Expatriate Australasian country superstar Keith Urban has finally scored major airplay in Australia - more than a decade after his debut CD in 1991.

Urban, now 37, leaped the mainstream metropolitan moat at MMM-FM in Melbourne after being best male vocalist at the 2004 CMA Awards in Nashville.

The garrulous guitarslinger also scored major video exposure on Ten Network show Video Hits for his #1 single Days Go By from his fifth huge selling album Be Here.

The moat leaping followed fast in the slipstream of the recent Nine Network special on Urban in the U.S.

CLICK HERE for our Urban story in the Diary on October 13

It's perfect timing for Urban who headlines St Kilda Palais on Saturday February 26.

Urban's third album Keith Urban scored platinum status, fourth disc Golden Road double platinum and current Grammy-nominated album Be Here is platinum after only 10 weeks.

Be Here sold 148,000 copies in its first week of release leaving him just behind Green Day's American Idiot that debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and Nelly's Suit at #2 in its second week of release.

Days Go By - his 5th #1 hit and eighth consecutive #5 smash - also topped U.S. charts for four weeks and preceded his new hit single You're My Better Half.

Ironically, his success has also been a gold mine for fellow expatriates Barry Coburn and singing spouse Jewel Blanch Coburn - a fellow child prodigy as a singing actress in Hollywood and beyond.

The Coburns have promoted Urban's lucrative publishing catalogue since his arrival in Music City in 1992.


Urban competes with veteran singing Texan actor Shotgun Willie Nelson and chart topper Gretchen Wilson who perform Myer Music Bowl from February 25-27 on the Melbourne International Music Festival.

The other major country artist on the bill is internationally acclaimed band The Waifs who are on Harvard educated MBA and banjo wizard Alison Brown's Compass Label in the U.S.
This seasonal country music flood over summer is good for fans and a dilemma for seasoned Sydney promoter Michael Chugg.

Chugg is promoting the triumphant homecoming tour for Urban and bringing Shotgun Willie and Redneck Woman Gretchen here for the Myer Bowl spectacular.

Urban competes with Willie, 71, and Wilson, 32, for the country music bucks on a musical shootout.

Now, if Urban wins more commercial airplay he would sell out the Palais and Chugg would not be stranded like a Van Diemen's Land whale.

That would enable Chugg to add Urban to his Bowl gig for a cameo in the afternoon.

Instead he will be flying in from Adelaide to ramp up the Palais box office - his latest single You're My Better Half soared into Billboard top 10 in the slipstream of his #1 hit Days Gone By.

The other alternative is a Sabbath cameo en route to his evening gig in Canberra.

Urban may be an energetic guitar slinger but that might test his stamina and personal trainer who might perceive it as character building.


Newcastle novitiate Catherine Britt is making a whirlwind tour of NSW on the eve of release of her second album Too Far Gone.

Catherine, 19, spends Christmas with her parents Steve and Anne, before a U.S. tour to promote a new single and the album.

This follows an extensive U.S. radio campaign that landed debut U.S. single Upside Of Being Down at #34 on the U.S. charts.

CMT aired the world premiere of her video for the song on December 2 with added distinction of inviting Catherine into the studio for the first airing - a privilege usually for established stars.

But she became the first new artist invited for a world premiere on CMT.

The video was filmed in the legendary Tootsies bar on Lower Broadway in Nashville.

During the year Catherine spent time on her tour bus and planes visiting radio stations and media in about 60 cities where she performed acoustic shows for radio stations in a variety of forums from outdoor shows to their listeners to in their conference room to the staff or on her tour bus to important program directors.

Catherine worked to set up release of the album and won hearts and attention of many of the most influential people in country music.

Commercial radio has ignored Britt in her homeland so her whirlwind tour is promoted by PAY-TV show CMC.

She is performing four dates in NSW - Sydney Basement - January 6 with co-producer Bill Chambers, Newcastle - January 7, Ettalong Beach - January 14 and Tamworth on January 16.

CLICK HERE for a recent feature on Catherine in the DIARY on October 21.


Chart topping Canadian chanteuse Terri Clark won't venture south of the Murray Dixon line in Albury on her third Australian tour in April.

CMC is also promoting Clark's tour after she was ignored by commercial radio.

Clark played Geelong and Horsham on her most recent tour but lack of airplay meant lower ticket sales than expected.

Terri is touring to promote her sixth album - a Greatest Hits - and her single Girls Lie Too.

She starts her tour on Wednesday April 6 at Albury PAC and also plays local star Lee Kernaghan's Great Western Hotel in Rockhampton on Saturday April 16.

See TONK GIRL'S gig guide for full details.

The Montreal born minstrel's adventures have been chronicled in her songs and the book Phases & Stages.

Clark is indebted to Melbourne bred diva Tina Arena for her song Unsung Heroes.

And Sydney writers Vanessa Corish and Paul Begaud for their song Now That I Found You - a top 5 hit for Clark.

"Tina's song is a real tribute to heroes, people who stand behind others and don't always get all the credit," Clark, 37, told Nu Country on her previous tour.

CLICK HERE for a Clark feature from the DIARY on December 15, 2003.


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