Luke O’Shea and Lyn Bowtell vie for golden trifecta

Luke O’Shea could add to his collection of nine Golden Guitars, after snagging three spots at today’s finalist announcement event in Sydney.

O’Shea released Sing Me A Story, a duet with Lyn Bowtell, in late September, his first release in three years and it is a finalist in APRA AMCOS Song of the Year, Heritage Song of the Year and Vocal Collaboration of the Year. He already has five Heritage Song of the Year Golden Guitars to his name.

The multi-Golden Guitar winner said he was grateful Sing Me A Story has connected so strongly with industry personnel and his country music peers.

“Lyn Bowtell and myself are so very grateful and super appreciative of the support our duet, Sing Me A Story, has received from all aspects of the Australian country music industry,” he said.

“It’s been a long time between drinks for me, personally, and the fact the leading single from my upcoming album has been able to connect with peers and audiences to this extent is very humbling and deeply satisfying.”

O’Shea wrote the song with Felicity Urquhart in front of other songwriters at The DAG Songwriter’s Retreat outside of Nundle and the single heralds a new album for the Sutherland Shire artist.

“A special thanks goes out to the wonderful Felicity Urquhart who I wrote this song with, out at the magnificent DAG Sheep Station Songwriters Retreat and also Sean Rudd who has worked tirelessly on it through it’s many ebbs and flows,” he said.

“It certainly inspires me to keep on keeping on with my aim of singing up this incredible country of ours and I cannot wait to share my upcoming album, There In The Ochre, with you all come the 2020 Tamworth Country Music Festival.”

Luke O’Shea at the announcement of the 2020 Golden Guitar finalists. Photo: Lisa Williams

Rory Ellis finds his Inner Outlaw

This is a voice that is up there with the very best of them, including the US greats. It aches of life and love, history and memory” – Mike Brady AM.

Rory Ellis unleashes his Inner Outlaw on Friday, October 18 with the release of his ninth studio album.

Inner Outlaw is a collection of 12 tracks of pure Americana, with a touch of Waylonesque attitude that will make your heart sing and your mind wander. It’s dry, minimalist, sometimes appears to fall apart at the seams, but will leave you haunted with a resonance rarely found in modern production.

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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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Livin’ The Dream hits all the Wright notes

Singer-songwriter Kim Wright is Livin’ The Dream with his debut EP hitting the top of the charts on release.

Released on July 22, Wright’s EP Livin’ The Dream, charted at No. 2 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart and No. 28 on the iTunes All Genres Album Charts and is the realisation of a 20-year goal that began when he started writing songs in his early teens.

The title, Livin’ The Dream, is a motto Wright lives by and is more often than not what will come out of his mouth when you ask how he’s going.

“Every day above ground’s a good one and I believe you should live each day to its fullest,” he said.

“The collection of songs represents that theme in my world.”

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Aaron Jurd and The Banned make Nambucca debut

AARON Jurd and The Banned have new songs to share with music lovers and they’re bringing them to Nambucca Heads on June 1.

This will be the first show on the North Coast for Jurd, who hails from Lake Macquarie and the bowls club audience is in for a treat.

“I’m so excited to play at Nambucca Heads Bowling Club with The Banned,” he said.

“I’ve just released my second single and I can’t wait to play it, my other originals and lots of people’s favourites at the show.”

Jurd’s single, Hard To Breathe, debuted in the top 20 iTunes Country Songs Chart on release day, April 12, and his debut single, Set me On Fire, charted at No. 5 on release in September last year. He will be performing these among his originals and everyone’s favourite country, rock and pop songs with musicians Carmel Smith and Ric Durand of The Banned.

As well as performing regularly in the Central Coast and Hunter Valley area, Jurd completed a short tour of the Riverina area in April, and is working hard to get his songs in front of new audiences. Aaron Jurd and The Banned have performed at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, country races and have just been announced for performances at the Deni Ute Muster, Bluewater Country Music Festival in Port Stephens and Hats off to Country in Tamworth coming up.

It’s not all about music for the singer-songwriter on this trip, as he plans to explore and embrace as much of the local area as he can on this visit.

“I haven’t been to Nambucca Heads before, but I’ve heard a lot about the area and how beautiful it is, so we will try to do some sightseeing while we are there,” Jurd said.

“I’m really looking forward meeting the locals and playing some songs for them.”

With a voice that leaves audiences raving about his performances and songs that make you want to get up and dance, you won’t want to miss this show at Nambucca Heads Bowling Club on Saturday, June 1.

Keep up-to-date with all of Aaron’s news on Facebook.

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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The Viper Creek Band unleashes Beautiful Destruction

Beautiful Destruction is music to the ears of The Viper Creek Band’s fans after waiting nearly three years for the new album.

​​Released ​today, March 1, Beautiful Destruction ​debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Country Albums Charts and No. 13 on the All Genre Albums Chart and ​sees the Newcastle outfit stretch their musical wings with songs that encompass their ever-growing influences, but still identifiable as The Viper Creek Band’s work.

“I’m just so excited to get it out because I can’t wait for people to hear it,” front man Damien Baguley said.

“It’s feels like forever since the last album (Just Press Play). The songs show off our different influences, but I still think it’s got The Viper Creek Band stamp on it and people are still going to dig it.”

The two singles from the album, Green Light and Australian Girls, have both charted in the top 5 on the iTunes Country Songs Chart and enjoyed extensive airplay with Green Light racking up 500,000 streams on Spotify.

Green Light has an infectious lyric with the premise being a guy asking a girl to take their relationship to the next level, while Australian Girls is an upbeat tribute to strong Australian women and the roles they play in life. With International Women’s Day just around the corner on March 8, Australian Girls is the perfect country music accompaniment.

Other highlights include Tired from the pens of Damien, Brennin Hunt and Skip Black, who also wrote Green Light. Tired has a John Mayer feel to it, while the Shane McAnally-penned Blue Jean Jacket is about lost love and reminiscing about a former flame.

Beautiful Destruction contains some slower ballads and songs reminiscent of not only John Mayer, but also The Eagles and touches of pop music.

Damien co-wrote four songs of the ten songs with Nashville writers as well as Australian artists including Travis Collins and Matt Scullion.

“I just hope listeners don’t want to skip any songs,” he said.

“I think every song has its place and that they want to listen to the whole thing because, as an album, there are a lot of different flavours.”

The singer-songwriter and lead singer is now looking forward to releasing Beautiful Destruction out into the world and hitting the road.

“We have revamped the live show around the album,” Damien said.

The Viper Creek Band will launch the album with a weekend packed with gigs starting in Muswellbrook RSL on Friday night,​ March 1,  the Sydney launch at Rooty Hill RSL on Saturday​, March 2​ before playing for their hometown audience at Edgeworth Bowling Club on Sunday​, March 3​.

​The full album is available on iTunes:

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.”

Tim McGraw headlines Deni’s 21st birthday celebrations

Australia’s iconic Deni Ute Muster turns 21 next year and organisers are thrilled to announce that international country superstar, Tim McGraw, will headline the event to be held on 4 and 5 October 2019. Tim McGraw has sold more than 50 million records and dominated the charts with 43 worldwide #1 singles. He’s won 3 Grammy Awards, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 11 American Music Awards, 3 People’s Choice Awards and numerous other honours. He also starred in and narrated the hit movie “The Shack” as well as roles in “Friday Night Lights” and “The Blind Side.”
Tim McGraw will headline the 21st Deni Ute Muster
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