DIARY - 19 MAY 2007 - URBAN FLOOD
FLOOD OF IMPORTS AND EXPORTS
triumphant return tour by expatriate Australasian country superstar
Keith Urban is a salient signpost to the success of expat peers
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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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