September 14, 2015
While there were a few newcomers that snagged awards, the 2015 Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs) were, otherwise, a largely repeat affair with many of the previous year’s winners adding to their trophy cases.
Live from Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre, host Jessi Cruickshank made quite an entrance on the shoulders of two shirtless cowboys. If you’re familiar with the TV personality from her former days on MTV, interviewing reality stars and poking fun at them, you’ll know that she’s usually pretty hilarious, and her CCMA hosting duties were comedically on-point as per usual.
Gord Bamford was crowned the night’s big winner, taking prizes for Male Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for his song, “Where A Farm Used To Be,” a repeat from last year’s CCMAs when he took home trophies in the same categories.
“I was always taught to work really hard and be very respectful to people, but told that when you go do something, try to do it at the best of your ability,” said Bamford from the stage. “That’s all I’ve tried to do.”
Receiving seven nods for his latest record, Gypsy Road, the Nova-Scotia-based Dean Brody would pick up only one award for Video of the Year. While Brody won in the album of the year category in 2014 for Crop Circles, Dallas Smith would be the one taking home the coveted award Sunday night for his sophomore record, Lifted.
Elsewhere, Saskatchewan-born Jess Moskaluke won Female Artist of the Year for the second year in a row, beating out country icon Terri Clark. The singer has been riding a wave of success since the release of her debut album, Light Up The Night, which includes the Gold-certified “Cheap Wine and Cigarettes.”
“You have no idea what this means to me as a small town Saskatchewan girl who has wanted to do this her whole entire life,” she gushed while accepting her award.
A tearful Madeline Merlo grabbed a Rising Star award. “Nothing else is more important than a friggin’ CCMA,” she said when accepting the award. The skyrocketing 21-year-old newcomer from Maple Ridge, B.C. started turning heads in 2014 with singles “Sinking Like a Stone” and “Alive.” She’ll also appear in the upcoming indie musical Country Crush due out later this year.
So flustered last night that I even forgot to hug my mother (LOL) have so many people to thank for this.
— Madeline Merlo (@madelinemerlo) September 14, 2015
If you were tuning into the live telecast via CMT, you probably ran into some glaring audio issues during the presenter portion of the broadcast. Thankfully, the live performances made up for what was lacking in audio feed.
We are experiencing technical difficulties with the audio at the moment and are working on a fix. We appreciate your patience.
— CMT Canada (@CMTCanada) September 14, 2015
There were standout performances by multi-award winning country icon Paul Brandt and icon-in-the-making Jess Moskaluke, along with an out-to-impress Steven Lee Olsen, whose magnetic stage presence and striking vocal chops lingered well after the show was over.
Leave it to the next generation of country stars to turn it up to 11. Kira Isabella and MacKenzie Porter brought the energy—and some pyrotechnics—to their performance of Isabella’s “Shake It If Ya Got It” with some fine violin work from Porter.
Everybody’s favourite gospel-inspired country crooner Johnny Reid won Fans’ Choice for the sixth consecutive year. Returning to the stage later that night, he shut down the awards show with a stellar performance that perfectly illustrated why the charismatic entertainer seems to be on a never-ending winning streak as far as the Canadian country music scene is concerned.
Also making appearances as presenters were local Nova Scotia legends Cookie, Heather and Jimmy from The Rankin Family, and 2015 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Dianne Leigh, also the first recipient of the Gold Leaf Award (later known as the JUNO Awards) for Best Country Female Artist in 1970.
Full list of 2015 CCMA Award winners announced on the CCMA Awards Show:
FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Lifted – Dallas Smith
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEARMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Where A Farm Used To Be – Gord Bamford
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Upside Down – Dean Brody
A complete list of 2015 CCMA Award winners can be found at ccma.org.
— Julijana Capone