REG Poole, the gentle giant of Australian country music, is officially a living legend.
Each year the country music living legend award is handed to a legend of the country music industry during the annual country music festival in Kempsey.
These days the festival is combined with an annual tribute to Slim Dusty and the trophy is an impressive hand-crafted award, with a flying eagle perched on top.
On Friday night, compere Barry Williams read out the criteria each country music pioneer has to meet before being presented with the trophy for ‘The Australasian Country Music Living Legend Award’.
The award was designed and created by Pauline Fisher to honour the achievements of those who have made a lasting contribution to country music in Australia and are actively engaged in writing, recording and performing. Previous recipients include Les Partell, Slim Dusty, Chad Morgan, Barry Thornton, Dusty Rankin, Slim Newton, Frank Ifield, Terry Gordon, Lindsay Butler and Anne Kirkpatrick.
Reg has been recording and touring for more than 40 years.
He has won three Golden Guitars in Tamworth, been elevated to the Roll of Renown, and was awarded an OAM for services to country music.
After receiving the award on Friday evening, he told the crowd at the Kempsey Showground about his apprehension when he left his diary farm in the 1970s to pursue a career in music.
Reg won his first Golden Guitar in 1974, the second year the awards were held, when he took home the award for Best New Talent of the Year.
In 1977 Reg joined Selection Records releasing several highly successful recordings over the next three decades, and became well known for concept albums, particularly with rodeo and truck themes.
He appeared at last week’s Slim Dusty Country Music Festival as part of the Gunbarrell Highwaymen, alongside great mates Terry Gordon and Owen Blundell who have been performing together since the early 1990s.
Between 500 and 600 people were there for the festival’s climax on Saturday’s evening where the Travelling Country Band reunited on the showground pavilion stage and many Slim Dusty songs were played by the line-up, which included Pete Denahy, Anne Kirkpatrick, Amos Morris and Craig Giles.
The festival’s event co-ordinator, Kate Mainey, said people travelled from as far away as New Zealand and Western Australia for the festival, many of them camping at the showground.
The Slim Dusty Country Music Festival, was first held as a tribute concert in 2004.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.