Bush Balladeer Star Quest Winner 2003

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  Latest News

Rachel Richards latest single to be released from the album "Beautiful Dreams" has an accompanying video clip which can now be requested via the CMC website. The more requests, the more chance that it will be played on Austar and Foxtel on CMC. It's easy to request just go to www.countrymusicchannel.com.au and sign up as a member then click on request, type in the song title, "Going Home" and select the song. Rachel would greatly appreciate you taking the time to request this clip. Thanks.

Hi everyone,
sorry I haven't written for a while as you can imagine it's a pretty hectic schedule with music and Jackson and Kyan turning 4 and 3 (who said being a mum was easy? rewarding but definately not an easy job.) Our family has been well, I'm getting better learning to deal with my back injury and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, with special thanks to Mary and Slim Newton for being right behind me with their support and love while I've been unwell. So I'm on the road to recovery and looking forward to seeing all my fans at some upcoming shows. I hope you can make it to The Pub, Tamworth 27th August for the Trevor Tolton Show, I think Trevor is doing great music and I'm quite proud to be supporting him on his first show at the Pub and hope it goes exceptionally well for him. Thanks for the invite Trev. We're off to Mildura from September 24th through til October 3rd and it's my favourite festival so I'm very excited to catch up with my artist mates and of course my fans too. If you can't make it to that one I'll be performing the following weekend at the Bedgerebong CMF and being it's second year I think it will be a great experience to be a special guest there. I'll be performing in Sydney for Bill Bearins from Good Morning Country on the 17th of October and am really excited to be performing at the Blacktown show on the 21st of October as I missed this opportunity in my Star Quest Year due to other commitments. I know I've been a little quiet lately but I'm definately still around and still loving my Bush Ballads. For any up and coming musicians who also love their Ballads I can't reccomend the Star Quest enough so don't forget to get your entries in, it's a fantastic building block for your career in the industry and the support from the ABBA will continue on as it has for me and for that I'm very thankful. Tony Jewell's beautifully written song from my album "Beautiful Dreams" will be released to radio in August so listen out for that one too or shout out for a request if you like. Lastly, I just want to say I'm in the process of writing some new songs that I hope you'll all enjoy and hope to be recording with Stuie as soon as I can with my third album, so thanks for hanging in their with me, I miss you all and look forward to catching up at a show real soon.

Lots of love and God Bless,


Hi to everyone, hope youíre all well. Firstly thanks to the ABBA for their continuing support and for getting me to and from these festivals, the opportunities theyíve provided this year have been great and I really do appreciate everything. Things have been pretty hectic here lately thatís for sure. Unfortunately, due to my two ruptured discs I was unable to attend the Gympie Muster which was so disappointing, but I am learning to manage my back condition now and carry on with things. Itís just a matter of knowing what you can and canít do and managing the pain to get through each day one day at a time. Iíd love to wake up one morning and have the pain gone and stop taking the painkillers but I think itís going to take some time yet before the pain decreases, but we will get through this.

<< Jackson by the lake

The boys are sure growing up fast and itís been a struggle, having Dave home for 8 weeks was just terrific but he has now had to return to work full time, although he is coming home a little earlier now because by the afternoon I am just in too much pain to carry on. Jackson is 2 and a half now and Mr Kyan is already 16 months, theyíve been really good, Jackson is very helpful and kind to his younger brother and we get through the days as best we can. Since my back injury life has definitely gotten harder and I wish to thank the boys God mum, Debbie Turner for helping out whenever she has a day off work. I couldnít do it without her, and the people at Daveís work ďJohn Holland SMPĒ need to be thanked for letting him take 2 months off to care from me and the boys. Iíd also like to thank Jim and Bonnie, big supporters of Bush Ballads and country music as they have been great spending time here to help out when they can with me and the boys, you really did a top job helping me to get through the worst of it all, so thanks

>> Jay Messenger & Rachel Richards

I flew down to Sydney in September for the Galston Country Music Festival and I had a terrific time. My good mate Jay Messenger came down with Dave and I, and Jayís parents, Harry and Maree and his sister Koby were here to take care of our little boys. It was Jayís first flight and I reckon he did an awesome job. Well done Jay! He played great on the stage with me, we were on early in the morning and unfortunately the rain that day had kept the crowd away, although it did build up as the day went on. The Rotary Club run such a great show there and should be commended. We were picked up by Keith Hollingsworth and he was so lovely to us, he took Jay, Dave and I to our accommodation and it was really lovely, it was a very flash cabin indeed, and I even had time to have a nice relaxing spa before we headed out to the Golden Saddle Awards that night. The awards were great and it was Drew McAlister who took out the Golden Saddle. I met some lovely people and caught up with some old friends as well. Another thrill was that they had made coffee mugs and t-shirts with our photos on them and a special mug was set aside for the artists with out names printed on them, I reckon my cuppa tastes much better out of my new mug.

The next morning Keith picked us up again and we headed out to the Festival, I really enjoyed my set and we sat back and watched the rest of the festival, which included, The Galston All Star Band, with Pat Drummond who is just very talented, There were lots of good acts there so it was a fun day. We flew out that evening and were back in Brisbane Sunday night, much to Jayís delight to get off the plane Iím sure. Iíd like to take this opportunity to thank Jay for coming along and giving me some support.

Whilst we were at home back in Rosewood, we had another gathering with many Bush Balladeers and we had Jammo and Alisha here which really topped things off, The local residents turned up and did some fantastic entertaining, Des and Gloria Samuels were terrific and I must say the Bush Ballads are alive and well here in Rosewood, with some very talented people indeed. Thanks to you all for coming to our little get together. We also had a lovely surprise when Charley and Sandy Boyter spent the night here with us after Nanango, it was such a real pleasure they’ve been great calling up to check on my progress and remind me of the people out there who really care for me, chronic pain can really play with your mind and I’ve certainly had my down days. >> Rachel and Frank Ifield
We were pretty quiet for a while after Galston which was good as I needed the rest. I really didn’t want to miss Mildura and I had rang Peter Coad to let him know when I hurt my back that I just couldn’t go, but I have to thank Pete for advising me to just wait and see and that’s exactly what we did. It was a big effort to do that trip but I am so glad that I did it. Dave had the tough part of the trip, he drove the 17 hour drive from Brissie to Mildura with Jackson and Kyan in the back and of course due to my ruptured discs I flew there and back. I have to give him credit for such a wonderful job, even throughout the festival he was a great daddy and he took care of the boys while I went out to do my shows. Another great thing about the trip was my dad came up from Mount Gambier and got to spend a week with his only grandchildren, which was just fantastic and as a bonus, Dad was then there to drive me to the shows of a night time while Dave stayed at the cabin with the boys.

I really need to take this opportunity to thanks Clinton and Gaye of the Buronga Riverside Caravan Park. I have never stayed in a more tidy park and we were treated so well by our hosts. We had a lovely little cabin and were right next door to Elinore and Jeff Carless. It was great to have them as neighbours and they also introduced us to their friends Faye and Jim who are long term residents of the park. Faye was helpful too as she came along with Jim and took care of the cd sales for me at the Coomealla Club.

Elinore and Jeff were always there to lend a hand and on a few occasions when we had to go out of a night time, they’d keep an eye on the sleeping boys for us. Also every morning I would hobble over to their cabin for a cuppa and a heat pack, as I didn’t want to make too much noise and wake everyone in our cabin at 6am. It was so nice as I really needed some TLC and I sure got that from these guys. The pain in the mornings is so bad you just want to scream so I am very grateful for their care, love and cuddles. Thanks so much for being there for me.

<<< Performing in the Mildura Mall

We did get through Mildura and although it was on a lot of pain medication I still managed to get myself to the shows and make the most of the opportunity to be a part of such a great festival. I think Mildura is fantastic, both John Arnold and his off-sider Toni should be congratulated and the same goes to everyone involved in making that festival the great success it really is. A real highlight for myself and my family was the Civic Reception at the Mildura Homestad, what a lovely building this is, with such great character. We had such a delicious lunch and as an added treat, Camille and Stuie French were there with their two gorgeous little boys to serenade us with a beautiful song.

The shows were fantastic, and recently I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Jewell, he is a song writer I have often admired and to get a phone call from him after he had caught up with Charley Boyter was so lovely. Tony sent me some of his songs and I have chosen a beautiful heartfelt song called “Rose Beside The Highway” for my next album. Tony wrote this one after attending one of the worst car fatalities he had been to as a Policeman on the Newell Highway for 25 years. I got to meet Tony at Mildura and it was a real honour, we enjoy our phone chats together and I know you will love this song as much as I do when it comes out on my new album. I cried every time I played it when I first got hold of it. It’s a very special piece for sure.
I caught up with many friends from my old hometown of Mount Gambier which was really great because many of them hadn’t seen me sing for probably ten years. What a thrill to meet people who still remembered me all those years ago and still had my little “demo” cd I’d made myself years ago. It was great to show them I had come a long way since then and such a buzz for me.

>> Rachel Richards, Ronnie Rae Rivers, and Barbara Morrison

Another real exciting opportunity was being asked to judge the talent quest, I judged the Under 16 year olds in Country Rock and Australian Country and I had such a terrific time, I loved listening to the up and coming performers and commenting on how great they were. I got told that my comments were excellent, which made me very proud, you have to scribble very fast to get it all down before the next contestant comes on stage. I was so excited to be asked and I went out and bought a little stamp with Well Done stamped on it to add a little personal touch to my judging sheets. The irony of judging though was that my very first talent quest was 10 years ago to this year and it was the Mildura Talent Quest, I was a little green 10 years ago and I was beaming with confidence as I walked out on stage to sing my own composition. The only trouble was that I had borrowed a guitar from a friend as my little “cheapie” guitar was not equipped with jacks to plug it in. I was so green that I didn’t realize you had to tune the guitar and after 3 days in a hot caravan my guitar was very much out of tune….A lovely young girl named Megan Laurie, who was playing in the backing band had a quiet word with me and explained that they had to turn me down because I had to tune the guitar. She was so sweet and kind and I never forgot Megan for that. I had the thrill of meeting her 10 years later at the same talent quest and as part of the judging panel. She is still the same delightful kindhearted girl I remember. I really felt “gosh Rach….you’ve really come along way with practicing and persistence, there I was as an artist and a judge 10 years later.

<< Peter Denahy and Rachel Richards

I loved performing down the mall and every other venue too, I had to do a show with Peter Pratt at the Gateway Tavern and I must admit I was so very nervous as I admire him a lot, well Peter had to be somewhere else and I was asked to go in and kick off the show, I was still not so confident playing the guitar on my own but have since become more confident after Mildura’s many solo performances. I walked into the Tavern and most of the crowd were asking where’s Peter Pratt? As they had come to see him, and I was so nervous they wouldn’t enjoy my hour of the show. But….I spotted my old friend from Mount Gambier John “Hillbilly” Bones and his lovely lady Dee, Bonesy and I used to Jam with our old mate Doc Holiday back home for years and I had missed our jam sessions dearly. I asked Bonsey to grab his bones and his harmonica’s and come play with me for morale support. Well he agreed and it was just like old times and we had such a ball on the stage. Of course little Jackson climbed up on the stage and asked if he could sing, and I said of course mate. Well up he got on the stool and gave us his best rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABC. He was so proud of himself and I nearly had a tear in my eye also, he was great and stole the show. The feedback Dave got was all so great and the show was enjoyed by everyone who was there, it was such a relaxed, casual show full of fun, jokes and laughter.

The scariest one for me was at the Coomealla Club, upstairs in the auditorium, I was there to do two spots of a half hour before the Gun Barrel Highwaymen came on stage to do their show. I was so nervous headlining this much admired and talented trio. But I did it and yet again I gained the confidence I needed to play the guitar solo. It’s hard to get up there with a packed house and no band on stage. But I did it and I’m so proud of myself.

<< Radio interview

It was an honour for me to perform with such great artists all festival and I was so thrilled to meet Slim Newton and his lovely wife Mary. There I was with my dad and I said “dad, remember when you used to play The Redback on The Toilet Seat for me when I was a little girl?” I told him Slim was the man who wrote and sang that song, and I reckon Dad was pretty impressed with that too. Slim and Mary were so great and Slim told me to never change, and Slim….I never will, can’t teach this dog any new tricks hehe. I got to perform with Anita Ree.Good luck with your new album mate.I loved the songs you played from it they’re terrific, Julie Perandes (finally we get to catch up Jules even though we live in the same city we never find the time), Greg Bain, (you’re new album is great mate), I absolutely loved John O’Dea his songwriting and his personality and vocals are just brilliant what a lovely opportunity to meet him and his lovely wife and mum hope to see you again soon John. I perfomed with Matt Manning, Owen Blundell, and I finally got to meet Glenn Jones, what a special bloke he is and I think both him Gail are great people and I was honoured to be on stage with such a legend, I think Glenn is just terrific and I could listen to him all day long. Gail really looked after us and made sure we all had roast dinner organized at the club the night I was performing there, this was such a great help as you can imagine the line up for dinner at the clubs. Thanks Gail. I also enjoyed performing with Chooka Williams and I remembered that 10 years ago when I was there (with L Plates on my guitar) that he gave me a chance to play at one of the caravan parks which was so nice of him. I also liked Neil McArthur what a top bloke and great performer. I really got the opportunity to work with the best balladeers and I loved every minute of it.

We met up again with Jeanette and Jeff who we met in Bungendore last year, they babysat the boys for us so we could have a night out. They came up and asked if we’d like to do the same, I thank them very much for allowing Dave and I to go out for a nice if not all too quick dinner. We also caught up with Adrian and Rosemary who have been so great in supporting independent artists down their way in the Barossa Valley, they’ve been so good to me in promoting my music, and they are the loveliest people you could happen to come across. They were at most of the shows I was at and always there to lend some support and encouragement, as always thank you for everything you do. We met up with Bob and Edris again which was lovely, as I first met them at Barham this year. Warren Mahoney was there to perform too and it was great to catch up and hear him sing for the first time, you were great mate. I caught up with so many people it’s hard to mention you all but it was also nice to see Graham and Kaye Butterworth and their friends Keith and his lovely wife, who we met at Tamworth this year. All the Warrnambool crew were there which was great too, it was nice to see Ron Morgan again too supporting the balladeers.

I finally met up with Lorraine down the Mall and it was nice to sit and have a quick chat with her I’m so glad we got to catch up it’s so hard when you’re on the go all the time. I was so thrilled to see Slim and Gwen Connors again as I met Slim many years ago when I was first starting out and I admire them both very much. It was nice to run into Merv and Chris Webster too and I am looking forward to hearing some of the songs he mentioned he’s written lately.

I had the chance to do some radio interviews, one was at midnight! Which was great but gosh was I tired….I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jeff Dunn who I admire very much, and thanks for his on going support. I also did an early morning interview with Rod Thomas and Bill Bearins from “Good Morning Country” I finally got to put a face to the name with Rod but of course had met Billy in Tamworth. Thanks for all your support with my music I appreciate it very much you’re top blokes. I also finally got to put a face to the name Max Thorburn, it was a thrill to be interviewed by such a great guy, and such a legend he is too. It was really cool to be told that my single “Beautiful Dreams” has been on the top 100 down there and is currently at number 61.

I think Mildura was such an awesome experience and one I won’t forget, the people and the venues and such a supportive bunch of music lovers made it all so memorable and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who bought my album, it means a lot to me. Thanks also go to Marree, Harry and Jay Messenger, who kept the homefires burning here whilst we were away, letting the chooks in and out and collecting the eggs and the mail, and feeding my pussy cats, unfortunately I came home to find my oldest pussy cat, Gus, had gone missing, he was 13 though and I’d like to say Rest In Peace ‘ol ginger car I’m missing you terribly.

I’d love to be invited back again, so fingers crossed that we’ll catch up with you all again next year. Thanks Elinore and Jeff for taking me to the airport it was lovely of you to help out and I appreciate you taking back my guitar and cd’s etc.

Next on the agenda will be a show at Postman’s Ridge with the Six Mile Country Music Campout, this should be a great fundraiser, after that I have a show at Springwood with Jammo and Alisha and Sharon Smith, and then the Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards are on, I’m over the moon to be nominated and wish all the other nominees good luck on the day. We’ll be camping there and it should be a top weekend, I was nominated in the Album of The Year section and also the New Talent section with my song The Last Horse Standing, I’m really thrilled to be in the Female Vocal with my song Weeping Willows, I’d like to say Weeping Willows was recorded By Terry and Jenny on their new album and I am very impressed with their whole cd especially my song, it’s a great honour to be included on your album and thank you.

That’s about it for the year so some rest time will be needed before heading to college on January the 2nd. I am really hoping that my back has done a lot more healing before Tamworth, as I want to be fit and ready for college. Dave’s mum and dad will be coming up to our house to stay with Dave, Jackson and Kyan so I must thank them for that too. I’d also like to thank Jammo for his on going support and for organizing a trip to Tassie for me in February, for the Primrose festival, I’ve never been to Tassie so I’m really excited, it’s on my birthday, 21st February, so I can’t wait. I had the pleasure of meeting Brian and Pam Lewis and Brian has been so supportive of all of us independent artists and they’ll be kindly looking after me while I’m there, I’ve heard their hospitality is just so good and I boldly asked Pam for a chocolate cake with whipped cream for my birthday, (well you guys know I’m not backward in coming forward….) Pam said she’s love to do that and I can’t wait to spend more time with them they are special people.

Well that’s about it for now, eveything’s going really well and I’m ready to go with all the songs for my new album, Dave and I did another co-write the other night on a track called “Two Little Stars”, about our boys and their love of Australian Country Music and it’s people. I really hope you all love the new songs I’ve written for the next one and I can’t wait to bring them all to you real soon.

So for now, take care and thanks everyone for all your well wishes and support especially the lovely phone call from Pat Pincott a few months back and Dulcie from Barham. Love to you all,

Rachel and Boys. xx


A.B.B.A. Media Release

The 2008 Bush Balladeer Star Quest saw the field narrowed to just four finalists. All genuine balladeers, this Star Quest was one of the most competitive held so far, and intense competition.
The Quest saw top performances from all the contestants, but it was RACHEL RICHARDS who took out the honour.

PIC: > Rachel Richards & Joy McKean at the Star Quest 2008. Pic by Toni Cook.





Rachel is 33, married to Dave and is the proud mummy to two gorgeous boys, Jackson 2 and Kyan 1. Rachel spent the first 21 years of her life in Mount Gambier SA, and 10 years ago Rachel began travelling around Australia on various construction jobs as a crane driver, working with her husband Dave. Although, Rachel has called Brisbane her home for the past 7 years.
Music has always played a big part in Rachel’s life, (especially country music). From an early age she played the organ and keyboards, sang and performed for family and friends. As time progressed she turned her hand to the art of songwriting, and began to play guitar.
Over the last 6 years Rachel has done exceptionally well on the Festival Circuit and has earned many singing and songwriting awards, some memorable wins being: Various TSA Awards, Overall Winner at West Moreton Country Music Festival, Overall Winner at Gold Coast Festival and winner of the Stan Coster Perpetual Trophy at the Broxburn Bash, for Best Bush Balladeer.
Rachel was introduced to the world of the Bush Ballad about 5 years ago by her good mate Bazza Salkeld and instantly she felt a connection to the music and it’s Australian stories and found it was clearly her “natural” style and what she was meant to do. She is very dedicated to pursuing a career in Australia as a Balladeer. Mostly to preserve this important tradition. Rachel feels a sense of pride and patriotism in ensuring that this style does not disappear, because she’s proud to be Australian. Rachel loves to write and perform these great stories to a captivated crowd.
Rachel has just completed her debut album with talented producer Lindsay Waddington of Krosskut Records with The title track I’m a Country Girl, (In a Bush Ballad World) written by the legendary Keith Jamieson, Rachel’s rendition of Slim’s When The Rain Tumbles Down In July, a couple of Coster classics in Old Gilbert and the beautiful Bushman’s Song, and seven Rachel Richard’s originals, including award winning songs Weeping Willows and The Drover.
In 2007 Rachel was a Grand Finalist in the Bush Balladeers Star Quest and in 2008 has taken out the title as ABBA Bush Ballad Star Quest Winner. She was presented a beautiful hand made clock made from rare gidgee wood and silky oak and made from an old stirrup iron. It was presented by Slim Dusty’s wife and legendary singer songwriter Joy McKean.
As part of the Star Quest Rachel has had a single recorded with Lindsay Butler Studios titled “Beautiful Dreams”. It has beenreleased to NFS 123, and is currently being played nationally. Rachel will attend many festivals across Australia including, U
rban Country Caboolture, Barham Bush Bash, The Gympie Muster, Mildura Country Music Festival, Galston Country Music Festival and appear as Guest Artist at the Adelaide Country Music Club.