New Zealand’s top country music achievements have been announced with Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders receiving the Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa Tui | Best Country Music Artist and Tami Neilson taking out the APRA Best Country Song for Hey Bus Driver!.

With the 2020 Country Music Awards in Gore cancelled due to the Covid19 crisis, the winners were announced live on Radio New Zealand’s Music 101 this afternoon.

For their collaboration Word Gets AroundDelaney Davidson & Barry Saunders have received the 2020 Tui for Recorded Music NZ’s Best Country Artist.

After success in their respective solo careers and a significant number of collaborations with acclaimed Kiwi musicians, their joint venture is a tour de force of atmospheric, striking country music.

Taking out APRA’s Best Country Song, Tami Neilson has further cemented her spot as one of New Zealand’s most energetic and diverse country musicians.

Tami adds this year’s award to an increasingly populated mantel, having previously won Best Country Album four times (2009, 2010, 2012, and 2015) as part of the New Zealand Music Awards, Best Female Artist at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in 2010, 2011 and 2014, and Best Country Music Song in 2014 for Whiskey and Kisses with Delaney Davidson.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says the finalists and winners of the Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa Tui continue to fulfil and evolve the legacy of the genre.

“There’s a renaissance of country music happening in New Zealand, with our musicians embracing and advancing the storytelling fans of the genre have come to love.

“There’s so much raw soul and talent coming through, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a country music fan.”

APRA AMCOS Head of New Zealand Operations Ant Healey says: “The calibre of country music in Aotearoa continues to be some of the best in the world as demonstrated by all the finalists, and Tami is undoubtedly an international star who we’re lucky to call a Kiwi.

“We would love to be celebrating this song with her in Gore where the NZ Country Music Awards are usually held, and want to acknowledge Jeff, Ross, and the whole team down there who have done such a great job of celebrating country music. We look forward to heading back next year.”

New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust chairperson Jeff Rea says: “For the first time in 47 years, there will be no Country Music in Gore. Ironic really, as 2020 was to be the inaugural Tussock Country Music Festival, incorporating all the different events including the flagship New Zealand Country Music Awards where RMNZ and APRA present Best Country Artist and Song.

“Congratulations to all who are up for these Awards and we look forward to next year where we can present these again in Gore at Tussock Country 2021.”

Other finalists for the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Artist were Katie Thompson for her album Bittersweet, and Kendall Elise for her album Red Earth.

Any Fool With A Heart by Tami NeilsonThat Summer by Kaylee Bell and West Coast by Katie Thompson were the other finalists for the APRA Best Country Music Song.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Te Kaipuoro Tuawhenua Toa | Best Country Music Artist

Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song