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Jackson's Freight Train chugs Down Under

Jeffrey Remz  |  October 18, 2010

Great news for Alan Jackson. He's making a trip to Australia in 2011, and his shows are already selling out. He's not playing Brisbane until early March, and when the first two shows went clean, a third show was added. Fortunately for Jackson, that had the same effect as the first two shows - selling out in 23 minutes.

AJ also sold out Melbourne on March 4 and Sydney on March 7. Those dates sold out in less than an hour.

Jackson , of course, is not the first U.S.-based country to venture Down Under. Taylor Swift did quite well last year, and Keith Urban went back home for a bunch of shows as well.

This all leads to the question of why don't more U.S. acts tour overseas? Australia, for example, has a long history of its own country music with stars like the late Slim Dusty. It's not like in some other countries where the artists selling CDs are pretty much all from the U.S. England, Ireland and some countries in Europe - Norway and Switzerland, for example - also have a history of loving their country music.

In fact, some U.S. artists, who don't have a big presence on these shores (Dale Watson and Don Williams come to mind) always had a bigger audience overseas.

A few factors may mitigate against U.S. artists going overseas. First and perhaps foremost is the cost. Touring in the U.S. isn't exactly cheap either, but as you could imagine going overseas involves a lot more - not only the legalities of visas, but also staging and transportation costs.

One Nashville-based publicist also pointed out that artists need to spend a lot of time in the U.S. to ensure they build their careers here. That makes sense since for most, this is going to be their bread and butter. That means touring and gaining airplay on radio stations are necessities to sustain a career. Spending time elsewhere obviously means less time to hit radio and fans on these shores.

No doubt, the continuing decline of the music industry in the U.S. only further plays into the need to tour and gain radio play.

Too bad for the overseas country music fans. At least, they can listen to the music, of course, and hopefully even buy it, but getting to see performers live isn't easy. And it's also to bad for the artists themselves because perhaps visits overseas also would influence what they write or sing about.

It's exciting when artists like Jackson, Watson, Urban and Swift can make overseas forays, but they seem to be the exception unfortunately.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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