Tami Neilson and Lauren Thomson Tami Neilson and Lauren Thomson CREDIT: APRA

Country Music Finalists announced

Monday 2 May 2011, 3:46PM
By Pead PR


Awards to be presented in Gore on Thursday June 2

The finalists for the RIANZ Best Country Music Album 2011 have been announced today.

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 only song which features on both their albums (The Kitchen Table Sessions Volume 2 for Tami Neilson and Chanteuses & Shotguns for Lauren Thomson), ‘No Good for My Soul’ 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:

About RIANZ: The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand Inc (RIANZ) is a non-profit organisation representing major and independent record producers, distributors and recording artists throughout New Zealand. RIANZ works to protect the rights and promote the interests of creative people involved in the New Zealand recording industry.

About APRA: The Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) was established in 1926 and now administers the performing and communication rights of 60,000+ composer, songwriter and music publisher members in New Zealand and Australia. Public performances of music include music used in pubs, clubs, fitness centres, shops, cinemas, festivals, whether performed live, on CDs or played on the radio or television. Communication of music covers music used for music on hold, music accessed over the internet or used by television or radio broadcasters.

APRA’s objective is to ensure composers/songwriters and publishers are rewarded whenever, and wherever, their musical works are played, performed or reproduced and help New Zealand & Australian music consumers get access to the world’s musical repertoire.