The biggest night in Canadian country music will take centre stage in Saskatoon Sunday.
Artists and fans will all be under the same roof for the Canadian Country Music Association awards at SaskTel Centre. While the event is dedicated to Canada’s best, U.S. stars Blake Shelton and Brett Young will also make appearances.
The two-hour national show, which will be televised on CBC, starts at 5 p.m. and follows a full day of fan-centric festivities at the venue.
People are first invited to take in the free TD Countdown Concert from 1-2:30 p.m. The outdoor festival-style show features Alee, Aaron Goodvin, Dan Davidson, Aaron Pritchett, JJ Shiplett and Cold Creek County – an Ontario-based group with Saskatoon talent.
Local musician Ches Anthony was invited to join CCMA nominated Cold Creek County about eight months ago, after now-bandmate Doug Oliver saw a YouTube video of him covering Tennessee Whiskey.
“(Oliver) said, ‘Hey man, come and hang out with the boys,’ and I’ve been hanging out there ever since,” Anthony said.
The Saskatoon musician called the CCMAs a homecoming and told 650 CKOM his family will be on hand to watch the group vie for a win in the Group or Duo of the Year category.
After the countdown concert, nominated artists, performers, presenters and special guests will walk the John Deere green carpet and interact with fans along the way. People are encouraged to stake out their spots early for a chance to see and cheer on their favourite stars as they head into the awards show.
While the main event will boast a powerhouse lineup of performers, presenters and prestigious honours, many CCMA awards have already been doled out.
TCU Place in downtown Saskatoon played host to the CCMA gala and dinner Saturday night, where musician and industry awards were handed out, along with some artist categories.
Multi-CCMA award winner and philanthropist Paul Brandt, whose country music career spans three decades, was inducted into the Canadian Country Hall of Fame. His hits include My Heart has a History, Leavin’, Risk and I’m an Open Road.
Alberta musician, and Saskatchewan fan favourite, Brett Kissel won Interactive Artist of the Year – an award focused on how an artist engages with fans in-person and online.
— CCMA (@CCMAofficial) September 10, 2017
Dean Brody and Dallas Smith were also winners Saturday night, along with The Washboard Union from British Columbia. The three-member group nabbed a consecutive win for Roots Artist or Group of the Year, and are set to perform at Sunday’s awards show – where they’re also nominated for Group or Duo of the Year.
Aaron Grain, Chris Duncombe and David Roberts spoke with 650 CKOM Friday about their journey in the Canadian country scene.
“Two years ago we came to our first CCMAs in Halifax, nobody knew us. We weren’t even invited, but we showed up anyway,” Duncombe said. “To think that we’re actually playing the awards show this year, that’s overwhelming for us.”
Other performers taking the stage Sunday include Gord Bamford and Jim Cuddy, Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Tim Hicks, High Valley, James Barker Band, Brett Kissel, Madeline Merlo, Jess Moskaluke, Meghan Patrick and Dallas Smith.