Country Music Association of Australia President Dobe Newton has weighed in on the public debate that has lead to country stars Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey withdrawing their hit album from the Country Music Awards.
Cassar-Daley and Harvey were criticised by Australian country music legend John Williamson for releasing an album that was too American. Williamson also questioned the relevance of Keith Urban’s nominations in the Australian music awards.
“We are just sad for Country Music that this has all happened”, Cassar-Daley and Harvey said in a statement earlier. “The last thing we wanted to do was cause any controversy. It was just two mates paying tribute to our musical heroes.”
CMAA President Dobe Newton has issued a statement saying he is “saddened by the very public debate inspired by comments from the past president”.
Williamson quit as President of the Country Music Association of Australia earlier this week after 10 years in the position. “If we are not respected as a legitimate organisation to promote original Australian country music, I cannot be associated with it any longer,” he said in a departing statement.
Statement from Incoming President Dobe Newton
“At a time when I’ve been honoured to accept the CMAA’s invitation to accept the presidency of our peak body, I’m saddened by the very public debate inspired by comments from the past president.
The CMAA usually welcomes any debate which puts country music in the spotlight, however the recent commentary has included statements which directly impact the reputations of two of our most dedicated and decorated country music artists.
As a consequence, we – as an organisation, have a duty to speak out in support of our members. While Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey’s decision to withdraw their album from the 2014 Golden Guitar Awards may be seen as a drastic move, it is perfectly understandable given the unnecessary media attention that’s been generated. How disappointing that a wonderfully received and commercially successful product should be ‘tarnished’ at a time when it should be celebrated.
It is important for fans of country music – as well as casual observers, to understand that it is not the organisation’s place to dictate what can or cannot be recorded, nor what people like or want to listen to. A nomination and judging process took place strictly in line with the CMAA’s published rules.
If anyone has a comment or a suggestion on that process, we would encourage them to contact us, so that a full and informed debate can take place, rather than the unedifying sound-byte exchanges we’re now witnessing. To draw Keith Urban into the ‘debate’, just makes it all the more unfortunate.
We regret the hurt that the public airing of these issues has caused Troy and Adam and their families, management, friends and fans. Their joint statement that they will attend the Awards ceremony to support their colleagues is a testament to their professionalism and an example of a generosity of spirit that we hope others will follow.
I trust that the dust will now be allowed to settle so that our industry can focus on the business of promoting the great talent from our diverse country music community and the businesses and fans that support them”.