NEWCASTLE songstress Catherine Britt will lead the Hunter charge at the 41st Tamworth Country Music Festival, which kicks off on Friday.
Britt and good friend Troy Cassar-Daley have topped the Golden Guitar nominations this year with seven each.
The Hunter looks set to celebrate one of its most successful festivals to date with 2012 Toyota Star Maker Bob Corbett also nominated in the new talent category and Troy Kemp, of McAlister Kemp, up for album of the year and duo of the year.
‘‘This is the most nominations I’ve had,’’ Britt said on Thursday.
‘‘I received five for a previous album but even Troy [Cassar-Daley] was freaking-out about seven.’’
The recognition has come on the back of the 28-year-old’s fifth studio album Always Never Enough, which she produced with Bill Chambers.
Britt, who already has two Golden Guitars, first began heading to the country music festival as a nine year old with her parents. She would perform among the hundreds of buskers who lined Peel Street (also known as the ‘‘boulevard of dreams’’).
More than 55,000 people are expected to visit Tamworth over the 10-day festival, which culminates in the 2013 Country Music Awards of Australia on January 26.
This year’s festival will feature more than 400 artists performing at 80 venues across Tamworth.
In addition to promoting her album, Britt will launch her band The Hillbilly Killers, which also features Tim Rogers (You Am I) and Bill Chambers.
‘‘We are finishing our record and we’ve just released our first song’’ Britt said.
‘‘It’s not my usual. I’m pretty Hillbilly and this is a bit rock n roll. The songs have a bit of swearing and can be very dark.’’
Britt selected her guitars for Tamworth on Thursday and got ready to say goodbye to her dog Johnny ‘‘Rascal’’ Cash. She obtained the pooch from Dog Rescue Newcastle just before New Year’s Eve.
Festival lines up last acts
THE final acts for CMC Rocks The Hunter 2013 were announced yesterday, adding to the already bursting line-up of artists playing the three-day festival in March.
US singer-songwriter Jack Ingram will make the trip Down Under, along with emerging country rock trio The Farm.
They join Rascal Flatts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Big & Rich, Love and Theft, Adam Harvey, Adam Brand, The Perry Band and more.
Local heroes Bob Corbett, Morgan Evans and Catherine Britt are already on the bill and will be joined by Australian acts Cadd + Morris, Travis List, 8 Ball Aitken, Baylou, Tori Darke and Harry Hookey.
CMC Rocks the Hunter is on March 15-17 at Pokolbin’s Hope Estate.
■A ustralian dance music heavyweights The Presets have announced a Newcastle show as part of their first national tour in four years, planned for February.
They will play at the Newcastle Panthers on February10.