Although little known in the U. S., three of Australia’s top country artists and one of England’s will seek to enhance their fame by performing on the international show at Fan Fair on June 15. An annual event, Fan Fair takes place June 12-16 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville.
This year’s contingent of international performers consists of Australians Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers and Jane Saunders and rising British star Adam Couldwell.
Cassar-Daley has the current song of the year and male vocalist of the year titles from the Country Music Association of Australia. His albums include Beyond the Dancing, True Believer and, most recently, Big River. He has participated in songwriting sessions in Nashville and has opened shows in Australia for Don Williams, Billy Joel and the Highwaymen, among others. Cassar-Daley is a past winner of the Search for a Star talent contest. In 1992-93, he stood in for James Blundell (the former Capitol/Nashville artist) in the Blue Heeler Band, a country/rock group.
Formerly a vocalist with her family’s award-winning Dead Ringer Band, Kasey Chambers released her first solo album, The Captain, early last year. It quickly went on to win the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) award for best country album. This year, The Captain was voted album of the year by the Country Music Association of Australia and Chambers the top female vocalist. She has been signed to record for Nashville’s Asylum Records, the home label to George Jones and Bryan White.
Among Jane Saunders’ several distinctions was being invited by Garth Brooks to open his 1995 tour of Australia and New Zealand. She accepted. Brooks was drawn to Saunders through the music on her 1994 debut album, Stranger to Your Heart, which produced five Top 10 singles in Australia and climbed to the Top 20 on England’s country charts. Her newest album, Poetic Justice, features songs by Nanci Griffith, Janis Ian, John Hiatt, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and other lyrical luminaries. She was a finalist for top female vocalist at this year’s CMAA awards.
Now 19, Adam Couldwell has been playing guitar since he was seven. He has appeared frequently on British television shows during the past four years. His 1997 album, Paint a Bigger Picture, earned him three nominations from the British Country Music Awards and subsequently won the album of the year prize at the UK Country Music Radio Awards. In October, 1998, he performed on the Grand Ole Opry. Couldwell has toured in England and Europe with Crystal Gayle and Reba McEntire. He is a writer for Acuff-Rose’s London division.
Fan Fair is sponsored jointly by the Country Music Association and the Grand Ole Opry.