DIARY - 14 SEPTEMBER 2004 - KEITH URBAN UPDATE
URBAN - #1 WITH A BULLET
BAND FIRED WITH BULLET
Australasian country superstar Keith Urban preceded his fifth #1
Billboard hit, Days Gone By, by giving his road band the
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
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.
singer grinned and bared it on a brief cameo on Ten Network show
he now had similar digs to fellow expatriate Tommy Emmanuel - a hotel
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
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
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.
U.S. AND AUSTRALIAN TOURS
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.
his publicist has hosed down spot fires after the firing of his
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
PUSH FOR BRITT AND HUGHES
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.
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.
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
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 FOR CANADA
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.
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
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
MELINDA SCHNEIDER CORNERS MARKET
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
Schneider has also been writing with major chart champions in Nashville
during our winter and returns to play the Corner Hotel, Richmond, on Thursday
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
Universal South is considering a U.S. release for the fifth album
by former Adelaide singer Beccy Cole - a one time Dead Ringer Band
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
Grafton born Troy Cassar-Daley sold 35,000 units of fourth album,
Long Way Home, released in May 2002, on Nash Chambers Essence
fifth album Borrowed & Blue - a covers project - is also
approaching gold status, according to Essence/EMI.
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
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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