With four trophies, Australian alt-country star Kasey Chambers was the big winner Saturday night at the 39th annual Jayco Country Music Awards, held at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre.
Chambers won female artist of the year, her song "Little Bird" took single and APRA song of the year, and "Love Live a Hurricane" -- her duet with Kevin Bennett -- was named collaboration of the year.
In her career to date, Chambers has collected 12 Country Music Association (of Australia) Awards, which are affectionately known in the Australian country music community as "Golden Guitars." The chart-topping singer opened the ceremony with a rendition of "Little Bird," lifted from the Liberation Music-released album "Beautiful Mess."
Also on the night, Graeme Connors took home a brace of awards, including the gong for male artist of the year. But his album of the year victory for "Still Walking" was soured by an embarrassing faux pas which saw Lee Kernaghan's "Planet Country" incorrectly awarded the prize.
Kernaghan had in fact won for best-selling album, and it wasn't until after the ceremony that Connors was informed of his win.
"There's a funny side to this and obviously a little disappointment," he told reporters on Sunday, after organizers had confessed to the gaffe.
"From our perspective, accidents happen, mistakes are made. Matt Fell, the producer of 'Still Walking,' as a first-time Golden Guitar recipient didn't get the opportunity to be seen or give thank-yous to the people he wanted to thank, and that is disappointing."
Another multiple winner on the night was Luke Austen, who was rewarded with trophies for heritage song of the year and bush ballad of the year for "Sacred Bones" (written with Troy Cassar-Daley) and "Every Time He Travels Through Cloncurry" (written by Peter Denahy), respectively.
In other major categories, sibling act the McClymonts added to their 2010 ARIA Award win for best country album award with the Golden Guitar for group or duo of the year. It's the sixth CMA award for the trio, who signed a contract last year with the Executive Music Group in the United States.
The lifetime achievement award was bestowed upon Jimmy Little, marking the first time the veteran artist had left the CMAs with a trophy.
In one of the evening's highlights, an all-star line-up teamed on stage to perform The Beatles' "Help," with the likes of Chambers, Connors, Kernaghan, the McClymonts and ARIA Hall of Famer John Williamson joining in. A recording will be sold through iTunes to raise money for the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appeal.
The CMAs represents the climax of the nine-day Tamworth Country Music Festival, which wrapped-up Sunday.
The ceremony will air nationally on the free-to-air Ten or Southern Cross Networks on Jan. 29 and on the Country Music Channel on Jan. 29.