Jason Blaine and Michelle Wright at Fan Fest. All photos in this article courtesy of Grant W. Martin Photography
From September 4th to the 8th, Canadian Country Music Week took place in Edmonton Alberta. During awards dinners, luncheons and shows there were hundreds of delegates, artists, industry people and general public at every event. And we know we’re bragging a little, but Ontario was well represented at every one of them. The following deserving people and organizations picked up awards:
Pete Walker from CJKX (KX-96) was named the Music Director of the Year – Secondary Market, while Orillia’s KICX picked up Radio Station of the Year in a Secondary Market.
Ted Roop accepting the Radio Station of the Year Award
Musicians Pee-Wee Charles (Ed Ringwald) and Jason Barry picked up Steel Guitar Player of the Year and Guitar Player of the Year, respectively. Charles works with many country artists, including George Canyon, Western Swing Authority and international icon, Gordon Lightfoot. Barry was also up for Producer of the Year and can be seen playing with many country acts like Charlie Major, Aaron Lines, Jason Blaine and Dean Brody. At the Gala Dinner hosted by Bracebridge’s Deric Ruttan, RGK Management once again won the Manager of the Year award. And RGK president Ron Kitchener (now the new chairman of the CCMA) was pleased to announce that his record label Open Road was celebrating its 10th anniversary. As well, ole Rights Management won its 7th consecutive Publisher of the Year award. Now, although ole has offices in Nashville and Los Angeles, it started right here in Ontario with Robert Ott and Tim Laing.
Autumn Hill performing at the CCMA’s
On the televised award show (carried on CBC, Sunday September 8th), Oshawa’s The Stellas walked away with the Duo or Group of the Year award and Ottawa’s Kira Isabella accepted the Female Vocalist of the Year award. If that wasn’t enough, Terri Clark won the coveted Fan’s Choice award and Brampton’s Johnny Reid won the Top Selling Canadian Album of the Year. On top of that, Ontario artists Tim Hicks, Tebey, Autumn Hill, Small Town Pistols, Kira Isabella and Jason Blaine all performed on the show! Do we sound a little proud? Well that’s because we are!
The televised show capped a week of performances, seminars, showcases, round tables, meals and general networking. Some of the standout events were the Songwriter’s Cafe, the Legends Show, the Discovery Showcases (where Ontario brother/sister duo The Reklaws put in a strong, spirited performance), the Gala Dinner, the All Star Band Awards, Fan Fest, the Rock ‘N Country Cabaret, the Great Guitar Pull and private and public events at the many Edmonton venues that were overflowing with country music and country fans. That city knows how to party. In fact, next year’s CCMA’s will also be held there. Don’t miss out as they promise new venues and even more surprises.
Congrats not just to our Ontario winners, but to all the winners in this great “Country” country of Canada. And a shout out to the CCMA, Adam Gregory (the Slaight Music ‘Humanitarian Award’ winner), Ed Harris (Inducted into the Hall of Fame – Stan Klees Builder Award), Rita MacNeil (inducted into the Hall of Fame), the sponsors, the host committee and all the wonderful volunteers. If you’re a CMAO member and haven’t experienced Country Music Week… well, you don’t know what you’re missing.