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NZ Country Music Awards Finalists

May 4, 2006

2006 New Zealand Country Music Awards Finalists Announced

Seasoned Country music pros and promising newcomers are honoured at this year’s New Zealand Country Music Awards.

Two awards are presented on the night; the APRA Best Country Music Song and the RIANZ Tui award for Best Country Music Album.

And the finalists are:

RIANZ Best Country Music Album: Jacqui Watson – Uncut; Ron Mitchell – Low Down Country and Shane Warner – Absolutely.

APRA Best Country Music Song: Aaron Jury for “Wyre St”; Jools Topp for “Tamworth” and Robert Joass for his song “Dead in the Water”.

The winners will be announced at the New Zealand Country Music Awards to be held on Friday June 2 in Gore as part of the Gold Guitar celebrations. The awards feature the crème of talent from the New Zealand Country music scene performing alongside international guests.

“Country music is very much alive and well in New Zealand as the standard of these finalists shows,” says 2006 New Zealand Music Awards spokesperson Adam Holt.

“It’s fantastic to see our Country artists producing great music, whether they’re based in Nashville or Taranaki or Gore! Every year Gold Guitar week reflects the enthusiasm of Country music devotees, when they come together to acknowledge the artists. Presenting the Tui at the biggest Country music festival in New Zealand makes it a very special occasion and draws well-deserved attention to our local Country artists.”

Gold Guitar week convenor Philip Geary says the New Zealand Country Music Awards are a major highlight within Gold Guitar week. “With support from RIANZ and APRA the New Zealand Country Music Awards showcase what up-and-coming Country music artists can aspire to.”

“The number of entries, particularly for APRA Best Country Music Song, and the quality of those songs illustrate a vibrant part of the New Zealand music scene,” adds APRA director Anthony Healey.

Attracting more than 5,000 country music fans during the festival, Gold Guitar week is in its 33rd year, and also includes the Gold Guitar Awards and the MLT Songwriting Awards.

For more information visit:

APRA Best Country Music Song Finalists

- At 27, Aaron Jury is a relative newcomer to the country music scene. He wowed judges of the Gold Guitar and MLT Songwriting awards at Gore last year and has subsequently taken his first steps on the international circuit.

- Multi-talented performers and songwriters the Topp Twins will not be strangers to Country music fans Jools Topp’s song “Tamworth” is about the major Australian Country music event The Tamworth Country Music Festival, where they have become a sellout sensation.

- Robert Joass, originally a Sydneysider, but based in Wellington since ‘91, has been writing songs for more than 25 years and contributes the bulk of original material for both his current bands, the Celtic/Country influenced Hobnail Boots and the alt. country flavoured Shot Band.

RIANZ Best Country Music Album (Tui award) Finalists

- Working full time on a farm in the Maniatoto surrounded by breathtaking scenery gave Jacqui Watson all the inspiration she needed to get started as a country singer/songwriter. Her debut album Uncut is the fruit of winning a recording contract in Nashville last year.

- Ron Mitchell is also a southerner born and bred. Well known throughout Southland and Otago, his debut album Low Down Country showcases a resonant baritone voice that is eminently suited to singing pure country.

- A consummate performer, Nashville-based Shane Warner’s finalist status follows accolades received in the US – including a string of awards at the North American Country Music Association International Awards last year.


About APRA: The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) is a non-profit organisation that collects royalties on behalf of its 42,000+ members. APRA promotes the value of music, licenses music users and distributes royalties to music writers.

About RIANZ: The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand Inc (RIANZ) is a non-profit organisation representing major and independent record producers, distributors and recording artists throughout New Zealand. RIANZ works to protect the rights and promote the interests of creative people involved in the New Zealand recording industry.


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