Keith Urban made history when he became the first Aussie to hit number 1 on the CMT Singles Chart and the first Australian male to enter the Top Five of the U.S. Country Singles Chart. Keith is also everywhere on the World Wide Web! Firstly his own Web site, with a fun spinning guitar pick navigation menu, where you can listen to the chart-topping single 'Your Everything' or watch the video of 'It's a Love Thing'. At other sites you can watch a live show by Keith Urban and Clay Davidson, held in the New York City plaza between the World Trade Center towers on August 24, 2000, or a recent video interview. The fabulous guitar lessons I mentioned last month can now be watched directly on the Web, even with a slow connection, in case you don't want to download the large files. Keith's latest Australian trip includes a performance at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
Speaking of the Olympics, and who hasn't been, Olivia Newton-John will perform the theme song 'Dare to Dream' with John Farnham at the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. At the 'Only Olivia' Web site you can see photos of both of them (with hit songwriter Tina Arena) at the Olympic Press Conference. Check the 'Time-Line' page and scroll down to the mid-seventies to read how 'our Livvie' also blitzed the U.S charts. Only Olivia is a dynamic fan club, and they also have an Australian office (PO Box 483, Curtin, ACT 2605).
While we're talking of achievements, who was the first person to win the Golden Guitar for Male Vocalist of the Year three years in a row? Johnny Chester, that's who! 1981 for 'I Love You So Rebecca', 1982 for 'Rough Around The Edges', and 1983 for 'Ad In The Weekly Times'. You can catch up even more with Chess at his brand new Web site. From the days when he was on tour with The Beatles to his latest tour dates, it's all there, with photos that depict the changing face of Chess throughout the years. There is also a chance to hear tracks from his hard-to-find album 'Waiting For The Lightning' which can be ordered from the site, and pictures of Chess with Kenny Rogers and Johnny Cash.
Also from 'South of the Border', Gene Bradley Fisk has a new 4-track CD out. Long before we came to know him as 'The Outlaw', Gene served in the armed forces, and the title track 'Way Over The Edge' is a very personal and revealing recollection of his time in South East Asia. In keeping with this theme, the tasteful CD cover depicts a youthful Gene in the cockpit of his RAAF aeroplane. Among the other tracks is a long awaited (19 years since the last) new duet with daughter Donna Fisk, who co-produced the disc with her musical partner Michael Cristian.
If you want to check out your moral standing, visit the 'Where The Heart Is' movie Web Site. Click your way through the board game answering the questions, and then check your score on the 'Morality Meter'. As you work your way through the game you'll learn more about the movie, which stars Natalie Portman (Star Wars) and Ashley Judd (sister of Wynonna). The album of the music from 'Where The Heart Is' makes a fabulous CD, with tracks from Martina McBride, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Lonestar, The Corrs and many more. It closes with a super duet between The Warren Brothers and Sara Evans, which was specifically written for the movie, and in which it features throughout. Congratulations to Annie, the lucky Cowboys In Cybersp@ce reader who won a copy of the CD, courtesy of BMG Australia. While you are listening to the music, you can surf around the Web sites of all the artists on this great album. The Warren Brothers have an action packed site, and Sara Evans has some great 'wallpaper' backgrounds for your computer desktop. Thoughts for the day: why do they call it wallpaper when it goes on your desktop, and how come the abbreviation WWW takes longer to say than World Wide Web?
From a humble page at the Local ABC Web site, Saturday Night Country has exploded into a fully blown Web site, and a corker it is too. You can relive some of the feature artist interviews from recent shows such as Audrey Auld and Ricky Van Shelton. John Nutting answers many of your questions in the 'mailbag' section, see his favourite snaps in the 'gallery' and there is a great interactive Gig Guide as well. If you missed the name of a song or artist on the show, the weekly playlists are available too.
Other sites I've surfed to this month include Tamworth based entertainer Greg Williams who shows his versatility in several songs that you can download and enjoy.
Golden Guitar Winners, The Sparnetts, also have a couple of their hit songs available for download at their Web site. Once you hear them you'll want to rush out and get their brilliant self-titled album. Wendy Phypers songwriting invokes a similar imagery of real life as does the lyrics of Paul Kelly and Marty Atchison (must be a Victorian thing). The Sparnetts appeared at the recent successful Galston Country Music Festival held on the northern rural fringe of Sydney. You can see lots of photos from the day here, and links to many of the artists, that also included Greg Champion, Normie Rowe (with producer Shane Flew), Craig Giles, Craig Byrne, Pat Drummond and Karen Lynne. Staged in front of a beautiful lake, The Galston Country Music Festival is an activity of the Rotary Club of Galston, who should be congratulated, along with the Festival directors, as it has established itself as one of the best family music days on the calendar each year.
After 18 months in Nashville, TJ Dennis is back with a brand new CD that is named after her Web site, tjdennis.com, or is it a Web site named after her album? Whichever it is, make sure you check out her colourful photo gallery.
On to the Departure Lounge: Gary Allan and his band have finished their successful Australian tour, and left our shores armed with a swag of custom made Tomkins Guitars. You can see photos of them all with their great new instruments at the Tomkins Guitars Web site, and musicians can read the technical specifications of each guitar.
To help you keep abreast of all the happenings on the World Wide Web, the Cowboys In Cybersp@ce Web site has introduced a new Web Diary. Its aim is to list scheduled Country Music concerts being Webcast, chats with artists, and other Internet happenings. As I write I'm looking forward to the chat with a true Country Music icon, Loretta Lynn. With her first new recording in 12 years, Loretta has returned with a stunning album entitled 'Still Country'. She has fought through a series of personal losses, including the death of her husband and mentor 'Mooney' to whom the album is dedicated, and come back sounding fresh and vital. The album ends with Loretta in an optimistic mood singing 'The Blues Ain't Workin' On Me', and with producer (and 1999 CMA Musician of the Year) Randy Scruggs at the helm, she has proved that Real Country Music is alive and well. From Butcher Holler to the Web is quite a leap, so check out Loretta Lynn's Web site.
Don't forget to listen out for Cowboys in Cybersp@ce each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country, 4AAA–FM (98.9 in Brisbane).
If you want to share the location of an interesting site you’ve seen or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me. Until next month, happy surfing.
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