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Here are your artists for Hats Off To Country 2020!

Sammy White


Sammy White took a shot at the 2020 Toyota Star Maker competition in Tamworth and walked away the victor. Originally from Townsville, now Newcastle-based, the 22-year-old was met with roaring applause as her name was announced as the 41st winner of the prestigious talent search. She joins a very elite club whose alumni includes Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Travis Collins and Sam McClymont, as well as the latest crop of new stars, Brad Cox and Blake O’Connor. Raised on the land, music was a part of everyday life for Sammy and her family, with the soundtrack of Johnny Cash, Charley Pride and Willie Nelson on high rotation. The authentic cry in her vocal tones and relatable tales of trials and tribulations leave audiences hanging on every raw, emotive word. After launching her debut single, Drowning My Sorrows, in May 2019, Sammy had a whirlwind year of touring, festival appearances and rodeos as well as a songwriting trip to Nashville. Her November single release, I Can’t Outrun You, has been a hit on country radio. In May 2020, Sammy released the catchy Lay It On Me as her first Star Maker single from her upcoming album. 
Adam Harvey Album Cover Shoot25260 copy ADAM HARVEY

Tamworth’s Big Al joins the Hats Off To Ballads concert at the Oasis Hotel.

Aleyce Simmonds


Aleyce won the 2018 Golden Guitar Winner for Female Artist of the Year, and in 2017 won the APRA Award for Country Work Of The Year, was the Australian Independent Female Vocalist of The Year and Australian Independent Artist Of The Year. The Tamworth country singer is a six-times Golden Guitar and five-times CMC Award nominated singer-songwriter. Aleyce Simmonds knows the weight of every step. Having spent the past 15 years in the industry, travelling the world creating and recording music, she has grown to realise what she loves about the world, music and in particular, the keeper of her heart country music. “It evokes more emotion than anything else. They say that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, for me, a great country song sings a million words and emotions. And, all in a heartbeat.” Aleyce’s third studio album, released at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January debuted at #1 on the Australian Independent Record Labels Association chart beating out Sia and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; #5 on the ARIA Top 40 Country Albums Chart behind Keith Urban, Kasey Chambers, The McClymonts and Cream of Country; #4 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Country Artist Country Albums Chart, #25 on the ARIA Top 20 Australia Artist Albums Chart (all genres).

Andrew Swift  


Two-times Golden Guitar winner, Andrew Swift has gone from strength to strength since finding his feet in the Australian country music scene as a Toyota Star Maker grand finalist in 2017. With his debut country album, Call Out For The Cavalry debuting at #1 on the ARIA Australian Country Charts, the Matt Fell produced record saw five singles lifted for release including Runaway Train, Fire & Ice (feat. Catherine Britt) and King of the Sky. At the 2019 Golden Guitar Awards, the country music industry recognised Swift’s relentless hard work and saw him take home the awards for Qantas New Talent of the Year and Alternative Country Album of the Year. Living out of what could be Australia’s smallest caravan, Swift threw in his day job to tour full time in support of his latest release and hasn’t stopped since. Between his tours with the Wolfe Brothers, Felicity Urquhart, Shannon Noll, numerous festival appearances and Swift’s own shows including his ‘Caravan Park Country Music Showcase’ tour, he’s often referred to as one of the hardest working country artists in Australia. In fact, his constant visits to Gundagai saw him named as the official ambassador of the iconic Dog on The Tuckerbox in 2019. Returning to work with Matt Fell at Love HZ studios, Swift recently started recording his new album after signing with ABC Music. The first single, Never Meant To Break Your Heart, depicts the often untold perspective of a breakup was released on June 26.

Anthony Taylor 2  


Some people were born to sing and play guitar. They don’t care about music charts, record deals and music industry politics. But playing to a packed house on a hot and rowdy Friday night, to a crowd who are singing along to the latest song they wrote is what it’s all about. It’s the business of connecting with an audience through their lyrics and songs, making them laugh and cry. One of those people is Anthony Taylor. Born and raised in Charters Towers Nth Qld, the talented singer-guitarist showcases his authentic country voice and vibe at every one of his shows. Over many years at the world-famous Tamworth Country Music Festival, he has entertained sell-out crowds and appeared on many showcases on just about every stage including a spot on the Troy Cassar-Daley and Friends show. Anthony has toured and played alongside a range of artists in the country music industry including Brian Young, Doug Bruce, Alby Pool, Luke O’Shea, The Sunny Cowgirls, Carter & Carter, Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey, James Blundell and Doug Stone just to name a few. This CMAA College of Country Music graduate has been awarded several accolades including the Queensland Gold Award in Anthony’s hometown of Charters Towers, the Gympie Muster Talent Search, Tamworth’s Aristocrat Entertainer of the Year and has also been a grand finalist at the prestigious Toyota Star Maker. Anthony’s debut album, Music Man, features good ole real country songs with some of the best country musicians Australia has to offer. There’s even cameo appearances from Jimmy Olander (Diamond Rio’s guitarist) and Grammy Award winner and American country veteran Redd Volkaert. The album also features the world-class production of Simon Johnson and the team from Hill Billy Hut.



Golden Guitars and a strong country family heritage are just two of the things that cement Ashleigh Dallas as an exciting and grounded country artist. Born in Australia’s Country Music Capital Tamworth NSW, Ashleigh has been no stranger to performing on stage, and of recent years her work has seen the highest of recognition with two Golden Guitar awards to her name in the categories of New Talent Of The Year in 2014, and Traditional Country Album of The Year in 2018. Ashleigh has received top five nominations with every album she has released. Receiving the Golden Guitar in the inaugural Traditional Country Album of The Year category, Ashleigh also saw her father, producer Brett Dallas, recognised with a Golden Guitar. This moment made Australian country music history as the first family who shares three generations of Golden Guitars. Her latest album Reflection, produced by her dad, has seen their work in the limelight with the song Settling Down a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. Ashleigh is the ambassador for Rediscover Australia and Tunes In The Tropics Fiji and also ambassador with The Dolly Parton Imagination Library Australia. Ash and her husband Chris became parents to daughter Harriett in January 2019.

Bec Lavelle


Bec Lavelle possesses one of the most beautiful and instantly recognisable voices in Australian music.

Best know for her work as vocalist for the hit TV series, “McLeod’s Daughters”, which ran for 8 successful seasons and screened in 110 countries around the world – Bec’s voice was the true heart and soul of the soundtrack albums which have sold in excess of 200,000 copies.

She has released three acclaimed albums – “Intimate Portrait”, “Love & Bravery” and “Kehr Wieder” with her highly anticipated fourth album just around the corner.

Bec has toured extensively with James Blundell and also overseas performing for Australian troops as part of Forces Entertainment.

She has recorded duets with James Blundell, Ben Ransom, Drew McAlister and her new record will feature a duets with Cameron Daddo and the “Nervous Girls” collaboration with Jem Cassar-Daley, Kora Naughton, Kaitlyn Thomas & Ingrid Mae.

After 8 years living in Germany, Bec made the return to Australia in 2019 where she is the resident musician on Queensland’s Hamilton Island.

Bella MacKenzie  


Rooted in the craft of songwriting, Bella Mackenzie is a young woman who also embraces the genre’s contemporary and alternative movements forward. The pragmatic singer-songwriter is quickly carving out her own authentic, exciting place in the country domain. Bella seeks to maintain the feel good without conceding authenticity, apparent on her debut single Dance In The Rain, a song that says no matter what life throws at you or who tries to knock you down, you have to be persistent and strong and learn to overcome it. A song that will surely make your day brighter. Bella Mackenzie grew up in a unique place, living on-site at her family’s hotel motel in the coal mining town of Moranbah, Queensland. The town for a time was the fastest growing in Australia triggered by the coal boom and so they saw some pretty rare things at their The Black Nugget Hotel Motel. With live music every week the motivation and inspiration to take up music. With her dad a fan of Dylan and Springsteen and mum a country music fan, Bella’s taste in music encompasses Chris Stapleton and Cody Johnson through to Miranda Lambert, and Morgan Wallen. An advocate of country music’s legacy and future, it’s no surprise to see her broad palate.


Ben Mastwyk & His Million$ present shimmering 70’s cosmic-country-soul with lashings of psychedelic-honky tonk. Twice nominated for Best Country Album (Music Victoria Awards), Mastwyk received national rotation on ABC Radio, toured his songs around Australia, NZ and the USA, and is set to release his third album early in 2020.

Ben Ransom


Powerful vocals and infectious melodies, Ben Ransom has all the hallmarks of a classic artist and performer. After recently opening for US superstar Tim McGraw, fans discovered why Ben is at his best when on the big stage. The Sydney-based artist has travelled, toured and performed all over Australia and the world, including a two and a half year stint in Europe. His style is a blend of country, blues and pub-rock. Ben has multiple award nominations and presents enjoyable songs that transcend the country genre. His new album is set for release in 2020 and looks set to follow the success of his previous works, that have delivered national #1 hits and a string of fan favourites. This year is shaping up to being one of the biggest yet. Expect a smoking hot, energetic live show.

Billie-Jo Porter


If The Dixie Chicks, Jewel, Tom Petty, and Angus and Julia Stone were jamming at a party and you had to describe that sound, you would call it… Billie-Jo Porter. Billie-Jo is a singer-songwriter who invites the listener to look for silver linings in the everyday. Growing up just outside of Australia’s Country Music Capital, Tamworth, much of her younger days were sound tracked by non-stop country music including Shania Twain, Tim McGraw and Willie Nelson. Now living on the North Coast of NSW, Billie-Jo Porter offers a unique sound by infusing a laid back beach lifestyle and her country roots.

Blake O_Connor


It’s no coincidence that Blake O’Connor had one of the best selling albums at last year’s Groundwater and Gympie Festivals. As a two times 2020 Golden Guitar nominee, Blake won the prestigious Qantas New Talent of the Year Award in January 2020. He was also nominated for Male Artist of the Year up against international superstar Morgan Evans and Australian country music legend Lee Kernaghan. In 2019 the 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Port Macquarie became the 40th winner of Toyota Star Maker. Blake and Toyota have continued the relationship, this year announcing he would proudly be the Toyota Hilux Ambassador. Soon after winning Star Maker Blake released his debut album Everything I Feel resulting in a #1 on the ARIA Charts, #2 on the ARIA International Chart, #8 on the ARIA Australian All Genres Country Chart and #31 on ARIA International All Genres Chart. The album was produced by Adam Eckersley, engineered by Mitch Cairns, mixed by Nick DiDia and mastered by Leon Zervos. Last year Blake took his music internationally, performing on Nashville’s CMA Spotlight Stage during CMA Fest and at the Buckle & Boots Festival in Manchester, UK. Radio 2GB’s Ray Hadley was blown away by a recent in-studio performance and said; “based on that performance, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Absolutely sensational”. Blake is currently writing for his sophomore album with new music to be released later this year.


Howdy is a popular radio presenter on Tamworth’s 88.9FM having previously been part of the famous Hoedown team. Howdy is the popular host of Howdy’s Hoedown at The Pub, Tamworth and his house concerts are well-known Australia-wide. Howdy is the host of Hats Off To Ballad at the Oasis Hotel.

Buddy Knox


Buddy is a devoted Blues artist who lives in Tamworth. His lifelong dedication to music has seen him tour with many musical pioneers, but his biggest love is playing with his Knox Family Blues Band. His searing Gibson guitar playing ability is impressive, in combination with his smooth vocals, and his original songs, make Buddy an appealing artist of great calibre. Buddy’s Blues band has played most of Australia’s biggest festivals, and are the proud previous winners of the Sydney Blues Society Band of the year. Buddy’s son Teangi, and nephew Bareki, feature in the band, and with the inclusion of some didgeridoo, it’s a Blues act spiced with this traditional instrument. Buddy’s latest album Ticket To Memphis was released in January 2020 to coincide with his set at the opening concert for TCMF 2020. He has set up his tips jar Paypal.Me/buddyknoxblues

Caitlyn Shadbolt
Cameron Daddo


TV host, actor, radio personality and musician, Cameron Daddo is one of Australia’s most well known identities.

Cameron has enjoyed much success in theatre roles including Big River, The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music.

Besides success on the stage, Daddo has appeared in many top rating television series both here at home and abroad including local dramas “The Doctor Blake Mysteries” and “Home and Away”. His international breakthrough came via Aaron Spelling’s television series, “Models Inc”. He also has appeared in “The West Wing”, “CSI” and “NCIS” among many. Cameron Daddo’s acting success has also translated to the big screen via “Big Momma’s House 2” and David Lynch’s “Inland Empire”.

An accomplished musician, his solo debut album, “A Long Goodbye”, was released in 1992 and reached #2 on the Australian Country Music Charts. His second album, “Ten Songs … and Change” dropped in 2011 while 2016 saw the release of his original EP, “Songs From The Shed”.

Cameron has also appeared on James Blundell’s “Campfire” release and also as a guest on “30 Years of Pride A Tribute to James Blundell”.

2020 sees the release of his latest album, “Son and Moon” which has been produced by Michael Carpenter.

  CAMILLE & STUIE FRENCH (see The French Family)
Casey Barnes


Momentum is a wonderful thing, and Gold Coast country music star Casey Barnes is riding a two-year wave of it that’s only getting stronger. Casey Barnes released his latest album Town Of A Million Dreams on April 17, a much-needed hiatus of hope and happiness amidst the global state of affairs. The album, a glorious injection of 10 superbly crafted tracks that meld slick country, pop and rock production with relatable lyrics, celebrated multiple chart debuts including; ARIA #1 Australian country charts, #2 Country chart, #4 Australian albums, #16 all albums and iTunes #1s on the Country and All Genre album charts. Further to this, Casey just picked up the prize gong of Artist of The Year at the 2020 Gold Coast Music Awards topping off an incredible start to the year. Town Of A Million Dreams contains radio embraced smash hit Sparks Fly, which dropped and rocketed straight to #1 on the iTunes Country Chart, then enjoyed eight consecutive weeks at #1 on The Music Network Country Radio Chart and has amassed over 1.15 million streams. The album is Casey’s first release since signing to Michael Chugg’s management and label Chugg Music.

Catherine Britt


When you look at modern country music you can identify a diverse range of styles that have evolved from the traditional roots form. From pop country to bush ballads, acoustic folk-leaning songs to rousing country rock and the polymorphic blend of Americana. One Australian artist that can lay claim to all these strains is Catherine Britt, a songwriter who has already packed a respected and highly acclaimed career into her first two decades as a a recording artist.

Not content with just carving out an enviable career as a songwriter, performer and recording artist, Catherine has also been involved in the wider country music community as a radio broadcaster on ABC’s Saturday Night Country show, TV host on CMC’s Alt Country program and most recently as the editor and owner of Rhythms, Australia’s premiere roots music magazine.

Life has a way of throwing curveballs, both good and bad, that have seen Catherine fight and win a battle with breast cancer, marry her husband James and give birth to her children.

At the end of July, Catherine will release the first single from her forthcoming album.

Charlie Fittler


Charlie Fittler is an emerging country singer-songwriter with deep ties to the land, having lived his whole life on a small property atop the New South Wales Northern Tablelands just a few kilometres from Armidale. His family is the fifth generation of Fittler’s to call it home, raised on the family Merino wool farm, country life runs in their veins. In July 2019, 17-year-old Charlie released his debut This Guitar Can’t Drink A Beer. Co-written with multi-Golden Guitar winner Travis Collins, the song is a live favourite at his shows around the New England area. Armed with a bunch of new songs, Charlie wears his music influences such as Tyler Childers, Cody Johnson and Morgan Wallen on his sleeve with conviction and soul that’s rare for artists of his age. You might not expect this guy with a hat to open his mouth with such a deep country roar, It’s also hardly the norm for a young Australian country artist to develop an equally young engaged fanbase. But to know Charlie Fittler is to learn that rebelling expectations and shaping his own path is standard procedure.

Chloe Styler


Twenty-three-year-old Queensland singer-songwriter Chloe Styler is not your typical artist. Drawing influences from Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell and Kacey Musgraves, Chloe has allowed herself the freedom to explore a more personal approach to her music while creating a timeless sound rather than following the latest music trends. Her unique and captivating voice has already attracted a variety of loyal followers of all musical tastes and has been compared to artists including Lisa Mitchell, Jewel and Julia Stone. Her last three singles, Patient Heart, Sweden and When Your Light Burns, have all enjoyed national radio airplay and chart success. Chloe has also been lucky to support a vast array of major chart artists and all agree this young lady is simply the real deal. You can tip Chloe here

Chris Watson LD


Chris Watson has been around the world competing and teaching line dancing for over 25 years in over 12 countries. He and his talented team of line dancers are a favourite at the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Hats Off To Country mid-year country music festival. This year Chris & Dare 2 Dance would have celebrated 22 years of teaching at the Hats Off To Country Festival. Chris brings his huge smile and passion for line dancing to the floor each time he steps onto it. He has won numerous career awards including Australian Champion, Australian Line Dance Personality of the Year, Dance of the Year and Australian Line Dancer Of The Year. Chris and his team cater for dancers from beginners to advanced and offer weekly classes in Tamworth.



Col has been singing bush ballads for nearly eight decades. He is Tamworth's oldest balladeer having turned 86 in June 2020. He will perform as part of the Hats Off To Ballads concert.



It’s a long way from the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst to Nashville. Even further if you start from Melbourne and set out via London. It’s taken time but now, finally, they’ve arrived. After spending several years in the UK co-writing with various artists, then two years writing in Nashville, band member Jason Resch returned to Melbourne hoping to find like-minded people to form a band with. Networking the Melbourne music industry he met singer-songwriters Cassie Leopold, Pagan Newman and guitarist Matt Darvidis, and they clicked as a unit and Darlinghurst was formed. Darlinghurst’s 2019 debut single Sorry Won't Get You Back reached #1 on the Country HOT 50 airplay chart and was followed by the second single So Long So Long also reaching the top #5. Darlinghurst’s debut album is set for release in September 2020 on Helium Records.

Georgia State Line w Patrick Wilson


Patrick Wilson's music is rich in craftsmanship. His approach to songwriting is only strengthened by the life he breathes into his performance. Patrick joins musical counterpart, Georgia Delves for Hats Off To Country 2020. Front-person of country outfit, Georgia State Line, Delves is known for her effortlessly colourful voice, with a depth to rival even the most revered of talents.

Ian Burns


When he isn’t working as a horse chiropractor, Ian Burns can be found with his guitar, crafting or recording his next song. The Macarthur, NSW, singer-songwriter began his recording career in 2014 and is currently working on his new album with producer Simon Johnson at Hillbilly Hut. Ian’s next single, Think Again, was released on June 15, following his January win at the Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards for Best Album with Two Sides Of Me which was also a top 10 album for Traditional Country Music of Australia. The album featured some of Australia’s best musicians and enjoyed radio chart success. At the 2018 Tamworth Country Music Festival, Ian won The National Country Songwriting Contest in Alt / Blues / Bluegrass for Best Friend Is Whiskey and was a finalist in Best Male Vocal at the Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards. Ian released Good Friends, his debut EP, in 2015 and his first album, Want To Sing, in early 2016, enjoying radio chart success. In 2017, Ian was a finalist in the 2017 Tamworth Songwriters Association Salute Awards and the 2017 Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards.



Ingrid Mae is a singer songwriter from Sydney, known for her bold country sound. Inspired by the singers who pioneered rock yet with the swag and sensibilities of blues and soul, her music is heartfelt and raw.

It was not until the recording her first independently released album Sugarcoated in 2015, that she let her song writing consume her and her real country music journey began.

Ingrid released her first country single, Did You Miss Me in 2017, which was played throughout regional country and community radio stations and started Ingrid’s rise in the Australian Country Music Scene.

In 2018, her second single, As the Crow Flies, was released and with a growing reputation in Australian country music, the song listed top 3 in a national country music chart and received airplay on Australian Country Music and KIX Country radio stations.

Her album, Holy Smoke, was released in March 2019 and helped Ingrid gather a loyal fan base at live festivals around Australia.

2020 sees the release of her single “Choosy” and also as a guest on Bec Lavelle’s isolation collaboration single, “Nervous Girls” along with Kora Naughton, Kaitlyn Thomas and Jem Cassar-Daley.

James Ellis and the Jealous Guys_

James Ellis and the Jealous Guys are a country band from Melbourne. Their first album, It Ain't Texas (But It Ain't Bad), won Best Country Album at the Age Music Victoria Awards in 2018. Their second album, Country Lion, will be released in October 2020.

Jemma Cassar-Daley


As the daughter of Australian country music legend, Troy Cassar-Daley – Jem naturally developed an interest in music from a young age.

She began learning the piano when she was just six.

In 2019, Jem commenced touring with her dad as his opening solo act, performing much of her own original material.

Jem has written with Catherine Britt and Sammy White and she recently collaborated with Bec Lavelle on her isolation collaboration of Lucy Hale’s song, Nervous Girls. The song also featured Kora Naughton, Kaitlyn Thomas and Ingrid Mae.

Jem plans to record and release new music in the future and is currently using her Covid 19 isolation time writing and demoing new songs.

John Krsulja


Johnny K, known to friends, hails from the hills of gold Nundle in New South Wales and is owner of the DAG Sheep Station. An established artist and no stranger to the art of engaging an audience with his warm, rustic tone and honest, simple storytelling, Johnny Ks music is a blend of folk/rock infused into country, his performances are acoustic-based and best described as heartfelt and real, in a world where authenticity is in short supply. John’s new album, Burden Of The Fool, released on June 19, 2020, was produced and engineered by Glen Hannah and Matt Fell and features 11 live track recordings captured at Studio Goonga and Love Hz Studio, with Josh Schuberth on drums and Matt Fell on bass. After the sudden and tragic loss of Glen, Matt Fell gracefully stayed true to Glen’s brief, brought Pete Cornelius in on guitars and delivered the final production of the album in honour of his dear friend. Career achievements include winning the 2017 CMAA Golden Guitar for Heritage Song Of The Year with Luke O’Shea for Old Man’s Shed.



Kaitlyn Thomas was just 12 years old when Beccy Cole declared to her audience, “There’s a star in the making right there”. Fast-forward a few years and Kaitlyn is ready to unleash her brand of country music on the world and determined to make Beccy’s prediction come true.

Born and raised in rural Victoria, Kaitlyn’s love for music came at a very early age. Soaking up the music that was being played around her while growing up, they inspired her to begin writing her own songs at the age of 8.

Kaitlyn is a graduate of both the junior and senior CMAA Academy of Country Music and was awarded Australian Youth Songwriter of the Year in 2012 and again in 2018. Personal highlights also include performing at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café and Honky Tonk Central in 2016 and receiving an endorsement from Maton Guitars.

She has been developing her craft under the guidance of producer and mentor, Lee Bradshaw, and has worked with some of the best in the business including supporting artists such as Casey Donovan, Beccy Cole and Andrew Swift. Kaitlyn also had the pleasure of touring with Carter & Carter on their Taste of Tamworth Tour.

Katie Bates - Promo Photo 2


Katie Bates’ songs brim with honesty and more than a hint of grunge and grit, bringing a rebellious yet eloquent attitude to the table that is seldom seen in the Americana-roots scene - a fire in the belly that simmers beneath a sweet surface of a gifted storyteller. After her 2018 debut release New Gold, she has toured around Australia, most recently supporting Hannah Aldridge (US) and is now getting ready to release her debut full-length album, produced by Lachlan Bryan and Damian Cafarella.



Nashville's newest one to watch up-and-coming singer-songwriter Katrina Burgoyne was raised in Gunnedah, regional New South Wales Australia, the home also of Victoria Secret model, Miranda Kerr. Katrina’s Australian successes include three top 10 charting Australian country singles, two CMAA Golden Guitar nominations, and a Top 10 ARIA charting album. As a songwriter Katrina has secured indie and major label cuts across three continents (North America, Australia and the UK) and four countries (Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK), and her songs have topped the iTunes charts in New Zealand, Australia, the Shazam chart in Ireland and featured on Fresh Country and New Nashville Spotify playlists. “Katrina is hands down one of the hardest working and best songwriters Australia has seen or produced in a long time. It makes perfect sense that she continues her journey and growth in Nashville amongst the best in the world.” Catherine Britt

Kevin Bennett


Kevin Bennett, is the well-respected singer-songwriter with Sydney roots band The Flood, CMAA Golden Guitar winner, ARIA nominee (2006 with The Flood for Best Group, and 2011 with Kasey Chambers for Vocal Collaboration), writer of relevant, contemporary Australian music containing elements of Blues, rock and country, teller of stories of where he's from and where he might be going. In 2005, Kevin discovered that he had Aboriginal heritage and belonged to the Kamilaroi tribe of Northern New South Wales. Since then he has been involved in several Indigenous songwriting / musical skills and mentoring projects with Tamworth Regional Council, APRA Ambassador, CMAA Academy, The DAG Songwriting Retreats and the Jimmy Little Foundation. In the recent past KB has also been part of Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, a harmony-driven alt-country trio with two successful albums and Golden Guitars for Best Group and Alternative Album at the 2017 Golden Guitar awards and Vocal Collaboration with Karl Broadie in 2019. Kevin Bennett and The Flood’s 2019 offering, Blood Red Ties is concerned with family, roots, country and ALL the ties that bind. It speaks to, and is informed by, the Australian landscape and the people of this wide, brown land. The band received the 2020 Golden Guitar for Best Group. KB is a popular co-writer having penned songs with Troy Cassar-Daley, Ian Moss, Shane Nicholson, Felicity Urquhart, Lyn Bowtell, Broderick Smith, and many more. His song Paul Kelly's Blues was nominated for APRA Song of the Year. KB's solo acoustic shows shine a light on the essence of his songs as he takes the audience on an unpredictable musical ride where anything can, and will, happen.

Kora Naughton


At just 18, Kora Naughton is proving herself as an artist with drive and determination.

The self taught musician, singer & songwriter attended her first Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2017 and was accepted into the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music just months later.

Her first single, “Wrong”, hit charts all around Australia and earned her the title of 2017 Southern Stars Rising Female Artist. It was quickly followed by the hits “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” (co-written with David Carter), “Ride or Die” and the murder mystery single & video, “Ravenswood Lane”.

Reminiscent of Kasey Chambers and Catherine Britt she has garnered support from industry heavy weights including Stuart Coupe and Henry Wagons. Kora has also performed alongside Mick Thomas (Weddings Parties Anything), Catherine Britt, James Blundell & Bill Chambers and invited to perform at major festivals.

Kora released her debut album, “Ride or Die” in July 2018. Her single, “Speechless”, has generated over 50 thousand streams on Spotify. It is further proof we are witnessing one of the most exciting new talents on the Australian Music scene.

She is currently working on tracks for her second album with producers including Rod Motby and Shane Nicholson.

Kristy Cox


Australia’s Queen of Bluegrass – Kristy Cox – enters the new decade with a 2020 Golden Guitar Award, a Top 5 US single debut and a brand new album, “No Headlights”, which dropped in February.

Kristy has been consistently honing her craft since a young age and through her hard work and commitment - has received major support from key radio & television - as well as from her industry peers. Upon signing her first international record deal, Kristy moved to the US in 2013. The album "Living For the Moment" received much acclaim while she stepped things up on 2016's "Part of Me" - proving she is an artist of class and longevity.

She has performed alongside some of the biggest names in the business and toured across Australia, Europe & the USA and is an IBMA nominee in the US and a Southern Stars and dual Golden Guitar Award winner here in Australia.

Kristy’s last album, “Ricochet”, debuted as a Billboard #1 in 2018 and picked up back to back Golden Guitar Awards for Best Bluegrass Release in 2019 (“Ricochet”) and 2020 (“Yesterday’s Heartache”).

Her currently single is a collaboration with the legendary Tommy Emmanuel – “Finger Picking Good”.

Lachlan Bryan


Lachlan Bryan is proud to call himself a Tamworth veteran, having first hit town with his band The Wildes in 2009. Since then, he and the band have released four records, picked up a Golden Guitar for Alt Country Album of the Year and traveled the world, making a second home in Europe – which is where they would be now if not for Covid-19.

Shelley _ Lawrie Minson
LAWRIE MINSON (See Shelley & Lawrie Minson)
Lindsay Butler OAM


Lindsay is Australia's greatest country guitar player of his generation. He has over 50 years as a professional musician, over 30 successful solo albums and more than a thousand recording projects enlisting the services of the Lindsay Butler guitar sound. His talent has well and truly been recorded. There is very little that Lindsay hasn’t achieved within the Australian country music industry from all the major awards to working with the best in the business. He’s a capped producer, respected personality, successful businessman and sought after musician. Lindsay's won three Golden Guitars as a recording artist in his own right and as a producer. He’s been awarded all the most highly sought after industry awards in Australia, The Living Legend Award, TSA Tex Morton Award, inducted into the Hands of Fame and onto The Wall of Honour and in 2007 was elevated to the Roll of Renown. The legendary Lindsay Butler received his Order of Australia medal in 2008 for services to The Australian country music industry.

Lizzie Steadman


Lizzie Steadman, is an Aboriginal singer-songwriter with an ability to tell a story through her songwriting and empowering vocals. She incorporates soul, folk, blues and country into the music she plays and writes. She grew up in a small country town, near Tamworth NSW and was introduced to country music by her dad who always played and sang with the children when they were young. As an example of her determination, she taught herself to play guitar and it has always been her constant companion wherever she has been, in her life adventures. Lizzie has had a varied life from living in Far North Queensland, to being a Jillaroo on some of Northern Territory's largest cattle stations, an Aged Care Nurse at Mutitjulu (Uluru), Nursing at Tamworth and now working as a caseworker assisting with disadvantaged youths. These life experiences have taught Lizzie how to relate to people and care for people despite their different backgrounds and ways of thinking. She has translated her life experiences into her songs and is able to comfortably sing a wide selection of genres. Lizzie was awarded the Troy Cassar-Daley Indigenous scholarship to attend the CMAA Academy of Country Music in January 2018. Lizzie was a finalist in the Indigenous women category for the ZONTA international women’s day awards, and has continued to inspire, empower and give strength to women through her music. She attended The DAG Sheep Station’s Songwriters’ Retreat in July 2018 and was a grand finalist in the 2019 Toyota Star Maker. Some artists who have influenced her music are Eva Cassidy, Patty Griffin, Bob Dylan and Paul Kelly among many others. In 2018 and 2019, Lizzie released two singles, This Could Be and Here We Go Again, including a film clip for the latter.

Luke O_Shea_Credit_Toby Burrows


Laureate, Australian singer-songwriter, Luke O’Shea carries on the proud and ancient tradition of singing up country. Drawing inspiration from the humorous and heartbreaking, O’Shea crafts and delivers his celebrated songs to connect with his audiences on a surprising deeper level. Throughout his 25 years of making music, Luke has been awarded a number of prestigious awards including 11 Golden Guitars, two APRA Country Song of the Year and twice named the Australian Independent Artist of the Year. With eight albums and numerous chart successes, Luke’s songs and lyrics have also been included in the NSW and Vic Higher School Certificate (HSC) curriculum. However, it is his natural larrikin humour and powerful live shows that make Luke O’Shea a live music festival favourite.



Lyn together with her husband Phil and grandson Tom, feature in Hats Off To Ballads at the Oasis Hotel.

Marc Jackson


Sometimes you don’t fully appreciate the quality of a voice until you strip everything away. Marc Jackson is certainly one musician who captivates the moment the first chord is struck. This singer-songwriter revels in colouring outside the lines, and while maintaining a true respect for artists such as John Fogerty, Chris Stapleton, and Eddie Vedder, Marc has an ability to make any song his own. Marc’s multi-octave vocal range and smooth and melodic guitar style sets the platform for something special. Marc complements these artists with a perfect blend of his own original material. With incisive lyrics and hook-laden melodies, Marc Jackson is an artist dedicated to giving the audience everything they seek, and more.


From music teacher at Oxley High School by day to drummer whenever required, Matt joins the band for the bush ballad concert at the Oasis Hotel.

Matt Scullion


When the king of talk back radio Ray Hadley plays your single four times in one sitting you can’t help but feel like you might be onto something. Matt of course is talking about his no 1 charting song Aussie As which was released late last year to rave reviews. Matt is known in the industry as a songwriter to the stars having his songs recorded by the likes of Lee and Tania Kernaghan, Sara Storer, Adam Harvey and Cold Chisel to name but a few- 20 of those going to the #1 spot on the country music charts. Songwriting has always been a passion of Matt’s and when he heard Our Backyard announced as the winner of Song Of The Year at the 2018 Golden Guitar awards in Tamworth, he literally floated from his chair to the stage to rapturous applause. Matt joined co-writers Travis Collins and Amber Lawrence in an acceptance speech, one he had been rehearsing all his life. It was the seventh time he had been nominated but his first win. Originally hailing from the NSW South Coast, Matt has spent most of his musical life on the road. From Ulladulla to Darwin and from Newcastle to Nashville, Matt’s definitely earned his stripes as a performer and is excited to once again be out on tour promoting his new 10-track album and latest single Slanguage. Matt’s songs really capture the spirit of this beautiful country and perfectly sum up the Aussie sense of humour and the characters that live in it.

Melanie Dyer


Singer-songwriter Melanie Dyer is currently relishing breakout success with her pop- embellished country bop Memphis T-Shirt. The song was released in November 2019 and was swiftly added to playlists on HIT & Nova Networks and over 100 regional stations around Australia. In February 2020, Melanie sold out her first-ever Sydney headline show at the Oxford Art Factory. She burst onto the scene with startling vibrancy. Her debut EP laid a solid foundation and produced chart-topping singles Lifetime, Busy Doing Nothing and All You Need to Know About Me. In 2017 Melanie released her debut album Fresh with the title track an established #1 hit that occupied the top spot on the Official Australian Country Airplay chart for five consecutive weeks while the accompanying video went #1 on Australia’s Country Music Channel (CMC). Follow up single Save My Cents, a song Melanie penned alone, also shot to the top of both radio and CMC charts and was announced a Top 10 finalist in the International Songwriting Competition in 2018. Dyer has played CMC Rocks Festival three times and in 2019 she rocked the main stage as one of the youngest artists to ever do so. Melanie recently played a second ‘writers round’ at Nashville’s Iconic ‘Bluebird Café‘ and has opened shows for Aussie artists Brad Cox, The McClymonts, Adam Eckersley & Brooke McClymont, James Reyne and Diesel.

Patrick Wilson w Georgia State Line



Pete Denahy-Sitting-2019


When Pete Denahy talks about his own show, he says, “It’s not rocket science; I’m not the best singer, fiddle player or guitar picker in the world, but as far as I know, no one else is doing my show.” Which is true; there isn’t another show like it. Pete takes you on a journey that travels from the gold rush days of the mid 19th century to buying toilet paper at your local supermarket. It’s perhaps not a show formula many managers would suggest their acts follow, but it seems to work for Pete. He blends fiddle tunes, bluegrass style original songs and madcap comedy to provide the audience with an escape from reality most of them feel is worth their while. Outside showing Australia wide through the year, Pete also hosts music tours to Japan twice a year to explore the bluegrass scene from Hiroshima to Tokyo.


Phil together with his wife Lyn and grandson Tom, feature in Hats Off To Ballads at the Oasis Hotel.

Sally-Anne Whitten


Funky country songstress, Sally-Anne Whitten was born into country music. She’s toured Europe and the USA, won TIARA, ICMA and international songwriting awards, and performed at Australia’s finest music festivals. With five albums and top 10 singles under her belt, she’s won fans from all over the world with her blues and soul fused tunes. Her last album Burgundy street paid homage to her love for New Orleans. She is currently working on a new single for release this year.



From humble beginnings in southern Queensland, SaltbushSix members have backed artists ranging from Lee and Tania Kernaghan and James Blundell, to Doc Neeson, Trisha Yearwood, Big House and, Slim Dusty. So pivotal was their talent, skill and dedication, the band became the launch pad for the most successful global act to come out of Australia in the new millennium – Keith Urban.

The members of SaltbushSIx were Keith Urban’s original backing band, from the inception of his Australian recording career right through to the first deal he signed in the cradle of country music, Nashville Tennessee.

These members are Peter Clarke, Marlon Holden, Brad ‘Hoola’ Hooper and Allan Cameron. In 2018 the band decided to record a new album of their own material and brought on board a young award- winning vocalist, Darcy Crawford. Together with the legendary musician and producer extraordinaire, Mark Moffatt, they have created a fantastic new album titled ‘Beyond The Ranch’ which was released in July 2019. The band is committed to bring this new material to audiences around the country and excited about what the future holds for them.

Shaza Leigh


Shaza Leigh is the epitome of success in the Australian country music business as a singer, songwriter, musician and entrepreneur. Shaza the singer is a versatile vocalist achieving National Top 10 success with self-penned hits in the 90s like I'm Not Sorry, Let Him Down Easy and recent hits, Farmhouse By The Sea, Jibadgee and her most recent #1 hit Where Our Heart Lives. Shaza's won Qld Female Vocalist of the Year for 11 consecutive years with four National Female titles since the inception of the awards. The songwriter has had over 300 songs published resulting in two National Songwriter Of The Year titles, one Composer of the Year title, five TSA National Salute Awards (including Song of the Year) plus numerous nominations in the Golden Guitar Awards, People's Choice Awards and Bush Laureates. The musician has played on over 200 major Australian album releases and toured with multiple professional roadshows. Surprisingly, the entrepreneur is astoundingly impressive, amassing one of the most successful and diverse empires within the Australian country music industry. Her dedication to the industry, the music and mentoring new talent has been invaluable to many of today’s country stars. Recognition for her outstanding contribution and years of service to country music came with the Tamworth Industry Award and The Akubra Hat Award. Shaza's also been inducted into The Women's Wall of Fame, The Australian Country Music Wall of Honour and the Hands of Fame in Tamworth.



Tamworth based Shelley and Lawrie Minson play a mix of Honky Tonk, Rockabilly and 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. Australian major festival spots include Ballarat Beat, Parkes Elvis Festival, Gympie Muster and Cooly Rocks. They have also played in Las Vegas for the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. Shelley released her debut album Rockability in 2017 and has achieved widespread success with her style of music and has also become well known for her individual retro style. Shelley has just released a new single Small Talk which is a duet with Indian country music legend Bobby Cash. Lawrie is a battle veteran of the Australian music scene with more than 40 years of professional playing experience. His work credentials are a who’s who’ of Australian Music – Jimmy Barnes, Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty, Ross Wilson and recently Andrew Farriss (INXS). Lawrie has four Golden Guitars and in January 2019 was the recipient of the CMAA Musician of the Year at the Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth.


Australian War Memorial director Dr Brendan Nelson described Simply Bushed’s award-winning single, Raise Your Glass, as “a beautifully evocative gift to the nation”. Comprised of Chris Rieger, Paul Grierson, John Healey, Hugh Curtis, and Dave Roberts, the band’s speciality is singing their original songs about the stories that form Australia’s history as well as the traditional songs that we all grew up with. Simply Bushed has grown from their humble beginnings to be an Australian musical experience. The award-winning Sydney band has won accolades including Anzac Song of the Year, Song of the Year in the Ballad section of the SongsAlive Australia Song Comp, have had multiple finalist positions in the Golden Guitar Awards, been named Country Music People’s Choice Awards winners numerous times, and are Battle of the Bush Bands winners. Simply Bushed has appeared at festivals including the Gympie Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Mud Bulls and Music, Music in the Mulga, Blue Water Festival and the Bunyip Festival and have toured Germany, with another European tour in the works.


Country music just sounds better when a family sings it. That’s where it all began: mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all huddled together, picking and singing on a porch in the twilight. That’s why when The French Family launch into the bittersweet ache of a classic or the startling tenderness of one of their self-penned original songs, the hairs on country music loving necks stand up, and we instinctively––sometimes tearfully––recognise this father, mother, and son as the real thing. Touring over the last almost 20 years as Camille and Stuie, the husband-and-wife duo became beloved in Australia. Stuie is a monster player with chops that sublimely meld the virtuosity and instinct of jazz with the clear tone and restraint of American hillbilly roots music. Camille holds a once-in-a-generation voice: somehow both crisply expressive and immeasurably rich and smooth, she can sit back to soothe in a pocket before jumping out to thrill. Now based in Nashville and with the addition of middle son Sonny on stage, The French Family is acclimating to life stateside––deep roots in tow.

The Mason Boys_G5A3065 2-643


The Mason Boys (TMB) aren’t your usual country band. They will shake the foundations with pure energy and the excitement of modern Country/Rock. Add some tender and heartfelt country ballads, and well known country/rock covers, and you have the outfit for all occasions. TMB are an independent Country/Rock band from the outskirts of Melbourne with many years of experience on the road and in the studio. The band has developed a unique sound with a dynamic front man, punchy guitar tones supporting their multi-harmony vocal delivery, and a tight groove generated from the engine room. At this year’s Tamworth Country Music festival, the band was voted the Most Popular Independent Band by the Independent Country Music Association. This is a result of years of attending the festival; starting off busking in Peel St, and playing on the main stage in the busking finals; to playing at some of the best venues in town, and the FanZone stage in the CBD. The band has teamed up with the Australian Horizons Foundation, to help raise funds for rural communities suffering from hardship, by bringing some fun and old-fashioned entertainment. This is close to the heart of the band members with all having strong connections with living on the land.

The New Graces


Melanie Horsnell has been described by The Sydney Morning Herald as having a voice of ‘the utmost delicateness’. She has released over 10 albums and has toured with Glen Hansard and the Frames, Jason Mraz, Bernard Fanning, Lou Rhodes, Slaid Cleaves and Sarah Blasko as well as touring solo throughout Europe and Australia. Melanie has written songs with Wendy Matthews and Catherine Britt and for film and television. She has just returned from showcasing at the International Folk Alliance in Montreal. Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Kate Burke has won much acclaim as a member of folk duo Kate and Ruth and Irish/Australian traditional band Trouble In The Kitchen. Geologist, science communication expert, session guitarist, producer and composer of music for film and television, Kate brings a swag of experience to the trio. She has performed at festivals and venues across Australia and internationally alongside artists such as Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty). Robyn Martin grew up in the remote coastal desert town of Ceduna, SA. Like all her siblings, Robyn was called Spin by her teachers at Ceduna Area School after her father’s nickname. She started playing bass at age 13 in family band Spineffex. The band played country festivals and SA pubs and clubs. At age 16, Robyn found herself adjusting to culture shock in the alternative culture hub of Lismore, taking time off school to tour with her sister, Jodi Martin, opening for The Waifs, Wendy Matthews, Arlo Guthrie, Glen Hansard and The Frames. Robyn is a sought after session bass player who has worked with UK bluegrass outfit Flats and Sharps, Claire Anne Taylor, Heath Cullen, Jodi Martin, and Kate Fagan.

The Viper Creek Band


Since early 2011, The Viper Creek Band have been delivering an exciting new sound to Australian country music. In 2014, the band released their debut album Kickin' Up Dust which claimed the #2 spot on the ARIA Australian Country Albums chart. Their Golden Guitar nominations for Group or Duo of the Year in 2015, 2016, 2017, and the coveted Oz Artist of the Year in 2016 through the fan-voted CMC Awards, leaves little doubt The Viper Creek Band have a well established, loyal following. Viper Creek have toured the USA and Canada playing festivals alongside country music’ s biggest stars. In 2016, VCB released their highly anticipated second album Just Press Play (Universal Music/Dog Whistle) which Country Update magazine called ‘the soundtrack to the best night out of the best summer of your life’. The album debuted in the ARIA top and spawned four top 10 singles. In 2018, vocalist Damien joined Adam Brand on his record breaking ‘Milestones Tour’ he also won a CMC award with his side project Tailgate Drive with Troy Kemp from McAlister Kemp. The brand new record Beautiful Destruction was released in early 2019 and includes the #1 hit single Green Light and fan favorite Australian Girls. The album debuted at #1 on the Australian Country ARIA charts. The Viper Creek Band were finalists in Group or Duo of the Year at the 2020 Golden Guitars.



The Weeping Willows’ Laura Coates and Andrew Wrigglesworth are a couple of old souls, steeped in Bluegrass tradition and draped in Gothic Americana imagery. They regale their audiences with stories of sunshine and romance, God and The Devil, murder and decay. That kind of description might make them sound like some carefully contrived concept-act but there’s something truly different about The Weeping Willows: they really mean it. From 2015 to 2020, The Weeping Willows have been nominated for five CMAA Golden Guitar awards, four Country Music Channel (CMC) awards, Live Act of the Year (Country) in the National Live Music Awards (NLMAs), APRA AMCOS Australian Independent Country Music Single of the Year and Group/Duo of the Year in the ‘Southern Stars’ (Australian Independent Country Music awards), winning three Tamworth Songwriters Association (TSA) awards and were shortlisted in the 2017 and 2019 APRA Professional Development Awards. In recent years they have performed at AmericanaFest (USA), Folk Alliance International (USA) the Maverick Festival (UK), Port Fairy Folk Festival and Queenscliff Music Festival, supported Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real (USA), Hayes Carll (USA), Iris DeMent (USA), Eilen Jewell (USA), Kinky Friedman (USA), Kevin Welch (USA), Shane Nicholson, Bill Chambers and Lachlan Bryan and completed national and international tours in support of their sophomore album, Before Darkness Comes A-Callin’ (2016), which received four-star reviews in Rolling Stone, The Australian and The Music. A Weeping Willows performance, whether live on location or caught on tape will always delight.



For more than 45 years, Tony Kennelly has observed and been a part of Australia’s musical landscape. From his early Sydney roots, he has seen the birth of contemporary Rock n Roll music, through to his ultimate place in the country/ folk scene of 2020. With more than 30 years of life on the land, as an Australian farmer and firefighter, there’s not a lot that Tony hasn’t witnessed and you’ll hear about it in his traditional, folk-infused writing style. His latest offering to the music scene comes in the form of a new single Leave The Gate Open, from his forthcoming album Battlegrounds, which was produced with Shane Nicholson. The album is due for release on September 25, 2020 with an album launch at the 49th Tamworth Country Music Festival in January 2021.



Over the years Australian country music has produced some great voices but not all have embraced the path of the new traditionalist like Travis List. Hailing from South Australia, now a Nashville resident, Travis List has soon become known as one of Australia’s premier male country artists. His songs resonate with authenticity, his voice holds its own with the best of them, and his live shows leave fans remembering why they first fell in love with country music. His main influences range from his father, a true Australian balladeer, Ian List to Merle Haggard and Slim Whitman. Travis perfectly demonstrates what a modern country ought to sound like, thoroughly contemporary yet completely country.


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