TROY Cassar-Daley was the big winner at the 2016 Country Music Awards of Australia, followed by Lee Kernaghan and Pete Denahy.
The 2016 CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia capped off an incredible year for Australian country music with an intimate night of non-stop entertainment and magic moments at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.
Troy Cassar-Daley, with his album Freedom Ride, stole the show scooping five Golden Guitars from seven finalist spots, taking home Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Toyota Heritage Song of the Year, APRA AMCOS Song of the Year and Single of the Year with Take a Walk in My Country.
Lee Kernaghan capped off a huge year, adding three more Golden Guitars to his collection for Vocal Collaboration of the Year, Video Clip of the Year and Sanity Top Selling Australian Album of the Year all for Spirit of the Anzacs.
Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Pete Denahy left the night with two awards from three finalist spots, winning Instrumental of the Year for Cluck Old Hen and BHP Billiton Bluegrass Recording of the Year for Singin' Shoes.
The Golden Guitar for Qantaslink New Talent of the Year went home with Christie Lamb while Allan Caswell and Manfred Vijars won Bush Ballad of the Year with their song One Last Muster.
After a year that has included her best and worst days, Catherine Britt picked up Female Artist of the Year for her album, Boneshaker, and after winning the 2015 ARIA Award for Best Country Album, Shane Nicholson won Alternative Country Album of the Year for Hell Breaks Loose, his sixth album.
The Adam Eckersley Band took home Country Music Capital News Group or Duo of the Year Golden Guitar - their second after they won Best New Talent last year.
For the first time in many years, the awards included the announcement of the Roll of Renown. Graeme Connors was the deserving inductee this year, with Max Ellis and Anne Kirkpatrick presenting him with accolade.
The night kicked off with a high-energy performance on the red carpet by 2014 Toyota Star Maker and, inside, the country music industry and fans were welcomed by 2015 Toyota Star Maker Mickey Pye's instrumental Unleashed before Adam Brand and The Outlaws took the stage for their performance of Be My Girl followed by Catherine Britt performing her hit Boneshaker.
The night was all about celebrating the musical milestones of some of Australia's most illustrious country music artist including none other than recently-named ambassador to Tamworth and country music festival, Troy Cassar-Daley.
The Brisbane-based artist celebrated his 35th year performing in Tamworth with two special performances, the first one a depiction of his 35 years performing in Tamworth from being a young busker on the street to teenage prodigy to country music superstar.
Shane Nicholson entertained the crowd with his stunning performance of Secondhand Man followed by Beccy Cole with Sweet Rebecca.
The Qantaslink New Talent of the Year finalists Christie Lamb, Brothers3, Seleen McAlister, Caitlyn Shadbolt and Mickey Pye joined Lee Kernaghan for a rendition of Spirit of the Anzacs.
The show included a special tribute performance of Mallee Boy by Sara Storer to celebrate the 30th Anniversary release of John Williamson's landmark album "Mallee Boy".
This album spent 18 months in the Top 50 of the all-genre album chart and was certified triple platinum at the time. The album includes enduring classics True Blue, Raining on the Rock, Cootamundra Wattle, Galleries of Pink Galahs, Diamantina Drover. Williamson also recently celebrated his 70th birthday.
Other special tribute performances included Mustered Courage performing The McClymonts hit song Wrapped Up Good recognising the 10th Anniversary of the release of The McClymonts self-titled debut EP. Kevin Bennett, Lyn Bowtell and Felicity Urquhart performed Kasey Chambers' I Still Pray to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the release of Chambers' landmark album "Barricades & Brickwalls". This album has been certified seven times platinum for sales in excess of 350,000 units and featured the double-platinum #1 hit "Not Pretty Enough".
Graeme Connors was also among the performers celebrating a milestone with the 40th Anniversary of the release of his debut album, "And When Morning Comes" which was produced by Kris Kristofferson and released on Festival Records.
Graeme has achieved gold and platinum sales throughout the late 80s, 90s and into the 2000s. He has been the recipient of 14 Golden Guitars, the most recent of which was in 2011 for 'Album of the Year' for "Still Walking" and he will celebrate his 60th birthday in April.
Other performers on the night included Allan Caswell performing One Last Muster, Pete Denahy with Singin' Shoes; Roo Arcus performed Let's Get Out of Here and Adam Eckersley Band performed Wheels.
Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Kelly closed the show with a magical performance of Freedom Ride.
Country Music Association of Australia president Dobe Newton congratulated all the winners and finalists.
"It has also been our honour to welcome Graeme Connors into the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown," he said.
"This year's Golden Guitar Awards have been a great success and once again demonstrate the diversity of Australian country music through the performances of our incredibly talented artists. I would like to thank all those that were involved in staging the Awards, particularly our valued sponsorship and media partners for their outstanding support."