The Canadian Country Music Association Awards show is coming up tonight. Here are the nominees and my considerations regarding who may (or should) win.
FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
Prediction: Johnny Reid
This would be his fifth consecutive win. He performed in Kingston recently and the crowd was wild for him. Very little can be called “country” about that set, what with the saxophone solos and poppy production, but it was a heck of a show. I dare call this a slam dunk.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
It’s Friday -Dean Brody feat. Great Big Sea
Jumped Right In – Dallas Smith
Leaning On A Lonesome Song – Gord Bamford
Main Street, 1979 – Deric Ruttan
Show Some Respect – Bobby Wills
Prediction: It’s Friday
The Gord Bamford song won the songwriter award last night, so there’s a good chance it could take this one too. Voters would be wise to reward Deric Ruttan, though, who’s “Main Street, 1979” should’ve been nominated (and should’ve won) the songwriter award. “It’s Friday” was just a great song, the kind you like to hear on the radio, a great “single.”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Classics II – George Canyon
Is It Friday Yet? – Gord Bamford
Jumped Right In – Dallas Smith
Roll – Emerson Drive
Small Town Pistols – Small Town Pistols
Prediction: Is It Friday Yet?
I’m going on pure instinct here. Gord Bamford is reliably country and the voters should recognize that here. Besides the album is chock full of hit songs. Going down the list of remaining nominees: I can’t fathom an album of covers, with nary a Canadian song on it, winning this award. Dallas Smith might (should?) be considered just a little too Default for country music voters, despite his string of hits from this CD. Emerson Drive has a chance here; why, by the way, wasn’t “Let It Roll” (the Doc Walker duet that debuted on last year’s CCMAs) not nominated for anything? It’s a love letter to the industry. And while I love Small Town Pistols, aside from the Group/Duo category this is their only nomination.
CMT VIDEO OF THE YEAR
A Little More Work – Kira Isabella
Hope & Gasolinee – Beverley Mahood
I’m Movin’ On – Terri Clark feat. Dean Brody
Leaning On A Lonesome Song –Gord Bamford
Maybe You Remember Me Now – Hey Romeo
Prediction: Maybe You Remember Me Now
I haven’t seen a music video in years. When I’m out of town I’ll turn on CMT for the noise if I can’t find a local radio station. The director of “Maybe You Remember Me Now,” Stephano Barberis, won the video director award yesterday from the CCMA, so I’ll defer to that decision here. A cursory glance at some of the nominees was pleasant enough. The “Hope & Gasoline” video seemed particularly artful.
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Prediction: Kira Isabella
She has the weight of the entire Sony Music Entertainment Canada organization supporting her. No one else has that voting block. Oh, and she’s had a really big year. Leaping from Rising Star last year to this might be a stretch, but I live in a world where an organization like the CCMA should be annointing performers in categories like this one once they’ve reached a pinnacle.
MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Prediction: Gord Bamford
Again, he’s reliable and I mean that in a good way. Dean Brody is a really huge star, too, and I think he’ll clean up next year (with a new album due later this Fall). I wouldn’t argue with a Bobby Wills win, though — as with Kira Isabella above — it seems a little soon. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Dallas Smith took this award because the singles he’s released, even if they are a step too far left of “country,” have all caught fire at radio.
GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
Small Town Pistols
Prediction: High Valley
Hey Romeo has won this award the previous two years and yet, in my opinion, they still struggle when it comes to name recognition (and I loved “Maybe You Remember Me Now). I just started paying attention to them after the win last year. Emerson Drive always stand a good chance here, though their last win was in 2003. High Valley took the Interactive Artist award yesterday from the CCMA and that alone is a good indicator.
Prediction: Tim Hicks
“Get By” was a super massively huge song this year. He co-wrote it with both members of Florida Georgia Line plus THREE other people, so I’ll imagine it’s a mostly Nashville-written song and ironically not Canadian enough, therefore ineligible for any awards here. If he performs it on the show, fans will be like “Uh, why aren’t we seeing more of HIM tonight?” The song was that big. Having said that, I love Autumn Hill and Bobby Wills had a great year too. Tebey had a huge hit with “Somewhere in the Country” and MacKenzie Porter’s “I Wish I’d Known” is just gorgeous. This is a really strong, competitive category, and it speaks well for the future of country music in Canada.
(This was originally posted to my previous site Critically Country on September 8, 2013)