New Album Category Proposal:
Traditional and/or Australian Album of the Year
The issue has been raised many times over recent years that many artists’ music simply falls stylistically outside the Album of the Year and Alt-Country Album of the Year categories. Some examples of those artists who might fall into this area include John Williamson, Sara Storer, Ted Egan, Simply Bushed, Michael Waugh, Fanny Lumsden, Paul Kelly, Archie Roach, Luke O’Shea, The Bushwackers, Chad Morgan, Allan Caswell, Kristy Cox, Davidson Brothers, Mustered Courage, the many Bush Balladeers including Dean Perrett, Jeff Brown, Graham Rodger, Dianne Lindsay, along with our Gospel artists. All of whom may wish to nominate an album that “is not Alt enough for Alt-Country Album of the Year’ but ‘too Alt for Album of the Year’, or simply just doesn’t sit easily in either categories and therefore choose not to nominate at all.
The CMAA saw a significant increase in Golden Guitar award nominations (up by 24%) for the 2017 Awards season, and we believe that will continue.
Country music in Australia is an ever-expanding scene and each year the music becomes increasingly diverse. Americana albums outsold contemporary country in the USA last year and that trend is bound to continue there and be replicated here. We need to honour and encourage Australian or Traditional albums to stay true to our unique country music heritage and find a home within the Golden Guitars.
We have simply outgrown the current two categories and the challenge is finding a definition which is unambiguous but welcoming.
The board of the CMAA propose that a new album category be created which would occupy the rapidly growing space sitting outside Album of the Year and the Alt-Country Album of The Year. This category would be titled ‘Traditional and/or Australian Country Album of the Year’, thereby gathering up most country music artists somewhere along their musical path within the industry.
Proposed definitions of each Album category:
“Traditional and/or Australian Album of The Year” (Definition)
To be awarded for the best Traditional AND/OR Australian country music album of the year. The album must contain a minimum of 70% previously unrecorded and released for the first time in the relative eligibility period. The album content may be recognisably Australian in lyric content, sensibility, attitude, and accent and may encapsulate recognisable Australian stories, people, history, attitudes and culture. The genre may broadly incorporate traditional styles of country music including influences from Celtic music, Bush Ballads, folk music, Western Swing, traditional country, gospel, and bluegrass elements.
“Album of the Year” (Definition)
To be awarded for the best country music Album of the Year. The album must contain a minimum of 70% previously unrecorded and released for the first time in the relative eligibility period. The album content and style may be drawn from the contemporary styles of the country music industry including the latest music released in Australia, the USA and other contemporary country music hubs around the world.
“Alt-Country Album of the Year” (Definition)
To be awarded for the best Alt-Country Album of the year. The album must contain a minimum of 70% previously unrecorded and released for the first time in the relative eligibility period.
The CMAA has titled this award ‘Alt-Country’ but please understand that it refers generally to the definition of the global ‘Americana’ label and genre. ‘Americana’, as defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA), is “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.”
The Country Music Industry in Australia is growing at a great rate and every year we have new entries to consider for nomination in the Golden Guitar Awards. It’s our fervent hope that you agree with your Board members that this new initiative is both welcome and timely.
We ask now that you provide your vote and comment if desired below. Voting closes Monday 24 April 2017.