COUNTRY MUSIC LEGEND: Glenwood's Zeta Burns.
COUNTRY MUSIC LEGEND: Glenwood's Zeta Burns. Valerie Horton

Legendary hillbilly on music, motherhood & music fame

ONCE again Wide Bay's legendary hillbilly has made her mark - this time at Gidgee Coal Bush Ballad Awards.

Zeta Burns, whose love of country music emerged at a young age, was invited to the awards during the seven-day long festival in Pittsworth.

"During the Classic Country Music Stampede at the Maryborough Showgrounds, Keith Jamieson asked if I would be free for the Gidgee Coal in Pittsworth and I said yes," she said.

"I was sitting there at the awards presentations and then all of a sudden I heard my name."

Zeta was called to stage to receive the Legend Award alongside Chad Morgan and Rex Dallas.

"This is a special award and is given each year to only three people," Zeta said.

"I didn't even know I was getting it - it was a bit of a shock, even Rex Dallas didn't know about it."

The 88-year-old hillbilly musician received the Legend Award for her long association with country music.

Zeta was only 20 when she started performing with country musician Gordon Parsons, who himself was only at the beginning of his career.

Within a year she starred in the travelling vaudeville shows with Lesters Follies as a cowgirl singer

"I travelled with the Follies all over the east coast of Australia, during the days of the big tops.

"I stopped performing in 1949 to get married and had four children.

"Then in 1978 I joined the Australian Country Music Association and my music snowballed again."

The now-Legend awardee never misses an opportunity to pack the suitcase and head to the next festival, stampede or muster.

She has made more than 60 albums, written her own biography and is still invited to perform around the country.

At the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival, Zeta was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.

"I have got a big line-up for next year," Zeta said.

"I am not ready to retire. I hope to keep going until I am 90 or even beyond."

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