Finalists were announced today for the 37th CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia to be presented at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Convention Centre (TRECC) on Saturday, January 24, 2009. Pictured above, just some of the finalists who were present for the announcement at the harbour-side Opera Point Marquee located at the Sydney Opera House. Congratulations to all the finalists.(Photo by Bob Howe)
L to R: Felicity Urquhart, Sara Storer, Jasmine Rae, Catherine Britt, Melinda Schneider, Talia Wittmann, Joy McKean, Shane Nicholson, Kasey Chambers, Lachlan Davidson (obscured), The Robertson Brothers, Drew McAlister, Kneeling: Travis Collins, Hamish Davidson.
As TAYLOR SWIFT approaches her 19th birthday, the youngster has been lauded as the ‘first bona fide country star of the MySpace generation’. Indeed, iTunes and AOL have both awarded her honours and her digital singles have been certified Gold. Her own website lists nearly 40 fan sites and her guestbook is crammed with comments from adoring fans. As America gears up for the release of her second album, her first self-titled offering is out here (on Big Machine Records through Universal Music Australia) as the 15 song US re-released version but without the enhanced content – two videos which are however available on YouTube.
LEE ANN WOMACK tells us that she is “…a fan of real country music. I do love the imagery of a smoky bar. Now I’m not gonna go sit in a bar by myself, but there have been times, after everybody’s gone to bed, I’ll just sit here at the bar in the kitchen, have a cocktail and listen to my George Jones stuff, and I love it.” While her new album Call Me Crazy(on MCA Nashville through Universal Music Australia) has a pop art looking cover, as opposed to the previous retro Tammy-inspired cover of There’s More Where That Came From, the contents are true country and magical. Listen carefully for Keith Urban’s backing vocals on The Bees. As I write, her official website is blocking Australian viewers from watching the latest video Solitary Thinkin’, probably for some marketing exercise, but no doubt it will appear soon. The CD and the website include details for obtaining a ringtone for your mobile of any of the tracks from the album, not just the predicted hits….ah, it’s a modern world. You can also send ‘her’ a text message. Will it work from an Australian mobile? I won’t be testing it on my bill.
You can send and receive text messages from KELLIE PICKLER as well and, as with the other sites, the current emphasis is on not just a single website for the artists, but also social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. You can download the cover of her self-titled album (BNA Records through Sony/BMG Australia) as wallpaper for your computer desktop or as an ‘avatar’ or ‘buddy icon’ to use as your picture in an instant messaging program such as AIM or Windows Live Messenger. Look under ‘Music’ for a preview of the track Lucky Girl, co-written by our own Catherine Britt. With the glamorous image that Kellie projects, it comes as no surprise in her latest news that Country Weekly magazine readers have declared Kellie as ‘the most gorgeous woman in country music’. I guess most of those readers have probably never been to Australia!
If you like your music a little grittier, then try the new LUCINDA WILLIAMS album Little Honey(Lost Highway Records through Universal Music Australia). At her website you can watch Lucinda’s latest David Letterman appearance singing Real Love (“I found the love I’ve been looking for…standing up behind an electric guitar…”) and also the making of Little Honey. Love her swampy soulful take on It’s A Long Way To The Top!
Until next time, when we take an in-depth look at Tommy Emmanuel’s three new releases, happy surfing!
Bob talked to Barbara Morison on 2SER 107.3 FM about this month’s column and more…