Boston belle Jo Dee Messina's recording of Tina Arena song Burn ignited mixed emotions for Nu Country.

We were scheduled to interview Messina, now 34, the day after our Beer Can Hill studio in Northcote burned down on June 26, 2000 - first day of our 28th broadcast.

The interview went ahead but not at the station that enjoyed a resurrection at the Paris, Texas end of Collins St in the CBD in 2001.

Jo Dee later cancelled an Australian tour shortly before she successfully went through alcohol rehab and relaunched her career with sixth album Delicious Surprise.

The singer is making a video for her 12th Top #20 single My Give A Damn's Busted and also appeared in TV series Touched by an Angel and Nash Bridges.

Now, after suffering a tape malfunction with our live concert replay last week, we're screening Messina's historic hit Burn this Saturday March 12 on Nu Country TV at 8 p m on C 31.

Arena, now living in Europe, has had songs covered by a brace of U.S. country artists including Messina, April tourist Terri Clark and Wynonna.

CLICK HERE for a Messina Diary update on June 6. 2004.
CLICK HERE for another Messina story on May 6, 2004.
And CLICK HERE for another on February 24, 2004


Arkansas born legend Johnny Cash - a regular Australian tourist - also went to God at 71 after our fire.

But his memory lives on in a brace of tribute discs, books, Twentieth Century biopic, Walk The Line starring Mark Collie, re-releases and boxed sets.

We dug into the dungeon to reprise Cash's version of Chris Cornell song Rusty Cage from his Rick Rubin produced 1996 disc American Recordings.

CLICK HERE for a Cash story from the DIARY on September 23, 2003.


Fellow Arkansas born country star Joe Nichols, 29, is carrying his state's torch in a vastly different vein to Cash.

Nicholls scored airplay on Nu Country when he cut an ill-fated debut disc for an indie label.

Joe performs his social comment tune If Nobody Believed In You from his third album Revelation on Universal South.

Nichols star is on the rise on innovative - also home to Waylon Jennings son Shooter for his debut solo disc, Put The 'O' Back In Country.

Also on the label is singing actor Waylon Payne - son of Willie Nelson's long time guitarist Jody Payne and recently deceased legend Sammi Smith.

He was named after his Godfather Waylon and called his debut solo disc The Drifter after writing songs for peers such as Nelson duet partner Pat Green.

Payne is also cast as Jerry Lee Lewis in Walk The Line with Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash and plays the late Hank Garland in Crazy - the story of the late guitarist's life.

CLICK HERE for a short story on stable-mate Joe from the DIARY.


New York born orphan Mindy Smith moved to Knoxville with her adoptive minister dad after her mum died of cancer in 1994.

The singer debuted with her version of Jolene on lauded Dolly Parton tribute disc Just Because I'm A Woman.

Smith, now, 32, had already been signed her debut solo disc One Moment More on (Vanguard-Shock.)

Mindy, winning wide acclaim from many peers including reborn chart topper Lee Ann Womack, performs a video of her gospel song Come To Jesus.

CLICK HERE for a new Mindy Smith feature from the DIARY.


Lake Bolac farm boy Neil Murray is known to country fans for originals including a co-write with Andy Travers - singer for now defunct Sydney saddletramps The Happening Thang - on the song Far Away.

Murray is now living back on the family farm north of Mortlake - the pie capital of Australia - and south of Ararat in the Western District wheat and wool belt.

And, it's from there the prolific singer-songwriter and teacher, is revisiting a career acclaimed for his work with The Warumpi Band and the Rain Makers.

Neil and Killarney cobber Shane Howard have proven that decentralisation can work if artists flee the city limits.

Murray's tune Life Time Friend is on fellow one time western Victorian singer Adam Brand's fourth album Get Loud.

You can catch Neil performing his song Holding Onto The Sky on Nu Country this week and live at the famed Lake Bolac Eel Festival on Saturday April 2.

He is releasing a 2 CD anthology set in April - it will contain selected tracks from his back catalogue as well as rare and live material.

Murray has also re-released his first five solo albums and other projects through his web page - www.neilmurray.com.au


Our celebrity chef Mid Pacific Bob Olson - a sartorial celebrant of many cultures - is a dab hand with salads.

Tune in to see how Bob can make southern salad dressing as sensual as a side dish at the Paris Hilton.

And if you can snag an eel in the Merri Creek, Yarra, Maribyrnong, Hopkins, Merri, Murray, Barwon or maybe Neil's alma mater Lake Bolac festival, this could be just for you.

CLICK HERE for an extensive menu of Bob's mouth-watering recipes.


Sydney band The Wolverines has enjoyed a longevity denied to most peers.

The turbo trio, renowned for their support of cystic fibrosis research and heavy touring, perform their tune We're Not So Bad.

CLICK HERE for a Wolverines story from the DIARY on June 19, 2003.

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