NEWS

Hitting the right note at the New Zealand Country Music Awards

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The 2017 New Zealand Country Music Awards is celebrating music with Wanaka girl Jody Direen selected as a finalist again.

Direen, an award-winning artist, is taking some time out from touring overseas to return home and play as a finalist at the awards on Thursday night.

The awards, held at SBS St James Theatre in Gore, will showcase several country music stars from throughout the country.

Direen is selected as one of three finalists for Best Country Music Album.

She was honoured to be selected as a finalist and have the opportunity to perform for her fans at the awards, she said.

"The Southland community is so supportive of music in general, especially country," she said.

Her album Shake Up, which reflected the past three years of her life, scored her a place as a finalist.

While the album's general vibe was uplifting, with a few "cheeky songs" that were light-hearted and fun, the album had meaning and reflected her personal experiences, Direen said.

"It takes you on a journey."

Direen said she felt like she was living her childhood dream.

"It's very enlightening ... I feel a lot of peace in my life. I'm living what I was born to do," she said.

For now, Direen was working on her next album and working out her 2017-18 summer tour dates.

The 2017 New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards will be held from Friday to Sunday, following a week of country music celebrations, including the NZ Country Music Awards, MLT Songwriting Awards, concerts and busking competitions.

​Direen said the Golden Guitars was a fantastic platform for artists to perform in a professional environment.

Although Direen found her career path through a different route, she said it was a great opportunity for up and coming musicians to get exposure, network with other artists and a win would just be a bonus.

APRA New Zealand boss Anthony Healey said this year's finalists at the awards would continue a proud tradition of country music in New Zealand.

"They show what an interesting and diverse part of the music world country music is.

"There are world-class artists here, ranging from true traditional bluegrass to new alternative country. It's really exciting to witness," he said.

The awards have been held in Gore since 2004, and this year about 400 people were expected to fill the theatre.

"Gore is the natural home of country music in New Zealand and a great place to celebrate it each year," Healey said.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album
Hamilton County Bluegrass Band – These Old Hands
Jody Direen – Shake Up
Phil Doublet – Endless Highway

Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song
Kendall Elise Todd – Heart Full of Dirt
Chester Travis – Toothache
Ginny Peters – The Reasons to Stay

2017 COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED


Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

The finalists for the 2017 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album and APRA Best Country Music Song have been announced today and will be presented in Gore on Thursday 1 June.

The finalists for Best Country Music Album 2017 are Hamilton County Bluegrass Band for their album These Old Hands, Wanaka native Jody Direen for Shake Up, and Phil Doublet for his second album Endless Highway.

The APRA Best Country Music Song finalists include Kendall Elise Todd’s ‘Heart Full of Dirt’, Chester Travis and Great Danes for ‘Toothache’, and ‘The Reasons to Stay’ by Ginny Peters.

The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band have been a consistent presence in the New Zealand country music scene since the 1960’s – and for good reason. Their latest album These Old Hands is a return to form and their first release of new material since 2008’s Way Down South.

By the time she was 12 years old, Jody Direen was writing her own songs and performing at local events and school productions. After releasing her debut album Here We Go in 2011, she secured a spot performing on the Global Artist Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee and began gaining global exposure.

She returns with her third studio album Shake Up, which peaked at #1 on the New Zealand Heat Seekers chart as well as topping the iTunes Country chart.

With three decades of experience in the business, Phil Doublet is no stranger to the music world. His accolades include 2014 New Zealand Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year, and his latest album Endless Highway peaked at #4 on the Independent Music New Zealand charts.

In addition to these artists, the finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song will be recognised for their contribution to country music over the past year.

Kendall Elise Todd is an artist who comes from Papakura, Auckland and released her debut EP I Didn't Stand A Chance in March 2017. The lead single off this record is ‘Heart Full of Dirt’ which is up for Best Country Music Song – a massive achievement for someone new to the country music scene.

Chester Travis is part of the duo Great Danes who are currently putting the finishing touches on their first album in Berlin. They have received a nomination for their song ‘Toothache’, from their 2016 debut EP.

And rounding out the list of finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Award in 2017 is Ginny Peters, who is in the running for her song ‘The Reasons to Stay’ from the 2017 album Moments in Memory. The album includes tracks recorded in both 2016, as well as four recorded Reflections Studio, Nashville in 1988.

Recorded Music CEO Damian Vaughn is impressed with the music from all the finalists across both categories, highlighting the strength of New Zealand’s country music scene.

“There’s a huge amount of talent on display across these recordings. It’s an exciting time to be a country music fan and bodes well for the future of the genre.”

This year’s Country Music Award winners will be announced in Gore on 1 June. The awards are open to the public, and tickets are available through iticket.co.nz.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album

Hamilton County Bluegrass Band – These Old Hands
Jody Direen – Shake Up
Phil Doublet – Endless Highway
Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song

Kendall Elise Todd – ‘Heart Full of Dirt’
Chester Travis – ‘Toothache’
Ginny Peters – ‘The Reasons to Stay’
For more information on Hamilton County Bluegrass Band visit http://www.hamiltoncounty.co.nz/

For more information on Jody Direen visit https://www.jodydireen.com/

For more information on Phil Doublet visit http://www.phildoublet.com/

For more information on Kendall Elise Todd visit http://kendallelisemusic.weebly.com/

For more information on Chester Travis visit https://www.facebook.com/chestertravismusic/

For more information on Ginny Peters visit http://www.ginnypeters.com/

TICKETS ON SALE NOW


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tickets for the 2017 NZ Country Music Awards are on sale now.

The Awards on Thursday 1st June are shaping up to be another glamorous night celebrating NZ Country Music and Songwriters.

Tickets can be purchased through iticket website.

The Warratahs win New Zealand's Best Country Music Album for 2016


Thursday, June 02, 2016

The Warratahs and indie-folk singer-songwriter Mel Parsons have claimed the top prizes at New Zealand Country Music Awards.

The Warratahs' Runaway Days was selected as New Zealand's Best Country Music Album for 2016, while Parsons' song Alberta Sun was selected as the Best Country Music Song.

The New Zealand Country Music Awards were held on Thursday night as part of Gore's Gold Guitar week.

Recorded Music NZ chief executive Damian Vaughan said The Warratahs are a longstanding example of the excellent country music New Zealand produces.

"To receive this year's Best Country Music Album with their seventh recording shows The Warratahs are not going anywhere any time soon."

Runaway Days, The Warratahs' seventh studio album, was a superb example of the band's classic style, and another album packed with Barry Saunders classics, Vaughan said.

"To me, The Warratahs are an absolute national treasure."

APRA AMCOS head of New Zealand operations Anthony Healey said 2016 Best Country Music Song winner Mel Parsons had crafted a deeply personal, dreamy country ballad in Alberta Sun.

"Relaxed and assured, it's the sound of a song written by a songwriter who knows her craft."

The other finalists for Best Country Music Album were Wellington's Eb & Sparrow for Sun/Son and Wanaka's Jody Direen for Breaks Out.

Ebony Lamb from Eb & Sparrow was recognised as a finalist for the APRA Best Country Music Song category for Hungry Little Town. She was joined by siblings Tami Neilson and Joshua Neilson for The First Man.


- Stuff

Recorded Music NZ: Best country album and song 2016 announced


Thursday, May 05, 2016

Finalists for New Zealand's top country music honours have been announced.

Nominees for the 2016 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album, and the APRA Best Country Music Song include stalwarts of the genre, such as Wellington's Eb & Sparrow for their album Sun/Son, Wanaka's Jody Direen for Breaks Out and Wellington group The Warratahs for their seventh studio album, Runaway Days.

Eb & Sparrow's Ebony Lamb from is also recognised as a finalist for the APRA Best Country Music Song category for "Hungry Little Town", alongside one of New Zealand's most establish songwriters, Mel Parsons for "Alberta Sun", and siblings Tami Neilson & Joshua Neilson for "First Man".

​Recorded Music CEO Damian Vaughan said the exceptional quality of this year's finalist list was evidence of a country music scene that was continuing to blossom.
"The albums are varied with nods to folk, rock and other genres but each holds an undeniable country sound. These albums and the artists who made them certainly make me excited for the future of country music in Aotearoa."

Winners will be announced at the New Zealand Country Music Awards on June 2 at the St James Theatre in Gore, during Gold Guitar Week, which attracts more than 5,000 country music fans to Gore annually.

The awards are open to the public. Tickets are available through iticket.co.nz.

- Stuff

Kaylee Bell: Our best country musician

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The South is the place to be if you're a country music fan.

At the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore on Friday night, Heart First by Kaylee Bell, was revealed as the nation’s Best Country Music Album for 2014 while Tami Neilson and Lyttelton-based Delaney Davidson’s Whiskey & Kisses won the gong for Best Country Music Song.

Bell is no stranger to awards. Last year she won Best Female Artist at the National Country Music Awards in Hamilton and later became the first Kiwi since Keith Urban (1990) to win Australia’s Toyota Star Maker title.

The 25-year-old rising star, a former employee of The Press, is originally from Waimate, and is now based in Australia.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan described Bell as one of the most promising young New Zealand artists.

"With earnest lyrics and uplifting performances, Heart First is an outstanding example of the exceptional country music produced in New Zealand,'' he said.

Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson are no strangers to the country music scene. Neilson’s past three recordings have all taken home Tuis for Best Country Music Album and Davidson won the award last year with Marlon Williams.

For Davidson, it's the third time he has won the APRA award for Best Country Music Song. The pair collaborated to make Whiskey & Kisses on Neilson’s latest album Dynamite! The song is a duet featuring the vocals of Neilson and Ben Woolley.

Anthony Healey, APRA AMCOS Director of New Zealand Operations, believes Whiskey & Kisses encapsulates the country music genre.

"Tami and Delaney have written a country song that will be remembered for many years. It is emotional and honest and it has proved to be the best country song of the year.''

The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted in Gore as a part of a week-long celebration of country music. It attracts more than 5000 fans annually. The other finalists for Best Country Music Album were Marian

Burns for The Paris Sessions and Anna van Riel for Whistle and Hum. Burns was also a finalist for Best Country Music Song with Finger in Too Many Pies. Neilson claimed the other finalist spot in this category with her solo effort, Texas.

- The Press

Best Country Music Winners Announced

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Heart First by Kaylee Bell is the nation’s Best Country Music Album for 2014 while Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson’s Whiskey & Kisses is the Best Country Music Song.

Both awards have been presented this evening (May 23) at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.

Kaylee Bell’s Tui for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album will rest in a trophy cabinet filled with awards. In 2013 Bell won Best Female Artist at the National Country Music Awards in Hamilton and later became the first Kiwi since Keith Urban (1990) to win Australia’s Toyota Star Maker title.

The 25-year-old rising star, originally from South Island’s Waimate, is now based in Australia.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says Bell is one of the most promising young New Zealand artists.

“With earnest lyrics and uplifting performances, Heart First is an outstanding example of the exceptional country music produced in NZ.”

Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson are no strangers to the country music scene. Neilson’s past three recordings have all taken home Tuis for Best Country Music Album and Davidson won the award last year with Marlon Williams. It’s also the third time he has won the APRA award for Best Country Music Song.

The pair collaborated to make Whiskey & Kisses on Neilson’s latest album ‘Dynamite!’ The song is a duet featuring the vocals of Neilson and Ben Woolley.

APRA AMCOS Director of NZ Operations Anthony Healey says Whiskey & Kisses encapsulates the country music genre.

“Tami and Delaney have written a country song that will be remembered for many years. It is emotional and honest and it has proved to be the best country song of the year.”

The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted in Gore as a part of a week-long celebration of country music. It attracts more than 5,000 fans annually.

The other finalists for Best Country Music Album were Marian Burns for The Paris Sessions and Anna van Riel for Whistle and Hum.

Burns was also a finalist for Best Country Music Song with Finger in Too Many Pies. Neilson claimed the other finalist spot in this category with her solo effort Texas.

For more about Kaylee Bell: http://www.kayleebellmusic.com/
For more about Tami Neilson: http://www.tamineilson.com/
For more about Delaney Davidson: http://www.delaneydavidson.com/

2014 COUNTRY ALBUM & SONG FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finalists for the 2014 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album and APRA Best Country Music Song have been announced today (April 23) and it’s female songbirds who dominate the line-up.

Finalists for the Best Country Music Album are Waimate’s Kaylee Bell for her second album Heart First, Wanaka’s Anna van Riel for Whistle and Hum and Auckland-based Marian Burns joins the line-up for The Paris Sessions.

With ‘Finger in Too Many Pies’, Marian Burns joins New Zealand country legend Tami Neilson who has two songs in the running for Best Country Music Song - her solo effort ‘Texas’ together with ‘Whiskey & Kisses’, a collaboration with Delaney Davidson.

Both awards are to be presented on Friday 23 May at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.

At only 25 years old rising country star Kaylee Bell is already winning fans here and across the ditch. In 2013 she won Best Female Artist at the National Country Music Awards in Hamilton and later became the first Kiwi since Keith Urban (1990) to win Australia’s Toyota Star Maker title.

Anna van Riel has just returned from a successful three-month North American Sustainable House Concert Tour promoting Whistle and Hum. She travelled through Canada and the west coast of the United States performing in homes designed with an eco-conscious approach to living.

Energetic fiddler Marian Burns’ album The Paris Sessions was recorded in ‘The City of Light’ with renowned producer Jean Alain Roussell who has previously worked with the likes of Sting and Cat Stevens. The record has already been awarded Australia’s Best Album by Fiddler as a Soloist at the 2013 Golden Fiddle Awards.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says this year’s finalists have produced some superb country music albums.

“The finalists capture wonderful and emotive performances on three quite distinct records which are a tribute to the strength and versatility of country in New Zealand. Good luck to them all.”

APRA Best Country Music Song finalist Tami Neilson is a fabled country music veteran. As a young girl with the Neilson Family Band she has opened for Johnny Cash and her past three albums have taken home Tuis for Best Country Album.

Neilson’s new album Dynamite! features ‘Texas’ and ‘Whiskey & Kisses’ which are both finalists for APRA’s Best Country Music Song. The latter features Delaney Davidson who is no stranger to the country music scene himself. He has won the Best Country Music Song Award twice before and in 2013 he paired with Marlon Williams to win the Best Country Music Album.

APRA AMCOS’ Director of NZ Operations Anthony Healey says New Zealand is lucky to have musicians producing such top quality country songs.

“Honest and exquisitely crafted, the three finalists’ songs reach to the heart of the human experience in a way only country music can.”

Gore’s Gold Guitar week, which hosts the New Zealand Country Music Awards, is in its 40th year and attracts more than 5,000 country music fans during the festival. For more information visit: www.goldguitars.co.nz

For more about Kaylee Bell: http://www.kayleebellmusic.com/
For more about Anna van Riel: http://www.annavanriel.com/
For more about Marian Burns: http://www.marianburns.co.nz/
For more about Tami Neilson: http://www.tamineilson.com/
For more about Delaney Davidson: http://www.delaneydavidson.com/

Double Win for Delaney and Marlon

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Christchurch duo Delaney Davidson and Marlon Williams are double winners of the New Zealand Country Music Awards announced as part of the Gold Guitar festival in Gore tonight (Thursday May 30).

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand and the Australasian Performing Right Association have both acknowledged Delaney and Marlon’s acclaimed album ‘Sad but True – The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Vol. 1’,

The recording has gained the RIANZ Best Country Album Tui while the single ‘Bloodletter’ is awarded the APRA Best Country Song 2013.

Best Country Album

‘Sad but True’ is Delaney and Marlon’s debut outing as a duo and has been praised for seamlessly harmonising the young ‘clean’ voice of Marlon Williams with the ‘darker’ vocals of Delaney Davidson.

Marlon Williams, of the band The Unfaithful Ways, is in his early 20s while Delaney Davidson has been performing as a solo artist throughout Europe and the US since the early 2000s.

The union of experience and youth has seen the pair create an album that has received top star reviews across both music and mainstream publications with the New Zealand Herald dubbing the collaboration as “seamless” and a “heady concoction of truth-seeking”.

RIANZ managing director, Chris Caddick, congratulates Delaney and Marlon on their win.

“Well done to Delaney and Marlon on their richly deserved Tui for the album ‘Sad But True’. Their take on a classic American art form is brilliantly executed and a real joy to listen to.”

Best Country Song

Delaney Davidson is no stranger to the APRA Best Country Song accolade, having won the award last year for his ballad “You’re A Loser”.

This year, Delaney is honoured with collaborator Marlon Williams for the hit “Bloodletter”. With its mix of blues-tones, gothic country vocals and honky-tonic piano, “Bloodletter” is regarded by critics as a ‘highlight’ of the album.

Anthony Healey, APRA’s Director of NZ Operations, says the double win for Delaney and Marlon stands them in good stead for future collaborations and celebrates both their accomplishments as a duo and their individual successes as country music artists.

“It’s a special song off a special album and a collaboration that is obviously a success. Long may that continue”, Healey says.

The other two finalists for the RIANZ Country Album of the Year Tui were Donna Dean for ‘Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts’ and The Eastern for ‘Hope and Wire’. The other finalists for APRA Best Country Song Award for 2013 were Jess Shanks for ‘Wait out the Winter’ and Rob Joass for ‘Baggage’.

Country & Pacific Music Awards


Friday, December 14, 2012

Nominations are open for Best Country Music Album 2013 and Best Pacific Music Album 2013!

Entry for Best Country Music Album 2013 is open to NZ Country Musicians with recordings released between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2012.

Entries must be submitted to RIANZ before 5pm on Monday 25 February.

To view the full Terms & Conditions of entry please follow the link to the nominations site here.

When you are ready to make a nomination, please contact Jessica Rice at RIANZ - jessica@rianz.org.nz or 09 361 6871 to obtain a password to access the online forms.

The winner/s will be announced and the Tui trophy presented at the Country Music Awards (part of the Gold Guitar Awards) in Gore on the evening of Thursday 30th May, 2013. For more information on the Gold Guitar awards see www.goldguitars.co.nz.

Nominations for the APRA Best Country Music Song 2013 are also now open. To view all the details and submit a nomination click here or contact Rita Luck at APRA | 09 623 4718 | rluck@apra.co.nz

The Tui for Best Pacific Music Album 2013 will be presented at the Pacific Music Awards, held on Thursday 30th May at the TelstraClear Pacific events centre in Manukau. Entries for the 2013 awards are open, with entries due by Friday 1st February.

Click here to access the 2013 Terms & Conditions and Entry Form.
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