Keith Urban

Expatriate Australasian country superstar Keith Urban preceded his fifth #1 Billboard hit, Days Gone By, by giving his road band the bullet.

Urban parted company with his road dogs on the eve of a whirlwind Australian promo tour to promote his fifth album, Be Here, scheduled for local release on September 20.

The split with the band failed to impact here - so did Urban's media blitz.

Australian commercial radio ignored Days Go By - a fate inflicted on all his other hits.

So Urban, 35, was forced to strut his stuff on our surrogate radio - the TV variety show circuit.

The singer grinned and bared it on a brief cameo on Ten Network show Rove Live.

Urban revealed he now had similar digs to fellow expatriate Tommy Emmanuel - a hotel in Nashville.

And he agreed with Rove that his huge international success had been ignored here in the unlucky radio country.

Sadly there was no live performance by Urban - we'll have no idea how new material stacks up against his back catalogue until it reaches ABC and community radio.

Urban wouldn't have needed a band on Rove - he proved that on the recently released Slim Dusty tribute DVD Concert For Slim (EMI).

Urban's acoustic cut of Joy McKean classic Lights On The Hill left peers in the shade.

Most of the other Dusty tributaries were backed by Slim's Travelling Country Band.

Ironically, Urban's single hit #1 before the video clip was finished - it was his eighth #5 hit in the U.S.

Be Here, released on Capitol in the U.S., is distributed here by EMI - the same label that is home for Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley and Slim.

The good news is that Nu Country TV, unencumbered by corporate constraints, will feature Urban videos on its return in late spring or early summer for its third series.

By then PAY TV music channel CMC and rural radio might be playing album tracks irrespective of the commercial radio ban in the cities.


Urban's superstar status will enable him to headline his U.S. tour to promote Be Here.
He won a huge American audience touring with stars diverse as Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn.

And his publicist has hosed down spot fires after the firing of his road band.

''Keith has tremendous respect for those guys in the band," the publicist told U.S. newspapers, "he wishes the guys well.''

The singer also plans to tour here over summer - the lull in the chilly American tour circuit.

Urban suffered sound problems on his local support role on the recent LeAnn Rimes tour.

Hopefully, he will have creative control of his sound system on his planned return and play venues such as The Palais in St Kilda.

With no mainstream airplay it's a tough task for Urban in the swirling sea of hits and memories hacks and short shelf life pop acts on their summer and autumn crash and burn sorties.
< LeAnn Rimes


Urban's success is good news for expatriate Australians daring to dream and aim their wares at a radio market receptive to country music of all sub genres.

Sherrie Austin and Jamie O'Neal, who lived in Australia for varying periods of their life, earned major success after settling in Nashville.

Newcastle novitiate Catherine Britt has reached the 40's on the Billboard charts with the first single from her second album - recorded for BMG Nashville but still in need of a title.

Upside Of Being Down, soon to be accompanied by a video, is also scheduled for an Australian release in spring.

Britt, 19, has been writing with many major Nashville tunesmiths and Jedd Hughes - the hotshot singer-songwriter who once called north of Adelaide town Quorn home.

Hughes debut disc Transcontinental has won wide acclaim and some Americana radio exposure but is yet to be discovered by the mainstream.

Catherine Britt

Britt and Hughes, both prolific writers, collaborated on a tune that failed to make the cut for Britt's disc but could be covered by another artist.

Catherine's mentor Kasey Chambers is also touring the U.S. in November after her Australian sojourn to promote her third album Wayward Angel.

Sadly, Kasey and rural fans suffered hip pocket collateral damage when here sinuses caused postponement of her early Melbourne gigs until this weekend.

Geelong football fans have aimed rocket launchers at the AFL - not Kasey - for their dumb decision to play the Preliminary final on Saturday night.

Chambers is one of the few Australian artists with a high enough profile in the U.S. to generate sales without living there.

She has sold 1.2 million units of her three albums in Australia, according to her label. Wayward Angel debuted at No. 1 on the ARIA charts in June and sold 350,000 units. Warner Bros released it on September 14 in the United States.

Hughes played on the debut disc by the Austin based Greencards - featuring another expatriate Adelaide bluegrass musician Kym Warner and Coffs Harbour chanteuse Carol Young.


Adam Harvey
Award winning Geelong born trucking troubadour Adam Harvey is trying to enter the U.S. through the tradesmens' entrance - Canada.

Harvey performed at Canadian Country Music Association's festival from September 10-13 in Edmonton, Alberta.

He is also touring there with Jason McCoy whom he hosted on a regional tour of the unlucky radio country in February.

McCoy first toured here with Jim Lauderdale, Kim Richey, Fred Eaglesmith and Van Diemen's Land refugee Audrey Auld, now using Northern California hippie town Bolinas as her launch pad for forays into Texan and beyond.

Toronto-based, Universal-distributed Open Road Recordings released Harvey's fourth Australian album, Workin' Overtime (2001), in Canada on September 14.

Adam plans to tour the U.S. in early 2005 after a planned U.S. release of fifth album Cowboy Dreams that debuted here in 2003.

Harvey and producer Rod McCormack, spouse of Gina Jeffreys, visited Nashville in August to collaborate with local hit writers on tunes for his sixth album.


Sydney independent label Compass Brothers Records also hopes to launch Melinda Schneider in Nashville through its Australian distributor Sony.

Melinda's husband-producer Graham Thompson - one time bassist for artists diverse as Richard Clapton and Ross Wilson - has been promoting Sony's U.S. country acts here since Sam Laws left the company to run a motor cycle distributorship.

Schneider has also been writing with major chart champions in Nashville during our winter and returns to play the Corner Hotel, Richmond, on Thursday October 7.

The singer's first American release is likely to be her fourth Australian album Family Tree, released here in May.

Thompson also hopes to win American release for a revamped version of Perth born but Geelong and Colac reared singer Adam Brand's fifth album Get Loud.

Beccy Cole

Nashville-based Universal South is considering a U.S. release for the fifth album by former Adelaide singer Beccy Cole - a one time Dead Ringer Band member.

The album is due in Australia in March 2005.
Former Australian rodeo rider Steve Forde and his band, the Flange, perform on the U.S. rodeo circuit in December.

Forde is finalising U.S. management and label deals after his second disc, Wild Ride, was released on Vital Entertainment in Australia in July.

Grafton born Troy Cassar-Daley sold 35,000 units of fourth album, Long Way Home, released in May 2002, on Nash Chambers Essence label.

His fifth album Borrowed & Blue - a covers project - is also approaching gold status, according to Essence/EMI.

< Beccy Cole

Troy plans to tour the U.S. when he finishes his sixth album.

Despite the huge success of Urban, chart soaring by Austin and O'Neal and credible attempts by Chambers, Britt, Hughes, Auld and The Greencards this will not flow to other peers unless they bite the bullet and live in the most competitive roots music market in the world.

Readers don't need to be reminded this has long been an indictment on Australian radio but it's hard to resist when jaundiced judges on instamatic reality TV quests try to dissuade contestants from performing country songs.

Hey, it's a sin to frighten the horses with lateral thinking and playing.

Hell, next thing they'll want to perform original songs.

That could lead to two-stepping, shuffles and waltzes.

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