TAMWORTH has retained one of the coveted Golden Guitars after third generation country artist Ashleigh Dallas won QantasLink Best New Talent.
She won the honour with her song, Me, and said she had to keep looking at the trophy to make sure she had really won.
Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer will reign as king and queen of Australian country music after they won four and three Golden Guitars, respectively, at the 42nd Country Music Awards of Australia on Saturday night.
Lee scored Male Artist of the Year, CMC Video Clip of the Year and Single of the Year for his moving tribute to Slim Dusty, Flying With The King, and Sanity Top Selling Australian Album of the Year for Beautiful Noise.
Lee said he was “so thrilled” to win with this song because of the impact Slim Dusty had had on his career and thanked Joy McKean and family for allowing them to use footage for the video clip.
“Here’s to Slim Dusty,” video clip director Duncan Toombs said.
Country artists saluted Slim and his widow, Joy McKean, throughout the night’s concert and awards presentation.
Sara returned to recording after a hiatus of five years, having a raising a family and took out Album of the Year, Female Artist of the Year and Vocal Collaboration of the Year with John Williamson.
“I’m so proud of my Mallee girl,” John said.
Sara thanked all her family during emotional acceptance speeches.
“I probably wouldn’t have lived a long life if I hadn’t made this album,” she said.
“Thank you for accepting me back after a little while away. This album meant a lot to me.”
Another special moment was Joy’s presentation of a Golden Guitar to singer-songwriter Luke O’Shea for Lady of the Land, a tribute to Joy and the inspiration she brought to Australian country artists.
Luke and Drew McAlister collected awards in Heritage Song of the Year and APRA Song of the Year for the track they co-wrote. Luke said it was a surreal moment.
“This is not about me at all,” he said.
“It is about the inspiration of this remarkable woman on stage. It was always about Slim Dusty and she never sings herself up, but she was the powerhouse woman behind him.
“Your legacy is not only the awards and the CMAA, it’s your family.
“Thank you Joy for being a wonderful Australian. This means a lot.”
Luke said his wins last year and this year meant people were listening to his music.
A special highlight of the night was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ted Egan.
With a career spanning more than 40 years, Ted has recorded 30 albums, written ten books and presented on 13 episodes of the hour-long TV documentary This Land Australia.
Along with the Golden Guitar trophy, Ted’s contribution to the industry was recognised with a performance of his song The Drover’s Boy.
“My achievement award is that I’ve had this great life,” he said.
42nd CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia winners:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Lovegrass – Sara Storer, produced by Matt Fell
ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Black Coffee – Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, produced by Lachlan Bryan, Mat Duniam, Shaun Ryan and Rod McCormack
MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Lee Kernaghan – Flying With The King
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Sara Storer – Lovegrass
GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR - O’Shea – Thank You Angels
VOCAL COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR - Pozie – Sara Storer & John Williamson
TOYOTA HERITAGE SONG OF THE YEAR - Lady of the Land – written by Luke O’Shea & Drew McAlister, recorded by Luke O’Shea
BUSH BALLAD OF THE YEAR - I Love Australia – written by Keith Jamieson, recorded by Jeff Brown
INSTRUMENTAL OF THE YEAR - Cotton Eyed Joe – Pete Denahy
QANTASLINK NEW TALENT OF THE YEAR - Ashleigh Dallas – Me
APRA SONG OF THE YEAR - Lady of the Land – written by Luke O’Shea & Drew McAlister, recorded by Luke O’Shea
CMC VIDEO CLIP OF THE YEAR - Flying With The King – Lee Kernaghan, directed by Duncan Toombs
SINGLE OF THE YEAR - Flying With The King – Lee Kernaghan
SANITY TOP-SELLING AUSTRALIAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Beautiful Noise – Lee Kernaghan (ABC Music)
TOP-SELLING INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Red – Taylor Swift (Universal Music)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD GOLDEN GUITAR - Ted Egan
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR - Troy Cassar-Daley (for his album Home)
ENGINEER OF THE YEAR - Ted Howard
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR - Ian Lees (bass)