Nevermind NZ Music Month, Thursday, June 1st turned out to be one of the biggest days on the local music calendar with both the 2017 Country Music Awards and Pacific Music Awards announcing Tui winners.
At the opening night of the NZ Gold Guitar Awards, staged in Gore, Jody Direen won her first Tui with her third album ‘Shake Up’ being named the Best Country Music Album.
Direen is pretty much your classic Kiwi country music star. Born in Wanaka, she worked farms and determinedly played the local South Island traps. Local TV talent quests eventually led her to Nashville and onto US TV’s The Voice, Bear Grylls’ management famously taking her under their wing a few years ago. Including video singles Gimme The Beat and Dirt Rich, ‘Shake Up’ reflects her engaging country music energy.
In the same ceremony, Chester Travis received the Best Country Music Song Award for his Toothache. Berlin-based Travis is part of the developing duo Great Danes, along with mate Tim Hook. He penned Toothache for their 2016 debut EP, the catchy tune digging into classic country themes of yearning, loss, regret, and heartbreak. Great Danes are currently putting the finishing off their first album, expected to be released later this year.
The other finalists for the Best Country Album title were Hamilton County Bluegrass Band for ‘These Old Hands’ and Phil Doublet for ‘Endless Highway’. Ladies dominated the Best Country Music Song finals with Kendall Elise Todd’s Heart Full of Dirt and Ginny Peters’ The Reasons To Stay the others in the run for the award.
The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted by the New Zealand Songwriters Trust as part of Gore’s Gold Guitar week, now in its 43rd year.