Country Work of the Year nominations - 2008

Title Everything's Going to be Alright
Artist Troy Cassar-Daley
Writers Troy Cassar-Daley*
Don Walker^
Publishers EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd*
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd^

Born To Survive is a collection of 20 songs, that reaches from his first major label recording "Dream Out Loud" to "Everything's Going To Be Alright", a song co-written with Don Walker that was completed in May 2007 and bolstered by the voices of Troy's co-stars on the TV show It Takes Two. The compilation traces Troy's career from country upstart to statesman with barely a wrong step to show. It details the steady improvement this career musician has made on his way to being one of Australia's most loved and best country singer.

Included on this album are 13 songs that reached number one position on Country Tracks Top 30. There are several more that made the top 10, as well as others that are responsible for Troy's mantelpiece creaking under the weight of numerous ARIAs and Golden Guitars. These are the songs that brought him his greatest success, but even more importantly they are the ones most popular with his fans at concerts. Troy simply says these are the songs that he reckons he can't leave a town without playing.

Like all craftsmen Troy's skills have improved as he has grown older. The improvement came from collaboration and having the good sense to watch and learn.

If you have someone like Don Walker prepared to sit down and write with you, you should have a listen to what they have to say, Troy explains. He will take ages to get a line out. He'll sit there staring out into space and you wonder if maybe he thinks this idea is shit. He doesn't, he just takes time to think about what he is going to write. He doesn't just blurt out crap and hope for the best out of three or four bad lines, he really puts a lot of energy into his lyric writing.

Now considered a peer by those musicians he admired while growing up, Born To Survive gives Troy a chance to pause and reflect on his career thus far. He made the song selection single-handedly and indeed has spent many hours just listening to these recordings in different running orders to make sure the flow is perfect. Rarely does an artist put so much effort into a compilation. Troy has because these songs tell his story and he wants it told right.

"Born To Survive is about the struggle of going through a career and keeping things on track. If you are born to survive, to me, it means you're going to be around. The songs from the second half of my recording career so far, make up the best part of the album (to my mind) and hopefully that's a good indication of how long you can be around as well. Loving country music as I do, I think it's really important that you make music you feel strongly about. I'm glad to be able to showcase what I am doing now as well as what we did in the past."
Much has been written about legendary songwriter Don Walker. In 1973 he helped form Cold Chisel with Les Kaczmarek, Ian Moss, Steve Prestwich and Jim Barnes.

In 1978, after five years traveling and playing in Australia, with Les now replaced by Phil Small, Cold Chisel released their debut album. In 1981, at the height of Cold Chisel's success, Don Walker wrote and produced the soundtrack for the Scott Hicks movie "Freedom", featuring most of Cold Chisel and then unknown INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

In 1983, after a five-album career in Australia and New Zealand, and having gained a cult following in Europe and the U.S., Cold Chisel disbanded.

In 1989 he released Unlimited Address, a set of songs under the band name Catfish, recorded with producer/guitar player Peter Walker (no relation) and harmonica player David Blight. As a touring band Catfish also featured guitar player Charlie Owen.

In 1991 the second Catfish album, Ruby, was released, recorded with James Brown's rhythm section of drummer Tony Cook and guitar player Ron Laster. The songs were more Australian in content. Slim Dusty had a hit with a recording of Charleville, which he and Don then re-recorded in a duet.

His collaboration with Tex Perkins and Charlie Owen, Sad But True (1993) showed the first results of the songwriting Don had been doing with various people, particularly Michael Smotherman, in Nashville the previous year. Tex, Don and Charlie toured, recording and releasing the live album Monday Morning Coming Down.

In 1994 Don Walker recorded the album We're All Gunna Die over four days at Electric Avenue Studios, in Sydney, with a touring band featuring David Blight and Red Rivers on guitar. Realizing that the songs and the performances were something of a culmination of everything else he'd done, Don released this as his first solo album in 1995.

Don continued to write songs that were recorded by numerous artists including Slim Dusty, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Jeff Lang, Kate Ceberano, Adam Brand and Wendy Matthews. 2005 saw the release of a new Tex, Don and Charlie album, All Is Forgiven which saw the three not only touring around Australia but saw them travel for a number of shows in the UK.

In July of 2006 Don released his latest album through Warner Music, Cutting Back. Following on from the release Don and his band, the S.F's (Suave Fucks), undertook a solid national tour to promote the new album.

In addition to writing his own material, Don Walker continue to collaborate with other song writers including Troy Cassar Daley on this APRA nominated song Everything's Going to be Alright.

Don Walker is performing at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival June 13 and 14, 2008. 2009 should see the release of Shots, Don's first book and hopefully they will be more shows as well!

Title Higher Than Heaven
Artist James Blundell
Writers James Blundell
Lyndsay Hammond
Publisher Mushroom Music Publishing Pty Ltd

Two decades, nine albums, country fame, pop hits, a national top five album and ones that came nowhere near, nine Golden Guitars, an ARIA Award, songs written and recorded in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, London and Dublin, collaborations with good earth riders and metal muthas, years as a bona-fide Queensland cattleman, the embrace of Vietnam vets, a highly visible Qantas ad, gold and platinum plaques, national recognition, exultation and disillusionment, glowing reviews and occasional indifference, a tour with Kris Kristofferson and a chin wag with Johnny Cash, innumerable shows on the road that goes on forever, wrong turns and right … all with his curiosity, intuition, good humour and dogged determination intact. As the Grateful Dead once sang: What a long strange trip it's been.

James' latest album Ring Around the Moon was recorded in Sydney with the help of Graham Porter. Graham opted for a lean and keen, somewhat Rick Rubin sound that emphasised the heart and soul of the creative centrepiece - the songs. I was open to his choice of players, they're just an amazing group of musicians, explains James. With them I was able to achieve a sort of earthy honesty. I didn't want to lose the charm of the songs as they were written and with James Gillard [bass], Mark Punch and Glenn Hannah [guitars], Terepai Richmond [drums], Clayton Doley [keyboards] and Trent Williamson [harmonica].

One of James' favourite cuts is the album's mood-setting opener "Learning To Roll", which was inspired by a line proffered by the ever-beaming James Gillard. He once said to me 'Anyone can rock but rolling, that takes a lot of practice'. Well it's taken a while but I think I've learned to roll." Perhaps that self-evolution accounts for the effectiveness of "Higher Than Heaven", which takes the tunesmith back to his rural realm at Stanthorpe. "The time spent there is not enough, particularly now that Dad's over 70. There's two properties, Mount Malakoff and Wobur, which is Aboriginal for crest of a hill, and the river Severn that hums with life, and in that incredible environment I considered my life and found myself thinking, "How did I let it all get so complicated? The last visit there was a cathartic experience. I woke up one morning with that chorus in my head and that doesn't happen very often, let me tell you. You hang out for fertile writing seasons and you can't ever take it for granted. Something I always tell young acts is: write everything down.

What James Blundell wants and what he puts into his music is never going to be ill considered. He has high expectations of the craft of music making. I think it's the last apolitical, non-denominational platform of speech left to free thinkers and, as such, should be treated with absolute respect. It crosses barriers that other communications can't. The meaning will make itself clear to anyone who understands the language in which a song is written.

Lyndsay Hammond is formerly one half of the 80's rock duo Cheetah with her sister Chrissie. Cheetah had hits like "Walking in the Rain" and "Spend the Night" which were produced by the legendary Molly Meldrum and Vanda and Young of AC/DC fame. Cheetah toured internationally in the 80's with acts such as Neil Young, Jackson Browne and Gary Moore.

As a singer songwriter, Lyndsay Hammond received acclaim for her debut album, The Raven that won the 1999 Victorian Country Album of the Year and a nomination for best video clip (Back Into Heaven, Lyndsay Hammond, Director Tim Rebbechi) in the Golden Guitar awards. In 2002 her collaboration with the Crosby Sisters, One More For The Road was a finalist in the Group/Duo section of the Golden Guitar Awards.

In 2005 Lyndsay released new material - an LP from the musical play, Red Dust Diva. The script was especially written by one of Australia's leading playwrights, Alan Hopgood, whose works include And The Big Men Fly, the Carer and Alvin Purple. Set in Kalgoorlie, WA, the comedy features Lyndsay as a down and out singer who meets Tam, an artist with great talent whose idiosyncrasies are as colourful as the Australian outback!

The play is punctuated with Lyndsay's songs - moving acoustic ballads and big production songs - and the first single "Rooms In Our House" made Lyndsay a finalist at both the Tamworth Awards (Female Vocal Performance) and Victorian Country Awards (Female Vocal Performance).

Lyndsay performs in many musical settings: - Singer Songwriter showing country, blues and roots but not fitting into either of those genres and includes artists such as Emmylou Harris, Buddy & Julie Miller and Lucinda Williams as inspirations.

She has collaborated with country music icon James Blundell on the 2008 APRA nominated song Higher Than Heaven.

Title Rockin the Rig
Artist Travis Sinclair
Writers Colin Buchanan*
Garth Porter^
Publisher Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd*
J Albert and Son Pty Ltd (Orient Pacific Music)^

Travis Sinclair was raised in Springhurst Victoria, and was brought up working in the trucking industry. But his love for country music was strong and he began to play to sing and play, eventually winning the understudy spot for Lee Kernaghan's Man From Snowy River Spectacular in 2002.

After graduating from Australian College of Country Music, he worked on songs with Garth Porter, and kicked off his recording career with Rhythm of the Highway that was released in 2002. His duet with Lee Kernaghan, "I'm From the Country", was number 1 for three weeks on the Country Tracks Chart. With this album Travis won a swag of Awards over the next two years, including Male Rising Star Award, Australian Independent Country Music Awards 2002, Album Of The Year, Australian Independent Country Music Awards 2002, Best New Talent, Victorian Country Music Awards 2003, Victorian Male Vocal, Victorian Country Music Awards 2003, Best New Talent Golden Guitar, Country Music Awards Tamworth 2003, Duo Of The Year, Travis Sinclair and Lee Kernaghan, Victorian & National Country Music Awards, 2004, Album of The Year, Australian Country Music Listeners, People's Choice Awards, Tamworth 2004.

Rush is Travis' second album and was released in 2005 and won him the Australian Independent Artist of the Year, Australian Independent Country Music Awards 2005, Best Country Male Singer, Australian Country Music Listener's, People's Choice Awards, Tamworth, 2006, Album of The Year, 2006 Australian Country Music Listener's, People's Choice Awards, Tamworth, Victorian Male Vocalist, Victorian & National Country Music Awards Independent 2006, and Most Outstanding Album of the Year 2006, Tasmanian & New Zealand, Independent Artist Album Award, Songwriters Association.

Travis' song "Midnight Run" was nominated in the Category of the "Most Performed Country Music Work" at the 2007 APRA Music Awards, and he also struck gold with an Australian record of 10 consecutive, top ten singles from his debut album + bonus disc "Rhythm Of The Highway" - Tamworth Edition, and his new album, Rush (Publishers of the Australian, Country Tracks Top 30 - Music chart)

Garth Porter began his professional music career in the 70's as a member of the group Sherbet. During this time he wrote 16 Top Ten hits, including 2 Australian Number ones, "Summer Love" and "Howzat", which reached #2 in the UK, and charted in many countries around the world. After Sherbet he concentrated on writing and producing, including producing Craig McLachlan's #1 hit in Australia, and #2 in the UK, "Mona". Since then he has written and produced numerous hits, Gold and Platinum albums for artists Lee Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan, Sara Storer, Gina Jeffreys, Colin Buchanan and Troy Cassar-Daley, Tom Curtain, and Markus Meier. Song writing credits include the hits - "Boys From The Bush", "Three Chain Road", "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore", "Kick The Kenny", "Hat Town", "Raining On The Plains", "Girl's Night Out", "Goondiwindi Moon", "Smack Bang", "Rush, "Heavenly Body", "The Way It Is", "The New Bush", "Listen To The Radio", "Walk In The Rain", "Spirit Of The Bush" and "The Beating Heart".

Garth Porter co-wrote and produced for the Man From Snowy River, and much of the score for the very successful Australian Outback Spectacular for Warner's Theme Park on the Gold Coast.

2006 saw Garth re-unite with his Sherbet colleagues to headline the first successful Countdown Spectacular Tour.

He has 600 registered works and won a swag of Golden Guitars for writing and producing. Garth has just completed work on Leo Sayer's new album, 'Don't Wait Until Tomorrow', at his Rancom Street Studios in Sydney. Garth has collaborated with Travis Sinclair on his APRA nominated song "Rockin the Rig".

Title Run Away
Artist Carter & Carter
Writers Merelyn Carter
David Carter

Carter & Carter launched their debut album Dance Away The Night in 2000 and have been creating musical history ever since. Based in Kinglake Victoria, Merelyn and David have established Carter & Carter as one of the leading independent country music acts in Australia with a host of major awards and National Chart successes second to none.

Major awards include a Golden Guitar for "Candlelight and Kisses", APRA Most Performed Country Work Award for "Lead Me Home", the CMAA Industry Achiever Award for Independent Entertainer of the Year for three consecutive years, not to mention their 10 Australian Independent Country Music Awards, multiple TSA Songwriting, ACMLA People's Choice and Victorian Country Music Awards and also accolades across other genres.

To date they have eight national #1 country music hits, on the Country Tracks Top 30 chart and Music Network charts as well as five other Top 10 hits, certainly an impressive chart history.

2007 in particular was an amazing year for Carter & Carter with a new album Leap Before You Look and an incredibly successful launch to an enthusiastic full house (1600 people) held at the Toyota Regional Entertainment Centre in Tamworth. With all tracks written and co-written by David & Merelyn and co-produced with Adrian Hannan, Leap Before You Look went on to win a hat trick at the 11th Australian Independent Country Music Awards - Group /Duo of the Year for their #1 hit "Run Away", Album of the Year and the overall award for Artist of the Year. The single "The Best Things In Life Are Free" topped the National Country Tracks Top 30 Chart for 4 weeks and went on to give Carter & Carter two Golden Guitar finalist nominations at the 2008 Golden Guitars.

Passionate songwriters as well as performers they have written most of their hits including "Run Away", "The Best Things In Life Are Free", "Slow Dancing At Midnight", "Play That Song", "Lead Me Home", "Candlelight and Kisses", "Dance Away The Night", "One of Those Days" and "God Didn't Make Mistakes" to name a few.

Having done all of this as independent, self-managed artists, it is not surprising that Carter & Carter are now considered by fans and peers alike to be amongst the history making artists in Australian Country Music. Their music is fresh, it's inspiring, and it will continue to create history for many years to come.

Previous APRA Music Awards:

  • Most Performed Country Work - Lead Me Home - Carter and Carter (2004)

Title Spirit of the Bush
Artist Lee Kernaghan featuring Adam Brand and Steve Forde
Writers Lee Kernaghan*
Colin Buchanan^
Garth Porter
Publishers J Albert and Son Pty Ltd (Orient Pacific Music)*
Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd^

Born in the bush, Lee's life began in Corryong Victoria, on the foothills of the Snowy Mountains high country. The son of a former truck driver and multi-platinum recording artist Ray Kernaghan, Lee spent his formative years growing up in the Riverina country of Southern NSW. Lee's Grandfather was a third generation drover of sheep and cattle and his experiences on the road with his Pop ran deep, producing a string of hits that began with the release of his first album the ARIA award winning Outback Club in 1992. His first number one hit "Boys from the Bush" became an anthem, a celebration of a way of life that would change the face of Australian country music forever.

Throughout his career Lee Kernaghan has dominated the charts with successive hit albums including Three Chain Road, 1959, Hat Town, Electric Rodeo,, The New Bush and his most recent #1 album Spirit of the Bush. In early 2000 Lee was awarded the title of Hit Maker of the Decade in recognition of the unprecedented chart success he enjoyed during the 90s. Not only did Lee achieve more number one hits than any other artist during the 90s he also began creating a new musical landscape in country music along the way. He has done for country music in Australia what Garth Brooks did in the USA…he blurred the line and took country music out of the box that it had existed in for decades…he added a spectacular live show and along the way has sold over one million albums, won 27 Golden Guitars, 3 Aria Awards, 26 number 1 hits and 9 hit albums.

Lee Kernaghan has become a towering figure in Australian country music and a fine ambassador for his craft. Lee has a passion for his music and his country and brings these together in his support for country communities across Australia. To many people he represents the very essence of the spirit and values of contemporary rural Australia. In the past ten years his 'Pass the Hat Around' tours have raised more than a million dollars for communities in need and his participation in the 'Spirit of the Bush' tours raises spirits as well as money for farming families doing it tough in the drought.

Lee was named the 2008 Australian of the Year by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Canberra on 25th January. The following day he travelled to Tamworth for the Australian Country Music Awards where he picked up 3 more Golden Guitars for his smash hit song "Spirit of the Bush".

Lee Kernaghan will be doing selective shows during 2008. He will be recording a new album at the end of the year for an early 2009 release. His career is going from strength to strength. His connection to rural Australia grows stronger and stronger and his love and care for this country and its people is one of the reasons he has been recognised as one of Australia's favourite sons.

PREVIOUS APRA MUSIC AWARDS:

  • Most Performed Country Work - Hat Town - Colin Buchanan, Lee Kernaghan, Garth Porter (1999)
  • Most Performed Country Work - 1959 - Lee Kernaghan, Garth Porter (1996)
  • Most Performed Country Work - Boys from the Bush - Lee Kernaghan, Garth Porter (1993)

Colin Buchanan is an 8-times Golden Guitar winner, an APRA and ARIA award winner with career album and DVD sales that stand in excess of 240,000 units. A regular on national TV and radio for over 15 years, a leading children's entertainer, award-winning singer/songwriter and highly sought after co-writer, #1 selling Christian artist, genial host… Colin Buchanan is a hard man to pin down!

If you listened to any one of his five authentically insightful Australian country albums you'd likely deem him an acoustic singer songwriter par excellence, with his sharp eye, keen wit and rare talent for capturing the people, stories and scenery of the bush in song. The Sydney Morning Herald has declared him …simply the best singer/songwriter to emerge in the Australian country music scene in the last decade. Besides his own substantial body of self-recorded work, Colin has contributed to a swag of hits in the collective repertoires of Australia's most successful country music stars, including Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Melinda Schneider, Adam Brand and Beccy Cole. He has collaborated on the 2008 APRA nominated song Spirit of the Bush as performed by Lee Kernaghan.

In 1989 he came to the attention of Sydney-based producer John Kane who was touring central western NSW with his band The Flying Emus. Colin was introduced to John's publisher and in 1991 he released his critically acclaimed first album through ABC Music, Galahs In The Gidgee. His 17 albums span the genres, from country music to children's music (with a platinum-selling diversion into the crazy world of Christmas music on the hit Aussie Christmas with Bucko and Champs) and have garnered career album sales well on the way to a quarter of a million units.

Colin has seen his songs touch an even wider audience after his "in the moment" song, Beaconsfield, to mark the successful rescue of trapped Tasmanian miners Brant Russell and Todd Webb. Written on May 9th, 2006, the day of their release, and placed as an acoustic, laptop-recorded demo onto his website as a free download, the song spread far and wide. Another song, Goodbye Crocodile Hunter, written as a tribute to Steve Irwin as Colin and the world were still coming to terms with the loss, has likewise given a musical dimension to the public's processing of a profound and sad event.

Be it on stage, on television, on radio or in a song, Colin Buchanan's infectious warmth and substantial talent has earnt him a unique place in Australia's entertainment landscape. Part writer, part performer, part actor, part raconteur, Colin's career path has been characterised by a cheerfully resourceful ability to adapt, create and connect with young and old alike.

Garth Porter began his professional music career in the 70s as a member of the group Sherbet. During this time he wrote 16 Top Ten hits, including 2 Australian Number ones, "Summer Love" and "Howzat", which reached #2 in the UK, and charted in many countries around the world. After Sherbet he concentrated on writing and producing, including producing Craig McLachlan's #1 hit in Australia, and #2 in the UK, "Mona". Since then he has written and produced numerous hits, Gold and Platinum albums for artists Lee Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan, Sara Storer, Gina Jeffreys, Colin Buchanan and Troy Cassar-Daley, Tom Curtain, and Markus Meier. Song writing credits include the hits - "Boys From The Bush", "Three Chain Road", "They Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore", "Kick The Kenny", "Hat Town", "Raining On The Plains", "Girl's Night Out", "Goondiwindi Moon", "Smack Bang", "Rush, "Heavenly Body", "The Way It Is", "The New Bush", "Listen To The Radio", "Walk In The Rain", "Spirit Of The Bush" and "The Beating Heart".

Garth Porter co-wrote and produced for the Man From Snowy River, and much of the score for the very successful Australian Outback Spectacular for Warner's Theme Park on the Gold Coast.

2006 saw Garth re-unite with his Sherbet colleagues to headline the first successful Countdown Spectacular Tour.

He has 600 registered works and won a swag of Golden Guitars for writing and producing. Garth has just completed work on Leo Sayer's new album, 'Don't Wait Until Tomorrow', at his Rancom Street Studios in Sydney.Garth has collaborated with Lee Kernaghan and Colin Buchanan on the APRA nominated track Spirit of the Bush.