If you’re attending Country Music Week this year in Edmonton, be sure to watch out for the many artists from Ontario that will also be in attendance. For starters, there’s Johnny Reid. Johnny’s career continues to be hot as a pistol and show no signs of cooling down. Now, listening to him talk, you’d know instantly that he’s a Scot, but he and his family came here many years ago and made a home for themselves in Brampton, Ontario. He’s nominated for Fan’s Choice, Songwriter of the Year and his management company, Johnny Mac Entertainment, is also nominated.
Then there’s Deric Ruttan from Bracebridge. His song “Main Street 1979” is up for the Single of the Year, as well as a co-write with Pembroke’s Jason Blaine for “Cool”. So they’re both nominated for Songwriter of the Year. Ottawa’s Kira Isabella is also nominated for Video of the Year as well as Female Artist of the Year. Speaking of females, both Thunder Bay’s Jaida Dreyer and Chatham’s Michelle Wright are up for that same award… 3 Ontario gals vying for the same award? Amazing!
The same thing is happening in the Roots category. Sudbury’s Shane Chisholm, Toronto artists Lindi Ortega and The Heartbroken are all up for the Roots Artist of the Year. (Yes, we know Damhnait Doyle’s a Labrador City gal, but she’s been residing in Ontario for many years now.) Both Oshawa’s The Stellas (Brad and Marylynne) and Trenton’s Small Town Pistols (Amanda and Tyler Wilkinson) are in competition for the Group or Duo of the Year. And 3 more in the Rising Star category! St. Catherines’ Tim Hicks and Toronto’s Autumn Hill and Tebey and are all nominees. Speaking of Tebey, he’s also hoping for a Producer of the Year award. Uxbridge’s Leah Daniels is nominated for the Interactive Artist of the Year. In the radio department, Joel Lamoureux from Ottawa’s (CKBY 101.1) is hoping for the Music Director of the Year-Major Market award and Pete Walker (KX-96 Oshawa) and Paul Ferguson (COOL-100 Belleville) are both up for Music Director of the Year-Secondary Market. Whew, that’s a lot of Ontario represented there.
But that’s not all. There’s both Boots and Hearts and Manitoulin Country Fest up for Country Festival, Fair or Exhibition of the Year, and Oshawa’s The Corral is vying for the Country Club of the Year honours. In the Recording Studio of the Year category there’s Toronto’s Metalworks and Barrytones Studios in St. Clements. It’s run by guitarist Jason Barry, who’s also up for Record Producer of the Year (with Tebey) and Guitarist of the Year.
Speaking of musicians, the instrument specialty categories are bulging with Ontario talent. Besides Jason Barry, there’s Shane Chisholm and Shane Guse (both up in multiple categories) and Ed Ringwald and Doug Johnson battling it out for Steel Player of the Year.
Now we’ve likely missed a few, like the video directors and the album design people, but we haven’t forgotten the many companies in the industry that make Ontario home, or maintain offices here such as: MDM Recordings, S.L. Feldman, Paquin Entertainment, RGK, ole and many, many more. Good luck to all the nominees from the CMAO!