The Country Music Association of Ontario would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. We hope that 2017 will be the best year of your life.
From the beginning of December to the New Year it can only be described as the most joyous of all holidays. Family gatherings and the joy of giving is an important part of this wonderful season. We cherish time spent with friends and loved ones. It’s a time we feel the spirit of the holiday and the joy we feel seems magnified.
It’s also a time to reflect on some of the moments from the past year. Unfortunately, this sometimes includes the passing of loved ones and friends.
The passing of Gordie Tapp last month is an example (see Larry Delaney feature below). Although he lived a long and prosperous life, it doesn’t make it any easier to say good-bye to one of Canada’s most iconic country characters and one of the CMAO’s Honourary Members. Our condolences to his family and wife Helen.
We would also like to remember Carol Cook – who was the CMAO’s bookkeeper a few years ago – along with one of country music’s super fans, Suzanne Van-Trite Jones.
Suzanne Van-Trite Jones was not a celebrity or entertainer and most reading this message will not know her. She was however like many of you, a dear friend and fan of country music. She was one of the reasons there are bands playing in clubs and bars across the province. Suzanne, and many like her, are why we have a country music industry in Ontario – because without faithful fans like her, we do not exist.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of these two members of our community and our deepest sympathies go out to their families and friends.
It’s because of individuals like Gordie, Carol and Suzanne, that I chose to play country music. To join a family of entertainers like Gordie Tapp. To work with volunteers like Carol, and most of all, to know that country music can be loved with such loyalty and passion as demonstrated by Suzanne.
In 2016 we experienced continuing changes in the landscape of country music and saw the Country Music Association come under fire by some established artists for their actions and opinions.
Thomas Rhett caused a stir with his “hick hop” music over the past year that may have influenced the CMA’s decision to include Beyoncé in this year’s televised show. That move seemed to be the last straw for some and prompted Alan Jackson to walk out of the proceedings during her performance.
Later, he was supported by the likes of Vince Gill, George Straight and even Travis Tritt who agreed that there was no place for this particular act on country music’s hallowed stage. Vince Gill was quoted as saying, “It’s a money grab and they are straying too far from country and need to be put in check.”
As a CMAO member, I wonder what your thoughts are on this. Do they need to be “put in check”?