CCMA Show in Review 

Well…Holy S*&t that was a show! From the first performance of the night (High Valley) to one of the biggest names in Country Music rolling into the Paris of The Prairies to help celebrate, the CCMAs proved one thing to me last night. Canada has got a world-class country music industry.

High Valley @ Centre In The Square – Photo: Corey Kelly

Now full disclosure here, I’m a rock guy, and admittedly, only in the last 4-5 years have I truly woken up to what’s happening in the industry here. For the record, I’m awake now! Seeing Marshall stacks and banjos on stage together is proof to me that this side of the industry is here to put on a rocking country show.

Watching last night’s awards proved to me that the CCMA is a family, it supports it’s own, and certainly from all appearances, egos seem to get checked at the door! A cavalcade of winners stepped up to the stage and thanked other artists, were genuinely grateful, and some even in total shock.

Here are a few highlights for me:

Brett Kissel is here to stay! As an artist and a brand ambassador, Brett is clearly modelling his career after the legends before him. A true gentlemen who rather than thank his team (Inivictus deserves huge credit though) when picking up his trophy for Male Artist of The Year, focussed on Paul Brandt. It’s an amazing thing when a young artist truly gives credit to artists that paved the way. Brett wasn’t done yet, and his performance was reminiscent of a full-blown rock show.

Brett Kissel on stage in Guelph ON – Photo: Bill Woodcock

Female country artists in Canada are truly proving to pave the way! Meghan Patrick’s performance was amazing, and to see her visibly shaking while accepting an award (Female Artist of The Year)…well…you can’t fake that! Seeming a bit more relaxed accepting her Rising Star award, she was quick to inform everyone that she had might have had a bit of liquid courage to help her through the rest of the night. It’s a beautiful sight to see so many female artists on an awards show, and all turning in outstanding performances. For all that I’ve read, and heard about country radio not pushing female artists, I truly believe it’s going to be a big year for female artists across the board! They’re killing it right now!

Meghan Patrick performing at Trackside Music Festival in London ON. Photo: Bill Woodcock

Coming from a rock background, obviously Dallas Smith is someone I’m acutely aware of, and is one of the few artists I’ve followed in Canadian country music from day one. Being no stranger to the limelight, he again proved that Country can ROCK! He provided one of the funnier moments of the night when he warned CBC about his upcoming expletive!

Dallas Smith – Photo: James Bennett

Truly, this review could go on forever, as I can’t say enough about every performance, the excitement in that room, and the true friendship that seems to exist in this world. What impacted me the most was that these artists are crossing over, country meets rock, meets pop, meets bluegrass, and it works! Right down to the live production, the backing tracks, the powerful sound, and the professionalism. A truly impressive event, that has led me to change around my Spotify playlists for a little while 😉

Lastly a shout out to the Canadians from outside the industry that were there to support, Ron McLean, Gerry Dee, and others. Country seems to know no boundaries in Canada, and for that, it’s as healthy as ever!!

Rian Malloch

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