The New Year brought along the 45th Tamworth Country Music Festival starting January 19- January 29th. This ten day festival kicked off with a bang with over fifty thousand people from all over Australia, and the world, traveling to the one destination to experience Australia’s best in country music.
As a musician, this time of year is the most exhilarating and exhausting experience. Over the past five years, on average I have performed thirty shows in the ten days. This year, my management and I decided to cut back to twenty performances- including three, three hour gigs, A ‘Country Road’ duet show with Scott Douglas and reporting on the Golden Guitar Awards. Singing every day is really thrilling. Even though I’m so busy, this year I still had a chance to listen to other musicians, walk down the street and watch the buskers and even enjoy a few drinks on Australia Day which was fun!
Performing on many stages and venues including the Gunnedah Services Club, Hopscotch Restaurant and Bar, Barraba RSL, Post Office Hotel, Fanzone Stage, Peel Street Stage and many more, I must say that every year I attend the festival, it keeps getting better and better. My advice to anyone who has not attended; audience or musician, is to go. The atmosphere is captivating and the energy is so contagious that you will dread the day the festival ends. Through the eyes of a musician, it is my favourite time of the year.
For months leading up to the festival, Gold Coast musician; Scott Douglas, and I had been taking advantage of Skype to put together a great duet show. It was thrilling to see our hard work fall perfectly in place with a great response to our show; ‘Country Road’ duet show. It helped that we had very talented musicians in the band; Isaac Leong Loon (Drums), Karl (Sonic) Edwards (Bass), and Sam Shepherd (Guitar). Videos from this performance are being uploaded to my YouTube channel so subscribe and enjoy the show.
The 2017 Country Music Awards of Australia – Golden Guitars reflected on the music of 2016 and new releases of 2017 by some of the biggest names in the Australian Country Music industry, at the Tamworth Region Entertainment and Conference Centre on Saturday 28th January 2017.
The night kicked off with performances by 2017 Toyota Star Maker winner Rachel Fahim, 2010 and 2011 Toyota Star Maker winners Luke Austen and Luke Dickens and 2009 Toyota Star Maker winner Liam Brew.
The entrance to the venue was lined with the famous red carpet, topped off with hundreds of screaming fans all receiving photos and autographs of their favourite artists. I found myself a position where I was lucky enough to get selfies and interviews with majority of the artists as they made their way up the carpet and into the green room before the concert.
The Golden Guitar Awards are the most prestigious award given to country music artists in Australia. The lucky winners of the night included;
Travis Collins– MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR, AMCOS SONG OF THE YEAR and SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Sara Storer– FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR and BUSH BALLAD OF THE YEAR
Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart– ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR and COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR.
Catherine Britt with Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, Lyn Bowtell, Josh Pyke, Wes Carr and Wendy Matthews– REGIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK VOCAL COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR.
Fanny Lumsden– QANTASLINK NEW TALENT OF THE YEAR
Luke O’Shea– TOYOTA HERITAGE SONG OF THE YEAR.
Stuie French– INSTRUMENTAL OF THE YEAR
Kristy Cox– BLUEGRASS RECORDING OF THE YEAR.
O’Shea– CMC VIDEO CLIP OF THE YEAR
Troy Cassar-Daley– ALBUM OF THE YEA
As for me, my life motto is “You can never dream too big” so one day, I just might be writing about what it feels like to be walking down that red carpet. Until that day, I am going to continue what I love to do; performing three shows every weekend across Australia and traveling back to New Zealand and Canada for my tours. Planning has commenced already for two other international tours that will happen in the next couple of years.