International Australian country singer Keith Urban plays second fiddle to New South Wales-based part indigenous singer songwriter Troy Cassar-Daley in the finalists of the 38th CMAA Country Music Awards.

When the nominees were announced in Sydney today (Nov. 12) by the Country Music Association of Australia, Cassar-Daley notched up seven nominations, and Urban got four. They are up against each other in four categories - album, male artist, single and APRA song of the year.

Urban's "Defying Gravity" (Capitol) and Cassar-Daley's "I Love This Place" (Liberation) are pitched against former motor racing ace Adam Brand's "Hell of A Ride" (Compass Bros), family group Jetty Road's "Life At a Million Miles" (Compass Bros) and one time outback jillaroo (female stockrider) Harmony James' "Tailwind" (Shock).

Urban's "Why's It Feel So Long" and Cassar-Daley's "Big Big Love" are also up for APRA song of the year - alongside Felicity Urquhart's "Girl In The Mall" (Shock) Paul Costa's "Survivor 1932" (Shock) and Amber Lawrence's "When It All Comes Down" (ALM/MGM).

Cassar-Daley, who performed an acoustic set at today's announcement, said, "I'll have to email him [Urban] tonight and say, 'Hey we got some nominations'. He'd be pretty chuffed. It's just nice to know that friends are all in there together."

Brand, who is up for three gongs, recently signed a U.S. deal with Columbia and plans to relocate to Nashville in December.

The full list of nominations is at www.country.com.au. The awards are held in the Australian country music capital of Tamworth, in regional New South Wales on Jan. 23.

Today's announcement also served as the launch of the Tamworth Country Music Festival (Jan. 15 to 24). The event draws 50,000 visitors and delivers 2,500 performances at 120 venues, 70% of which are free. The 2010 event sees a new partnership between the CMAA, Tamworth Council, Tourism Tamworth and Events NSW to lift the profile of the festival.

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