AN INCREDIBLY tough year for Felicity Urquhart has ended with a silver lining.
The country music artist took out six Golden Guitar Awards on Saturday night including Toyota Album of the Year and Female Artist of the Year, for her album Frozen Rabbit.
The album was a labour of love, produced with her late-husband Glen Hannah who tragically took his own life in May last year.
The Leader spoke with Urquhart on the red carpet with her daughters Tia and Ellie before she performed her award-winning song Chain of Joy to a huge audience.
The talented artist is going to have to find more space on her mantle, after she also took home Apple Music Single of the Year and APRA AMCOS Song of the Year for Chain of Joy, plus Traditional Country Album of the Year.
The awards celebrated the best in country music from the past year at a star-studded event in Tamworth, hosted by emerging female artists Melanie Dyer, Sinead Burgess and Caitlyn Shadbolt.
Country Music Association of Australia chairman Dan Biddle told enthusiastic crowds that country music is enjoying a new golden era.
"And tonight's show has been an incredible showcase of emerging talent and industry legends," he said.
"The combination of captivating performances, emotional tributes, and wonderful celebrations shows the remarkable spectrum of country music that we have here in Australia and, on behalf of the board of the CMAA, I would like to congratulate all the winners tonight."
Saturday night spelled success for Newcastle's Morgan Evans, who was named Male Artist of the Year and took out Contemporary Country Album of the Year for Things That We Drink To.
Brad Butcher picked up Alternate Country Album of the Year with Travelling Salesman.
While boy from the bush Lee Kernaghan rounded out the awards with his previously announced Top Selling Australian Album of the Year for Backroad Nation.
The extra stripe takes his career tally to 38 Golden Guitars, an equal record set by the great Slim Dusty.
On the big stage the evolution of Australian country music was in full force with performances by teenage trio The Buckleys, Brad Butcher, Blake O'Connor, Sinead Burgess, Casey Barnes, Busby Marou and INXS composer turned country singer Andrew Farriss.
Fan favourites Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer and Gina Jeffries performed along with Felicity Urquhart, Amber Lawrence, The Wolfe Brothers, Brad Cox.
They were joined by Luke O'Shea and Lyn Bowtell, whose song Sing Me a Story won Vocal Collaboration of the Year and Heritage Song of the Year.
Kevin Bennett and The Flood won Country Music Capital News Group of the Year, while prolific songwriter Allan Caswell won Bush Ballad of the Year for his song Country Copper which he wrote with Manfred Vijars.
The 2019 Toyota Star Maker winner Blake O'Connor is a first-time finalist and took home his first Golden Guitar for the hotly contended Qantas New Talent of the Year.
Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray was dressed up for the occasion in a black suit and bow tie on Saturday night.
Cr Murray said the awards were an incredibly important event for the city.
Timeless Traveller by Rod McCormack won Coca-Cola Instrumental of the Year, and Kristy Cox took home the Bluegrass Recording of the Year for Yesterday's Heartache.
After a wardrobe malfunction saw their Golden Guitar outfits locked in a Tamworth dry cleaner, Fanny Lumsden and Dan Stanley Freeman received the CMC Video of the Year Award for their clip Real Men Don't Cry (War on Pride).
To close out the show, guests at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Conference Centre, and the fans watching on the live-stream, were treated to a very special tribute performance to country music legend Joy McKean to honour her 90th birthday, and in recognition of her elevation to the Australiasian Country Music Roll of Renown.
It was a fitting climax to a spectacular night of celebration, and in making the presentation to Joy, Troy Cassar-Daley, said she is an inspiration to multiple generations.