Thursday, 01 Jun 2017

Chester Travis and jody direen claim 2017 nz Country Music Awards honours

Country fans flocked to the Country Music Awards in Gore tonight to see New Zealand’s most talented country musicians.

Jody Direen’s Shake Up was awarded the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album and Chester Travis received the APRA Best Country Music Song for ‘Toothache’.

Shake Up is Direen’s third album, her second nomination for Best Country Music Album and the first to win a Tui. The album captures Direen’s high energy and personality which she brings to every performance. Its first single ‘Gimme The Beat’ peaked at #1 on the New Zealand Heat Seekers Chart and she will also be acknowledged at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at the end of the year.

Chester Travis is part of the rising duo Great Danes. He penned ‘Toothache’ for their 2016 debut EP, and the catchy tune digs into classic country themes of yearning, loss, regret, and heartbreak. Great Danes are currently putting the finishing touches on their first album in Berlin which will feature ‘Toothache’ and a duet with Kimbra. It’s expected to be released later this year.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughn believes New Zealand country music is some of the finest in the world.

“New Zealand produces an incredible amount of quality country music. Year in and year out the talent at the Country Music Awards continues to impress. Shake Up is an absolutely fantastic album and Jody Direen truly deserves this Tui.”

APRA AMCOS Head of New Zealand Operations Ant Healey was particularly pleased to see such a diversity of ages and backgrounds involved in the NZ Country Music Awards this year.

“We’ve got songwriters who are new-comers to the local country scene right alongside artists who have spent a lifetime perfecting their country songs, and it’s great to see the community expanding and celebrating together.”

Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Album were Hamilton County Bluegrass Band for These Old Hands and Phil Doublet for Endless Highway.

Kendall Elise Todd’s ‘Heart Full of Dirt’ and Ginny Peters’ ‘The Reasons to Stay’ were the remaining finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song.

The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted by the New Zealand Songwriters Trust as part of Gore’s Gold Guitar week. The festival attracts more than 5,000 fans annually and is in its 43nd year. For more information visit

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album

  • Hamilton County Bluegrass Band – These Old Hands
  • Winner: Jody Direen – Shake Up
  • Phil Doublet – Endless Highway


Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song

  • Kendall Elise Todd – ‘Heart Full of Dirt’
  • Winner: Chester Travis – ‘Toothache’
  • Ginny Peters – ‘The Reasons to Stay’

For more information on Jody Direen visit

For more information on Chester Travis visit

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