If you thought we Americans had a lock on being bitchy about country music then you apparently haven't been paying any attention to those feisty Australians. As we speak, there's a big shakeup going on and it seems to be all about Australian country singers sounding too American.
Recently, John Williamson, the president and co-founder of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA), resigned his post over the Americanization of Australian country music. Unfortunately, it seems his resignation was pretty much directly caused by one particular duo's multiple nominations.
After Australians Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey received six CMAA nominations, including one for Album of the Year, Williamson decided he had had enough and stepped down as the association's president, but first he penned an open letter:
"It seems to be getting less Australian every year," Williamson said of the awards, which are presented by the CMAA.
"When that album came out of mainly covers, I'm not blaming Troy and Adam, but it's ended up being a finalist for the album of the year. The fact that it was even nominated blows me away.
"I feel that the organisation has got the wrong message and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't want to have my name at the top of it because there are a lot of people out there who don't believe what's happening. It has to be looked at."
The drama doesn't end there, however. The duo who riled Williamson up decided to withdraw their nominations and step away from the show.
Harvey says of the decision, "It would have been awkward. I don't want the Golden Guitars to be about who didn't deserve to win or who shouldn't be there… To be honest, I have been hurt by some of the comments, not only from Willo (Williamson), but from others I thought were really good friends as more people weighed in on this debate. Our intentions in making this record were good and still are."
He adds, "John Williamson did ring me himself, so I'll give him that, and said he hoped he hadn't lost a friend over this but I had to tell him I was pretty disappointed. It was his idea for us to do King Of The Road and he was happy for that to be nominated. He told me he now regrets that."
Wow. Feel more than a little bit bad for the guys.
Just in case you were wondering, Williamson also had some choice words for Keith Urban, America's current favorite Aussie country singer who also happens to be up for best male artist award at the upcoming awards.
"There should be an award for international artists who do the American thing," he said. "He gets awards over there. Maybe we could give him an international award, but I don't think that should be recognised as Australian country music."
He goes on to say, "There has always been some embarrassment about the real Aussie stuff and I don't think it should be that way," he said "The young kids, they'll all end up wanting to be Keith Urbans."
So I guess Keith Urban is a bad influence on the future Australian country singers.
On a side note, the pair who sparked all the anger are actually pretty damn good singers. Check them out singing Waylon's Good Hearted Woman. It's fabuloso.
Come to America, boys. We never get crazy about our country music. Buahaha.
Oh, one redeeming thing in this whole story is that John Williamson once posed with Steve Irwin so he can't really be all bad. Also, if you're wondering just what traditional Australian country music sounds like, check out Williamson singing here.