Australian singer/songwriter Troy Cassar-Daley was the big winner at the 38th CMAA Country Music Awards, collecting no fewer than six trophies.
Organized by the Country Music Assn. of Australia (CMAA), the annual "Golden Guitar" awards gala is the highlight of the annual nine-day Tamworth Country Music Festival, which concluded Sunday (Jan 24).
At Saturday night's awards ceremony, Cassar-Daley's April 2009 seventh studio set "I Love This Place" (Liberation/Universal Music Australia) bagged a Golden Guitar award as album of the year. The artist was also named male artist of the year, and collected the Australasian Performing Right Association song of the year and single of the year awards for "Big Big Love."
Additionally, Cassar-Daley walked away from the event at Tamworth's Jayco Country Theatre with the heritage song of the year title for "Chasin' Rodeo" plus the vocal collaboration of the year award for "Ain't Gonna Change For You" with the McClymonts. That brought his cumulative total of CMAA gongs to 20.
The majority of the Golden Guitar awards are voted for by a CMAA-selected industry judging panel and by CMAA members.
Local artist Felicity Urquhart received her first solo Golden Guitar, taking the female artist of the year honor. Nashville-based Australian country superstar Keith Urban only converted one of four nominations, with his Billboard 200 No. 1 album "Defying Gravity" (EMI) named top-selling album of the year.
Urban accepted his award by way of a recorded video message. The performer had a good excuse for not being there; he was putting his talents to good use at the "Hope for Haiti Now" benefit concert Stateside.
Also on the night, country veteran Chad Morgan collected the inaugural lifetime achievement award. Morgan, fondly dubbed "the Sheik of Scrubby Creek", released his first album in 1952 and went on to carve out a prolific career. He was inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown in January 1987, and was awarded the prestigious Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2004.