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Cowboys In Cybersp@ce - January 2001

"2001: A Country Odyssey"

Bah- dah - dah…Da-DAH!!! (bom-bom,bom-bom,bom-bom) etc. Well cyber-cowboys, it's finally here. 2001, and which ever way you look at it, we're definitely into the new millennium now. Happy New Year to you all.

Alan Jackson CD cover All the technology of my childhood stories is now coming true. Dick Tracy video phones, computers that talk back, and the fridge that orders replacement food over the Internet. Even mainstream Country Music acknowledges the World Wide Web. Two years ago our own Keith Glass sang "cheatin'.com", and now Alan Jackson hits big with 'Du-ya Dub-ya Dub-ya dot Memory' (yes, I know that's not how you spell it). On his great new album, Jackson sticks to his guns and his roots (Meat and Potato Man), pokes a bit of fun (Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Up-tempo Love Song), but still has an eye on the future (www.memory). Great stuff. Check out what Jackson has to say about his new hit at his Web site. Incidentally, I checked the real www.memory - it sells computer memory chips!

Rascal Flatts CD cover So where is the future for Country Music? In the U.S. at least, the lines between mainstream CM and Pop continue to blur. Sometimes the results are good. Rascal Flatts don't look out of place amongst the current crop of 'boy bands'. Their music has definite 'chart appeal' and is, to continue with the industry jargon, most definitely 'radio-friendly'. The absolute best of Nashville's session players join in to help give their self-titled debut album a distinct Country edge, and the boys sing up a storm. They will bring in a lot of new young fans that are needed to rejuvenate the business. Don't be fooled into thinking there are a lot of teenagers getting into CM these days - they are mostly just donning Cowboy Hats because Kylie Minogue is wearing one! Rascal Flatts, along with SheDaisy (their label-mates on the Disney-owned Lyric Street) and other wholesome acts like The Wilkinsons, create a positive CM image for younger people who might shy away from more traditional sounds. Check out everything you wanted to know about Rascal Flatts at their smooth Web site.

My first tip for the new century: No matter what sort of Country Music you favour, be vocal about what you like and don't waste precious energy rubbishing the things you don't enjoy. We are entering an era where worldwide niche marketing is a viable proposition for businesses. That means that you are going to be able to get your favourite artists' music, even if they are not instep with the latest trends. Back when I was a kid in England, I used to marvel (pun intended) and the product ads in the American comic books. Those exotic sounding chocolate bars and toys seemed another world away. These days, if it's out there, you can probably get it on the Internet.

Paul Wookey Cd cover My second tip for the new century: if you do use the Internet to search for music, check your local on-line stores first and save on delivery-time and postage. If you're looking for traditional, bluegrass sounds, our own Shock Records are importing a lot of great music from fine independent artists and labels. Start by tasting 23 varied tracks on the Volume 2 of their outstanding 'Heartaches & Highways' sampler CD that includes our own star Audrey, and a track from the excellent new album by Melbourne's Paul Wookey. A Golden Guitar winner (New Talent 1982), 'One Way Ticket' is Paul's first album in nearly twenty years, and it is fine collection of songs. Leaning towards the folksy Jimmie Rogers style, the album also includes a reprise of his award-winning track 'Roll Along'. His label, Round Records has also produced a sampler CD of their catalogue entitled 'Songs From The Back Room'. Last year was a good one for compilations. ABC gave us Open Road 3, showcasing the best in emerging talent, Rural Press released the exceptional theme album 'Trouble In The Fields', and Larrikin featured the best of modern Australian Country on the brilliant 'Beyond The Bitumen' collection.

John Prine must have known my vinyl copy of his first album was nearly worn out! His latest album 'Souvenirs' features new recordings of fifteen of his classic songs, several of which first appeared on his stunning 1971 debut album, including 'Angel From Montgomery' which was revived recently by The Crosby Sisters. There are plenty of 'Prine Shrines' to visit on the Web.

Fish! New Web sites: Award-winning duo Donna Fisk & Michael Cristian have a great new Web site. Preview their highly anticipated new album 'JOYRIDE' and check their scrapbook for some nostalgic photos…Watch the Web for updates on the "Country Rocks The City" series about to be staged in Sydney and Brisbane early this year . . . Learn more about Aussie born Country singer Jamie O'Neal, currently wowing them Stateside . . .and from W.A. currently, Dave Prior features his great 'Wind in the Wire' album and his new single 'Long Distance Love Affair' . . .

Updated Web sites: Michael Fix spotlights his brilliantly executed new album 'TransFIXed' and his American debut . . . Mick Hamilton features his long-awaited debut solo CD 'Alone At Last' . . . Revisit the Graeme Connors site (now at www.graemeconnors.com) and find the lyrics to the fantastic songs from his 'The Best…'til now' album . . . Rising star Melanie Horswood updates her page with even more awards… 'TANIA online' undergoes renovations . . . Wayne Horsburgh highlights his most recent successful stint in the U.S.A.

Finally, if you're heading to Tamworth for the Festival, get those last minute updates on the Web. Here at Cowboys In Cyberspace Website, I'll direct you all the places that have the latest news and schedules. I'll also be displaying snapshots on-line during the Festival, so smile!


4AAA-FM logo 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.

 

link to free music

Click Here for a FREE download of my TIARA 2001 Awards Finalist track - She Loves My Banjo.
(Also available to Australian Country Radio and Media on NfS 58).

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