I AM finding it a little difficult to write this week’s column, in between appointments and packing my suitcase.
By the time you read this, I’ll be leaving on a jet plane for Nashville in the fine company of Marie Hodson and Angela Daly.
Marie is going to record her new album of traditional country songs with her producer, Jason Roller, in Nashville.
From the song choices she’s made, it’s going to be a real treasure trove for fans of traditional music.
That will take up about a week of our three-week stay. We plan to use Nashville as our base and do some day trips to neighbouring cities.
Angela and I will join Marie in the studio (although I don’t think either of us will cut it in the backing vocals department) while she lays down the vocal tracks.
Then Marie plans to hang out at the Music Shack studio while the players put down their various instrumental contributions.
While Marie is occupied doing this, Angela and I will hit the road in our Ford Escape and head to Memphis for a couple of days.
There was so much I didn’t get a chance to see the last time we visited, it’s going to be fun exploring those places with Angela, who’s an “American virgin”.
Having only been once before, it’s still a very exciting prospect for me to visit Music City USA, our newest sister city, and catch up with some of the sister city mob over there and other friends we made last time.
We also plan to head back to Dollywood and will stay a couple of days in nearby Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg – both gorgeous places, with lots to see and do.
Last year we only spent half a day at Dollywood and didn’t even scratch the surface of the gigantic theme park and tourist attraction. Jump online and Google Dollywood and you’ll see what I mean.
It’s going to be quite a challenge mastering the art of driving on the other side of the road (on the other side of the car), but hey – I’ll never learn any younger!
During the trip I hope to bring you lots of updates that, if space permits, will go into The Leader in between regular columns, which will all be about things we’ve experienced over there.
I hope you don’t get bored. I’m pretty sure we won’t be.
It’s fairly timely to be leaving Tamworth at this stage of winter, as the average temperature in Nashville right now is a warm 20-31 degrees Celsius. No winter woollies for this trip!
Keep watching this space for regular updates, or if we’re friends on Facebook, keep an eye on our pages as there will be daily posts and pictures.
THERE’S a lot of great music happening on this side of the planet while we’re away, including The Mavericks first ever tour Down Under.
They’re playing in Sydney tomorrow night and will be a headline act at the Gympie Muster.
If you want a report, call in to Penrose Meats in City Plaza in a couple of weeks and your friendly, country music-loving butcher Brian Penrose will tell you all about it.
In previous years, Brian has been one of my cub reporters at that event, but I’ll have enough country music on my plate in Nashville and surrounds to deal with this year.
ANOTHER fabulous event that’s coming up pretty soon is the Mildura Country Music Festival, where it’s “independent’s day” every day.
The list of finalists in the Southern Stars Australian Independent
Country Music Awards has just been announced and there’re quite a few familiar names of artists who frequent our festival here in Tamworth.
In the APRA/AMCOS Independent Country Music Single of the Year, the finalists are: Thank God I’m A Cowboy, Doug Bruce; Next To Slim, John O’Dea; It’s A Country Song, Allan Caswell and Underneath The Hat, The Bobkatz.
The Australian Independent Album of the Year contenders are: This Old Guitar, John O’Dea; Wishbone Road, Pete Denahy; It’s A Country Song, Allan Caswell and Made That Way, Doug Bruce.
The Australian Independent Heritage Track of the Year finalists are: Looking Back, Graham Rodger; Where Country Is, Dean Perrett; Dunedoo Station, Kathy Coleman and Next To Slim, John O’Dea.
The CRS Australian Independent Rising Star Male finalists are: Kane Harrison, Crazy; JP Morson, Where You Belong; Ben Ransom, Truck Stop Honey and Michael Waugh, Heyfield Girl.
The CRS Australian Independent Rising Star Female contenders are: Adi Burgess, Woman; Melody Feder, Walk That Wire; Christie Lamb, Invincible Me and Stephanie Jansen, The Life You Made.
In the running for the Capital News Australian Independent Male Vocalist of the Year are: Allan Caswell, It’s A Country Song; Brad Butcher, The Old Man’s Gone; Doug Bruce, Thank God I’m A Cowboy; and Pete Denahy, The Wind Blows Cold On The Mountain.
In the Capital News Australian Independent Female Vocalist of the Year it’s going to be a battle between Bec Hance, Old Lady; Kaylee Bell, Heart First; Chris E Thomas, I Don’t Want To Know and Kristy Cox, I Hate That I Still Love You.
The Australian Independent Group/Duo of the Year finalists are Mustered Courage, The Bobkatz, Carter & Carter, and Craig Woodward & The Lonely Dogs.
The winners will be announced on the final weekend of the Mildura
Festival at the awards presentation and concert on Saturday, October 5 at the Mercy Theatre.
Congratulations to all the finalists. They’re all great artists and worthy contenders.
HERE’S a hot tip for a local gig you should put in your diary: on Friday, September 6, it’s The Pub’s birthday bash and North Coast alt-country band Doot will make a welcome return to the Country Music Capital.
Their debut performance at The Pub a couple of months back was outstanding. They held the crowd all night and had the dancefloor jumping.
SEE you at a gig when I return in September. Unfortunately I’ll miss the Doot gig by a week, but they tell me they’re coming back again in November, too.