Dean Brody’s Australian Dirt Road Stories

AS WE count down to the announcement of the CMC Rocks Queensland 2019 artist announcement, Rebecca Belt revisits some of her CMC Rocks 2018 interviews.

A FLYING visit Down Under in March saw Dean Brody perform twice at CMC Rocks Queensland to the delight of the Australian country music lovers.

Arriving on the Wednesday prior to the festival and leaving on Sunday didn’t give the Canadian singer-songwriter a lot of time in the country, but enough time to leave a lasting impression with new and old fans, alike.

The singer-songwriter said he would love to return to Australia and spend a month or more here to really appreciate the country and soak up the sights.

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Gympie Muster raises more than $150,000 for charities

The 37th annual Gympie Music Muster has wrapped up for another year after more than 1700 volunteers, working around 15,000 hours, built a once-in-a-lifetime Muster experience.

The biggest not-for-profit festival of its kind in the country ran from August 23-26, 2018 and raised more than $153,000 for charity and community groups with the Muster’s grass-roots passion for giving back to regional Australia growing stronger.

Early reports suggest around $25,000 was raised for this year’s official charity partner Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia across the four days, with the Muster’s own Biggest Ever Bloke’s Lunch event a sellout. A further $128,000 was donated to more than 30 local community groups.

“The PCFA have been overwhelmed by the support and success of this year’s Muster,” PCFA spokesperson Peter Duffy said.

“The Muster board, staff, Apex, volunteers and entertainers have been fantastic. In addition, to the broader Muster community and crowd who have been so generous, we say thank you. Men in regional Australia are disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, so the opportunity to raise awareness in this community has been invaluable. 

“The funds raised will help PCFA to continue to provide research, awareness and support to the men and families affected by prostate cancer.”

The 2018 festival also saw increased sales of four-day passes, with an aggregate audience of 22,000 patrons. Muster-goers enjoyed three days of warmth and sunny skies, with light rain on the Sunday a welcome break to the dry spell.

A mix of iconic crowd favourites and new program elements kept audiences happy, with The Wolfe Brothers, John Williamson, Travis Collins and Lee Kernaghan bringing record crowds to the Muster hill on Friday. Crowds packed into the festival’s new workshops and panels, and rocked out to the newly-expanded Blues program.

“With a program that we tried to pack with variety, it’s difficult to pick just a few highlights,” Program Director Jeff Chandler said. 

“However, some were just so outstanding that they were simply the talk of the festival: undoubtedly Lee Kernaghan’s main stage performance to a massive crowd on the hill will go down as one of the most memorable of his career, while the highly entertaining Melbourne Ska Orchestra had the audience dancing like never before seen at the Muster. 

“The Vox Guitar Jam set a high bar for all future jams with unforgettable performances by Albert Lee, Tim Gaze, Ian Moss, Troy Cassar-Daley, Minnie Marks and Lloyd Speigel, who, in my opinion, was one of the real ‘finds’ of the festival for many patrons.

“Despite a wet start to the last day of the festival, the finale, which featured some of the biggest stars on the line-up performing ‘Songs I Wish I’d Written’, was definitely one of the most memorable ends to the event patrons have witnessed.”

Lee Kernaghan had the Muster crowd in the palm of his hand.

The Vox Guitar Jam had the Jim Beam Blues Bar packed to the rafters on Saturday, highlighting some of the best guitarists in the scene with two hours of pure shredding including rock legends Ian Moss, Tim Gaze, Albert Lee (UK) and many more.

Ian Moss shared the stage with fellow guitar legends at the Blues Bar.

Saturday night also saw long-time member of the Muster family Troy Cassar-Daley take to the main stage, with a special guest appearance from his wife Laurel, whom he met at the Muster 25 years ago. His performance also saw him dust off some of his iconic hits, previewing exclusively at the Muster from his greatest hits album to be released later this year.

Troy Cassar-Daley and his wife, Laurel, are an institution in the Muster community.

“A Gympie Music Muster is always something special, but there was something extra special about this one,” headliner Beccy Cole said. 

“There is nothing like taking the stage and entertaining a Gympie crowd; they are already feeling fantastic just by being here. What a privilege it was to present our songs, old and new, to this wonderful audience.”

With this year’s festival done and dusted, patrons can look forward to plenty more Muster spirit in 2019.

Held in the Amamoor Creek State Forest in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, two hours north of Brisbane and 40 minutes from Noosa, the Muster is the perfect way to kick back and enjoy some of the country’s best talent. An unmissable and uniquely Australian event, one ticket price gives Muster goers free camping and multi-venue access to all performances, to experience everything Australia’s biggest country music celebration has to offer.

It also gives a multi-million dollar boost to Queensland’s tourism sector every year, providing an economic boom for the region.

To book tickets for next year visit www.muster.com.au

– press release

Muster be making a difference

THE Gympie Music Muster kicks off this week – August 23 – and continues to give back to rural communities who are doing it tough.

Muster spokesperson Lori Hoffmann said rural communities have been suffering in these dry times.

“Depression and isolation become more prevalent, spending in regional towns decreases and the knock-on affect is widely felt,” she said.

“Music festivals like the Muster help to alleviate some of that pain, by bringing like-minded people together for a mental break and giving them the chance to relax for a few days. They also help to draw money into our regional communities at a time when it’s needed most.”

Seventy-five percent of 2017 Muster-goers travelled from outside the region to attend, contributing to an overall economic impact of $6.20m for Queensland, 83% of which was felt in the greater Gympie region.

“The Muster has always been about community coming together,” Lori said.
“And we are privileged to be able to be continue that tradition in a meaningful way again this year.” 

In the lead-up to this year’s festival, the Gympie Music Muster donated 30 four-day festival tickets to Drought Aid to bring drought-affected landowners to the event, and will also shout them a feed at the Muster’s Biggest Ever Bloke’s Lunch hosted by 2018 charity partner Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia.

The Muster is a much-needed helping hand for those regional communities doing it tough.

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Rory Phillips celebrates Cars and Guitars

RELEASING an EP at the age of 10 is impressive enough, but co-writing three tracks and playing  guitars on all six is the icing on this first release from Rory Phillips. Cars & Guitars sees the young guitar virtuoso from Tumut mixing his blues style with country roots and rock influences.

golden-guitar

Photo: Nick Moir

With Roger Corbett of The Valley Studio in the production seat, Phillips’ guitars and vocals are given room to shine. The title track is Phillips’ story in song, co-written with Corbett.
“The whole reason I got into music in the first place was cars,” he said. “I’ve always loved cars and dad played me Joe Walsh’s In My Car, because he thought I’d love it. I would listen to that song over and over, and that created an interest with guitars.” Continue reading

Sing around James Blundell’s Campfire

THREE decades in the music industry is a milestone that anyone would be proud to chalk up and James Blundell is celebrating in style.
The Queensland singer-songwriter has a show this evening, January 26, at Wests to launch his new album, Campfire, released on Friday, February 2. This is not your typical Blundell album, though.
“It was quite a decision to make that this was going to be an album purely for the sake of recording an album of songs I love,” he said. “We started talking about making a record for fun, not so much a career album; it was about people collaborating in the spirit of music.”
james-blundell-campfire-front-hires_2Blundell said the result was far beyond what they had envisaged.
“It’s the sort of album I would buy to listen to,” he said.
The album is full of tracks that Blundell loves to listen to including the first single, Money Changes Everything, as well as Take It Easy, Only 40 Miles To Saturday Night, Blowing In The Wind and Madonna’s True Blue.
Celebrating 30 years has also meant plenty of reminiscing on Blundell’s part.
“I remember getting the recording deal with EMI for three albums and I thought, ‘what the hell? How am I going to have enough songs for three albums?’ and this is my 14th release,” he said. “I’ve now been making my career from music for 30 years and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I now have the perfect balance.”
When he’s not making music, Blundell can be found working on his family property near Stanthorpe.james-blundell
Career highlights have included supporting Kris Kristofferson and becoming close personal friends with Slim Dusty and Joy McKean.
“I loved the two periods of time I had the permanent bands together,” he said. “The Victor Chang concert in Central Park, the East Timor deployment for Interfet and all the defence tours were highlights.”
Catch him in Tamworth at 5pm today, January 26, and guest appearances and take a piece of him home next week with the release of Campfire.

No stopping Lyn Bowtell

By Rebecca Belt
MULTI-GOLDEN Guitar finalist Lyn Bowtell is the embodiment of the show must go on mantra. Not one to let anyone down, the singer-songwriter has been unwell since mid-December and hospitalised three times since but kept up all music commitments. She directed the CMAA Academy of Country Music for the first two weeks of January then threw herself into Tamworth Country Music Festival appearances and shows.
Last Sunday, though, she was again hospitalised, spending Sunday night and Monday in Tamworth Hospital.
“I was watching Toyota Star Maker, being the 20th year since I won, and supporting all the people who has entered,” Bowtell said.
“I sat down with the students from the academy and we got to half time and I stood up to get dinner the pain hit severely.”lyn-bowtell-damon Continue reading

Country music meets bowls

THE Wednesday of the Tamworth Country Music Festival saw me juggle publicity commitments for artists and defence, do an interview as I returned to being a journalist, write stories and play lawn bowls for the country music team against the Tamworth Regional Council mayor’s team.
It is a different look at the festival for me this year, after more than a decade of writing about it, and I’m loving the new perspective.
I spent time with the talented Adam Brand who has a surprise for his fans with his new album, which comes out in a couple of weeks. It’s upbeat and fun and encompasses everything that Adam is about.img_3234 Continue reading

Bennett, Bowtell and Urquhart hit the stage tonight

WHILE their country music mates were still rolling into Tamworth, two-thirds of Bennett, Bowtell and Urquhart were well and truly acclimatised to the city by the time festival arrived.
The trio hit the stage today, Wednesday, January 25, at Wests from 5pm in Blazes Showroom after Kevin Bennett and Lyn Bowtell have spent two weeks at the CMAA Academy of Country Music as group leader and director, respectively.
The way the three stars in their own right sing together is magical and this show is not to be missed.
Their album is up for five Golden Guitars and Bowtell is up for a further two with other projects.
“We don’t expect anything, so when you get something, it’s amazing,” Bennett said.
“We worked really hard on this album.”bbu Continue reading

Peel St – a must-see experience

Troy Cassar-Daley and Keith Urban busking on Peel St for charity... I was there and about 15. Photo: Northern Daily Leader

Troy Cassar-Daley and Keith Urban busking on Peel St for charity… I was there and about 15. Photo: Northern Daily Leader

TODAY, Tuesday, brought me a fairly quiet day in relation to shows and music. I spent most of the day in the CMAA office/ media centre writing and organising interviews, but I love that I can still enjoy the sounds of Peel St, or the Boulevard of Dreams.
Many people may think buskers are on Peel St because they can’t get a gig elsewhere, but that’s not always the case. For many, it is a starting point, but for others it is where they love getting in touch with their fans in the closest possible way – right at their level on the street at the mercy of the crowds. Continue reading

Fly, Doctor, Fly

TONIGHT’S blog post is dedicated to all those artists who take time out of their massive Tamworth Country Music Festival schedules to play at charity events for free. They expect nothing in return except the knowledge they are contributing to a worthy cause.
After a day on Peel Street and writing stories and press releases at the very warm media centre, I spent the evening at the Fly Doctor Fly fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Tamworth’s own Brendan Nawrocki organised it after he and I both shaved our heads for the cause in October last year. He decided he could do more and he proved that in bucket loads tonight.img_2597 Continue reading