateral to record and release the album.

She says doing this was a great experience and enabled her to interact with her music fans. "It is a great way for people to contribute to the recording process and pre-order a copy of the new album," Jess said.

"A huge thankyou to those who contributed to this album campaign. I definitely could not have started this project without their support, so it means a great deal to me!"

Jess has toured through central, western and northern NSW in support of the likes of Luke Dickens, Diesel and Adam Brand. She has also been a two-time Toyota Star Maker finalist and has been earning acclaim from fans and critics alike.

Whole Lot To Say was launched on Friday, March 28, and Jess followed with three successful launch gigs, one each at Mudgee, Mungindi and Newcastle.

The singer/songwriter has now embarked on a national tour.

Weblink – www.jessholland.com.au.

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MONDAY, APRIL 7, 2014

Keith wins three ACMAs

Australia's Keith Urban has taken out three gongs at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards announced in Las Vegas last night.

Keith's awards were for Music Video of the Year with Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift for Highway Don't Care and Vocal Event of the Year with Miranda Lambert for We Were Us which he co-produced with Nathan Chapman giving him his third gong for the night.

George Strait won the night's top honour, the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year, while Miranda Lambert won her fifth straight Female Vocalist of the Year award.

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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014

New Zealand digital sales overtake physical

New Zealand's digital sales exceeded those on physical formats for the first time in 2013, figures by Recorded Music NZ show.

The Music Network reported digital sales increased three percent to 51 percent of sales, amounting to NZ$27.9 million. Streaming revenues tripled to nine percent of total digital gross.

The remaining 49 percent physical sales drove $27.1 million in revenues. Digital's rise, however, failed to balance physical's fall and the market fell by 9.8 percent to $55 million.

Vinyl continued its resurgence, with album sales up 29 percent since 2012, although still a small fraction of the overall picture. "It's encouraging to see the rapid growth and take up of streaming services by New Zealanders," said Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan.

It was a strong year for domestic repertoire. Sales for New Zealand acts showed an eight percent rise in digital singles, up 45 percent for digital albums and up 39 percent for physical albums.

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Chart Update – Doug takes over the top spot

Doug Bruce's latest hit – Clock Out At Five – has taken over the number position on this week's national Country Tracks Top 30.

Christie Lamb's All She Wrote edges up one place to number two, as does Catherine Britt's Who Cares to three and 8 Ball Aitken's number one from the last two weeks – I'm Going To Jail – is at four.

Sara Storer's Come On Rain is also up one to five, as is Kaylee Bell's Little Bit Small Town to six while Jasmine Rae's Just Don't Ask Me How I Am is steady at seven.

Roo Arcus's Out On The Farm is up two places to number eight, America's Zac Brown Band is at nine with Sweet Annie and McAlister Kemp's Tats enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Kaylens Rains' She's A Wildflower (17 to 14) and Kate Cook's Hit The Highway (29 to 26).

New to the chart this week are Natalie Howard's Paradise (at 29) and Luke O'Shea's Three Brothers (The Great War) (at 30).

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

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