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Country Album & Song Finalists Announced

23 April 2013

Country Album & Song Finalists Announced

Finalists for the 2014 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album and APRA Best Country Music Song have been announced today (April 23) and it’s female songbirds who dominate the line-up.

Finalists in the Best Country Music Album are Waimate’s Kaylee Bell for her second album Heart First while Wanaka’s Anna van Riel makes the list for Whistle and Hum and Auckland-based Marian Burns joins the line-up for The Paris Sessions.

With ‘Finger in Too Many Pies’, Marian Burns joins New Zealand country legend Tami Neilson who has two songs in the running for Best Country Music Song - her solo effort ‘Texas’ together with ‘Whiskey & Kisses’, a collaboration with Delaney Davidson.

Both awards are to be presented on Friday 23 May at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.

At only 25 years old rising country star Kaylee Bell is already winning fans here and across the ditch. In 2013 she won Best Female Artist at the National Country Music Awards in Hamilton and later became the first Kiwi since Keith Urban (1990) to win Australia’s Toyota Star Maker title.

Anna van Riel has just returned from a successful three-month North American Sustainable House Concert Tour promoting Whistle and Hum. She travelled through Canada and the west coast of the United States performing in homes designed with an eco-conscious approach to living.

Energetic fiddler Marian Burns’ album The Paris Sessions was recorded in ‘The City of Light’ with renowned producer Jean Alain Roussell who has previously worked with the likes of Sting and Cat Stevens. The record has already been awarded Australia’s Best Album by Fiddler as a Soloist at the 2013 Golden Fiddle Awards.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says this year’s finalists have produced some superb country music albums.

“The finalists capture wonderful and emotive performances on three quite distinct records which are a tribute to the strength and versatility of country in New Zealand. Good luck to them all.”

APRA Best Country Music Song finalist Tami Neilson is a fabled country music veteran. As a young girl with the Neilson Family Band she has opened for Johnny Cash and her past three albums have taken home Tuis for Best Country Album.

Neilson’s new album Dynamite! features ‘Texas’ and ‘Whiskey & Kisses’ which are both finalists for APRA’s Best Country Music Song. The latter was collaborated with Delaney Davidson who is no stranger to the country music scene himself. He has won the Best Country Music Song Award twice before and in 2013 he paired with Marlon Williams to win the Best Country Music Album.

APRA AMCOS’ Director of NZ Operations Anthony Healey says New Zealand is lucky to have musicians producing such top quality country songs.

“Honest and exquisitely crafted, the three finalists’ songs reach to the heart of the human experience in a way only country music can.”

Gore’s Gold Guitar week, which hosts the New Zealand Country Music Awards, is in its 40th year and attracts more than 5,000 country music fans during the festival. For more information visit:

For more about Kaylee Bell:
For more about Anna van Riel:
For more about Marian Burns:
For more about Tami Neilson:
For more about Delaney Davidson:

About Recorded Music NZ:
Recorded Music NZ is a non-profit industry representation and licensing organisation for recording artists and their labels. It divides its services into three main areas. The Member Services team delivers projects including the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, the weekly Official NZ Top40 Charts and the Music Grants programme. Public performance and broadcast licensing is administered under the PPNZ Music Licensing banner and the Pro-Music team is dedicated to protecting and promoting the interests of artists and labels across 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 80,000+ 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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