The finalists for the RIANZ Best Country Music Album 2012 have been announced today.
Two of the finalists - The Harbour Union and The Unfaithful Ways - are from Christchurch and both of their albums have emotional connections with the city’s devastating earthquakes.
The third finalist is no stranger to the awards – Tami Neilson’s “The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol II” is her third finals berth.
Also announced are the finalists for the APRA Best Country Song Award for 2012.
South Otago singer Aaron Jury with his song “29”, 2011 APRA Silver Scroll finalist Delaney Davidson for “You’re A Loser”, and “Ghost of This Town” by Marlon Williams - who also doubles as member of Country Album finalist The Unfaithful Ways.
Both awards are to be presented on Thursday 31 May at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.
The Harbour Union’s self-titled album features 27 Christchurch musicians who have banded together to produce a fund-raising recording with the profits going back to the Lyttelton community. Song finalists Delaney Davidson and Marlon Williams are both part of The Harbour Union.
“Free Rein”, the debut album from Christchurch four-piece The Unfaithful Ways, was nearly a victim of the earthquake. Thanks to the perseverance of two structural engineers they were retrieved from the studio which had been tagged for demolition.
The Unfaithful Ways was a finalist in the 2011 Vodafone NZ Music Awards Critics’ Choice Award and performed at the Big Day Out that same year.
Auckland-based Tami Neilson is a two-time winner of a RIANZ Country Music Awards Tui – in 2009 (“Red Dirt Angel”) and 2010 (“The Kitchen Table Sessions”). She was also a co-finalist last year.
“The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol II” builds on Tami’s successful previous Sessions album with her trademark raw energy and music that is a hybrid of acoustic torch and stripped-bare country blues.
No stranger to the country music industry, song finalist Aaron Jury has performed with Adam Harvey and has twice been a Toyota Star Maker Finalist Australia. Aaron has also been a NZ Overall Gold Guitar Winner and has won the prestigious N.Z - M.L.T Song Writing Award. He is a CMAA College Graduate.
RIANZ managing director, Chris Caddick, says: “What an absolutely brilliant year for Country Music. Congratulations to the three finalists all of whom have recorded outstanding albums. We wish them all well for the big night in May.”
Ant Healey, Director of New Zealand Operations for APRA says: "The quality of songs entered this year was unsurpassed. Our three finalists represent a new found popularity of country music in New Zealand. These are great songs and great songwriters."
The New Zealand Country Music Awards are presented by The New Zealand Songwriters Trust. Held throughout a week long celebration in Gore, the Southland town attracts more than 5,000 country music fans. For more information visit: www.goldguitars.co.nz