While Toronto has been buzzing with the 37th Toronto International Film Festival and music stars from Selena Gomez to Rob Zombie and Natalie Maines descending on the city to help promote certain films, two provinces west in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Canadian country music industry was having their own four-day celebration, PotashCorp Country Music Week, culminating in last evening's 30th annual Canadian Country Music Association Awards.
The show, held at Credit Union Centre before an audience of 11,000 - and broadcast live on national public television CBC with encore airings on privately-owned CMT - featured the inaugural Generation Award, given to Taylor Swift who was on hand to accept the honour bestowed on an international "gross-generational superstar" who pushes "country music forward introducing this genre of music to a new audience," according to the CCMA whose board selects the recipient.
Most of the other CCMAs had been given out at the day before. Like Canada's multi-genre Juno Awards, the televised ceremony was short on awards and big on performances, 19 in all, such as Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Eric Church, Terri Clark, Johnny Reid, George Canyon, The Stellas, and former Default rocker-turned-country guy, Dallas Smith.
Of those eight awards, Dean Brody won two, album of the year for DIRT and male artist. He opened the show with his No. 1 hit "Canadian Girls, but lost single of the year to Jason Blaine for "They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore." Fan's Choice went to Johnny Reid; group of the year to Hey Romeo; female artist to Carolyn Dawn Johnson; CMT Video to "In This House" by The Stellas; and the Rising Star to 19-year-old Kira Isabella from Ottawa, ON.
On Saturday, the CCMA Industry Brunch Awards, Gala Dinner Awards, All-Star Band Awards took place. The gala featured a handful of performances (Jason Blaine, The Heartbroken, Small Town Pistols, Dallas Smith, The Stellas) but many award presentations, such as Jimmy Rankin for Roots Artist or Group of the Year and Gord Bamford, Roger Brown and Byron Hill for Songwriters of the Year for Bamford's "Is It Friday Yet?" (see below for full list). Also honored were 2012 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, Johnny Burke and Ralph Murphy, as well as the Hank Smith Award of Excellence recipient Larry Delaney. The Slaight Music Humanitarian Award went to artist and CCMA 2012 nominee Tenille.
For the industry component, Open Road Recordings won Record Company of the Year and EMI Music Canada's Ron Harwood was named Record Company Person of the Year category and ole took home Music Publisher of the Year. Earler that day at the Industry Brunch, RGK Entertainment Group won for management company, The Agency Group for Booking Agency of the year and iTunes Canada for retailer (again see full list below)
PotashCorp Country Music Week 2012 began on Thursday, (Sept. 6) and included panels, songwriters' events, showcases, FanFest, the four awards shows and more. A full list of award winners and events is also posted at www.ccma.org. Next year's Country Music Will takes place in Edmonton, AB, Sept. 5 to 8, again ending with the awards show on the Sunday. The Canadian Country Music Association was established in 1976 to aid in "the growth of the Canadian country music through education, communication, information, promotion and recognition."
2012 GALA DINNER WINNERS
RON SAKAMOTO TALENT BUYER OR PROMOTER OF THE YEAR: Lindsay Ell/Rod Tate (Calgary Stampede)
MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY OF THE YEAR: ole
RECORD COMPANY OF THE YEAR: Open Road Recordings
RECORD COMPANY PERSON OF THE YEAR: Ã¢ÂÂ¨Ron Harwood (EMI)
STATION OF THE YEAR (MAJOR MARKET)Ã¢ÂÂ¨: CISN-FM, Edmonton
STATION OF THE YEAR (SECOND MARKET): CJKX-FM, Oshawa
ARTIST HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE : Johnny Burke
BUILDER HALL OF FAME INDUCTEEÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Ralph Murphy
ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR: Ã¢ÂÂ¨Jimmy Rankin
SLAIGHT MUSIC HUMANITARIAN AWARDÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Tenille
SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEARÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Is It Friday Yet? (written by Gord Bamford/Roger Brown/Byron Hill; performed by Gord Bamford)
TOP SELLING CANADIAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR (CANADIAN SALES ONLY)Ã¢ÂÂ¨: Johnny Reid - Fire It Up
TOP SELLING INTERNATIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR (CANADIAN SALES ONLY): Ã¢ÂÂ¨Lady Antebellum - Own The Night
INTERACTIVE ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR: Gord Bamford
HANK SMITH AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Larry Delaney
2012 ALL STAR BAND AWARD WINNERS
ALL STAR BASS: Lisa Dodd (Gord Bamford)
ALL STAR DRUMS: Chad Melchert (Gord Bamford)
ALL STAR FIDDLEÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Denis Dufresne (PEAR/Deric Ruttan)
ALL STAR GUITARÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Ryan Davidson (Gord Bamford)
ALL STAR KEYBOARDS: Rob Shapiro (Hey Romeo)
ALL STAR SPECIAL INSTRUMENTÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Shane Chisholm - Gastank Bass (Shane Chisholm)
ALL STAR STEEL GUITARÃ¢ÂÂ¨: Jeff Bradshaw (Session)
2012 INDUSTRY BRUNCH AWARD WINNERS:
COUNTRY CLUB OF THE YEAR: Ranchman's Cookhouse & Dancehall - Calgary, AB
ALBUM DESIGN OF THE YEAR: Mitch Nevins/Mark Maryanovich/Jill Snell - DIRT (Dean Brody)
RECORDING STUDIO OF THE YEAR: Bart McKay Productions - Saskatoon, SK
RECORD PRODUCER(S) OF THE YEAR: Gord Bamford/Byron Hill (Is It Friday Yet? - Gord Bamford)
MANAGEMENT COMPANY OF THE YEAR: RGK Entertainment Group Inc.
RETAILER OF THE YEAR: iTunes Canada
BOOKING AGENCY OF THE YEAR: The Agency Group
MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: Major Market: Scott Phillips - CKRY-FM/CISN-FM - Calgary, AB/Edmonton, AB
MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR (Secondary Market): Tim Day - CKGY-FM - Red Deer, AB
ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (Major Market): Toff and Melissa of the Morning Ride - CHKX-FM, Hamilton
ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR (Secondary Market): KG Mornings with Greg, Tera Lee & Al - CKGY-FM, Red Deer
VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR: Stephano Barberis (Is It Friday Yet? - Gord Bamford; Somebody Somewhere - Dallas Smith)
COUNTRY FESTIVAL, FAIR, OR EXHIBITION OF THE YEAR: Calgary Stampede - Calgary, AB
COUNTRY MUSIC PROGRAM OR SPECIAL OF THE YEAR: Employee of the Week (CMT)