Australia’s International Country Entertainer, Wayne Horsburgh is now home in Australia after going back and forth to the USA for the past 25 years.
Born and raised near Benalla, Victoria, Wayne Horsburgh started singing and playing guitar at just 8 years old, had his own dance band at age 11 and was a regular performer on GMV-6 Shepparton television shows. Some of his early musical influences were Frank Ifield, Wilf Carter and Slim Whitman, hence the love for yodelling – a crowd pleaser at his shows.
He toured Australia with the Legendary Buddy Williams in 1978 and then moved to Sydney in 1979 with a dream of becoming a successful entertainer and the ambition to travel the world with his music. He has certainly achieved that and more.
At the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January 2013, Wayne became the 42nd inductee to the ‘Roll Of Renown’, the highest honour to be awarded in Australian Country Music.
Performing for many years in the Sydney Clubs, Wayne has also won 2 ‘ACE’ Awards and 5 Australian Entertainment ‘MO’ Awards for excellence in live entertainment in the ‘Best Male Country Performer‘ category. In 2004, Wayne was also nominated for the ‘MO’ Award in the prestigious ‘Australian Showbusiness Ambassador Of The Year‘ category, alongside Barry Humphries (Dame Edna), Hugh Jackman, Kylie Minogue, James Morrison and Keith Urban.
Wayne’s career has taken him all over the world, developing a huge fan following not just in Australia, but also in New Zealand, Britain and the United States. His first visit to the USA was in 1984, however his big break came when he was invited to perform at Wisconsin’s Hodag Country Festival in 1989, sharing the stage with country music stars Emmylou Harris, The Oak Ridge Boys, Freddy Fender and Ricky Van Shelton. The Festival attracts an estimated crowd of 40,000 people. Critics applauded him with “…it would be a mild understatement to say that Wayne Horsburgh was the hit of the show… in fact he should have been arrested for the brazen way in which he stole the show”. Recognizing his talent and popularity, the organizers booked him back eight more times over the following years and in 2007 Wayne performed at the 30th anniversary Hodag Country Festival , being his 9th appearance on this huge festival. Billed so many times with the biggest names in American Country Music, Wayne became well known in Wisconsin and surrounding states as he continued to perform at Country Music Festivals, County Fairs, Polka Festivals and Theatres.
Back in 1991, Wayne represented Australia at Nashville’s ‘International Fan Fair‘, where he performed on the grandstand stage. He then had his own booth at ‘Fan Fair‘ each year until 2003, signing autographs for the fans alongside many of the legends of American Country Music. It was during those years that Wayne started spending around six months of each year in the USA. Based in Nashville for many years, Wayne then moved to Branson, Missouri in 1997 (Branson attracts 8 million visitors annually) making it his USA home until Oct. 2009.
In 1998, Wayne first represented Australia at the International World-Fest at Silver Dollar City, Branson, along with 500 other International entertainers. He has performed at this huge festival nearly every year since then up until 2009. Over a period of 12 years Wayne was also a regular performer at the ‘Great American Music Festival’ at SilverDollar City, backed by the famous HorseCreek Band.
With 27 album releases throughout the years, Wayne records on Rotation Records (Aust) Pty Ltd, the latest CD’s being ‘Roll Of Renown – Tamworth 2013’, ‘Yodels and Love Songs’, ‘A Salute To Marty Robbins’, ‘Songs Of Praise’, ‘Born Free’, ‘A Salute To Slim Whitman’ and ‘Memories & Guitar Strings’.
He also has two CD’s released on the UK Jasmine Records label, being ‘Songs of the Islands’ and ‘Can You Hear Those Pioneers?’
After 25 years of performing in the USA Wayne Horsburgh has become a trailblazer for other Australian performers in international markets. Returning to Australia in 2010 he continues to perform and record his unique brand of musical style – very much established as ‘the people’s entertainer’. With his elevation to ‘Roll Of Renown’ at Tamworth in 2013, his name now has a permanent place in the history of Australian Country Music.