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Wendy & Jim McCormack
Reports
100.9 Port Stephens FM
with Wendy and Jim McCormack
Wednesdays at 9am - 12 Noon
Phone 4984 6666 Fax 4984 6718
 
September News from the World of Country
It’s that time of year … lots happening on the country music scene and plenty of new releases either out or on the way.
Full marks to Adam Harvey on his new album, I’m Doin’Alright. His first release for the Sony BMG label, it’s full of great tracks and should put Adam among the early favourites for a Golden Guitar in January. Favourite tracks: You’d Do The Same For Me, Walls, A Better Man … the list goes on! Great stuff!
 
Had an interesting chat with Lucky Starr, who is still in demand and performing a mix of rock’n’roll, country and jazz around the traps. Based on the Central Coast, Lucky said he never tires of performing and meeting people. “I think I come alive when I’m on the stage,” he said.
 
Ran into Paul Costa, just back from performing at the legendary Birdsville race meeting. This year it was a race meeting without horses, thanks to the outbreak of equine influenza. Despite the lack of horses, the crowd still had a ball and enjoyed the wheelie bin races that replaced the nags. As Paul said, it was quite an experience!
 
Look out for an interesting album from the talented Jayne Denham. Sudden Change in Weather, produced by John Kane and Mark Walmsley, features 12 tracks – a number of them co-written by Jayne. One track that has been receiving special attention, Boy From Black Hill, tells the story of Jayne’s grandfather, who still lives in the Minmi area.
 
Have you caught up with Graeme Connors’ latest album, The Last Supperteers, recorded with Fiddlers Feast? It’s a very different sound for Graeme. Favourite track: Bondwood Boat.
 
An interesting debut single, Big Skies, in the country arena from Morgan Evans – the only artist ever to win at rock music’s MusicOz Awards and country music’s Telstra Road to Tamworth. This is an upbeat track and sure to win Morgan many fans.
 
Looking forward to the release of Beccy Cole’s new album, Live at Lizotte’s, due out soon. Had a sneak preview and it sounds fantastic! You’ll love the live versions of Poster Girl and a not too well known song, What’s Up? Some of Beccy’s best work to date and a great live band!
 
Finally, if you’re in the area, don’t miss Port Stephens FM’s Open Day, 10am to 3pm on Saturday, October 6. As well as a chance to look through the studios, you can enjoy a free sausage sizzle, maybe win a prize or two, get a free ‘goodie’ bag, be entertained by Elvis tribute artist Norm Bakker and see part of one of Australia’s biggest and best collections of Elvis memorabilia, displayed by its owner, Rusty Roberts. Hope to see you there!
 
BUSY TIME IN THE WORLD OF COUNTRY
It’s been a busy few weeks in the world of country music, with the Hats Off to Country Festival in Tamworth, the Telstra Road to Tamworth concert and competition in the Hunter Valley and a number of country artists busily preparing to release new material.
 
Caught up with Adam Harvey at the weekend. Recently returned from the USA, where he received the 2007 CMA Global Country Artist Award, and fresh from the Telstra Road to Tamworth show at Hunter Valley Gardens, Adam is very excited about his new album, due for release towards the end of August. From what we hear he has reason to be excited – those in the know say it’s his best work to date.
 
Another one to look out for … Beccy Cole has just recorded a live album. Should be great!
Talking of Beccy, the Songbirds (Beccy, Gina Jeffreys and Sara Storer) are in big demand and continue to play to packed houses. The girls also continue to add new material to their show.
 
An emotional John Williamson was the centre of attention at the sell-out Golden Guitars Salute to John Williamson concert, held in Tamworth as part of the annual Hats Off to Country Festival. The show paid homage to the Mallee Boy and featured the likes of Gina Jeffreys, Beccy Cole, Sara Storer, Brendan Walmsley, Lindsay Butler, Tracy Coster and Jeff Brown – all of whom performed their own interpretations of Williamson songs. MC for the evening was Jim Haynes.
 
Blustery weather conditions prevailed, but the show had to go on when Adam Brand shot a video clip in the historic village of Morpeth, near Maitland in New South Wales. The clip is for his latest single, That Changes Everything, the fourth to be released from the What a Life album.
 
It’s big and it’s beautiful! Looking forward to hearing some new sounds, now that Jeff McCormack has taken possession of a double bass.
 
Had a chat with the legendary Arthur and Berice Blanch, who were on the Central Coast for a brief stopover recently. Arthur celebrated 50 years as a recording artist in 2002 and his 50th Anniversary Show in Tamworth was a career milestone, as well as an outstanding success. Another milestone was reached in January this year when daughter Jewel, now based permanently in America, flew in to join her parents on stage during the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Arthur says he’s keeping busy performing as well as working on new material. In the meantime, if you haven’t read Wollun One, the story of the Blanch family, you really should grab a copy. What a fascinating career and an interesting life they’ve had!
 
Mark Wells is a step closer to realising his dream after winning the Hunter Valley heat of the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition. A 25 year old musician from Merewether, Newcastle, he plays in a number of bands as well as performing solo. He will now compete in the finals in Tamworth during the Country Music Festival next January and will be in line to win a lucrative prize package, including a return trip to Nashville and an album deal with ABC Music.
 
We mentioned another great young talent, Kaylah Anne, recently. Kaylah Anne was the winner of the inaugural Dolphin Award at the Port Stephens Blue Water Country Music Festival. Since then she has been a placegetter in the APRA Teen Songwriter of the Year Award, just a few days before her 17th birthday
Worth a listen:
Eliza Gilkyson’s Hard Times in Babylon and Land of Milk and Honey . Although Eliza is more in the folk/country genre, it seems surprising that she hasn’t been accepted more readily in the mainstream. Great listening!

Also currently listening to Brad Paisley’s 5th Gear, another excellent album from this outstanding young Nashville talent. (Love the sentiment in the track Ticks!)
 
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