The Country Music Association of Ontario wrapped up 4 days of exciting events on June 11th with their 2017 Awards Show.
The night kicked off with a performance by The Abram’s who always leave every ounce of energy they have on the stage. These two men are so incredibly talented and if you haven’t had a chance to see them live yet you are missing out! The Abram’s also took home this years award for Roots Artist of the Year.
After a few awards were given out, a piano was rolled out on stage and the stunning Jessica Mitchell who was nominated for 4 awards took the stage and completely captivated the entire room. I am positive my arms were not the only ones covered in goosebumps from this beautiful performance.
Next to take the stage was Deric Ruttan who kicked it up a notch and completely blew the roof of the place. Deric also took home Song Writer of the Year with Craig Wiseman for “Came Here to Forget” performed by Blake Shelton.
Next we had the winners of the coveted Fan’s Choice award, the James Barker Band. These guys had the place rocking with their performance of “Chills”. This was the bands first CMAO awards and like James said himself last year they were sitting in the back row and this year they had a front row seat! We expect to see a lot of these guys next year.
Throughout the last 4 days, I had the pleasure of seeing the next artist on the stage a number of times. She was a part of the kick of festivities at the Legacy Show on Thursday night at the beautiful Purple Hill Hall. She also knocked in a few runs for the country stars at the charity ball game and capped off that night with an awesome performance so naturally going into tonight I expected only great things from Genevieve Fisher and once again she did not disappoint!
No stranger to the stage was Jason Blaine who debuted a fantastic new song for the CMAO crowd and was nominated for 4 awards this year. I’ve been lucky enough to see Jason preform a number of times and each and every time I see him he just gets better and better.
The next performer doesn’t hail from Ontario but he was given the warmest of welcome imaginable. Aaron Pritchett has won countless awards and has played a fundamental role in the breakout success of Canadian Country Music through the years. Although during his performance there were a few technical difficulties Aaron did exactly what Aaron does best and got the crowd on their feet and had everyone singing along to the rest of his song “Dirt Road In Em”. A true class act and phenomenal artist this man is.
Much like Genevieve these next guys were involved in many of this weekends events. Not only did the River Town Saints show off their fashion sense and baseball skills on Friday night they also headlined one heck of party on Saturday in the Market Square in London along side Eric Ethridge. All weekend long these guys had been saying they believed they were going to get skunked even though they were nominated for 5 awards. I was absolutely thrilled to see these guys win and RUN, and I mean RUN out on stage after being awarded Single of the Year for “Cherry Bomb” and they blew everyone away with a performance of their new single “Woke Up Like This”.
The stage was then turned over to our host for the night Mr. Jason McCoy who put a charge in the building with his performance of a new Road Hammers song.
The big winner of the night was Meghan Patrick who took home not one, not two, not three, but four awards! Meghan absolutely cleaned house winning awards for Album of the Year for “Grace and Grit” , Female Artist of the Year, Rising Star Award and Music Video of the Year for ” Bow Chicka Wow Wow”. Meghan showed us why she went home with Female Vocalist of the year with a beautiful and powerful performance of her song “Be Country With Me”.
Cold Creek County took home the award for Group or Duo of the Year and showed off their new single “Homemade” in a flawless performance as always. These guys never disappoint, between stellar lead vocals by Ches Anthony, to a booming bottom end by drummer Doug Oliver and bassist Justin Lester, to the most unreal harmonies by guitarists Josh Lester and Trevor Macleod and banjo player Jordan Honsinger these guys are an absolute must see during festival season.
Tim Hicks really needs no introduction. Throughout the night during every category he was nominated in you could hear the crowd singing along to his song “Slow Burn”. When the category of Male Artist of the Year came around Tim was caught off guard during a wardrobe change and came running to the stage to accept his award. Surprised and out of breath he accepted his award in true Tim fashion being as humble and grounded as ever, thanking everyone in the room. Tim was the last solo performer of the night with his new single “Slide Over”.
Closing out the show was the Impact Award which was awarded to Blue Rodeo and accepted by Jim Cuddy. This was by far my favourite part of the night. Seeing such an iconic Canadian Country Music artist like Jim Cuddy surrounded by artists that were all likely inspired in some way over the years by him was a great moment to witness. Jim Cuddy was joined on stage by most of the artists in the house to sing the Blue Rodeo’s hit “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet”.