We celebrate Shotgun Willie Nelson's 42nd annual July 4 Picnic with a live double shot by headliner Asleep At The Wheel in Behind Bars on Nu Country TV Saturday at 10.30 pm on Channel 31/Digital 44.

The veteran western swing band are one of the headliners of the picnic attended by Dead Livers bassist Michael Schack whose band eulogised octogenarian Nelson, 82, with 1981 tour hit I'd Love To Have Joint With Willie.

Singing Kentucky actress Laura Bell Bundy, who gets higher than Willie in her new video shot in the Swiss Alps, opens the show that is repeated Monday 5.30 am and 2.30 pm, Wednesday 7.30 am and Thursday 2.30 am.

Hunter Valley singer-songwriter Kirsty Lee Akers emulates Tom T Hall's Harper Valley PTA with her Biblical video for Leave It To Jesus .

And Georgian Brantley Gilbert and Tennessee troubadour Chris Hennessee debut on the show filmed and edited by Laith Graham.

Nu Country TV is a highlight of C 31 streaming list on Digital 44.

Just follow this link on your computer or mobile phone - http://www.c31.org.au/program/view/program/nu-country-tv


Ray Benson's legendary Asleep At The Wheel pay tribute to late western swing king Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys in Behind Bars.

Lead singer Benson shares vocals with guest Kat Edmundson on their live rendition of I Can't Give You Anything But Love.

It's on Still The King - their third tribute disc to Bob and his famed Texas Playboys who died at 70 in 1975.

They also perform in a live version of their road trip song Miles And Miles Of Texas that ends in state capital - Austin.

That's where Willie and elder pianist sister Bobbie, 84, host this year's picnic at a local race course.

Among guests are fellow Texans Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver and Kacey Musgraves and Johnny Bush and fellow outlaws Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe, Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson and Eric Church.

Benson released Still The King on March 3 on Bismeaux Records in Austin.

The Austin based raconteur recruited Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, Old Crow Medicine Show , Elizabeth Cook, George Strait, Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, Brad Paisley, The Devil Makes Three, Time Jumpers and many other peers on 22 songs to celebrate Wills who died of pneumonia at 70 on May 13, 1975.

Benson and Wheel members visited Wills shortly before he had a stroke and went into a coma.

This is the first Wheel album to feature new members - pianist/vocalist Emily Gimble and fiddler/vocalist Katie Shore.

Benson mixes new and old styles on tunes from Wills' songbook Faded Love, Time Changes Everything and those composed by legendary Texas writer Cindy Walker - Bubbles in My Beer .

This album follows 1998's Ride with Bob and 1993's A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills that earned four Grammys.

Wills and his Texas Playboys performed thousands of shows across the U.S. for nearly six decades and recorded prolifically in the late 30s and early 40s.

"After 45 years of travelling and playing, it still amazes me how well this music, born in the 1920s and 30s, thrives in present day," said Benson.

"The artists playing and singing on this collection range in age from folks in their 20s to former Texas Playboys 92-year-old Billy Briggs and 86-year-old Leon Rausch, certain evidence that Western swing music is alive and well as it cruises through the next millennium."

Asleep at the Wheel was formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia, in 1970 and moved from San Francisco to Austin 30 years ago.

The band won nine Grammys and released more than 20 studio albums and more than 20 Billboard chart singles.

Co-founder pedal steel guitarist Lucky Oceans, now 64, won a 1978 Grammy for Best Country Instrumental for the Wheel's remake of Count Basie's One O'clock Jump.

In 1977 Oceans, real name Reuben Gosfield, met Christine Haddow - a young Australian photographer on The Boston Globe.

They married in 1979 and moved to Fremantle where Oceans released solo albums Lucky Steels the Wheel in 1982 and Secret Steel in 2005 and discs with his Australian bands including Dude Ranch and the Zydecats .

He also hosts ABC-TV-radio show The Planet .

In 1993 Lucky won a second Grammy with Asleep at the Wheel for their collaboration with Lyle Lovett on Blues for Dixie from 1993 album A Tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys .

Former Bob Wills Texas Playboys fiddler Johnny Gimble - grandfather of current Wheel pianist-vocalist Emily - died of a stroke at 88 on Saturday May 9 in Dripping Springs, Texas.

He played with Wills for more than a decade from 1949 and with Willie Nelson from 1979-1981.

CLICK HERE for a Willie & The Wheel feature in the Diary on July 4, 2009.


Kentucky born singing actress Laura Bell Bundy made the most of her headlining role on a Swiss Music Festival.

She was high in the Alps as she filmed her video for I Am What I Am from her fifth album Another Piece Of Me .

Yes, that's where the famed Sound Of Music movie - based on the famous Van Trapp family - was filmed in 1965.

Laura, now 34, has been in a swag of movies but none with Julie Andrews, just three years Willie's junior at 79, but still treading the boards.

Bundy eulogised her home state in her previous video for Kentucky Dirty - a nice play on words for the famed bluegrass horse derby.

The singing actress strutted her stuff on horseback with stunning cast of energetic dancers, cheer leaders and bluegrass sextet.

Bundy revelled in mud, pastures, music, Kentucky whiskey, other spirits and ale in that song also in the Kentucky Wildcat Basketball documentary The 6th Man .

Laura is a prolific movie and TV actor and Broadway performer with 13 films in her slipstream.

She plays a doctor in TV show Anger Management with Charlie Sheen and has recurring roles in Hart Of Dixie .

The Hairspray and Wicked stage star was nominated for a Tony award for her lead role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

Her movie roles began in The Adventures of Huck Finn in 1993 and include Life with Mikey Courtney, Strangers with Candy: Retardation, 2003 All Grown Up, Dirtbags, Surf School, Dreamgirls Sweetheart, The Drum Beats Twice, Hound Dogs, To the Mat, Watercolour Postcards and Dear Dumb Diary .

She also appears in recent movie Home Is Where The Heart Is starring Bailee Madison, Conrad Goode, Jonathan Banks and John C. McGinley.

CLICK HERE for a CD review in The Diary on August 16, 2010.


Hunter Valley singer-songwriter Kirsty Lee Akers ripped a few pages from the Tom T Hall penned Jeannie C Riley hit Harper Valley PTA when she filmed her video for Leave It To Jesus.

She filmed an old mate who tries to inflate a blow-up doll named Kate.

Akers also showcases a vast cast of down home amateur actors who emulate the characters in Kirsty's song about a Peyton Place style town.

Leave It To Jesus is on Kirsty's aptly titled third album Naked that she showcased on frequent Nashville writing visits.

Akers developed a strong suit in satire long before she opened for Texan Hayes Carll on his Australian tour.

She recently parodied the music industry on Nu Country in her humorous video for That's How You Get Famous .

Akers delved into nefarious activities of local and international pop peers who shell out as they sell out on that infamous Hollyweird casting couch.

She previously appeared in a graphic video for another satire Dirty Farmer's Daughter - one of seven songs she wrote with fellow Hunter Valley singer-songwriter Melody Pool.

The singer, now 27, parodied procreation proclivities of an agrarian from days of yore who forced the victim to give up her child for adoption.

That song is a distant descendant of John Prine tune Unwed Fathers , once cut by the late Tammy Wynette.

Kirsty won Tamworth Starmaker and a Golden Guitar as a teenager but took a 12-month hiatus after rejection by a Nashville label.

She visited Nashville and performed at Sounds Australia , the Americana Festival and famed Bluebird Café again and had song writing sessions with Jim Lauderdale, Robert Ellis Orrall, Kim Richey, Jerry Salley and Lee Groves.

She also worked with producer Trey Bruce - son of late tunesmiths Ed and Patsy Bruce who toured here in the seventies after writing Waylon & Willie hit Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys .

CLICK HERE for a Kirsty feature in our Diary on August 23, 2011.

CLICK HERE for a Hayes Carll-Kirsty Northcote Social Club concert review on August 25, 2012.


Tennessean troubadour Chris Hennessee continues the Biblical theme in his story of a lovelorn wife torn between a preacher and a deacon.

Chris begins his video for Red Dress when the preacher's wife cheats with the deacon in a rural locale.

That red dress regret requiem is on his 2013 album Revival .

His new disc Greetings From Hennessee is first release on writing mate Jamey Johnson's indie Big Gassed Records.

“Not so many years ago I loaded up the Ford Ranger and made my way out of home town Decatur and headed for Nashville,” Hennessee revealed.

“I've also been blessed with cuts on records like Billy Currington's A Little Bit Of Everything as well as Kevin Fowler, Corey Morrow, Rodney Carrington, and Cody Johnson albums. Recently a song I wrote with my friends The Wild Feathers titled Hennessee was featured on hit TV show Nashville .

“Since 2012 I've been a member of one of the best bands on the road backing my good friend Jamey Johnson. With Jamey I've had the opportunity to share the stage with some of my musical heroes Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and Allison Krauss. I released Hennessee Like Tennessee in Spring 2011 and had success with the single Waylon Jennings Song .”

Johnson is one of the major nouveau outlaws performing at Willie Nelson's July 4 picnic in Austin.

Further info - http://www.chrishennessee.me/


Georgian singer Brantley Gilbert, now 30, boomeranged after splitting with fellow singer Jana Kramer.

He debuts on Nu Country in his new video for More Than Miles that was inspired by new fiancé - Georgian school teacher Amber Cochran.

It's on his second album Half Way To Heaven.

Gilbert wrote Jason Aldean hits My Kinda Party and Dirt Road Anthem and recently released his third album Just As I Am.

He was originally signed to Colt Ford's label, Average Joe's Entertainment and released Modern Day Prodigal Son and Halfway to Heaven .

He is now signed to Big Machine and released two albums - deluxe edition of Halfway to Heaven and Just As I Am .

They produced six chart entries including three #1 hits Country Must Be Country Wide, You Don't Know Her Like I Do and Bottoms Up.

Further info - http://www.bring-it-on.org/


We need your support as we celebrate the 27th series of Nu Country TV.

Australian record companies and artists have joined forces to ensure our survival.

We have new CDS by major artists you can win by becoming a Nu Country TV member or renewing your membership.

They include singing actors Willie Nelson and Tim McGraw, Voice judge Blake Shelton, Ashley Monroe, Brad Paisley, Gary Allan, Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Chris Young, Charley Pride, Slim Dusty, Rosanne Cash and more.

We also have a Lady Antebellum DVD.

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