Gold strike at Tamworth

By Julia Iles

"Well, it's certainly a scoop for Grafton, with me and Sam (McClymont) together claiming five on the night," Troy Cassar-Daley said yesterday, basking in the glory of Golden Guitar awards presented at the country music festival in Tamworth on Saturday night.

"A lady on Saturday night was doing the statistics and worked out I was the fourth winner of the most Golden Guitars behind Slim Dusty, John Williamson and Lee Kernaghan. It is amazing to be mentioned in such company."

Even after all the years he has attended the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the lights just seem to get brighter for him.

"As a kid coming down here and busking on the streets I would never have dreamed to win these awards, especially the Male Vocalist of the Year, as a lot of prestige goes along with it and I missed out to Adam Harvey last year."

As Troy's phone cut in and out as he travelled from Tamworth, the excitement in his voice could not be missed.

"I can't really describe the event. I always get blown away when I come down here. It's like being with 5000 people who are peers to you," the country music star said.

"Every year is just incredible," he said.

And although Troy admits when he was growing up here that Grafton was never a big country music town, he attributes his success to the support he received in the valley.

"I always love coming back; the people, friends and family really encouraged and helped me," he said.

Like Troy, Samantha McClymont was also travelling when she spoke with the Daily Examiner.

"It was a huge night for Troy and he was the most deserving winner and to both be from Grafton makes me proud," she said.

"I just didn't expect to win and tried to not let it get to me but when they called out my name for the Best New Talent, I just couldn't believe it."

Samantha won the Toyota Starmaker award last year and admits over the year she has made a 'huge progression'.

As she drove to Sydney, where she will shortly work on a new album, she wasn't letting the Golden Guitar award out of her sight.

"I have the glass award on the passenger seat right next to me," Samantha said.

"Just walking down the red carpet, with my sisters and all of the fans around cheering for us, is really something I'll never forget."

After her arrival at Tamworth on January 18 she performed three times a day with one night off.

"It's been pretty crazy but the adrenaline just kicks in. I just thought to myself there will be plenty of time to sleep when it's all over and you just have to make the most of it," she said, a little tiredly.

nJohn Williamson also took home an award for Bush Ballad of the Year for his song Bells in a Bushman's Ear. Chandelier of Stars also won Top Selling Album of the Year, taking Williamson's career Golden Guitar tally to a staggering 23.

Paul Kelly took home the award for Heritage Song Of The Year for his stirring track, Rally Round The Drum.

Thirty-two-year-old former school teacher Sara Storer was nominated in five categories, but won only Female Vocalist of the Year, her ninth Golden Guitar.

Two years ago, Storer took home seven Golden Guitars.

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