Edmonton Music Awards celebrate best and brightest
It’s always such a great joy to partake in any type of celebration of awesomeness in Edmonton. Tuesday night was so exception, as this year’s Edmonton Music Award winners were announced at an all-star gala at the Winspear Centre. Where else can one see metal bands interacting with folk acts mingling with singer songwriters enjoying the company of punk projects?
Whilst the winners will no doubt cherish their awards for years to come, the true winner is the music fan. Not only for the live music on display at the ceremony, but also for the further impetus to be all that you can be in the music scene. And hey, maybe just maybe, some of those aforementioned bands might be influenced just a little bit by someone else they hear, someone else they meet, and really, isn’t the best music usually a blender full of different sounds and genres.
The highlights of the evening were plentiful, starting out the A/B Trio playing in the lobby (before they won the Jazz Recording Of the Year award). The performances were hugely popular, with the reunions of Captain Tractor and Jr. Gone Wild getting the biggest crowd reaction.
Luke Chaisson, multiple award winner on the night, also went above and beyond in his performance.
Common threads often develop throughout an awards ceremony, and this year’s EMA’s were no different. It’s a regular occurrence to be appreciative of the city and one’s parents. Early in the evening Bobby Cameron, after winning the Blues Recording Of the Year, quipped that Edmonton was the “greatest city on the earth” and that he seemed overly grateful, if not a little shocked, that he was “able to raise my family on music.” Shortly after that, K-97’s Terry Evans probably got the biggest laugh of the night at Bobby’s expense, commenting “speaking of hair in your ears and nostrils … what is he, 93?” Of course, if you’ve already mocked yourself for the same thing, it’s probably OK.
The city’s music scene, whilst filled with top notch venues and extraordinary musicians, continue to be challenging. Few if any of those musicians can support themselves without some other type of paying job, and so it’s not surprising that so many of the award winners thanked their parents, their family, their friends, for all their support. Because without them, many of them certainly would never have reached the point they did on this evening in winning an award. Filmmaker Mike Siek reminded us later in the program as he was presenting an award that many individuals don’t have that type of support network, and wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to develop some type of analog network for them.
Mohsin Zaman perhaps tugged at everyone’s heartstrings the most. Turns out his family sent him to Canada to be a banker, but after about a year of that, he realized his heart wasn’t in it. That’s probably an understatement if you were to ask him. So he turned instead to music, and eventually landed here in our fair city, where this year he was bestowed with the Male Artist Of the Year award, to which he finished his statements with, “I’m from Pakistan and this is a dream.”
Fittingly, the Edmonton Music Legacy Award went to the smalls. Their former tour manager Brent Oliver reminisced about the crazy punk-metal-country-kitchen-sink project that got its start in 1989, and before long blew up across the nation. The band definitely put Edmonton the musical map for a number of years. They recently held a reunion tour which commenced with a Sonic Boom appearance, and for which a documentary was made, and their entire history came back to everyone in one fell swoop. The piece of the documentary that they showed the audience was definitely reminiscent of the 90’s – you didn’t “get” the band until you, well, “got” the band. Like so much of the music at the time, the truly successful bands were doing something nobody else was at the time. Hence the success of the smalls. The band’s Terry Johnson finished up by inspiring everyone in the crowd, possibly for years, with his final comment that “We did it – you can do it too.”
Host Bridget Ryan kept the program moving along efficiently while extolling her obvious love of music and the Edmonton scene. She’s hosted the ceremony in all five years of its existence.
The air of celebration came to a conclusion, albeit in a slightly restrained Canadian style, and the ceremony concluded with a performance by award-winning metal band Striker. In the end we’re reminded of two things: 1. It’s important to celebrate the community’s best and brightest, and inspire those others in and outside the community; and 2. holy crap, do we have some extraordinary musicians in this city, that only when they’re all in one place can we truly appreciate that.
Album of the Year: The Provincial Archive, self-titled
Single of the Year: The Royal Foundry, Running Away
Female Artist of the Year: Kimberley MacGregor
Male Artist of the Year: Mohsin Zaman
Group of the Year: The Royal Foundry
Pop Recording of the Year: The Velveteins, Shimmy Shake
Rock Recording of the Year: Rend, Skin and Bones
Roots/Folk Recording of the Year: Ken Stead, Oh Carolina
Country Recording of the Year: Luke Chaisson, Start a Fire
Rap/Hip-Hop Recording of the Year: Arlo Maverick, More ft. Oozeela
Metal Recording of the Year: Striker, Too Late
Blues Recording of the Year: Bobby Cameron, Sueanna
R&B/Soul Recording of the Year: TAT, Set Myself On Fire ft. Madi Allen
DJ/Electronic Recording of the Year: Concealer, Your Master’s Wishes
Jazz Recording of the Year: A/B Trio, What Happens Next
Indie Recording of the Year: The Provincial Archive, Bad Connection
Singer-Songwriter Recording of the Year: Luke Chaisson, My Lover and My Ghost
Adult Alternative Recording of the Year: Post Script, Dear Marie
Music Video of the Year: The Royal Foundry, Running Away
Rising Star: Olivia Rose
Artist to Watch: Colleen Rae
People’s Choice: Millenia