25 May 2024

'Desert Dove' by Holly Arrowsmith wins APRA Best Country Music Song

11:22 am on 25 May 2024
Holly Arrowsmith

Holly Arrowsmith, winner of the 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song. Photo: Si Moore

A contemporary alt-country song about "distance, loss and grief" is New Zealand's best country music song for 2024.

'Desert Dove' by singer-songwriter Holly Arrowsmith was named the 2024 APRA Best Country Music Song at the Country Music Honours ceremony held in Gore on Friday night.

Arrowsmith said the alt-country ballad was inspired by her grandfather.

"In Tucson, Arizona my grandfather fed the birds every morning," she said.

"There was a dove that would wake me while I was visiting, mournful and resolute in its song.

"When he died, I heard that same dove in New Zealand and it filled me with a sense of him. It is a song about distance, loss and grief, and finding courage in the face of these things."

It's the second time that Arrowsmith, who was born in New Mexico in the United States and raised in New Zeaand's South Island, has won the Best Country Song Award. She previously won in 2019 for 'Slow Train Creek'.

Mel Parsons

Mel Parsons. Photo: Supplied

Lyttleton-based singer-songwriter Mel Parsons won the 2024 MLT Songwriting Award, which celebrates unreleased songs from Aotearoa and Australia, for her song 'Hardest Thing'.

Parsons, who performs live in Gore on 25 May, said 'Hardest Thing' was "a pretty straight up and down love song".

The Country Music Honours marks the official start of the Bayleys Tussock Country Music Festival, which culminates with the Gold Guitar Awards held over King's Birthday Weekend.

2024 APRA Best Country Music Song Award nominees

  • 'Desert Dove' written and performed by Holly Arrowsmith (winner)
  • 'Do You Think Of Me?' written by Katie Thompson, Victoria Knopp, and Andy Knopp, performed by Katie Thompson
  • 'Madeline' written and performed by Jamie McDell
  • 'Racing Through The Night' written and performed by Delaney Davidson

2024 MLT Songwriting Award nominees

  • 'Hardest Thing' written by Mel Parsons (winner)
  • 'The Man Who Told Me' written by Nicola Mitchell (runner up)
  • 'Nothing To Fear' Written by Mark Casey & Lavina Williams
  • 'Boots' written by Jon Collins
  • 'Wilted Flower' written by Fiona Louise
  • 'Your Old Ways' written by Chad Robinson & Kate Targett-Adams
  • 'Addicted' written by Rosie Teese
  • 'Tell Me Mama' written by Karra Rhodes
  • 'When I Go' written by Zac Griffith, co-written by Allan Caswell
  • 'Little Victories' written by Barry Saunders

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