**Casey Barnes takes home 2023 Toyota Album of the Year award at Golden Guitar Awards**
**James Johnston claims two awards, including New Talent of the Year and Vocal Collaboration of the Year alongside Kaylee Bell**
**Amber Lawrence adds sixth Golden Guitar to her awards cabinet winning Female Artist of the Year**
Australia’s best country artists and rising stars have been recognised and celebrated in the nation’s country music capital, with winners crowned at the 51st Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth, NSW.
Australian Country rock singer-songwriter, Casey Barnes, won the prestigious Toyota Album of the Year 2023 with his new album LIGHT IT UP, which was produced by Michael DeLorenzis and Michael Paynter.
LIGHT IT UP debuted #1 on the ARIA Australian Country Album chart and #3 on the All-Genre Australian Album chart and has spent over ten months in the Top 20 of the ARIA Australian Country Album charts, with the album also winning 2022 ARIA Award for Best Country Album.
Toyota Australia Vice President of National Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations, Sean Hanley, attended on behalf of Toyota Australia and congratulated the winners and finalists of the 2023 Toyota Golden Guitar Awards for their exceptional talent and contribution to country music in Australia.
“It’s a great pleasure for Toyota Australia to play its part in growing the future of Australian country music and we’re delighted to celebrate the outstanding talent evident here with the Toyota Golden Guitar finalists and winners.” Mr Hanley said.
“This year Toyota is celebrating its 31st year supporting the Tamworth Country Music Festival and 27 years of supporting the Toyota Star Maker competition and we’re proud to continue our commitment in supporting the wealth of talented musicians and artists who we’ve seen tonight at the awards.”
James Johnston took home two awards from the evening including New Talent of the Year and Vocal Collaboration of the Year alongside Kaylee Bell with Same Songs.
James Johnston became the first independent country artist to have his debut single Raised Like That achieve gold certification in mid-2022 and it became the fastest ever debut single by an Australian-based country artist to reach 1 million streams across Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube combined.
The evening also saw six times Golden Guitars winner, Amber Lawrence, pick up Female Artist of the Year and 2017 Toyota Star Maker finalist, Andrew Swift, claim Male Artist of the Year.
Presented by Tamworth Regional Council and the Country Music Association of Australia Inc (CMAA) the Awards focused on recordings released between 1 October 2021 and 30 September 2022, with 17 Golden Guitars presented celebrating the latest and greatest Australian country music talents.
While recognising nominees and winners and celebrating the success and resilience of Australia’s dynamic country music industry, the Toyota 51st Golden Guitar Awards was also a moment to honour and acknowledge Colin Buchanan.
Colin was announced as the 2023 inductee into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown – country music’s Hall of Fame, joining previous inductees Beccy Cole, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty, and John Williamson. He has won nine Golden Guitar Awards.
The night also featured performances from this year’s top nominees James Johnston and Amber Lawrence, as well as the night’s winners Ashleigh Dallas, Kaylee Bell, Lyn Bowtell, Luke O’Shea, Andrew Swift, Dean Perrett, Kristy Cox, Kim Cheshire, the night’s host Travis Collins and by multi-Golden Guitar award winner Melinda Schneider.
Toyota Golden Guitar Awards, Executive Producer, Mr. Peter Ross said it was an honour to celebrate Australia’s country music industry and recording excellence over the past year.
“A very big congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees. Tonight, was a fantastic showcase of how far Australia’s country music industry has come and highlights the bright and talented future it has. I look forward to what the next decade holds for the industry.”
Chairman of the Country Music Association of Australia, Mr. Dobe Newton said: “On behalf of the Board of the Country Music Association of Australia, I would like to congratulate tonight’s winners, nominees and everyone who brought the Toyota 51st Golden Guitar Awards show to life.
The Toyota Golden Guitar Awards are the only industry affiliated country music awards in Australia and the greatest celebration of Australian country music talent. The awards are the pinnacle event on the Australian country music calendar and are presented LIVE by Tamworth Regional Council and the Country Music Association of Australia.
2023 TOYOTA ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LIGHT IT UP: Casey Barnes | Producers: Michael DeLorenzis and Michael Paynter
Alt Country Album of the Year: LOOKS LIKE HEAVEN Kim Cheshire | Producer: Rod McCormack
Contemporary Country Album of the Year: WISER Lyn Bowtell | Producer: Shane Nicholson
Traditional Country Album of the Year: IN THE MOMENT Ashleigh Dallas | Producer: Brett Dallas
Male Artist of the Year: ANDREW SWIFT
Female Artist of the Year: AMBER LAWRENCE
Country Music Capital News Group or Duo of the Year: BROOKE MCCLYMONT & ADAM ECKERSLEY
Vocal Collaboration of the Year: JAMES JOHNSTON & KAYLEE BELL: Same Songs
Bush Ballad of the Year: OUT ON KILLARNEY Dean Perrett | Songwriter: Dean Perrett
Heritage Song of the Year: SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND Luke O’Shea | Songwriters: Luke O’Shea, Fred Smith, Mitchell Lynham
Instrumental of the Year: SODA CAP BOOGIE The French Family Band
Bluegrass Recording of the Year: GOOD MORNING MOON Kristy Cox
New Talent of the Year: JAMES JOHNSTON
Song of the Year: STAR OF THE SHOW Brooke McClymont & Adam Eckersley | Songwriters: Brooke McClymont, Adam Eckersley, Dan Biederman, Tiggy Heart Eckersley
CMT Video of the Year: SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND Luke O’Shea | Director: Luke O’Shea, Jay Seeney
Apple Music Single of the Year: MEMORY LANE Brooke McClymont & Adam Eckersley
Top Selling Album of the Year: LIGHT IT UP Casey Barnes