Country on Keppel keeps the music playing

Country on Keppel will get the party started in November with new dates, a revamped line-up, and a new headline artist.

Award-winning artist and musician Matt Cornell is the newest addition to the line-up to bring country to Great Keppel Island on November 13-15 in a COVID-safe manner.

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 border restrictions, festival organisers have had to postpone performances by Jasmine Rae, Johnny Taylor, Danny Phegan and Aaron Jurd as they would all have to travel from interstate.

Singer-songwriter and musician Matt Cornell wears a number of musical hats as a solo artist in his own right, one-half of Cornell and Carr, and as Adam Brand’s musical director and band member.

Country has not been his only musical home, either: for three years he was a member of iconic rock band The Baby Animals, and has been a member of Richard Clapton’s and Shannon Noll’s bands and has opened for artists including Richard Marx.

Matt is a multiple Golden Guitar and CMC Music Awards finalist and won a CMC Music Award for ARIA Award for Highest Selling Australian Artist with Adam Brand and The Outlaws and he’s keen to make his Country on Keppel debut in two months.

“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?

“Do you feel like hanging out on Great Keppel Island with James Blundell, Brad Butcher and a bunch of my mates for some live music and some cold beer?”

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Aaron Jurd adds to success with single, Changed

Music is most powerful when it brings out the listener’s emotions, and Aaron Jurd’s new single, Changed, is hitting all the right notes with listeners.

The single is a celebration of good times and the celebrations have started early with Changed hitting No. 8 on the iTunes Country Singles Chart on release on August 2 and being playlisted on Fresh Country on Spotify the same day.

Changed is the third single from the Lake Macquarie singer-songwriter and is the silver lining to Aaron’s first single, Set Me On Fire.

“This single is first reflecting on down times, which everyone goes through, but shows a change in mindset,” he said.

Photo: Tiana Lockwood
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Benny Allen takes time to remember with ANZAC Day single

ANZAC Day is a truly significant day on the Australian calendar, and one that Benny Allen wholeheartedly believes people should pause to reflect and remember. He has marked the occasion with the single, We Will Remember.

The Victorian singer-songwriter wrote We Will Remember after a conversation with his children about the sacrifices made by those who serve on behalf of our nation.

“I really believe that we are so fortunate to live here in Australia,” he said.

“And a lot of the reasons we have the freedoms we do, is because of the sacrifices that have been made by those serving to protect our country. The servicemen and women who fought to protect our country, in all of the conflicts we’ve been involved in – from World War I, right through to those currently serving to protect the ideals that our country stands for.”

To mark ANZAC Day, Benny performed the new single at the Boronia RSL Club commemoration service and to ensure the song can benefit veterans of active service, all proceeds from iTunes purchases of the song in April will go to Guitars For Vets, Australia. Continue reading

Australia’s singing diplomat, Fred Smith, shares Warries with ANZAC release

Fred Smith has released a new album, Warries, on ANZAC Day charting at No. 11 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter Albums Chart ahead of his performance at the Australian War Memorial’s National Service.

Warries is something of a retrospective, documenting a prolific phase in the artist’s life, but also a remarkable period in which Australian soldiers and civilians deployed into conflict zones in the Pacific and Central Asia as warriors and peacemakers.

Fred Smith at PRT House

Fred Smith plays at PRT House at Multinational Base – Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan

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Troy Cassar-Daley strips music back

By Rebecca Belt

TROY Cassar-Daley takes to the stage for his traditional Tamworth Country Music Festival concert with mates at TRECC from 4pm today, Thursday, January 24, but with a difference.

As well as the usual array of surprise guests, it will be a special experience for the audience with Troy performing acoustically without a band.

“This concert will set the tone for what happens on the road this year,” the multi-award winning artist said.

“There is a myriad of guests coming, but the intimacy of an acoustic show is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

The Tamworth festival favourite said the litmus test for how the tour would go was a recent concert at Twins Towns, which was a major success.

“It’s about whether you feel confident enough to get in there and do it, but people love music and love to hear the honest and raw part of it as well because that’s the way the song is born,” Troy said.

“You’re showing them the way it came into the world like showing them the baby wrapped in a blanket.”

Today’s Tamworth show will involve Troy and his mates talking about a song and playing it together on stage.

“It’s a real privilege to put this show on and always is,” he said.

“I am doing a fair bit of listening of iTunes and brushing on some lyrics I haven’t sung in a long time, but it’s great for the brain, so you know you can continue to learn. These artists are such masterful songwriters and I’ve grown to love their lyrics even more now that I’m studying them closer.”

One artist Troy can name on the show is his wife, Laurel, who he loves singing with.

The Queensland artist said the biggest highlight of the Tamworth Country Music Festival for him was the cross-pollination that happens when artists jump out of the crowd and onto the stage to collaborate with other performers.

“That is something I’ve always loved about coming here,” Troy said.

One such gig was Pete Denahy with the Travellin’ Country Band at The Pub that Troy was a surprise guest on, after Pete spotted him in the crowd. He performed Joy McKean’s classic, Indian Pacific.

“This town should be really proud of the stories these songwriters are coming up with,” he said.

Troy is also a finalist in the Golden Guitar Awards in Heritage Song of the Year for Shadows on the Hill.

“I’m always looking forward to the awards,” he said.

“I’m more than excited for Shadows on the Hill because it was written from being with the men in my family, sitting around talking about the history of our area. It was a history that I was keen to learn about, so I was driving home and by myself in the car, and I wrote the song like a jigsaw puzzle all the way home.”

The multi-Golden Guitar winner said he loved going to the Golden Guitar Awards even when he wasn’t a finalist.

“The celebration of the music is a really big part of the night,” he said.

Troy will make a flying visit out of Tamworth on Saturday to play at a Australia Day celebration for Terri Irwin at Australia Zoo before getting back to the Country Music Capital for the night of nights.

Following his headline show and the awards, Troy will morph into Tex Dubbo at The Longyard on Sunday, January 27, with his band Michel Rose, Vaughan Jones, Simon Johnson, and Bradley Bergen on drums.

“The Tex Dubbo show is more of a friends catch up and people enjoy that there’s no compass on the boat,” he said.

“There are no originals and we just go wherever it takes us and turns into something really unique for me. I love the little bit of tradition that we set up every two years.”

Troy’s tour, including his daughter Jem opening for him, begins in Geelong and Warrnambool.

“Jem will be going to places that she’s never seen,” he said.

“Graduating from The Academy was such an experience for her – a kid who is about to turn 18 – and she’s really excited about the tour because she’s catching up with other graduates as we travel around.”

Gord Bamford returns Down Under

AS GORD Bamford readies himself for another visit to Australia, Rebecca Belt revisits her chat with the Canadian-Australian at CMC Rocks Queensland 2018.

Catching up at CMC Rocks, Gord said he was excited to be part of such a huge festival and to build on the success off his previous Australian visits.

“Things have really taken a big jump for me and I want to spend as much time as I can here,” he said.

“There are more Canadians here this year than I’ve ever seen and this is as good a festival as I’ve ever seen.”

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Winton showcases international talent at Way Out West Fest

WALTZING Matilda is ingrained in the Australian psyche and has inspired a nation. In April 2018, Winton celebrates the re-opening of the iconic Waltzing Matilda Centre with one of the biggest inland music and culture festivals ever held in Queensland, with Winton’s Way Out West Fest.

Bringing together artists from country, pop, rock and blues, the festival brings Jessica Mauboy, John Williamson, The Living End, Kip Moore (USA), Lee Brice (USA), Sheppard, Busby Marou, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows, Pierce Brothers and more together for the the four-day festival from April 19-22. Continue reading

CMC Rocks Queensland fans have Luke Bryan wishes granted

THE name that has been high on CMC Rocks audience members’ lips for so long is Luke Bryan and organisers have granted their wishes with the country singer, known for his dance moves, headlining the 2018 festival.

Alongside Luke, fellow US artists Darius Rucker and Kelsea Ballerini round out the headliners. The excitement doesn’t end there, with a swag full of international and Australian acts gracing the stages of CMC Rocks Queensland in 2018.

Starting with the USA, we have Dustin Lynch, Old Dominion, Dan + Shay, Randy Houser, Brett Young, Brothers Osborne, Luke Combs, Russell Dickerson, Davisson Brothers Band, and Ryan Follese.

Continuing the international flavor, Canadians Dean Brody and Gord Bamford make a welcome return, joined by fellow Canucks High Valley.

From across the ditch, CMC welcomes Jody Direen and Kaylee Bell back to the fold.

The Australian line-up is nothing less than impressive with Busby Marou, Travis Collins, Sunny Cowgirls, Troy Kemp, Jayne Denham, Steve Forde, Melanie Dyer, Missy Lancaster, Baylou, Mustered Courage, The Viper Creek Band, Casey Barnes, and Route 33, with the current Toyota Star Maker Rachael Fahim rounding out the Australian contingent.

Crowds will begin flocking to Willowbank Raceway on Thursday, March 15 for campers and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the general admission ticket holders.

Pre-sale tickets went on sale yesterday, Wednesday, October 4, and sold out within an hour, but never fear, general public one-sale begins at 10am AEDT (9am Qld) on Monday, October 9, so don’t miss out. Continue reading

Darren Coggan focused on The Wide Horizon

By Rebecca Belt
THE Wide Horizon could well be one of the most highly anticipated albums on the Australian country music calendar for 2017.

Singer-songwriter Darren Coggan is back with a range of songs that blend to form a work that makes you want to slide it into your car stereo and hit the road. As well as celebrating the country we live in and a couple of songs that have defined Australian music, The Wide Horizon also celebrates Darren’s love for his wife and children.
“The album overall is a really very accurate representation and picture of who I am in my life,” Darren said.
“With Peace Train (the Cat Stevens show), I have travelled a lot and it’s opened my eyes to a new audience and new way of performance and reaching out to people. This album really represents those last few years.” Continue reading