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Country Album & Song Finalists Announced

Media release
29 April 2013

Awards to be presented in Gore on May 30

The finalists for the RIANZ Best Country Music Album 2013 have been announced today (29 April) and none is a stranger to music accolades.

Duo Delaney & Marlon, songstress Donna Dean and string band The Eastern have all tasted success at one stage or another during their careers.

Delaney Davidson and Marlon Williams are finalists for ‘Sad but True – The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Vol. 1’. Donna Dean joins the final three for ‘Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts’ while The Eastern makes the list for ‘Hope and Wire’.

Also announced are the finalists for the APRA Best Country Song Award for 2013 with two of the finalists up for both best album and best song.

Jess Shanks, of Best Country Album finalist trio The Eastern, is a finalist for her ballad ‘Wait out the Winter’. Delaney and Marlon have also achieved the coveted accolade of a double finals berth with their hit ‘Bloodletter’. Rob Joass joins the final three for ‘Baggage’.
Rob Joass, originally from Sydney, has been living and performing in New Zealand since 1991. No stranger to the limelight, Joass and his band Hobnail have garnered rave reviews throughout their career being a finalist for APRA Best Country Song Award in 2006 and the Tui for Best Folk Album in 2009.

Both the RIANZ and APRA awards are to be presented on Thursday May 30 at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.

Delaney Davidson of Delaney and Marlon won APRA Best Country Song last year. His songs have been lauded for their honesty and integrity, building him a solid reputation both here and abroad.

‘Sad but True – The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting Vol. 1’ represents Davidson’s first release on a New Zealand label – Lyttelton Records. This record also marks the first release for the label.

Davidson built a career touring the US and Europe and working with the band ‘The Dead Brothers’ and Voodoo Rhythm Records from 2002. He went on to release his first solo album, ‘Rough Diamonds’ in 2007, closely followed by ‘Ghost Songs’ in 2008.

Marlon Williams is the second half of Delaney and Marlon and he has been earning his country-singing-stripes with the band ‘The Unfaithful Ways’. Williams is still in his early 20s and the collaboration has now brought him extensive national and international touring - performing for media and fans throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Donna Dean is a multi-award winning, critically acclaimed songstress, with a creativity critics have compared to that of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.

‘Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts’ is Dean’s seventh solo album release. Having already been featured on Art Hanson’s ‘Best of Americana Albums 2012’, this set is bound to follow in the successful footsteps of Dean’s previous work.

Her list of achievements includes a title cut credit on a Grammy nominated album and an impressive history of working with some of America's song writing legends, including Don Mclean, Russell Smith & The Amazing Rhythm Aces and Willie Nelson – to name a few.

More recently, in 2011 Dean took home both the RIANZ Best Country Music Album and the APRA Best Country Music Song.

‘Hope and Wire’ is The Eastern’s third album. The set debuted at number 11 on the national charts and maintained a top 10 position on the New Zealand artist charts for two months.

Production on the acclaimed set was originally due to start in February 2011 but plans were waylaid by the Christchurch earthquake. The Eastern instead joined with friends to create the charity record ‘The Harbour Union’, which was a Country Music Album finalist last year.

Admired for their dedication to their songs as much as their fans, The Eastern averages more than 200 shows a year and have toured with bluegrass greats Steve Earle and Old Crow Medicine Show.

RIANZ managing director Chris Caddick says the finalists list is very strong.

“Sincere congratulations to the three finalists. These superb albums demonstrate the full spectrum of country music in New Zealand in 2013. The musicianship and in particular the song writing on all three are world class. The artists deserve great credit for richly enhancing the canon of New Zealand country music.”

Ant Healey, Director of New Zealand Operations for APRA says:

"The songs produced by the finalists are true gems, crafted in the great traditions of country music, full of heart, soul and hard work. They are all worthy of our celebration," says Healey.

Gore’s Gold Guitar week is in its 39th year and attracts more than 5,000 country music fans during the festival. For more information visit:


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.

About APRA: The Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) was established in 1926 and now administers the performing and communication rights of 70,000+ composer, songwriter and music publisher members in New Zealand and Australia. Public performances of music include music used in pubs, clubs, fitness centres, shops, cinemas, festivals, whether performed live, on CDs or played on the radio or television. Communication of music covers music used for music on hold, music accessed over the internet or used by television or radio broadcasters.

APRA’s objective is to ensure composers/songwriters and publishers are rewarded whenever, and wherever, their musical works are played, performed or reproduced and help New Zealand & Australian music consumers get access to the world’s musical repertoire.

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