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

Fly, Doctor, Fly

TONIGHT’S blog post is dedicated to all those artists who take time out of their massive Tamworth Country Music Festival schedules to play at charity events for free. They expect nothing in return except the knowledge they are contributing to a worthy cause.
After a day on Peel Street and writing stories and press releases at the very warm media centre, I spent the evening at the Fly Doctor Fly fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Tamworth’s own Brendan Nawrocki organised it after he and I both shaved our heads for the cause in October last year. He decided he could do more and he proved that in bucket loads tonight.img_2597 Continue reading

Matt Henry launches first album – Love Without Co-Dependency

By Rebecca Belt
THE Tamworth Country Music Festival is the ideal place to launch new product for artists, but for Matt Henry, this moment has been 20 years in the making.
Love Without Co-Dependency is an album that’s been 20 years in the making and was released on the first day of festival, January 20.matthenrylovewithoutcodependency
“It seems like it’s been a long time coming because I started recording with Shane (Nicholson) in December last year for two weeks then went back to him in May and recorded more,” Henry said. “I’ve been working on these songs for a couple of years.”
Henry said choosing the songs was a collaboration between Nicholson and himself as he wrote and sent him a bunch of songs and Nicholson chose the songs he believed were the strongest to formulate a sound and create the album.
“I was probably listening to a lot of Americana and bluegrass while I was writing, so there is more of that sound on the album,” Henry said. “In America, it’s been a really strong, solid sub-genre of its own for a long time and now, in Australia, it’s growing.”
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And the rain tumbles down

TAMWORTH is not known for it’s wet climate, but the weather gods made camping, outdoor concerts and street busking as uncomfortable as they could today as storms and rain streamed into town quicker than caravanners.

After working this morning, we braved the downpours and headed to Peel St to check out what the buskers had to offer this afternoon. However, there were only a few who decided to play in all weather conditions. Although there wasn’t a lot of music to be had at times, the city is full of people coming to soak up the country music atmosphere and we have it in droves.


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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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