The Bushwackers given highest Australasian country music honour

The Bushwackers have plenty to celebrate during their Golden Jubilee year after being inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown.

The much-loved lively Australian bush band were recognised for their contribution to Australian country music at the Golden Guitars Awards in Tamworth on Saturday, January 23, with front men Dobe Newton and Roger Corbett overcome with emotion at the announcement.

Dobe Newton OAM and Roger Corbett of The Bushwackers were honoured at the 2021 Golden Guitar Awards, being elevated to the Australasian Roll of Renown. Photo: Tamworth Country Music Festival
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Golden duo for Luke O’Shea

Thirteen is lucky for some, and for Luke O’Shea, it’s brought plenty of gold his way at the 49th Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth.

The Sutherland Shire singer-songwriter picked up his 13th Golden Guitar on Saturday night, January 23, after winning Traditional Album of the Year and Heritage Song of the Year.

This marks O’Shea’s seventh win in Heritage Song of the Year and his first Album of the Year category Golden Guitar.

Fellow multi-Golden Guitar winning singer-songwriter Kevin Bennett shared the Heritage Song of the Year win with O’Shea, for their collaboration, Happy Australia Day, while O’Shea’s album, There In The Ochre, won Traditional Album of the Year.

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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:

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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Ty Herndon gets honest before Tamworth concert

By Rebecca Belt

THE 1990s produced some of the absolute best country artists around, particularly when it comes to the US. Among the artists at the forefront of this amazing decade of country was Ty Herndon and now he’s coming to Australia for the first time. Not only is he coming to Australia, but Tamworth is firmly in his sights.

Ty plays West Tamworth League Club on Sunday, May 7 from 7.30pm.

“I know that Australia loves country music and I’ve never played in Australia before, so I’m just looking forward to people seeing my show and meeting super cool people,” he said.
He’s made sure that he and partner, Matthew, have time to soak up as much of Australia as they can, as well as work, so he’s got the Golden Guitar firmly on his radar and said he hoped to visit some children in hospital as he does in the US.

The trip to Australia came about after discussions with his publicist.
“She said there were some people interested in Australia and before she even got the sentence out of her mouth, I said yes,” Ty said.
“It’s been on my bucket list for many years and I’m old friends with Keith Urban.”

Photo: Jeremy Ryan

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The festival begins – bring on Tamworth

IT’S my favourite time of the year of the year again, so I’m bringing back the daily blog. I hope that’s okay with everyone.

If we haven’t met before, in person, through my writing or digitally, I am a country music journalist who lives in Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital. For 13 years I worked for the local daily paper and for the past decade I was the country music writer there. This is my first Tamworth Country Music Festival for more than 10 years that I haven’t been reporting on it for the paper, so here we are doing it electronically. The paper is still around, never fear, and a new team is bringing you all the news there.

I’ll be bringing you as much news as I can via The Country Journo website, Country News Snippets weekly newsletter and this daily blog.

For those visiting Tamworth, welcome, and for those who aren’t here in the best city in the world, then I hope I can bring a bit of Tamworth onto your computer screens during the 10 days of the country music festival.


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McClymonts show their Endless talents

By Rebecca Belt

FRIDAY the 13th is a lucky day for country trio, The McClymonts in January 2017, as they release their latest album, Endless. The musical surprises are endless on this offering as they take listeners to an even fresher place in country than they’ve ever gone, while keeping the sound undeniably theirs.

mcclymonts-endless-coverOne-third of the sister trio, Mollie McClymont, spoke to The Country Journo about the making of the album and their upcoming trip to the 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival. It’s been a massive 12 months for the trio welcoming another member to the family, with the birth of Mollie’s first child, Ned, to husband, Aaron Blackburn, and now the birth of a new album.
“We are so excited about this album,” she said. “It feels like it’s been a long time coming.”

Produced by Andy Mak, his experience with pop albums shines through, while Brooke, Sam and Mollie McClymont retain their country style.
“He plays a lot with his brother, so got the sibling harmony stuff and this was his first country album,” Mollie said. “We were looking for producers and looking for someone new and fresh. We all just clicked and had an instant connection.”

Mollie said, prior to the release, that any nerves she experienced were outweighed by the excitement of the new offering for fans.
“Personally, I think it’s our best album yet,” she said.

The youngest McClymont sibling said she had a few favourite tracks on Endless, but was attached to all of them.
“I really love Unsaveable because it really means something,” she said. “I loved ‘Like We Used To’ the first time I heard it. Brooke wrote it with other people and I played it on repeat because it is so catchy. I love not being a writer and hearing a song and instantly having a connection to it. It was instant love for me with that song.”


With Mollie and Brooke both being mothers now, Mollie said it had changed their outlook on life and influenced their writing.
“We wrote, Don’t Wish It All Away, about our children,” she said. “We were sitting around talking about how, when you have children, you can’t wait until they walk and talk, but this is the time we need to enjoy and just reflect on what’s going at the moment. It’s important to enjoy them and don’t miss anything – the kids were definitely an influence on the whole album because it does affect your outlook on life and your priorities in life. Family is important and makes your music better as well.”

Mollie admitted she was nervous about their Tamworth Country Music Festival show.
“We are going to be playing all these new songs and it’s such a huge show to start the year with,” Mollie said. “I’m excited to show people the new songs, though, and it’s going to be a huge Tamworth. We are so busy, but it’s a good way to start the year.”

Their Tamworth show on Wednesday, January 25 at 7pm with see them performing plenty of the new songs from Endless while not forgetting the favourites.
“It’s going to be high-energy,” Mollie promised.

The McClymonts will also perform at the CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia on Saturday, January 28 to finish off their festival commitments.
“It’s going to be awesome – we’ve got our dresses sorted and the girls will be my date,” Mollie said.

Following Tamworth, the girls will hit the road with shows promoting Endless until June and then, no doubt, they’ll add even more gigs to their calendar.


Country Music Cocktails announce full artist list

IN AN exclusive, we can announce the more than 40 artists who will perform at Country Music Cocktails at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
There aren’t many opportunities where you can rub shoulders with your favourite country artist while enjoying a drink together, but that’s what Country Music Cocktails offers those at the Tamworth Country Music Festival next year. The much-loved industry and fan get together is back in Tamworth in January at SSS BBQ Barn with more than 40 artists announced to perform.

Organiser Perrin Finlay-Brown from Market The Music started the event to recreate the vibe of the Golden Guitar Awards after party, but for the fans.
After a year’s break, Perrin said he had, had plenty of messages begging him to bring it back.
“Next year’s event will focus on giving more young acts a go,” he said. “Young acts have come through that have gone onto bigger and better things and the punters get to know them more intimately, so we have a focus on one-third younger acts and two-thirds established acts. The event is a really valuable commodity from the networking point of view because people get to know the artists and then support them.”

There is a mix of traditional and contemporary styles and international visiting acts McKenna mckennafaithFaith from the US will only perform at the event in Tamworth, Mae Valley from New Zealand will perform at cocktails, the country music gala event and supporting Kirsty Lee Akers, fellow New Zealand artist Aly Cook will also be there, along with Canada’s Amy Nelson.
“There were 147 artists who applied to be on the show,” Perrin said. “This is the most I’ve ever had; both from the numbers who applied and for the ones I’ve tried to fit in.”

For the first time, Tamworth business, ATAC, is on board as naming rights sponsors, Anderson Productions is a secondary sponsor with Market The Music. Kix Country, Klik Productions, Pope Productions and SSS BBQ Barn, and Chris Watson Travel Partners are also sponsors of the event.

Country Music Cocktails is on Saturday, January 21 from 11am at SSS BBQ Barns with tickets available here.

Artists performing are (with surprises on the day):

Foundation Artists (performed every year)
8 Ball Aitken 8-ball-aitken
Aleyce Simmonds
Georgia Fall
Jade Holland
Jay Seeney Band
Kirsty Lee Akers
Kristy Cox
Liam Brew
Luke Dickens
Travis List

Main Acts
Ashleigh Dallas
Benn Gunn
Billy Bridge
Col Finley
Dan Murphy
Dana Hassall
Dani Young
Doug Bruce
Fanny Lumsden
Hayley Jensenashleigh-dallas
Karrie Hayward
Lachlan Bryan
Matt Cornell
Mick Lindsey
Mickey Pye
Rebecca Lee Nye
Seleen McAlister
The Weeping Willows

Allan Caswell
Marie Hodson
Warren H Williams

International Artists
Aly Cook (NZ)
Amy Nelson (Canada)
McKenna Faith (USA)
Mae Valley (NZ)

Future Stars liam-kennedyclark
Allison Forbes
Brooke Lambert
Cassi Hilbers
Emily Joy
Hayley Marsten
Jemma Beech
Kate Hindle
Kate Rose
Liam Kennedy-Clark
Natalie Pearson
Tori Forsyth