Troy Cassar-Daley has now claimed 40 Golden Guitars, two more than Slim Dusty’s career total of 38.
Australian country music trailblazers and industry icons were recognised and celebrated, at the 2022 Toyota 50th Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth, NSW on April 20, 2022.
Presented by Tamworth Regional Council and the Country Music Association of Australia Inc (CMAA) the Awards recognised recordings released between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 and celebrated the theme “Then. Now. Forever. Australian Country” with 17 Golden Guitars presented celebrating the latest and greatest Australian country music talents.
Shane Nicholson was the big winner on the night, taking home four out of his five nominations. His ninth studio album, Living In Colour, saw him take out ‘Alt Country Album of the Year’ and the highly coveted ‘Toyota Album of the Year’. His single And You Will Have Your Way was crowned ‘APRA AMCOS Song of the Year’ and ‘Apple Music Single of the Year’, with Nicholson also taking to the stage to perform his award-winning song.
Dallas was awarded ‘Female Artist of the Year’, while her track with Luke O’Shea, Long Way ‘Round took out ‘CMT Video of the Year’, which was co-directed by Jay Seeney and Luke O’Shea. Dallas, who is pregnant with her second child, joked, “I feel like the hormones are going to take over any minute.” She also announced, “Yes, we are dropping a baby and a record.”
The Weeping Willow’s single Black Crow was named ‘Bluegrass Recording of the Year’, which the alt-country duo performed live on stage. Their track Southern Gothic was also crowned ‘Coca-Cola Instrumental of the Year’, taking their total number of Golden Guitar wins to three.
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‘Country Music Capital News Group or Duo of the Year’ went to The Wolfe Brothers, who also took out ‘Contemporary Country Album of the Year’ for their nostalgic album, Kids On Cassette. They also treated crowds to a show-stealing performance of Something Good’s Gonna Happen, with special guest Amy Sheppard.
While accepting their second award, Tom Wolfe, whose daughter Evie just turned one, let slip that he and his wife Ally are expecting another daughter later this year. Wolfe joked, “I’ve got two girls and another one on the way, and I just want it known that I own three shotguns.”
Troy Cassar-Daley made Golden Guitar history, taking home his 40th award win – the most even won by an individual artist. He surpasses Slim Dusty’s previous record of 38.
While accepting the award for ‘Male Artist of the Year’ to a standing ovation, despite promising his wife, who was sick at home, that he wasn’t going to cry – there wasn’t a dry eye left in the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre. He shared, “It was such an honour to know [Dusty] and [his wife, singer-songwriter] Joy McKean]. The only thing that made [surpassing his award wins] sit right in my belly was getting an email from Joy this morning saying, ‘No matter what happens, the Dusty’s are barracking for you.’”
His song South featuring Ian Moss took home ‘Vocal Collaboration of the Year.’ While, previously announced in January, Cassar-Daley was also presented with the ‘Top Selling Album of the Year’ award for his ARIA award-winning thirteen studio album, The World Today.
Beccy Cole was elevated to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown. Presented by John Williamson and Max Ellis, Cole is one of the youngest performers elevated to the prestigious list of all time Australian country music greats. Selected by a panel of industry representees, recipients are considered for their long-term contribution to Australasian country music.
Cole, on the verge of tears, said, “This is such an honour for me. I absolutely love the Australian country music industry. For 30 years I‘ve been coming to Tamworth. I have made the most beautiful friends. I have made the most incredible connections and I feel like I’m home. And I have so many people that I would like to thank... had I known that this was going to happen, I possibly would have thought of their names prior to this.”
Cole’s co-host (and performer on the night) Adam Harvey took home his ninth Golden Guitar Award, with his 15th-studio album Songs From Highway One named ‘Traditional Country Album of the Year’. While singer-songwriter Angus Gill’s The Easy Way took out ‘Bush Ballad of the Year’, which was co-written with Manfred Vijars.
Despite having a speech prepared, Gill delivered the longest speech of the night. Comparing his stage jitters to having Parkinson’s disease, he remarked how he “hadn’t felt like this since [he] won a colour competition.” Gill later thanked the Academy of Country Music, Manfred Vijars, and others. He also shared the process of writing the song as well as a little about his history including the talent quest he entered at seven-years-old where politician Pauline Hanson was judging. He joked, “Inviting Pauline Hanson to judge a talent quest is almost like inviting a vegan to a sausage sizzle,” he added, “but I didn’t win and I’m still bitter.”
Gill ended his extemporaneous speech by plugging his Tamworth show on Saturday, April 23. Andrew Swift later recalled the moment, before presenting the award for ‘Traditional Country Album of the Year’ with Sara Storer, joking how Gill “paved the way for us to plug our shows while we’re up here presenting.” Manfred Vijars added that “It’s actually quite hard to get a word in edgewise with this young fella even when we’re writing.”
Country-pop group, Darlinghurst was crowned ‘New Talent of the Year’ for their track Where Do We Go, which the group also performed at the awards, while alt-country singer-songwriter, Michael Waugh took out ‘Heritage Song of the Year’ for the title-track track off his fourth-studio album, Dirty River. ‘CMAA Musician of the Year’ was presented to Brendan Radford too.
The night also featured a star-studded tribute to country music great Lee Kernaghan to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of his iconic, multi-platinum breakthrough album, The Outback Club. The closing performance featured The Wolfe Brothers, Catherine Britt, Christie Lamb and James Johnston, artists that Kernaghan has inspired and nurtured throughout his career.
The importance of taking care of one’s mental health was a big topic on the night too. Cassar-Daley mentioned the dark times he experienced during the pandemic through the loss of gigs, his marital troubles and losing his Dad to suicide, while Nicholson spoke about how writing his album Living In Colour was an “extended therapy session” due to the death of Glenn Hannah: “A lot of these songs were writing to work through that. I think of this album as his record.”
Toyota Golden Guitar Awards, Executive Producer, Peter Ross said it was an honour to celebrate the industry as it emerges from a difficult and exhausting time. He said, “It has been a long and hard journey for many artists over the last few years, but the Toyota 50th Golden Guitar Awards was a moment to stop and reflect on how strong and resilient Australia’s country music industry is. It has been a privilege to provide artists, the industry and fans with a close to normal awards night, and it was a great celebration. Onwards and upwards for the 51st awards!”
Chairman of the Country Music Association of Australia, Dobe Newton added, “On behalf of the Board of the Country Music Association of Australia, I would like to congratulate tonight’s winners, nominees and everyone who brought the Toyota 50th Golden Guitar Awards show to life. Five decades is a truly remarkable moment to celebrate and tonight we honoured and saluted the legends and icons of the industry. And we celebrated new talent and up and comers, who’ll no doubt one day leave a fantastic mark on Australia’s country music scene. Congratulations everyone and here’s to another 50!”
The Toyota Golden Guitar Awards are the only industry affiliated country music awards in Australia and the greatest celebration of Australian country music talent. The awards are the pinnacle event on the Australian country music calendar and are presented LIVE by Tamworth Regional Council and the Country Music Association of Australia.
A 90-minute highlights programme of the Golden Guitar Awards will be aired on ABC TV on April 24 at 2.30pm. It will also air on ABC Australia across many Asian and Island countries at various times.
The 51st Tamworth Country Music Festival is set to take place from 13-22, January 2023.
LIVING IN COLOUR: Shane Nicholson | Producer: Shane Nicholson
Alt Country Album of the Year: LIVING IN COLOUR
Shane Nicholson | Producer: Shane Nicholson
Contemporary Country Album of the Year: KIDS ON CASSETTE
The Wolfe Brothers | Producers: Nick Wolfe, Matt Fell, Lindsay Rimes, Johnny Gasparic, Scott Bradley Steven, Patrick James
Traditional Country Album of the Year: SONGS FROM HIGHWAY ONE
Adam Harvey | Producer: Adam Harvey
Male Artist of the Year: TROY CASSAR-DALEY
Female Artist of the Year: ASHLEIGH DALLAS
Country Music Capital News Group or Duo of the Year: THE WOLFE BROTHERS
Vocal Collaboration of the Year: TROY CASSAR-DALEY & IAN MOSS
South (feat Ian Moss)
Bush Ballad of the Year: THE EASY WAY
Angus Gill | Songwriters: Angus Gill & Manfred Vijars
Heritage Song of the Year: DIRTY RIVER
Michael Waugh | Songwriter: Michael Waugh
Coca-Cola Instrumental of the Year: SOUTHERN GOTHIC
The Weeping Willows
Bluegrass Recording of the Year: BLACK CROW
The Weeping Willows
New Talent of the Year: DARLINGHURST
Where Do We Go
APRA AMCOS Song of the Year: AND YOU WILL HAVE YOUR WAY
Shane Nicholson | Songwriter: Shane Nicholson
CMT Video of the Year: LONG WAY ‘ROUND
Luke O’Shea (feat Ashleigh Dallas) | Directors: Jay Seeney and Luke O’Shea
Apple Music Single of the Year: AND YOU WILL HAVE YOUR WAY
Top Selling Album of the Year: THE WORLD TODAY