THE Australian Country Music Hall of Fame is on a roll – and Australia’s long-reigning queen of country music, Jean Stafford, is right in the thick of the action.
At the home of the Australian Country Music Foundation yesterday in Tamworth, Ms Stafford was presented with a framed citation to mark her elevation to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown by the city’s mayor in what he termed “unfinished business”.
At the request of concert producer and compere Jon Wolfe, mayor Col Murray has announced the name of the Roll of Renown recipient at the annual town hall concert
on the first weekend of the festival for the past two years.
When Ms Stafford was elevated in 2008, she was unable to attend due to illness, so it was quite fitting that on her first return visit to the city in almost two decades
she was reunited with her citation by the country music-loving mayor.
“It’s great to have that opportunity to wrap up that piece of Australian country music
history that began five years ago when she was honoured by her peers,” Cr Murray said.
Mr Wolfe was delighted to announce the star-studded lineup of artists for the hall of fame’s major fundraiser of the year, with Ms Stafford the star attraction.
“It will be the first time in about 18 years that Jean has performed in Tamworth and it’s very exciting to have secured her services for our premier fundraising event of the year,” Mr Wolfe said.
The 2012 quadruple Australian Independent Award winner Luke O’Shea is also on the show, as is multiple award-winner Graham Rodger, funnyman Jim Haynes, Tamworth diva Sally-Anne Whitten, Aboriginal superstar Warren H Williams, former Australian Idol country girl Kate Cook, and Dianne Lindsay, the talented daughter of country legend Reg
Lindsay, and 2012 Roll of Renown inducteeTerry Gordon.
“Since I took over as producer of the concert two years ago it’s been my ambition to reestablish the Roll of Renown concert for what it is – a salute to those who have earned
Australasian country music’s greatest accolade, honouring a lifetime of achievement in the industry.”
In other news, Mr Wolfe announced acclaimed country music photographer John Elliott’s daughter, Marina Nellie Elliott, would kick off the show in a traditional display of rope-spinning, a favoured trick of cowboys and
cowgirls of yesteryear.
Ms Stafford said she was thrilled to be welcomed back so warmly to the city where she had learned so much, particularly from Eric Scott, the Hall of Fame president and former Hadley Records owner, sitting in the front row of the theatrette with the biggest smile on his face.
“I’ve altered from my course and sung other styles of country, but I always come back to tradition,” Ms Stafford said.