IT IS the place where dreams of stardom are turned into reality, where next week the nation’s rising country music stars will graduate from the CMAA Academy of Country Music.
Country stars have travelled from across the nation to nurture the young talent at the intensive two-week academy on the grounds of Calrossy Anglican School.
From Kasey Chambers to Catherine Britt, Kevin Bennett, Fanny Lumsden and our own Aleyce Simmonds – young country hopefuls have had the opportunity to learn from the best in the business.
Leading the pack is director and country superstar Lyn Bowtell, who was part of the first academy (then college) in 1997.
Two decades later, she is at the helm of the mentoring program and she’s delighted by the talent coming through the ranks.
“Everything is going really well. They really seem to be quite a switched-on bunch, “ she said. “They’re writing some amazing songs and it’s all pretty exciting.
“Kasey Chambers made a point of telling me the next day after her visit how impressed she was by all the students and really felt it was a strong bunch of academy students.”
Bowtell is no stranger to country stardom and is up for seven Golden Guitars this year.
She enjoys giving back to the industry and is comfortable with where the industry.
“It’s important to understand, while giving back, you do it for other people – but really it’s a selfish thing,”she said.
”It’s good for the soul and it keeps me young, even though I’m not particularly that old.
“But sometimes we lose sight of what it is like to be in the shoes of someone just starting out.
“It’s really a good thing to help one another in our industry. It’s in good hands with these beautiful people coming through. I’m more at ease of where country music is going to be in 20 years time.”
Bowtell said there was still a week left of the academy, which will end with a graduation concert extravaganza on Thursday night at the West Tamworth Leagues Club from 7.30pm, with tickets available from the venue.
The show will include a special tribute to the late Karl Broadie.