Deniese MORRISON (1988)

Deniese Morrison

1956 - Born in Tamworth and grew up in Kootingal, near Tamworth.

Age 10 - first stage appearance was at the Kootingal Town Hall at a Johnny Ashcroft Concert. John Minson invited her sing.

Age 13 - Started performing with the Geoff Brown Showband. Gary and Rob Brown played in the band along with Frank Jones, who was also Phil and Tommy Emmanuel’s school teacher.

Age 16 - won the female vocal section of the Capital Country Music Association’s Jamboree, (which was the forerunner to the Golden Guitar Awards and the Tamworth Country Music Festival ), narrowly beating a talented young singer from Melbourne, Karan Johns.

A young radio announcer, Alan Clement came to Tamworth to work at 2TM and gathered a few of us kids together to form “Teenage Country Style”. Lawrie Minson and Gary Brown were also members of this little troupe.

1973 - When Max Ellis and the 2TM team staged the first Australasian Country Music Awards at the Tamworth Town Hall in 1973, “Teenage Country Style” performed along with Smoky Dawson, Shirley Thoms and Buster Noble.

Signed a contract with Fable Records and released her first single “NO CHARGE”, produced by Doug Trevor. Molly Meldrum wrote in TV Week that “No Charge” was the worst record he’d heard all year, but it made the Top 20 of the Pop Charts of the day and I was pretty chuffed about that!

I began my studies at Uni and in the holidays flew to Melbourne to record my first album “Denise Morrison”. Yes, that WAS the spelling of Deniese on the cover!

While I was at Uni, Gary Brown and Phil Emmanuel were playing with Nev Nicholls and “The Country Playboys” at The Texas Tavern in Kings Cross. Every week I’d catch a bus to the Cross and wander down to sing with the boys until the early hours. Then I’d catch the bus back to Kensington.

The Australian Newspaper offered me a cadetship at the same time as Wally Bishop gave me the chance to tour Australia on “The Greyhound Country Music Express” with Johnny Chester, The Hawking Brothers and Lee Conway.

1975 - First performance at the Sydney Opera House – in the 2KY 50th Anniversary Concert.

1976 - The Prime Minister’s Command Performance before Malcolm Fraser in Canberra. Recorded “It’s Been a Long Time” and “Here We Go Again” with Phonogram and my producer was John Williamson.

1977-1978 – Accepted a contract to work six nights a week at Wrest Point Casino in Hobart as resident singer/compere in the very opulent Cabaret Room.

The ‘80’s - Full of new experiences and adventures and marked my return to the Country Music fold.


Television shows with Mike Walsh, Don Lane, Ernie Sigley, Bert Newton, Reg Lindsay’s Country Homestead, Travelin’ Out West with John Williamson, Conway Country with Lee, Country Closeup with Nick and That’s Australia.

Nick Erby’s Jamboree tour saw Nick, John Williamson, Allan Caswell, Pixie and I off around Oz again.

Alan Caswell produced “Shot Full of Love” for me which is still on of my favourite records and our first duet “That’s The Real Thing”.

1982 - Nick and Deniese worked together promoting the Lone Star Café in the Sydney CBD playing live Country Music six nights a week in the heart of the city.

1983 - Involved in the staging the first Port Pirie Country Music Festival. Promoting country music in South Australia.

1985 - Nick Erby took over the reins at Radio 3UZ in Melbourne and Deniese was back working with Nick to promote Country Music in Victoria.

1986 - Sang before 100,000 people and Pope John Paul 11 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Max Ellis ask her to perform “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” at the 60th Anniversary APRA Awards at The Hilton in Sydney as Eric Bogle was getting the Special Gold Award.

1987 - Returned to Tamworth for the 1987 festival. Golden Guitar for Female Vocalist of the Year with “Now I’m Easy”. Invitation to perform with Slim and Joy, Anne, Heather McKean , Gordon Parsons, Mary Schneider and Syd Heylen on the Slim Dusty Show at Mike Walsh’s Regent Theatre in Richmond.

1988 – Performed at the official opening of the Tamworth’s Bicentennial Park. Inducted into the Hands of Fame.

1989 - Hosted the 17th Country Music Awards live across Australia on Channel 7 with Johnny Chester. Golden Guitar for Female Vocalist of the Year with “Battle Hymn of Love”. Mo Awards for Female Country Performer.

1990 – Golden Guitar for Female Vocalist of the Year with “You’ve Gotta Lewarn to Dance”. Joined forces with Allan Caswell and produced “Unfinished Business”. Mo Awards for Female Country Performer. South Australian Country Music Festival Awards- Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

1990 and 1991- Hosted the live 1 ½ hour televised Country Music Awards.

1990’s - began working with BP Australia opening their new truck stops around Australia and decided to record an album as part of the project, “SINCE I FOUND YOU”.  First heard a very young Beccy Sturtzel (Cole) singing with her mum, Carol.

A year later she took Beccy under my wing - Beccy Cole was born.

1991 - Won third Golden Guitar.

1992 - A founding member of the CMAA was on the board from it’s inception in 1992 until 1996. (The CMAA was formed after major changes occurred to the awards presentation the previous year)

1993 - Adelaide Music Fiesta the ‘Schnitzel Sisters’ were created. The founding members are myself, Beccy, Margi Miller and Tracy Coster. Later my sister Lyn was added to this auspicious little secret society and the bond remains today.

1995 -  On tour with Freddie Fender, Johnny Chester, Augie Meyers, the Alan Rich Band and Mick Hamilton.

1997 - First College of Country Music under the guidance of Peter Winkler. For the next four years Deniese was both tutor and the College ‘Mum’.

2007 - Formed STAGECOACH, performance tuition and workshop program.