2015 Canadian Country Music Awards: Repeat wins and show-stopping performances

September 14, 2015

Gord Bamford_CCMAs
King of the night Gord Bamford. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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.

Jessi Cruikshank_CCMAs
Host Jessi Cruickshank arriving in style. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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.

Dean Brody_CCMAs
Dean Brody performing during the CCMAs. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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.

Rising Star award winner, Madeline Merlo, backstage during the CCMAs. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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.

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.

Paul and Jess_CCMAsPaul Brandt and Jess Moskaluke share a little hug after their CCMA performance. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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.

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Power combo MacKenzie Porter and Kira Isabelle sharing the stage during the CCMAs. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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.

Johnny Reid_CCMAsSix-time CCMA Fans’ Choice winner, Johnny Reid. Credit: Grant W. Martin Photography.

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:

Johnny Reid

Lifted – Dallas Smith


Gord Bamford

High Valley

Where A Farm Used To Be – Gord Bamford

Upside Down – Dean Brody

Madeline Merlo

A complete list of 2015 CCMA Award winners can be found at ccma.org.


— Julijana Capone

Wanna talk music? Email me at julijana.capone@nmc.ca or follow me on Twitter @thejulijanaruin.

About the Author

Julijana Capone

Originally from Winnipeg, Julijana is NMC’s senior publicist and the managing editor of Amplify. In addition to her role at NMC, she is the founder of Light of Day Publicity, a company she formed to promote the work of emerging Canadian artists.

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