Celebrating 30 years supporting Aussie independents
October 21, 2016
THE candles have now been blown out on the mighty Mildura Country Music Festivalâ€™s 30th birthday cake.Â It was a record-breaking year for Allan Caswell, who walked away with five trophies from the Southern Stars Australian Independent Country Music Awards.
If you factor in the successful Independent Female Vocalist of the Year (Seleen McAlister) won with a song Cas wrote, itâ€™s a slam dunk!
The only other person who came close to Caswellâ€™s winning ways was Luke Oâ€™Shea, who took out four awards – in 2012 for The Drover’s Wife – and 2014 for Sing You Up. (Thanks to my mate, Flash, for her thorough research on this interesting fact).
From all accounts it was a highly successful festival, despite major flooding prior to the event hampering many a plan.
Congratulations to John Arnold and his team for producing such a great show place for Australian independent country music. Thereâ€™s nothing quite like Mildura.
For those who came in late, here is a complete list of winners:
APRA/AMCOS AustralianÂ Independent Country Music Single of the Year â€“ Shelleyâ€™s Song â€“ Allan Caswell.
Australian Independent Album of the Year â€“ My Version of the Truth â€“ Allan Caswell.
Australian IndependentÂ Heritage TrackÂ of the Year â€“ One Last Muster â€“ Allan Caswell.
CRS Australian IndependentÂ Rising Star Male â€“ Ben Ransom â€“ Big Country Sky.
CRS Australian IndependentÂ Rising Star Female â€“ Hayley Jensen â€“ The One.
Capital NewsÂ Australian IndependentÂ Male Vocalist of the Year â€“ Allan Caswell â€“ Until The Hurtinâ€™ Starts.
Capital NewsÂ Australian IndependentÂ Female Vocalist of the Year – Seleen McAlister â€“ On The Inside.
Australian IndependentÂ Group/Duo of the Year â€“ The LongÂ and Short of It â€“ Two Thousand Years From Now.
Australian Independent Artist of the Year â€“ Allan Caswell.
Now, Iâ€™ve been entrusted with some fabulous photos taken by Robyn McIntosh (Flash) to share with you, but it can be a little tricky for me (with my training wheels still on), adding lots of photos on here, so I think Iâ€™ve found a way around it.Â Hope you like the collages of pics and can see them clearly enough.Â If you want copies of any of the photos, just get in touch with Robyn McIntosh on her Facebook page, or you can get her contact details by messaging me.
Kerriganâ€™s back â€“ and heâ€™s not alone
FAMILY most definitely comes first for award-winning singer-songwriter Kerrigan La-Brooy.
The darling of Mildura and Tamworth audiences for a number of years, Kerrigan disappeared from the stage at the height of his popularity to become a husband and father.
He met his future wife Michelle in New Zealand during a whirlwind tour, and theyâ€™ve been extremely busy for the past nine years â€¦ raising six children
Known as his â€œpriceless treasuresâ€ â€“ Kerrigan and Michelle are the proud parents of Kerrigan Jr (8), Heathcliff (7), Tempest (6), Xondra (5), Tennessee (4) and Jerusalem (3).
When he committed his life to Michelle in 2007, Kerrigan vowed never to leave his family behind, so when their family began to increase, he put his burgeoning career on hold.
Michelle was excited to hear plans of her husbandâ€™s return to his music as she loves to hear him sing, but he wonâ€™t be alone.
Kerrigan will be accompanied on stage by all of his six children. Picture the von Trapp family in The Sound of Music and you have an inkling of whatâ€™s in store for fans.
Kerrigan is keen to release some new material, both original and covers, and is in the process of finding the right studio and producer to bring those plans to fruition.
Among the family collaborations, there will also be Kerrigan La-Brooy solo tracks, showcasing his uncanny ability to jump from country to rockâ€™nâ€™roll, and gospel songs to the big ballads.
At the peak of his career, Kerrigan was a favourite with audiences of all ages and received numerous accolades for his work.
He topped the worldwide mainstream charts as Most Played Artist for a record 10 consecutive weeks and was also #1 on similar European and Belgian charts.
Kerrigan featured on many other charts nationally within Australia including the Australian Country Tracks Top 30, Cool Country Top 20, and Mildura Top 10.
Along with fatherhood, Kerrigan has been studying for a Diploma in Ministry at the Harvest Bible College and is close to graduation.
You can guarantee when he preaches the word of the Lord, it wonâ€™t be without a song in his heart.
Good Lord, itâ€™s Gord!
With the release of his seventh global album â€“ and first official Australian release â€“ Australian-born, Canadian-raised Gord Bamford is dominating the international country music scene.
His recent album, Tin Roof debuted at #2 on the Country Albums Chart in Canada and has already spawned two #1 singles.
Itâ€™s no surprise to find the same release reaped the songwriter Album of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in September, making it his 23rd CCMA awards accolade.
Launching Tin Roof in Australia due to a new signing with record giant ABC/Universal, Gord has been returning to his roots joining Aussie favourites The Wolfe Brothers on a national tour.
His addition to the Gympie Muster bill saw him garner a new Oz-centric fan base.
While Gord has established his career overseas, this album is the first opportunity he has had to share his songs with audiences in his country of birth.
A bonafide superstar within his own right, the reconnection with Australia is something very special for the multi-award-winning musician.
Born in Traralgon to Canadian country music singer Marilyn and Australian-based Scot Jock Bamford, Gord and his sister Twila lived in regional Victoria until he was five.
His parents separated, largely due to Jockâ€™s alcoholism, and Gordâ€™s mother moved him and his sister back to Canada.
They settled in Alberta, and apart from a trip to Australia three years later, almost two decades passed before Gord returned.
In fact, there was an 18-year gap where he didnâ€™t have any contact with his father at all.
Raised by a musician, music was central to Gordâ€™s life. His mother nurtured his talent and over the next two decades he spent time honing his craft.
Fast forward to 2016 and Gord is widely recognised for his songwriting skills and heâ€™s grown to become one of Canadianâ€™s favourite country stars.
Four years ago Gord and his dad reached out to each other and since then their relationship has blossomed.
In fact, it was only this year during a Canadian tour in February that Jock saw his son perform on stage for the first time. Re-establishing that close relationship has cemented Gordâ€™s connection with Australia and it also means Gordâ€™s children â€“ Canadian by birth â€“ have an opportunity know their Australian heritage.
After his marriage breakdown, Jock moved to Queensland to get his life back on track. He joined AA and found God, and completely turned his life around, dedicating it instead to helping people.
He became a pastor, formed a foundation called the Ministry Loaves and Fishes Care Service Ltd that is incredibly well-respected in its base of Brisbane.
Jock still works in it today and is proud to acknowledge it feeds up to 2500 adults and 2800 children each week. He has been sober for 35 years and his story in itself is a wonderful one of overcoming demons.
Jock isnâ€™t the only philanthropist in the family. Gord is dedicated to supporting important causes, and his Gord Bamford Charitable Foundation has raised $2.5 million since its inception in 2008 for charities such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House and Big Brothers & Big Sisters, to name a few.
Itâ€™s hardly surprising to find that in adulthood, Gord and his father have plenty in common and have forged a special connection.
After releasing six albums in Canada, it was finally the right time to bring his music back home to Australia and Tin Roof is the perfect offering.
â€œI am very excited about releasing my music in Australia,â€ Gord said. â€œIt is something that has been at the top of my to-do list for years.
â€œThis reconnection with Australia through my music is very special to me on many levels and I can assure everyone that I will be coming back to tour often.â€
Tin Roof is out now through ABC Music. Â For more information, visit www.gordbamford.com
Angus and co pay tribute to the fallen
I THINK I first spotted young Angus Gill when I was judging the Aristocrat Country Entertainer of the Year Quest in Tamworth.
Then, I saw him again out at The DAG Sheep Station on Australia Day this year so I was delighted to hear from songwriter Lola Brinton, who combined with Sven Tydeman to create a song which was the perfect vehicle to showcase Angusâ€™s enormous talents.
Today I Could Be Dead is the story of a boy soldier in the Great War. He was one of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered to fight for his country and seek grand adventure.
The songâ€™s release earlier this year coincided with the 100th anniversary of the first Australian soldiers being sent to the Western Front.
It all began on July 19, 1916 at Fromelles. Recorded as the worst day in Australian military history and considered by many to be the most tragic day in Australian history, some 5533 casualties were recorded in 24 hours.
From that time on, Australians (including squadrons of the Light Horse) fought in many areas along this front. At Pozieres Australia sustained 23,000 casualties in six weeks, with many suffering horrific mental and physical injuries.
The Great War ended on November 11, 1918.
Lola had two great-uncles who fought in the Boer War in the NSW Mounted and then enlisted in the Great War in the Light Horse.
Another two great-uncles and a number of cousins also enlisted in the AIF and the Light Horse.
Two of the Light Horsemen rode in the last great cavalry charge on Beersheba. In WWII three uncles enlisted and fought in Europe and the Pacific.
One of Lolaâ€™s relatives was a boy soldier who probably joined up because his big brother was already over there and milking cows at 15 was not that much fun.
There is a little bit of truth, a little bit of hearsay, a lot of research and some personal thoughts of being in such a horrific situation all done
with the utmost love and respect. Lest We Forget.
Angus has co-written the 2014 song for Music Australiaâ€™s â€˜Count Us Inâ€™ program, with The Cat Empireâ€™s Harry Angus and musical director John Foreman.
This song was sung by over half a million primary and secondary school children across Australia.
He has supported Troy Cassar-Daley, Rick Price, Karise Eden, Catherine Britt, co-written with Adam Harvey, Gina Jeffreys, Felicity Urquhart, Allan Caswell, Drew McAlister and more.
He has learnt from Americana legend Steve Earle and is a graduate of the CMAA Academy of Country Music.
He has been presenting his own country music radio show since age 13 and is often asked to perform and emcee festival shows, including the TSA Awards Concert in January 2016.
He is working towards his sophomore album, which will be released mid-2017.
Today I Could Be Dead was produced and recorded by Sven Tydeman at Kittygroove Productions, utilising some of the finest players around, including Clare Oâ€™Meara on fiddle and Garry Steel on accordion.
The accompanying video clip is well worth a viewing. Watch it here