Country star takes on special role
GRAEME Connors may not have scored another Golden Guitar at the 40th Jayco Country Music Festival but the Mackay-based singer-songwriter said it wasn't all about winning.
Mr Connors, who won the 2011 Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year awards, said Saturday night's event at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre was a good opportunity to catch up with his fellow country music stars.
"I didn't add to the Golden Guitar collection, but I had a wonderful time," Mr Connors said yesterday.
However, he didn't walk away empty-handed. He was named a 2012 Tamworth Ambassador, alongside Adam Harvey, on Friday night.
Mr Connors received five award nominations - two in the Heritage Song of the Year and one each in Song of the Year, Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.
"I tipped pretty well, the only one that I hoped would get something was Aleyce Simmonds," Mr Conners said.
He said he rubbed shoulders with artists such as Beccy Cole and Keith Urban and characters like Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson.
The passionate country music advocate said he expected this year would be another big one for country music and he planned to spread the word as a Tamworth Ambassador.
He said his role will be working with the Tamworth council to promote the Country Music Awards of Australia.
"We'll act as part of the... dissemination of information among the artist community," he said.
"I think this year will be a big year because of the changes.
"The CMAA, after last year, it's being run by Tamworth City Council; it's being geared by the council rather than the industry body (who formally ran it).
"Even this year, I could see a change; it just flowed better.
"I think the important thing is that we're in the process of regeneration, which I hope will carry country music ever further a field than it already is."
Mr Connors will play his part with national and international tours this year and will perform in Mackay in August.