• • • • australia's leading country music news site • • • •

Please support our advertisers. Click on the image at left for dedicated links

This website dedicated to bringing you the latest Australian country music news
News releases can be sent to news@countrymusicbulletin.com.au


Advertisers, Supporters




News Archive

Featured Artists

On Tour


Click here to download the latest



Kasey & Shane take out Country APRA

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson (pictured) have won the 2009 APRA Award for Country Work of the Year with their hit Rattlin' Bones.

Winners were announced last night in Melbourne.

APRA announced 12 category winners in all, including former Telstra Road to Tamworth winner and now rising pop star Jessica Mauboy (her first APRA) for co-writing (with Audius Mtawarira and Sean Mullins) the hit song Running Back which took out Urban Work of the Year.

Song of the Year was announced as The Living End's White Noise while Songwriter of the Year went to Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton of The Presets and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu won the Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year award.

Blues and Roots Work of the Year went to Old Man River (aka Ohad Rein) together with co-writers Edo Kahn and Nadav Kahn for Sunshine.

Full results can be found at www.apra.com.au.


Entries open for 2009 Musicoz Awards

Entries have opened for the 2009 Musicoz Awards, Australia's largest independent music awards program with a prize pool valued at $300,000 plus.

The ninth Musicoz Awards seeks entries in 17 genres including Country, Urban Country Alternative, Pop, Rock, Jazz/Classical, Blues/Roots International, Instrumental, Christian/Spiritual, Acoustic/Singer-Songwriter, World/Folk and Video.

As well as the genre categories, awards will also be presented for categories including songwriters , producer, people's choice and the Musicoz Artist of the Year.

Weblink (including for entries) – www.musicoz.org.


Kimber announces US tour

Hot on the heels of her successful performances at the recent Bluewater Country Music Festival (as part of the WJO Showcases and Songwriters in the Round), Kimber Sparks has announced her upcoming tour of the USA.

Kimber says the tour will include fulfillment of a life-long dream of performing at the world famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge in Nashville, Tennessee. Tootsies is "the place" where anyone who’s anyone plays, "so this is HUG," Kimber said.

She will also perform at John A’s in Nashville – known for it's appreciation of traditional country music and hangout for many of the classic country troubadours. Kimber last visited the venue with friend and country music legend the late Vern Gosdin, with whom she recorded the duet Chiselled In Stone.

Before hitting Music City, Kimber will play The Water Hole – her Uncle Joe's honky-tonk in Marlin, Texas, her hometown of Cordova, Alabama, then Burnsville, Mississippi. Kimber will be touring with good friend and fellow country artist Dallas Steele (who plays the leading man in her latest video clip Movin’ On) and her guitar player Dave McKeowen.

Weblink – www.kimbersparks.com.


Canberra gets a country music festival

After years of one-off attempts, a major three day country music event is scheduled for Canberra, Australia’s National Capital, in October.

The Canberra Country Music Festival will be held from October 9 to 11, the weekend after the Mildura Country Music Festival and Deni Ute Muster, and is designed to put country music firmly in the nation’s capital, according to organisers.

It will include concerts across five stages, workshops, competitions, awards, dancing, and more. Industry forums, involving country music media and clubs, along with a Muso’s Breakfast.

The venue will be the historic listed Tuggeranong Homestead. The 31 hectare listed site is described as an oasis in the southern suburbs of Canberra and readily accessed via Johnson Drive, off Highway 23 (the Monaro Highway).

"The Festival is well priced for couples and families," organisers say, "with children under 13 admitted free. Tickets are available online from Moshtix, leading stores, or at the Festival website (see below).

"There is no camping on site, however, with 11 caravan and tourist parks and 107 hotels and motels located in the Greater Canberra area, there should not be any difficulty with accommodation. Availability details can be obtained by checking the Yellow Pages, or the ACT Tourist Information Centre on 1300 554 114.

"Artists interested in performing at the Canberra Country Music Festival are invited to contact the Festival Director (also see website). Performing artists will be progressively announced from August onwards."

Weblink – www.canberracountry.com.


Cessnock Festival success

The third Cessnock City Country Music Festival, held in May, has been described by organiser Rhonda Astill as a great success.

Rhonda said she was delighted with the outcome: "Attendance was very good with numbers for the event continuing to grow each year," and there were many highlights

"The festival committee of Rhonda and Greg Astill, Bev and Bruce McCumstie and Kevin and Peg Parsons would like to offer a big thank you to LJ Hookers, Goanna Print, Reg Lindsay Rodeo Promotions, Comfort Inn Cumberland, Bellbird Workers Club, Britton Morrison of Appin, and The Lions Club of Cessnock and Cessnock City Council who all helped make this a huge success.

"We also had support from 'Country Music Capital News' and John Nutting from ABC’s 'Saturday Night Country', Carter Edwards from 2HD Newcastle and many community radio stations.

"The local paper 'The Advertiser' supported us with stories and photos in the months leading up to the event. We appreciate everyone's support very much.

"We also wish to thank Marlene Hartog, Secretary-Manager and the staff of the East Cessnock Bowling Club for their support and providing such a great venue."

Photo (by Mark Turnbull, Next Edge Photography): Dianne, Sandra and Jo Lindsay perform in the salute to their Dad, Reg.


International Top 40

Graham Rodger heads an International Country Music Airplay Chart compiled by Joyce Ramgatie Promotions in the Netherlands.

Graham's number one song We’re Gonna Be Alright is accompanied by a number of Australian artists including Sharon Benjamin (pictured) at five with Daddy's Hotel, The Beggars with The Banjo Song at 12, Clelia Adams' I Love You A Thousand Ways at 25, Jetty Road at 31 with Million Miles and Melissa Bajric at 39 with Truck Drivin’ Man.

Publishers say the Top 40 is based solely on how many times songs feature in radio playlists.


Shea tops CMC playlist

Shea Fisher tops the CMC (Country Music Channel) Top 50 playlist this week with the clip of her latest single Suitcase.

Steve Forde is at five with Guns And Guitars while Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl jumps four places to be in sixth place and Victoria Baillie's Make Me is at seven.

Jayne Denham's Shake This Town is at 10, Adam Brand's Blue Sky Cathedral is up three to 11 and Jetty Road's Million Miles debuts in the playlist at 14.

John Williamson is another new entry this week, at 16 with Better Than A Picture, Troy Cassar-Daley's Big Big Love is at 18 and Kirsty Lee Akers' Better Days is at 19.

Bullet performers this week include Karl Broadie with Once In Your Life (29 to 26), Tania Kernaghan's Dad's Not Gonna Like It (new at 30) and Cory Hargreaves' Bluestone Room.

The CMC Country Pick this week is Troy Cassar-Daley's Sing About This Country.

Weblink – www.countrymusicchannel.com.au.


MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2009

Tamworth Camerata turns eight

Country Music Capital's unique Tamworth Camerata youth country music school turns eight this year.

Each year, around 21 young up and coming Australasian country music performers converge on Tamworth for an intensive six day course of learning, climaxing at what is described as "an amazing live public concert event".

Some students come under their own steam, others are sponsored by way of scholarships from various businesses, organisations and individuals.

Students for the 2009 school, to be conducted next month, have been announced.

They are... Arianne Baker from Nelson, New Zealand (Best of The West Country Music Festival scholarship), Lachlan Clark from Mackay, Qld (Ross & Robyne Johnson scholarship), Samantha Clark from Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea, Isaac Collins-Kennedy from Bracken Ridge, Qld (Queensland Champion of Champions scholarship), Cameron Cusack from Tura Beach, NSW, Ashleigh Dallas from Tamworth NSW (Axiom Entertainment’s Jazzer Quest scholarship), Breanna Gerritsen from Waterford, Qld, Jacynta’lee Glaspy from Malanda, Qld (Tamworth Regional Council's Capital Country Music Association Jamboree Talent Quest scholarship), Tiah Guillot from Lakes Entrance, Vic, Zak Jesienoski from Port Douglas, Qld (Walkamin Country Music Festival scholarship), Sherridan Kyle from Bairnsdale, Vic (Peel Valley Lions Club scholarship), Gemma Leonard from Murray Bridge SA (South Australia Council for Country Music Cindy Shelton Memorial scholarship), Jordy McMillan from Airly, Vic (St Arnauds Country Hoedown scholarship), Kristin Macdonald from Tokanui, New Zealand (Dairy Farmers scholarship), Jade Mellor from Beaudesert, Qld, Tim Orchard from Inverell, NSW (Moree Superstar Competition scholarship), Linc Phelps from Gympie Qld (The Pub, Tamworth, Jazzer Quest scholarship), Rowan Scott from Tamworth, NSW, Mitchell Smith from Dunedin, New Zealand (Sue Keating scholarship), Trevor Tolton from Durack, Qld (Australian Bush Balladeers Association scholarship) and Daniel York from Dulacca, Qld.

Conceived by hotelier and artist manager Joan Douglas and Tamworth-based musician/producer Greg Williams, Camerata now boasts 144 graduates from throughout Australasia. Camerata graduates have gone on to win accolades including Golden Guitars, Toyota Star Maker, Telstra Road To Tamworth, and many are enjoying radio and television exposure.

In this year's school, there are nine Queenslanders, four from NSW, three Victorians, three New Zealanders and one each from South Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Students learn many music-related skills from experts including group leaders Brad Bergen, Merelyn Carter and David Carter and tutors including Roger Corbett, Hugh Curtis, Doug Gallacher, Jim Haynes, Roxanne Kiely, Ian Lees, Mark Moulynox and Rod Motbey.

Tamworth Camerata 2009 runs from July 11 to 16, culminating in a gala finale concert at West Tamworth League Club on Thursday July 16.

Concert tickets are available from Wests by telephone on 02 6765 7588 or online at www.wtlc.com.au.

Weblink – www.tamworthcamerata.com.


Chart update – Troy's seventh week at the top

Troy Cassar-Daley's Big Big Love is at number one for the seventh consecutive time on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart.

Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis are unshaken from the number two spot again with I Told You So while Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl is up two places to three and America's Brad Paisley is at four with Then.

Alan Jackson's Sissy's Song is down two to five, The Harmonators' If Love Ain't Crazy is up one to six and Victoria Baillie's Make Me is up two to seven.

Jasmine Rae's Pink Guitar is down to eight, Tracy Coster's Way Back Then edges up one to nine and Harmony James' Fly enters the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Jetty Road's Million Miles (21 to 17), Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels (25 to 20), The BobKatz' Thank You (24 to 21), Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright (26 to 22), Jayne Denham's Shake This Town (28 to 23), The Songbirds' You've Got A Friend (27 to 24) and Luke O'Shea's Prodigal Son (new at 27).

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



"MO" winners

Winners in the 33rd "MO" Awards were announced before a capacity audience at the Bankstown Sports Club on Monday night.

In the Country categories, Troy Cassar-Daly was named winner of Male Vocal Performer while Melinda Schneider won the Female Vocal Performer award and The McClymonts (pictured), Country Group.

Several country or country-related acts won in other categories... Darren Carr won the Specialty Performer award and Performer of the Year while The Robertson Brothers were named winners of the Vocal Group category.

Lucky Starr was inducted into the "MO" Awards Hall of Fame.

Veteran performer Donnie Sutherland compered the event which featured acts including Belinda Adams, Barry Crocker, Nathan Foley, Morgan Kent, Wayne Scott Kermond, Juliana Melfi, Roland Storm and MATS winner 13 year old singer Blake Giles.

Weblink – www.moawards.org.au.


Denis to receive APRA's Ted Albert Award

Organisers of next week's APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards have announced that Denis Handlin, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia & New Zealand, is to receive the 2009 Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music.

The Award will be presented at the 2009 Awards to be held next Tuesday (June 23) in Melbourne.

The recipient of the Ted Albert Award is chosen by the APRA Board of Writer and Publisher Directors and previous recipients include some of Australia’s most respected music industry heavyweights including Michael Chugg, Slim Dusty, Michael McMartin, Don Burrows and Angus and Malcolm Young.

APRA CEO Brett Cottle said: "Denis' name has been synonymous with the success of some of Australia’s best loved acts over the past 25 years.

"His driving leadership and unstinting support of Australian music artists has helped shape our modern music landscape. A true advocate for Australian music, it is fitting that his influence is recognised in this way. On behalf of the APRA Board, we congratulate you."

Known for his championing of Australian music talent and his highly competitive spirit, Denis Handlin was born in Brisbane and started with the Australian Record Company (now Sony Music) in May 1970 in the Distribution Division of the Brisbane office.

Since then, he has held a number of senior positions including National Promotions Manager, Director of Marketing and General Manager, Marketing and Sales. He was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in 1984.

In February 1996, Denis was made Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Entertainment Australia Limited and appointed to the international committee responsible for the company’s global strategy.

He has a strong involvement in the music industry having served on the committees of several industry associations and has held various positions including Chairman of the PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia), Vice Chairman of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Chairman of the Australia Industry Chart Committee.

Denis has been a member of ARIA since 1984 and held the position of Chairman of ARIA for an unprecedented 10 consecutive years.

Outside of the music industry, Denis is strongly committed to community work and is a founding member of the Sony Foundation Australia which has raised in excess of $12 million since 1999 for youth-based charitable causes.

His community work has also included major fund raising for the Children’s Hospital Westmead, Parkinson’s Syndrome Society, the 2009 Victorian Bushfire areas and a number of other important charities. Denis was made a Patron of the Youth Off The Streets scholarship program in its inaugural year in 2004.

"I am truly humbled and honoured by this recognition from APRA," he said. "To be recognised by industry peers and in this case particularly from songwriters and music publishers, is very special indeed."

Weblink – www.apra.com.au.


Chart update – Troy's sixth week at the top

Troy Cassar-Daley holds on to the top spot on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart for the sixth week with his latest hit Big Big Love.

The next three positions remain unchanged from last week with the Carrie Underwood/Randy Travis duet I Told You So steady again at two, Alan Jackson's Sissy's Song at three and Jasmine Rae's Pink Guitar at four.

Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl bounds up five places to take over fifth position, America's Brad Paisley is at six with Then while The Harmonators' If Love Ain't Crazy is at seven.

Joe Nichols' It Ain't No Crime is down to eight, Victoria Baillie's Make Me bounds into the top 10 at nine, as does Tracy Coster's Way Back Then at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Harmony James' Fly (15 to 11), Paul Costa's In This Life (16 to 12), The Heartley's No Man's Land (18 to 15), Jetty Road's Million Miles (25 to 21), Felicity Urquhart's Two Wheels (28 to 25), Graham Rodger's We're Gonna Be Alright (29 to 26) and The Songbirds' You've Got A Friend (30 to 27).

New entries in the chart for the coming week include Jayne Denham (pictured) with Shake This Town (in at 28) and Kirsty Lee Akers' Better Days (at 30).

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


MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2009

Frank, Lance and John named in Queen's Birthday honours

Frank Ifield, Lance Smith and John Green are three country music related personalities named in today's Queen's Birthday Honours.

Frank (pictured at left) was awarded an OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) for service to the arts as an entertainer while Lance (centre) was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for service to young people as a supporter and fundraiser for The Children's Hospital Westmead and Bear Cottage and to the tourism industry and John was presented with an OAM for service to local government and to the community of Tamworth.

Known worldwide as one of Australia's most successful international artists through the '60s and '70s, Frank was recognised for his contribution to country music in 2003 when he was elevated to the Country Music Roll of Renown and for his contribution to Australian Music when he was inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lance's involvement in country music has mainly been through his association as a tour operator and event organiser and promoter in conjunction with the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival and through his close association with the late Smoky Dawson, including the key organisation of the Smoky Dawson Tribute Concert in Sydney last year which raised funds for Bear Cottage.

Former Country Music Capital councillor John Green served as a Tamworth City Councillor for 30 years and was heavily involved for many years with many of the city's country music activities.

Many Country music festival visitors will know John as the long time early morning public address operator at the huge Riverside camping ground established especially for the annual January event.


Kristal wins Trans Tasman 09

South Australian young talent Kristal Collins, who began singing country music aged 12, has been judged Norfolk Air Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year at the 16th annual Norfolk Island Country Music Festival.

Nineteen-year-old Kristal becomes the first South Australian to win the coveted award, which earns her $3,000 in cash and a studio recorded backing track of her choice at Manuka Studios in Auckland with leading country musicians Rob Galley, Mike McCarthy and Chet O’Connell.

A graduate of the Australian College of Country Music and hailing from Mount Compass on the edge of the McLaren Vale wine region, Kristal is the reigning South Australian Senior Champion of Champions, South Australia's People’s Choice Award winner and was a semi finalist in the national songwriting competition at the this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Title runner-up was Queenslander Lance Coassin who also claimed the Allen Buffett Award for best original song while New Zealander Neil McKenzie-Hall took out the Dead Ringer Band Encouragement Award.

Headline act at the 2009 Norfolk Island Country Music Festival was six-time Golden Guitar winner Adam Harvey.

Next year’s Norfolk Island festival is listed to take place from May 16 to 23.

Weblink – www.norfolkisland.com.au.


Cheryl FACE's the music

Country Music Capital’s Cheryl Byrnes has been named an ambassador to the Forces Advisory Committee on Entertainment (FACE).

Cheryl was invited to a swish cocktail party in Sydney to welcome and introduce the new ambassadors to the Forces Entertainment board and the Defence Forces Advisory Group.

Together with her fellow ambassadors Richard Wilkins, Michael Tame, Glenn Wheatley, Beccy Cole, (Little) Pattie Amphlett and Angry Anderson, Cheryl met in the Officers’ Mess at Victoria Barracks, Paddington, where chairman Major General Bill Crews made them all welcome.

Forces entertainment tours have been a tradition since the days of Bob Hope and Marilyn Monroe visiting troops in the Korean War right through to Kylie Minogue and John Farnham singing for our soldiers in East Timor

FACE was established in 1966 to help plan these tours and the original FACE was disbanded in 1985. It was re-established in 1999 in response to the Australian Defence Force operations in East Timor

Since then it has coordinated 11 concert tours to East Timor, four concerts for troops working under the Aboriginal Army Community Assistance Program in remote locations around Australia, concerts for peace monitors in Bougainville, four tours for forces in the Solomon Islands and seven concert tours for troops in the Middle East.

Now known as Forces Entertainment, it is responsible for providing entertainment to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Australian Federal Police men and women deployed, with the aim of lifting morale by bringing "a little piece of Australia" to extreme places.

And the focus is on the people, not the politics.

From the country arena, artists such as James Blundell, Beccy Cole, The McClymonts, Amber Lawrence, Paul Costa, Ami Williamson, Nicki Gillis, Morgan Evans and Jasmine Rae have all gained much from their "tours of duty".

From outback Australia to East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Cyprus, Afghanistan and The Middle East, including Iraq and the Sinai, Forces Entertainment works with entertainers who give up their time free of charge to visit our Aussie troops.

Any artists interested in inquiring about tours, should contact Forces Entertainment by applying online at www.forcesentainment.org.au.

Photo: FACE ambassadors (from left) – Cheryl, Angry, Beccy, (Little) Pattie and Richard.

– Anna Rose



Blue Water Festival this weekend

A full artist line-up has been announced for this weekend's Blue Water Country Music Festival at Port Stephens on the NSW North Coast.

The fourth annual Blue Water Festival, which runs throughout this June long weekend, grew from 15 venues in 2006 to more than 40 last year.

In some cases, venues are on cruise boats which pass the day sailing among the dolphins in the Port Stephens waterways and the Karuah River, a unique concept in country music billed by organisers as "bringing the Country to the Coast".

"Judging by the level of interest from both performers and potential visitors," they say, "the magnificent Blue Water paradise of Port Stephens will again provide a spectacular backdrop to many venues as well as attracting a premier line-up of established country music artists."

In addition to headline act Troy Cassar-Daley, these include Kirsty Lee Akers, Connie Kis Andersen, Kaylah Anne, Melissa Bajric, Kate Ballantyne, Jessica Bell, Bella, Bowen & Clare, Kel-Anne Brandt, Brumby's Run, Nic Cesta, Stephen R Cheney, Lee J Collier, Rob Corbett, Pat Drummond & Karen Lynne, Morgan Evans, Natalie Foley, Makaylie Foodey, The Harmonators, Dale Hooper, Kelly Hope, The Junes, Alan Kash, Tracey Killeen, Dianne Lindsay, Michelle Little, Victoria Magee, Bruce McCumstie, Will Osland, Steve Passfield & Handpicked, Bob Pigott, The Pigs, The Rough Diamonds, Ruckus, Kimber Sparks, Merelyn Steele, Gary Thomas, Col Thomson, Tru Grit, Wildseed, Bec Willis, John Wilson, Rob Wilson, the Wolverines, Rodney Vincent and bush poets Gabby Colquhoun, Graeme Johnson, Ken Jones, Greg North, and Bob Skelton.

This year's Festival will feature the third Blue Dolphin Awards (talent quest), the Blue Water Busking Titles, Bootscooting and more.

Weblink – www.bluewatercountrymusic.com.au.


Jason releases third single

Meeting Like This is the name of Jason Lee’s latest single, the third from his self titled debut EP.

Jason has been getting plenty of attention lately, including from Cameron Syrett on Sydney's Cool Country 1476 2KA and Tony Slingsby of Melbourne’s 88.9 WYNfm who have both aired interviews with the former Star Maker grand finalist.

Already receiving strong support from Victorian stations, more interviews are pending with Brian Amos on Radio Eastern, with the release slotted for programming also at Radio Port Phillip 3RPP, and nationally with John Nutting's "Saturday Night Country" on ABC Radio.

Meanwhile, a video clip has been released for broadcast on CMC (Country Music Channel). The clip, described as "subtle but expressive" was filmed by Ross Wood at one of the NSW Central Coast’s best venues, Lizotte’s at Kincumber.

A graduate of the Australian College of Country Music, Jason travelled NSW, Queensland and Victoria performing with a four piece band and supporting artists Michael Carr, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Adam Harvey and The McClymonts.

Jason has recently been confirmed to appear at Gympie's National Country Music Muster and also recently secured sponsorship from BlueDog Jeans.

Weblink – www.jasonlee.com.au.


Chart update – Troy's fifth week at the top

Troy Cassar-Daley is at number one for the fifth consecutive week on the coming week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart with his latest hit Big Big Love.

The Carrie Underwood/Randy Travis duet I Told You So is steady at two while Alan Jackson's Sissy's Song edges up one to three and Jasmine Rae's Pink Guitar jumps two to be in fourth position.

The McClymonts' Shotgun is down to five, The Harmonators' If Love Ain't Crazy edges up one to six and America's Joe Nichols is at seven with It Ain't No Crime.

The Sunny Cowgirls' duet with Adam Brand – Someday – is at eight, Brad Paisley's Then is at nine while Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl bounds into the top 10 at 10.

Bullet performers for the week include Tracy Coster's Way Back Then (16 to 13), Harmony James' Fly (18 to 15), Paul Costa's In This Life (20 to 16), The Heartley's No Man's Land (22 to 18) and Jetty Road's Million Miles (30 to 25).

New entries in the chart for the coming week include Felicity Urquhart with Two Wheels (in at 28), Graham Rodger with We're Gonna Be Alright (at 29) and The Songbirds' You've Got A Friend (at 30).

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


FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2009

Entries open for Toyota Star Maker 2010

Entries have opened for Toyota Star Maker 2010, the 31st staging of Australia's most significant, successful and influential new talent event in country music.

The winner will be announced in Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital, on Sunday, January 17.

The annual search for a new Australian country music star has been responsible for giving the nation many of today’s major country stars, including James Blundell, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan and Keith Urban, together with the latest new crop of country stars in Kirsty Lee Akers, Liam Brew (reigning Star Maker, pictured), Travis Collins, Samantha McClymont (from The McClymonts) and Talia Wittmann.

Each year, Toyota Star Maker invites aspiring country music stars to compete for a range of opportunities that will provide a substantial career boost for the winner.

"Toyota Star Maker is not a talent competition as such," said a spokesman for the organisers, “it is an annual search for an individual star who has the greatest potential to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the Toyota Star Maker prize package, a package that now includes a full album record deal.

“Ideally, entrants are already working professionally in the Australian country music industry with an aim to reach for the stars.

"The message is: 'If you are ready to take the next big step, enter and you could join previous winners of Toyota Star Maker on the ride of your life'."

In addition to the album deal, the Toyota prize package includes a Maton acoustic guitar, 12 months use of a brand new fully serviced Toyota motor vehicle, a fuel card for the 12 months after winning Toyota Star Maker. production of a professional video clip, media promotion and guaranteed performance bookings at a designated list of events.

"Artists seriously looking for a professional long-term career in country music are invited to apply," said organisers Rural Press Events, publishers of "Country Music Capital News".

Entry forms are available by emailing starmaker@ruralpress.com or by telephoning 02 6762 2399. Entry forms can also be downloaded from the Toyota Star Maker page at www.capitalnews.com.au.


Adam has a spring in his step!

Adam Brand was announced last night as the first Australian country star to feature in the Network 7 series of "Dancing With The Stars".

The 2009 season gets underway on Sunday July 5.

This year's program has another country music connection in former Prime TV (and now Network 7) personality Kylie Gillies who hails from Tamworth.

Adam will also be joined by champion surfer Layne Beachley, footy legend Peter "Spida" Everitt, blind Paralympian Gerard Gosens, "Home and Away" star Lincoln Lewis, "Packed To The Rafters" actress Jess McNamee, singer Rob Mills, swimsuit model Emily Scott and television presenter Matt White.

"I’m very excited and terrified all in one!" Adam said. "I’ve got a great dance partner (Jade Hatcher) who is also very patient… and she’s going to need to be!"



MO Awards finalists

Finalists have been announced for the 33rd MO Awards to be staged in Sydney on Monday, June 15.

In the Country categories...

Bosco Bosanac, Adam Brand, Troy Cassar-Daly, Adam Harvey (pictured), Wayne Horsburgh and Alan Kash are finalists for Male Vocal Performer...

Donna Boyd, Kel-Anne Brandt, Beccy Cole, Melinda Schneider and Felicity Urquhart (pictured) are finalists for Female Vocal Performer... and

Buckshot, Bob Howe &Hillbilly Heaven, The McClymonts, Rockabilly Express and the Wolverines are finalists for Country Group.

Other country or country related performers featuring in this year's Awards include Bosco and Jacqui Bosanac's Cash On Delivery in Tribute Show, Darren Carr in Versatile Performer, Specialty Performer, Comedy Performer and Australian Performer of the Year, Bill Cate's Cate in Three Man Or More Performer Band and Vocal Group, The Robertson Brothers in Vocal Group, Mary Schneider in Instrumental or Vocal Instrumental Performer.


Vale – Bobby McLeod

Bobby McLeod – activist, poet, healer, musician and Yuin elder – died on Saturday (May 30) after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Born in 1947 and hailing from Wreck Bay Village, Jervis Bay Territory, in addition to his writing and music, Bobby was involved in the fight for Aboriginal rights in Australia and travelled the world speaking about cultural lore, health and healing.

His last album – Dumaradje released on the ACMEC label – was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 2005 ARIA Awards.

Prior to that, he had Culture Up Front (1992) and Spirit Mother (1993) both on the Larrikin label and Paradox (2001).

His writing included the books "Ngudjung Yugarang. Mothers Heartbeat: a collection of poems", "Baby Gudjagah" and "Juella and Ngudjung Ngulla".

Bobby McLeod spent many years providing a bridge between his Aboriginal culture and mainstream society. That link will continue tomorrow (Friday) when his funeral incorporates mainstream and traditional elements.

Long regarded as a leader within the Aboriginal community he continued writing throughout his illness, dancing and singing to tell his story and the story of his culture.

From humble beginnings in Worrigee where he lived as a fringe dweller in a tin hut, Bobby rose to become an Aboriginal rights activist as one of the pioneers in the Aboriginal tent embassy established outside Parliament House in Canberra in the 1970s.

At that stage, he was known as a hard man and a radical.

His brother Darren said Bobby’s work in the tent embassy was not about race or pointing the finger of blame, but about alerting people to the realities of hardship, disease and death that were affecting Aboriginal people and particularly children throughout Australia.

His funeral service will be held tomorrow at 1.30pm at the All Saints Anglican Church in Nowra and will be followed by burial service at Nowra's Worrigee Cemetery.


Big Bush Brekky for Hats Off

Country funnyman Jim Haynes has announced his "Big Bush Brekky" will be staged (or "gets served up") during the upcoming Hats Off festival in Tamworth.

Jim will perform his popular shows over two days, Saturday and Sunday July 18 and 19 at The West Tamworth League Club.

Originally known for his writing skills, as an author, Jim has released 12 books of Australian shot stories and verse. Over the course of his working life, he has been an author, songwriter, performer, recording artist, academic, sapphire dealer, nurse and teacher often several at the same time.

In 1990, he started the first "Bush Breakfasts" at Tamworth during the annual January Country Music festival, against all predications, they were an instant success and in 1997, Jim moved to his new home at the West Tamworth League Club and between there and West Diggers, he has made his home between the two venues.

The "Big Bush Brekky" shows combine Jim’s unique mix of country music and humour and also features special guests.

Jim has always supported the Tamworth Country Music Festival, especially encouraging up and coming young country music musicians, as evidenced through his work as a mentor/tutor/judge and compere at Tamworth Camerata, the youth school of country music conducted annually around the same time as the Hats Off festival.

He has sold more than 70, 000 albums. His classic song – Since Cheryl Went Feral – was number one on Australian country airplay charts for five weeks. His other hits have included Don’t Call Wagga Wagga Wagga (with Greg Champion and Ted Egan) and I’ll Watch Anything.

Jim has won Comedy Song of the Year at the January festival four times and three Australian Bush Laureate Awards for Book of the Year .He is the resident Australiana humorist on Sydney's Radio 2UE and appears regularly on television.

Tickets for this year's Hats Off "Big Bush Brekky" shows are available from West Tamworth League Club, telephone 02 6765 7588 or on-line click here.


Setback for Sharon

News has emerged of impending surgery for promising new country music talent Sharon Lane.

The effervescent artist who, in almost three years, has overcome major surgery and worked hard on her music career achieving numerous personal goals many would say were virtually impossible, spent yesterday in Sydney discussing surgery options with her doctor.

Just last week, Sharon dealt with the diagnosis from her surgeon, similar to the debilitating brain tumour surgery she underwent in 2006.

In usual, Shaz style, she continued with commitments, ironically with the Fred Hollows Foundation setting out to conduct a pre-arranged workshop in Brewarrina with her son Kodi, travelling to Sydney from Dubbo with husband Tony on Tuesday to meet with doctors to discuss the extent of tumours found behind her left eye.

Reflecting earlier today, when asked how she felt about the medical opinions yesterday and what her thoughts were, Shaz replied: "How do I feel? Really, it’s hard to answer at the moment. I guess I am still trying to cope with the news.

"I’m attempting to stay strong and remain positive. You have to have hope and I guess that’s what Tony and I and the boys believe in at the moment –hope.

"I have an amazingly strong connection with my family and I know they will help me get through this yet again."

The Dubbo based singer and Community & Student Liaison Officer with Charles Sturt University is determined to complete her final year of a Bachelor of Arts Degree, with the last of her assignments due and examinations scheduled in the next few weeks.

Surgery dates are hoped to be confirmed as soon as possible.


Chart update – Troy's fourth week at the top

Troy Cassar-Daley is at number one for the fourth week on this week's national Top 30 Country Tracks chart with his latest hit Big Big Love.

America's Carrie Underwood is at two with I Told You So while The McClymonts' are at three with Shotgun and Alan Jackson's Sissy's Song is at four.

The Sunny Cowgirls' duet with Adam Brand – Someday – is at five, Jasmine Rae's Pink Guitar is at six and The Harmonators' If Love Ain't Crazy is up three more places to seven.

America's Joe Nichols is at eight with It Ain't No Crime, Ronni Rae Rivers' Running On Fumes at nine and Adam Brand rounds out the top 10 with Hell Of A Ride.

Bullet performers for the week include Keith Urban's Kiss A Girl (20 to 15), Harmony James' Fly (21 to 18), Jonah's Road's Long Gone (27 to 23), Paul Costa's In This Life (25 to 20) and The BobKatz' Thank You (30 to 26).

New entries in the chart for the coming week include Jetty Road (pictured) with Million Miles (in at 30).

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



© Copyright 2009, ICMB Publishing