Shirley Thoms-Bystrynski (12 January 1925 – 1 July 1999), was an Australian country music singer and pioneer of Australia's country music industry. She was known as Australia's Yodelling Sweetheart.
Australian country music is a part of the music of Australia. There is a broad range of styles, from bluegrass, to yodeling to folk to the more popular. The genre has been influenced by Celtic and English folk music, the Australian bush ballad tradition, as well as by popular American country music. Themes include: outback life, the lives of stockmen, truckers and outlaws, songs of romance and of political protest; and songs about the "beauty and the terror" of the Australian bush. Early pioneers included Tex Morton, Smoky Dawson, Buddy Williams, Slim Dusty and Johnny Ashcroft all members of the Australian Roll of Renown.
Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.
Thoms was born in 1925, in Toowoomba, Queensland and was raised in a family of seven children. She began her career singing and yodelling songs by Tex Morton and Harry Torrani, and won a Bundaberg talent quest with Torrani's Mockingbird Yodel. In 1941, aged 16, with what is now EMI Records she became the first female solo act to record country music in Australia, as well as the first Queenslander to be featured on disc.This first batch of songs included ""Faithful Old Dog". She went on to tour Australia and New Zealand, entertaining the troops during World War II and writing songs. Thoms became known by the title of Australia's Yodelling Sweetheart. She later toured with Sole Bros Circus and met her first husband John Sole. The couple had a son, Peter and Thoms stepped away from show business, however John Sole died prematurely. In 1970, Thoms came out of retirement to appear on the Captain Cook Bicentenary Show in the Tamworth Town Hall and briefly revived her career with album releases in 1970 and 1972.
Toowoomba is a regional city in the Darling Downs region in the Australian state of Queensland. It is 125 km (78 mi) west of Queensland's capital city Brisbane by road. The estimated urban population of Toowoomba as of June 2017 was 135,631. A university and cathedral city, it hosts the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers each September and national championship events for the sports of mountain biking and motocross. There are more than 150 public parks and gardens in Toowoomba. It has developed into a regional centre for business and government services. It is also referred to as the capital of the Darling Downs. Toowoomba is served by Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and the smaller Toowoomba City Aerodrome.
Tex Morton was a pioneer of New Zealand and Australian country and western music, vaudevillian, actor, television host and circus performer
EMI Records Ltd. was a British record label founded by the music company of the same name in 1972 as its flagship label, and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia and Parlophone record labels. The label was later launched worldwide. It has a branch in India called "EMI Records India", run by director Mohit Suri.
Her most popular and best selling recordings were "The Faithful Old Dog", "Where The Golden Wattle Blooms" and "Yodelling In The Moonlight".
She was elevated to the Australian Roll of Renown in 1980 (only the fifth artist to be so honoured and the first woman). She was also inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in that same year.
The Australian Roll of Renown was inaugurated by Radio 2TM in 1976. The award honours Australian and New Zealander musicians who have shaped the music industry by making a significant and lasting contribution to Country Music. The award is determined by an independent selection panel, set up under Chairmanship of Max Ellis, one of the original founders of the Roll of Renown, the Awards and the Festival. The inductee is announced at the Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth in January.
After suffering from Parkinson's disease and a heart condition, she died in 1999, at Summerland Point, Lake Macquarie, NSW, aged 74.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. As the disease worsens, non-motor symptoms become more common. The symptoms usually emerge slowly. Early in the disease, the most obvious symptoms are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking. Thinking and behavioral problems may also occur. Dementia becomes common in the advanced stages of the disease. Depression and anxiety are also common, occurring in more than a third of people with PD. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep, and emotional problems. The main motor symptoms are collectively called "parkinsonism", or a "parkinsonian syndrome".
There is a collection of bronze busts in Bicentennial Park, Tamworth that includes Shirley Thoms, Stan Coster, Tex Morton, Gordon Parsons, Barry Thornton and Buddy Williams.
Stan Coster OAM was an Australian country music singer-songwriter. His songs were regularly performed by Slim Dusty and other singers. He is the father of country music singer Tracy Coster.
Gordon Parsons was an Australian country music singer-songwriter, best known as the composer of Slim Dusty's 1957 hit song "A Pub With No Beer". In 1982, Parsons was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown.
Buddy Williams, born as Harry Taylor and also known as Harold Williams, was a pioneering Australian country music singer-songwriter, known as "The Yodelling Jackaroo".
Yodeling is a form of singing which involves repeated and rapid changes of pitch between the low-pitch chest register and the high-pitch head register or falsetto. The English word yodel is derived from the German word jodeln, meaning "to utter the syllable jo". This vocal technique is used in many cultures worldwide.
Slim Dusty, AO MBE was an Australian country music singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer. He was an Australian cultural icon and one of the country's most awarded stars, with a career spanning nearly seven decades and producing numerous recordings. He was known to record songs in the legacy of Australia, particularly of bush life and renowned Australian bush poets Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson that represented the lifestyle. The music genre was coined the "bush ballad", a style first made popular by Buddy Williams, the first artist to perform the genre in Australia, and also for his many trucking songs.
Lucille Starr is a Canadian Franco-Manitoban / British Columbian singer, songwriter, and yodeler best known for her 1964 hit single, "Quand Le Soleil Dit Bonjour Aux Montagnes".
The Tamworth Country Music Festival is an annual music festival in January held in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia and is a celebration of country music culture and heritage in particular the national Australian country music scene, with numerous concerts and live performances at various venues. The festival lasts for two weeks over Australia Day and during this period the city of Tamworth comes alive, with visitors from all across the country and worldwide who come to join in the festivities. The festival has many times been counted among the world's top ten music festivals. In 2007 Forbes rated it as number 8 of the World's Coolest Music Festivals. The enormous number of visitors during the bash doubles the city's population and brings significant tourism and economic benefits to the region. Visitor numbers for the 2012 festival were estimated at 50,000.
Chadwick William "Chad" Morgan OAM is an Australian country music singer and guitarist known for his vaudeville style of comic country and western songs, his prominent teeth and goofy stage persona. In reference to his first recording, he is known as "The Sheik of Scrubby Creek".
Mary Schneider AM, is an Australian singer, songwriter and performer, who is a master at the classic Swiss Alpine style, she is best known for yodelling the works of various standards by many a classic composer. Her repertoire has covered everything from yodelling of classical music pieces to marches and European folk music tunes. Her daughter is the ARIA Award winning singer songwriter Melinda Schneider is also an Australian country music entertainer and performer. She mainly appears in club and pub venues around Australia, as well as overseas, but has also performed at many arena venues. She performed with her sister Rita Schneider, as part of The Schneider Sisters singing duo, who in 2002 were inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown.
Harry Hopkinson professionally also known as Austin Layton and Harry Torrani, was a British music hall performer, a soprano and songwriter who has been credited as one of the world's greatest yodelers. He was billed as the "Yodeling Cowboy from Chesterfield".
Wayne Horsburgh is an Australian country music entertainer. He currently lives near Sydney, Australia, and Branson, Missouri, United States.
The CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia also known as the Golden Guitar Awards is an annual awards night held in January during the Tamworth Country Music Festival, in Tamworth, New South Wales, celebrating recording excellence in the Australian country music industry. They are wholly owned and staged by the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA). The awards are hosted at night time at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre (TRECC) on the Saturday night of the Australia Day long weekend and have been held annually since 1973. These prestigious Awards attract a live audience of 5000 people from the media, the music industry and the public and are broadcast on free to air and pay TV, as well as through ABC Radio, streamed on Ben Sorensen's REAL Country and aired on other commercial and community radio stations.
The bush ballad, bush song or bush poem is a style of poetry and folk music that depicts the life, character and scenery of the Australian bush. The typical bush ballad employs a straightforward rhyme structure to narrate a story, often one of action and adventure, and uses language that is colourful, colloquial and idiomatically Australian. Bush ballads range in tone from humorous to melancholic, and many explore themes of Australian folklore, including bushranging, droving, droughts, floods, life on the frontier, and relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Melinda Schneider is an Australian country music singer and songwriter and radio host. Schneider has been performing since she was three and sang with her mother on the album The Magic of Yodeling at the age of eight.
Francis Edward Ifield OAM is an English-Australian country music singer and guitarist who often incorporated yodelling. After living in Australia, Ifield returned to the United Kingdom in November 1959 where he had four number-one hits on the UK Singles Chart with his cover versions of "I Remember You", "Lovesick Blues" (December), "The Wayward Wind" and "Confessin' That I Love You" (September). In 2003, Ifield was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown. Ifield was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame at the ARIA Music Awards of 2007. In 1986 he contracted pneumonia, which resulted in removal of part of a lung and damage to his vocal cords. He relocated to Sydney in 1988 and was unable to sing or yodel for years as he recovered. In June 2009 he was presented with the Medal of the Order of Australia, "For service to the arts as an entertainer". He was first married to Gillian Bowden (1965–88) and the couple had two children. His second marriage was to Carole Wood (1992–present). In 2005 he co-wrote his autobiography, I Remember Me: the First 25 Years, with Pauline Halford.
Lawrence (Lawrie) Minson is an Australian country musician, guitarist and songwriter residing in Tamworth, New South Wales. He married Shelley Watts on 12 September 2008. Together, they perform as a rockabilly duo.
Joy McKean OAM, born 14 January 1930, is an Australian country music singer-songwriter and wife of the late Slim Dusty. Known as the "grand lady" of Australian country music, McKean is recognised as one of Australia's leading songwriters and bush balladeers and wrote several of Dusty's most popular songs. In 1983, McKean was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown.
Rex Dallas is an award-winning Australian country musician, singer, songwriter, yodeller and bush balladeer. His albums also include selections of horse songs, war songs, mother songs and even one on the theme of coalmining.