Felicity Urquhart ahead of reunion tour with Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole and Adam Brand. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Felicity Urquhart ahead of reunion tour with Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole and Adam Brand. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Golden Guitars: Kernaghan, Urquhart lead noms

The Australian country music community have rallied to celebrate beloved star Felicity Urquhart with eight Golden Guitar nominations for Frozen Rabbit, her first album in a decade.

It has been an unimaginably heartbreaking year for the enduring country music singer who is still coming to terms with the shock of her musician and artist husband Glen Hannah's suicide in May, a month after the album they worked on together was released.

Urquhart shares the 2020 Golden Guitars leaderboard with Australia's king of country Lee Kernaghan, who also received eight nominations for his album and title track Backroad Nation.

 

 

 

Felicity Urquhart’s first album in a decade has received eight Golden Guitars nominations. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Felicity Urquhart’s first album in a decade has received eight Golden Guitars nominations. Picture: Dylan Robinson

 

 

 

 

Other artists who figure in the nominations for the Tamworth awards in January include acclaimed singer songwriter Sara Storer and Nashville-based chart-topper Morgan Evans.

Urquhart's Golden Guitars nominations come just days after she reunited with her close friends Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey and Darren Coggan for a reunion tour marking 20 years since the quartet combined for the ambitious Young Stars of Country tour as they were beginning their careers.

Urquhart says she still struggles to make sense of the loss of her husband and father of their two daughters Tia and Ellie.

"The month after I released my first album in 10 years, I lost my husband; it's just unthinkable," she said.

"I miss him terribly; he was my mate and I had no idea he was struggling with mental illness.

"I wish I could have done something for him but there's bugger all I could have done - he obviously was struggling with something greater than I knew.

"He knew he was loved by his family and by an army of mates in the industry let alone the people who admire his work.

"I struggle to make sense of it."

 

 

 

Country music legend Lee Kernaghan also received eight nominations. Picture: Supplied.
Country music legend Lee Kernaghan also received eight nominations. Picture: Supplied.

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Urquhart met Hannah on that first Young Stars of Country tour two decades ago and they fell in love not long after.

As she faces the reality of raising the couple's beautiful daughters, getting back on the road with her musical family and being embraced by Australia's burgeoning country music community is "actually saving my life".

"To be able to get out of bed and think about doing things for my beautiful girls has been my lifesaver," she said.

"We are doing OK, we are doing remarkably actually, and I put it down to this army of love that has surrounded us and propped us up.

"I feel all these arms supporting me, there's help, it's everywhere.

"Being on stage and doing this with my friends, it's what I love to do and it's how I met Glen."

 

 

 

Country music storyteller Sara Storer is a multi-nominee for the 2020 awards. Picture: Supplied.
Country music storyteller Sara Storer is a multi-nominee for the 2020 awards. Picture: Supplied.

 

 

 

 

The evolution of Australian country is obvious in the rollcall of Urquhart's fellow nominees for the 2020 Golden Guitars who run the gamut of traditional to alternative ends of the musical spectrum.

Country Music Association of Australia chairman Dan Biddle celebrated the diversity and growth of the music sector in Australia over the past decade.

"Country Music is enjoying a new golden era in Australia, which is a testament to the incredible talent of artists such as those we are celebrating today. From the first-time finalists to our legends of the industry, we thank them for continuing to inspire the public with their music and lead the way for Australian country music to shine well into the future," he said.

Urquhart will also contest the Best Country Album award at the ARIA awards on November 27 alongside newcomer Charlie Collins, veteran Lee Kernaghan, American-based chart star Morgan Evans and acclaimed songwriter Sara Storer.

"There's all the traditional elements of country I grew up with in what I do but it also embraces modern attitudes of our generation with rootsy instrumentation," she said.

"There's room for all of us and I am really proud to get that nomination."

 

 

 

Nashville-based Morgan Evans (with wife Kelsea Ballerini) is feeling the Australian love. Picture: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.
Nashville-based Morgan Evans (with wife Kelsea Ballerini) is feeling the Australian love. Picture: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP.

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Golden Guitars finalists

 

 

ALT COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Brad Butcher, Travelling Salesman

Hayley Marsten, Spectacular Heartbreak

Jenny Mitchell, Wildfires

Kevin Bennett & The Flood, Blood Red Ties

Michael Waugh, The Weir

 

CONTEMPORARY COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Amber Lawrence, Spark

Busby Marou, The Great Divide

Cornell & Carr, We Go Way Back

Lee Kernaghan, Backroad Nation

Morgan Evans, Things That We Drink To

 

TRADITIONAL COUNTRY ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Angus Gill, Welcome to My Heart

Ashleigh Dallas, Reflection

Felicity Urquhart, Frozen Rabbit

Gina Jeffreys, Beautiful Tangle

Sara Storer, Raindance

 

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Blake O'Connor, Everything I Feel

Brad Butcher, Travelling Salesman

Lee Kernaghan, Backroad Nation

Michael Waugh, The Weir

Morgan Evans, Things That We Drink To

 

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Amber Lawrence, Spark

Ashleigh Dallas, Reflection

Felicity Urquhart, Frozen Rabbit

Gina Jeffreys, Beautiful Tangle

Sara Storer, Raindance

 

COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITAL NEWS GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR

Busby Marou, The Great Divide

Cornell & Carr, We Go Way Back

Jetty Road, Because We Can

Kevin Bennett & The Flood, Blood Red Ties

The Viper Creek Band, Beautiful Destruction

 

VOCAL COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR

Andrew Swift & Gretta Ziller, Second Hand

Felicity Urquhart Feat Karl Broadie, Slow It Down

Lee Kernaghan with The Wolfe Brothers, Till It Ends

Luke O'Shea & Lyn Bowtell, Sing Me A Story

Sara Storer & Colin Hay, Next Year People

 

BUSH BALLAD OF THE YEAR

Allan Caswell, Country Copper

Dean Perrett, His Last Cattle Drive

Graham Rodger, Knights Of The Saddle

Jeff Brown, More Times Than I Remember

John O'Dea, The Drover's Friend

 

HERITAGE SONG OF THE YEAR

Brad Butcher, Freshwater Lady

Felicity Urquhart Feat Shanley Del, Where The Fruit Hangs Low

Lee Kernaghan, The Trucks Came Through

Luke O'Shea & Lyn Bowtell, Sing Me A Story

Sara Storer, Hayrunner

 

Country music party starter Amber Lawrence is up for the 2020 Golden Guitars. Picture: News Corp Australia.
Country music party starter Amber Lawrence is up for the 2020 Golden Guitars. Picture: News Corp Australia.

 

 

COCA-COLA INSTRUMENTAL OF THE YEAR

Michael Fix, The Balcony Bunch

Mickey Pye, Bridle Track

Mustered Courage, Death Mountain Run

Phil Emmanuel with Jacob Funnell, Gallaghers Lane

Rod McCormack, Timeless Traveller

 

BLUEGRASS RECORDING OF THE YEAR

Allan Caswell, Bad Politics

Hillbilly Goats, Bleed Me Dry

Kristy Cox, Yesterday's Heartache

Mustered Courage, Home Of Lost Lovers (The Ballad Of Glen Turner)

Rod McCormack, Shimmers

 

NEW TALENT OF THE YEAR

Blake O'Connor, Worth A Little More

Casey Barnes, A Little More

Sinead Burgess, Reno

Seaforth, Love That

The Buckleys, Daydream

 

SONG OF THE YEAR

Brad Cox, Rusty Strings

Felicity Urquhart, Chain Of Joy

Lee Kernaghan, Backroad Nation

Luke O'Shea & Lyn Bowtell, Sing Me A Story

Sara Storer, Raindance

 

VIDEO CLIP OF THE YEAR

Fanny Lumsden, Real Men Don't Cry (War on Pride)

Felicity Urquhart, Chain Of Joy

Lee Kernaghan, Backroad Nation

Sara Storer, Raindance

The Wolfe Brothers, Hey Brother

 

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Brad Cox, Rusty Strings

Felicity Urquhart, Chain Of Joy

Lee Kernaghan, Backroad Nation

Morgan Evans, Young Again

The Wolfe Brothers, Hey Brother

 

TOYOTA ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Amber Lawrence, Spark

Felicity Urquhart, Frozen Rabbit

Lee Kernaghan, Backroad Nation

Morgan Evans, Things That We Drink To

Sara Storer, Raindance