Swift elated with shock Golden Guitar win

Melbourne singer-songwriter Andrew Swift has pulled off the biggest shock of the 51st Golden Guitar Awards by being named best male artist for the first time in his career.

Swift's surprise win came despite him not releasing an album in 2022 and receiving no nominations in other categories.

The bearded bard paid tribute to fellow nominees Casey Barnes, James Johnston, Morgan Evans and Adam Brand.

"This is absolutely incredible," he told the crowd in Tamworth.

"To be nominated alongside you guys is something else. We all work pretty hard."

The other major prizes went more to form, with Barnes winning album of the year for Light It Up, which also took home top-selling album.

Amber Lawrence was crowned best female artist after a stellar year.

The biggest winners on Saturday night were husband-and-wife duo Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley.

The songwriting pair won three awards, including song of the year, single of the year and group or duo of the year.

While last year's female artist of the year Ashleigh Dallas couldn't defend her title, she didn't leave empty-handed after her album In the Moment was named traditional country album of the year.

Breakout talent Johnston capped a successful year with two gongs, taking out new talent of the year and vocal collaboration of the year with Kaylee Bell for the single Same Songs.

Australian country music's night of nights returned to its traditional January timeslot after COVID-19 caused last year's awards to be postponed to April.

Golden Guitars executive producer Peter Ross said the calibre of talent present at the awards demonstrated the vitality of the country music scene in Australia.

WINNERS AT THE 2023 GOLDEN GUITAR AWARDS

* Album of the year: Light It Up, Casey Barnes

* Male artist of the year: Andrew Swift

* Female artist of the year: Amber Lawrence

* Alt country album of the year: Looks Like Heaven, Kim Cheshire

* Contemporary country album of the year: Wiser, Lyn Bowtell

* Traditional country album of the year: In the Moment, Ashleigh Dallas

* Song of the year: Star of the Show, Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley

* Single of the year: Memory Lane, Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley

* Top selling album of the year: Light It Up, Casey Barnes

* Group or duo of the year: Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley

* Vocal collaboration of the year: Same Songs, James Johnston and Kaylee Bell

* Bluegrass recording of the year: Good Morning Moon, Kristy Cox

* New talent of the year: James Johnston

* Bush ballad of the year: Out on Killarney, Dean Perrett

* Heritage song of the year: South East Queensland, Luke O'Shea

* Instrumental of the year: Soda Cap Boogie, The French Family Band

* Video of the year: South East Queensland, Luke O'Shea