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The Planet Country Story - Part I: Getting In To Country

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on October 31, 2018 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (1)

We often discuss this in parts on the show but have never really recorded the full history of the show and ourselves. I thought I should finally put pen to paper... or is that keyboard to screen? and tell you all how Big Stu and I got in to country and how Planet Country came to be.

This is Part I, how we got in to country music and the lead up to our first show on air.

It started back around 2010-ish. I was in the middle of high school and Big Stu, my dad*, was obsessed with camping.

*Its surprising how many don't realise he is my dad. I mean we look alike and sound a like. Plus I'm more than half his age.

On our way home from a camping adventure either up the coast or the down the coast (there are only two types of holidays in Australia! You're either going up... or going down!) and the family stopped off at a small cafe or bakery of some sorts in a small town along the journey home. There my dad spotted a poster for CMC Rocks The Snowy's.

Always with an interest in music, my dad was curios to see what all the fuss was about with country music and the CMC channel on Foxtel. He was vaguely aware that country music had evolved since the days of Slim, Foster & Allen and all the country & WESTERN! artists my grandmother to this day won't stop playing.

Upon our return home he flicked on Foxtel and found CMC in the electronic tv guide. Then for the next two years I was subjected to torture!
That's right, I was not a country fan at first.

You see at the time CMC was much heavier on the traditional and Australiana sound. As a prodiminately classic rock fan trying to keep up with the latest pop or hip-hop trends that my classmates enjoyed, I just couldn't get into the country sound or lyrics. There were a few exceptions: Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins*, Big & Rich and of course Keith Urban! To me there was nothing else like them being played on CMC at the time.

*Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk. That is all. I was a teenage boy and that music video was perfection.

In fairness to Tim and the team behind CMC, the industry itself was on the verge of an even bigger revolution. A new sound had just been popularised in the US and had set sail for Australia. The sound I was looking for, that belonged alongside the few artists mentioned above, was out there and on its way. Until it arrived Big Stu would continuesly put CMC on and listen along. Unless Keith came on the family was pretty much uninterested. Big Stu was looking for a new sound to get into but hadn't quite found it yet. There were a few stand out artists that were in regular rotation that I too enjoyed. My first country gig was Victoria Bailey and later followed by Kaylens Rain and The McClymonts. I really enjoyed the gigs and the music but I wasn't yet ready to call myself a country fan. Big Stu was looking for a new sound, I was supporting my Dad's new interest. In a funny twist of fate, New Country was discovered through me and this will sound cliche but the sound literally found me!

Very late one night a couple of years after Big Stu saw that poster, early 2013 to be exact, I was on my phone listening to music. I had a student budget so free streaming on Pandora was the go. All I could do was tell it to play songs from and similar to Brad Paisley. So that's what I told it to do.

A few songs into the 'Brad Paisley' radio playlist, something completely different caught my ear. It was 'Cruise' by Florida Georgia Line. Back then it was brand new and had just started to go viral on radio in America. As soon as I heard it I was hooked, it was the perfect sound to bring me into country music. A sound that was the perfect blend of country and the rock I was familiar with and had lyrics that a young man could relate to and party to.

I don't remember how I fell asleep that night but I know it was very late. I stayed up listening to more and more songs like Cruise after telling Pandora to play their Florida Georgia Line radio playlists. I think my mental music library grew by 100 songs or more that night. At the same time I was jumping over to YouTube and playing Cruise a million more times.

As soon as I woke up the next day (probably in the afternoon), I raced to the other side of the house where Big Stu was working on his computer. I think I said something like 'hey you need to listen to this new song' and that was it. I plugged me phone into a set of speakers we had and started playing Cruise on the YouTube app. Big Stu looked straight up at me with a huge smile and was instantly blown away by the sound.

I think he said something like "This is country!".

For all you New Country-haters out there, noticed the exclimation mark not a question mark!

Like myself during the night, my Dad was instantly hooked by this song. I went on to play a few more songs I had heard and he knew I found what he was looking for when he first saw that CMC Rocks The Snowy's poster years before.

Throughout the year we kept discovering more and more songs like Cruise. Some had been out for a while, Eric Church's Springstein for example. Others had been released not long after I first heard Cruise. We were country fans.... albeit not proudly.

The new sound was still on its way to Australia. CMC was slowly picking up the songs were had already been jamming to. We started to see Cruise, Springstein and a few others but everytime we turned on the channel we knew we would have to sit and wait through 5 to 10 songs before hearing the new sound we liked. Interestingly, I observed my Dad's curiosity and interest in what was being played on CMC quickly turn to frustration as what he wanted to see wasn't being played.

We quickly discovered local media was either too slow to pick up this new sound or was flat out ignoring it. This pushed us to look elsewhere. Sparked by the question 'what are we missing out on?', I begun streaming American country music radio. Eventually discovering 93.5 The Wolf in Evansville, Indiana.

Big Stu and I would stream this station non-stop. Hearing new releases and recent hits that fit this new sound. Most importantly we discovered the new sound had a name, 93.5 The Wolf had a clear format: New Country.

By 2014 we had found ourselves on a mission, to bring New Country to Australia. We had seen on CMC that we had New Country artists in Australia but no media outlet to fully support them. In the next part of this series I will share how Big Stu and I created Planet Country and got started in radio, the later dating back to before I was born.

Part II: Launching On Radio - Coming soon.

Matthew 'MJ' Brokenbrough
Co-everything and a whole lot more at Planet Country radio show.

Press Release: Hawkesbury Gold 89.9 FM

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on June 25, 2018 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Press Release -  For Immediate Release

From 25th June 2018, radio station Hawkesbury Gold will be syndicating the full 2 hour Planet Country every Tuesday from 4pm local time.

Hawkesbury Gold will air a full replay of the live show from the night before. Hawkesbury Gold broadcasts to 89.9 FM to Windsor and the Hawkesbury region.


Press Release: Big Stu to present a 2nd show!

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on April 10, 2018 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Press Release - For Immediate Release

Planet Country with Big Stu and MJ are excited to announce a 2nd show: Big Stu's Country Universe!

Following Planet Country moving to SWR Triple 9, Big Stu will launch a new spinoff program to air in the original timeslot.

The program focusses more on the latest news and gossip in New Country along with new music.

Retaining the original timeslot meant listeners used to tuning in on Thursday nights will still hear New Country on the radio. It also provides an opportunity for Big Stu to put new releases to air quicker as apposed to waiting until the one show night.

Big Stu's Country Universe airs every Thursday live 6pm to 7pm local time from the studios of Alive 90.5 on 90.5 FM in Parramatta, Sydney's Hills and surrounding suburbs.

The Wolf Australia, who syndicate Planet Country live and replayed, will pick up Country Universe and air it live as well as replayed on Sundays from 1pm.


Press Release: New Time, New Station, Longer Show!

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on April 6, 2018 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Press Release - For Immediate Release

During last night's 200th edition of Planet Country, hosts Big Stu and MJ announced a new chapter in the show history.

From next Monday, April 9th, Planet Country will change to a new time, on a new station, at a new studio and air for two hours!

Due to MJ's commitment to studying at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), where he has a fortnightly Thursday night class, Big Stu and MJ have decided to find a new, more suitable time to present the show live.

Planet Country will now air on Monday nights live 6pm to 8pm from the studios of SWR Triple 9 and broadcasting on 99.9 FM in Western Sydney.

The Wolf Australia will continue to syndicate the program live at the new time along with new replay times on Wednesdays (7pm) and Saturdays (1pm).


Hear THREE NEW unreleased FGL tracks !!

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on May 17, 2016 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (2)

How smart are Florida Georgia Line! That statement is bound to annoy a few tradionalists. Fresh off the successful release of H.O.L.Y, the first single off their forthcoming "Dig Your Roots" album, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley have already begun touring the states.

The Dig Your Roots tour kicked off May 12th local time in Tupelo, Mississippi.

It's an interesting tactic, touring with only one single released. Fans lucky enough to attend the concerts get to hear new music before the rest of us... but those fans have shared the love... literally.

Videos have been shared on social media sampling the yet to be released music and we have to give a shout out to an absolute legend in Ashley Mooney who published three complete live performaces of unreleased tracks off the incoming album inlcuding the title track,

Dig Your Roots:

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Life is a Honeymoon:

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Whilst Aussie fans sadly missed out on hearing the new music when the band toured Australia earlier this year, FGL have promissed to return down under. The music video for H.O.L.Y was actually filmed in Australia whilst the band was on tour and it features THubb and BK's wives in some scenes thus making our continent a special place in their hearts and giving further reason for the duo to return.

Videos by Ashley Mooney, article by MJ. Published on 17.5.16 - 7:20 PM

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FGL's New Single Drops This Saturday, How Will it Sound?

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on April 26, 2016 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (13)

If you haven't seen the news across their social media posts today, Florida Georgia Line are going to drop their first single from their forthcoming album this Saturday (Aus time).



The single is called Holy... or is that H.O.L.Y. ? It's the first release from FGL since Confession in 2015 which was off their 2nd album, Anything Goes (2014).


We can get a rough idea of how the single may sound after Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley revealed more details about their highly anticipated third album on Lon Helton's Country Countdown USA a couple of weeks ago.



Speaking to Lon Helton, BK said of the album: "It feels good, it’s more mature, and we don’t want to make the same album. The songs are better. They’re deeper.”

It's also worth noting that Dig Your Roots is not only the name of the launch tour and album but is also the title track. "It’s a song we wrote last year, and we love that song, it represents the album as a whole, where we’re at, where we’re headed," BK added.



Tyler said "BK has more lead vocals on this album, which is different from the last albums as well. He’s singing the whole song on three songs on the album. It’s been great to grow together as singers and vocalists, BK sings lead, I sing harmony, we’re excited. It’s gonna be cool to do live." - You can hear a preview of one of BK's songs here as well as a preview of a second.




Speaking to Taste of Country, BK and T-Hubb said the new album will be a man's album with songs for married guys who still like to party. Fitting, as the best mates have both tied the knot to their partners.


Additional news on Dig Your Roots includes Tim McGraw collaborating on a song with the duo. Not much has been revealed on that track other than it being an anthem with a "Round Here" meets "Dirt" sound.


Saturday can't come quick enough! We have many questions to be answered. Could H.O.L.Y. be a song with BK on lead vocals? Could this be the anthem with Tim McGraw? Are married guys going to throw single release parties? We can't wait to see what BK and T-Hubb have in store for us, and we know they're eager to get their new work out there.

UPDATE: Here's the music video for the new song, filmed right here in Australia:


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Article written by MJ and edited by Jazz


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Are Kelsea Ballerini & Morgan Evans a Thing? We Ship Korgan!

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on April 11, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

US New Country star on the rise Kelsea Ballerini has shared some interesting photos in her Snapstory on Snapchat that have led many of her Australian fans to believe she has found a man who will love her like he means it... sorry, we had to. 

Ballerini updated her Snapstory to include a quick video of herself co-hosting the CMC Awards with Australian country music star Morgan Evans and followed it up with some cheeky shots from a wedding she was attending. To the surprise of many, the Nashville-based Aussie had joined her.

Now, the idea of the pair becoming friends wasn't hard to picture for our Big Stu & MJ, having noticed a distinct flair when interviewing the duo on the CMC Awards red carpet last month. The pair had both performed at the Snowy Mountains Country Music Festival and were set to co-host the awards program in front of a live national audiance.

Little did we know Kelsea had called Dibs! The Aussie heartthrob planted a kiss on the recent ACM Award winner just in time for a Snap. A follow up post in her Snapstory shows the artists once again looking deeply into each others' sparkly eyes. We wish Kelsea and Morgan - Korgan - all the best! We hope to catch up again soon.

Hear what Morgan and Kelsea had to say about co-hosting the CMC Awards on this week's edition of Planet Country with Big Stu & MJ - Australia's Home of New Country! Details to be posted on our facebook page here.

Written by MJ, edited by Jazz

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Album Launch Kaylens Rain In Our Blood

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on March 30, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


Rooty Hill RSL, Friday 18th March 2016


The start of 2016 has been so busy on the country music front. The dust had barely settled on the 49th Tamworth Country Music Festival when it was suddenly time to play with the mud at CMC Rocks QLD. Then the inevitable post festivals withdrawal kicked in. Thankfully we only had to wait another week until the Kaylens Rain album launch! What at first seemed to be a delay in the release for no discernible reason, turned in to a clever piece of programming. With the festival hoopla behind us we could focus on brand new music from one of Australia’s premier country acts.


When you talk with Kaylee Stewart (nee Harrison) and Glen Harrison it is apparent that the accolades and adulation they garnered upon the release of their debut album “Found” hasn’t changed their down to earth personalities. While this is a welcome attribute, something that is also clear is that the sibling duo felt the weight of expectation upon them to deliver a worthwhile second album. Fans and the industry itself were abuzz with anticipation for another set of killer tunes with the requisite harmonies it seems only a brother and sister can produce, along with easy listening guitar riffs and clever song writing that was laden in their debut.


We spoke with Glen and Kaylee at the Sydney Country Music Festival last October, around the time they were laying down the new music in Andrew Cochrane’s FX Productions studio and back then they were saying they were well aware of the time between releases but they had been very conscious of finding the right songs and being absolutely sure about each track that would find it’s way onto the 2nd album.


What must seem like an eternity later, the duo were on stage at Rooty Hill RSL to launch the album with full band backing, including Kaylee’s new husband Joel Stewart on bass. The night opened with an acoustic set by rising singer/song writer Melanie Dyer who set the scene with a collection of her powerful country pop. Mel then doubled as the MC to introduce Kaylens Rain.


“Lost in the moonshine” kicked us off before Glen advised that they were playing all the songs off the album and that presented a real challenge. Title track “In our blood” was next up and the duo explained that it was about their sibling connection. An almost electro-drum sound presented a new sound for Kaylens Rain and gave credence to Glen’s challenge explanation.


The duo thoughtfully interspersed tracks from their debut album and these were well received by the knowledgeable crowd. “Waiting on a bus” was always a favourite of mine and it seems I wasn’t alone on the night. New song “Go there” has a message about being yourself and remaining genuine.


Kaylens Rain has always included some interesting covers in their live shows and the launch featured a couple of great versions of well-known songs. “Back for good” is one of those songs that has everyone waving their phone lights in the air, which is a lot safer than the old gas lighter days at concerts.


Kaylee described “Stars don’t forget” as the prettiest song on their new album and explained that they get lost in the song when performing it. It has the same effect for the listener. Close your eyes and drift away with the beautiful sound of perfect harmonies and melodic guitar. It’s a wide soundscape and it will be more than just Kaylee’s favourite track when people listen to the album. “Take it away” is the album closer and has a 70’s guitar blues anthem feel about it.


“Outta here” is perhaps the duo’s signature song from their debut album and again proved popular on the night. My personal favourite track on “In our blood” is “Living on love”, which sees Glen take control of the lead vocals. Well, sort of. In what can only be described as a moment that would have been cringe worthy if it were anyone else, Glen struggled with the words and had to re-start. I suggest it is because of his wonderful down to earth personality that the moment stayed light hearted and if anything brought the seated crowd closer to the action and seemed to lift the spirit in the room. This is a killer song and will be a single at some point.


“Catching red lights” is a song that is well known to veteran Kaylens Rain concert goers as it was written at the time of the debut album and has been performed live since then. It is only right that it found it’s way on to the second album. “Forever dance” is an upbeat anthem that went down well with the now more heavily invested crowd. The band finished with an outdoor anthem in the form of “When the sun goes down”.


We all knew there was unfinished business so an encore was mandatory. The duo returned and belted out a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The chain”. The party continued with the duo’s hugely popular “Wildflower”. Glen and Kaylee thanked everyone who has had a hand in their career and the new album, including manager Tom Inglis and producer Andrew Cochrane. Lead single “Firefly summer” closed out the show and what was a brilliant album launch.


Talking with Glen and Kaylee after the show, it was clear they were relieved the album was now officially released. They should also dismiss any residual pressure they may still feel about their 2nd album living up to the hype of their debut. It isn’t the same album and nor is it another collection of similar songs. “In our blood” is a mature album that belies the duo’s (relatively) short career thus far. This is an album that could have been made by a long time band, with swag of number 1 hits behind them. Credit must go to the siblings for patient song writing and careful song selection. Props also to Andrew Cochrane, who is a master producer.


The duo along with manager Tom Inglis now face the tough call of which songs to release as singles. How do you choose, when it’s all killer, no filler!


Sponsorship Renewal Is A Snap

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on March 8, 2016 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

[Planet Country] Radio Show received a boost on the eve of their historic coverage of the CMC Awards Red Carpet and CMC Rocks QLD Festival, with existing sponsor Snap Print Design Website Castle Hill and St. Leonards renewing their sponsorship agreement for a further period.


The team at Snap, led by franchisee Noel Kelly signed on as program and station sponsor in 2015 just as [Planet Country] signed an agreement as media partner for the Sydney Country Music Festival. Mr. Kelly believes as a local franchise business owner, it is highly worthwhile to support local media including Alive 90.5 FM and a dynamic program such as [Planet Country]. “I listen to the boys show on a Thursday night travelling between the two stores and I really enjoy the modern country music they play” said Mr. Kelly, adding “I think it is fantastic that they are growing their listenership and embracing social media and I am delighted for Snap Castle Hill and St. Leonards to offer our support and encouragement”.


ABOVE: Staff at Snap Castle Hill present Planet Country with their custom Instagram Board for Sydney CMF on Halloween.

Speaking on behalf of [Planet Country], co-host Big Stu said he was thrilled to have Snap continue their association; “Local business sponsorship is the lifeblood of local media organisations and when major brands such as Snap Print Design and Web Sites become involved through a franchisee it allows the station to present high quality programming. In our case, Snap’s support has been a huge boost for [Planet Country] and it’s heartening that as we grow, they want to continue to be part of what we are creating. We are very thankful to Noel, Mitch, Oliver and the team.”

ABOVE: Mitch from Snap Castle Hill with Big Stu

The agreement takes effect immediately and will include the [Planet Country] coverage of the CMC Awards Red Carpet on Thursday 10th March and the CMC Rocks QLD Festival, Friday 11th to Sunday 14th March. Follow Big Stu and MJ on social media.

 Contact Planet Country today to see how your business or brand can benefit from sponsoring Planet Country!

EP Launch Concert Review - Jay Seeney Band & Jade Holland

Posted by The Wolf Radio: Planet Country Radio Show on November 5, 2015 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Concert: 17th October 2015 - Rooty Hill RSL - Review by Big Stu

There’s a saying in business “The moment the rate of change outside a business exceeds the rate of change within it, the end is near”. That might apply to the business world, but what on earth does it have to do with a concert review? The concert in question represents a moment of change within the country music industry, which to be fair, isn’t one single business, but seeing as it is a small industry in Australia, let’s look at it as one business. By the way, this is a concert review . . .


So how did the Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland twin EP launches change the ‘business’?

Both artists reflect a new wave (no, nothing to do with that British movement in the 80’s) of artists coming in to country from different backgrounds and all musical genres. Now there may be nothing new in that, people have been making ‘different’ styles of country for some time, but not always with the support of those established in the ‘business’, or more importantly, fans of the genre. But I sense a change in the air. Music is changing – the world over. Some mourn the generication (not a word, but I claim it when it catches on) of music. A seemingly headlong burst into over commercialised sound that fits multiple genres and maximises ROI for record companies who, quite frankly must be scared stiff about making any money at all in this rapidly changing world. By the way, this is a concert review . . .


For every mourner, there are ten-fold fans, that are lapping up current music that crosses over, under, between and around multiple styles. Remember when you read what I wrote about change outside a business? That is what is happening in music. But country, as a ‘business’ has not embraced change at the rate of that which is occurring outside. So what does that mean? Is the end near? Thankfully no, and I contend that it is because of artists like The Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland that the end is nowhere in sight. These two ‘modern country’, ‘new country’, ‘contemporary country’, call them what you like performers are taking country in a new and exciting direction. By the way, this is finally heading towards being a concert review . . .


Before we get to the concert, and we will get there; I need to address the tutt tutters, who are fans of ‘traditional country’, ‘real country’, call it what you like. No-one is suggesting the type of country that you like has to go. No-one is suggesting that artists who play that music have to change. My synopsis of the country music ‘business’ is predicated on the belief that for the business to remain viable, it must embrace new and alternate markets. There will always be a space for traditional country, but there must be space for new country, otherwise the business fails. Think about it. How many festivals (that include all types of country) would cease to exist if ‘new country’ was not embraced. How many radio stations would be viable with only traditional country to play? And here’s the kicker, how many new fans would be turned on to country, if ‘new country’ didn’t exist?

By the way, we’re nearly at the concert review bit . . .


So, now that I’ve established the importance of this new and exciting direction for country music, why are The Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland so important to it’s success? It’s very simple. Any other form of music’s loss, is country’s gain. Jay Seeney is a guitar virtuoso who could have been a Rock God in the hard rock world. The fact that he identifies with country and wants to bring his rock sensibilities (is that an oxymoron) to the genre should be applauded. Jade Holland grew up listening to Metallica and Alanis Morissette with her parents before discovering country. How fortunate we are that she did. The point here is that these two musicians have embraced country and we need to be sure that country embraces them. I only say this because not too long ago I witnessed some country artists virtually hounded out of the genre for being ‘too rocky’. What a load of . . .


OK, so here is the concert review. Awesome.

You expected more . . . all right then. This show had been highly anticipated for several of us Jay Seeney fanatics, but we wondered how it would work with Jade Holland. Who would get top billing? That issue was solved by having one almighty show with both artists on stage and rocking out to each-others music. The members of The Jay Seeney Band played all the music backing both artists and there was a sense that this was just one big band. I’m not sure if there are tour plans for both to support their respective albums, but it would make so much sense to tour as they played at the launch.


So you read all the way through to get to a few sentences about the concert and you waited weeks to read it. What gives? Well the wait was because I wanted to see how the fans at the Sydney Country Music festival reacted to the Jay Seeney Band. The answer is they welcomed them. The crowd wasn’t huge but there was a mix of older traditional country fans and younger new country fans and they all seemed to get on. If only the social media world was as well behaved as the fans at the festival.


I read some very nasty dribble on social media overnight about new country, relating to the CMA Awards in America. It seems the defenders of traditional country have been gloating about Chris Stapleton winning several awards over some new country artists. Maybe labelling them defenders of traditional country is a little kind, seeing as one of the pages is named “We hate pop country”. Memes have appeared declaring the death of new country and hail Stapleton as digging Florida Georgia Line’s grave. Look, I get it. You like traditional country, but do you really have to poor hate on others? I have attempted to use rationale in this article to state my position about new country and the new artists such as the Jay Seeney Band and Jade Holland. I really wouldn’t like to revert to name calling. Can’t we all just get along?


BTW, final score at the CMA’s:

New country: 8

Traditional country: 3