Country Music Awards to be presented at 2017 Golden Guitar Awards

The finalists for the 2017 Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album and APRA Best Country Music Song have been announced today and will be presented at this year’s Country Music Awards in Gore.

The finalists for Best Country Music Album 2017 are Hamilton County Bluegrass Band for their album These Old Hands, Wanaka native Jody Direen for Shake Up, and Phil Doublet for his second album Endless Highway.

The APRA Best Country Music Song finalists include Kendall Elise Todd’s ‘Heart Full of Dirt’, Chester Travis and Great Danes for ‘Toothache’, and ‘The Reasons to Stay’ by Ginny Peters.

The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band have been a consistent presence in the New Zealand country music scene since the 1960’s – and for good reason. Their latest album These Old Hands is a return to form and their first release of new material since 2008.

By the time she was 12 years old, Jody Direen was writing her own songs and performing at local events and school productions. After releasing her debut album Here We Go in 2011, she secured a spot performing on the Global Artist Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee and began gaining global exposure.

She returns with her third studio album Shake Up, which peaked at #1 on the New Zealand Heat Seekers chart as well as topping the iTunes Country chart.

With three decades of experience in the business, Phil Doublet is no stranger to the music world. His accolades include 2014 New Zealand Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year, and his latest album Endless Highway peaked at #4 on the Independent Music New Zealand charts.

In addition to these artists, the finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song will be recognised for their contribution to country music over the past year.

Kendall Elise Todd is an artist who comes from Papakura, Auckland and released her debut EP I Didn’t Stand A Chance in March 2017. The lead single off this record is ‘Heart Full of Dirt’ which is up for Best Country Music Song – a massive achievement for someone new to the country music scene.

Chester Travis is part of the duo Great Danes who are currently putting the finishing touches on their first album in Berlin. They have received a nomination for their song ‘Toothache’, from their 2016 debut EP.

And rounding out the list of finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Award in 2017 is Ginny Peters, who is in the running for her song ‘The Reasons to Stay’ from the 2017 album Moments in Memory. The album includes tracks recorded in both 2016, as well as four recorded Reflections Studio, Nashville in 1988.

Recorded Music CEO Damian Vaughn is impressed with the music from all the finalists across both categories, highlighting the strength of New Zealand’s country music scene.

“There’s a huge amount of talent on display across these recordings. It’s an exciting time to be a country music fan and bodes well for the future of the genre.”

This year’s Country Music Award winners will be announced at the Country Music Awards on 1 June. The awards are open to the public, and tickets are available through iticket.co.nz.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album

  • Hamilton County Bluegrass Band – These Old Hands
  • Jody Direen – Shake Up
  • Phil Doublet – Endless Highway

Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song

  • Kendall Elise Todd – ‘Heart Full of Dirt’
  • Chester Travis – ‘Toothache’
  • Ginny Peters – ‘The Reasons to Stay’