NMC on the Road: The 2014 JUNO Awards

CARAS President Melanie Berry addresses the attendees at the 2014 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
The 2014 JUNO Awards came to a close on Sunday night with a guitar-heavy salute to Bachman Turner Overdrive as they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, but more than just a glamorous award show, JUNO week saw plenty of diverse programming celebrating Canadian music.

Maple Collegiate Jazz Band With The Trews and MusiCounts Director Allan Reid. Credit: Barry Roden.
With Winnipeg playing host to this year’s frigid festivities (at least not as cold as Regina last year), there was plenty do see, hear, and do all week long throughout the city. NMC arrived on Friday afternoon and managed to catch the MusiCounts presentation of two $10,000 Band Aid grants to a pair of local schools, and a special performance by The Trews. With a mission to ensure that children in Canada have access to music programs through their school, regardless of socio-economic circumstances of cultural background, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year award earlier in the week to Jeff Kula, a local high school teacher, for his 27 years of inspiring the next generation of musical talent.

Rah Rah performs in Buhler Hall-CMHR. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
Friday evening’s official welcome reception took place at Canada’s newest national museum, the awe-inspiring Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Canada’s biggest music industry movers and shakers were in attendance and Alternative Album of the Year nominees Rah Rah rocked CMHR’s breathtaking new event space. Be sure to check out this amazing new institution when it opens this fall!

Last performance of the night by July Talk 2014 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
Of course, one of the most important parts of the weekend was JUNOfest, a two-day celebration showcasing established and developing Canadian talent at venues across the city. Sets from July Talk, Born Ruffians, A Tribe Called Red, Rich Aucoin, Mounties, and Mahogany Frog were just a few of the highlights!

Opening performance by A Tribe Called Red 2014 JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
Saturday night’s JUNO gala awards and dinner was another special event, all the way from A Tribe Called Red’s opening performance, to July Talk closing out the night in ferocious fashion. Most of the hardware was handed out that night, including the Allan Water Humanitarian Award, recognizing outstanding Canadian artists whose contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada. This year’s award went to super-couple Chantal Krevaziuk and Raine Maida, for their devotion to philanthropy and humanitarian causes both home and abroad.
Also handed out Saturday night was the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, which went to Frank Davies for his tremendous impact on the Canadian music industry over the past four decades. Davies has been a major contributor to the fields of producing, distributing, promoting, publishing and honouring Canadian music, and has been responsible for successes such as the very first CanCon hit (Crowbar’s “Oh, What a Feeling”), all the way to current artists like Serena Ryder (2014 JUNO Artist and Songwriter of the Year).

Left to right: Randy Bachman, Lee Harvey Osmond, Little Miss Higgins and The Sadies 2014 JUNO Songwriters' Circle. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
On of the gems of the JUNOs is always the SOCAN Songwriters Circle event, featuring a number of stellar musicians sharing stories and songs together in a relaxed setting on stage. Hosted this year by Randy Bachman, guests ranged the musical spectrum from Little Miss Higgins to Shad to Tom Wilson to July Talk, with the former wowing the crowd with some ukulele spinning tricks mid-song, and the latter providing a stripped down duo version of their unreleased new song “Gentleman” that was certainly one of the most show-stopping moments.

Have I made it clear enough that you really need to go check out July Talk if you haven’t already?

Co-hosts Serena Ryder and Classified perform “What I wouldn't do” and “Three Foot Tall” 2014 JUNO Awards. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
Sunday’s broadcast certainly didn’t disappoint, with an interesting collaborative approach taken to hosting, as Serena Ryder, Classified and Johnny Reid all sharing duties throughout the night. Of course, this can lead to some hiccups, like Classified being censored for use of the f-bomb, but perhaps he was simply misinterpreted, as per this Twitter exchange:

As previously mentioned, the high-profile guitar showdown ended the show with a bang, as The Sheepdogs, Travis Good (The Sadies), Matt Mays and Tim Hicks joining Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees on stage for their classic hits “Let It Ride” and “Takin’ Care of Business”. During BTO’s acceptance speech, Bachman provided what might have been the best advice for the whole weekend for aspiring musicians, saying, “If you have a dream, stick to your dream. There is no plan B—plan B is stick to plan A. Keep going!”
See you next year for the 2015 JUNO Awards in Hamilton!

BTO tribute with Matt Mays, Tim Hicks, Travis Good, and The Sheepdogs. Credit: CARAS/iPhoto.
Tyler Stewart

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