In January 1991, Gina Jeffreys burst onto the Australian Country Music scene taking over the reins as the new Star Maker winner from Keith Urban at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Gina soon became Australian Country Music’s Golden Girl and went on to become a house hold name – regularly appearing on hit TV shows like Hey Hey it’s Saturday and The Midday Show and touring Australia with music greats like Lee Kernaghan, Kenny Rogers, Guy Sebastian, Kris Kristofferson and the most famous of all – Johnny Cash.
Back in 1994, Gina literally went from singing to 5 people a night in a dimly lit Sydney wine bar to opening for Johnny Cash to 15,000 people a night!
This quickly propelled Gina into the spotlight and the rest, as they say, is history.
She went on to become Australia’s first ever female country artist to sell platinum albums and sellout shows across Australia and took her music all over the world.
International highlights have included performing at Fan Fair and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, a New Year’s Eve Television Special in Shanghai, China, singing live to over 2 billion people, and the Tour of Duty Concert in East Timor alongside John Farnham and Kylie Minogue.
Gina visited Vietnam for the Fred Hollows Foundation and later, following a cathartic experience with a young member of her fan club, became a patron of the Australian Leukaemia Foundation. Gina quietly helped sick children for over ten years. This led her to found the charity event Walk Of Life.
After having a string of number one hits, Golden Guitars and music awards and seven albums under her belt, Gina and husband – award-winning record producer and musician, Rod McCormack - decided to put family first and Gina stepped out of the spotlight to raise their son Jacky.
During her time away from the stage, Gina became a successful public speaker and set up the highly successful Gina Jeffreys Workshops, where she and her team teach and mentor talented young people on the Central Coast and from all over Australia.
Several of her students have gone on to sign recording deals, and the GJW Workshops have also contributed winners of The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent.
After taking almost all of son Jacky’s life off the stage to never miss a goodnight kiss or a footy game, Gina is back with her first new originals album in 12 years.
To say a lot has happened in Gina’s life since she last stood under the spotlight would be an understatement and the fastest way for you to catch up would be to listen to the lyrics on Gina’s long awaited new album “Beautiful Tangle”.
“I’ve written every single song with some great writers - and every song is a page out of my life”.
Gina and Rod headed back to Nashville together for the first time since 1999 with a bunch of songs and a heap of stories to tell.
Rod produced the new album and it might not be what you are expecting.
It’s all acoustic instruments, with lots of energy, harmony and heart.
“We all sat in the same room and recorded everything live.
It’s pretty organic. Kind of stripped back and naked!!” Gina says.
“If I’m honest, I used to just look for songs that I thought radio would like. Songs that sounded like hits, but now, all I care about is that these are true stories straight from my heart.
There are songs that were hard to write without crying. Songs about family, my love, my heart and my life.”
It all started in our little studio on the beautiful Central Coast – a few weeks at the Sound Emporium in Nashville, and then back home for the finishing touches.
I kind of feel as excited as I did when my first album came out over 25 years ago.”
Since resigning as a Queensland Ambulance Officer and becoming a fulltime professional entertainer, Graham has made a huge impact on the country music industry. His name has become synonymous with the writing and recording of high quality Australian ballads. Keeping Australia and Australians as the major themes for his ballads ensures that Graham will always uphold the traditions cemented into our culture by the late Slim Dusty. Slim was one of the many within the industry who acknowledged Graham's exceptional writing skills and was pleased on several occasions to record his material. One of the most notable was “You Can’t Take Australia From Me”. The message in this ballad so impressed Slim that the family requested Dick Smith to recite it as a poem at his funeral. Graham has always greatly appreciated this gesture and has never under-estimated this acknowledgement.
In 2012 on his eleventh album “Stronger For It All” Graham wrote and recorded the ballad “I Am”. There is a line in this ballad which says ‘I am the artists, poets and the scribes who keep our heritage alive’. It is for this that we should be ever so grateful to Graham and his fellow balladeers because it is they, who are keeping our history and traditions alive. For centuries, right across the world, history has been handed down through the generations by story and song. Without these artists, as a nation, we lose our day to day contact with our past, and with no past we have no soul, and with no soul we have no future. In what he has penned, Graham has given us a window through which we can view the history of our people. He tells of monumental events and every day occurrences, all of which blend together to make us what we are today.
Graham is an incredibly gifted entertainer with a highly developed natural flow and as a result you only have to sit back and listen to one of his CDs or a live performance and you will fully appreciate the depth of this man’s talents. The quality of Graham's voice is reflected in the numerous “Male Vocalist of the Year” awards which he has won (these include six “People’s Choice Awards” from Tamworth). The conviction and the emotion with which he sings his ballads are some of the tools he uses to whisk you away into his world. Like any good storyteller he encapsulates you so you feel and live the story he is telling.
If you are not into country music you may be asking “Who is this Graham Rodger?” So let me tell you a little about the achievements of this incredibly talented Australian entertainer.
In 1998 as a full time entertainer Graham released his first album. In just 20 years Graham has amassed 89 major country music awards, including the Hands of Fame and Golden Guitar.
A brief summary of his achievements include:-
· Hands of Fame recipient.
· Golden Guitar winner (plus another 16 nominations in finals have been achieved).
· Numerically the leading recipient of Tamworth People’s Choice Awards.
· The leading holder of Tamworth Songwriting Association Awards, with a total of 28.
· He has released 17 CDs and 4 full length DVDs.
If you are a lover of good Australian music, you will not be disappointed in an evening spent with this entertainer.
It’s always hard to walk in your parents’ footsteps, especially when the parent belongs to the category of an icon. But Anne Kirkpatrick, daughter of Australia’s country music legend Slim Dusty and his equally renowned wife, Joy McKean , has traced her parents’ path with a steady stride, in the process carving for herself a unique identity.
A talented songwriter with a unique vocal style, Anne has been recording since she was 12 years old, and 1st appeared on stage at age 10 in her parents’ travelling country music show, before rising to prominence as a solo artist in the mid 70’s.
Tagging along with her parents on the tour circuit from the age of 2, she had the ultimate insider’s view of life in show business. Until she was 11 , her life was a carney’s life, spent under the carnival tent, and her neighbours, people who swallowed razor blades, jugglers and clowns. She helped her parents setting up to 24 sets a day at shows in Australia’s capital cities, and rural ones as well. She looks at the Showman’s Guild, of which her father was a lifetime member , as ‘family’. Then , having outgrown her correspondence courses, she was sent off to school, catching up with the show every school holidays.
Starting with her 1st album ‘Down Home’ , which was released in 1974 while she was studying at university, her career was one upward rung after another towards country music fame. Even with her deep roots in traditional country music and the huge and impeccable influence of both parents Slim and Joy, Kirkpatrick cast her talent net farther afield. Fondly referred to as the “godmother of new country” , her songs have blended traditional country with country rock and bluegrass, inspired by the likes of Linda Ronstadt and Gram Parsons. In the 70’s she formed the Anne Kirkpatrick Band, making the rounds of the inner city pubs. She recorded some tracks for a series of children’s albums leading to her signing up with ABC Country. Her first release for the label, “Out Of The Blue”, featured songs giving traditional country her unique contemporary feel and was heralded as a watershed album in Australian country music.
To date, Kirkpatrick has released 14 albums earning for her awards and accolades. Along the way, she has won 6 Golden Guitars at the Tamworth Country Music Awards and several Mo Awards, given to artists for their achievement in live entertainment. In 1991, she won the ARIA Award for best Country Album for ‘Out Of The Blue’, besting top stars like Keith Urban, Graeme Connors and John Williamson.
The torch that Slim Dusty lit has not only passed on to Anne. In 2008 the album “Slim Dusty Family Reunion” featured tracks with her brother David and Anne’s 2006 release of ‘Showman’s Daughter’ had contributions from her son James Arneman, who carries on the family tradition with his own musical line-ups, ‘Small Town Romance’ and ‘Indian Pacific’.
As a board member of the Slim Dusty Foundation, Anne is heavily involved in the continuing development of the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey which opened in November 2015---as well as working alongside her mother, Joy McKean, to preserve the legacy of her late dad, Slim.
In 2010 Anne became the 39th artist to be inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown, of which her father was one of the earliest members.
Small Town Romance - Jim Arneman & Flora Smith
Fronted by Jim Arneman and Flora Smith, the band, ‘Small Town Romance’ have been steadily garnering a fanbase of true country music lovers everywhere they play. Sharing the writing and singing duties Jim brings a love of narrative and Flora a love of melody—together they are each others perfect musical foil. At the heart of ‘Small Town Romance’ is a partnership that celebrates their unique musical backgrounds creating a sound that is more than just a sum of their parts.
Jim Arneman is the son of songstress Anne Kirkpatrick and grandson of Slim Dusty and Joy McKean, raised on the traditions of Australian country music and touring life. His latter influences range across 70’s singer songwriters, alt-country and Americana. At the centre of his work is an admiration of, and ambition to strive for classic song-craft and musicianship. With honeyed vocal and cracking honky tonk band behind him Jim knows his way around a classic country song but makes no apologies for being an Australian artist.
Flora Smith grew up in a household filled with Irish folk music and then spent a rebellious period dabbling in opera. She was set back on the right path after a period living in Texas where she studied tex-mex button accordion under Grammy winner Joel Guzman and fell in love with the energy and spirit of classic country.
“I believe that in the country scene… Justin has the whole package,” Guy Sebastian.
2017 Golden Guitar finalist, Justin Standley, is a multi-award winning Australian country singer-songwriter.
Justin shot to prominence after appearing as a finalist on the X Factor on a quest to find his missing children. The heart-wrenching reunion with his daughters made national headlines and he has since gone on to become a much loved figure on the Australian country music landscape.
Since 2015, Justin has released many songs to radio, all of which have charted in the Top 10 of the Australian Country Tracks Top 40. He is the only artist to have ever had three original songs in the top 5 at one time.
Recognised for his distinctive voice and impressive vocal range, Justin’s friendly nature and talent for song-writing, yodelling, story-telling and comedy, continues to endear him to audiences across the country and overseas.
The Davidson Brothers are considered two of Australia’s most highly driven and well-respected bluegrass musicians. Hamish and Lachie were raised in the rural Victorian town of Yinnar and began performing and recording in 1998. Since then, they’ve toured the United States, Europe, appeared on the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and toured their band extensively across Australia.
Mostly self-taught, multi-Instrumentalists, both Hamish (fiddle, banjo, guitar, dobro, vocals) and Lachlan (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, vocals) became in-demand session musicians before they finished high school and as competitive teenagers they both went on to win National Bluegrass Championship titles. Together, the Davidson Brothers have had top 10 Country Radio Singles, reached the ARIA Country Albums Chart and established the Australian Bluegrass Scholarship in 2011 to enhance a young culture and encourage acoustic musicians.
After a busy year touring the east coast, including shows in Tassie and the NT, the brothers performed main stage appearances at the Blue Mountains Music Festival, Deni Ute Muster and recently picked up an impressive two Wins at the 2018 Country Music Awards of Australia. More widely recognised as the Golden Guitars, the Davidson Brothers now hold five of these prestigious trophies. Their eighth studio album, All You Need Is Music was recorded in Nashville and released in April 2017. It debuted at #10 on AIR's 100% INDEPENDENT ALBUMS sales chart.
The boys have been inducted by the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame into Tamworth’s prestigious Hands of Fame monument and in 2016 they teamed up with legendary rocker Joe Camilleri and the Black Sorrows to collaborate in the studio and on stage, opening sold out shows in both Melbourne and regional Victoria.
The brothers have a uniquely Australian light-hearted outlook on life which they use to showcase their musical ability to all unsuspecting audiences. Well known for their contemporary acoustic style the Davidson Brothers are destined to have a long-standing career on the Australian music scene.
Collectively and individually, Andy and Duncan Toombs have toured and performed nationally and internationally with the cream of Australia’s country music scene for more then 15 years… Kasey Chambers, Bill Chambers, Beccy Cole, Lee Kernaghan, Catherine Britt, Sara Storer, Adam Harvey, Troy Cassar-Daley & Adam Brand to name but a few.
Powerful, emotive vocalists in there own right, The Toombs Boys play a mix of original music and songs they grow up with. Duncan and Andy are consummate professionals. They have honed their craft on some of the biggest stages worldwide. Rest assured when the Toombs brothers unite, It’s party time!