The triumphant return tour by expatriate Australasian country superstar Keith Urban is a salient signpost to the success of expat peers overseas.

Keith, 39 and holding, even broke the corporate commercial chains' airplay ban on country in the metropolitan areas.

Urban, like the Dixie Chicks, received airplay because tour promoters chose Nova as the radio tour sponsor.

This meant some spillage to other commercial stations but the real test is whether the airplay will continue after the tour.

Smart marketing dovetailed with the shoot for his spouse Nicole Kidman's new movie Australia in far North Queensland that ensured his concert, CD and DVD sales flowed fast and furious with little collateral damage from his rehab stint.

Rehab is more a sales catalyst than hurdle for artists of the calibre of Urban - its only downside is fodder for comedians and envious rock and pop peers with access to the mainstream media.

The singer's international and national sales success dwarfs the meagre figures of the most hyped flavour of the month poppies and rappers.

Ironically, predictable attempts by Urban's overseas handlers to downplay his country roots backfired with such follies highlighted in print media interviews.

Healthy concert sales meant very few interviews were necessary - the man publicists (Kidman, Luhrmann and Jackman) - picked up the slack.

Urban's new video I Told You So has had a healthy gallop on commercial TV, cable channel CMC and, of course, Nu Country when it returns in June.

But what about Urban's fellow country expats in the U.S. - how are they faring in the publicity stakes back here?

Let's examine some of them.


The Greencards revered third CD Viridian has made hefty inroads on the prestigious Americana charts in the U.S.

But despite the efforts of enthusiastic local label Shock the trio's reviews have been confined to street press such as Beat.

With no immediate tour for a band featuring former Adelaide multi-instrumentalist Kym Warner and singing bassist Carol Young, who hails from Dorrigo near Coffs Harbour, it's rough and rocky travelling.

But the video for Waiting On The Night - a tune penned by Young and Jedd Hughes (another expat South Australian guitarist and singer-songwriter) - should impact on CMC and Nu Country.

With little commercial radio airplay it's unlikely to trigger sales necessary for ascent to commercial TV.

Maybe return of Live At The Basement series might help but there's been few recent smoke signals about that.

CLICK HERE for a Greencards CD review.


Fellow expat songbirds Sherrie Austin and Jamie O'Neal blazed a trail of sorts for Kasey Chambers, Audrey Auld Mezera and Catherine Britt.

Although Kasey impressed on her U.S. tours her recent pregnancy has curtailed plans for an American return tour.

Her recent pop flavoured album Carnival didn't attract the same international interest.

But Audrey, enjoying a nice little earner with her older song The Next Big Nothing on Texas honky tonker Sunny Sweeney's riveting debut disc Heartbreaker's Hall Of Fame, has emulated the Greencards and moved to Nashville.

The Greencards headed east from Austin and Audrey south from Bolinas in Northern California.

So, when not out riding their dreams on the Lost Highway, they now share a base with Newcastle novitiate Catherine Britt who long ago signed with BMG-RCA.

Although Britt's second album Too Far Gone, produced by Nashville hit maker Keith Stegall and Bill Chambers, was released here, it's unlikely to surface in the U.S.

Instead Britt has recorded another CD album - her third - with producer Brett Beavers who has been a studio launch pad for Dierks Bentley and bassist for fellow Texan star Lee Ann Womack.

Britt released another new single What I Did Last Night, produced by the Waco born bassist, but so far it has not soared the charts.

But, like Urban's early releases, it showed up on lower reaches of charts with sporadic spins on some of the many stations she visited in her embryonic U.S. era.

There is light at the end of Britt's tunnel - she and Floridian Jake Owens are opening for record label stable mates Georgian born superstar Alan Jackson and recidivist award winners Brooks & Dunn.

So this meant label boss Joe Galante, who once made a low key Australian visit with Martina McBride, attended her opening night concert in Virginia Beach on May 10.

The 25 show major arena tour sees Britt perform in front of more than half a million people and is forecast to be one of the top 10 grossing tours of 2007 in the US.

So far this has earned her limited exposure on the CMT web page - hopefully the sales pump will be primed by local newspaper reviews on the tour that ends on June 10.


Although Little Wildflower is tipped as the next single Britt has also been showcasing recent Canadian tourist Fred Eaglesmith's tune Drive In Movie that she revamped cut on her new disc and rockabilly song Bruised But I Ain't Broke.

She is also one of the faces of a new Garnier campaign in the US.

More than 400,000 buyers of Garnier hair products will be among the first to hear her new material with a track of hers appearing on a special CD sampler accompanying the products for a limited time.

Britt will also join fellow expat Jedd Hughes on a Global Country Music Festival in Nashville in June.

The 2007 CMA Music Festival also features Geelong born Adam Harvey and Briana Lee from Shepparton.

Other Australians include Morgan Evans, Travis Collins, Troy Kemp, Mark O'Shea, and South Australian Beccy Cole who sang Waltzing Matilda to more than 80,000 footy fans as the prelude to the annual Essendon-Collingwood clash on Anzac Day.

We'll have more about that later as it's unlikely to make the mainstream Australian print media or increasingly marginalised treatment of country in the dance and fad driven street press.

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