Tom Curtain takes top independent honours

SINGER-SONGWRITER Tom Curtain’s trophy shelf is groaning after adding another four accolades to his name at The Southern Stars Australian Independent Country Music Awards in Mildura on Saturday night.

The Katherine country artist couldn’t ask for a better year than 2018 after winning Independent Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, Album of the Year and Independent Artist of the Year.

These come on top of two Golden Guitars in Tamworth in January for his song and video for Never Never Land with Luke O’Shea. A few short months ago, he also got married to Annabel McLarty, making 2018 a year that’s hard to beat.

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Morgan Wallen gets Up Down Under for CMC Rocks 2019

UP DOWN singer Morgan Wallen is shining proof that life can throw you curveballs when it comes to your childhood ambitions, but your dreams can still come true. He will add to those achievements when he heads to Australian for CMC Rocks 2019 in March.

The US singer-songwriter had dreams of being a professional baseball player, but an injury forced him to change his life direction and now he’s playing the stadiums he dreamed of as a child, just in a different field.

Morgan Wallen will join other international and Australian acts at CMC Rocks 2019. 
Photo: supplied

Morgan has released three singles – The Way I Talk, his latest Whiskey Glasses, but it was his second, Up Down, that caught the ears of new country fans, when he teamed up with chart-toppers Florida Georgia Line.

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CMC Rocks Queensland 2019 artists announced




Thomas Rhett is among the headliners announced for CMC Rocks 2019




*Campers entrance only


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More Tamworth tix to come

It may be the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in many states, but the Tamworth Country Music Festival is giving country fans the gifts with more shows on sale for the biggest country music festival in Australia on Monday, October 1.

With existing tickets in high demand, festival goers will be pleased to hear that additional shows are now available to add into their schedules for the 47th Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth.

Adam Brand returns with his festival-favourite show, the Birthday Bash

The DAG Sheep Station, Capitol Theatre and Tamworth Town Hall are just some of venues that will be drawing in the crowds as tickets for popular artists including The Pigs and Sara Storer and collaborations for Australian & Great Britain Country Showcase and Songwriters Retreat Showcase come up for grabs from Monday.

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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

– 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.


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