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2023 Golden Guitar Winners Announced

21 January 2023 | 11:00 pm | Mary Varvaris

Casey Barnes and James Johnston win the biggest awards after a massive year.

James Johnston

James Johnston (Source: Tamworth Country Music Awards)

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The 51st Golden Guitar Awards celebrated another outstanding year for Australian country music. The awards presented by Tamworth Regional Council focused on albums and songs released between 1 October 2021 and 30 September 2022, with 17 awards going to impressive Aussie artists.

Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley were nominated for four awards and took home three, including Duo of the Year, Song of the Year for their single Star Of The Show, and Apple Music Single of the Year for their song Memory Lane. The couple also performed their award-winning track, Star Of The Show. Their daughter, Tiggy Eckersley, became the youngest winner of a Golden Guitar - as a co-writer, she shared the Song of the Year win with her parents and friend Dan Biederman. 

Casey Barnes won big, adding the highly coveted Toyota Album of the Year and Top Selling Album of the Year for his album Light it Up to his ARIA award wins and 12 Golden Guitar nominations. He also wowed the audience with a performance of God Took His Time On You.

Five-time Golden Guitar winner Amber Lawrence was crowned Female Artist of the Year, while two-time Golden Guitar winner Andrew Swift was named Male Artist of the Year. Lawrence is also celebrating 20 years in music.

Another important award, the New Talent of the Year award, went to James Johnston, who has spent many weeks on the Countrytown Hot 50 chart and even dominated it. He also picked up the Vocal Collaboration of the Year with Kaylee Bell for their single Same Songs, winning his first-ever Golden Guitar awards.

Luke O’Shea picked up two awards, including Heritage Song of the Year and CMT Video of the Year, which was co-directed by O’Shea and Jay Seeney for his track South East Queensland.  

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2022 Female Artist of the Year, Ashleigh Dallas, claimed Traditional Country Album of the Year for her album In The Moment, and nine-time Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell was awarded Contemporary Country Album of the Year for Wiser. Kim Cheshire’s album Looks Like Heaven was named Alt Country Album of the Year.   

Dean Perrett picked up Bush Ballad of the Year for his original track Out On Killarney, while Kristy Cox claimed Bluegrass Recording of the Year for her track Good Morning Moon and The French Family Band’s track Soda Cap Boogie was named Instrumental of the Year.

Colin Buchanan was inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown: country music’s Hall of Fame. Colin joins previous inductees Beccy Cole, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty, and John Williamson. He has won nine Golden Guitar Awards.  

Chairman of the Country Music Association of Australia, Dobe Newton, commented: “Once again, the Golden Guitar winners demonstrate the incredible breadth of talent across the 'broad church' that is Australian country music. We, as a community of artists, fans and businesses, never cease to be amazed at the talent that is on display and honoured at the annual Toyota Golden Guitar Awards.  

“The results reflect the diversity and inclusion we are so proud of. I know I'm speaking on behalf of all in saying that we are very, very proud that the future of our music is in such safe and exceptional hands.”

Next year's Tamworth Music Festival is scheduled to run from 19 – 28 January.