BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Taylor Swift will be battling the boys at the 2011 Country Music Association Awards. Swift is one of four country stars with five nominations, including the CMA's top award, Entertainer of the Year.

Taylor Swift will compete with Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean and last year's winner, Br ad Paisley, in the Entertainer category. Aldean, Shelton and Paisley were the others with five nominations apiece. Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry were next with four.


The nominations marked a breakthrough for Aldean and Shelton, both first-time entertainer nominees and long overlooked at awards shows until recently. Like Paisley, Swift and Urban have each won an entertainer trophy before.


Singer Jake Owen and country trio The Band Perry made the initial announcement of five States in New York on Tuesday. Jerrod Niemann and two-time nominee Thompson Square announced the remainder of the nominees later at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Before Shawna Thompson of Thompson Square started reading the nominations, she thanked the CMA for asking them to participate in the announcement.


Shawna Thompson said, "As a kid growing up I watched the CMA Awards every year, and I can remember standing in the kitchen with a mason jar, pretending that it was an actual award, and to stand this close to one and to be able to read the nominations is amazing."


Swift is also up for female vocalist of the year with Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Sara Evans and Miranda Lambert, who won the honor last year on her 27th birthday.

Lambert's husband, Shelton, will defend his male vocalist of the year award this year against Paisley, Urban, Aldean and Kenny Chesney, who had three nominations.


The Band Perry will compete with Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band and Little Big Town in the vocal group category. And the sibling trio is nominated with Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Thompson Square and Chris Young in the new artist of the year category.


Coveted album of the year nominations went to Shelton for "All About Tonight," Aldean for "My Kinda Party," Swift's "Speak Now," Paisley's "This is Country Music" and "You Get What You Give" by Zac Brown Band.


Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host the award show for a fourth time live on November the 9th from Nashville.

(Source: CNTV.cn)




In a continent as vast and sparsely populated as this, the love affair between the Aussie and his or her four-wheeled animal is totally understandable. And because ranches, vineyards and other agricultural sites make up the life of many of us, the favourite is the utility vehicle, or “Ute” as it is lovingly referred to. “Muster”, the English word meaning a gathering of troops, has come to mean at different times in Australia a gathering of convicts, an assembly for census taking and a gathering of livestock to be branded. The Ute as folklore recounts, was made in 1933, because a farmer's wife wanted a vehicle good enough for work on weekends and to take her to church on Sundays. To showcase its love for this vehicle, Australians have created the Ute Muster. Held every year in many parts of Australia, it is part country fair, part car show, part festival, all with a fun-filled flavour that is uniquely Aussie.



At a Ute Muster, owners of hundreds of utility trucks gather to show off their vehicles and compete for prizes in different States like “best feral Ute”, “best rural Ute” or “best chick's Ute” comprising what is known as a Beaut Ute Competition. Lasting for several days, these events often feature agricultural shows, rodeos and music festivals. The Utes competing at these musters are painstakingly painted, decorated and personalized with lights, stickers and other add ons, creating a multi-million dollar retail business selling anything a Ute owner's heart could desire.


And, of course, whenever there's fun and laughter in Australia, there's country music. The Ute Muster in Deniliquin, New South Wales, often shortened to “Deni”, is the largest in the world with more than 10,000 Utes and a crowd of 25,000. In addition to the Ute competitions and bull riding events, it features live country music concerts where some of the most famous local country artists perform. The annual Caboolture Urban Muster in Queensland which stars country music icon Lee Kernaghan and a long list of country music artists and bands, is really a country music festival with a Beaut Ute competition.





Ute Muster organizers charge contestants a small fee, allowing them to participate in several competitive events. The Ute Muster is not only an economic boon for the region, but also a magnetic fund raiser for local communities and charities. In 2010, the Deni raised $13 million for the local economy and $18 million for the state of New South Wales.


Because many who attend the musters come from long distances, the larger events provide for camping and bar facilities which many people make use of and which contribute a significant part of the funds raised at the event.


Ute Musters are closely associated with B&S Balls since the latter are often organized by Ute lovers. The Deniliquin Ute Muster also features the Circle Work ChampionshipsTM where competing Utes are driven in tighter and tighter circles while going faster and faster. Bumper stickers, of which Ute enthusiasts are mad about, feature prominently in the event. At times, the most number of bumper stickers on a Ute may be the deciding factor in a Beaut Ute competition.




Deni Ute Muster


[FONT="]John Robert Williamson is a country singer and songwriter with a string of awards to prove it. But he also is or has been a farmer, television personality, band leader, activist, jingle maker, movie songwriter, conservationist, producer of a musical and a general ‘all rounder’. In 1992, Williamson became a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003, he was elected President of the Country Music Association of Australia. Leading up to that and beyond, he has accumulated forty years of service in and contribution to country music.


Williamson, born on November 1, 1945 in the Mallee district in the north western part of Victoria, was playing the ukelele at age 7 and the guitar by the time he was 12. When the family relocated to Moree in New South Wales in 1965, Williamson wrote his first song “Old Man Emu” which he sang in a local restaurant as part of his repertoire. In the program New Faces the song won first prize and a recording contract with Fable Records. As soon as it was released, the record shot to the top of the Australian music charts. Several other singles followed in the course of the next ten years.


In 1973, Williamson became the host of the television show “Travlin' Out West” which was on the air for two years. He formed his band “Crow” which, when it changed its style to rock, was renamed “Sydney Radio”. When the group disbanded, Williamson started to do the rounds of pubs playing solo. His songs, style and personality caught on and he built up a strong following. In 1985 he set up his own record label Gum Leaf Recordings. Then came his landmark album “Mallee Boy” which became a triple Platinum with many of the songs now considered as classics. Since the album was released, Williamson developed the preference to sing around a campfire. The Next year, Williamson was named by Variety Club “Entertainer of the Year” and in 1990, his [/FONT][FONT="]album “Warra[/FONT][FONT="]gul” won the ARIA Award as Best Australian Country Record.


[/FONT]
[FONT="]The 90's was a stellar [/FONT][FONT="]year in Willi[/FONT][FONT="]amson's career. His first family album won the Award for Best Selling Album and another, “Waratah St.” was a gold even before it could be delivered to stores. He was inducted into the Roll of Renown and his song “Sir Don” for our leg[/FONT][FONT="]endary batsman Sir Donald George Bradman was adjudged the Biggest Selling Album at the Tamworth Country Music Awards. The Next year, he and an Indigenous Australian friend won the Collaboration of the Year award at Tamworth. At the end of the decade, his album “The Way It Is” won three Golden Guitar awa[/FONT][FONT="]rds, becoming Gold after only eight weeks.[/FONT]

[FONT="]

[/FONT][FONT="]In 2003 Williamson sang “Sir Don” at the memorial service for Bradman in Adelaide. In October of the same year, at the request of the Prime Minister, he sang Waltzing Matilda at the memorial service for the 2002 Bali bombings. After Steve Irwin was killed in 2006, Williamson sang his songs “Home Among the Gum Trees” and “True Blue” at the memorial service for Irwin in the Australia Zoo Crocoseum.


In 2010, John Williamson was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to an artist who has devoted his life to making music a meaningful experience for people everywhere.

[/FONT]


[FONT="]John Robert Williamson is a country singer and songwriter with a string of awards to prove it. But he also is or has been a farmer, television personality, band leader, activist, jingle maker, movie songwriter, conservationist, producer of a musical and a general ‘all rounder’. In 1992, Williamson became a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003, he was elected President of the Country Music Association of Australia. Leading up to that and beyond, he has accumulated forty years of service in and contribution to country music.


Williamson, born on November 1, 1945 in the Mallee district in the north western part of Victoria, was playing the ukelele at age 7 and the guitar by the time he was 12. When the family relocated to Moree in New South Wales in 1965, Williamson wrote his first song “Old Man Emu” which he sang in a local restaurant as part of his repertoire. In the program New Faces the song won first prize and a recording contract with Fable Records. As soon as it was released, the record shot to the top of the Australian music charts. Several other singles followed in the course of the next ten years.


In 1973, Williamson became the host of the television show “Travlin' Out West” which was on the air for two years. He formed his band “Crow” which, when it changed its style to rock, was renamed “Sydney Radio”. When the group disbanded, Williamson started to do the rounds of pubs playing solo. His songs, style and personality caught on and he built up a strong following. In 1985 he set up his own record label Gum Leaf Recordings. Then came his landmark album “Mallee Boy” which became a triple Platinum with many of the songs now considered as classics. Since the album was released, Williamson developed the preference to sing around a campfire. The Next year, Williamson was named by Variety Club “Entertainer of the Year” and in 1990, his [/FONT][FONT="]album “Warra[/FONT][FONT="]gul” won the ARIA Award as Best Australian Country Record.


[/FONT]
[FONT="]The 90's was a stellar [/FONT][FONT="]year in Willi[/FONT][FONT="]amson's career. His first family album won the Award for Best Selling Album and another, “Waratah St.” was a gold even before it could be delivered to stores. He was inducted into the Roll of Renown and his song “Sir Don” for our leg[/FONT][FONT="]endary batsman Sir Donald George Bradman was adjudged the Biggest Selling Album at the Tamworth Country Music Awards. The Next year, he and an Indigenous Australian friend won the Collaboration of the Year award at Tamworth. At the end of the decade, his album “The Way It Is” won three Golden Guitar awa[/FONT][FONT="]rds, becoming Gold after only eight weeks.[/FONT]

[FONT="]

[/FONT][FONT="]In 2003 Williamson sang “Sir Don” at the memorial service for Bradman in Adelaide. In October of the same year, at the request of the Prime Minister, he sang Waltzing Matilda at the memorial service for the 2002 Bali bombings. After Steve Irwin was killed in 2006, Williamson sang his songs “Home Among the Gum Trees” and “True Blue” at the memorial service for Irwin in the Australia Zoo Crocoseum.


In 2010, John Williamson was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to an artist who has devoted his life to making music a meaningful experience for people everywhere.

[/FONT]

Nashville and the CMA Music Festival

Located along the Cumberland River in Tennessee, USA, Nashville is the state's capital with a population of almost 700,000 people. Although its main industry is health care, it is best known as the Mecca of country music, and is nicknamed “Music City”. As the home of country music, Nashville is the second largest music production center in the USA, second only to New York. The city's music industry contributes almost $7 billion to its economy and employs almost 20,000 people in the Nashville area alone.

The jewel in Nashville's crown is the annual CMA Music Festival. Originally known as Fan Fair, the Festival started in 1972 and has grown to become the biggest country music event in the world. Hosted in June of every year by the Country Music Association, it is a four-day event which attracts over 400 country music artists from around the world who hold country music concerts, interact with their fans, and sign autographs for hours on end. Almost 300,000 people from more than 20 countries and 50 states of the USA attended the 2011 Festival enjoying 150 hours of concerts, over 30 hours of autograph sessions, celebrity sports competitions, family games and activities and interactive displays.

Artists perform for free at the Festival where half of the total proceeds of about $200,000 are donated to charity. In 2010, because of the floods which devastated Nashville earlier in the year, 100% of the proceeds went to charity, half for flood relief. The other half went to a program, in partnership with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, called “Keep the Music Playing”, to support music education in public schools, and a “Words and Music” program which assists language arts and music teachers in the basics of songwriting. To date, donations by the Festival have reached almost $5 million. The 2011 CMA Music Festival is reported to have contributed $30 million to the Nashville economy.

There are many interesting sidelights in the history of the CMA Festival. Paul McCartney was the first non-country musician to perform at the Festival during its third year. At the same event, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner sang their last duet together before ending their partnership. Singer Kathy Mattea, under doctor's orders not to speak to preserve her vocal chords, “conversed” with her fans through a computer. At the Festival's 25th anniversary, Garth Brooks had so many fans that he signed autographs for 23 hours and 10 minutes straight, without taking a single break. The Festival was renamed CMA Music Festival in 2004. When the ABC network televised a special of the event, it ranked no. 16 in the ratings, with a viewership of 9 million people.

At the 2011 Festival, the big winners were Taylor Swift for Video of the Year, The Band Perry for Breakthrough and On Your Side awards and Blake Shelton for Male Video and Best Web Video trophies. Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatts received the Collaborative Video Award (the first country music award for Bieber). The other winners were Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert, while The Zack Brown Band and Jimmy Buffett won the CMT Performance of the Year video.