The country music industry is mourning the death of
The country music industry is mourning the death of "Mr Hoedown", John Minson. Contributed

Country music world mourns death of legend

THE country music world has lost one of its biggest names with the death of John Minson, the man they called "Mr Hoedown".

One of the key visionaries who turned Tamworth into the Country Music Capital in the early 1970s, Mr Minson passed away on Thursday.

He achieved fame as a broadcaster on radio 2TM and for more than two decades John presented a nightly country music radio program called "Hoedown", which played a seminal role in the establishment of a thriving country music industry in Australia.

John arrived in Tamworth with his wife Ann in 1961, first working as a copywriter/announcer at 2TM.

In 1965, the station was rocked by the introduction of television and John's Country Music program was created to meet the challenge of tumbling radio audiences in the evenings.

John became Country Music's "Mr Hoedown" and the half-hour night-time session quickly became popular.

2TM's signal could be heard at night all over Australia and country music fans flocked to "Hoedown", with the program even being picked up in New Zealand and New Guinea.

By the late 1960s, "Hoedown" had become so popular it was running from 7.30pm-11pm every weeknight.

John gave preference to Australian music, offering exposure to country artists who were battling to be heard. For many of them, airplay on "Hoedown" became the key to success.

By that time, it was becoming apparent that country music offered big possibilities and in 1969 John was one of the group who instigated the "Tamworth, Country Music Capital" promotion.

On January 28, 1973, 2TM launched the Australasian Country Music Awards and John played a major role in setting up and staging the event.


John Minson was one of the founders of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
John Minson was one of the founders of the Tamworth Country Music Festival. DAN HIMBRECHTS


For many years, he served on the judging panel of the awards and, until he left 2TM in 1987, he did all the detailed preparation of the castings and wooden bases for the famous Golden Guitar trophies.

As the awards was expanded into the Tamworth Festival, John was intimately involved in every aspect of the project, helping develop ideas like the Hands of Fame, the Roll of Renown and many other innovations.

A keen musician, John played his harmonica on many recording sessions including some for Slim Dusty. A number of his songs were recorded, including one by Buddy Williams ("The Mighty Moonbi Range").

In 1978, John was presented with the Country Music Capital Award for services to the industry. In 1988, he was elevated to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown. In 1998, he received a Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the music industry.

For more than 30 years, John Minson played a vital role in helping to establish country music as a legitimate and important part of Australia's heritage.

John's enormous enthusiasm, his tireless commitment, his encyclopaedic knowledge, his multitude of skills and his genuine interest in, and love of, his fellows, played a vital part in establishing both Tamworth as Country Music Capital and the Australian country music industry.

He was loved and respected by all who knew him. Comfortable with stars or country music fans, John had a wonderful way of reaching out and showing genuine interest and compassion for anyone he came across.

Retiring from 2TM in 1987, he and Ann moved to Coffs Harbour in 2001 where he took up building model aircraft.

Although out of active country music activity for more than 25 years, John Minson is remembered and honoured by all who knew him.

John is survived by his wife Ann, sons Lawrie (and wife Shelly) and James and daughter Kathleen and her daughters Jess and Nikki.

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