Country music’s finest honoured at 2017 CCMA Awards

September 15, 2017

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The CCMA Awards Show capped off an incredible PotashCorp Country Music Week in Saskatoon. The City of Bridges pulled out all the stops in hosting Canada’s largest country music event; the energy was electric as fans poured into lounges and concert venues across the city.

Multiple award winners included Brett Kissel, Meghan Patrick, Dallas Smith and Dean Brody during a night with star-studded live performances.

The John Deere Green Carpet was laid out in front of SaskTel Centre, a shiny green tractor holding a coveted spot at the carpet entrance. Saskatchewan delivered a raging wind on Sept. 10 and props must be given to the VIP fans who waited patiently for their favourite stars to walk the green carpet.

When Canada’s country superstars began arriving, the cheers of all present drowned out the wind.

Brett Young stops for a selfie with a fan during the CCMA Green Carpet Sept. 10 in Saskatoon. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Paul Brandt was undoubtedly the man of the evening. Ron MacLean introduced his induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame before a video montage played, outlining the multi-platinum singer’s many accomplishments and contributions to Canada’s country music scene.

“In my world, a PB (personal best) is Paul Brandt!” said McLean.

Brandt was moved to tears during the video, and while the CCMA Awards crowd gave him a standing ovation.

“I’m so thankful I can get to do this and I’m having the time of my life,” said Brandt.

Paul Brandt and his wife Lizzie at the CCMA Awards. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Dean Brody had a pretty incredible experience during PotashCorp Country Music Week and the CCMA Awards. He won the Apple Music Fans’ Choice Award, Songwriter of the Year for Time, Top Selling Canadian Single of the Year for “Bush Party,” and was nominated for Single and Video of the Year. “Beautiful Freakshow” also won for Recording Package of the Year. But what was he most excited about?

“Showcasing Shevy Price on the (CCMA) Awards Show,” he said.

Meghan Patrick was also recognized for her musical accolades. She won Female Artist of the Year, beating out fellow nominee Jess Moskaluke, who had won the award the past three years. Ecstatic after her win, she was shaking as she gave her acceptance speech, thanking her manager and her fans’ support, “even when I was playing dive bars.”

Meghan Patrick took home both the award for Female Artist of the Year and Sirius XM Rising Star. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Dallas Smith rode his winning wave from the night before when he got Top Selling Canadian Album. During the CCMA Awards, he made it a three-peat with Album of the Year and Single of the Year. He performed “Sky Stays This Blue” during the awards show.

“It’s great to be able to get up and have the opportunity to thank the people that helped make it happen,” he said, adding he’s taking a break to spend time with his family after the awards and before his next tour starts.

Fellow nominee Tim Hicks was happy Smith was recognized.

“I think Dallas deserves it. He’s had a benchmark year. He’s a great guy and he represents us all so well,” he said.

Dallas Smith was one of the biggest CCMA success stories taking home three awards. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Likely the happiest guy of the weekend was Brett Kissel, who could always be seen with a big smile. He won Male Artist and Video of the Year (for “I Didn’t Fall in Love With Your Hair”) during the CCMA Awards, along with Interactive Artist and Country Music Program of the Year the night before.

Kissel is off on a big domestic tour next year and debuted a new song at the CCMA Awards, which was made public the day after the awards. His energy onstage was palpable; the guy knows how to play to a crowd. Combine that energy with support from Canada’s favourite dragon, Brett Wilson, a loving family and fan base, and he’ll be unstoppable in 2018.

Kissel had advice for other up-and-coming artists about the CCMA experience: “It’s about the relationships you build… being in the room and shaking hands is the most important thing,” said Kissel.

Brett Kissel, who took home multiple CCMA Awards, on the John Deere Green Carpet with his family. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Everyone had reason to celebrate on Sept. 10; either for a nomination, a recent accomplishment, or a win. Many were simply thankful for the opportunity to be in Saskatoon with their musical peers and idols.

Tebey was celebrating his song “Somebody Else Will” going number one on the Billboard charts in the United States two weeks ago. He wrote it for Justin Moore last year.

“It’s pretty amazing to have a Number One song down south. I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet, but it’s pretty awesome,” he said.

Madeline Merlo, who sang “Motel Flamingo” on a set complete with plastic pink flamingos and pink screens, said she was excited to perform at such an illustrious event.

“I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m scared; I’m in a glass case of emotions. But I’m excited most of all,” she said.

Madeline Merlo, who was nominated for Female Artist of the Year, performs at the CCMA Awards Sept. 10 in Saskatoon. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Aaron Pritchett and his partner drove 2,200 km to Saskatoon in a 1973 Volkswagon bus they bought on Vancouver Island.

“Along the way we broke down so many times; the battery died, we lost a starter and we had to push start it 14 times, and a tire blew on the way from Regina to Saskatoon,” he laughed.

A Saskatchewanian even stopped to help fix that tire and jack the van up. As thanks, Pritchett gave him a ticket to the CCMA Awards.

Aaron Pritchett, who was nominated for Video of the Year and Male Artist of the Year, drove to the CCMA Awards from Vancouver Island in a 1973 Volkswagon Van. Photo credit Grant W. Martin Photography.

Tim Hicks, who played his new single “Forever Rebels” on the CCMA Awards stage, summed up what it’s like to perform live, and the adrenaline rush you get from those three minutes.

“Here we go boys. Put your cheeks together and go! It sounds like that would be nerve-wracking, but really, it’s exciting for us. We’re chasing that feeling,” he said.

A complete list of the 2017 CCMA Award winners can be found here.

— Jenn Sharp

Jenn Sharp is a freelance journalist. Find her on Twitter.

CCMA Awards Photo Gallery

  • High Valley opened the CCMA Awards show.

    High Valley opened the CCMA Awards show.

  • Washboard Union performing at the CCMA Awards.

    Washboard Union performing at the CCMA Awards.

  • Blake Shelton performing at the CCMA Awards.

    Blake Shelton performing at the CCMA Awards.

  • Jess Moskaluke performing at the CCMA Awards.

    Jess Moskaluke performing at the CCMA Awards.

  • Madeline Merlo performing at the CCMA Awards.

    Madeline Merlo performing at the CCMA Awards.

  • Jim Cuddy and Gord Bamford performing at the CCMA Awards.

    Jim Cuddy and Gord Bamford performing at the CCMA Awards.

  • Lindsay Ell presenting at the CCMA Awards.

    Lindsay Ell presenting at the CCMA Awards.

  • Brett Kissel performing at the CCMA Awards.

    Brett Kissel performing at the CCMA Awards.

  • The 15th Wing Moose Jaw during the CCMA Awards.

    The 15th Wing Moose Jaw during the CCMA Awards.

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