Ernie off to Tamworth finals

Local farmer and singer - songwriter Ernie Constance is a finalist in this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Mr Constance, who has been writing, performing and recording songs for the last 20 years, said he is excited to be selected as a finalist in the Bush Ballad of the Year category.

"I am up against the best - four other performers, but I am the only one to have written and recorded a bush ballad," Mr Constance said.

His ballad 'Worship the water' (he walked on) has been selected in the Bush Ballad of the Year category.

"It is a tribute song to Slim Dusty, off my latest album 'The songs I wrote for Slim', Mr Constance said.

"The album has the 16 songs I wrote for Slim that he recorded."

While Mr Constance would be happy to win, he said the fact that Slim Dusty recorded even one of his songs is the biggest accolade he could ever hope for.

He said his music career 'just happened' and there was no set plan.

"It just evolved, and goes back to the early charity concerts I did around Cooma," he said.

" I have recorded seven albums and performed on the country circuit.

"I appreciate the all local support I've got."

The songs written by Mr Constance which became hits for Slim Dusty are 'Things I see around me', 'Three hundred horses' and 'When the Currawongs come down'.

Born in 1950, Ernie Constance was a shearer for 30 years on the Monaro, and now operates a Merino sheep and beef cattle grazing property at Peak View which he runs in conjunction with his music career.

He has had about 30 songs recorded by major artists including Slim Dusty, the Australian country music singer-songwriter legend, who died in 2007.

Mr Constance was previously a finalist at Tamworth back in 1986 in Song of the Year category with "The bush has had enough".

In 1983 Slim Dusty won the Golden Guitar Heritage Award with a song Mr Constance wrote for him called 'Banjo's Man'.

Slim Dusty also won the Golden Guitars for best selling track and Best Album in 1977 with 'Things I see around me', that Mr Constance also wrote.

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