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Cowboys In Cybersp@ce - August 2001

"Farewell Fret-Masters"

It is with much sadness we bid farewell to two legendary Country guitar players:

Chet Atkins in Nashville - 1984 Chet Atkins was renowned not only as an innovative and highly influential musician, but also as one of the architects of the country-pop Nashville Sound. His official Web site, MisterGuitar.com is a wonderful resource of information about Chet and his music. The news section will also take you to NewsChannel5.com where you can watch the excellent half hour TV special they put together as a tribute. It includes a retrospective of Chet's career, footage from the memorial gathering at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and the reminisces of many of the stars and also regular folk whose lives were touched by Mister Guitar. I only saw Chet play once, at an RCA showcase in 1984. He hosted the concert and filled the gaps between artists with some solo tunes and his dry wit, grace and charm.

Roy Nichols Not as well known to the general public, but just as influential to the sound of modern Country guitar, Roy Nichols passed away in Bakersfield on July 3rd at the age of 68. Roy is best known for the 22 years he spent as lead guitar for Merle Haggard's Strangers band. In fact, Roy was already celebrated as a wild guitarist before he even met Merle, having been on the road from the age of 15 with the Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose. Roy had moved on and was playing with Wynn Stewart in Las Vegas when a young Merle Haggard came looking for a job as a bass player in the band. The rest, as they say, is history, and you can read tributes to Roy Nichols on the Web. He was a personal hero of mine, and you can hear Roy's distinctive playing throughout the classic recordings of Merle Haggard, and also hear his legacy today, every time that Merle himself picks a guitar solo.

ROY LINKS: THE GUITARMAN - The Legendary Roy Nichols -
King of Country Guitar - The Strangers - Rockabilly Hall of Fame

There are plenty of new and updated Country Music Web sites for you to check out this month. Here are just some of them, and a few of the things you might find inside their pages:

The Australian Entertainment MO Awards were presented in Sydney on Monday, July 9 at Sydney Town Hall. The Cowboys In Cybersp@ce Web site was the first to bring you the names of the Country winners, while the first award photos of the Feral Swing Katz (Country Group of the Year), appeared at 'The Pub' Web site, courtesy of Terry Phillpot. While you are surfing at 'The Pub', check out the five pages of photos and the newsletter all about the 'Hats Off' Festival last June, and if you still want more, pop over to Helen's 'Tamworth Rage Page' for lots more Festival fun.

Speaking of awards, congratulations to the CMAA's 'Australian Country On-line', the only dedicated Country Music Web site to make the finals of the 2001 ONYA! Awards. Speaking of Festivals, it's nearly that time again for the Gympie Muster in Queensland and the Galston Country Music Festival in Sydney. Surf the Internet and find out the latest on what to expect at these events.

Billy Bridge recently won the 'Frank Harding Memorial Award for Excellence' at the Barmera CM Festival in South Australia. Drop by his Web site and find out why!

Hank and Donna are one of the hardest working and most travelled duos on the Country music scene today. Now you can keep track of them at their new Web site and also check out their very popular recordings.

Shaman-Jean Stafford has come a long way from the little Tasmanian girl with dreams. Follow her singing journey all the way to International success, and also see some of her paintings on the Web.

The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia broadcast 'Good Morning Country' nationally via satellite five days a week. The program celebrated its first anniversary in June, and now has its own Web site where you can find out more about the presenters and the program.

Red Rivers definitely shows his Country roots on his new album 'Wishbone', a great collection of songs and performances. Red's Web site includes his profile from the 'Rockabilly Hall of Fame'. Also, MORE on Red and 'Wishbone'.

Patsy Cline never made it to Australia, but now you can see her life played on the theatre stage. Deborah Conway portrays Patsy, and her close fan-turned-friend Louise Seger is played by Julie McGregor. Check out the 'Always…Patsy Cline' site for more information and to find out when the show will be coming your way.

There's a new competition running at the Lee Kernaghan site. It's called NAME THE LEGEND and you have to write in and tell all you know about the fan who's picture, taken at a LK concert, is on display at the site. You could win a merchandise pack as a prize.

Jason McCoy is a relatively new name here, although his latest release 'Honky Tonk Sonatas' is the third album for this Canadian artist. Jason will travel to Australia in January to perform during the 2002 Tamworth Country Music Festival. His album and Web site have lots of pictures of Jason, with and without facial hair, and some in mid-shave! Beats me; must be a 'hunk-thing', eh girls? His music is in the same great groove as Gary Allan, with whom he performs a duet on this disc.

Speaking of Gary Allan, check out the newly redesigned 'Tomkins Custom Guitars and Basses' Web site. You'll see Gary and his band with their Tomkins axes, plus Dale Watson and lots of local guitar slingers too.

Brad Paisley picks some pretty fast guitar on his new album, 'Part II'. He stays clean-shaven throughout, but this sequel does continue on with the 'motion picture' theme from his last release. For his duet track he pulls out the big guns…Buck Owens, George Jones and Bill Anderson. You can hear that track, and see some others, at The Official Brad Paisley Web Site.

Local label Raven Records continue to live up to their slogan, 'The Ultimate In Reissues'. Recent releases have included a '2 for 1' compilation of two 1971 albums by the late and great HOYT AXTON. If you only remember him for his TV and movie appearances or the fact that his mother co-wrote 'Heartbreak Hotel', then you owe it to yourself to revisit his great music. Included are his original recordings of 'Joy To The World' and 'Never Been To Spain'. You'll find all the lyrics at the 'Hoyt Axton Explodes' site and even more info at the 'Official Hoyt Axton Web Site'. Also from Raven, a sensational collection of 23 solo tracks by RUSSELL SMITH of the Amazing Rhythm Aces. These recordings are taken from three solo albums that he released in the eighties, after the Aces first golden period and before their current rejuvenation. Russell's 'intelligent, soul-influenced country songs' are all gems, and the album includes splendid detailed liner notes by his comrade Keith Glass. There is no Russell Smith solo Web page, but you can catch up with his current activities at 'The Aces' site.

Next month, Cowboys In Cybersp@ce celebrates its FOURTH birthday! Until then, happy surfing.

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.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with Belinda Miller of Murri Country, 4AAA (98.9 FM in Brisbane) and Barbara Morison on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney).

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