DIARY- 25 FEBRUARY 2004 BUNYIP MUSIC FESTIVAL PREVIEW
guitar winning trio Bella and Michael Carr headline the 15th Bunyip
Country Music festival on Sunday February 29.
Bella won the best group award in Tamworth on January 24 after releasing
its debut EP Tumbling Down on indie label Ocean Road.
son of veteran ABC Play School pianist Warren Carr, scored acclaim
for his writing for Adam Brand and Melinda Schneider before releasing
his debut solo CD for Compass Bros in 2002.
had a tough act to follow - his dad played on Bandstand and 6 O' Clock
Rock in an era when rock and country were much closer genre siblings.
Bella and Carr follow multi-award winning Adam Harvey and Catherine Britt
who used the laid back festival as their Gippsland launch pad.
Harvey and Newcastle novitiate Britt have since written a batch of songs
with Nashville writers after their shows at the Bunyip bash in 2003.
Britt is finishing her second album with hit writer, singer and producer
Keith Stegall and Bill Chambers in Music City.
HOW TO FIND THE BUNYIP
TV will film highlights of the famed festival - one of the few survivors
on the insurance-savaged country circuit.
Bunyip is about an hour east - even under spurious speed camera revenue
rustling - of the Melbourne GPO on Highway One.
Just follow the cattle country festival signs erected by dairy belle Joy
Batchelor and her rural volunteers at the gateway to the Gippsland milk
The festival is held due south of Highway One on the local footy oval
where, unlike the latter day denizens of the inner suburbs, the good burghers
don't object to music in their back yard.
It kicks off at 8 am with a poets' breakfast and doesn't end until dusk
when guilt driven dairy farmers return home for their second milking of
BORN IN NSW
comprises Tamworth Country Music College graduates Karen O'Shea and
Lynn Bowtell and Kate Ballantyne.
All had solo recording careers before forming Anam Cara (Celtic for
soul mate) just six months ago before morphing into Bella.
Lynn won Star Maker in 1997, Kate in 1998 and Karen was a finalist
The trio recorded the O'Shea-Bowtell original I Can Fly - originally
cut by the writers in 1998.
They also recorded gospel standard Way Beyond The Blue and the Jerry
Salley title track.
Salley, a Nashville hit writer, has collaborated with many Australians
and some of his songs have been recorded by Britt.
Kate through Lyn and they worked on similar shows in Tamworth.
When Karen moved from Darwin to Sydney, they all lived nearby and worked
for the same agency.
"We loved each other's company and started singing together and thought,
'why not do a trio?," says Karen who made her live debut in the first
series of Nu Country TV in 2003.
Karen performed at the Armadale Hotel on a show with Luke O'Shea - no
"It started off as a bit of fun, but it was really special to all
of us," Karen revealed.
"We did a few shows in Newcastle under the name of Anam Cara, and
people just loved us together. Everyone kept asking when we were going
to record a single, or an album, so we recorded the single and it's kind
of snowballed from there."
Trevor has been a huge help," Karen said. "We couldn't have
asked for anyone better. We're very, very lucky."
Bella is managed by Doug Trevor - an acclaimed veteran rock and country
musician, writer and producer.
Trevor made his name with The Cherokees and has also managed Troy Cassar-Daley,
Gina Jeffreys and Wolverines singer Darcy LeYear as a solo artist.
Bella is making its debut album on Ocean Road - a label created by producer,
writer and multi-instrumentalist Rod McCormack, The Wheel singer Kim Cheshire
McCormack, a prolific writer with local artists diverse as singing spouse
Jeffreys, Adam Harvey and Lee Kernaghan, has hired bassist brother Jeff,
drummer Mitch Farmer and fiddler Mick Albeck to play on Bella's album.
"This was a great win for the girls, it capped off an amazing Tamworth
for them - they were definitely the 'talk of the festival," McCormack
said after the trio beat a tough field for best group.
"There was a great buzz about for them. We see it as a wonderful
start for our new label."
born Bowtell won her state's Champion Of Champions award in 1995
and cut her debut album Headed South with her band Southern
Steel in 1996.
She scored regional radio airplay and won the 1997 Star Maker Quest
and released two singles The One You Love and Searching
For Jane written by Lyn and Margie Mason.
Bowtell also won Female Vocal section of the 1998 Victorian Country
At 23 she launched her second album Hearts In The Country for Canberra
label ACMEC and promoted it with a live performance on Nu Country
FM at its Beer Can Hill studio in summer of 2000.
had earlier accepted a marriage proposal from fiance Duncan Toombs
on stage at the 2000 New Year's Eve festival at Pittsworth near
became a finalist in the 2001 Gold Guitars in the female vocals with Where
In The World and Heritage Song with Pride Runs River Deep.
hails from south of Darwin where she and husband Leo own a mango plantation.
As a teenager she performed on shows with Richard Clapton, The Bushwackers,
Coggan, Lyn Bowtell and The Feral Swing Katz.
During her first visit to Tamworth, she won the Jazzer Smith Memorial
Talent Quest and later graduated from the CMAA College of Country
In 1996 Karen recorded an album of original compositions, titled Cat
In The Hat, with Janet Hay.
In 1997 her
co-write with Bowtell of I Can Fly was included on compilation
CD Outback Adventures.
She was also a backup vocalist for Arthur Blanch, Denise Morrison, Allan
Caswell and Jean Stafford at the CMAA Awards and attended the College
of Country Music.
In 1999 and 2000 Karen made it to the grand final of Star Maker.
Karen wrote the song She Didn't Mean To for her double-sided CD
single, My Love Goes That Far.
It earned Karen a place in the Top 10 of the Gold Guitars for both Female
Vocal and New Talent.
During 2001 Karen won a Frank Ifield Award that earned her promotion in
Europe where My Love Goes That Far was #7 on the EMS European Top
40 Independent Airplay Chart for 2 weeks.
In September 2001 Karen recorded an album Wish with Rod McCormack as producer.
Karen and her husband Leo left their mango plantation to move to New South
Wales in early 2002.
Valley singer-songwriter-guitarist Kate Ballantyne was born Katrina
Aitken in February 1970 and has been performing since her pre-teen
Ballantyne lives at Shortland, first won airplay in Newcastle in
1991 and became a Star Maker finalist in 1993.
1994 she started working on songs for her first album Tomorrow's
Girl recorded at her family's recording studio in Kurri Kurri,
featured 12 songs written by Kate & others.
The title track won Kate an award at the Australian Songwriters
Association National Song Contest held in Melbourne in November
She later released other albums Too Hot To Handle (1998)
and Flowers For Love (1999).
- CARR REVS AFTER FATHER
Carr earned his stripes as a songwriter before he released his self-titled
debut disc for Compass Bros.
He wrote several songs for recent discs by Adam Brand and Melinda
Michael also duetted with Melinda on Wearing White on her award-winning
second Compass Bros album, Happy Tears.
He also landed three songs including APRA song of the year finalist
ANZAC and New England Highway for Brand's third album Built For
him a deal with Compass Bros - home of both Brand and Schneider.
The video for Carr's single While The Wife's Away - not necessarily
about wife Nikki - was featured in the first series of Nu Country TV.
In 2003 prior to the release of his debut album, Michael received three
nominations in the 2003 CMAA Golden Guitar Awards.
They included the single A Little More Love.
The album has won him national exposure - especially the tribute to his
dad Warren who played piano on music shows dating back to the birth of
Aussie TV in the fifties.
sire was a member of the band that rocked Australia on shows such
as 6 O' Clock Rock and Bandstand and later the ABC Play School phenomenon.
"I always wanted to write a song about my father but sometimes
you feel so deeply about
something it is hard to get it right," says Michael of his song
The Greatest Man.
"You never say the things you want to, but on this occasion I
just sat down and got it. He didn't actively discourage my brother
and I from following in his footsteps but he tried to make us aware
of the pitfalls. Unfortunately we saw firsthand that he was having
a wonderful time and that was pretty much it."
on a honky tonk piano in the family garage while his dad toiled inside
on musical arrangements for the recordings, live work and television shows.
"It was an old upright painted white and I used to thrash it"
Michael recalled, "dad would stay right out of the way."
Carr worked honky tonks and pubs from Sydney to Perth where he lived and
played in country bands and embellished his song writing.
He wrote all 13 songs on the album including two each with Schneider and
Play School and Outback Club star Col Buchanan.
long been a young talent launch pad.
This year it features a showcase at 10.15 am with home grown artists Victoria
Baillie, Nicholas Laing, Penelope Somerville and Casey Dawes.
Moe based Baillie, 17, is making her third Bunyip performance after gigs
at Gympie, Tamworth, Mildura and beyond.
She has shared stages with Fosterville fiddle and violinist Somerville
whose hometown is 25 kilometres from Bendigo.
Bunyip will be therapy for the multi-instrumentalist whose father died
while she was in Tamworth in January.
Slightly younger is Bunyip belle Dawes, just 14, who performs when not
studying at Drouin High whose graduates included the Ablett clan including
Gary Sr who was word and note perfect on the Kenny Rogers songbook during
his Geelong era.
Wonthaggi student Laing, 17, has also performed throughout the station
when not beating books at Newhaven College.
The singer belies his years when he performs Don't The Girls All Get
Prettier At Closing Time - made famous by singer and movie star Mickey
Gilley, cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis and disgraced preacher Rev Jimmy Swaggart.
Other acts on the bill - in performing order are -
DOUBLE DECKER DAVE
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