Edmonton big winner at Edmonton Music Awards

Chloe Albert Edmonton GigCityIt’s hard to know who the biggest winner was at the 2014 Edmonton Music Awards – the artists that collected the prizes or our “awesome” city itself.

There was a lot of love in the room at the Royal Alberta Museum Theatre Sunday night – and most of it for Edmonton – for the fourth annual awards show honouring what we have to trust is the best and most accurate representation of the original music being made in this city. There’s a lot of it. But no one else is doing an Edmonton awards show. This is it. If you want to complain, join up and vote.

Peter Stone of the folk group 100 Mile House – which took home both single of the year and group of the year – actually uttered the words “We’re really chuffed,” revealing himself as a hardcore British person. So what the bloody hell is he doing here? Accepting the group’s first award, he said he was lucky to have fallen in love with a woman from Edmonton, his partner in life and song Denise MacKay, and that his hometown of London, England is missing something that he found here: “Community.” Later on he added, with touching sincerity, “Edmonton has grown into my heart.”

Or is it the other way around?

Collecting the rock album of the year award, Rend’s singer Carol-Lynne Quinn gushed, “The Edmonton music scene is amazing, and we love you!” She was not the only gusher. Ben Sures – who won blues album of the year for his first blues album, an excellent work called Love Will Kick Your Ass – was one of the few winners who didn’t wave the Edmonton flag, instead thanking CKUA, CJSR and the CBC in a short speech, before being called back by host Bridget Ryan to express his feelings. “It feels crazy,” he said.

The biggest winner of the night was singer-songwriter Chloe Albert (top photo), picking up three awards, including the coveted album of the year. She also seemed to be in a positive frame of mind on the Edmonton music scene. “I’m blown away!” she said.

In short, a drinking game keying on the word “Edmonton” would’ve been a disaster, or “awesome.” They didn’t allow drinks in the theatre.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 400 enthusiastic scene-sters, bands, friends and parents, the show was a classy, smoothly run affair where the f-bomb was dropped early. Of the live performances, the bright and shiny jazz singer Chandelle Rimmer stood out, on a quirky number that showed off her skills in scat singing with a gorgeous vocal tone. Holy cats. With the right producer, she could be the next Diana Krall.

Rap recording of the year winner Brothers Grim turned some ears with a dope rhyme about life growing up on the mean streets of Beverly, the South Compton of Edmonton. Accepting the award, the rapper told the crowd, “We’re just two kids from Beverly trying to make rap music.” Keep an eye on these guys. Likewise Kemo Treats, whose hilarious video “Chips in the Hot Tub” was a highlight of the video of the year nominees. The award was won by Tupelo Honey for the band’s song “Halo,” a big rock candy anthem accompanied by visuals like a Travel Alberta extreme winter sports video. Looks like they spent a lot of money on that one.

Country got its due. Major label artist Brett Kissel – winning the country and male artist awards – wasn’t present to accept his trophies because he was in Nashville, but his mom Brenda was here, and this despite it being calving season – “as we speak!” she shouted from the audience. Presenter Clayton Bellamy, who recently got a gig on CISN Country radio, got off the best line of the night, concerning the art of writing a song, “If it’s not torn from the flesh, I don’t think you’re doing it right.”

What was missing? A tribute to David Finkelman would’ve been nice. The local musician for the promising band Energetic Action was killed by a car as he crossed Whyte Avenue in January. We’ll expect something next year.

There were also grumblings over whether the Edmonton Music Awards were actually legitimate, or just an insider’s club for the friends and associates of organizer Danny Fournier. The cross-section of music celebrated at the show, diverse as it was, did seem to be a tad on the mainstream side. Not much “punk.” But again, if anyone feels left out, join the Edmonton Association for Recording Selections (EARS) and vote.

You can’t complain if you don’t vote, right?

NEXT: Edmonton Music Awards complete winners list

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