The 2016 Country Music Awards of Australia - Toyota Golden Guitars capped off an incredible year for Australian Country Music with an intimate night of non-stop entertainment and special magic moments at the Tamworth Region Entertainment and Conference Centre.
The night saw the country music industry and fans celebrate the artists and the songs that have left their mark on them throughout the past 12 months.
Troy Cassar-Daley, with his album Freedom Ride, stole the show scooping five Golden Guitars from seven nominations including, MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR, ALBUM OF THE YEAR, TOYOTA HERITAGE SONG OF THE YEAR, APRA AMCOS SONG OF THE YEAR and SINGLE OF THE YEAR with Take a Walk in My Country.
Lee Kernaghan capped off a huge year, adding three more Golden Guitars to his collection. Lee picked up Awards for VOCAL COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR (Spirit of the Anzacs), VIDEO CLIP OF THE YEAR (Spirit of the Anzacs), and SANITY TOP SELLING AUSTRALIAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Spirit of the Anzacs).
Pete Denahy also took home multiple Awards including INSTRUMENTAL OF THE YEAR (Cluck Old Hen) and BHP BILLITON BLUEGRASS RECORDING OF THE YEAR (Singin' Shoes).
QANTASLINK NEW TALENT OF THE YEAR went to Christie Lamb while Allan Caswell and Manfred Vijars with their song One Last Muster won BUSH BALLAD OF THE YEAR.
Coming off the back of her success at the 2015 ARIA Awards, Newcastle girl Catherine Britt picked up the award for FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR with her album Boneshaker. ALTERNATIVE COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR went to Shane Nicholson for his sixth solo album Hell Breaks Loose and Adam Eckersley Band took home COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR with their album The Second Album.
This year the Awards included the induction of one of the greats into Australia's country music hall of fame, the Roll of Renown. Graeme Connors was presented with the honour by Max Ellis and Anne Kirkpatrick. His well-crafted and highly individualistic songs have led to a long and distinguished career.
The night kicked off with a high-energy performance on the red carpet by Jared Porter, 2014 Toyota Star Maker, and his band Jared Adlam on guitar, Reece Baines on drums, Michael Cole on guitar.
Inside the country music industry and fans were welcomed by Mickey Pye's instrumental Unleashed before Adam Brand and The Outlaws took the stage for their performance of Be My Girl followed by Catherine Britt performing her hit Boneshaker.
The night was all about celebrating the musical milestones of some of Australia's most illustrious country music artist including none other than recently named Ambassador to Tamworth and the Toyota Country Music Festival, Troy Cassar-Daley. The Brisbane based artist celebrated his 35th year performing in Tamworth with two special performances, the first one a depiction of his 35 years performing in Tamworth from being a young busker on the street to teenage prodigy to country music superstar.
Shane Nicholson allured the crowd with his stunning performance of Secondhand Man followed by Beccy Cole with Sweet Rebecca.
Lee Kernaghan was joined on stage by QANTASLINK NEW TALENT OF THE YEAR winner Christie Lamb and finalists Brothers3, Seleen McAlister, Caitlyn Shadbolt and Mickey Pye for an incredible rendition of Spirit of the Anzacs and Jasmine Rae had fans in awe as she performed Eggs in a Basket.
The show included a special tribute performance of Mallee Boy by Sara Storer to celebrate the 30th Anniversary release of John Williamson's landmark album “Mallee Boy”. This album spent 18 months in the Top 50 of the all-genre album chart and was certified triple platinum at the time. The album includes enduring classics True Blue, Raining on the Rock, Cootamundra Wattle, Galleries of Pink Galahs, Diamantina Drover. Williamson also recently celebrated his 70th birthday.
Other special tribute performances included Mustered Courage performing The McClymonts hit song Wrapped Up Good recognising the 10th Anniversary of the release of The McClymonts self-titled debut EP. Kevin Bennett, Lyn Bowtell and Felicity Urquhart performed Kasey Chambers' I Still Pray to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the release of Chambers' landmark album “Barricades & Brickwalls”. This album has been certified seven times platinum for sales in excess of 350,000 units and featured the double-platinum #1 hit “Not Pretty Enough”.
Graeme Connors was also among the performers celebrating a milestone with the 40th Anniversary of the release of his debut album, “And When Morning Comes” which was produced by Kris Kristofferson and released on Festival Records. Graeme has achieved gold and platinum sales throughout the late 80's, 90's and into the 2000's. He has been the recipient of 14 Golden Guitars, the most recent of which was in 2011 for 'Album of the Year' for “Still Walking” and he will celebrate his 60th birthday in April.
Other performers on the night included BUSH BALLAD OF THE YEAR winner Allan Caswell performing One Last Muster; INSTRUMENTAL OF THE YEAR and BHP BILLITON BLUEGRASS RECORDING OF THE YEAR winner Pete Denahy with Singin' Shoes; Roo Arcus performed Let's Get Out of Here and COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR Adam Eckersley Band Wheels.
Troy Cassar-Daley and Paul Kelly closed the show with a truly magical performance of Freedom Ride.
“On behalf of the Country Music Association of Australia, I would like to congratulate all the winning artists and nominees at the 44th Annual Country Music Awards Australia - Toyota Golden Guitars. It has also been our honour to welcome Graeme Connors into the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown.
This year's Golden Guitar Awards have been a great success and once again demonstrate the diversity of Australian country music through the performances of our incredibly talented artists. I would like to thank all those that were involved in staging the Awards, particularly our valued sponsorship and media partners for their outstanding support.” Dobe Newton, President Country Music Association of Australia.
The Toyota Golden Guitar Awards is the pinnacle event of the Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth each year.
Brad Cramb, Chief Marketing Officer for Toyota Australia, commented: “We're very excited to again be a part of the Golden Guitar Awards, it's such an important part of the country music industry and something we are Toyota are proud to support. The depth and calibre of the nominees, which includes a number of Toyota Star Makers is a great thing and we're already looking to next year.” Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres said the Tamworth Country Music Festival is recognised world-wide, attracts significant visitation to the State and delivers important economic and community benefits.
“Congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the 2016 Golden Guitar Awards, the most prestigious award ceremony for the Australian country music industry. The NSW Government is proud to support the Tamworth Country Music Festival through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, and we look forward to welcoming many of the performers and visitors back to Tamworth next year for another spectacular event,” Mr Ayres said.
For full details of the winners, images and broadcast packages from the 44th Annual Toyota Golden Guitar Awards, head to www.tcmf.com.au/media The 2016 Country Music Awards Australia - Toyota Golden Guitars were presented by Sam McClymont, Travis Collins, Adam Harvey, Paul Kelly, James Blundell, Amber Lawrence, Luke O'Shea, Dobe Newton & Roger Corbett of The Bushwackers, Kristy Cox, Chelsea Basham and Tamworth's own Rex Dallas along with his granddaughter Ashleigh Dallas, Lee Kernaghan, Robby X, Beccy Cole, Tim Daley, Brothers3, Adam Eckersley Band, Lachlan Bryan, The Sunny Cowgirls, Fanny Lumsden, Paul Kelly, Max Ellis and Anne Kirkpatrick.
This years' Country Music Awards Australia - Toyota Golden Guitars were proudly supported by Toyota, the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, BHP Billiton, The Range, APRA AMCOS, Country Music Capital News, and QANTASLINK.