The 48th Annual RIANZ Vodafone NZMUSIC AWARDS
Best Country Music Album

2011 Country Finalists Announced

Brendan Ham Band

They are The Brendon Ham Band for ‘The Live-Demo's’, Donna Dean for ‘What Am I Gonna Do?’ and Jackie Bristow for ‘Freedom’.

Also announced are the finalists for the APRA Best Country Song Award for 2011.

They are Jackie Bristow for ‘Freedom’, Donna Dean for ‘What Am I Gonna Do?’ and Tami Neilson and Lauren Thomson for ‘No Good For My Soul’.

Both awards are to be presented on Thursday June 2 at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.

The Brendon Ham Band is a fierce contender for the title, having won the 2008 Variety Artists of New Zealand Top Group Award. In addition, lead vocalist Brendon was nominated for both Top Male Performer and Male Artist of the Year at the 2010 NZ Country Music Awards.

‘What Am I Gonna Do?’ is dual finalist Donna Dean’s fifth album and she is swiftly gaining international acclaim. Her material has been translated into French and she has toured Germany bi-annually since 1998.

Donna has also worked alongside an impressive list of America's song writing legends including Don Mclean, Russell Smith & The Amazing Rhythm Aces and Willie Nelson

South Islander Jackie Bristow’s third album, ‘Freedom’, was recorded between Austin Texas and Sydney during her 2009 tour. Bristow is also a dual finalist and her songs will sound familiar having been used repeatedly in hit Australian and New Zealand film and television shows such as “Home And Away” and “Outrageous Fortune”.

Canadian-born Tami Neilson is a two-time winner of the Best Country Album Tui. She has joined forces with Lauren Thomson, winner of the NZ Songwriting Trust 2010 and APRA Silver Scroll nominee, to launch their collaborative “sister albums”.

The album features ‘No Good For My Soul’ and was recorded in Canada earlier this year supported by a 20-date national tour.

RIANZ managing director, Chris Caddick, says the finalists list is very strong.

“Congratulations to the three finalists – the standard of the three recordings is world class – I certainly don’t envy this year’s judges.”

Ant Healey, Director of New Zealand Operations for APRA says:

"Full of heart, soul and talent, these three songs are going to be hard to decide between. The Country Music week-long celebrations in Gore are imbued in tradition and respect, and APRA is pleased to be supporting it again this year. Good luck to all the finalists."

Gore’s Gold Guitar week is in its 37th year and attracts more than 5,000 country music fans during the festival. For more information visit:


Your Comments

  1. Dan McCormick (about 3 years ago)

    Go Donna Dean !!!!!......You're No 1 !!!!!!!

  2. Michele Harrod (about 3 years ago)

    You so deserve this Jackie - you have the most beautiful voice. Vodafone - be great to have sample tracks on here so we could hear all the finalists!!!

  3. Henry (about 3 years ago)

    I must say I'm a little disheartened by the lack of an inclusion of the harbour union's christchurch charity album, not only is it a spectacular move of good will by local musicians but it is an outstanding record! The motif the band represents may be one of near absolute non-commercialism but irregardless, the music they make is on par, or greater than these releases and to not recognize this is disheartening and I think, shows the profound flaws in the awards and recognitions process. The descriptions above suggest that awards be granted on the amount of tours a musician has done, the international recognition being received, the awards or nominations previously won and who they have played with. I see no where here, a description of why ANY of these artists are nominated; perhaps a reference to the actual musical quality of the album or artist? Surely these are the precursors to ones being recognized with an award, not the aforementioned achievements. There are musicians out there who have potential to be as big as they can imagine, but aren't being recognized because they don't need to, the enjoyment they get out of playing their own home town, for their friends is all they need, and whilst an award may not mean a great deal to them, it still shows recognition of greatness and musical talent which should be recognized not by judgement of their trophy cabinet, but by appreciation of talent, whether they are aspiring to be Johnny Cash or just playing the wunderbar for their friends on a Saturday night.

  4. VNZMA (about 3 years ago)

    Hi Henry. When was the Harbour Union's Album released? They may be eligible to enter next year's award for Best Country Music Album.

  5. Steve Rowlands (about 3 years ago)

    Henry I point you towards Chris Craddock's comments on the quality of the recordings.I suggest you stop complaining and nominate Harbour Union for next year if they fit the criteria. Good Luck.