On Monday, Canadian country music artists and special guests flocked from all over North America to Hamilton, Ontario for the Canadian Country Music Awards at Copps Coliseum. With a nominee and presenter roster ranging from 17-year old rookie nominee Tenille to Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough to newly inducted Country Music Hall-of-Famer Michelle Wright, it was the biggest night of the year for Canada’s country industry. (I think it’s safe to say that around 95% of cowboy hats within Canada’s borders were beneath one roof.)
The big winners of the evening were Scottish-born Johnny Reid and singer-songwriter Dean Brody, scoring three awards each. In addition to winning Male Artist of the Year for the third year running, Reid won the award for Video of the Year for his hit single, “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World,” along with the coveted Fans’ Choice Award.
One Male Artist of the Year nominee joked on the red carpet that he was looking forward to congratulating Johnny Reid on his impending win.
Out of five nominations, Dean Brody won Album of the Year for Trial of Life, as well as Single of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for that album’s title track.
But to Johnny Reid, none of these awards were as meaningful as the one presented to him on the weekend: The Humanitarian Award. For a man who, aptly, wants to try and change the world, he teared up as he recounted being given the honor.
“I don’t like to think of it as an award. Rather, I was recognized…I have a chance to make a wee bit of difference in the world.”
Dean Brody has had his own challenges—namely, getting to where he did.
“I came from a town where you did what your dad did. The biggest thing [I’ve had to] overcome was the mentality that it’s an impossible dream to go to Nashville and have a record and be on the radio,” Brody said. “That was the biggest obstacle—to keep going.”
The most emotional speech, however, was Terri Clark’s when accepting her Female Artist of the Year award, pointing out that it was her first time on the CCMA stage without her late mother “in the front row grinning from ear to ear.”
The biggest surprise of the night was Hey Romeo’s win in the Group of the Year category, no one more surprised than the trio itself. Lead singer Stacie Roper said of the band’s mood going into the awards, “We were relaxed before. Relaxed knowing that Doc Walker would win,” confessing that, “We had nothing prepared. It was shocking.”
The Canadian Country Music Awards, presented by the Canadian Country Music Association, wrapped up an event-filled weekend of industry and fan events. A full list of winners is available on the CCMA website.