Duo withdraw from awards

COUNTRY music stars Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey have withdrawn from the Golden Guitar Awards after country legend John Williamson took aim at their top-selling duets album. 

The pair were nominated for six awards for The Great Country Songbook, including Album of the Year, but late yesterday they announced that “after careful consideration” they had requested those nominations be withdrawn from the CMAA awards, presented as part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

“The conversations and debates about the album over the past few days have fragmented an already fragile music community,” they said in a statement.

“We are very proud of the achievements of the project, however we wish to not have the album as part of the awards.” 

It’s been a tumultuous week for Australian country music with the resignation of CMAA president John Williamson, in part because of what he believed was an “Americanisation” of the industry and the awards.

He said it wasn’t right “an album with 90 per cent American covers” could be nominated for Golden Guitars, with The Great Country Songbook immediately identified as the album in question.

Cassar-Daley and Harvey emphasised yesterday “there never was and still is no problem with the album’s legitimate qualification”, but the “recent objection and ensuing industry debate” had forced their decision.

“We are just sad for country music that this has all happened. The last thing we wanted to do was cause any controversy. It was just two mates paying tribute to our musical heroes,” they said. 

The decision to nominate in various categories was due to the success of their near-platinum-selling album, they said, and it was at the time encouraged by the CMAA. 

The duo said the songs on the album were ones that “evoke memories of families that lived and loved country music”, including their “faithful rendition” of Slim Dusty’s Lights On The Hill, which was released as the first single in direct response to pleas from their fans.

The Tamworth festival was very close to their hearts, they said, and they would still attend the awards in support of their colleagues, although it’s understood they won’t perform on the night.

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