Taylor Swift and Adele dominated the American Music Awards last night (20th November) winning three gongs each.

The Someone Like You songstress, who has unable to attend the event after having throat surgery, won the pop/rock prizes for best female and best album for 21, as well as being named as this year's adult contemporary artist.

Swift, who beat Adele to the coveted artist of the year accolade, also bagged trophies for favourite female country artist and best country album for her Speak Now LP.

Speaking of her wins, Swift said: "This is one of the craziest things that has ever happened to me. I have no idea what I'm supposed to say. I did not think this was going to happen. You have no idea what this means to me."

Not everyone was lucky enough to take home an award, as Lady GaGa and Lil Wayne were left empty-handed.

As well as Adele and Taylor's big wins, Nicki Minaj picked up two rap/hip hop prizes for best artist and best album, while Katy Perry won a special award for becoming the first woman to achieve five US No.1 singles from one album, Teenage Dream.

Usher, Beyoncé and Rihanna were also among the winners, as the likes of Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson and Chris Brown performed at the event.

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The career of the Malpass Brothers, Christopher and Taylor, is right in step with those of the country music stars they have idolized since they were children. The siblings were introduced to country music by their grandfather who taught them the songs of Hank Williams, Sr., Porter Wagoner and Ernest Tubb whose music they have tried to perpetuate. He also taught them to play the songs of Grammy Award winner, BMI icon and Oklahoma Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard who was to play an important role in their careers. The brothers have opened for Haggard across the USA and Canada, and appeared onstage with Willie Nelson, Hal Ketchum and Doc Watson among other country music greats.

The Malpass Brothers hail from Hillsboro, North Carolina, USA and started when Christopher, the elder of the two, began performing solo at seven years old. Coming from a church-going family, their band blends in a lot of gospel music with traditional country which is the hallmark of their sound. Taylor Malpass says that they eschew the different variations of country music that have risen through the years and try to keep traditional country music alive. “The older stuff is really what we are carriers of”, he states. Christopher handles lead vocals most of the time except for those songs which are the favorites of Taylor. Music with his Gibson mandolin is Taylor's forte although his electric guitar sometimes comes into play.

Their big break came when The Malpass Brothers opened for Merle Haggard in North Carolina in 2008. In addition to the impression that the brothers' music made on him, Christopher reminded Haggard of Lewis Tally who had signed up Haggard for a recording contract in the 60's. Within weeks, the Malpass Brothers were part of Haggard's gigs. When not with Haggard, the brothers perform with their own band, bringing to fans around the country the sounds of their heroes like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jimmie Rodgers, Waylon Jennings and Ernest Tubb. The brothers are backed by a hot band that includes their father on upright bass.

Gospel music has a favorite spot in the repertoire of the Malpass Brothers. They staged a live gospel concert at the Methodist Church in Seven Springs, North Carolina which was recorded and released as one of their five albums. Performances at church homecomings are a regular part of their circuit in addition to traditional music festivals. Overseas, the Malpass Brothers perform in roots music programs in Scotland and Ireland. They were special guests at the 10th Thomas Fraser Festival held in honor of the Country and Western and R&B musician from the Shetland Isles. For the Malpass Brothers, following in the footsteps of their idols is a continuing journey, regardless of where those idols might be.

Check out their video on ItsCountry and catch them on Frank McHugh''s Radio show That's Country every Sunday 12 noon - 3 pm streamed live.

Twelve year old Taylor Pfeiffer has been awarded Third Place in the “Australian Children’s Music Foundation (ACMF) 2011 National Songwriting Competition” in Category 1. Taylor won this Award with her first composition called “I Love My Style” a song about her love of playing the banjo and country music. Taylor won $200 worth of musical equipment, a certificate and a $100 grant for her school to spend on musical equipment.

The ACMF received thousands of entries from around Australia, which were judged by a cross section of industry professionals. Marking its ninth year, the ACMF National Songwriting Competition is an annual, free competition open to all Primary and Secondary school children in Australia (reaching more than 11,000 schools).

With her prize money, Taylor intends to buy a new banjo!

In July, Taylor graduated from the “2011 CMAA Australian Academy of Country Music – Junior course” in Tamworth and is looking forward to the 40th Tamworth Country Music Festival in January.

Taylor Pfeiffer is already a hit with the country music crowd. But, that's probably to be expected if you start playing the banjo when you're only seven years old. Born in August 1999, Pfeiffer comes from Clare in South Australia. She fell in love with the banjo after hearing it on a TV show, studied it for four years, then talent and serendipity took over.

Deciding to try her luck at the 2011 Tamworth Music Festival, she auditioned for Melinda Schneider's “Schneider Idol”. She was invited to compete – the youngest contestant to perform onstage before a large crowd at the festival. While trying to fix her banjo, Pfeiffer found Laurie Minsen to fix it for her without knowing that Laurie is Lee Kernaghan's banjo player and guitarist. While busking at Tamworth, Hamish Davidson, of the Davidson Brothers, noticed Pfeiffer and joined her. Impressed by her talent, he invited her to perform with the Davidson Brothers at their Bluegrass Breakfast show.

At Tamworth, Taylor appeared as a special guest on seven shows and got herself the nickname “The Banjo Girl” from an enthusiastic audience. She was a guest, among others, on the Runaway Dixie Show at the Balladeer's Homestead, the S.A. Tamworth Showcase at the Hands of Fame Park and Andrew Clermont's Bluegrass Showcase at the North Tamworth Bowling Club. While performing at the A.B.B.A. Star Quest at Diggers, Pfeiffer played Slim Dusty's “Saddle Boy” on the banjo. In the audience was Slim's widow Joy McKean who told Pfeiffer how much she loved the performance.

Pfeiffer's love for the banjo probably comes from her grandmother who was a banjo player, too. Although Taylor also plays the drums the banjo is her favourite instrument and she looks forward to learning how to play the Julian banjo. She plays bluegrass and country but Australian country is her favorite and she looks up to the likes of Casey Chambers, Slim Dusty and Melinda Schneider.

Back in the old days, when there were rather strict laws regulating when a pub could or could not serve liquor, there emerged a character known as a “bona fide traveller”. There were different variations of the law in different countries or localities although, in a nutshell, serving liquor on a Sunday was prohibited except when the customer was a “bona fide traveller”. Although there were many lawsuits in the succeeding years trying to pin down the definition, a bona fide traveller was basically a person coming from outside of the restricted locality on the way to somewhere also outside the restricted locality, but who needed to wet his whistle along the way.

Thirsty men and bartenders being what they are, it was not long before loopholes were found in the law and the bona fide traveller began to acquire a rather shady reputation. In Ireland and Great Britain, for instance, all a thirsty soul had to prove was that he traveled for three miles from where he spent the night. The bartender on the other hand only had to show that he “honestly believed” that the customer was a bona fide traveller. And so, like the highwayman, the bona fide traveller became a fixture in history.

As if straight out of the pages of music history, The Bona Fide Travellers have burst upon the scene. A group of country musicians who earned their spurs before the term “alt country” was coined, they were entertaining audiences at the same time as The Dingoes, Greg Quill's Country Radio, Dead Livers, Bluestone and others. Between them, the members of the group have almost a century of musical performance. That explains the broad range of the mix they play from old-time country and hillbilly to traditional folk and cowboy songs all the way to acoustic blues.

The leader of the group, Graham “Snowy” Townsend has played in bands that span generations, like The Wild Beaver Band and One-Armed Bandit in the 70's when he also made a splash at a Bacchus Marsh Country Festival departing from the traditional country music acts of the day. Townsend's musical band width extended well into the 90's with The Operators. He has been on tour with outlaw country rockers like JJ Cale, The Amazing Rhythm Aces and Steppenwolf.

The group has at bass Mike Parker who also appeared onstage with The Operators and who first moved from New Zealand to Australia with The Slippery Sam Blues Band. Shane Fitchett who handles drums, banjo-ukelele and backing vocals for the group broke his teeth with Detroit garage, was last with The Swing Club then came out of retirement to perform with The Bona Fide Travellers. Don Farrell who plays lead guitar is a much sought after guitar teacher with over twenty years behind him as a professional musician. He has played with Mick & The Aces, Sons of the Outback, The Dead Livers, The Silverstring Outlaws and also played lead guitar for Neil Murray and Monique Brumby in their touring outfits. Tony Persic, a member of The Straight 8's for sixteen years, handles electric guitar and brings a new dimension to the group's sound. Michael Schack takes care of dobro, acoustic guitar and bass and is a founding member of The Dead Livers, the legendary Melbourne outlaw country rock band. Mike also played with Kenny Joe Blake and played in a backing band for Leslie Avril many years ago!

The BFT are playing at The Jug (acoustic trio) this Sunday arvo for a pretty relaxed session from 2pm-4pm and stay tuned to find out more about their 2 new video clips (Snowy Originals) which they have just finished shooting.

Check the Gig guide for the Bona Fide Travellers other upcoming gigs on ItsCountry or visit their website Bona Fide Travellers

With Shane Connors on vocals and guitar, John Palmer on guitar, Phil Pellegrino on double bass, and Luke Callahan on drums, Melbourne-based The Blackhill Ramblers are a four-man band that will guarantee to make you dance. The Blackhill Ramblers play country, rockabilly, honky tonk, rock 'n roll or anything that will get you on your feet and keep you there for the night.

The Blackhill Ramblers have been crowd drawers at country music festivals, rock 'n roll festivals, RSLs, hot rod events, dance clubs, rodeos, community events, pubs, clubs and anywhere that people love dancing to rockin' music. They've even performed at wedding receptions in the long time that they've been playing. On Black Saturday, for instance, their performance was canceled when the Glenburn Hotel burned down but they returned later to perform at the Post-Fire Concert and BBQ. The Blackhill Ramblers kicked off the year with a New Year's Eve performance at the Chelsea RSL, and in May they played to a full house at the Ingleburn RSL.

The band is booked for the rest of the year and the whole of 2012 at places like the Whitehorse Club in Burwood, the Bankstown Trotting Club in Sydney (November), the Ferntree Gully Hotel in Victoria (December) and the third Sunday of each month in 2012 at the Micawber Tavern in Belgrave. The coming year will surely see many people all over Australia dancing to the beat of the Blackhill Ramblers.

For more information on Shane and the boys - visit their website ...

Blackhill Ramblers website