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Canadian Country Music Association Members Newsletter


March 23, 2016

Good day.
I hope everyone is enjoying the first days of spring. With the first signs of spring comes an even busier CCMA office, as we move into execution mode for the CCMA Discovery Program and Country Music Week events.  
Next week we will announce the six finalists of the 2016 CCMA Discovery Program. First up for these six talented acts is Music Industry Discovery Week in Toronto the week of April 24. Thank you to all who submitted, and also to the forty-four (44) CCMA Members who were part of the extensive selection jury.  
A few weeks ago we released a number of changes to the 2016 CCMA Awards Program Rules and Regulations. If you’ve yet to have the chance, please review these changes in full; and thank you to those of you who have contacted me directly with feedback. Again, no awards program is perfect; it takes constant dialogue and attention to evolve the CCMA Awards Program to be congruent with the ever-changing industry. We welcome ongoing discussion on the betterment of the CCMA Awards Program.  
The deadline to nominate for the 2016 CCMA Awards of Achievement is quickly approaching (April 15); so be sure to get those forms in if you know someone worthy of one of these significant accolades. CLICK HERE for more details.  
It’s also membership renewal time. Keep in mind that if you want to vote as part of the 2016 CCMA Awards Program, you must renew your membership by April 30. CLICK HERE to renew today.   
I plan to head out to Calgary next week to attend the JUNO festivities and support our many CCMA members who are proudly representing the country music family throughout the week. I’m anxiously awaiting the chance to visit the National Music Centre which is only a few months away from its official opening. Country music will be well represented throughout the facilities, especially within the Halls of Fame room, where all of our Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized.
Members will have a chance to save on Early Bird Delegate Registration for Country Music Week 2016 starting in May. More details coming in the near future.
Earlier this month we released the economic impact results from Country Music Week 2015 in Halifax. We constantly strive to deliver our mandate of educating, elevating and celebrating country music throughout the year, but even more so during our annual September events. To also bring significant economic value to our host city and province ($11.8 million), as we focus on demonstrating the cultural value of our CCMA initiatives, is something we should all celebrate. This study is also beneficial as we are now in the process of selecting our Country Music Week 2018 host city. 
In preparation of acknowledging the CCMA’s 40th anniversary this year, I have had the opportunity to read through many of our historical documents (a number of the highlights we are sharing throughout this year in this newsletter). I am inspired by the dedication and passion of the founders, board directors, staff and members who have been involved with this association over these many years. I have also noticed (and am almost comforted to see) that there are common issues that all generations have had to constantly deal with year in and year out.
One of these issues has been funding the CCMA’s traditional and new initiatives. I am quite aware that there were a few times over the years that the CCMA has been in dire circumstances (most recently at the end of 2009 when the CCMA was over $120,000 in debt). Over the past few years, as we have evolved Country Music Week and focussed on the financial stability of the association, we have been able to pay off this debt and accumulate over $725,000 in savings that has been put aside for those years that are not profitable for whatever reason (these audited annual financial statements are readily available and discussed at our Annual General Meetings). Last year was one of those years.
The staff and Board of Directors knew early on that it would be a financially challenging year. Among the many financial variables contributing to this challenge included:
  • Despite best efforts by many, local sponsorship goals were reduced due to regional economics,
  • Traditional industry sponsorships and government grants were reduced,
  • The cost of Country Music Week’s marquee event, the nationally broadcasted CCMA Awards Show, is significantly growing each year. This event’s traditional revenue sources are not increasing to keep pace with expenses (i.e. broadcast fees) and not all provinces offer significant tax credits to offset the cost (i.e. no access to tax credits in Halifax), and
  • The CCMA Board was adamant that delegate passes and ticket prices be held constant or have a minimum increase year-over-year, despite increasing Country Music Week costs (i.e. industry event meals and production).    
Again, the staff and Board of Directors were aware of all these triggers and much focus and discussion was put towards mitigating the impact to an estimated $325,000 loss in 2015 (we are still in the midst of the 2015 financial statement audit).     
We may also see similar results in 2016, with the CCMA Awards Show continuing to be an important but costly event to produce. Though we are fortunate to be in a current position to absorb another challenging year, please be reassured that this is a focus of the CCMA staff and the Board of Directors. Earlier this month the Board of Directors met over two days, focussing on the short and long term strategy of the association with the goal of once again achieving financial stability. These initiatives will be shared with all when they are furthered scoped out. 
It is important to reinforce that we continue to build upon the strong foundation of the CCMA as we plan for Country Music Week and the 2016 CCMA Awards Show, this September, in London. Coming out of 2015 with record economic impacts and CCMA Awards Show viewership results sets the bar high for us as we forge ahead with our plans for this year; and we’ll continue to build upon the exceptional programming and events we orchestrate for our annual event. Please reach out to me directly should you have any questions or concerns that require more details.     
My email is dgreen@ccma.org and my number is 416-947-1331 x215.

Take care.
Don Green
*We encourage you to view The Source in your browser.


The CCMA office will be closed Friday, March 25 for Good Friday.


April 15 – Member submission deadline for Awards of Achievement nominations

April 15 – Member submission deadline for the March edition of The Source

April 30 – Membership renewal deadline (to ensure voting rights during the 2016 CCMA Awards Program)

Keep up-to-date on your CCMA emails!

Email communication is the best way for us to connect with you all.

As we head into a crucial time for membership renewal and share details and updates about the 2016 CCMA Awards Program and Country Music Week, be sure your contact information is up-to-date in the CCMA membership portal to be reading your CCMA emails as they roll out so as not to miss a beat!


Acknowledging the 40th anniversary of the CCMA this year, throughout 2016 we’ll share stories and events from our rich history within our newsletter and our growing social media platforms. If you have a CCMA story that you want to share please reach out to us. Email Sonya Koson at skoson@ccma.org and we will make every effort to incorporate your memories into our collective celebration. 

As mentioned in our earlier 2016 newsletters, we are fortunate to have had members in the past that had the insight to document many of our key milestones. Mr. Jack Feeney (the first Executive Director and the 1988 Builder inductee into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame) was one such member. This month we look back at some of the highlights from the early 1980s:

At the 1980 Annual General Meeting held in Winnipeg, President Jack Feeney thanked those who had responded to his appeal for financial assistance during the past year. He reminded members that strong local committees were needed to ensure the success of Country Music Week in future years and Chairman Peter Grant and his Winnipeg Host Committee were a good example of what was required. Also mentioned for the first time was the idea of a Hall of Honour, proposed by Ian Stuart and Nancy Ryan. This had previously been discussed by the Board of Directors, but no decision was made by the members so it was decided to put the idea aside for the time being. Membership Chairmen, Dick Damron and Don Grashey reported that there were now 609 members, up 69 from the previous year – definitely a move in the right direction.
In 1981, for the second time, a special General Members Meeting was called midway between the Annual Meetings. It was held on February 4, 1981 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. President Peter Grant chaired the meeting. He spoke of the change in the membership renewal date and the liaison with CARAS with respect to their country music categories in the Juno Awards. He also spoke of plans to increase the frequency of newsletter publications. This was followed by a number of other committee reports including one by Ron Sparling who was Chairman of the Ottawa Host Committee. This report was of extreme importance because Ottawa was the next host city for Country Music Week, to be held in just seven months, and there was a certain amount of uncertainty about RPM's involvement as the magazine had stopped publication. Furthermore, RPM had originally designated the Holiday Inn, Ottawa for the Big Country Awards, while Ron Sparling had booked the Talisman Hotel for the Academy's members and the Host Committee's headquarters for the many activities scheduled for the week.
After the uncertainty that took place earlier in the year, Ottawa and the Talisman Hotel did host Country Music Week 1981 as planned. A full schedule of activities took place starting September 14, including Opry North (produced by CFGM radio), held at the Nepean Sports Complex which, incidentally, also featured country trade exhibits, a first for the Academy. Another first was a colourful parade through the centre of downtown Ottawa featuring a variety of floats with country music entertainers. President Peter Grant chaired the Annual General Meeting on September 18 and the various committees submitted their reports. The subject of the Academy taking over its own awards from RPM was discussed.
The ACME decided for various reasons to run its own Awards Show in Halifax during Country Music Week in 1982. After two referendums on the matter, the membership showed that they were in favour of the ACME running its own awards. This gave the ACME's Directors and the Halifax Host Committee only a few months to get ready for Country Music Week, but they were able to put together an Awards Program which featured eight major awards and a number of citations. It came off very well with only one big disappointment – CBC television had planned to cover the event, but had to withdraw because of the need to transfer equipment to cover hastily called Maritime elections.
In 1983, Country Music Week returned to the Regina Inn, Regina, Saskatchewan. One event that was different was a dinner and show sponsored by Don Grashey and his record company, which featured Carroll Baker and some of Don's artists. At this time, the name "The Canadian Country Music Awards" was adopted for the annual awards show. This was submitted by Ed Preston and for this; he received a lifetime membership in the ACME. The idea of a Hall of Fame and permanent site for Country Music Week received a great deal of attention, but members were split on this and it was agreed to put the idea aside for the time being.
Country Music Week in 1984 was held in New Brunswick for the first time in the history of the Academy of Country Music Entertainment. Host Committee Chairman, Roger Dupuis, and his committee had planned a busy week for delegates, September 3 – 9, and most activities, nightly concerts, seminars, etc. took place at the Moncton Coliseum Complex. Two popular events copied from Ottawa's Country Music Week in 1981 were a parade and a mini trade show. An exciting incident during the parade occurred when a giant flatbed truck carrying a group busily playing "Orange Blossom Special" got stuck underneath the CN railway bridge. The Annual General Meeting, chaired by ACME President Fred King, took place on the morning of September 7. On the final night, one of Canada's most popular entertainers, Ronnie Prophet, was host for the annual awards show.  Ronnie was also chosen as Entertainer of the Year.

(Source: Abridged Excerpt from Continuing the Circle: A history of the Canadian Country Music Association: Jack Feeney - February 1996).


Share your CCMA memories with us! Email Sonya Koson at skoson@ccma.org with your standout moments from Country Music Weeks passed, the significance of the CCMA to you, or what makes the Canadian country music industry so special. We'll feature your contribution in an edition of The Source, on the CCMA website, or online via our social media platforms.

Thank you to the following CCMA Members for sharing the following thoughts with us:
Scott Clements
CCMA Member since 2012

For me, one of the special moments of Country Music Week each year is walking into the lobby of the host hotel Thursday morning and seeing so many talented people convening in one place, with a common passion; that warms my heart. The uninitiated observer would think they just walked into one of the largest family reunions. They would be right!

In no other genre will you find all stakeholders learning and growing as well as cheering on others as they find their voice and develop their career. Country music in Canada strengthens with each Country Music Week, just as our attendees strengthen for being part of it.

Whether 2016 in London will be your first or 40th, allow your passion for country music fill you as we all educate, elevate and celebrate with our CCMA family.
Wendy Daniel
CCMA Member since 2004

I have been attending Country Music Week since 1990 in Edmonton. I am amazed how much the CCMA has grown from a cottage “back porch” industry to a vibrant, internationally acclaimed organization it is known as today.

Harris Dvorkin, President & Chief Executive Officer of Ranchman’s was one of the founding members of the organization when a group of country music lovers and entertainers (i.e. Gary Buck and R. Harlan Smith, etc.) came together in Regina to break ground for an association that has evolved into  the CCMA.

Ranchmans’ is celebrating 44 years of operation in April, 2016. We wish to congratulate the CCMA on this, the 40th anniversary milestone year. We are proud to continue to support the grassroots of our industry with live Canadian country music. Many Canadian country artists cut their teeth on our stage. Moments to remember:
  • Paul Brandt representing Ranchman’s and Alberta at the Bud Country Talent Contest by winning the Country 105 Lammle’s Rising Star Talent Contest hosted by Ranchman’s
  • Neil McGonigle discovering Jann Arden at our Saturday After Jam
  • 12 Gauge losing their cowboy hats and evolving into Emerson Drive who achieved a #1 hit on Billboard charts
  • Betty booking her son Chris of the Doc Walker Band into the club
and on, and on, and on….to now with Alex Runion, Drew Gregory, Brad Simms, Chris Henderson, The Dungarees, and more, on the rise.  We have such great Canadian talent!

What I remember the most of CCMA memories is the networking opportunities of the industry. Two Country Music Week highlights are Cheryl Homan, Hutch & I (the ‘three amigos’ who met in Edmonton, 1990) rode in a black limousine with Dick Damron to the CCMA Awards Show in Calgary when everyone else had white limos…. And someone pulling the fire alarm when Garth Brooks was performing at the CCMA Award Show at the Jubilee in Calgary.

Good luck for a vibrant future ahead!
Wendell Ferguson
CCMA Member since 1988

I have a million great Country Music Week memories. I guess one that stands out is my first 'official' one. In 1984 I accidentally attended Country Music Week in Moncton. But that wasn't official. I wasn't even a CCMA Member, let alone a delegate. I was just on the road, playing in a little club, when in walks Ronnie Prophet and Johnny Burke! I said, "What the heck are THOSE guys doing in a little club in Moncton?"  The boss told me it was Country Music Week, when all the country people got together.
Well, that stuck in my mind... so when it came to Toronto in '88 I was already playing with lots of country acts. I was lucky enough to be hired in the back-up band for a showcase night at the Horseshoe Tavern on the Thursday, a show at Massey Hall on the Friday night and an official party held at the top of the CN Tower on the Saturday night. I had a wonderful time and met so many people that became my friends for life. I decided right there that I wasn't missing another one of these great gatherings. And I haven't, for 28 years running. 32 if you count Moncton.

Long live country music and happy 40th birthday to the CCMA!

Ralph Murphy
CCMA Member since 1992

Being fortunate to view the growth of Canadian country music through the lens of the Canadian Country Music Association has been amazing. Since the early '80s, the association has attempted to show the emerging new artists, faithfully represent the existing hot current artists and honour the long-time stars. Because each part of Canada has their own idea about "emerging", "current" and "long-time star", the final Country Music Week is a result of a battle of talent that probably doesn't exist in most other countries! It makes us so very Canadian.
I did serve on the Board of Directors of the CCMA for some time and I will attest to that battle. CCMA President, Don Green, asked me to do about 100 words on any particular event or significant "happening" at Country Music Week....every Country Music Week is a "happening" and an "event" and when it's finished, I just have a hard time waiting a year to see the next wave of "emerging", for the "emerging" to take their place as "current" and the best of the "current" ultimately defining the most unique legacy of being a "Canadian country music" Legend.
Randy Owen
CCMA Member since 1983

I have lots of fond, unforgettable memories. Getting the memo in 1984 from my boss at 1470 CHOW announcing I had made the preliminary ballot for the first time for Broadcaster of the Year. Winning the 1988 Radio Personality of the Year (Major Market), the first year the award was split between Major and Secondary markets. It was the first award presented at that afternoon luncheon, and being very surprised, the only thing I could say was "thank you so very much". A few years later, being invited by Leonard Rambeau to accompany him and his new artist George Fox, ‘room hopping’, crashing various parties in various hotel rooms. Many room jams. And inducting Wendell Ferguson into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in Edmonton in 2014 with a song parody, with The Western Swing Authority as backup! Lots of great memories for sure...and many more to be made!

Ed Preston
CCMA Member since 1976

My memories over the 40 years of CCMA are many; largely due to the fun and friends I’ve met during our coast-to-coast Country Music Weeks and award ceremonies. My two most outstanding memories, however, are as follows.
In the final years of ACME, the board and its members decided that it was time for a name and logo change (logo nickname was “The Picker”), and so they created a write-in contest for a new name. The first prize was  a lifetime membership with the new association. The winner was announced at the President’s Dinner that year by Gordon Burnett and our new name became the CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION. And the surprised winner was: (drum roll) ME.

Then in 2003, I received the call from Sheila Hamilton that I was to be the next recipient as Builder in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, along with Sylvia Tyson – that was a mind-blower. An honour I wear with pride. This 40th anniversary celebration has reminded me that I’ve been involved with country music for 69 years, and I now realize that our association has grown in a very professional way – in fulfilling its mandate of educating, elevating and celebrating our unique natural resource: Canadian country music.

So a ‘tip of the hat’ and a big THANK YOU to everyone that made it happen.      
PS – Those RCA/BMG Hospitality Parties were certainly worth remembering  as well.

Colleen Rae
CCMA Member since 1988

My first Country Music Week, Calgary 1998, was where I met the following radio personalities: Steve Bohan, Bruce Leperre, Dave Baker, Cal Gratton, Jackie Rae Greening, Larry Donohue, Paul Kennedy and Derm Carnduff. I was impressed by how welcoming they all were to me. I feel blessed to have had their support of my music over the past 10 years and their continued support of my latest recordings.
I remember after spending the day networking, and attending seminars and showcases, there were these awesome “acoustic jams” in the hotel rooms. I got to jam with Dean Kush, Darlene Tuleta and Don Jorgensen until the wee hours of the morning. I’m not surprised that all of these people continue to be successful in their chosen careers. How thankful I am to have created lifetime friendships with these amazing people. Attending Country Music Week is much like attending a family reunion.

Rob Smith
CCMA Member since 2002

The CCMA has now reached its 40th anniversary, and should be congratulated on that as a momentous occasion. My special CCMA memory, although there are many, was Royalty Record’s 40th anniversary celebration during Country Music Week in Edmonton, 2014. It brought together and included performances from some of Royalty’s original artists from the ‘70s and also our current artists of the day; which, all included, represented five decades of music and artists. This is a complete parallel to our Canadian country music family and the CCMA family, specifically.

Congrats to the founders, the believers and the people who made the CCMA a priority over themselves to keep it alive over the years; and to the ones that will again make the CCMA and our music family a priority over themselves, because that is what is required to keep it alive for another 40 years.

Michelle Wright
CCMA Member since 1987

It’s been wonderful to see how far we’ve come. I feel privileged to have been a part of those magical early years. To have seen first-hand how music industry leaders, television producers and directors built the CCMA on a solid foundation. I appreciate how the generations that have followed continue to take pride in, and build upon that. A lot of hard work goes into creating a week of seminars and events where we can come together to learn, share and develop lifelong friendships with the crowning jewel being a world-class awards show where we celebrate the hard work and success of the industry, the artists and their teams. I love seeing people’s dreams come true. Here’s to the next 40 years!!!




A friendly reminder that it’s membership renewal time. Only CCMA Members in good standing as of April 30, 2016 are eligible to vote for applicable 2016 CCMA Award categories.

CLICK HERE to access the CCMA Member portal and review your online profile.


Earlier this month we published a number of changes to the 2016 CCMA Awards Program Rules and Regulations. With the first ballot opening May 11, 2016 - just around the corner - it's important that you know the ins and outs of categories that are important to you.

We highly encourage you to CLICK HERE to review the changes, and make yourself familiar with the program and its processes.


Early bird delegate registration for Country Music Week 2016 will open Monday, May 2 and close Friday, June 3. That's right, just five weeks to take advantage of the cost-savings associated with registering early!

More information regarding full delegate passes, individual ticket sales, CCMA Awards Show tickets and early bird delegate registration will be sent to the CCMA membership next month. Keep an eye out for it!


The CCMA is piloting a paid distribution service outside of the paid distribution services of the 2016 CCMA Awards Program. If you are interested in an email distribution to the CCMA Membership to promote significant accomplishments, new releases and other company and artist news, please contact Sonya Koson at skoson@ccma.org for further information.
Information pertaining to the paid distribution service surrounding the 2016 CCMA Awards Program will be released soon.


The CCMA is accepting nominations for 2016 CCMA Awards of Achievement recipients.
The deadline for nominations is Friday, April 15, 2016 at 5:00pm ET.

This year, the following four (4) CCMA Awards of Achievement are eligible to be presented at Country Music Week® 2016, in London:

The Slaight Music Humanitarian Award
This award recognizes an individual(s) and/or event(s) that have made an outstanding contribution of time and energy in the support of humanitarian causes through country music in Canada.

The Leonard T. Rambeau International Award
This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary effort in assisting the aims and initiatives of the Canadian country music industry, internationally.

The Hank Smith Award of Excellence
This award recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond in contributing his or her time and talents behind the scenes for the advancement of Canadian country music.

The CCMA Generation Award
This award recognizes a solo artist, group or duo that has made a significant impact on the country music industry. As this is recognizing the artist’s contributions beyond their own national borders, those to be considered do NOT have to be Canadian citizens, but their contribution must have had significant impact on the Canadian scene.
CLICK HERE for more information on any of the above awards, or for details regarding the nomination process.


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The CCMA invites any members in good standing to submit industry relevant information for consideration and inclusion in The Source. As such, any news or statements presented in this part of the newsletter are not necessarily representative of and/or endorsed by the CCMA. Please send your news items for inclusion to thesource@ccma.org and note COAST TO COAST in the subject line. Please keep submissions to 150-200 words, feel free to include one high resolution photo, and a link to extended content.   


Dean Brody stopped by the CIMA offices earlier this month to receive two plaques that certify him as CIMA Road Gold for his touring efforts through 2014 and 2015. Recently launched by the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), the Road Gold program is certified to artists who sell at least 25,000 tickets within a 12-month period. Headlining his 2014 Crop Circles tour, and co-headlining the Road Trip tour with Paul Brandt in 2015 have helped solidify Dean Brody as the first country act to be certified as Road Gold. 

Be sure to catch Dean Brody’s performance on the 2016 Juno Awards on Sunday April 3, where he’s also nominated for Juno Fan’s Choice and Country Album of the Year (Gypsy Road). 

For more information on Dean Brody: deanbrody.com


Following his appearance on Rogers Hometown Hockey on February 21 in Abbotsford, BC, Chad has been preparing for the upcoming release of his new album, Hearts On Fire (release date: April 29, 2016).  As of February 29, 2016, Chad achieved the 2nd top charting position by a Canadian on the BDS Country chart and reached Top 10 with his latest single “Hearts on Fire”! Later this month, Chad will head to Calgary to perform at the JUNO Cup Jam on March 31 and play in the JUNO Cup game on April 1, as well as appear at JUNO Fan Fare on April 2.

For more information on Chad Brownlee: chadbrownlee.com


ole songwriter George Canyon proved he is still a major force on the charts with his 11th album, I Got This. Released February 5 via ole’s red dot, the record has been the #1 Canadian album on the Canadian Country Albums chart for five of the last six weeks since its release, buoyed by the massive success of its hit singles “I Got This” and “Daughters of the Sun”, which were the #1 and #2 best-selling Canadian country songs in Canada for the week ending February 11, according to Nielsen. Canyon is supporting the album with his Wrangler-sponsored Jekyll and Nothing to Hide tour, which kicked off in Calgary this February and travelled coast-to-coast before wrapping March 20 in Ontario. To view the lyric video for “I Got This”, CLICK HERE.

For more information on George Canyon: georgecanyon.com


Dynamic and determined are just two words that can be best used to describe Nova Scotian country singer Andrew Frelick. From a growing online presence and artist showcase performances during CMA Fest and Country Music Week, to releasing his first single, “Unlove You”, from his debut Nashville recorded EP, Time Stands Still and radio airplay, 2015 was an amazing year of growth and opportunity.

Kicking off 2016 with the release of “Time Stands Still” via Lauren Tutty Promotions, the EP’s title track is receiving great reviews and radio airplay in both Canada and the U.S. 

A review of Time Stands Still from FYI Music can be found HERE.
For more information on Andrew Frelick: andrewfrelick.com

GLOBAL COUNTRY                                                                         

Maryanne Gibson, Global Country President, and Global Country Star Search Winners received numerous awards at the 2016 North American Country Music Association Inc., Annual Awards Show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Maryanne received the 2016 Appreciation Award for Dedication & Unselfish Endeavor for the success in her role as International Director of the North American Country Music Association Inc. She is instrumental in having Canadians recognized in the North American Country Music Hall of Fame.
The 2016 Country Star Winners hail from Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat and Kelowna.
Josh Ruzycki (17 – 20 Category) – Edmonton/Sherwood Park
2016 Male Vocalist and 2016 Male Entertainer, as well as 2016 New Modern Country Song of the Year for “Countrified”.
Nicky Pearson (Adult Category) – Edmonton
2016 Female Entertainer and 2016 Most Promising Vocalist, as well as 2016 New Modern Country Song of the Year for “I Can’t Stay”.
Michelle Lavellee (Adult Category) – Medicine Hat/Redcliff
2016 Female Vocalist of the Year and 2016 Most Promising Entertainer of the Year, as well as 2016 Country Song of the Year for “Sun Goes Down” and Traditional Country Song of the Year for “Half Past Midnight”.
Ben Klick (Adult Category) – West Kelowna
2016 Male Entertainer of the Year and 2016 Male Vocalist of the Year, 2016 Album of the Year for “Today” as wells as 2016 New Modern Country Song of the Year for “Butterfly Tattoo”, co-writer, RyLee Madison and 2016 New Modern Country Song of the Year for “Today” co-writer, RyLee Madison.
Dirt Road Angels – Edmonton & area
2016 Video of the Year for “Best Friends”, 2016 Album of the Year for “Paint the Town Red” and 2016 Songwriter of the Year for “Memories”.
Shawna Lynne – Sherwood Park
2016 Video of the Year for “Kick Down the Door” and 2016 Songwriter of the Year for “Daddy’s Guitar”, co-writer Joni DeLaurier.
Mariya Stokes – Calgary
2016 Song of the Year for “Detours” and 2016 Patriotic Song of the Year for “Alberta Born and Grown”.    

For more information on Global Country: globalcountry.ca                                           


Capping off a banner year, Drew Gregory, a three-time ACMA Nominee, was excited to take home the title of Male Artist of the Year. “It is such an honour,” says Gregory, to be named ACMA Male Artist of the Year. “To win an award voted on by peers in country music in Alberta has given me an elevated desire to promote the great industry we have in the province. This is a huge milestone in my career and many thanks to everyone who has helped me achieve it.” Drew is just finishing work on his new EP, I Was There, set to be released March 24 at the Century Casino in Calgary, AB. Tickets can be purchased at www.drewgregorymusic.com.

The year is shaping up to nothing less than incredible for Drew Gregory as he embarks on his first Eastern Canada media tour in early April. He will be out promoting the new single and EP, I Was There, not only with media but sharing it with a few house concerts along the way; including a performance at Gahan House in Halifax. Gregory is excited to connect with some of his Eastern Canada fans; something he wishes he could do more of. “It’s a privilege to be able to take the EP directly to my fans. I enjoy having that one on one connection with them.”

For more information on Drew Gregory: drewgregorymusic.com


High Valley recently released the new single “Be You”, the fifth single from their 2016 Juno Award nominated album, County Line. The single was released to radio March 4, and released digitally on March 25. Their previous single “Make You Mine” is now going for adds in the United States, and was the #2 most added song on February 29. High Valley also recently celebrated their first GOLD single, for “County Line”.

For more information on High Valley: highvalleymusic.com


Hunter Brothers, hailing from Shaunavon, SK, are currently on their first national promotional tour through Canada. Their debut single “El Dorado” was released on February 5 and quickly hit the Top 10 on the iTunes Canadian Country chart. After their stellar CRS performance in Nashville in February, these five brothers have hit radio stations in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, and will continue through Central and Eastern Canada throughout March and April. 

For more information on Hunter Brothers: hunterbrothers.com


2014 CCMA Discovery Program finalist David James’ new album, Songs About A Girl, was released on March 11. David’s latest single, “Lonely Girl” and the respective lyric video were both released on March 8. David celebrated the release of his EP on March 16 in Winnipeg at the Park Theatre.

For more information on David James: davidjamesmusic.ca


The last week has been a busy one for British Columbia’s Ben Klick, with his travels to Nashville and then on to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It all began back in May 2015 when Ben travelled to Edmonton to compete in the 2015 Global Country Star Search, and taking 1st place in his category. Winning the competition gave Ben the opportunity to head to Nashville in March of 2016 to compete in the week-long NACMAI (North American Country Music Associations, International) competition in Pigeon Forge.

The 19th annual NACMAI competition had over 700 competitors over the week of March 6 – 13. At the awards show that was held on Sunday, March 13, Ben had the honour of receiving 5 awards for his performances, as well as co-writes with award-winning Canadian songwriter, RyLee Madison, on the new record titled “Today” including:
-       International Co-Songwriter Award – ‘Butterfly Tattoo” (Ben Klick / RyLee Madison)
-       International Co-Songwriter Award (Ben Klick / RyLee Madison)
-       Most Promising International Country Album of the Year
-       Male Vocalist of the Year
-       Male Entertainer of the Year

Ben is currently at radio with “Butterfly Tattoo” from his award-winning album Today.

For more information on Ben Klick: benklick.com


Acclaimed singer/songwriter Blair Lane is a country artist with a gospel soul, a versatility reflected in two independent albums: Only One and When Live Gets In The Way of Living, cut in Nashville with producer Peter Daniel Newman and with session musicians also credited on Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban recordings.

Last year Blair placed in the Top 10 regional finals of the national CBC Searchlight Radio Contest, performed at the East Coast Music Awards and represented his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador in the CCMA Spotlight Performance Contest, competing with eight other Canadian country acts for a performance spot at Country Music Week. He was also chosen among a select few to participate in the Bell Media Songwriting Challenge and was awarded an opportunity to co-write with esteemed LA producer, Justin Gray (produced such acts as John Legend, Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande). Gray will be co-producing the single on Blair’s upcoming album, set to drop fall 2016.

Culminating Blair’s exhilarating year was a trip to Nashville to collaborate with several hit songwriters and record with some of Nashville’s finest session musicians at the acclaimed Beech Creek Studios.

For more information on Blair Lane: blairlanemusic.com


Congratulations to Teagan Littlechief on her SCMA (Saskatchewan Country Music Association) nomination in the Aboriginal Artist of the Year category!  The awards will be handed out on Saturday, April 23 at TCU Place, Centennial Hall in Saskatoon. 

From the White Bear First Nation (north of Carlyle, Saskatchewan),  Teagan released her current single, “Hell Bent, Heaven Bound” to radio at the end of January and is receiving airplay throughout Canada and overseas . Teagan co-wrote this latest tune with Terry Fernihough – Terry wrote “I’ll Bring The Party” which went #1 on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown.

For more information on Teagan Littlechief: teaganlittlechief.com


The Lovelocks’ new EP, Born To Love, was released on March 4, and headed to #4 on the iTunes country albums chart the day it was released. On March 10 they celebrated the release of the new album with a show at The Mod Club in Toronto, and they are getting ready for more shows this summer, with festival dates to be announced soon. The Lovelocks recently finished a radio tour in Ontario, stopping to discuss their latest single “Home Sweet Home” and the release of the new EP, Born To Love.

For more information on The Lovelocks: thelovelocksband.com


Bev’s latest single “New Religion” was released in late January, and is available on iTunes and Spotify, and at radio now! She recently took part in Telemiracle 40 in Regina, SK benefiting the Kinsmen Foundation, and continues to work on her upcoming album.

For more information on Beverley Mahood: beverleymahood.com


MDM Recordings recently debuted the “This Is Our Jam” package, featuring handmade jams with flavours selected by MDM’s artists, as well as a sneak peek at information on what the roster will be up to in 2016. In addition to sharing the jam with radio, it is now also available on the MDM Merch website (in Canada only).

For more information on MDM Recordings: mdmrecordings.net


Madeline Merlo’s latest single, “Whatcha Wanna Do About It”, released late January, has quickly become Madeline’s highest charting song to date. Her previous single “Honey Jack” reached Top 25 on the Canadian Country Charts in November 2015, but after less than 9 weeks, “Whatcha Wanna Do About It” has surpassed it, reaching #17 on BDS.

For more information on Madeline Merlo: madelinemerlo.com


Jessica Mitchell’s debut EP, Hold Onto The Light, will be released on April 1. Based in Toronto, with a focused past on songwriting while crafting her rich sound, Jessica has become country music’s best-kept secret. The Hold Onto The Light EP was produced by Grammy-nominated producer Dave Brainard, and was led by her debut single, “Grown Up Things”, released in the summer of 2015. 

For more information on Jessica Mitchell: jessicamitchellmusic.com


Jess’ new video for “Take Me Home” debuted on March 8 on CMT Canada and CMT US, and the single continues to climb the charts at radio. Jess is leading the pack of SCMA nominees with 6 nominations, including Fans’ Choice, Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year. On March 27, Jess will be part of Rogers Hometown Hockey in Prince Albert, SK, and she will be performing at festivals across Canada this summer, including Trackside Music Festival, Havelock Country Jamboree and Manitoulin Country Fest.

For more information on Jess Moskaluke: jessmoskaluke.com


ole songwriter Meghan Patrick exploded onto radio and into the record books with her new single, “Bow Chicka Wow Wow”, co-written and produced by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and released February 26. The track was added at 16 Mediabase reporting stations out of the gate, breaking the record for most first week adds for a debut single from a Canadian female artist on Mediabase at Canadian country radio. It was also the #1 added country single, #1 added Canadian single, and #3 added song across all formats. In addition, “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” debuted on the SoundScan Country Digital Songs Chart at #18 and entered the Top 100 on the SoundScan Digital Songs Chart. The track also reached #1 on Spotify Canada’s Viral 50 Chart, and CMT premiered the video on the Chevy Top 20 Countdown and added it Heavy Rotation.

Patrick will release her debut album, Grace & Grit, on April 29 via Warner Music Canada. It includes five songs produced by Kroeger and six produced by country legends Vince Gill and Justin Niebank. Niebank, who has mixed classic albums by Taylor Swift and Blake Shelton, mixed Patrick’s entire record. View the video for “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” HERE.

For more information on Meghan Patrick: meghanpatrickmusic.com


For the last several years, Laurie Brown has been known as an artist manager through her business, LJB Artist Management & Consulting. As the business has expanded and evolved, and as her favourite place to work is from the porch swing in her backyard, Laurie knew it was time to rebrand under a new name. The time has come and Laurie is very pleased to re-introduce herself as the owner and operator of Porch Swing Entertainment.

Porch Swing Entertainment is an artist management and consulting company offering musicians of all genres, at all levels of development, guidance and assistance with artist-driven projects, grant writing, and career development. The company’s enhanced services will include corporate, festival and showcase performance bookings, grant coaching and in-depth grant and management workshops. Laurie will continue to carry on business with integrity and will work diligently to assist you with your career needs…from her porch swing, whenever she can.

For more information: porchswingentertainment.com


Award-winning country music singer/songwriter Codie Prevost was featured in February’s Outdoor Canada magazine. Their “Fishing Edition 2016” included a Hot Spots Guide featuring some of Prevost’s favourite fishing spots in Saskatchewan.

Fishing is one of Prevost’s favourite hobbies and when he’s not on stage you can usually find him in a boat or on the ice at one of his favourite lakes. Prevost says, “I grew up reading Outdoor Canada and learned a lot of my fishing tactics from the pros that are in their articles. The cover of the magazine features award-winning Country Music Artist Paul Brandt who is one of my biggest influences, so it’s amazing to be included with him in the magazine.”

As Canada’s only national fishing and hunting magazine, Outdoor Canada has been entertaining and informing readers since 1972 promoting conservation and celebrating Canada’s heritage sports. Outdoor Canada encourages anglers and hunters to improve their skills and broaden their knowledge of the outdoors.

You can pick up your copy of Outdoor Canada across the country wherever magazines are sold or online at www.outdoorcanada.ca.

For more information on Codie Prevost: codieprevost.com


Colleen Rae has released “Quickest Heart In Town” from her sophomore CD, Look At Her Go, on DMDS. Penning six of the eight songs, Rae shows her confidence and maturity with her writing and vocal stylings. Colleen Rae spent time in Nashville co-writing with heavyweight writers such as Byron Hill, Wood Newton and William (Jimmy) Wallace. Wallace and Rae capture a story of one guarded heart in “Quickest Heart In Town”. 

Colleen Rae is so thankful that radio stations across Canada are giving spins to a song she co-wrote. CLICK HERE for a 59-second YouTube video of “Quickest Heart In Town”. She’s also honoured to be on the Cover of the Edmonton Woman Magazine and to have the feature article in the Jan/Feb Issue; CLICK HERE to check it out. Reporter Mike Ross with GigCity wrote a review for Colleen Rae that can be found HERE.

Colleen Rae & Cornerstone continue to keep the people in their seats. Rae’s next shows: April 29 & 30 at Casino Edmonton, May 6 & 7 at Apex Casino, June 3 at Casino Yellowhead, June 17 & 18 at Palace Casino. 

For more information on Colleen Rae: colleen-rae.com


It’s finally here!  You can now go to Steve Rivers’ YouTube channel to watch the official “Don't Come Here Tonight” music video.  Steve is so excited to finally release this video and is so proud of everyone who was involved.  Special thanks to Tim Whalen and the entire crew at Big Foot Media and all the actors involved (Jordan Kantola, Danielle Maddox, Jamie McNish, Ryan Salzwedel).  
For more information on Steve Rivers: steverivers.com


Bobby’s new EP, Tougher Than Love, is out now, having been released last week (March 18). His latest single “Won’t You Be Mine” continues to garner support from radio and reached the Top 10 as of February 15, 2016. This summer Bobby is set to perform at the new Country Thunder festival in Calgary, AB, and more summer tour dates are still to be announced. Bobby will also be heading out on a radio tour during the week following the release of Tougher Than Love.

For more information on Bobby Wills: bobbywills.com


The CCMA is proud to acknowledge the altruistic acts of charity and kindness demonstrated by our members. If you or someone you know has done something that you feel deserves recognition, please send your recommendations for consideration to thesource@ccma.org and note COUNTRY CARES in the subject line. Please keep submissions to 150-200 words, feel free to include one high resolution photo, and a link to extended content.


Karen is a singer/songwriter from British Columbia, who is disabled. Two years ago, most of her spine was removed and replaced by titanium hardware. Her spine was severely twisting and at the time of Karen’s two-day, fifteen hour surgery, she had six ruptured discs in her lower back.

This year Karen has resumed with her music and travels a 50-mile radius to volunteer her time to sing and play music for the elderly. Most of the seniors she visits are shut in, unable to drive and aren’t able to get out very much. They are so grateful and always thank her for the entertainment. Karen tries to sing all the vintage country music they remember from years ago, and a lot of times they join in the singing. 

Karen’s husband does the driving. She loves doing this for the people she’s able to visit, and will continue doing so for as long as she can.

For more information on Karen Halvorsen: karenhalvorsen.com


Tara Shannon, an award winning artist/writer from Russell, ON, is currently making headlines for her latest single and music video, “Butterfly Child”. The song was written to raise awareness and funds for Jonathan Pitre, a young Ottawa boy suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is a painful skin condition which causes the skin to constantly blister and tear at the touch, much like a butterfly wing. One hundred per cent of the proceeds from the sale of Tara’s single go to Jonathan and DEBRA Canada.

Taking her mission nationwide, Shannon has appeared on CHCH Morning Live, The Todd Shapiro Show, CTV Ottawa, Toronto Sun, 24 Hours Toronto, What She Said radio show, Music City Nashville, 1310 News Ottawa, 580 CFRA, Nashville Country Club and many more.

She was recently performed a holiday benefit concert at St-Brigid’s Centre for the Arts which raised over $5,000; and in January she hosted The Butterfly Child Writers Round to a sold out crowd at The Listening Room Cafe in Nashville, which raised over $3,500 for EB. Tara has returned to music after taking time off to raise her seven children and is getting ready to release her first country album.

For more information on Tara Shannon: tarashannon.me



Late last month, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Gordie Tapp, received a visit from a very special guest, Canadian actor and comedian, Colin Mochrie. CLICK HERE to read about their encounter, as chronicled by the Hamilton Spectator.

Gordie Tapp was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990. To read more about his career, from his days on Main Street Jamboree to Hee Haw, CLICK HERE.



The Canadian country music world has been saddened by the sudden passing of Hall of Fame country singer/songwriter, Ray Griff. He died, March 9, 2016 in hospital from aspiration pneumonia following minor rotator cuff surgery. In recent years he had battled throat cancer. Ray and his wife, Trudy, had recently made their home in Parksville, British Columbia after many years of residence in Calgary. Ray Griff was 75 at the time of his passing.

Ray was born April 22, 1940 in Vancouver, B.C., and was raised in Winfield, Alberta. He moved to Nashville as a teenager to pursue a career as a recording artist, but initially found more success with his compositions being recorded by others. Ray did establish himself as a recording artist, charting some 24 songs on the Billboard Country Hit Charts. During the span of his career he released 30 albums on the GRT, Dot, Royal American, ABC Dot, Capitol, Morning, Boot, Warner, ATI and Bookshop labels, in addition to a number of late career CDs released on his own label, Focus Records.

Ray Griff is Canada's most prolific songwriter with over 2,500 songs to his credit, some 700 of them recorded by many of Nashville's top recording stars, including major hits by Johnny Duncan, Faron Young, Jerry Lee Lewis, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Gene Watson, Mel Tillis, and more. His songs earned 7 BMI Citations as well as some 47 ASCAP Awards.

Ray enjoyed success both in the USA and in Canada. His patriotic songs "Canada" and "Maple Leaf" have become perennial items on radio playlists for Canada Day (July 1st) programming. Ray also hosted two TV series produced in Canada, "Goodtime Country" and "Uptown Country". He recently hosted the syndicated radio show "Raymond's Place". In addition to his own recordings, Ray produced numerous albums and singles for Canadian country artists, many of which have included his compositions.

Ray Griff is among the few Canadian artists to be honoured with a star on Nashville's Walkway Of Stars. He was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1998.

CLICK HERE to see a video of Ray’s induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and to read more about his illustrious career.


Our condolences to the family and friends of Rev. Bernard Heffernan, who passed away on March 14 at his home at Extendicare Lakefield. He was 81. Rev. Heffernan joined the CCMA in 1978 and was a long-time supporter of the association. His foray into country music started in the mid-1970s, when he hosted his own show on Country 105, Gospel Gold, where he interviewed many artists in the industry. He was the honorary chaplain of the CCMA for a number of years, and a delegate of Country Music Week for even more. He will be missed by his CCMA family.

The Peterborough Examiner wrote an article on Rev. Bernard Heffernan at the time of his passing. You can read it HERE.
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