Category Archives: Hume Travel Radio Network

AUSTRALIA’S QUEEN OF BLUEGRASS ADDS TO GOLDEN GUITAR TALLY & SCORES CMT ADDITION

Australia’s Queen of Bluegrass – Kristy Cox – added to her impressive Golden Guitar Award tally on Saturday night taking out Bluegrass Recording of the Year with her good friend and Australian music legend, Tommy Emmanuel CGP, for their track, “Finger Picking Good”.

The win took Kristy’s personal tally to five Golden Guitar Awards making her one of the most decorated female Bluegrass artists in Australia.

“I am completely blown away and speechless to have received this award for the third year in a row. I love Bluegrass music, it’s where my heart is and this award means so much to me”, said Kristy.

“I can’t thank all those who voted for the track enough for their ongoing support and the industry as a whole. Recording this track with Tommy is one of the highlights of my career so far … he truly is amazing!”

Kristy celebrated under slightly unusual circumstances this year with Covid restrictions rendering it impossible for her to get home to Australia as she traditionally would.

This year, she was snuggled up under a blanket in her favourite pyjamas watching via live stream in Nashville.

“It felt very strange not to be in Australia for the Tamworth festival and the awards. This is the first festival I have missed in over 20 years. Setting my alarm for 2am and watching the awards in my PJ’s was a completely new experience but it didn’t take away from the excitement of the event though … wow, what a night!”

And it didn’t stop there, Kristy, Tommy and her band which also included producer, Jerry Salley, recorded a show stopping performance of the winning song that was played during the awards ceremony showcasing the reason why Kristy Cox is by far one of our greatest music exports.

The performance was so good that CMT Australia instantly added the video across the board to full rotation – airing for the first time on Australia Day.

Kristy’s current album, “No Headlights”, featuring the Golden Guitar Award winning “Finger Picking Good” is out now via Mountain Fever Records.

Benny Allen continues award-winning run

Victorian singer-songwriter Benny Allen has continued his award-winning run at the Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards.

Although he couldn’t be at the Tamworth Country Music Festival this year, Benny will have a treasured memento from January, taking out the award for Best Bush Ballad with his single, The Battle of Point Nepean.

This follows on from his win in the Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards last year for Best Video Clip.

“I’m blown away to have had so many people connect with a song about Australia’s first brush with quarantine,” he said.

“It means so much to me, to be included not just as a finalist, but as a winner of one of these prestigious awards. When you look at the historical winners list, it’s humbling to think that my name is being included amongst people that can be identified by their first name in this industry – Troy, Lee, Beccy, Amber and both of the Adams.”

The Battle of Point Nepean is Benny’s first foray into the bush ballad format, chosen for its natural connection to storytelling, but he’s promised it won’t be his last.

“The bush ballad format is something that really appeals to me, particularly as a storytelling format – and I can’t wait to produce more work in this style,” he said.

Benny is working on new music to be released in the coming year.

The Bushwackers given highest Australasian country music honour

The Bushwackers have plenty to celebrate during their Golden Jubilee year after being inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown.

The much-loved lively Australian bush band were recognised for their contribution to Australian country music at the Golden Guitars Awards in Tamworth on Saturday, January 23, with front men Dobe Newton and Roger Corbett overcome with emotion at the announcement.

“This is just incredible,” Corbett said.

“It’s been quite a journey. We first came to Tamworth in 1981 and won a Golden Guitar and we fell in love with everybody in country music. We’ve been thrilled to be part of this community, part of Tamworth and part of this wonderful, crazy thing we do every year. Thank you for this incredible honour.

“I want to pay tribute to this bloke (Dobe) here who never fails to turn up in something crazy to wear and thrash that lagerphone to death and be the front person to all our shows; it’s been quite a journey.”

Newton, who has previously been honoured with an OAM for services to the performing arts as an entertainer and advocate, made a heartfelt speech in front of his industry peers in Tamworth.

“We couldn’t have done it without our amazing family and loves of our lives and all the wonderful musicians who have supported us,” he said.

“Now that this has happened, I can die a happy man.”

Their induction to the Roll of Renown was a highlight of the COVID-adjusted Golden Guitar Awards ceremony.

Both Corbett and Newton are also known for their songwriting skills and Newton co-wrote verses of the popular “We Are Australian” anthem with Bruce Woodley of the Seekers.

The Bushwackers won their first Golden Guitar In Tamworth in 1981 and have been regulars in Country Music Capital and on stages all over Australia ever since.

The Roll of Renown was instigated in 1976 by Radio 2TM with a presentation to pioneer Tex Morton.

Awarded to people who have made a lasting and significant contribution to Australasian Country Music, The Bushwackers bronze plaque was the 52nd to be placed on the commemorative rocks outside the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.

Tamworth mayor Col Murray and Roll of Renown committee chair and industry veteran Max Ellis presented the award to Newton and Corbett.

The plaque includes the words: “A household name, The Bushwackers hold a unique place in the hearts of so many proud Australians.”

Ian Burns – Tamworth awards haul

Ian Burns has proven his talents and popularity in the Australian country music scene this month, taking home two awards at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The Macarthur singer-songwriter won the Tamworth Songwriters Association Local Heroes Song of the Year for Think Again, co-written with Mary V I Harrison and David Carter.

Ian then added to his Tamworth accolades, winning Best Male Vocal in the 2021 Australian People’s Choice Awards.

“I am overjoyed and really honoured,” he said.

“Thanks. Particularly, to my wife, Susie, for all her support throughout the years, and to everyone who had faith in me and voted. Thank you to my co-writers of Think Again, Mary VI Harrison and David Carter.”

This is not the first time he has won an award from the Tamworth Songwriters Association, previously winning the TSA National Songwriting Contest for Alt/Blues/Bluegrass.

The Local Heroes category in the TSAs was previously an ANZAC section to mark the centenary of World War I, but now honours all heroes in our community.

“Think Again struck a chord with people because it’s a song about never giving up no matter how much is going against you,” he said.

“It is about the fighting spirit of Australians meaning that we will get through adversity and come out bigger and stronger than ever.”

Ian plans to build on this award-winning success with more releases to come in 2021.

Golden duo for Luke O’Shea

Thirteen is lucky for some, and for Luke O’Shea, it’s brought plenty of gold his way at the 49th Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth.

The Sutherland Shire singer-songwriter picked up his 13th Golden Guitar on Saturday night, January 23, after winning Traditional Album of the Year and Heritage Song of the Year.

This marks O’Shea’s seventh win in Heritage Song of the Year and his first Album of the Year category Golden Guitar.

Fellow multi-Golden Guitar winning singer-songwriter Kevin Bennett shared the Heritage Song of the Year win with O’Shea, for their collaboration, Happy Australia Day, while O’Shea’s album, There In The Ochre, won Traditional Album of the Year.

“This album, There In The Ochre, has been without a doubt the hardest and most rewarding album I have ever made,” he said.

“It was started more than three years ago and then life just got in the way – three teenage daughters and a complete house renovation saw all my creative juices and finances focused on other things. But, through the shared passion of some of my all-time favourite musicians and people on the planet, it finally came together.”

O’Shea recorded There In The Ochre across more than 12 different studios over three different states with the skills and ability of people including Lyn Bowtell, Ashleigh Dallas, Kevin Bennett, Brad Butcher, Amber Lawrence, Chris Matthews, Bill Risby, Michel Rose, Clare O’Meara, Stuie and Camille French, Damien Cafarella, Lachlan Bryan, Luke Herbert, Benjy and Soni Pocock, Phil and Lana Doublet, and Sean Rudd who pulled it all together.

“I have always loved the craft of making an album – the light and dark, the ebb and flow, and even though that doesn’t get as appreciated in this world of digital downloads, this album is dedicated to those who love to listen to the whole story – the book,” O’Shea said.

“That is you, you magnificent country music audiences and for that I am eternally grateful and determined to keep on creating music and stories that might entertain, console and challenge, so thank you for letting me be me.”

In terms of challenging songs, the award-winning Happy Australia Day is meant to educate and encourage listeners to think about the significance of January 26.

“Without doubt, the Heritage Award is the category that inspires me the most,” O’Shea said.

“The Heritage category gives you the opportunity to tell stories, to sing up our distinct and unique past, our history and its people – warts and all.”

O’Shea said songwriting allowed him to celebrate the pride he has for our country and share the love and inspiration it provided and wanted others to feel it too.

“To be given the honour of this award means so much to me because that means somewhere, somehow, through some line or melody I was able to connect with you,” he said.

“Happy Australia Day is not a pretty song but, like it or not, it is our history and we have to own it. It was written with the great Kevin Bennett – a Kamilaroi man – not to shame or embarrass, but to educate.”

O’Shea is a school teacher and wanted more facts known about our pre-European history and our shared history, both black and white.

“Through learning about these remarkable Indigenous Australians, it is our hope that you might gain a new and valuable perspective of our past so that you might better understand where we are at currently so that, together, we might make better informed and more compassionate decisions about our future united – as one, and perhaps one day get to share a true Happy Australia Day.”

O’Shea has also just released a new single with Golden Guitar-winning Tamworth singer-songwriter Ashleigh Dallas called Long Way ‘Round.

Tom Curtain, Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer tribute to Joy McKean vies for Heritage Song of the Year Golden Guitar

She Gave Us The Song, a tribute to Joy McKean, is in the running for the 2021 Golden Guitar for Heritage Song of the Year.

Kelly Dixon and Garth Porter penned the song, a collaboration between Tom Curtain, Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer, featured on Tom’s latest album, We’re Still Here.

The song has already featured at the Golden Guitar Awards presentation, with Tom, Sara, Lee, Troy Cassar-Daley and Lyn Bowtell joining forces at the 2020 event for the finale song in front of music royalty.

“It was humbling to get up there with those amazing artists and perform the song in front of a packed house, but having Joy sitting in the front row was very nerve-wracking,” he said.

“It’s an honour to pay tribute to Joy through this song with Lee and Sara because she has done so much for country music and for Slim Dusty and is a great songwriter in her own right.

“It’s particularly special to have She Gave Us The Song in the top five finalist tracks of the Heritage Song of the Year category in the year the Slim and I documentary also paid tribute to the contribution Joy has made to Australian country music.”

Tom won Heritage Song of the Year with Never Never Land in 2018, with Luke O’Shea.

To view the performance of She Gave Us The Song at the 2020 Golden Guitar Awards, click here.

Tom is preparing to start his In The West tour in December, which will take him and his Katherine Outback Experience horse and dog show through Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory if border restrictions allow.

ONLINE EDUCATIONAL EVENT TO FEATURE SUPERSTARS AND LEADERS OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC INDUSTRY

The Country Music Association of Australia Inc. are proud to announce the first ever ‘Academy X’ online educational event to take place Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 January, 2021. The Academy X program will feature superstars and leaders of the country music industry giving students invaluable information on various aspects of the music industry, including songwriting, record labels, publishing, management, festivals and touring, recording, performance, video production and media strategies. There will be a focus on resilience, innovation and mental health in a post-COVID world.

The two-day course will feature key note presentations by country music superstars Troy Cassar-Daley, Brooke McClymont, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, Shane Nicholson, Amber Lawrence, Fanny Lumsden and Caitlyn Shadbolt along with industry leaders including Matt Fell (award winning producer, Love Hz Studio), Julz Parker (award winning producer), Dan Biddle (Artist Manager and Chairman, CMAA), Natalie Waller (Head of ABC Music & Events and Vice-Chair, CMAA), Duncan Toombs (award winning video director, The Filmery), Geoff Bell (Agent & Promoter, Laing Entertainment) and Simon Johnson (multi-instrumentalist and producer, Hillbilly Hut), as well as Support Act with a presentation on mental health and resilience in the music industry.

Group leaders and mentors for the students will include award-winning artists Lyn Bowtell, Dobe Newton, Roger Corbett, Catherine Britt, Amber Lawrence, Lachlan Bryan, Ashleigh Dallas, Kevin Bennett, David Carter, Jayne Denham and Mickey Pye and they will provide the intensive hands on experience that has been an integral part of The Academy for so long.

The Academy (previously known as the CMAA Academy of Country Music) has operated from Tamworth since 1997, normally running for two weeks preceding the Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth. The news of the move to the online format follows the announcement that the Tamworth Country Music Festival will be suspended for 2021 in light of restrictions due to COVID-19. This is the first time in the 24-year history of The Academy that an in-person event will not take place in January.

The Academy has been an important steppingstone in the careers of hundreds of artists including Jessica Mauboy, Brooke McClymont, Sara Storer, Travis Collins, Amber Lawrence, Adam Eckersley, Caitlyn Shadbolt, Judah Kelly, Kylie Sackley, The Sunny Cowgirls, Ashleigh Dallas, Melanie Dyer, Imogen Clark and many more. Academy X is set to continue that tradition and give a fresh group of emerging artists and songwriters the chance to connect with some of the best in the business and forge long-lasting connections with their peers.

The Academy Director, Lyn Bowtell and General Manager, Roger Corbett (both multi award-winning singer-songwriters) are excited by the opportunity to continue the important educational experience that The Academy provides, albeit in an online setting.

Corbett said, “Academy X is available to artists and songwriters from Australia and the world. From past Academy students looking to refresh and expand their careers to first time students gaining insights into the country music industry, they’ll be able to gain inspiration and insight from this amazing line up of key-note speakers and hands-on group leaders.”

Bowtell added “Students can expect the same passion and focus that our lecturers bring to the in-person version of the Academy and we look forward to nurturing the next crop of country music stars in a post-COVID world”.

CMAA Chairman, Dan Biddle noted, “We thank all of the key-note speakers and mentors who will come together to deliver an online presentation which will educate and unite our emerging country music artists.” He added “We look forward to The Academy returning to Tamworth in a physical capacity when restrictions ease and until that time, Academy X will provide the platform our industry needs in order to foster new talent for the future.”

Registrations for Academy X open at 11am Friday, October 16

with early bird pricing available until Monday, November 30

To register or for more information, visit www.academycountrymusic.com.au.

Country on Keppel announces more gems

Great Keppel Island’s own country music festival, Country on Keppel, has finalised its artist announcement with the addition of more Queensland gems.

Gympie’s Caitlyn Shadbolt, Hervey Bay’s Jade Holland, and Rockhampton duo Louise James FX are the latest artists to be added to the line-up that was modified due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 border restrictions.

Held from November 14-15, with a talent quest as a precursor on November 13, Caitlyn, Jade and Louise James FX will join headliners Matt Cornell and James Blundell, as well as other Queensland-based performers Brad Butcher, Saltbush Six, Tony Cook, and Anna Farquhar for Country on Keppel.

Country-pop artist Caitlyn Shadbolt can’t wait to get back on stage.

“I have never been to Great Keppel Island which makes me even more excited to be playing this festival for the first time,” she said.

“I can’t wait to play live again and be amongst the beautiful scenery that Country on Keppel has to offer.”

Jade, formerly of Townsville, will perform at Country on Keppel as part of her Do It Right Tour.

“I’ve never been to Great Keppel Island, so I’m firstly excited to be able to visit such a beautiful part of the world, but to be able to play on the island at a country show is just the icing on the cake,” she said.

“Who wouldn’t want to play country, on a gorgeous island, to a bunch of beautiful friends?”

Also announced recently was award-winning singer-songwriter and musician Matt Cornell who has played in both the rock and country scenes, and is also headed to Great Keppel Island for the first time.

“It’s always exciting being involved with a new festival,” Cornell said.

“Country On Keppel is only in its second year and held in such a unique setting – who wouldn’t want to head to an island, drink cocktails, listen to country music and hang out with likeminded people?

“I’ll be playing songs from all four albums, some Cornell & Carr tunes, and some of my favourite covers – this is going to be one hell of a party.”

Festival organiser Peter Blundell said Country on Keppel offered a unique experience for music lovers.

“There aren’t a lot of other country festivals on an island and the relaxed atmosphere of the festival means fans will have access to the artists,” he said.

“It’s a very family-oriented festival and fans can enjoy the music while being barefoot in the sand or listen to the music and then go for a swim in the ocean.”

Held on the weekend of November 13-15 at Great Keppel Island Hideaway, the sweet sounds of the best in country music will drift on the breeze across the Capricorn Coast, starting with the Green Brothers Country on Keppel Talent Search on the Friday night with prizes including a Takamine guitar worth $1000 plus a hard case, and a performance at this year’s festival.

From Saturday morning, a mix of award-winning and up-and-coming artists will take to the stage with a focus on contemporary Australian country.

Call (07) 4939 2050 for packages and more details or visit: greatkeppelislandhideaway.com.au/country-on-keppel/

COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER JASON OWEN PUTS 30 REGIONAL GIGS ON HOLD AMIDST CANCELLED WEDDING PLANS

This year has been challenging for people in various industries including entertainment. Country music recording artist Jason Owen says he has had to cancel 30 planned gigs throughout 2020, mostly in regional towns.

The former X Factor finalist was in the middle of his Superstars of Country Music tour alongside fellow country singer Hayley Jensen when COVID struck in March, with the remainder of shows put on hold until hopefully next year. He was also forced to cancel his upcoming August tour Jason Owen sings John Denver tour which has now rescheduled it for August 2021.

Elsewhere most major country music events have been axed including the 2021 Tamworth Country Music Festival. The recently announced cancellation of the premier event, which on average brings in around $50 million to the town each year, will have major economic ramifications.

“It’s been a challenging time for all country artists and devastating to hear about Tamworth,” said Owen, who has performed at the iconic festival multiple times. “It’s understandable but disappointing for rural Australia that my tours and others had to be cancelled, particularly for towns where artists don’t often visit. People on the land, who are under stress need a night out occasionally to let their hair down. Hopefully we’ll be able to resume touring next year.”

The 26-year-old who is originally from the town of Albert, NSW, which has a population of just 12, has been keeping himself as busy as possible having just released his latest single – power ballad Before I Let You Go – out September 18. He’s also just finished shooting the latest series of his online show How Ya Goin With Jason Owen which this season features chats with farmers and rural community workers.

However, with extra time on his hands, Owen also took a job as a Menulog driver delivering take away food to a 15km radius around his home in the Central Coast. “I needed to fill in my time and keep active from a mental health point of view as I was getting really restless in my apartment all day. Lots of entertainers have been in this position. It’s been a bit of a surreal experience, some people recognize me at their front door and have asked for pictures and autographs.”

Jason was also recently forced to postpone his upcoming November wedding to fiancé Beccy due to COVID restricting the number of guests. “We’d invited 200 people and did not want to exclude anyone so made the tough decision to postpone it. There was also no dancefloor allowed which would have been difficult to forgo as I’m from a musical family and my relatives were planning to be the band.”

The wedding which was fully planned to go ahead in Albert in the church Jason’s great grandmother established, on the date of Jason’s grandfather’s 92nd birthday as a special nod, has tentatively been rescheduled for mid-next year.

In the meantime, Jason has continued to raise money the charity he established – Doin it for Rural Aussie Kids which helps kids affected by drought, bushfires and COVID. Last year Jason raised thousands of dollars through his bushfire appeal and delivered school stationary packs and toys to rural schools.

Before I let you go is available to pre order at: https://ABCMusic.lnk.to/BeforeILetYouGo

Townsville’s Sammy White CROWNED 41st TOYOTA STAR MAKER

Townsville singer, songwriter Sammy White has been announced as the 2020 Toyota Star Maker in front of thousands of country music fans at the Toyota Star Maker 41st Grand Final held tonight in Toyota Park.

The 2020 Toyota Star Maker competition proved to be a momentous night for women in country music with nine of the ten finalists female.

White, who performed an exciting rendition of her #5 iTunes Country Chart song Drowning My Sorrows, was met with a huge applause from the crowd as she was announced the overall winner of the 2020 Star Maker competition.

Toyota Star Maker producer Barry Harley said: “Congratulations to Sammy White on winning the 2020 Toyota Star Maker title.

“Sammy is in good company with other female artists who have taken out the Star Maker crown and who are now leading the way in Australian country music including Beccy Cole, Gina Jeffreys, Lyn Bowtell and Kaylee Bell, and we look forward to watching her journey as 2020 Toyota Star Maker,” he said.

2019 winner Blake O’Connor, who has received two nominations in the Toyota Golden Guitar Awards for Qantas New Talent of the Year and Male Artist of the Year – says, “the possibilities are endless when you enter Toyota Star Maker.”

“Star Maker has opened doors and given me opportunities to show more people than ever my songs. It has put me on a greater platform to build a fan base for my career, and I have made friendships and met people that I wouldn’t have been exposed to if it wasn’t for Star Maker.

“This year has been a massive step forward for my career, and it’s one I’m very grateful for.”

Toyota Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley presented the award and said: “Each year, the Toyota Star Maker competition helps unearth some amazing new artists, showcasing the huge amount of talent we have coming up in Australian country music.

On behalf of Toyota Australia, I would like to congratulate Sammy on taking out the 2020 Toyota Star Maker title. She joins the ranks of past winners, which include Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Sam McClymont. It’s a well-deserved and significant achievement, and we are so pleased to have been able to be part of what will no doubt be a huge career in music.”

Toyota has a long and proud history of supporting country music in Australia, including 25 years of sponsoring the emerging artists of Star Maker and 28 years of the overall country music festival in Tamworth.

In addition to the title of Toyota Star Maker winner, Sammy receives a prize package, which includes the use of a new Toyota vehicle and a fuel card for 12 months, a return trip to Nashville for CMA Fest with Chris Watson travel and performance in the Aussie showcase. Sammy will also perform at major festivals and events throughout Australia, and will also join the artists’ line-up on Cruisin’ Country in October.

The 2020 Top Ten Star Maker Finalists were:

1 Chloe Styler* Age 22 Runaway Bay Qld
2 Clancy Pye Age 27 Orange NSW
3 El Cosgrove Age 25 Dalby Qld
4 Hannah May Age 25 Mount Cotton Qld
5 Jarred Taylor Age 27 Tamworth NSW
6 Juliet Oliver* Age 21 McLaren Vale SA
7 Leigha Moore* Age 27 Sippy Downs Qld
8 Sammy White Age 22 Mount Louisa Qld
9 Taylor Pfeiffer* Age 20 Nailsworth SA
10 Zoey Mills Age 20 Mirani Qld

Tonight, the Star Maker Grand Final provided a chance for finalists to perform two of their songs live on the biggest stage in Tamworth in front of thousands of country music fans and an illustrious panel of judges which includes:

•Daniel Biddle, Chairman, Country Music Association of Australia;
•Justin Thomson, National Content Director, KIX Country Radio;
•Scott Lamond, Saturday Night Country, ABC Radio;
•Tom Inglis, HSF Artist Services
•Greg Shaw, Label owner, and artist manager;
•Craig Power, The Pub Group, Tamworth;
•Cheryl Brown, Star Maker Manager
•Barry Harley, Manager Country Music, Tamworth Regional Council.

For further information on the Toyota Star Maker competition, visit https://www.tcmf.com.au/star-maker.