Country Music Week News Roundup: September 11th, 2016

2016 CCMA AWARDS SHOW UPDATE

posted on September 11, 2016

Kiefer Sutherland, previously announced as a presenter on the 2016 CCMA Awards Show, will unfortunately be unable to join us on Sunday evening due to an unforeseen conflict with the production of his new series, Designated Survivor

Jason Blaine, nominated for Record Producers of the Year (alongside Phil O’Donnell and Deric Ruttan) for his album, Country Side, has graciously stepped in to present on the show.

Kelsea Ballerini, one of our special guests for Sunday evening, will present the Fans’ Choice Award with Ultimate Fan winner, Jan Harrison.

We hope that you’re able to join us in-person at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario; or watch from home, on CBC at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT), or CMT (Canada) at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, as we celebrate a fantastic year of country music with the 2016 CCMA Awards Show. 

CCMA AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT GALA EVENT IN LONDON

posted on September 10, 2016

 

CCMA AWARDS PRESENTED AT GALA EVENT IN LONDON
CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS
& CCMA AWARD OF ACHIEVEMENT RECIPIENT AMONG THOSE RECOGNIZED

#CCMAawards

(London, ON) September 10, 2016 – The Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) celebrated an evening of glitz and glamour at its second of three awards ceremonies being held this weekend in London, Ontario. Twenty awards were bestowed at the CCMA Gala Dinner & Awards, including inductions into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and the presentation of a CCMA Award of Achievement.

Murray McLauchlan was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in the artist category, while Paul Mascioli was honoured with the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Stan Klees Builder Award. A music creator and a business innovator, McLauchlan and Mascioli join a prestigious list of cherished artists and professionals who comprise the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Mike Stevens received the Slaight Music Humanitarian Award in recognition of the charity efforts he founded with ArtsCan Circle.

The evening’s award ceremony recognized CCMA Members in categories ranging from artist and musician to industry and radio. Among the many winners who were celebrated was Dean Brody, who was awarded Songwriter of the Year presented by ole for “Bring Down The House”, a song which also earned him the Top Selling Canadian SingleBrett Kissel took home his third consecutive Interactive Artist of the Year Award and The Washboard Union, first-time nominees, received the accolade of Roots Artist of the Year. Quebec sensation Yoan took home Top Selling Canadian Album of the Year presented by Music Canada, for Yoan, an award he also won in 2015. Top Selling Album of the Year presented by Arts & Entertainment Health Insurance Plan went to Luke Bryan for Kill The Lights. Bryan will be presented the award at a later date.

Eric Ethridge, from Sarnia, Ontario, took home this year’s CCMA Discovery Award. The award is bestowed upon one of six finalists in the CCMA Discovery Program based upon compiled scores from several major milestones of the program: a panel interview, a written essay and a showcase performance from Thursday night as part of Country Music Week. The CCMA Discovery Program was developed to educate and support Canadian country music artists in their pursuit of a career in the music industry.


2016 CCMA Award winners announced this evening:

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

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

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

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

*This is Ed’s fifth win in the Steel Guitar Player of the Year category. As such, he is now entered into the Musician Awards 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

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

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

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

MEDIA NOTE: The most up-to-date list of 2016 CCMA Award winners
can be found at ccma.org throughout Country Music Week. 

Country Music Week culminates tomorrow night, Sunday, September 11 with the 2016 CCMA Awards Show where eight CCMA Awards will be presented. The 2016 CCMA Awards Show, hosted by Jessi Cruickshank, broadcasts on CBC at 8:00 p.m. local time (8:30 NT) with an encore airing on CMT (Canada) at 10:00 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

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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.

 

HEY GUYS! "WE" won the Interactive Artist of the Year award! And I mean it. "We" did it. This one is for all my followers on social media. Love you and I'm definitely #CoolWithThat! (MAD props go to my Cecilia @ceciliakissel, Becky Vollrath @countrygirlreba, and Maria Gagliese @mgagliese!)  

HEY GUYS! "WE" won the Interactive Artist of the Year award! And I mean it. "We" did it. This one is for all my followers on social media. Love you and I'm definitely #CoolWithThat! (MAD props go to my Cecilia @ceciliakissel, Becky Vollrath @countrygirlreba, and Maria Gagliese @mgagliese!)

 

Congratulations @deanbrody @CCMAofficial Top Selling Canadian Single of the year #CCMA40 #BringDownTheHouse

Congratulations @deanbrody @CCMAofficial Top Selling Canadian Single of the year #CCMA40 #BringDownTheHouse

Thanks to The London Free Press for Country Music Week Feature Coverage

Thanks to The London Free Press for Country Music Week Feature Coverage

Country Music Week: Gord Bamford fans embrace big bash 

By Joe Belanger, The London Free Press

Friday, September 9, 2016 10:31:32 EDT PM

Gord Bamford performs his hit Is it Friday Yet at the outdoor stage on Talbot Street as part of the CCMA festivities on Friday night. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

ell, it’s clear Gord Bamford knows how to throw a bash.

Of course, the 40-year-old Canadian country music star’s got a few years of experience, including two other Bamford Bashes for the Canadian Country Music Association’s annual Country Music Week in London.

Several thousand fans gathered on Talbot Street outside Budweiser Gardens and Covent Garden Market Square for the show that featured several young rising stars.

But it was clear the crowd favourite was Bamford, who opened with a couple of his own hits — When Our Lips Are So Close and Breakfast Beer — to really get the party started.

At the front of the stage was Lana Goldon, who brought her 95-year-old mother, Norma, all the way from Oshawa just to catch Bamford with a bigger plan to find tickets for Sunday’s CCMA Awards Show at The Bud.

“My mother is in love with Gord, so we were going to go to Niagara Falls for the weekend, but I said, ‘Let’s go to London and see Gord. There’s lots going on’ and so here we are,” said Goldon.

Bamford is one of Canada’s best-known country artists, having won about 20 CCMA awards, dozens of other nominations and three Juno Award nominations.

He has had eight singles reach the Top 10 on the charts with When Your Lips Are So Close topping the charts in 2013.

So the fans weren’t disappointed.

Many, including me, were quite surprised by some of the young talent that took the stage, presented by Sony Music Entertainment Canada.

Kira Isabella, Jojo Mason, Jason Benoit, Jesse Mast, Chris Buck Band and Lindsay Ell each played one song for the crowd.

Ell was up first, a guitar-slinging singer dressed in boots, ripped jeans and a sleeveless blue and white top, dripping with confidence and attitude as she laid into By The Way.

Chris Buck Band played their song, Giddy Up, that went viral on the Internet, leading to a record deal, with Buck going around the stage like a rapper.

Kira Isabella followed with her hit, I’m So Over Getting Over You, followed by singer/guitarist Jesse Mast.

It’s a toss-up to say who stole the show, either Ell or the superbly entertaining Jojo Mason, who owned the stage for one song, delivering a fun, lively and energetic, It’s All Good.

Newfoundlander Jason Benoit was last of the young crowd to perform with the high energy All Wanna Party.

The crowd sang along with the songs, laughed and cheered for each artist.

Then Bamford returned with the heart-tugging Don’t Let Her Be Gone before launching into a cover of Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down to Georgia that drew cheers from beginning to end.

It was free, it was fun and, for country music fans, it sure doesn’t get much better.

jbelanger@postmedia.com

Country Music Week: We run the numbers on the Canadian Country Music Association's London celebration, crowned by the CCMA Awards on Sunday night 

By Patrick Maloney, The London Free Press

Friday, September 9, 2016 9:58:49 EDT PM

As London goes country this weekend with the 40th annual Canadian Country Music Awards, we at The Free Press thought some news, notes and especially numbers would help bring the big event into focus for country fans or newbies alike across London. So, as award nominee Brett Kissel puts it in Raise Your Glass: ‘Get loose, get loud, get ready everybody now.’

40: Number of years the Canadian Country Music Awards have been held. This is their first time in London.

11: Number of categories for artist awards, ranging from fans’ choice to video of the year to songwriter of the year. Best-known nominees include Chad Kroeger, Brett Kissel, Johnny Reid and George Canyon.

2: High-profile participants this weekend from London: Genevieve Fisher, who boasts four Top 50 hits in her young career; and Jessica Mitchell, a London native who went viral online this summer with a cellphone video of herself hearing her own song, Workin’ On Whiskey, on the radio for the first time.

0: Places to find a selection of cowboy hats in London. Seriously — as far as we can tell, you can’t really find a store that offers more than a handful, and some of those are clearance centres. But — hold on — a “beer box cowboy hat party hat” made from an actual case of Sleeman Original Draft is available on Kijiji for $20.

200: Highest asking price, in dollars, for tickets for the Canadian Country Music Awards ceremony on Sunday. They’re available online for as little as $80, too.

19: Number of country music radio stations from across Canada that broadcast from London’s “radio row” Friday morning at the London Convention Centre. The stations represent Canada from coast to coast, from St. John, B.C., to Halifax. All provinces were represented, except Quebec.

5: Most nominations for any single nominee — a tie between Brett Kissel and Dean Brody.

2: Number of national television networks that will broadcast Sunday’s awards ceremony from Budweiser Gardens: CBC and CMT (Canada). Those two channels have a broadcast reach of more than three million.

50: Increase, in per cent, of staff at the Bull & Barrel Urban Saloon — a downtown country bar that’s nearing its one-year anniversary and expecting its busiest weekend so far over the next two days. “We’re fully prepared for our busiest weekend yet,” said co-owner Andrew Corbett, who expects the free outdoor events to spin off even more customers for his bar. “We’re super-excited about it.”

5: Star-inspired “fan-wiches” being offered this week by the downtown eatery Wich Is Wich, all named for CCMA fans’ choice award nominees: the Dean Brody Bush Party BBQ; Brett Kissel Missile; Dallas Smith Side Effect Sampler; Johnny Reid Tartan Army Taster; and Yoan Merci Smoked Meat.

20: Number of London-made items in the “goodie bags” going to each of the 94 participant in the awards events. They include a ball cap from Illbury + Goose; specialty coffee from Fire Roasted Coffee Co.; beer from Forked River Brewing Co.; and market preserves from Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

309: Estimated daily spending, in dollars, by each “delegate” coming to London for the event and staying overnight. Total estimated economic impact of the entire event is between $8 million and $10 million.

CCMA Legends Show will bring Merlin country star Michelle Wright full circle 

By James Reaney, The London Free Press

Friday, July 29, 2016 8:08:22 EDT PM

Michelle Wright recalls her start in London ahead of the CCMA Legends show Sept. 9 at Centennial Hall. (wenn.com)

Related StoriesMichelle Wright’s place in 2016 Country Music Week is already touched with the stuff of London music legend.

Long based in Nashville, the country queen from Chatham-Kent’s community of Merlin talked to The Free Press this week as Wright looked ahead to her place at the CCMA Legends show Sept. 9 and back at the way it all started for her in London.

“That city holds that special thread that took me around the world,” the New Kind Of Love and Take It Like A Man hitmaker says.

That thread, that tie, goes back at least 30 years to a contest that kick-started Wright’s career, long before Kickstarter was a thing where you conjured up career-boosting cash.

The thread stretches ahead to September’s Legends show at Centennial Hall and beyond because it will be a night when Wright is on stage with fellow CCMA Hall of Famer Marie Bottrell of London.

And Wright may well be paired for duet purposes with Nashville — and Toronto-based rising star Jessica Mitchell, a former Londoner.

“I will just tell you that I’m a massive Jessica Mitchell fan. I hosted a talent show for the Ontario country music awards . . . she was the last one to get up. I was like, ‘Oh boy, we have just seen something, people. Did you just see what we just saw?’ ” Wright said.

A 2016 CCMA Awards nominee, Mitchell has been writing songs with Canadian country star Patricia Conroy, Wright’s “dearest friend.” Conroy and Mitchell are part of the creative team behind Mitchell’s new single Workin’ On Whiskey.

However Wright and Mitchell are teamed during Country Music Week at venues in and around London, Wright’s return brings up memories of the night back in the day when Bottrell stepped up for the young Wright — just as Wright praised Mitchell more recently. Bottrell was already a two-time CCMA female vocalist of the year with such hits as The Star when she heard Wright in what turned out to be a magic moment.

Having come to London as a Fanshawe College student, Wright had been tuning up for a country music career at the same time. Nashville honchos were interested and ready. The songs were in place for her first record.

All that was needed was cash.

Wright entered the 1986 Country Roads talent contest organized by London radio station BX93. It came down to a reigning country queen from London recognizing future country royalty from the region.

“Marie Bottrell was a judge on the panel,” Wright said. “They were in the room and they were sort of hemming and hawing. Marie Bottrell stood up for me and said, ‘That girl right there, she’s the one you need to be picking.’ I will forever appreciate that. Marie Bottrell fought for me and said, ‘There’s your talent.’ ”

The judges heeded Bottrell’s words. Wright won the contest — and the cash. The prize helped the then 24-year-old pay for studio time as she recorded three songs by Nashville songwriters Rick Giles and Steve Bogard.

The singles led to her first album, 1988’s Do Right By Me — a cute play on words that may just have gone gold as an album in 2016, if you’re counting.

Wright’s Right album produced hit singles and Nashville came calling. She won seven CCMA Awards — out of 14 nominations — in 1991.

Wright went on to become the first Canadian-born artist in country music’s modern era to have a Top 10 in the U.S. and No. 1 video on CMT-USA (both 1992’s Take It Like A Man).

She also was the era’s first Canuck to win a major U.S. music industry award as the Academy of Country Music’s top new female artist in 1993. In 2011, she was inducted into the CCMA’s Hall of Fame.

“Without that contest and without winning and without Marie Bottrell being there and everything being in place, who knows what would have happened to me?” Wright said.

Her last album, 2013’s Strong, arrived just in time for the album thing to disappear into the rear view mirror. Singles and downloads and country’s much younger demographic for fans and stars are the new reality.

Still, Wright keeps looking ahead. She is creating new songs and hears the soul, R&B and pop blend she has always loved in current country hits.

One of them is Thomas Rhett’s Die A Happy Man, a hit she saluted while chatting with Rhett’s father, country singer Rhett Akins.

“That is just straight-up flat-out soul, R&B country,” Wright said of the Rhett hit.

Wright hears the same country-plus-soul sound in Sam Hunt and other stars.

“I always brought this soul, R&B, pop sensitivity to my country music. It was a concern (for the labels) really,” she said.

The good news is the labels — or whatever the conglomerates are called these days — are over that now.

An admirer suggested to Wright that wherever her soulful country road takes her, she has a strong connection to the past, present and future in her London “sisters” Bottrell and Mitchell.

“I love that thread. It’s lovely,” Wright said.

JReaney@postmedia.com

Twitter @JamesatLFPress

--- --- ---

MORE WRIGHT STUFF

What: Selected details about Merlin-raised CCMA Hall of Famer Michell Wright. Visit michelle-wright.com for more.

Legendary: Wright and many other stars will perform in The CCMA Legends Show: A Tribute to Yesterday and Today which celebrates "Canadian country hits of the past and present by pairing some of Canada’s most cherished country artists, including Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, with rising and current hitmakers." Sept. 9, 8 p.m. Centennial Hall. $40. Part of 2016 Country Week at venues around London, Sept. 8-11.

Her own take: "A little Merle (Haggard) and a little Motown is how I say it — I just made that up. There's a little catchphrase there, eh?" — Wright to The Free Press on her style

Where: “Whether as an independent artist I will be able to record another album again is questionable.” — Wright to Postmedia News, 2016

Family tradition Part I: "My earliest memories of music are singing in the car ... or spending the weekend with my father after my parents separated, and watching him put on a rhinestone-studded suit to perform in."

Family tradition Part II: Covering 1973 Jeanne Pruett hit Satin Sheets with her mom and brother at her school when she was in Grade 7.

Early influences: Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson, Diana Ross, Otis Redding.

— sources include Free Press files

 

Country Music Week: Sweet harmony of old, new 

By James Reaney, The London Free Press

Saturday, September 10, 2016 3:50:50 EDT PMThings got legendary with a London touch at Centennial Hall Friday night.

John Abrams and Marie Bottrell perform in the CCMA Legends Show at Centennial Hall on Friday night. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)


John Abrams and Marie Bottrell perform in the CCMA Legends Show at Centennial Hall on Friday night. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

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More than two hours of rising stars welcoming Hall of Famers and old songs made new, local heroes at the Canadian Country Music Association's (CCMA) Legends convert were among the brightest stars.

With about 1,250 fans cheering, there were highlights from visitors to London such as Murray McLaughlan's Whispering Rain -- with the 2016 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame on piano -- and Manitoba duo Doc Walker's Beautiful Life.

Those songs came late in the show, which looked set to be running early today, fuelled on sweet memories and Canadian country classics. 

But for this reviewer, Friday's peak -- and perhaps the peak of Canadian Country Music Week 2016 -- was a cover-for-the-ages of Ian and Sylvia Tyson's Four Strong Winds

The iconic fold song had Merlin-raised Michelle Wright and former Londoner Jessica Mitchell singing and strumming and Sarnia ace Mike Stevens adding perfect harmonica riffs. 

Wright had mentored Mitchell and the way their glorious, rich voices entwined suggested a duet album would be a gem. 

Solo spots from the two led into Four Strong Winds, Mitchell sang her hit, Working on Whiskey, after talking about going to a concert at Centennial Hall when she was 16 and vowing to stand on its stage one day. 

Wright went back to her 1990s hit, Take It Like A Man, which sounded as magnificent as ever with beautiful backing by the night's house band, Western Swing Authority. 

For his part, Stevens had just played an amazing Amazing Grace and inspired the crowd with talk about his humanitarian work in Canada.

Friday's concert came on Day 2 of the CCMA's Country Music Week's four-day run at venues around London. 

There were outdoor concerts downtown and showcases -- big and small -- in night spots and clubs around town on Friday. 

Country Music Week winds up Sunday with the CCMA Awards show at Budweiser Gardens. 

There also had been a London legend early in Friday's show.

The openers were The Abrams, bluegrass-minded brothers from the Kingston area who said the next performer to come on stage had “an incredible voice.”

London’s Marie Bottrell — a Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer — proved them right.

Their collaboration was strong and then Bottrell stepped out for a solo spot on “a blast from the past” called Everybody Wants To Be Single.

Bottrell recalled her back-to-back CCMA wins as female vocalist of the year in 1983 and 1984. The 1983 triumph was the sweeter, she told fans.

“The first time you grab the ring” will always stand out, she said.

"Right now," Wright answered when asked when she most appreciated her success. 


John Abrams and Marie Bottrell perform in the CCMA Legends Show at Centennial Hall on Friday night. (MIKE HENSEN, The London Free Press)

She went on to explain earlier heights came when she was "in a little cloud" but now felt "the love and support" more fully. 

Before being joined by Alberta rising star Bobby Wills, Donna and LeRoy Anderson revealed their CCMA roots go back to the 1970s. His membership number was 16 and hers, 17. 

 

An award winner even before the CCMA was around to hand them out, Haliburton's Johnny Burke, and Nova Scotia's George Canyon combined for a stellar visit to Charlie Major's Drive You Out of My Mind.  

Meanwhile, the latest Country Music Week buzz has it that new-to-the-genre star, TV and film actor Kiefer Sutherland may well be coming to to town. Will he be playing the Talbot stage? Country Music Week's London host chairperson Chris Campbell said he has no info on that buzz. 

JReaney@postmedia.com

Canadian Country Music Awards: Sarnia's Eric Ethridge wins Discovery Award 

By James Reaney, The London Free Press

Sunday, September 11, 2016 3:29:08 EDT PM

 

Sarnia's Mike Stevens holds up his CCMA Slaight Music humanitarian award on Saturday during the CCMA's 2016 gala at the London Convention Centre. James Reaney/The London Free Press

It was a big Saturday night for Sarnia stars Eric Ethridge and Mike Stevens in downtown London during Country Music Week.

Rising star Ethridge won the Discovery Award, helping lift his career at the Canadian Country Music Association's 2016 gala at the London Convention Centre. World-class harmonica ace Stevens accepted the Slaight Music humanitarian award for his work with troubled youth in indigenous communities with ArtsCan Circle.

The award ceremony recognized CCMA members in categories ranging from artist and musician to industry and radio. The CCMA's Country Music Week winds up Sunday with its Awards show at Budweiser Gardens. Eight awards will be given out at the nationally-televised show. That concert winds up Country Music Week, which has been running since Thursday at venues around London.

Ethridge wowed the judges at the London Music Hall in Thursday's live performance event, helping him stand out in an outstanding field including Runaway Angel, a trio with London's Stacey Zegers as one of its members.

“Omigosh this is crazy ... you guys are all fantastic . . . I'm looking forward to sharing in your success,” Ethridge said of his fellow finalists as he began his acceptance speech on Saturday.

“I was trying not to lose it up there,” Ethridge said in an interview, adding he was still in shock -- in a good way.

Ethridge continues to work as a chiropractor and jested about that with a radio interviewer, who claimed to have a stiff neck.

“I got your back ... you have to make an appointment, man,” the award-winner said.

For his win, Ethridge gets the chance to perform at the Global Live Stage during CMA fest in the U.S.

Also coming with the win are such prizes as a CMT One Shot video, SOCAN support and prime time at a Nashville recording centre.

“It's exceeded my wildest dreams,” he said. “The amount of support that the CCMA gives to the Discovery artists is incredible.”

His mentor in the program was Canadian star Chad Brownlee.

Growing up in Sarnia, Ethridge went to Sacred Heart School and then St. Patrick's, where he played defensive end on the football team.

He began playing guitar and singing in public as a teenager, but he was a fan of rock music.

“I hadn't even been exposed to country music, really,” Ethridge said. “I didn't grow up on it.”

After high school, he went to Western University where he earned a kinesiology degree and played football. Ethridge also sang at pub nights, coffee houses and bars

Often, fans would come up to him at gigs and say he could sing country music.

“I thought that was strange . . . it's not something I thought I would ever do,” he said.

He began writing songs and the first one he finished was Country Girl.

That song was among those heard over the sound system on Thursday between acts as Country Music Week had an outdoor event on Talbot Street in downtown London. Ethridge was busy elsewhere, competing at the Discovery live performance event.

Before Stevens accepted his award, a video showed peers lauding him.

“You, sir, are a humanitarian and a great Canadian,” CBC TV star Rick Mercer said in his video comment.

Stevens said there is a window of opportunity to help indigenous youth in crisis.

“Think about how to connect with indigenous communities,” Stevens said. “Step out of your comfort zone. Be awkward. That's how it works.”

In other awards handed out Saturday, Canadian folk icon Murray McLauchlan was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in the artist category, while Paul Mascioli was honoured with the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Stan Klees Builder Award.

Dean Brody was a double winner with the same hit song. Brophy was awarded Songwriter of the Year for “Bring Down The House”, a song which also earned him the Top Selling Canadian Single

Brett Kissel took home his third consecutive Interactive Artist of the Year Award .The Washboard Union, first-time nominees, won as Roots Artist of the Year. Former Londoner Jessica Mitchell was a finalist in that category.

Quebec star Yoan took home Top Selling Canadian Album of the Year. Yoan also won that award in 2015.

Top Selling Album of the Year went to Luke Bryan for Kill The Lights. The award was accepted on the U.S. star's behalf.

In instrumental awards, Waterloo's Ed Ringwald – who had been outspoken about the CCMA plans to eliminate the pedal steel guitar as a category – was the winner. Ringwald was visibly moved when he began his acceptance and went on to thank Canadian icons Ian and Sylvia Tyson and Gordon Lightfoot for making him part of their music.

He also wanted to thank the CCMA for changing its mind and keeping the pedal steel as a separate category, Ringwald said.

-- with files from Sarnia Observer

Following are selected details from a CCMA media release listing Saturday's honourees and winnersL

 

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

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

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

STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ed "Pee Wee Charles" Ringwald*

*This is Ringwald's fifth win in the Steel Guitar Player of the Year category. As such, he is now entered into the Musician Awards 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

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

RECORD COMPANY PERSON OF THE YEAR

Steve Coady – Warner Music 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 SINGLE OF THE YEAR

Bring Down The House – Dean Brody

TOP SELLING CANADIAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR presented by Music Canada

Yoan – Yoan

MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY OF THE YEAR

ole

RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR

MDM Recordings Inc.

Doc Walker free concert in London marks 20th anniversary of band 

By Patrick Maloney, The London Free Press

Sunday, September 11, 2016 11:45:37 EDT AM

Doc Walker fan Grace Bannon shows off a photo she took 20 years ago of band members Chris Thorsteinson and Dave Wasyliw after meeting the pair backstage following their outdoor concert for the Canadian Country Music Awards celebrations at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. on Saturday September 10, 2016. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network 

Legendary band Doc Walker performed a free concert in downtown London Saturday night to mark the 20th anniversary of their debut.

Grace Bannon arrived with the photographic evidence.

Bannon, 70, braved the chill of the late-night show, part of the Canadian Country Music Association festivities in London, for the chance to show Doc Walker's members a bit of their own history: a photo she took of them signing autographs at Simcoe's Norfolk County Fair in 1996.

The band's management team got Bannon, a stroke survivor, backstage post-show Saturday to meet the band -- now older, wiser and much more famous -- and share the memory.

"I waited here just to get their picture and autograph again," Bannon said, recalling of the 1996 show: "I really liked them. That's why I took the picture."

The little interaction was a tangible example of the line often offered by country music executives: their artists are more fan-friendly than most other musicians.

It's especially true of the Canadian performers, Bannon said.

"The Canadian ones are the best."

pmaloney@postmedia.com