Country Music Week: CCMA Awards News Roundup

Kelsea Ballerni on the CCMA Awards Green Carpet 

Kelsea Ballerni on the CCMA Awards Green Carpet 

2016 CCMA AWARDS SHOW LIGHTS UP LONDON WITH AN EPIC NIGHT OF COUNTRY MUSIC

posted on September 11, 2016

 

2016 CCMA AWARDS SHOW LIGHTS UP LONDON
WITH AN EPIC NIGHT OF COUNTRY MUSIC

DEAN BRODY AND BRETT KISSEL THE BIG WINNERS OF THE NIGHT  
#CCMAawards

(London, ON) September 11, 2016 – The 2016 Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) Awards Show, hosted by CBC television personality Jessi Cruickshank (Canada’s Smartest Person, The Goods), celebrated eight CCMA Award categories in an evening filled with memorable moments and knock-out performances. Broadcast across Canada on CBC at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT) and CMT (Canada) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, the CCMA Awards Show was staged at Budweiser Gardens, in London, Ontario, for the first time in the show’s 30+ year broadcast history.

The night had two multiple winners: Brett Kissel and Dean Brody. Brett Kissel took home the coveted Fans’ Choice Award presented by SiriusXM and Male Artist of the Year – his first time winning each of these awards; while Dean Brody took home CCMA Awards for Single of the Year and CMT Video of the Year presented by Coors Banquet, both for his song, “Bring Down The House”. Gord Bamford received Album of the Year presented by Jack Daniel’s for Tin Roof; his third time receiving this accolade: Day Job (2010), Is It Friday Yet? (2013). Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke took home the CCMA Award for Female Artist of the Year for the third consecutive year, and Group or Duo of the Year went to the brothers of High Valley for the second year in a row. The CCMA Award for Rising Star went to The Washboard Union.

The evening’s high-octane performances were powerful and passionate. Gord Bamford, Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Terri Clark, Cold Creek CountyTim Hicks with Colin James, High Valley, Brett Kissel with Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Madeline Merlo, Jess Moskaluke and Johnny Reid all had the fans at Budweiser Gardens either on the edge of their seats, or out of them, with exceptional stage presence and vocal delivery.  

The show’s international guests were also crowd favourites. PLATINUM-selling Kelsea Ballerini performed her chart-topping hit, “Peter Pan”, while GRAMMY-nominated Sam Hunt performed his #1 song, “House Party”.

Looking ahead to another strong year in Canadian country music, the 2017 CCMA Awards Show will take place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Tickets will go on sale later this year.

2016 CCMA Award winners announced this evening:

FANS’ CHOICE AWARD presented by SiriusXM
Brett Kissel

ALBUM OF THE YEAR presented by Jack Daniel’s
Tin Roof – Gord Bamford

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Jess Moskaluke

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Brett Kissel

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
High Valley

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Bring Down The House – Dean Brody

CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR presented by Coors Banquet
Bring Down The House – Dean Brody

RISING STAR
The Washboard Union

MEDIA NOTE: A complete list of 2016 CCMA Award winners can be found at ccma.org.

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About the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) 
Established in 1976, the CCMA is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the promotion and recognition of Canadian country music. Built upon the foundation to educate, elevate and celebrate Canadian talent, the CCMA progressively heralds the spirit, community and creativity that country music fosters through year-round initiatives, culminating every fall with Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Sponsors of Country Music Week and the 2016 CCMA Awards Show include FACTOR, Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters and The Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Canada Music Fund”, Radio Starmaker Fund, the Province of Ontario, the City of London and Tourism London.
 
About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. We are Canada's trusted source of news, information and Canadian entertainment. Deeply rooted in communities all across the country, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages. We also provide international news and information from a uniquely Canadian perspective.
 
About Corus Entertainment Inc.
CMT (Canada) is a Corus Entertainment Network. Corus Entertainment Inc. (TSX: CJR.B) is a leading media and content company that creates and delivers high quality brands and content across platforms for audiences around the world. The company’s portfolio of multimedia offerings encompasses 45 specialty television services, 39 radio stations, 15 conventional television stations, a global content business, digital assets, live events, children’s book publishing, animation software, technology and media services. Corus’ roster of premium brands includes Global Television, W Network, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Canada, HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, HISTORY®, Showcase, National Geographic Channel, Q107, CKNW, Fresh Radio, Disney Channel Canada, YTV and Nickelodeon Canada. Visit Corus at www.corusent.com.

About Bristow Global Media Inc. (BGM)
Bristow Global Media Inc. (BGM) is a Toronto-based content creation company, specializing in creating multi-platform content across all genres, including scripted, lifestyle, reality, documentary and sports. The company was launched in 2013 by leading broadcast executive and producer Julie Bristow, whose 20-year career at the CBC included the creation of award-winning entertainment divisions, the launch of national digital media platforms and the stewardship of iconic sports brands. BGM boasts a successful roster of linear and non-linear content, including: NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other (CBC, NBCSN, Rogers), Pressure Cooker (W Network), Hockey Wives (W Network),Canada: The Story of US (CBC), Canadian Country Music Association’s CCMA Awards (CBC and CMT),  Pardon My French (YouTube) and YTV’s daily interstitial brand-driven content. In addition, BGM is partnered with Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions in the UK for content development.

Media Contacts for Information and Artist Interviews 
Jess Seguire | jess@penelopepr.com | 613-921-2314
Tiffany Astle | tiffany@penelopepr.com | 416-554-7329 

COMPLETE LIST OF 2016 CCMA AWARD WINNERS

posted on September 11, 2016

 

COMPLETE LIST OF 2016 CCMA AWARD WINNERS
#CCMAawards

2016 CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

ARTIST INDUCTEE
Murray McLauchlan

STAN KLEES BUILDER AWARD – BUILDER INDUCTEE
Paul Mascioli


CCMA AWARD OF ACHIEVEMENT

2016 SLAIGHT MUSIC HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Mike Stevens
 

ARTIST AWARDS

FANS’ CHOICE AWARD presented by SiriusXM
Brett Kissel

ALBUM OF THE YEAR presented by Jack Daniel’s
Tin Roof – Gord Bamford

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Jess Moskaluke

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Brett Kissel

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
High Valley

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Bring Down The House – Dean Brody

CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR presented by Coors Banquet
Bring Down The House – Dean Brody

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR presented by ole
Dean Brody
Song: Bring Down The House (Performed By: Dean Brody)

ROOTS ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Washboard Union

INTERACTIVE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Brett Kissel

RISING STAR
The Washboard Union

CCMA DISCOVERY AWARD presented by Country 107.3
Eric Ethridge


MUSICIAN AWARDS

BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Travis Switzer

DRUMMER OF THE YEAR
Chad Melchert

FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Shane Guse

GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jason Barry*

KEYBOARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Mike Little

SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Shane Guse – Mandolin

STEEL GUITER PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Ed "Pee Wee Charles" Ringwald*

*This is Jason and Ed’s fifth win in their respective musician categories. As such, they are now entered into the All-Star Band Hall of Honour. The Hall of Honour is reserved for musicians who have been awarded the same CCMA Musician Award five (5) or more times. Upon achieving their fifth award, their name is entered into the Hall in celebration of their great contribution to Canadian country music. 


RADIO AWARDS

MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR (LARGE MARKET)
Amanda Kingsland – CKBY FM – Ottawa, ON
 
MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR (MEDIUM OR SMALL MARKET)
Paul Ferguson – CHCQ FM – Belleville, ON

ON-AIR PERSONALITIES OF THE YEAR (LARGE MARKET)
*TIE*
Leanne Cater (Boss Lady Leanne Cater)
QX104 – CFQX-FM – Winnipeg, MB

Chris Scheetz, Jacqueline Sweeney, Matt DeBeurs (CISN in the Mornings with Chris, Jack & Matt)
103.9 Country – CISN-FM – Edmonton, AB

ON-AIR PERSONALITY(IES) OF THE YEAR (MEDIUM OR SMALL MARKET)
Jack Latimer and Carey Moran (Jack & Carey)
105.9 KICX 106 – CICX-FM – Orillia, ON

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (LARGE MARKET)
103.9 Country – CISN-FM – Edmonton, AB

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (MEDIUM OR SMALL MARKET)
KG Country 95.5 – CKGY-FM – Red Deer, AB


INDUSTRY AWARDS

BOOKING AGENCY OF THE YEAR
Invictus Entertainment Group

COUNTRY CLUB OF THE YEAR
Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall – Calgary, AB

COUNTRY FESTIVAL, FAIR OR EXHIBITION OF THE YEAR
Boots and Hearts Music Festival – Oro-Medonte, ON

COUNTRY MUSIC PROGRAM OR SPECIAL OF THE YEAR
Chevy Top 20 Countdown – CMT Canada

MANAGEMENT COMPANY OF THE YEAR
Invictus Entertainment Group

MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY OF THE YEAR
ole

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR
MDM Recordings Inc.

RECORD COMPANY PERSON OF THE YEAR
Steve Coady – Warner Music Canada

RECORD PRODUCERS OF THE YEAR
Mickey Jack Cones, Brett Kissel, Bart McKay
Album: Pick Me Up (Artist: Brett Kissel)

RECORDING PACKAGE OF THE YEAR
Pick Me Up
Design Team: Patrick Duffy [Attention]; Photography: Juan Pont Lezica (Artist: Brett Kissel)

RECORDING STUDIO OF THE YEAR presented by Fanshawe College
Barrytone Studios – St. Clements, ON

RETAILER OF THE YEAR
iTunes Canada

RON SAKAMOTO TALENT BUYER OR PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
Jim Cressman – Invictus Entertainment Group

TOP SELLING ALBUM OF THE YEAR presented by Arts & Entertainment Health Insurance Plan
Kill The Lights – Luke Bryan

TOP SELLING CANADIAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR presented by Music Canada
Yoan – Yoan

TOP SELLING CANADIAN SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Bring Down The House – Dean Brody

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Stephano Barberis
Video: Cheap Seats (Artist: Dallas Smith), Video: Don’t Let Her Be Gone (Artist: Gord Bamford), 
Video: Hearts On Fire (Artist: Chad Brownlee), Video: So Much For Taking It Slow (Artist: Bobby Wills)

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About the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA): 
Established in 1976, the CCMA is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the promotion and recognition of Canadian country music. Built upon the foundation to educate, elevate and celebrate Canadian talent, the CCMA progressively heralds the spirit, community and creativity that country music fosters through year-round initiatives, culminating every fall with Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Sponsors of Country Music Week and the 2016 CCMA Awards Show include FACTOR, Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters and The Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Canada Music Fund”, Radio Starmaker Fund, the Province of Ontario, the City of London and Tourism London.

Media Contacts: 
Jess Seguire | jess@penelopepr.com | 613-921-2314
Tiffany Astle | tiffany@penelopepr.com | 416-554-7329 

 

We acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada
and of Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
 
Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier de FACTOR, du gouvernement du Canada, 
et des radio diffuseurs privés du Canada.

Brett Kissel crowned king of country, fan favourite at CCMA Awards

PAOLA LORIGGIO, THE CANADIAN PRESS  09.11.2016

Dean Brody accepts his award for CMT Video of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in London, Ont., on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

LONDON, Ont. - Brett Kissel's no-holds-barred campaign to woo country enthusiasts paid off Sunday as the Alberta singer was named fan favourite at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards -- an honour he deemed on par with his win for best male artist.

"To win them both, it's just remarkable, it's hard to put it into words," an ecstatic Kissel said in an interview after the ceremony in London, Ont.

"I don't know how I'm feeling," he said. "After winning fan's choice I think I felt what cloud nine actually feels like."

Kissel, 26, said he drew inspiration from U.S. politics in lobbying for the fans' choice title, which he deemed the "most coveted" of the show.

"Now that I've spent so much time in Nashville and watching the presidential race with Clinton and Trump, I've been inspired because it's like no stone left unturned, these people don't hold off any punches," he said earlier in the day. 

"My big motto's been, 'Don't vote for Trump, don't vote for Clinton, vote for Brett Kissel."

Now that he's achieved his goal, Kissel said he struggles to pinpoint his next benchmark.

"I don't know what's next, probably just celebrate -- this is kind of like a Stanley Cup moment for me," he said.

"So I'm going to celebrate and I don't care who hears it, I'm gonna have some drinks tonight, like country music people do and tomorrow's going to be a new day and we'll keep writing songs and keep performing but I think it's important to stop and smell the roses on this one."

The Alberta singer was crowned king of Canadian country a decade after first attending the awards as a contender for the title of rising star.

He went into this year's ceremony as a leading nominee, tied with British Columbia's Dean Brody with five nominations, many of them pitting the pair against each other.

While Kissel won the top honours -- as well as the title of top interactive artist for a second consecutive year -- the two took home the same amount of hardware, with Brody also claiming three prizes.

Brody was named songwriter of the year for his song "Bring Down The House," which also earned him the titles of single of the year and CMT video of the year.

The song is also one of two platinum singles for the 41-year-old -- both "Bring Down The House" and "Canadian Girls" sold more than 100,000 digital copies.

Brody, who first envisioned a career writing songs for country stars such as Kenny Chesney before taking a swing at stardom himself, said the songwriter prize was particularly close to his heart.

The Jaffray, B.C., native collected a Juno for best country album earlier this year, and already counts nine CCMA Awards on his mantel.

Pop-country singer Jess Moskaluke from Langenburg, Sask., was named female artist of the year for the third time in a row -- something she said she was not expecting.

"I'm as surprised the third time as the second time and the first," she said, adding it would be a "miracle" to win a fourth time.

"This year it was really cool to see all of the nominees were kind of a new wave of country...it's really, really encouraging to see the new crop of new age women we're raising here in Canada, so this is a huge honour."

Last year's big winner, Gord Bamford, was nominated in four categories and took home the prize for album of the year for "Tin Roof."

The 40-year-old said he went out of his comfort zone with the album, which included working with a different producer.

"Country music's changed so much," he said after receiving his award, an evolution he credited with drawing a new, younger fan base to the genre.

"It was a little bit scary for me to venture out and try something different," he said.

After three months away from home, Bamford said he looked forward to returning to his family in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday.

High Valley, brothers from Blumenort, Alta., was named group of the year. The duo said each year has been better than the last and their musical career is "ramping up fast."

The Washboard Union, who are based in Vancouver, were deemed the year's rising star as well as the top roots artist.

Two of the band's members, Aaron Grain and Chris Duncombe, met at age 13 when their parents started dating.

Both said the rising star prize was particularly meaningful to them.

Country Music Week: London businesses report busy times during four-day event 

By Dale Carruthers, The London Free Press

Monday, September 12, 2016 9:24:58 EDT AM

Tim Hicks performs at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Networ

They came wearing 10-gallon hats.

They left behind boots of cash.

Bars were packed. Restaurants ran out of tables. Empty cabs were scarce. And hotels had no vacancies.

Downtown London was awash in plaid shirts and leather boots, as thousands of visitors flooded the city for the 2016 Country Music Week, a four-day event crowned by the Canadian Country Music Association Awards Sunday that pumped a projected $8 million to $10 million into the local economy.

The CCMA’s annual celebration, held in London for the first time, was the largest non-sporting event in the city’s history.

And it lived up to its big expectations, said business owners, many of whom hired extra staff to handle the influx of customers.

“We’ve been hitting capacity every night for the past week,” said Bull and Barrel co-owner Andrew Corbett, whose 445-person, country-western bar had a nightly line snaking around the corner to King Street. “It’s been busy.”

The Talbot Street venue was a magnet for CCMA performers, agents and other industry insiders, Corbett said.

Normally the weekend after Labour Day is slow in the hotel business. But staff at downtown London’s major hotels reported solid bookings solid since the CCMA show rolled into town.

Country music lovers also brought big appetites to match their big belt buckles, packing restaurants, cafes and other eateries.

The Covent Garden Market extended its hours to cater to the hungry hordes flowing out of the Budweiser Gardens and other nearby venues.

Nate Chamas, manager of Nate’s Shawarma, went through an entire spit of chicken Sunday serving a never-ending line.

Chamas credited his booth’s location near the market’s main entrance for its success over the past four days, saying many of the customers had never eaten the Middle Eastern wrap before.

“We introduced them to shawarma,” he said.

While it’s too early to say exactly how much was spent during the event, organizer Chris Campbell said an assessment will be conducted in the coming weeks to determine the economic impact.

“We came together and also grew as a city. The consensus was that we hit it out of the park,” Campbell, chair of London’s Country Music Week host committee, wrote in an email.

“This was a very significant moment for London and many people are responsible for our success. They all helped put us on the map.”

Downtown London manager Janette MacDonald agreed the event’s success will lead to future opportunities for the city.

MacDonald said she talked to promoters who praised the city’s core, with its wealth of venues within walking distance, as ideal place for music festivals.

“So I think that sets us up really well for future events as well,” MacDonald said.

Festivities ran from Thursday to Sunday, wrapping up with the nationally-televised CCMA Awards Show held at the Budweiser Gardens.

CCMA president Don Green said he’d love to bring the country music celebration back to London in the future.

dcarruthers@postmedia.com

Brett Kissel accepts his award for male artist of the year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Country Music Week: Dean Brody took home four CCMA awards 

By James Reaney, The London Free Press

Monday, September 12, 2016 12:27:04 EDT PM

Image: 28 of 46

Brett Kissel accepts his award for male artist of the year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Somehow, with the house coming down again and again, they managed to keep the roof on London’s downtown arena Sunday.

Dean Brody’s single Bring Down The House finished up with four CCMA Awards over the weekend as Country Music Week 2016 found its big finish.

With 8,000 loud fans jamming Budweiser Gardens, the biggest party in Canadian country music ended on its highest note.

By going four-for-five noms, Brody had a lot to do with that.

Brody’s hit added two Canadian Country Music Awards as single of the year and video of the year on Sunday at Budweiser Gardens to the two he collected the night before at the CCMA gala at the London Convention Centre.

“It was really huge. We took a risk on the song. We kind of freaked out a bit. We didn’t even want to show it to our manager and our record label,” Brody said.

The song that dominated the awards in London was inspired by a Calgary club.

“It was Cowboys in Calgary,” Brody said.

Along with his band, he saw young fans loving country and electronic dance music (EDM) sounds in the same night, in the same place. “Let’s do a song that celebrates that,” Brody said.

Those four wins in London continued the celebration.

Also winning two awards on Sunday was Brett Kissel, the male artist of the year and fans’ choice winner.

Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke gained a three-peat as female artist.

Gord Bamford won album of the year. That would be Tin Roof to keep that house thing going.

Moskaluke felt the London love in the house.

“They were screaming louder than I’ve ever heard and I don’t have a job without them,” Moskaluke asid.

“It’s really, really encouraging to see the new crop of new age women we are raising here in Canada,” she said of her peers in the category.

Still, that might mean someone else will take home the hardware in 2017, when the CCMA’s Country Music Week is in her province.

“If I could win it the fourth time, it would be a miracle,” she said.

Also with a house hit on Sunday was Sam Hunt with House Party.

The American star had been the object of witty host Jessi Cruickshank’s attention from the start. Cruickshank tried to objectify Sam Hunt” — a U.S. star to perform later — like her “10,000 horny sisters” in the house.

She later smooched passionately with Canadian star Chad Brownlee during a Kiss Cam segment.

But as the host said, what happens in London, Ontario, stays in London, Ontario. So maybe Hunt didn’t mind where that kiss was bestowed.

Brownlee had local fire in his performance. In addition to the pyro during his I Hate You For It, London dancer Kimberly O’Neill-Delguercio brought the real-life heat to her dancing with the star assignment.

In another hometown hit, London’s Rio Olympian Damian Warner was greeted with cheers when he joined fellow Olympian Melissa Bishop as a presenter.

The show started on the right note, with Niagara Falls star Tim Hicks singing his hit, Stompin Ground — which had the perfect “hometown proud” lyrics for the occasion.

The CCMA Awards show is billed as the first such live music awards show to be broadcast from the downtown London arena.

The CCMA’s Country Music Week has been a first on this scale for London as a host city.

JReaney@postmedia.com

Twitter @JamesatLFPress

CCMA Awards winners

What: A quick list of the eight awards handed out at the 2016 CCMA Awards show on Sunday

at Budweiser Gardens.

Fans' choice: 

Brett Kissel

Album of year: 

Tin Roof, Gord Bamford

Female artist of year: 

Jess Moskaluke

Male artist of year: 

Brett Kissel

Group or duo of year: 

High Valley

Single of the year: 

Bring Down The House, Dean Brody

Rising star: 

The Washboard Union

CMT video of year: 

Bring Down The House, Dean Brody

 

Country star Brett Kissel takes a selfie with fans as he arrives for the Canadian Country Music Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

 

Dean Brody performs at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Country artist Tim Hicks is seen on the green carpet as he arrives for the Canadian Country Music Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Brett Kissel kisses his wife Cecilia on the green carpet as country artists arrive for the Canadian Country Music Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Gord Bamford accepts the award for album of the year at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Sunday September 11, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

Country Music Week: The head of the Canadian Country Music Association talks London, country's urban draw and Sunday's awards show 

By Patrick Maloney, The London Free Press

Sunday, September 11, 2016 5:26:58 EDT PM

Don Green, Canadian Country Music Association president. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

 

Don Green has been president of the Canadian Country Music Association for six years and will oversee Sunday’s 40th annual CCMA Awards at Budweiser Gardens, the event’s first time in London. As he unveiled the televised ceremony’s set to The Free Press, Green spoke about country’s urban revolution and London’s showing as this year’s host.

Q: How has London stacked up against previous host cities?

A: London has been overwhelmingly awesome. First-class host committee, the venues, the hotels. If you’ll have us ,we’ll be back. This thing was planned to a T (by local organizers). Every detail.

Q: I do not like country music. Many people I know do. What am I missing?

A: Country music is very relatable — it’s stories about everyday life. You have very traditional country — the fiddles, the steel guitar — (but) now there’s rock, there’s pop country. We’re finding a range of fans from a wide scope of demographics loving country music now.

Q: That’s what I find interesting, that an event like this fits so well in an urban setting. There’s a hard-core fanbase for country music in cities. Are people more outwardly proud of their country passion now in cities like this?

A: London is a huge market for country. Country artists, when they come to Toronto, they come to London now. And the demographic — 20- to 24-year-olds, those are the country fans now. Boots & Hearts (a recent country festival), there were 40,000 fans and the average age was 24.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge of putting on this event?

A: The biggest challenge is we could probably do so much, so we need to just get organized and pick some great events. All the Canadian artists are here — they love it, because it gives us an opportunity to showcase them. This and the Junos are just about the only national music programs.

Q: And you said the country stars are especially great to work with, right?

A: They’re fantastic to work with. They’re very relatable. We have fan-fest (Saturday) at Western Fair and they’re doing autographs and we had to say you have to leave after 45 minutes, to the artists, you can’t stay for five hours. Because they will.

Q: So after 40 years this is the first time the Canadian Country Music Association Awards have been here. What took so long and how long until you’re back?

A: We’d love to come back here again. We’ve been to 12 different cities over the past 39 years and I think London was ready. Before you can even get in the door, you need the venues, you need the hotels, you need the arena. London had all that. And the city needs to have a passion to have this. It was a very cohesive bid, everybody (Tourism London, city hall, hotels, venues) was on board from Day One. London made it easy for us to pick them.

- pmaloney@postmedia.com 

Country Music Week: Steel guiltar player of the year Ed Ringwald honoured 

By James Reaney, The London Free Press

Sunday, September 11, 2016 10:15:57 EDT PM

Ed "Pee Wee Charles" Ringwald wipes tears from his eyes as he accepts the award for Steel Guitar Player of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Association Gala at the London Convention Centre in London, Ont. on Saturday September 10, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

All that was missing as Ed Ringwald teared up at the CCMA gala in London on Saturday was the sound of his sweetly mournful pedal steel guitar to back up his words of appreciation.

Ringwald thanked his famous employers, Ian and Sylvia Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot, after pausing to wipe his eyes following the crowd’s ovation when his name was announced.

The emotion was, in part, because the pedal steel had came close to being to being “retired” as a separate category by the CCMA.

With retirement looming for 2016, pedal steel aces would compete with mandolin players among others in the specialty instrument category.

“I meant to thank (CCMA president) Don Green and all the committee for reinstating the steel guitar,” Ringwald said later. “They listened to us and it was great.”

Ringwald, of Waterloo, helped lead a successful campaign earlier this year to have the revered instrument maintain its own category in CCMA voting. “We needed to speak up because the instrument has been part of country music for so many years . . . We all spoke up,” Ringwald said.

The Western Swing Authority pedal steel player has been heard with such Canadian country stars as George Canyon, Beverley Mahood, Shane Yellowbird, Jim Witter, Jamie Warren, Gord Bamford, Jason Blaine and Jason McCoy.

Such credits helped mark Saturday as Ringwald’s fifth win and he now is in the CCMA’s Musician Awards Hall of Honour. It is the equivalent, a friend joked with affection, of having his number retired.

Ringwald jested during his acceptance speech he looked forward to playing golf with such fellow Hall of Honour members as guitarist Wendell Ferguson, who also are out of active award competition because they, too, have reached the magic number of wins.

Speaking of magic, a Ringwald admirer mentioned how beautiful his pedal steel had sounded during the Michelle Wright-Jessica Mitchell-Mike Stevens version of Ian and Sylvia’s Four Strong Winds at Friday’s Legends concert.

Ringwald had worked with the famed folk duo on TV and with their band, Great Speckled Bird.

“We did it many times on the (TV) show,” Ringwald recalled. “(On Friday) it was magical. I got goosebumps.”

JReaney@postmedia.com

Country Music Week: Awards show at Budweiser Gardens draws stars, fans 

By James Reaney, The London Free Press

Sunday, September 11, 2016 10:01:51 EDT PM

And then there were eight.

The CCMA Awards show Sunday at Budweiser Gardens left eight major awards to be handed out as Country Music Week peaked with a big concert at Budweiser Gardens.

With London Rio Olympian Damian Warner and other celebs on hand, still be announced early Sunday were Album Of the Year, Fans’ Choice, Female Artist of the Year, Group or Duo of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Rising Star, Single of the Year and CMT Video.

Also set to present CCMA Awards on the CBC-TV broadcast were George Canyon, nominated for Album of the Year and Record Producer(s) of the Year; Kira Isabella, nominated for Female Artist of the Year; and Wes Mack, nominated for Album of the Year.

Also set to take to the stage and present Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Murray McLauchlan, one of the few stars to play Centennial Hall on a Friday (with CCMA Legends show) and Budweiser Gardens on the following Sunday.

Also to present were Songwriter(s) of the Year nominee, Meghan Patrick; Group or Duo of the Year nominees, The Road Hammers and first-time nominees in four award categories this year, The Washboard Union. Rounding out the Canadian artists presenting on the awards show are Bobby Wills, who is up for Album of the Year, Single of the Year and Songwriters of the Year, as well as multi-CCMA Award winner and member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merlin-raised Michelle Wright.

The show started Sunday at 7 p.m. with Niagara Falls star Tim Hicks singing his hit, Stompin Ground – which had the right “hometown proud” lyrics for the occasion.

The show is billed as the first such live music awards show to be broadcast from the downtown London arena. The CCMA's Country Music Week is a first on this scale for London as a host city. 

Host Jessie Cruickshank followed Hicks saying she could not wait "to objectify Sam Hunt" -- a U.S. star to perform later -- like her "10,000 horny sisters" in the house.

She later smooched passionately\ with a Canadian star Chad Brownlee during a Kiss Cam segment, which must have been set up.

But as the host said, what happens in London, Ontario, stays in London, Ontario. So maybe Hunt won't mind where that kiss was bestowed.

Sunday's first big winner was Alberta's Brett Kissel, who won male artist of the year.

"London, this is amazing . . . I've always dreamed about being up here on this stage and holding this award," Kissel told the fans.

Londoners might remembered he played the 2014 Memorial Cup beer tent just outside the arena where he took home that prize on Sunday.

Saskatchewan star Jess Moskaluke three-peated as Female Artist of the Year.

"This is incredible. Every time this happens, I'm in disbelief," she told fans. She wanted to support Canadian women in country music.

"I do want to thank the women who have blazed a trail for all of us." she said.

Two of those women -- Terri Clark, who lived briefly in London, and Merlin-raised Michelle Wright -- were to be part of the show later.

Just a year after the Vancouver band showed up at the 2015 CCMA Awards as a surprise, Vancouver's Washboard Union won the Rising Star award.

One of the night's biggest cheers went to Warner, who introduced Chad Brownlee with help from fellow Rio Olympian Melissa Bishop of Windsor.

Brownlee's performance had a local angle.

Dancing with the star and his band was London's Kimberly O'Neill-Delguercio who looked even hotter than the pyro effects.

Gord Bamford's Tin Roof was album of the year. 

"Thanks for Jack Daniel's for sponsoring this -- my favourite whiskey of choice," the Alberta star said.

Bamford might have added a London Knights reference -- but he had London love for the thousands of fans in the arena and across Canada.

"It's the greatest country in the world (with) the great country music fans in the world," Bamford said.

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