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Big Country comes to Berry

Country music will take over Berry on the South Coast of NSW on Saturday 11 May 2019 for the inaugural Big Country Festival.

Details were announced today for the one day concert which will feature some of the biggest names in Australian country music.

Travis Collins, Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Caitlyn Shadbolt, The Sunny Cowgirls and The Wolfe Brothers, together with local artists Liam Maihi, Kevin Sullivan and Chalkie White, are headline acts for the event which will run at the Berry Showground.

General Public tickets to Big Country go on sale from  at midday on Thursday, 15 November 15. Limited, reduced price Early Bird tickets are available from midday on Tuesday November 13 and can be accessed by registering .

Big Country will also feature a "ton of fun for all the family including great local food options and a wide range of  tipples at the Craft Beer Corner as well as some of Australia’s best bull riders vying for the Big Country Buckle," according to a spokesman.

A "Little Country Kids" mini-festival which "keep little ones entertained" with free children’s activities including face painting, jumping castles, arts and craft.

Jack Stewart of Pink Salt Productions said the event organiser was excited to be bringing a festival of this scale to the Shoalhaven. "We’ve been to countless festivals all over the country and we can’t wait to bring this experience to the area we’ve grown up in with an incredible lineup packed with country music royalty and plenty of rising stars."
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2019 Senior Academy students announced

The student intake for the Australian Academy of Country Music 2019 senior course have been announced.

More than 25 up-and-coming artists will arrive in Tamworth – Australia's Country Music Capital – for the intensive two-week course from January 5.

With one more yet to be announced, the 2019 students are... Ainslie Allen (New Zealand Entertainer of the Year), Wellington NZ, Ria Brcic, Camden NSW, Jem Cassar-Daley, Balmoral Qld, Tayla Clavarino (CCMA scholarship) from Tamworth NSW, Lisa De Angelis, Gilead NSW, Kylie Gale (Nebauer), Caves Beach NSW, Melanie Gray (Northern Territory Scholarship), Darwin NT, Jarrod Hickling (Indigenous Scholarship), Mungindi NSW, Harriet Kelly, Hillston NSW, Tameka Kennedy (Travis Collins Scholarship), Bathurst NSW, Joel McKay (Indigenous Scholarship), Hannah Pead, Bellangry NSW, Werris Creek NSW, Anthony Quinsee, Springfield Lakes Qld, Rachel Ricciuti, Silvan Vic, Dani Rigby, Ashburton NZ, Kiara Rodrigues, Alexandra Hills Qld, Michelle Russell, Bega NSW, Benjamin Seymour, Watanobbi NSW, Jaydin Shingleton, NZ, Ali Shield, Sunshine Coast Qld, Cassidy Rae Wilson, Sydney NSW and Billy Woodley, Perth WA.

In addition to the singer/songwriter/performer students, there are four instrumental students: Anthony Baxter (John Minson Scholarship), Tamworth NSW, Isabella Burnup, Airlie Beach Qld, Gabi Blissett, Ashtonfield NSW and Matt Bresolin, Taroomball Qld.

The Academy is led by six-time Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell as Director, with "a stellar team of group leaders and mentors". Kevin Bennett, Catherine Britt, Lachlan Bryan, and Simon Johnson are group leaders specialist tutors Katrina Burgoyne, Allan Caswell, Liam Kennedy-Clark, Roger Corbett and Amber Lawrence.

An array of industry guest speakers will deliver the "real story" from behind the scenes, "which is invaluable to a young performer entering the country music industry and avoiding the pitfalls of a career in the arts," said an Academy spokesman.

"The students this year are such a talented group," said Lyn Bowtell of the 2019 intake. "It was extremely hard to choose the successful applicants but in the end we have a really spectacular group..."

Academy General Manager Roger Corbett said Academy graduates had "an astonishing track record of success over the years.

"At the Golden Guitars in 2018, our graduates won 13 Golden Guitars between them. On stage, Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence publicly acknowledged the contribution that The Academy had made to their careers."

"The success of The Academy and the experiences gained from the course comes from a range of factors," said Lyn "Maybe it’s the support of their new friends they make at The Academy, maybe it’s the teaching, the exposure, or the contacts in the industry and it’s probably everything, but every student seems to get a new kickstart to their careers after leaving The Academy."

The Academy Live! performance is on Friday, January 18 at 4pm in Blazes Auditorium at Wests. Tickets are available via .

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Gwandalan farmer support concert

Leading bush balladeers Dianne Lindsay and Peter Simpson will host a special "Support The Farmers Concert" at Gwandalan Bowling Club next week.

The lunch-time concert – next Monday (November 12) – will feature a number of special guest artists.

Tickets are and will include a two course lunch and a wine.

Gwandalan is on Lake Macquarie, NSW, between Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Bookings can be made by telephoning the Club on 02 4976 1204.

Lucky door prizes and raffles be a part of the program.

All funds raised "go to support the farmers".

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New major event for Tamworth Festival

A new major event to be run on the first weekend of the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January was launched today.

The Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft and Rodeo Association (ABCRA) launched the Great Australian Round Up – a two day charity event to be held at the Australian Equine Livestock
& Events Centre (AELEC) raising money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.

Based around supporting Australia’s vital rural industries through awareness and fundraising efforts, the event is forecast to provide "an exciting, unique and new element to the Tamworth Country Music Festival for both tourists and locals," in the words of the Association.

The Round Up will "showcase all things that are Australian country, including a stockman’s challenge, working dog trials, sheep shearing, a ute, truck and antique machinery show, bush poets and live music."

Saturday January 19 from 6pm is thge first day and will see the feature event with internationally renowned Guy Mclean and his "incredible Australian stock horses" as seen on Australia’s Got Talent.

This will be followed by Australia’s Elite Rodeo Athletes from "Broncs & Bulls to Barrel
Racing in a rodeo extravaganza".

"Besides the excitement of rodeo action, the Great Australian Round Up Rodeo will tell a story of the heritage of rodeo in Australia," the ABCRA said, "highlighting its importance in today’s rural communities."

The Great Australian Round Up will also host a number of family attractions and events, from pony rides and petting farms to waterslides.

Member for New England and former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce launched the event at the AELEC this afternoon.

Photo: Barnaby, with ABCRA Executive Officer Craig Young.

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Kasey joins campaign to "save the wave"

The West Australian newspaper reports that a number of notable figures – including Kasey Chambers – are supporting a campaign to save "the highway wave".

Jillaroo Jess (Edwards) and author Tim Winton join Kasey in the campaign which aims "to get people waving on WA’s country roads as concerns mount about the future of the simple yet iconic gesture".

Breakfast radio presenter Angela Ayers started the "bring back the wave" following a study in early October by the West Regional News on a length of country road between Bunbury and Manjimup which found only five of about 270 people returned the highway salute.

"Apart from the funny side of it, it is making people pay attention on the roads, taking notice of their surroundings," said Jillaroo Jess.

Kasey said she was caught a little off guard by the suggestion, but was completely on board. "I can say I have been doing interviews for about 30 years and I have never been asked that question.

"I am raising my kids to be wavers. Most people want them to be doctors, lawyers, whatever, I just want them to be wavers."

Tim said while some were perhaps a little too enthusiastic with the wave, it was a tradition worth holding on to.

Angela even managed to rope a team of researchers in to gathering more data on the prevalence of the highway wave between Perth and Karratha.

They found more than two per cent of people waved between Perth and Geraldton, and 24 per cent between Geraldton and Monkey Mia.

Up towards Coral Bay, that figure neared 50 per cent, before dropping back to 41 per cent from Coral Bay to Karratha.

"In conclusion the wave is not dead, but you and I have some work to do," Angela said. "When you are on the road today, do it, lift up that index finger and forge a connection on a long dusty road that, while fleeting, says so much more about Australia than words can express."

"The wave" is usually a two finger gesture based on the index finger but it can also be one, three or more.


Entries close soon for Queensland Music Awards

Entries in the 2019 QMAs (Queensland Music Awards) close on Sunday November 12.

The Awards cover 13 categories including Country, Roots, Blues, Singer Songwriter, Regional, Video and Folk.

In their seventh year, the Awards will be staged at the Royal International Convention Centre at Brisbane Showgrounds on Tuesday, March 19.

A major part of the 2019 Awards will be a ,000 "promotional support" prize for Song of the Year, the second year for this category and the associated prize.

Brad Butcher (pictured) won this year's Country category at the QMAs.

Self nomination in the Awards can be made at the official .


Lee announced as Tamworth Festival Ambassador

Lee Kernaghan has been announced as the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Festival Ambassador.

Lee's mainstream introduction to Australia as a country music act "with a future" came in 1982 when he won the Star Maker Quest.

This year, he is celebrating a hugely successful 25 year career, including with a celebration concert in January.

"I’m proud to be the 2019 Toyota Country Music Festival ambassador," Lee said. "It’s Australia’s largest music festival and the only place to be in January!".

Lee was introduced to the festival by his dad Ray. "I loved everything about it. The big crowds, the long summer days filled with all the different styles of country music, not to mention the opportunity to see all the new talent bursting on to the scene."

Now, as the official Ambassador for the Festival, Lee is wanting to support the next generation of country music artists. "I’d encourage all new and emerging artists to begin their journey in Tamworth," he said.

"What a story and what an icon for Australian country music," said Festival Manager Barry Harley. "We are thrilled to have Lee onboard as our official Ambassador, especially as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Toyota Star Maker. His successful career is motivation for other aspiring artists, many of whom will be at the festival alongside Lee in January."

The Toyota Tamworth Country Music Festival will run from Friday January 18 to and including Sunday January 27. Dozens of concerts will run the week before in the "Festival Countdown" period.

More than 700 individual artists will perform at more than 2800 events at 120 venues. The Tamworth Country Music Festival now has an aggregate attendance of 300,000.

"If you haven’t been before, it’s definitely one for the bucket list! I know where I’ll be this January and I can’t wait to see you there!" Lee said.

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Tamworth concert raises million for drought relief

The Hay Mate: Buy A Bale Concert For The Farmers in Tamworth yesterday and last night raised million for drought relief.

Every dollar raised will go towards farming charity Rural Aid to spend on drought relief, including the proceeds of a Qantas charity charter from Sydney to Tamworth.

Major parts of the 10 hour concert event, which started mid afternoon and concluded just before 11pm with a rousing performance by John Farnham, was featured in a television event on the Nine Network hosted by David Campbell, Sonia Kruger and Richard Wilkins.

Richard announced at the conclusion of the concert that million had been raised but donations were still being accepted online at .

Organised by agent and promoter Glenn Wheatley, the event was supported by numerous corporate entities including Toyota and West Tamworth League Club; the concert was staged at Wests Scully Park ground.

A star studded line-up included, in addition to John Farnham, Andrew Farriss (INXS), Daryl Braithwaite, Adam Harvey, Guy Sebastian, Aleyce Simmonds, Jon Stevens and The Veronicas.

Photos – top: Aleyce Simmonds performs; right: Andrew Farriss (left) rehearses with Lawrie Minson (second from right) and The Davidson Brothers for his performance on the concert.


Dorrigo festival this weekend

The 2018 Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival is expected to draw thousands to the Dorrigo Plateau in NSW this weekend (today, tomorrow and Sunday).

Almost 60 individual acts – including featured artists Bryant & Brown, Dosca, Luke Plumb & The Circuit, John Reischman & Eli West, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado and Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse – will play during the weekend at the festival venue, the Dorrigo Showground.

Artists hail from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and the USA and all shows will take place in covered venues.

The line-up is "joyful, exciting, fresh, stellar, diverse, local, national and international, daring and brave yet comfortable and homely, beyond our imaginations; it is everything we could have hoped for and more," according to a festival spokesman.

"The Festival Committee is so delighted to have all of these musicians on board."

As well as the music, the Dorrigo Festival includes a number of instrument, vocal abnd band workshops conducted by some of the top artists in their field, who pass on their knowledge, skills, experience and heritage to a new generation of folk enthusiasts.

This year's workshops – bluegrass, folk and old-time instrumental, vocal and band – include Old-Time Guitar primer with Doug Sharkey of the Blue Ridge Broadcasters, Old-time Banjo Tune-Up with Joseph Decosimo of the Blue Ridge Broadcasters, Harmonies with Tom & Jerry, Mandolin with John Reischman, Traditional songs from Asia & the Pacific with Anna Smyrk, Squareneck Dobro with James Church & Dan Musil, Tommy Jarrell style with Appalachian Heaven Stringband, Festival Choir with John Flanagan, Accompanying a Singer with Guy Ghouse, Mandolin with Mike Compton, A closer look at the mandolin family with Charlie & Jensen and Appalachian Songs on Uke with Lucy Wise.

A full listing of artists, workshop detail and other festival information can be found on the website .


New... TamworthTV

TamworthTV – an initiative of Tamworth Regional Council, co-ordinators of the January country music festival in the city – was launched this week.

The "channel" is a web portal featuring fortnightly videos of Australian country music artists, hosted on Council's behalf by Country Music Capital's own Aleyce Simmonds.

"TamworthTV is a platform for independent country music performers to reach new fans the world over," according to Council.

"This is such a unique initiative, particularly for emerging artists who are trying to get a foot in the door," said his Aleyce . "I’m excited to introduce and interview a new artist each fortnight and show the world what Tamworth and the country music scene has to offer.

"It was so much fun filming the pilot and we are over the moon that we’ve been able to facilitate the launch of TamworthTV and assist in promoting our country music artists," she said.

Tamworth Country Music Festival Manager Barry Harley, who came up with the idea, said he was ecstatic the community had come together to give (this) platform to emerging talent.

"Tamworth is well known in Australia as the Country Music Capital," he said, "and now, slowly but surely, we are making further inroads to promote this great region on the world stage.

"Our producers will secure the best local talent and the best artists touring, tape them performing a single song live in our studios and post the performance online to be enjoyed by a worldwide audience."

The pilot episode – featuring multi Golden Guitar winner Luke O'Shea, is now online. Artists looking to be included on TamworthTV can make contact via the website.

TamworthTV is a companion to the other major Tamworth video presence online, also co-ordinated by Council, via BalconyTV.

Since June 2016, almost 50 individual videos have been posted, by artists including Lyn Bowtell, Matt Cornell, Paul Costa, Kristy Cox, Ashleigh Dallas, Steve Eales, Rachael Fahim, Kristy James, John Krsulja, Amber Lawrence, Ryan Sampson and Jonny Taylor.

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Keith serenades Marissa

Keith Urban made a dream come true for one sick fan at the Mercy Children's Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, last week.

Marissa English was on hospice care and couldn't attend Keith's sold-out concert despite having tickets to the Toledo show on Thursday night.

Her nurses knew Marissa wasn't just a fan, but an Urban super-fan. They lobbied the country music superstar through social media and he made a surprise bedside visit, serenading her with Blue Ain't Your Colour.

"We knew how important it was to Marissa to be at that concert," said nurse Jan Cassity. "Since she wasn’t able to, we were hoping to try and find some way to have Keith make a connection with her."

Keith dedicated the Ohio concert to Marissa "who I truly think is my biggest fan".

Marissa's mother said her daughter has memorabilia of other Keith Urban concerts they've attended.

"She has a t-shirt that we put on a pillow that's beside her all the time. It's actually cute, because she'll pick up the pillow and hug it and kiss it (and)... she'll point at it and say, 'Mr Hottie'."

USA Today reported 25-year-old Marissa was in rapidly declining health after being born with "a myriad of health conditions including water and an inoperable cyst on her brain, severe scoliosis and cerebral palsy."

Picture: Kristi Coe Frederick.


Vale – Lily Connors

Australian country music pioneer Lily Connors died earlier this month. She was 87.

Lily was born in Cessnock in 1931. At Age 11, she discovered she could yodel and won a heat of Australia’s Amateur Hour. In  1946, she went on to sing in the Radio 2KY competition which led her to perform in many variety shows touring the country.

In 1948, Lily, her mother and sister Bonnie, travelled to America to visit her mother’s family. While there, Lily had her own half hour show on KFI Television in Los Angeles billed as "The Girl From Australia".

She then joined a government sponsored touring show called "Nations in Review" representing Australia. She was offered a five year "starlet contract" in Hollywood but turned it down because she felt she would be controlled too much by the studio.

In 1950, Lily returned to Australia and was soon a regular on shows organised by Ted Quigg and Tim McNamara. It was her version of Chime Bells that became her signature song.

Lily was a regular on the 2GB radion program "Bonnington’s Bunkhouse" for five years and she was a frequent guest on "Bandstand" and Reg Lindsay’s country music television program.

In 1962, she gave birth to her son Alan and it was here that she slowly cut back on her performing career. In 1972, Lily embarked on a short tour with Slim Dusty and it was to be her last major performance. In 1978, she was inducted into the Hands of Fame in Tamworth.

Photo: Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.


Vale – Bill Davey

Bill Davey – better known as "Wild" Bill Davey, a regular act at the Tamworth January and mid year country music festivals – has died.

For many years, Bill has called the Tudor Hotel in Peel Street home for his popular festival breakfast shows which also offered the opportunity for new and visiting acts to perform.

He performed regularly in Tamworth, northern NSW and Queensland.



Rex honoured with Living Legend award

Australian country music legend Rex Dallas was honoured twice over at the weekend as an official legend of country music.

The award, the Australasian Country Music Living Legend Award, was presented at the Slim Dusty Country Music Festival at Kempsey.

Rex was first honoured as a legend in the year 2000 when he was elevated to the Australasian COuntry Music Roll of Renown in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital.

Rex performed at this year's Slim Dusty Festival with his talented family, sons Brett and Colin and daughter Ashley.

"I am absolutely honoured and overwhelmed to have received tonight," Rex said. "A beautiful moment shared with my family and many thanks to the organisers and to the fans."

Photo: Rex with his award and son Brett at Kempsey after the presentation.

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Vale – Max Thorburn

Well known country music industry identity Max Thorburn has lost his battle with cancer.

The co-founder of the Australian Independent Country Music Awards and Mildura Country Music Festival, Max died on Thursday (Oct 18), at age 72.

He was also well known particularly as a writer and broadcaster having started Mildura's community radio station HOT FM in the 1980s.

Starting his media career at the age of 13 writing football reviews, Max had tried to set up a new radio station in 1982 in opposition to the established local empire.

The "powers-that-be" clamped down on him, so he broadcast illegally for 77 days – which led to a court appearance and a fine of . He got a permanent licence 10 years later.

After many years of involvement, more latterly, Max was on the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s Community Radio Network (CRN) Advisory Committee.

CRN manager Martin Walters called him, "A great supporter of community radio, in particular initiatives that served country music audiences."

During his long career, Max travelled to, and worked for a time, as a broadcaster on a number of country music radio stations in America.

In 2008, he was inducted into the Australian Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was presented with the Eric Watson Literary Award.

At home, Max served as a councillor on the Mildura Rural City Council – he was to celebrate 10 years in the role this November – and worked for a long time as a sports broadcaster and commentator.

In September, he was awarded a life membership of the Sunraysia Football and Netball League for his support of local sport.

Max's daughter Cassandra, a well-known journalist, recalled: "My dad taught me to accept life is full of imperfect people, including ourselves and to approach each day as an opportunity to do better.

"If you hurt someone be man enough to admit it and make amends. True gifts."

Photo: Robyn McIntosh.



Ausmusic T-Shirt Day

Support Act – the Australian music undustry's benevolent fund – is appealing to "all those who love Australian music and who care about the people who make it" to join them on Friday 16 November 16 for Ausmusic T-Shirt Day.

They day will raise funds for artists and music workers who are experiencing financial hardship, ill health, injury or mental health issues.

Ausmusic T-Shirt Day, which kicks off ARIA Week 2018, is described as "a massive nation-wide celebration of Australian music that reminds us how lucky we are to have such a strong local music scene, with some of the world’s best artists coming out of our own backyard," Support Act says.

Artists, music workers and music lovers are invited to donate via the  website, and then post and share photos wearing "your best band t-shirt" using the hashtags #ausmusictshirtday and @supportact.

"The cool thing about the website is that it enables artists and music lovers to create teams so they can get their workplace, school or social media networks involved in the campaign," said Support Act CEO Clive Miller.

"It's a really simple and fun way to raise funds for a great cause and we really hope that music fans across Australia can be our ambassadors and get their workplaces involved; and that artists can mobilise the support of their fans."

Support Act has also developed a set of music trivia questions – a “Who Am I” guessing game – and other music focused activities to engage friends and colleagues at morning tea, during lunch, or even over Friday night drinks.

"Anyone who doesn’t already have a fave t-shirt is encouraged to... visit the merch section of your favourite artist website and buy one of theirs online!"

Funds raised from Ausmusic T-Shirt Day will help Support Act expand its new Wellbeing Helpline and continue to provide crisis relief to artists and music workers in need.



New Christmas music from Kirsty Lee

Kirsty Lee Akers is set to release two new Christmas songs, one an original.

The original is titled I Never Want Christmas To End, co-written with Matt Scullion and reflects Kirsty's feeling of Christmas being a most special time for her.

A cover of the classic Blue Christmas made famous by Elvis Presley is the second new recording by Kirsty.

Released through Social Family Records, the two songs are available for pre-order now and will be released across digital retail platforms on Monday November 5.

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After The War

Australian War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson has released a compilation album commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War II titled After The War.

The release – which includes the Lee Kernaghan I Am Invictus recording also co-incides with the Invictus Games being staged in Sydney from Saturday. Lee will perform the song at the Games opening ceremony.

It's "just full of great, great music by great and talented Australians," according to project supporter radio shock jock Ray Hadley.

Brendan is "not only a former politician, he's also a tragic country music fan," Ray said.

Artists featured on After The War include Wes Carr, Lee Kernaghan, John Schumann, Glen Shorrock, The Wolfe Brothers and more.

All royalties from the album will be donated back to the Australian War Memorialmemorial, funding programs supporting young veterans.



ARIA Awards finalists

Finalists have been announced for this year's ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards.

For Best Country Album, the finalists are Adam & Brooke by Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont, Brave & The Broken by Travis Collins, Campfire by Kasey Chambers & The Fireside Disciples, Country Heart by The Wolfe Brothers and Real Class Act by Fanny Lumsden.

The Awards will be staged in Sydney on Wednesday November 28.

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Adam and Aleyce part of star line-up for drought fund-raiser

Country’s Adam Harvey and Aleyce Simmonds will join a star studded line-up in Tamworth for a special benefit concert in support of drought-stricken farmers later this month.

Hay Mate: Buy a Bale — A Concert For The Farmers will take place on Saturday, October 27 at Country Music Capital’s Scully Park.

John Farnham and Guy Sebastian will headline the event which will also include Daryl Braithwaite, Nat Conway, Andrew Farriss (INXS), Jon Stevens, The Veronicas and Tim Wheatley as well as Adam and Aleyce.

Promoters are encouraging those who can’t attend, especially city dwellers, to buy tickets for farmers and their families.

The concert is supported by News Corporation, the Nine Network, Sony Music, Toyota and West’s Entertainment Group. All money raised will go to Rural Aid.

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Tom dominates the Southern Stars

Northern Territory based performer Tom Curtain has dominated this year's Australian Independent Country Music Awards (Southern Stars) taking home four of the nine awards up for grabs.

He won Album of the Year for Territory Time, Male Vocalist of the Year with the title track to the album, the prestigious Artist of the Year accolade and shared in Song of the Year with Luke O'Shea for Never Never Land.

Aleyce Simmonds was named Female Vocalist of the Year for the second year running with Only On My Terms.

Group or Duo of the Year was won by Carter & Carter with Better Day.

Bush Ballad of the Year went to Dean Perrett for He Talks Of Going Back.

The Rising Star gongs went to Emma Jene with A Girl Needs Her Daddy's Love and Angus Gill with Hands Are Clean.

The Southern Stars are the pinnacle event of the annual Mildura Country Music Festival.

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Springwood (NSW) musician Peter Christie has won a gospel music award in America.

The award was for Christian/Gospel Music Male Artist of the Year, a part of the annual Josie Music Awards in Tennessee which recognises indendent artists from all music genres.

According to the Awards website, winners are selected on their talent, skill, material and professionalism... nominee suggestions going through a lengthy review process and final voting by a team of industry leaders.

Peter told the Blue Mountauins Gazette it was an honour to receive a Josie.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “When they called out my name I couldn’t believe it. I thought that a mainstream artist would take out the award so it was a real honour.”

The award follows the success of the song Two Ways To Sunday released early this year, which hit number 20 in the US Gospel charts. The track was co-written with Roger Corbett of The Bushwackers.

It's Peter's second award this year... he won in the Gospel category of the Songs Alive Australian Songwriting Competition for God Guitars And The Open Road.

Peter usually visits the US twice a year, mostly playing at festivals, and his music is particularly popular in the southern states.

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CMC Rocks Qld 2019 – another sell out

CMC Rocks Qld has sold out “instantly” for the second year in succession.

The 21,000 available tickets went on sale on yesterday morning and were all sold within hours.

This number will be a 1,000 increase on last year’s 20,000 attendance.

CMC Rocks Qld will be held again at Willowbank south-west of Ipswich, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 15, 16 and 17.

Local hit-makers Troy Cassar-Daley and Kasey Chambers will be joined by visiting acts including star American band Florida Georgia Line.

Headliners will be supported by local acts including Imogen Clark, Melanie Dyer, Jedd Hughes and Aleyce Simmonds as well as a number of visiting artists.

CMC Rocks has a record of hosting big name acts. Over the years, the likes of Busby Marou, Travis Collins, Lee Kernaghan and The McClymonts have graced the stage, together with visiting acts like the Dixie Chicks, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift.

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Mildura underway

The 2018 Mildura Country Music Festival is underway with a roster of more than 50 individual acts taking the stage this week and through the weekend.

And here it is... one of the biggest lineups of Australian country artists performing in the one place outside the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival in January... Connie Kis Andersen, Sharon Benjamin, Lance Birrell, Owen Blundell, Rob Breese, Jeff Brown, Allan Caswell, Stephen R Cheney, Aly Cook, Don Costa, Country Horizon, Dale Duncan, Angela Easson, Dwayne Elix, Emma Jene, Lee Forster, Paul Gibbs, Angus Gill, Terry Gordon, Bec Hance, Johanna Hemara, Kate Hindle, Ged & Trudy Hintz, Graeme Hugo, Michaela Jenke, John Krsulja, Glenn Jones, John Lecner, Dianne Lindsay, Warren Mahoney, Cameron Mason, Neil McArthur, John O'Dea, Steve Passfield, Evan Platschinda, Taylor Pfeiffer, Alby Pool, Reg Poole, Amber Joy Poulton, Dave Prior, Anita Ree, Kiara Rodrigues, Michelle Russell, Show Pony Express, Aleyce Simmonds, Pete Smith, Steve Sparrow, Justin Standley, The Long & Short Of It, Gina Timms, Rodney Vincent, Bryen Willems, Chooka Williams and Dani Young.

Twenty two venues will host shoes up to and including this Sunday (Oct 7).

The major event of the Festival, the Australian Independent Country Music Awards (or Southern Stars) will be held on Saturday night.

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Lights On The Hill Convoy

The 2018 Lights On The Hill Memorial Convoy Weekend is today and tomorrow at Gatton (Qld).

Entertainment surrounding the convoy and memorial service includes artists Matt Cornell, Jayne Denham, Kerry Kennedy & Double Barrell, Pete "Smokie" Dawson and the Viper Creek Band.

The convoy is the main event today, the memorial service is tomorrow. Associated activities through the weekend include a truck show, charity auction, market, trade stalls and special entertainment for children.

The Lights on the Hill Truck & Coach Drivers Memorial is a memorial wall for truck and coach drivers who have passed before their time. It is situated within the transport hub of Gatton Qld in Lake Apex Park.

Lights on the Hill Trucking Memorial Incorporated is committed to providing a Memorial to support and remember members of the Australian transport industry who have lost their lives so they can be honoured and remembered forever more.

The name derives from the Joy McKean penned Slim Dusty hit song.

Pictured, from left: Matt Cornell, Jayne Denham and the Viper Creek Band.

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Deni Ute Muster this weekend

American country artist Carrie Underwood and Australian expat Gord Bamford from Canada have been added to the Australian star line-up for this weekend’s Deni Ute Muster.

Kirsty Lee Akers, Busby Marou, Doug Bruce & The Tailgaters, Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Travis Collins, Amber Lawrence, Fanny Lumsden and The Pigs are headline acts for 20th Muster at Deniliquin, NSW.

The Deni Ute Muster is billed as “one of the top bucket list events in Australia” annually attracting close to 20,000 people “of all ages to celebrate all things laconically Australian and, of course, the iconic ute”.

As well as the music and utes (Ute Count, Show N Shine, Circlework, Barrel Race and Go to Wo), the Deni Muster will also feature the AFL Grand Final on the big screen, wood chopping and whip cracking demonstrations, the World Record Blue Singlet Count, the Bull Ride Spectacular, Brophy Bros Circus and Bob the Butcher.

“World Champion sand sculptor Dennis Massoud, the Australian Ride on Lawn Mower Racing Association’s Lawn Mower Races, the Shimano Fishing Tank Show and, for the first time, Laser Tag will also keep our Musterers busy over the weekend,” according to a Muster spokesman.

“And the fun and games don’t stop there. The Decentralised Demountables Family Centre will be open from 9am each day with free children’s activities including face painting, bubble blowing, stilt walking, hookey and much more.”

In its first year (1999), the Deni Ute Muster had around 5,000 patrons and set a new Guinness World Record for the greatest number of legally paraded utes at 2,839 – a record which still stands today. Since then, the  Muster has become the region’s biggest tourist drawcard and a celebration of all things Australian.

The Deni Ute Muster is supported by more than 1,000 volunteers mobilising each year to help put on the event which donates close to 0,000 back to community groups.

Photo: night view of a recent Muster stage performance.

Weblink – at www.deniutemuster.com.au.



Troy to release Greatest Hits

Troy Cassar-Daley will release a 42-track Greatest Hits album next month.

In his 30 plus years of making music, Troy has been awarded countless accolades including four ARIA awards, 36 Golden Guitars, to APRA awards, nine Deadlys (Australian Indigenous Artist Awards) and four Entertainer of the Year awards.

Last year, Troy was elevated to the Australasian Country Music Roll Of Renown.

With multiple Gold and Platinum sales awards, Troy has also earned a staggering 31 number one hit singles, all of which are collected on the double Greatest Hits release together with "timeless album cuts" and two new songs, Wouldn’t Change A Thing and Shadows On The Hill.

Wouldn’t Change A Thing has been pre-released as a single, a song Troy says he is "really proud of... because I wanted to write something reflective about my life and others around.

"Looking back over this collection of songs across my whole career I can reflect on the great times such as celebrating my first Golden Guitar or ARIA Award and in contrast the periods where I have doubted myself and my music, felt alone.

"But at the end of the day, I say to myself 'I wouldn’t change a thing'."

Troy will follow the album release with a national acoustic tour, "presenting his songs and the stories behind them in their most pure form. A celebration of an extraordinary career."

Troy released his first single – Dream Out Loud – in 1994. His debut album – Beyond The Dancing – came out in January 1995.

Greatest Hits will be available Friday October 19.

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Finalists announced for Gidgee Coal Awards

Finalists have been announced for this year's Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards to be announced in Pittsworth (Qld) in November.

They are...

For the Male Vocal award... Ernie Constance with Lead A Horse To Water, Dean Perrett with Drovin’ On and Reg Poole with Australia's Fighting Son.

For Female Vocal... Kylie Adams-Collier with On A Sandstone Ridge, Bec Hance with Jelly Bean Man and Trudy Hintz with Saddle Up And Ride.

For Group or Duo/Collaboration... Band of Mates (Terry Bennetts, Evan Platschinda, Ginger Cox) with Sons Of Australia, Lindsay & Gail Hammond with Georgina and Ged & Trudy Hintz with You’re Not A Fair Dinkum Aussie.

For Instrumental... Terry Bennetts with Bellbird Waltz, Terry Bennetts & Alisha Smith with Chicken Pickin' and Lindsay Hammond with The Bushman's Song.

For Album... Earn Your Spurs by Dean Perrett, Lead A Horse To Water by Ernie Constance and What Country’s All About by Dale Duncan.

For Songwriter... Ernie Constance with Jack, Dean Perrett & Norma O’Hara Murphy with My Little Bay Mare's Mother and Peter Simpson with Heart And Soul.

For New Talent... Kylie Adams-Collier with On A Sandstone Ridge, Paula Hammond with Our Nan and Vicki Walsh with Ballad Of The Weddin’ Mountain.

For Comedy Song... Michael Clare with That Mobile Phone, Ernie Constance with If It Ain’t Broke and Bob Gregory with I’ve Been Married, Mate.

The Awards will be held on the weekend November 17 and 18 at the Pittsworth Town Hall.



Keith to host the ARIAs

Keith Urban has been announced as this year's host of the annual ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards.

Keith will return to the ARIAs stage for the first time in 10 years, to take on the hosting duties.

A multi-ARIA and Grammy Award winner, Keith's recently released Graffiti U album debuted at number two on the broader ARIA Albums chart and continues to dominate the Australian Country Albums chart.

His previous album, the number one Platinum selling Ripcord, was the second highest selling album in Australia in 2016 and spent 27 weeks in the Top 10 and 46 weeks in the Top 20 of the ARIA Albums Chart.

Keith has a total of 14 ARIA Platinum-selling singles and albums, earning him a total of five ARIA Awards from a career spanning nine LPs.

He also has a number of Golden Guitars under his belt and numerous American country music awards.

Hosting the 32nd Annual ARIA Awards for the first time, Keith said: “I’m really looking forward to coming home and celebrating an incredible year of Australian music.

“There have been so many impressive releases this year, it’s gonna be a tough competition but we get to recognise and honour the best of the best at Aussie music’s night of nights.”

ARIA’s CEO Dan Rosen said: “ARIA is honoured and excited to welcome back superstar Keith Urban to join us in Sydney to celebrate the 2018 ARIAs.

“To have one of Australia’s biggest stars host this year’s ceremony is just phenomenal. Australian music fans are in for a real treat.”

The 2018 ARIA Awards will be held on Wednesday November 28. The first ARIA Awards were held in 1987.

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I Am Invictus, official song of the Games

Lee Kernaghan's I Am Invictus is the official song of this year's Invictus Games.

Written by Lee with Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter, the charity single is available digitally.

I Am Invictus will also be made available on CD in October with the release of the album, After The War, a project initiated by Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, and recorded at Rancom St Studios in Sydney with Garth as producer.

The album will commemorate and honour the men and women who are serving, and have served our country, and coincides with the 100 year anniversary of the signing of the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the end of "The Great War".

"After The War is a stunning musical tribute to every Australian who has given their all for our nation in the uniform of Navy, Army and Airforce," Brendan said.

"From the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 single to the title track, these are songs of love, friendship, loyalty and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of tough times. This is music to inspire, make us proud and remind us of what it means to be an Australian."

The album spans from Gallipoli and Passchendaele to the sinking of HMAS Canberra in 1942 in the waters off Savo Island, to the Battle of Long Tan in a rubber plantation in Vietnam, and the blurred and dusty battle lines of Afghanistan.

The songs have been brought to life by the contributions of talented and generous artists who have all donated their royalties to veteran services under the direction of the Australian War Memorial. These proceeds will be fully committed to the Australian War Memorial to support initiatives, exhibitions and programs in support of young veterans and their families

Artists featured include Lee and Garth, Wes Carr, Darren Percival, The Royal Australian Navy Band, John Schumann, Glen Shorrock, Sisters In Arms. (three women from the Airforce, the Navy and the Army), Lance Corporal Elizabeth Smith, Fred Smith and The Wolfe Brothers as well as members of the Polyphony Choir.

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Fanny wins Indy award

Fanny Lumsden took out Best Independent Country Album at the Australian Independent Record Label Awards in August.

The award was for her work Real Class Act.

Fanny also performed her song Elastic Waistband during the Awards show.

"We are very proud of our tiny record label Red Dirt Road Records and the fact we put this record out oursleves out of our loungeroom/car/caravan and the fact its crowdfunded," Fanny said.

"Also I am wildly proud of the songs and production (thanks Matt Fell)."

Previous winners of the award have included Adam Brand, Catherine Britt, Kasey Chambers Gina Jeffreys and Bec Willis.

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Adam joins Drought Breakers

Aussie country star Adam Brand has banded together with a number of other artsts to form a "supergroup" known as Drought Breakers which came to fruition via indigenous musician Scott Darlow and record a single to raise money for drought relief.

With Adam and Scott in the band are pop/rock band members Todd Hunter (Dragon), Jack Jones (Southern Sons) and Sarah McLeod (Superjeses).

The song Drought Breakers chose to record was, appropriately, a cover of Dragon’s Rain. The project took shape over a coffee between Scott and Triple M Head of Content Fitz.

Scott kicked off the project to raise money for Australia’s drought stricken farmers. All profits from the sale of the song go to .

A World Vision artist, Scott started the project with keyboard player Andy Sorenson and drummer Phil Gaudion. Jack Jones was added for guitar and vocals, then came Sarah McLeod of The Superjesus and Adam Brand for more vocals. Finally, the song’s writer Todd Hunter put on his bass.

Buy A Bale has delivered more than160,000 bales of hay across four Australian states to farmers in need.

Photo: Adam sings his part for the new recording.

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Vale – Kevin Knapp

Kevin Knapp – a key player in the creation and development of Tamworth’s Country Music Capital promotion – has died. He was 86.

With Max Ellis, Warwick Higginbotham, John Minson and Eric Scott, Kevin worked to establish the foundations of what is now nationally and internationally recognisd as a major marketing success for Tamworth and Australian country music.

He came to 2TM from Radio 2LM in Lismore where he first became involved in country music activity as a player on the station’s “Radio Ranch” program (playing the character “Hotfoot”). 

A dairyman’s son, Kevin left the farm and headed for Sydney initially where he landed a job as an office boy with international music publishers Boosey and Hawkes.

Looking for a career in broadcasting, he became a panel operator with Radio 2CH before moving to 2LM in the early 50s.

Kevin joined 2TM as Station Supervisor in 1964 where he helped introduce a new country music program which eventually became the now famous “Hoedown” run by then copywriter, John Minson.

As part of 2TM’s country music promotion, the Australasian Country Music Awards (Golden Guitars) were launched in January 1973 and Kevin became the first host and presenter, a role he was to fulfil for the Awards first 16 years.

He was involved in every aspect of the stations’ country music activities, including the now national country music magazine Capital News and after retiring became heavily involved in the Australian Country Music Foundation and the development of Australia's Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth.

Described as a humble man by all who knew him, Kevin's contributions to country music were recognised by many industry accolades and awards including a Country Music Capital Golden Guitar, a TSA (Tamworth Songwriters’ Association) award and induction into the Country Music Hands of Fame.

Kevin is survived by daughter Lisa and her family and son Robert.

Photo: by Robmac.



Chad tribute

Award-winning singer/songwriter Ian Quinn has released a tribute to Chad Morgan.

The song, titled The Last Country Music Pioneer, was recorded with the assistance of bush balladeer Glenn Jones.

The song captures the unique and outstanding contributions Chad has made to the  Australian country music industry for more than 60 years, according to a spokesman for Ian.

Tex Morton once described Chad as the only true original country music artist with his ability to captivate audiences through Aussie slang and comedy in his songs.



Keith's flying visit

Keith Urban made a flying visit to Toowoomba on Monday to perform at the It's A Bloke Thing luncheon.

The Toowoomba Chronicle reported that organisers for the prostate cancer research and awareness fundraising lunch announced Keith as a special guest moments before he went on stage.

The country star's involvement in the luncheon comes as no surprise as his father died of prostate cancer and several other family members had the disease.

"I'm very honoured I could be a part of this," Keith said, "and thankful to organisers for doing this."

It's A Bloke Thing Chairman David Russell said Keith jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the lunch and did not charge any performance fees.

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