Cornell cruises into a musical 2021

Just when you thought COVID had ruined your chances to have fun in early 2021, Matt Cornel is sailing in with the perfect antidote – a harbour cruise and his famous Mojito Club.

Cornell is known for his top-notch musicianship, connection with his audiences, and his ridiculously fun harbour cruises with the next one locked in for March 20.

Featuring special guests, Baylou, the music will be pumping for four hours (as will the food, included in the ticket price) from 7pm, with the refreshments flowing and there’ll be as much COVID-safe fun to be had, as music lovers can handle.

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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.

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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.

Kicking off in style, 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.

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Cornell & Carr welcomes 2021 with first No. 1 Country Song

The new year is only hours old, but Cornell & Carr have made their mark already, topping two charts with their new single, What Kind Of World, released in the first seconds of 2021.

What Kind Of World hit No. 1 on the iTunes Country Songs Chart and No. 4 on the iTunes All Genres Songs Chart as the duo give 2020 the middle finger with this single released at the stroke of 12.01am on January 1, 2021.

What Kind of World is somewhat of a protest song from the Golden Guitar finalists Matt Cornell and Mike Carr, as they question what sort of world we have created and are leaving for future generations.

This single is the first release from the duo since July 2019, and they’ve come out of the blocks with a thought-provoking, ‘FU’ to the year that’s been.

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Entries open for Keppel talent search

Are you an up-and-coming music artist who’d love to perform at a country music festival in front of the cream of singer-songwriters?

The Green Brothers Country on Keppel Talent Search is open for entries for its second year in 2021. The competition kickstarted Country on Keppel 2020 in November this year with award-winning artists James Blundell and Matt Cornell among the judges.

Photo: Jakkii Fenlon

Mackay singer-songwriter Bella Mackenzie won the inaugural competition and encourages others to share in her experience.

“I would really encourage other musos to enter next year’s competition to not only have a goal to work towards but make friends within the music industry and take up the amazing opportunity to play at the beautiful Great Keppel Island,” she said.

“The competition was so great, really well-organised and the people involved were super supportive.

“The competition was really well selected, there was no clear winner and everyone did an amazing job so it was a great show to watch, let alone be a part of. Not to mention to amazing venue and scenery; it was beautiful – the perfect spot!”

Legendary country singer-songwriter James Blundell praised Bella’s performance, and said great music in an idyllic spot was a recipe for success.

“Talent quests are an interesting and potentially complicated program; too many entrants and a judging panel becomes fatigued and desensitised, and poor production, and the entrants are both disadvantaged and frustrated – all in all getting one to run smoothly is quite an art,” he said.

“This year’s Green Brothers Country on Keppel Talent Search bypassed all those pitfalls, and delivered a short list of exceptionally talented artists. Judges Matt Cornell, Bec Gracie, and myself were similarly inclined to comment that each artist was perfectly capable of taking out the quest but Bella McKenzie’s performance was a standout.

“What that means, is in a well organised snapshot of what contemporary Australian country music has to offer. The future is solid, and strong performances, strong songs, and a healthy, courteous attitude to fellow participants made it a joy to be part of.

“A high bar has been set for next year’s event, but as the festival gathers momentum, I’ve absolutely no doubt we’ll be seeing more and more exceptional talent taking to the stage.”

Singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Matt Cornell agreed Bella was a standout in this year’s talent search.

“I think it’s fair to say, country music is looking as healthy as ever, after seeing the talent pool at the recent Green Brothers Country on Keppel Talent Search,” he said.

“Every act was strong, but the eventual winner Bella Mackenzie really stood out! She has the star factor, she looked so confident on stage; this girl has a big future ahead of her.” 

Jeff Green from Green Brothers said the Rockhampton music store always wanted to support new talent coming through.

“It’s the up-and-coming stars that keep the whole music industry going and we would like to see the talent quest and festival grow for the benefits of tourism,” he said.

“It’s great for the Central Queensland area.”

The talent search is open now until April 19 to allow all potential contestants to get their entries in for a chance to perform at Country on Keppel 2021 with the competition running on Friday, July 16 at Great Keppel Island Hideaway.

Prizes include opening the festival on Saturday, July 17, and a Takamine guitar and hard case from Green Brothers.

Enter here: https://greatkeppelislandhideaway.com.au/talent-search-entry/

Follow/Like Country on Keppel on Facebook to keep up with all the festival news.

Cornell & Carr welcomes 2021 with statement single

Cornell & Carr are making their mark on the year that was and giving 2020 the middle finger as they unleash their new single into the world at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2021.

What Kind of World is somewhat of a protest song from the Golden Guitar finalists Matt Cornell and Mike Carr, as they question what sort of world we have created and are leaving for future generations.

This single is the first release from the duo since July 2019, and they’ve come out of the blocks with a thought-provoking, ‘FU’ to the year that’s been.

“It’s not particularly about 2020, but is reflecting on everything that’s been going on,” Mike said.

“It’s a song of reflection and a song of hope; it’s a look at how people adapt.”

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CMAA ANNOUNCES FIRST EVER ‘ACADEMY X’

JANUARY 9 & 10, 2021

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

Registrations open now at www.academycountrymusic.com.au.

The Country Music Association of Australia Inc. is proud to announce the first ever ‘Academy X’ online educational event to take place Saturday, January 9 and 10, 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 CMAA chairman), Natalie Waller (ABC Music and Events head and CMAA vice-chair), Duncan Toombs (award winning video director, The Filmery), Geoff Bell (agent and 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.

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Benny Allen spreads bluegrass joy with Lady Luck and Me

In a time when we look to music for joy, Benny Allen’s new single has it in swagfuls, delivered in chart-topping banjo-laden foot-stomping bluegrass banger, Lady Luck and Me.

Benny’s new single debuted at No. 2 on release day, September 4, on the iTunes Country Songs Chart and the iTunes All Genres Songs top 40 Chart.

Anyone who’s come across the Melbourne singer-songwriter will know that Benny exudes positivity and a global pandemic and ensuing lockdown was not going to quash his creativity. He recorded the vocals for his last single, the Battle of Point Nepean, and this new track, remotely with producer and multi-instrumentalist Michael Carpenter in the producer’s chair putting the musical touches to them.

“I really wanted to put something out that was upbeat and positive,” Benny said.

“I generally put out positive songs, although what I tend to write comes out as sad songs and my daughter often asks why are my songs so sad? So, I had this idea of doing Lady Luck and Me as a bluegrass song.”

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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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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.