Winners revealed for the 2016 NZ Country Music Awards

The Warratahs 2015.jpg

The Warratahs’ Runaway Days has been selected as New Zealand’s Best Country Music Album for 2016, while Mel ParsonsAlberta Sun has been selected as the Best Country Music Song.

Both awards were presented last night (June 2) at the New Zealand Country Music Awards in Gore.

 Runaway Days is The Warratahs’ seventh studio album and a true testament to the group’s 25 years of critical acclaim. The album is again a collection of Barry Saunders songs and was primarily recorded as if live with no rehearsals in the lead in to studio time. The result is a fresh feeling recording that exemplifies the group’s stripped back brand of country/folk with a burst of ‘50s style rock and roll.

Recorded Music NZ CEO Damian Vaughan says The Warratahs are a long-standing example of the excellent country music New Zealand produces. “To receive this year’s Best Country Music Album with their seventh recording shows The Warratahs are not going anywhere anytime soon. Runaway Days is a superb example of the band’s classic style, and another album packed with Barry Saunders classics. To me, The Warratahs are an absolute national treasure,” Vaughan says.

2016 Best Country Music Song winner Mel Parsons is firmly established as one of New Zealand’s great song writing talents. Last year she was a finalist for the APRA Silver Scroll Award, and has twice graced the finalist list for Folk Album of the Year. Alberta Sun is from her latest album Drylands.

“Mel has crafted a deeply personal, dreamy country ballad in Alberta Sun. Relaxed and assured, it’s the sound of a song written by a song writer who knows her craft,” says APRA AMCOS’ Head of NZ Operations Anthony Healey. “A very deserving win for a song writer and performer who just seems to go from strength to strength.”

The New Zealand Country Music Awards are hosted as part of Gore’s Gold Guitar week. The festival attracts more than 5,000 fans annually and is in its 42 nd year. For more information visit

The other finalists for Best the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album were Wellington’s Eb & Sparrow for Sun/Son and Wanaka’s Jody Direen for Breaks Out.

Ebony Lamb from Eb & Sparrow was recognised as a finalist for the APRA Best Country Music Song category for ‘Hungry Little Town’. She was joined by siblings Tami Neilson & Joshua Neilson for ‘The First Man’.

Finalists for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Album

 Eb & Sparrow Sun/Son

 Jody Direen Breaks Out

 The Warratahs Runaway Days – winner

Finalists for APRA Best Country Music Song

 Ebony Lamb Hungry Little Town

 Tami Neilson & Joshua Neilson The First Man

 Mel Parsons Alberta Sun - winner