Sally-Anne Whitten

Sally-Anne Whitten 'Not Afraid Of The Dark'

For her first release in two years, Tamworth songbird Sally-Anne Whitten has drawn inspiration from the lighthouse people in her life. Following a dark year where the artist dealt with her mum’s illness, not being able to visit her due to Covid restrictions, loss of all live performances and personal contact with family and friends; 2020 then took her precious mum too.

Despite all the heartbreak, Sally-Anne insists, “I was adamant this had to be a bright, light song. A tribute to all those warrior friends who just keep on keeping on. Legends. I had this idea running around for ages about a song with respect to these people in my life. Those who were unfailingly always there for me when I needed them. And those people are friends and family who had already been or were going through the most incredible hardships in their own lives, but bravely kept their heads up and charged on. They’re so inspiring, they’re not afraid of the dark but also not afraid to help others through the dark.”

Like most, Sally-Anne could at least connect online with not only family and family but also fellow local musician James Craswell (Jimmy Craz Band). Sally-Anne’s co-writer took her half-written song via a rough recording on a smartphone and got the vibe straight away. A gifted singer-songwriter in his own right, James also sang backing vocals on the track. To complete the song, guitarist and producer Alwyn Aurisch put away his trademark slide guitar and added some magic by channelling Mark Knopfler to keep the song on the bright side.

‘Not Afraid Of The Dark’ will be released on Friday April 30th with a launch party that evening at The Press 2340 – Tamworth

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Jason Lee (with Tania Kernaghan)

Jason Lee 'Dust Beneath My Boots' Featuring Tania Kernaghan

‘Dust Beneath My Boots’, the new single from Jason Lee was co-written with Chicago-based songwriter Timothy Gleason; with more of the songwriter’s work featuring on Jason’s upcoming album. The track was recorded at Hillbilly Hut Studios with long-time producer Simon Johnson and production credits are shared by both Jason and Simon. Early into the recording process, Jason knew this song needed to be a duet and as fate would have it, Tania Kernaghan instantly agreed.

When asked about his new single, Jason reflects “When I first heard it, it reminded me of a time when I just wanted to run away from the world and feel some dirt and dust on the soles of my feet and feel at peace with no noise and fresh air. A few years ago, I suffered with my mental health and this is how I reconnected with the world. As a child I could never stay still or be in one place for too long and the city is so fast paced and when I’m out in the country or on the road I just feel at peace and relaxed. Being out in the open air and countryside is an amazing feeling of difference - emotionally, psychologically, and physically. It somehow just slows you down and allows you to breath. And that’s exactly where and what this track is about”.

The Golden Guitar nominated artist cites legends Merle Haggard, Slim Dusty and George Jones through to current country music kings Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean as his musical heroes. Enjoying his own success on the live music scene, Jason has performed at the Gympie Music Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Boyup Brook Country Music Festival, and opening shows for some of Australia’s much-loved artists including The McClymonts, Travis Collins and The Sunny Cowgirls.

The Academy Of Country Music graduate has been playing guitar since the age of 9, scored his first talent quest win at just 12 years old and released his self-titled debut EP in 2008. Subsequent single releases all found chart success including ‘A Memory’ remaining in the #1 spot on Hot Country Queensland for 3x weeks and Top 10 on the KIX Country Hottest 20; ‘Up A Creek’ - #1 on Hot country Queensland for 6x weeks, #6 on Country Songs Top 40 Australia Airplay Chart and Top 10 on KIX Country Hottest 20. ‘Dust Beneath My Boots’ is the 3rd single from the forthcoming album, following on from 2020 releases, ‘She’s In It’ in August and ‘Whiskey Kinda Night’ in November.

‘Dust Beneath My Boots’ will be available on all download/streaming platforms from April 9th, 2021.

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Jemma Beech

Jemma Beech - 'Gravy Train'

Jemma Beech is back with a new single, ‘Gravy Train’. The follow-up to the 2018 debut album “That’s Just Me”, was inspired by the singer-songwriter’s will to be independent. The new song was written by Jemma while she was living in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and driving haul tracks in the mines; something she’d dreamt of doing for years.

The Senior and Junior Country Music Academy graduate shares, ‘Gravy Train’ signifies the breaking of the mould. Being free of the pressure, being sure of myself in what I desire in life and that every person has a story”. The single was produced by Tamworth’s Rusty Crook who also produced her debut album after the pair met on tour with The Sunny Cowgirls.

Sharing a hometown, Yanderra NSW, with one of Australia’s greatest songwriters, Joy McKean; Jemma started her country music career at Macarthur Country Music Club in New South Wales, at age 16. After being gifted an acoustic Maton guitar by her parents and attending the 2008 Tamworth Country Music Festival at 15, Jemma regards this as pivotal point in her music career.

“That’s Just Me”, debuted at No.1 on the iTunes Top Country Music Albums chart and No.19 on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Country Albums chart. Other career highlights include being the opening act for Sara Storer and The Sunny Cowgirls on their respective tours, attending the 2015 and 2016 Songwriter Retreats at the DAG Sheep Station in Nundle, NSW and recording her debut album in Nashville, Tennessee.

‘Gravy Train’ will be available on all download/streaming platforms from March 5th, 2021

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Brendan Deehan

Brendan Deehan - '2 HOURS'

Brendan Deehan has worked in the Sydney pub scene for the last 15 years, playing covers as a soloist and part of the duo, Red Light Ruby. Like many artists, he has his dad’s record collection to thank for leading him to country music.

With influences including The Beatles and John Denver to discovering Keith Urban in his 20s, teenage Brendan also loved Nirvana. At a time when grunge music was king, he naturally gravitated to it and even played in a few genre-specific bands.

But the singer-songwriter kept crafting softer acoustic songs geared towards finger-picking and prettier sounds. A natural pull to country music was inevitable. However, a focus on honing his live music skills put a stop to the writing for almost a decade. Fast-forward to 2020, no live gigs and free time meant songwriting was once again the focus.

Self-penned, ‘2 Hours’ is based on the night Brendan met his partner. A discussion during Covid-lockdown about their first date and how the nervous musician took almost two hours to even look at her, lead to this debut single. Brendan and Katy recently welcomed their first child to the family, so celebrating this memory in song is certainly special. ‘2 Hours’ was mostly recorded in Brendan’s home studio with some fine-tuning and mixing by the award-winning Matt Fell.

‘2 Hours’ will be available on all download/streaming platforms from February 19th, 2021

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Sky Valley Band

SKY VALLEY BAND - 'SO FINE'

‘So Fine’ the new single from Tamworth’s Sky Valley Band was written and recorded by all four members. Penned after lead vocalist Karen ‘Kaz’ Bevitt observed those around her and noticed that as is often the case, opposites do attract. The follow-up to 2020’s ‘Maybe The Moon’ shows just how different two people can be but somehow they fall in love and it just works!

The country rock band took advantage of the spare time that 2020 presented them and focused on writing and recording. This coming year will see Sky Valley Band release their lockdown best. With so much uncertainty still affecting the entertainment industry the band is focused on bringing their fans some great country music!

“But we're one of kind, you and I, you and I so fine.
Honey take my hand and we'll jump, it's alright, you and I so fine”
Sky Valley Band, 2020

To check out the music video CLICK HERE

‘So Fine’ is available now on all digital/streaming platforms

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Jason Owen

JASON OWEN - 'SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS'

Country music recording artist Jason Owen is gearing up for a massive 2020 festive period with the release of his first ever Christmas single 'So This is Christmas'. Jason recorded the cover of the classic John Lennon & Yoko Ono song to coincide with his charity run for Doin It For Rural Aussie Kids. Jason’s charity raises funds for children doing it tough in regional areas.

Jason says: “I’ve wanted to release this cover version for a while now as the words really resonate with what I’ve been trying to achieve with my charity. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of when this iconic song was first released so I’m honoured to be singing such an impactful, timeless tribute. I also had a group of kids from the Blue Mountains, NSW – one of the bushfire-affected areas – singing the backing tracks which made it even more poignant. I hope it will bring joy to people.”

Jason will shortly embark on an epic drive covering 10,000 kms in 10 days across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria in line with restrictions to personally deliver funds, toys, gifts and groceries to more than 500 children in need, supporting local businesses along the way. Major sponsors include Coles, Big W, Officeworks, Bunnings and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

A proportion of funds raised through sales of 'So This is Christmas' will be donated to Doin It For Rural Aussie Kids.

Bursting onto the Australian music scene in 2012 as runner up of the X-Factor, Jason launched his debut album “Life Is A Highway” which debuted at number one on the ARIA Top 40 Country Albums chart and number five on the ARIA Top 20 Australian Albums chart. He has since released three more albums. “Friday Night” containing his first original hit single ‘Damn Right’; “Proud”, his first all-originals album celebrating his First Nations background and most lately, “Jason Owen Sings John Denver: the 20th Anniversary”.

To view the ‘So This Is Christmas’ music video CLICK HERE 

‘So This is Christmas’ will be available on all leading digital/streaming platforms from Friday November 27

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William Alexander

WILLIAM ALEXANDER - 'RIDIN''

Dad was a guitar playing preacher, his mum a teacher at Pera Bore (a cornerstone community school in Bourke NSW) and music surrounded William Alexander in his formative years. While dad taught young William to sing harmonies in church and gifted him his first guitar by age seven, they differed on their musical heroes. William remembers, “Dad was real big on The Oils (Midnight Oil) whose politics I respected but I preferred the Elvis Presley records mum would listen to”.

The music that helped shape William Alexander the artist, can be credited to an older family friend. Recounting vivid childhood memories William says, “I can still recall sitting at his feet while he played songs on his 12 string guitar and told stories about Slim Dusty and Bob Dylan”.

Releasing the single ‘Ridin’’ was never intended; the original plan, until Australia was put into pandemic lockdown, was to record an album with his new band - a first for this solo performer. Along with the B side ‘Streets Of Forbes’ (a traditional folk song recounting the final days of bushranger Ben Hall – other artists to record the track include The Bushwackers, and Weddings, Parties, Anything), the new music was created when a couple of buddies, regrouped on one side of the border, for a bit of fun in a home recording studio.

As the recordings took place William decided he wanted to champion Australia’s first singing cowboy, Smoky Dawson. “As one of my favourites, I wanted to release one of his songs for personal and moral reasons. Personally, he is a big influence on me as a performer. Morally, I want to always advocate for the Australian landscape and way of life. I want to showcase Australia as a place of romance and inspiration for songs”.
As an artist William knows exactly who he is, he cut his teeth performing mainly traditional American and Australian material from the great folk and country songbooks. His love of the genres was all thanks to the songs by normal people about normal people.

William will always throwback to the greats that came before, but says “I also want the romance and lifestyle of Australia's bush, plains, mountains and deserts as well as the people that care for and work it to get the recognition they deserve”.

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Vanessa Bourne

VANESSA BOURNE - 'YOUNG AT HEART'

‘Young At Heart’ is the new single from Victorian-based artist Vanessa Bourne. The follow-up to ‘Lyin’ Cheatin’ Heart’ released in July, this new single shares the same name of the album released alongside the lead single. Written by the songstress and her producer Curt Ryle, this is a tale of innocent love and most notably young love at any age. It was chosen as the album’s title track because it mentions Vanessa’s favourite artist the legendary, Merle Haggard.

The track was written and recorded in Nashville, USA back in February before our world turned upside. Vanessa has since been stuck in the UK as she was on her way back home to Phillip Island, Vic. Vanessa says, “I miss home terribly, I keep hoping I can come home soon to my little Island”.

The album features 12 new original tracks and is the first collection Vanessa has recorded in the USA country music capital. The singer-songwriter has always loved and performed traditional country music, all thanks to her parents’ avid appreciation of the genre.

The unapologetic classic country artist began performing cover songs in 2014 and transitioned into writing and composing original work in 2017. Fans of Vanessa’s work can be found in Australia, Europe, America and her parents’ homeland of India. Alongside Mr Haggard, Charlie Pride and Patsy Cline round out Vanessa’s musical idols.

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David Schaak

DAVID SCHAAK - 'HONEY POT'

 ‘Honey Pot’ is the latest offering from David Schaak, and the second single from his debut album “Meet My Ghosts”. The song was written in 2017, early into Donald Trump’s presidency, while Schaak was flying back home to Brisbane from a visit to the US. One of the first songs tracked for the album, it inadvertently set the tone for the tunes that followed. And while Schaak didn’t set out to include a politically charged song on his debut album, he perfectly sums it up, “I guess when there's something to say, you have to be ready to say it loud.”

Buy and sell the world, from a golden penthouse While your forked tongue tastes a silver spoon

Born into a name, but are you livin’

Sixty-five floors high, buried in your tomb

You’ve got your hand stuck in the honey pot Full of power and gold

Sneerin’ at the world through your rich man eyes You’ve got your hand stuck in the honey pot

Set in your ways

Because you’re still chasing the money not the soul

While the music video for Honey Pot’ references Trump as the ‘villain’ - history has proven over time immemorial that the song is a reference for countless ‘leaders’; from the business elite to bankers, to royalty and the religious hierarchy – and not just the current US president.

Recalling the studio experience, Schaak says, “I knew it needed big drums and guitar but it couldn't be a straight up rock song – it had to have soul. Once we brought Brendan McMahon's (Tracy McNeil and the Goodlife, Saint Jude) keys and Jen Mize's three-part soul harmonies into the mix I knew we had something great.”

Preparing for this new single, Schaak will undoubtedly be hoping for continued success following in the footsteps of lead single, ‘Lost, Alone And Lonesome’. The Melbourne-born, now Brisbane-based artist was humbled with the response to the song after it enjoyed widespread support on radio stations around Australia including ABC Saturday Night Country, ABC Country, Good Morning Country, KIX Country, 98.9FM, Community Radio Network, with the accompanying music video enjoying a number of appearances on Foxtel’s CMT.

 

‘Honey Pot’ will be available on all major digital platforms on September 15.

Pre-order the song HERE

 

“Meet My Ghosts” will be released November 27, 2020.

David Schaak Press Kit CLICK HERE

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Sky Valley Band

SKY VALLEY BAND - 'MAYBE THE MOON'

Hailing from Tamworth NSW, Sky Valley Band was formed after band members met through various musician networks. Karen ‘Kaz’ Bevitt (vocals), Kurt Larkham (guitar/vocals), Dan Mountain (guitars), Josh Bilbao (bass) and Sam Levich (drums) have now been performing live for five years. Career highlights include the Gympie Music Muster, Groundwater Country Music Festival, opening shows for Eskimo Joe and The Wolfe Brothers and of course the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Lead vocalist Kaz Bevitt had been performing for several years as a freelance bass player and drummer for many Tamworth artists most notably Sally-Anne Whitten and 8 Ball Aitken and has also been fortunate to grace the stage with Gina Jeffreys and Adam Harvey. Her love of country music developed in the 1990s after being captivated by the sounds of The Chicks, Shania Twain, Reba McEntire and many more legendary voices.

As for Kurt Larkham there was no escaping the music industry, he naturally followed into the footsteps of his father and uncles, all very well known to Tamworth locals. Kurt is a multi-instrumentalist lending his talents to keys, banjo and of course guitar and vocals. The Tamworth native was also a member of Missy Lancaster’s touring band in 2019.

‘Maybe The Moon’, the band’s debut single, was given a test run when they performed it live for the very first time during their Eskimo Joe support spot at the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Festival. The track was so well received that the band immediately headed into the studio and its now ready for release.

Written by lead singer Kaz, the song’s inspiration came from a place of longing and final realisation that relationships may at times not be what you expect or are even mutual. We’ve all experienced heartache and seeing a close friend struggle with this, Kaz put pen to paper.

Check out the music video HERE

 

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