Australian music legend Russell Morris won his first ever ARIA Award last night after a 40 plus year career and it was the proudest moment of the night.
Morris won ‘Best Blues and Roots Album’ for ‘Sharkmouth’, the labour of love that the record industry didn’t want to know about.
The concept for ‘Sharkmouth’, a blues album about the colourful characters of Australia past, was rejected by the major labels so Morris recorded and released it himself.
It was only when the album caught the ear of Robert Rigby, owner of indie label Fanfare, that is was given a wider national release. Rigby’s Fanfare is distributed by EMI Records so via Ambition ‘Sharkmouth’ became available to stores across Australia.
‘Sharkmouth’ was championed by Brian ‘Frog’ Harris, owner of Songland Records in Canberra. Frog drove the national distribution into record stores through the Leading Edge Group, Australia’s largest group of independent music stores. ‘Sharkmouth’ was played and displayed in the Leading Edge stores across Australia and the ripple effect grew awareness across the country.
Meanwhile Russell and his band toured relentlessly performing in any venue and in any town that would have him. This good old-fashioned model not only made ‘Sharkmouth’ a hit, it made it one of the biggest selling Australian albums of 2013.
It was a shame the ARIA broadcast didn’t fully recognise this remarkable achievement but when you are producing a TV show you produce for the television stations demographic, not for a music audience.
Congratulations to Russell Morris. ‘Sharkmouth’ is the Australian achievement of 2013.
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