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News/52nd Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth Hands of Fame inductees announced

52nd Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth Hands of Fame inductees announced

26 January 2024

A multi-award-winning alt-country singer, a pioneer of Australian rockabilly music, and an accomplished NSW country musician will take their place in history this Saturday, with the 2024 Hands of Fame inductees announced at the 52nd Toyota Country Music Festival.

Shane Nicholson, Lonnie Lee and Elaine Pitt will have their handprints placed alongside 300 others at the renowned Hands of Fame cornerstone on Kable Ave in Tamworth.

Toyota Country Music Festival Manager, Barry Harley said, “A very big congratulations to our 2024 Hands of Fame recipients.

“This year’s inductees have dedicated their lives to country music and their contribution to the industry is deserving of a place in Australasian country music history.”

Singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson has three ARIA awards, and 11 Golden Guitar Awards, an APRA award, and has been twice nominated for an Americana Music Association award. His career started in the late 1990s with his first Brisbane-based band Pretty Violet Stain and he launched a solo career in 2002. He won two ARIA awards with Kasey Chambers for Rattlin’ Bones and Wreck and Ruin. He bridges the gap between alt-country and mainstream.

Lonnie Lee began writing songs in the 1950s with hits like Star Light, Star Bright, I Found A New Love, and Aint’ It So. A pioneer of Australian rockabilly music he has worked in the industry for 68 years. He had his first break in 1956 on Alan Toohey’s Amateur Hour on Radio 2UW, and at the peak of his career he had eight top 100 singles, and achieved five gold records. He toured the UK and US working with Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, the Everly Brothers to name a few. He’s not slowed down since and now, aged 83, he continues to tour and perform.

Elaine Pitt was raised on an orchard in Mildura, Victoria where her life was centred around the mallee, music, horses and the Murray River. She won her first competition in the 1960s, at the age of 14, with her song Murray River Just Flow Along. Together with her three daughters Carolyn, Katrina and Kathryn, they entered numerous talent competitions becoming popular winners with their family harmonies. Elaine and Carolyn held the record for winning the duo section from 1982 to 1984 at the SA Talent Quest, before they launched into a professional career as The Pitt Family, becoming one of the first performers on the first Mildura Country Music Festival in 1987.

“The Country Music Hands of Fame was established in 1977, with Johnny Ashcroft, Slim Dusty, Joy McKean, Smoky Dawson, Buddy Williams and Tex Morton among the 21 artists recognised in the inaugural year,” said Mr Harley.

“It continues to be a year-round tourist attraction and prominent feature of Tamworth’s CBD on the corner of Kable Ave and Brisbane St and the annual imprinting ceremony is always a highlight of the Tamworth Country Music Festival,” said Mr Harley.

The 2024 Hands of Fame imprinting ceremony will take place tomorrow on Saturday, 27 January at 10.30am at the Hands of Fame Park on Kable Ave, Tamworth and will be hosted by Lorraine Pfitzner OAM. Tamworth Councillor Judy Coates will present the 2024 inductees with their certificates.