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Lee KERNAGHAN OAM (1996)

Lee Kernaghan

1964 - April 15, born in Corryong, Victoria.

1969 - Enrols at Hume Public School, Albury, NSW.
First public performance on the Chickadees radio talent show on local station 2AY. Lee sings the Rolf Harris song "Two Little Boys".

1973 - Starts piano lessons with Mrs Irene Ball.

1974 - Plays the morning National anthem at school assemblies.

1975 - Forms first band, "The Blue Devils" with brother Greg on drums and best friend Glen Simpson on bass/keyboards.

1976 - Sister Tania joins the band. The group renames to "Angel and the Blue Devils". Plays at school fetes, charity shows and many pensioner Christmas parties.

1977 - Lee writes his first song "Country Music Man". Lee enrols at Murray High School.

1978 - The Kernaghan family join legendary touring outfit "The Rick and Thel Carey Show" for a six month around Australia tour. Lee writes many songs on the tour including "Midnight Lady" which Ray records on the "Jet Set Country" album. Lee makes his first series of demo recordings while on tour.

1979 - Lee wins the Capital Country Music Association of Australia (CCMA) award for best male artist under sixteen at Tamworth, NSW. Top 10 Finalist in the National Starmaker Awards. Ray Kernaghan releases his second career album "Jet Set Country", featuring Le on piano, his first studio session. Two Lee Kernaghan songs make it on to this album: "Midnight Lady" and "Matilda, Queen of the Tar" (a tribute to the world’s first Jet powered truck, Waltzing Matilda). First professional gig at the Boomerang Hotel, Albury, NSW. Wins open section Best Male Vocalist at the Swan Hill Pioneer Country Music Festival performing own composition "Midnight Lady".

1980 - Forms country band "Lee Kernaghan and the Coca-Cola Cowboys".

1981 - Lee leaves High School and gets a job working for Ray’s record label Kernaghan Country Records. Lee’s job entails wrapping records and cassettes, writing invoices and despatching to record retailers around the country.

1982 - Ray begins the Cavalcade of Stars Tour. The tour travels around Australia for nine months non stop with special guests Ray Kernaghan, Lee (full time band member and special guest), brother Greg Kernaghan on drums, Tania Kernaghan special guest artist, the Jet Set Country Showband, Miss Truckin’ Julie Perry, television and recording artist Eureka Smith, a computerised "driver-less" car and Jet Truck Waltzing Matilda, driven by Ray Kernaghan. Tour concludes at Nambour in Queensland, September, 1982. October 1982, Lee enters and wins the National Starmaker Award.

1983 - Lee signs first publishing deal with Castle Music. Records first commercial single Cheaters/Advance Australia Again" on the Countryman label. Single produced by Doug Trevor and featuring Tommy Emmanuel on electric guitar.

1984 – Finalist at the Australian Country Music Awards for Male Vocal and Best New Talent.

1985 - Records Australia’s first father and son country album "Family Tradition”, featuring the duets "It Never Rains it Pours" and "Family Tradition". Second career single released: "Back to Strangers/We’re Gonna be Lovers".

1986 - Country Music America (CMA) select Lee and Ray to represent Australia at the International Fan Fare show in Nashville, Tennessee. Lee sees childhood hero, Hank Williams Jr. at the Starwood Amphitheatre. Lee writes with legendary songwriters Charlie Craig and Wally Wilson at Screen Gems and Tree Music.
While in Nashville, Lee records demo tracks "Almost Like I’m Lovin’ You Again", "Hotter than Hot", "Some Hearts Learn the Hard Way" and "Almost in Love". The session is produced by the famous producer and songwriter Bob Montgomery.
Lee meets and records demos for record producer Garth Porter. Tracks cut were Porter/Kirk compositions "Embers of the Fire", "Field of Green" and "Comin’ Down with You".

1987-1989 - Plays in the Ray Kernaghan Band with guest spot on club tours. Continues to play pub and club circuit around home town of Albury, NSW. Bands repertoire consists mainly of pop covers and old time Rock’n’Roll. Lee finding it increasingly difficult to get gigs playing country music and survive.

1989 - Finds work in a piano bar "The Bullring Restaurant", Albury, NSW. Lee plays final gig at the Carriers Arms Hotel, Wodonga, Victoria. Nobody turns up to see the show.

1990 - Broke, disillusioned and burnt out from the covers music scene, Lee decides to give music away forever. The Lee Kernaghan band is disbanded. Lee applies for a day job at a friend’s local real estate agency.

1991 - Garth Porter convinces Lee to travel to Sydney for a week to write songs. Lee and Garth write "Boys from the Bush" and record demo tracks, including "High Country", "She waits by the Sliprails", "Searchin’ for Another You" and " You’re the Reason I Never Saw Hank Jr. play.  Music Publisher John Broomall signs Lee to Warner Chappell publishing to help pay for demo recordings.

1992 – January - First live performance of "Boys from the Bush" at the Tamworth Services Club. Lee signs his first management contract with Jeff Chandler and Kevin Jacobsen Management. ABC Music sign Lee to a three album deal.
April - "Boys from the Bush" released as a single. Lee joins the James Blundell band on keyboards and opens as support act for April/May tour.
May - Lee’s debut album "The Outback Club" is released nationally.
June - First tour show since the release of "The Outback Club". The McCormack brother’s band becomes Lee’s backing band and they travel to the Coral at
Wollongong, NSW for the first performance. The truck breaks down, the P.A. is two hours late and only eleven people turn up to see Lee play.
August - Support Billy Ray Cyrus "Achy Breaky Heart Tour" in Sydney and Melbourne.
September - "Boys from the Bush" goes to number one nationally. Lee’s second single "High Country" hits number one on the national charts.

1993- January – Golden Guitars for Song Of The Year "Boys from the Bush", Album Of The Year "The Outback Club", Best Male Vocal "Boys From The Bush". Lee records his first music video "Boys from the Bush"
April – July- Lee records his second album "Three Chain Road" and
  records duet "Leave him in the Longyard" with Slim Dusty
August – “Three Chain Road released”
September – December - APRA Country Song Of The Year - 'Boys From The Bush'.

1994 – January. Golden Guitars for Song Of The Year "Three Chain Road"; Album Of The Year  "Three Chain Road"; Best Male Vocal "Three Chain Road" and Vocal Collaboration with Slim Dusty "Leave Him In The Longyard"
Australia Record Industry Award (ARIA) - Country Record of the Year "Three Chain Road".
Country Music Magazine Peoples Choice Award Entertainer of the Year and Most Popular Male Artist
"Southern Sons" music video is recorded.
September - Lee wins the CMAA Entertainer of the Year Award.

1995 – January. Golden Guitars for Top Selling Album of the Year - "Three Chain Road"
June - MO Award for "Male Performer of the Year". Lee releases his third career album titled "1959".
Variety Club of
Australia - The Australian Entertainer Of The Year. MO Awards Country Performer Of The Year and  Male Country Performer of The Year.
August - '1959' certified gold.
November
  - 'Outback Club' certified platinum.
December - '1959' single released to radio.

1996 – January. Golden Guitars for Album of the Year - "1959". Inducted into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame in Tamworth.
September - The Country Music Association of Australia names Lee Kernaghan
  "Entertainer of the Year". MO Awards - Male Country Performer Of The Year.
November - "1959" certified Platinum Album. Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Award— Country Song of the Year - Lee Kernaghan / Garth Porter "1959".

1997 – January. Golden Guitars for Top Selling Album "1959"; Vocal Collaboration of the Year - Tania Kernaghan & Lee Kernaghan  "A Bushman can't Survive"
March - December - Lee travels extensively through Western Queensland, Northern Territory and Outback New South Wales. Lee sees first hand the hardships being experienced by many people and towns in rural
Australia and makes plans to take a fundraising tour for bush communities out on the road.
Upon arriving into Charleville
Queensland on a busy Saturday morning, Lee noticed many utes and mud splattered four wheel drives parked in the main street. He also noticed that most of the locals wore Akubra hats. It was here on that legendary Saturday morning that the idea for a song called "Hat Town" was conceived.
MO Awards - Male Country Performer Of The Year.

1998 – February- releases his fourth career album "Hat Town". "Getting’ Gone" and "Goondiwindi Moon" music videos released.
September - Lee's launches the Toyota Pass The Hat Around Australia Tour with fundraising concerts.
November - Lee releases “The Christmas Album”. Voted by Cleo Magazine’s as one of the 50 Most Eligible Bachelors.

1999 – January. Golden Guitars for Album of the Year "Hat Town"; Male Vocal of the Year "Goondiwindi Moon"; Heritage Song of the Year "Changi Banjo"; Top Selling Album "Hat Town" and Vocal Collaboration with Colin Buchanan "Tough Job". Honoured with the Australian Achiever of the Year Award on Australia day.
February - Victorian Country Music Awards — Song of the Year — "
Hat Town".
March -
  Lee performs a sell-out concert at Newcastle Workers Club. During the encore performance of "Boys from the Bush" Lee and the entire audience is taken by complete surprise as Channel Nine's Mike Munro walks out on stage and announces Lee Kernaghan "This is your Life".
May - Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) AWARDS Most Performed Country Work Award goes to Lee, Garth & Bucko for writing the song "
Hat Town".
August - Lee bales out of the bachelor club and marries singer Robyn McKelvie.
September - Wins the CMAA Entertainer of the Year Award
October - Plays at the legendary Deniliquin Ute Muster. Over four thousand utes descend upon the small
Western NSW town and break the world ute convoy record.

2000 – January. Launches his fifth album "Rules of the Road" during the Tamworth Country Music festival at a free concert for 15,000 fans in the main street. "Cunnamulla Fella" released as a single.
April - "Rules of the Road” certified Gold. Films music video for Cunnamulla Fella. Awarded Country Music Radio Hitmaker of the Decade 1990 — 2000

Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PCCA) Award for Most Broadcast Australian Country Artist (Radio)

He entered the new millennium with his retrospective Rules of the Road album that featured his reworking of the Coster/Dusty classic Cunnamulla Fella and posthumous duets with the legendary Tex Morton and Buddy Williams.

1999 – Golden Guitars for Top Selling Album and Album of the Year with “Hat Town”, Male Vocalist of the Year with “Goondiwindi Moon”, Heritage Song of the Year with “Changi Banjo” and Vocal Collaboration of the year with Colin Buchanan with “Tough Job”. CMAA Australian Country Music Achiever Awards – Entertainer of the Year.

2002 – Golden Guitar for Vocal Collaboration of the Year (with Josh Arnold) with “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. Lee was ready to rock and released Electric Rodeo, which topped the Australian Country Chart and debuted #4 on the ARIA Top 50 Album Sales Chart. Electric Rodeo was released in tandem with Kernaghan’s performance as The Balladeer in the hit stage production “The Man from Snowy River Arena Spectacular” which won him his third ARIA Award for Best Musical Soundtrack.

2003 – Golden Guitar for Album of the Year and Top Selling Album of the Year with “Electric Rodeo”

2004 - People’s Choice Awards – Best Bush Ballad with “Spirit of the High Country”. Country Music Centenary Awards by the CMAA in recognition of service to entertainment, particularly country music.

2005 - People’s Choice Awards – Best Male Vocal.

2006 - Release of his Album of the Year “The New Bush,” which was certified Platinum

2007 – Golden Guitars for Album of the Year, Top Selling Album and Male Vocalist of the Year with “The New Bush” and Heritage Song of the Year with “Close as a Whisper (The Gift)’.

2009 – Queensland Gold Medallion Award- Touring Artist of the Year. Released his latest collection of songs, Planet Country. Two years in the writing and producing.

2010 – People’s Choice Awards – Best Album with “Planet Country”.

2011 - Golden Guitar for Top Selling Album with "Planet Country. People's Choice Awards for Best song with "Love in the Time of Drought", co-written with Garth Porter.

2014 – Golden Guitars for CMC Video Clip Of The Year with “Flying With The King, directed by Duncan Toombs, Single Of The Year  with “Flying With The King” and  Sanity Top Selling Australian Album Of The Year with “Beautiful Noise”

2015 – Elevated to the Roll of Renown. He received the award with his father, Ray.

2016 - Golden Guitar for Vocal Collaboration of the Year, Video Clip of the Year and Top Selling album