Canadian country is beginning to infiltrate the United States, and one of the more recent signs could be seen at the 2018 Academy of Country Music Awards which went down tonight. Albertan duo High Valley was nominated for an award – New Vocal Duo or Group of The Year. Although HV lost out to Midland, the duo’s song “She’s with Me” is big news in the Republic, reaching #7 at US Country Airplay. The song is from album County Line released way back in 2014. Amazingly, then, it took four years for the song to make it big in the States. The MV has over 4 million views.
Calgary’s Lindsay Ell was not nominated; however, she was present at the gala with her #1 Canadian Country hit “Criminal” at #20 Stateside. Lindsay revealed major news – that she will be featured in a track on Keith Urban’s upcoming album. She will be playing Canadian arenas with the Kiwi slayer in the fall.
Red Deer, Alberta’s Melody Stang has released three-track EP Wrong Side of the Moon. It is worthy of a writeup on Canadian Music Blog, a disc of singer-songwriter songs with torrents of atmosphere thanks to smart production and the use of synthesizers. A mountain of sound plummets down on “Carousel Ride” with tasty beats and sparkling keys. Title-track “Wrong Side of the Moon” is soaked in good feels with nice backing vocals and chillout string strums. Guitar-driven ditty “Somebody Else” muses on the yearning post breakup. Melody Stang is an artist to watch given this first-rate EP. iTunes
Below we list selected Canadian artist releases for the week of April 13, 2018.
SELECTED NEW SINGLES
“Ariane” by Choses Sauvages (Alternative)
“Loud” by Tim Hicks (Country)
“Somnambule” by Coeur de pirate (AC)
SELECTED NEW EXTENDED PLAYS
Berceuses sous la hotte by Marie Paquin (S-S/Folk)
Cue by Jaunt (Alternative)
Dates by Dates (Punk)
Wrong Side of the Moon by Melody Stang (S-S/Folk)
SELECTED NEW ALBUMS
Arriver jusqu’à toi by Laura Gagné (AC)
Feux de bengale by Joannie Benoit (S-S/Folk)
M. Chandler by M. Chandler (Rock)
Le sage by Michel Thériault (Rock)
Science by Robotaki (Pop)
Zay by FouKi (Rap)
FEATURED MUSIC VIDEO
We leave you with the new music video for Meghan Patrick’s “The Bad Guy”. Meghan is the reigning CCMA Female Artist of the Year. The track is from her January 2018 album Country Music Made Me Do It.
From the city of Crowchild Trail, Benny the Bear, and the Saddledome, Calgary’s Lindsay Ell, discovered by Randy Bachman when she was just 15, has just done something no other female Canadian artist has been able to do for 10 long years.
Releasing her gold, magenta, and vermillion tinged album The Project in 2017, hailed by Billboard magazine as the best country album of the year, Lindsay let loose the blistering track “Criminal”, and it has decimated the charts. It is the number one country radio single in the land, and the first from a maple-femme artist since Terri Clark’s “In My Next Life” from 2008. “Criminal” has also entered the Top 20 in the United States’ nationwide country airplay chart!
For many years, a Canadian artist was unable to scratch the surface of the country charts until Gord Bamford’s fireball, “When Your Lips Are So Close” in November 2013. This was followed by a string of number ones by Canadians, but all gentlemen: “Bounty” by Dean Brody, “Wastin’ Gas” by Dallas Smith, “Airwaves” by Brett Kissel, “Autograph” by Dallas Smith, “Side Effects” by Dallas Smith, “I Be U Be” by High Valley, “Chills” by James Barker Band, “Sky Stays This Blue” by Dallas Smith, “Sleepin’ Around” by Dallas Smith, and “8th Day” by Dean Brody.
On the accomplishment, Lindsay states, “I am humbled and grateful to be the first female artist to have a #1 since 2008 on the Canadian country radio charts. Sometimes you work so hard for the things you want, they feel surreal when they happen. Thank you country radio for believing in me and making this possible. Thank you to each and every fan for never giving up on me. I will try my best to continue to make you proud.”
Ell is currently on tour with Brad Paisely and will join Sugarland for 20+ dates in the summer. She is set to play with Keith Urban in Canadian arenas in September. Check out her website for dates.
By scoring a number one country hit, Lindsay Ell has blown the field wide open for Canadian women.
We embed the MV for “Criminal” below. As you can hear, it’s very catchy with delicious vocal hooks and excellent guitar work from Lindsay Ell herself.
The Weeknd‘s latest disc, EP My Dear Melancholy, crowns the Billboard Top Albums chart, and all six of its tracks populate the upper reaches of the Hot 100 including this week’s number one – “Call Out My Name” which bumps Drake‘s “God’s Plan” down to #2. Positions of the other tracks are as follows: “Try Me” #7, “Wasted Times” #8, “I Was Never There” #12, “Hurt You” #17, and “Privilege” #22. It’s interesting that these positions match the track order on the EP, probably a consequence of streaming.
Marc Hervieux‘s Nos Chansons hangs in the Top 10, dropping to #7 from #5 last week. Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour debuts at #11. She may be American but guess what … Bragg Creek, Alberta JUNO award winning sound engineer Shawn Everett had a hand in the mixing. It is being hailed by many critics as the best album of 2018 so far. Yoan‘s Depuis Longtemps slips from #11 to #14.
The Weeknd Hot 100 Chart Stats
With the new six charting tracks from The Weekend, he has now placed a total of 48 on the Billboard Hot 100: 37 as the main artist, 2 in a collaboration, and 9 as a featured artist. His first charting entry as a main artist was “Wicked Games” debuting Halloween 2012 and reaching a peak position of #43 on Boxing Day. “Crew Love” by Drake featuring The Weeknd was the first time we saw the latter on the chart. The track debuted August 29, 2012 peaking at #80 the following week. Of The Weeknd’s 48 charting singles, 31 have made the Top 40, 11 the Top 10, and 4 number ones: “The Hills”, “Can’t Feel My Face”, “Starboy”, and now “Call Out My Name”.
Well, if you guys think Dear Rouge is good, wait ’til you hear brand new synthrock band To the Trees of Waterloo, Ontario. Out with brand new eponymous EP, the group contributes more choice cuts to the genre that sadly is a little on the depleted side these days. The disc offers six beautifully crafted songs, and though independently released can boast very professionally sounding production. The vocals are lovely, musicianship pleasing, and writing top notch. We are very excited to watch the career of this talented group unfold. Not necessarily the best track – they’re all good – To the Trees has created an MV for “Run from Fire”. There is a rocketman surprise at the end. Have a look below.
Electronic group Young Galaxy formed in Vancouver but relocated to Montreal where prolific album releases – six so far – have ensued since 2007. A few of these have been long or shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. After going through a number of membership changes, YG is essentially down to the duo now of Catherine McCandless and Stephen Ramsay. 2018’s Down Time is the outfit’s first fully independent release. Stuffed with often lengthy tracks of warm, dense, mesmerizing electronic soundscapes and sophisticated percussion and effects, the disc is picking up strong reviews.
Down Time opens with the haunting bleeps and burbles of “Under My Wing” (see official audio below), complete with veiled vocals. Glittering synths animate “Show You the Valley”. The lively percussion and layered vocals on “River” feel like a Caribbean cruise while the long instrumental prologue of ethereal wisps in “Frontier” gently blow the listener up and up and outside the atmosphere. “Stay for Real” released last year was ranked by the CMB as the 14th top track of 2017. It is the album’s strongest track as far as single-suited material goes. Young Galaxy’s Down Time is one of the best albums of the year thus far. Very cool stuff.
Selected New Singles
Being semi-facetious, let us state … for the record … that it was a Canadian who delivered the first rap track, back in 1964. His name was Lorne Greene, and the piece in question was “Ringo”. That ought to be the standard by which all modern rap tunes are judged. Carrying on the Greene tradition is Canada’s own Drake. After dominating the Hot 100 for 10 weeks with “God’s Plan”, he drops “Nice for What”. Is it nice or not? You be the judge.
Also hot at iTunes (currently Top 25) is a new one from Arkells – “People’s Champ”. The Motown-heavy romp heralds the band’s upcoming fifth album and comments on a politician who looks like he has a puss caterpillar on his head. Guess who.
Country music’s finest voice is a matter of debate but certainly ranking high up there is Kira Isabella, and she lands a sure-fire winner, “Little Girl” as in “Don’t ever let ’em make you feel little, girl.” It continues her rally for female empowerment found on such choice cuts as “Quarterback”.
It seems like it’s been a while since we’ve heard from youthful ace of funk Francesco Yates though he did release a song back in February. He’s back with new single “Do You Think About Me”. Francesco was featured in Robin Schulz’s international smash “Sugar”, triple platinum at home.
Selected New Extended Plays
Regarded by many as the most successful Canadian country male soloist of the modern era, Calgary’s Paul Brandt is a triple platinum, 8x JUNO award winner. His new EP is The Journey YYC, Vol. 1 and presents six songs packed with more energy than a multivitamin. This one’s a keeper.
A pleasant surprise is Waterloo’s To the Trees with a self-released, self-titled affair. The band specializes in syth rock. The nifty disc seems to get better with each song; the final two hit the spot for us. This one’s worth checking out for fans of the genre.
More extended plays in the table of new releases down below.
Selected Hot New Albums
Nova Scotia’s Sloan releases its first album in four years and its 12th since things began in 1992, hence its title 12. Four of the group’s albums have gone gold and a JUNO win can be claimed. Atlantic rock doesn’t get much better – hear influences from America, The Beatles, and early Pink Floyd.
Singer-songwriter Royal Wood contributes Ever After the Farewell. He goes for a roots sound on many tracks, bringing in some gospel and folk seasonings. The album was produced by Jamie Scott (Ed Sheeran, Rag ‘n Bone Man). Royal Wood has garnered a pair of JUNO nominations thus far.
JUNO nominated pop machine Hey Ocean! of Vancouver discusses The Hurt of Happiness on its new record. Perhaps western Canada’s version of Stars, with the male-female singing combo over rich sythpop, the album is a glossy atmospheric adventure.
Annie Poulain is a JUNO nominee in the jazz field. Her Dix pianos une voix features, as the title suggests, 10 pianists who accompany her vocals. Overall, it’s a soothing record perfect for weekday evening unwinding.
Selected Cool New Albums
Blackout Summer from Dusted? Yes. The Toronto based outfit should appeal to fans of soulful alternative music, a little dark, a bit dreamy, with focussed hooks and punchy beats. As Yoda might say, “Very nicely done, this one is.”
Thomas Carbou, the genius who brings world music into jazz, dedicates three pieces to each of the four Directions, hence the album name. As you guessed, North, South, East, and West dabble in instruments, sounds, styles common in those respective parts of the globe, and it’s all fused into wonderful jazz.
Last but not least, Exclaim mag gave the following album a rating of 9/10. That’s a pretty accurate score as far as we are concerned. One of the best albums of 2018 belongs to Down Time by synth band Young Galaxy of Montreal. The album contains phenomenal 2017 track “Stay for Real”. We’ll give this one a more detailed writeup later.
Find a table of 24 selected Canadian artist LPs and EPs out this week in the table below.
|Canada’s Global Orchestra||Kune||World|
|Debouler vers le ciel||Emile Gruff||Rock|
|Dix pianos une voix||Annie Poulain||Jazz|
|Down Time||Young Galaxy||Alternative|
|Every After the Farewell||Royal Wood||S-S/Folk|
|The Fifth||Matthew V||Pop|
|The Hurt of Happiness||Hey Ocean!||Pop|
|Ms. Behave||Rosie & The Riveters||S-S/Folk|
|Premier Juin||Lydia Kepinski||Alternative|
|Salvation||The Penske File||Rock|
|Separate Rooms||Megan Bonnell||S-S/Folk|
|The Up Here Place||Look Vibrant||Alternative|
|Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa||Jeremy Dutcher||Classical|
|Amours jetables (EP)||Melissa Ouimet||S-S/Folk|
|Deslembranca (EP)||Mikhaëlle Salazar||World|
|Homage (EP)||Flash Lightnin’||Rock|
|The Journey YYC, Vol. I (EP)||Paul Brandt||Country|
|To the Trees (EP)||To the Trees||Rock|
Drake’s “God’s Plan” spends its tenth week at the tip of the Billboard Hot 100. Featured in BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive” gives him two entries in the Top 10; the latter track is at #8. He is joined in the upper reaches by fellow Canadian Shawn Mendes, as “In My Blood” vaults 62-9 with Greatest Gainer honours in both digital and streaming fields. The song smacks into the #1 position on the Digital Songs chart with a 77% download increase. Believe it or not, this is the Pickering, Ontario native’s first number one digital track. Mendes’ “Lost in Japan” gains the Hot Shot Debut designation by entering the chart at #39. The Weeknd‘s “Pray for Me” slips out of the Top 10 to #11. The hottest Canadian artist outside of the furious five (Bieber, Cara, Drake, Mendes, and The Weeknd) these days is Loud Luxury thanks to “Body” featuring Brando which continues to gain steam; the song is now up to #16. “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber refuses to depart from the chart holding on at #23. The Launch alumnus Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine has hovered around the #40 mark for the past few weeks; “Ain’t Easy” sits at #38 this week. The big news outside of the Top 40 is that Tyler Shaw‘s “Cautious” enters the Billboard Hot 100 at #87.
Tenor Marc Hervieux has the hottest new entry on the Top Albums chart, as Nos Chansons debuts at #5. It is his second top five album, the first being 2013’s Mes Plaisirs… which peaked at #2. Yoan, rollicking country rock star and winner of The Voice, enters the chart at #11 with Depuis Longtemps, the follow-up to his chart topping self-titled debut album in 2015.
Monarchs of the various radio formats are Bruno Mars &Cardi B (“Finesse”) for All-Format, The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar (“Pray for Me”) for CHR, Black Pistol Fire (“Lost Cause”) for Rock, Luke Bryan (“Most People Are Good”) for Country, Ed Sheeran (“Perfect”) for AC, and Pink (“Beautiful Trauma”) for Hot AC. With a new EP coming out, Calgary’s Paul Brandt debuts on the Country chart at #33 with new number “All About Her”.
The Juno Awards on March 25 bumped a number of artists up the charts this week. Daniel Caesar, who performed and won R&B/Soul Recording, moves 108-71 with a 32% increase for album Freudian. Shawn Mendes, who picked up a pair of awards – Single of The Year and Fan Choice – leaps 56-36 with a 35% consumption increase for album Illuminate. The Barenaked Ladies, who won the Hall of Fame award and reunited with original member Steven Page, re-enters at #90 with a 229% increase for album All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001). Jessie Reyez, who performed and won Breakthrough Artist, re-enters the chart at #83 with a whopping 231% increase for EP Kiddo. Incidentally, Shawn Mendes gave a shout out to Jessie on Twitter today.
Breakthrough Group of the Year
The Breakthrough Group of the Year JUNO Award has been dished out since 2003, and an all-female group has never won … until now. The Beaches are four women who perform rock music. The outfit’s first full-length album The Late Show, under Universal Music, was produced by Metric’s Emily Haines and James Shaw.
Producer of the Year
Diana Krall is the third female to win the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year JUNO Award in the past 15 years. In 2003, Alanis Morissette won for producing her songs “Hands Clean” and “So Unsexy”. In 2008, Joni Mitchell won for her tracks “Hana” and “Bad Dream”. But for the past decade, it has been all men. Things changed this year (2018) as the award went to jazz superstar Diana Krall for production on “L-O-V-E”, “Night and Day” and album Turn Up the Quiet. Diana also won the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year bringing her total JUNO wins up to 10. She hadn’t won a JUNO since 2007, and her first occurred in 2000.
Video of the Year
This is Grimes’ second JUNO; she won Electronic Album of the Year in 2013 for Visions. “Venus Fly” is on the short list of 10 for the Prism Prize. It is probably the most eye-popping music video – and the best – we’ve ever seen. Vancouver’s Claire Boucher (her real name) is a Jackie of all trades – singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and visual artist. Whether she becomes a music video director/designer for other artists is a distinct possibility with talents like this. A very well-deserved award.
Dance Recording of the Year
Toronto’s Nick Fiorucci is an EDM DJ, songwriter, remixer, producer, and founder of record label Hi-Bias Records. He has done work for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Celine Dion, Eiffel 65, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Keshia Chanté, Laura Pausini, Michelle Branch, and Shania Twain to name a few. “Closer” is a gorgeously crafted dreamy thumper of an EDM track and features the exquisite vocals of North Vancouver’s Laurell.
Electronic Album of the Year
Hailing from Niagara Falls, DJ and record producer Rezz is none other than Isabelle Rezazadeh. She is onboard deadmau5’s record label mau5trap. Mass Manipulation is her debut LP and won the JUNO Award for Electronic Album of the Year, a category in existence since only 2011. With over 100,000 Twitter followers, she is doing well.
It’s a four-day long weekend for many, but The Weeknd decided to make it a short one with the release of an EP. New Canadian releases are light this week.
My Dear Melancholy is the Weeknd’s ode to all things grievous, perhaps owing to a relationship with Selena Gomez that did not lead to marriage. In opening track “Call Out My Name”, arguably the best one, the Toronto R&B star mopes, “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life,” perhaps a reference to a proposed kidney transplant. Ironically, the song sounds very Bieberish (a good thing) but like a lot of modern urban music suffers from the lack of a chorus. It does therefore sound a bit repetitive saved a little by the spicy synths at its close.
Roots country specialist Lindi Ortega probably could not be bothered with these sorts of musical relationship chairs preferring to pay homage to the master of cinematic music Ennio Morricone on new album Liberty. It’s a plump 15-track affair that should hit the spot for spaghetti western buffs – mood music to drool over with a glass of Sarsaparilla held by a sunburnt hand on a hot summer night. It’s not all leisurely paced, however. Rousing numbers like “You Ain’t Fooling Me” with a hint of rock get the music to canter away.
Rock comes to us this week by The Voice Season 2 finalist Rémi Chassé, and his second full-length Les cris et les fleurs. He certainly has the voice for it, and the guitar work is well done. Lots of umph and gusto make this one of the better rock albums of 2018 thus far.
Other works that greet us are tour-de-force dance disc The Mass of Phoenix by Phoenix Lord; choice singer-songwriter LP from Éveline, a self-titled affair; and another rock album, though a little more indie sounding than Chassé’s, the eponymous Loïc April.
There were many great moments from the 2018 JUNO Awards gala and some disappointments which is always the case with award shows. We decided to pick our five favourite moments from the two-hour broadcast which we share below in no particular order.
LIGHTS Performs “Giants” with Backdrop of Women
With all the talk from CARAS of its taking the inclusion of women very seriously, the organization’s planned actions for the main face of its events – the televised JUNO Awards gala – did not deliver on the promise. Only one female artist received an award (besides Régine Chassagne as a member of Arcade Fire) – Jessie Reyez. Awards to a woman winning producer of the year (Diana Krall) and an all-female rock band breakthrough group of the year (The Beaches) were relegated to the untelevised JUNO dinner gala and awards the preceding evening. Apparently, the global broadcasting of these awards for which the women were on hand to accept them was less important than an absent male being announced a winner at the televised gala – Tory Lanez.
Moreover, the main gala’s female performers were all deemed to stand in need of a male artist accompanying them. Apparently, female artists are not good enough to deliver stand-alone performances without male help. The one exception to this was LIGHTS. Introduced by Video of the Year winner Grimes and Indigenous Album of the Year recipient Buffy Sainte-Marie (awards also demoted to the untelevised affair), LIGHTS performed her hit song “Giants” that closed out with a backdrop of illustrated renderings she herself drew of a dozen female nominees: Alessia Cara, Grimes, Régine Chassagne, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Shania Twain, Jessie Reyez, Tanya Tagaq, Diana Krall, Ria Mae, Charlotte Cardin, Molly Rankin, and Ruth B. Video below.
Andrea Bang and Mark McMorris Present
The JUNOs have been good at using Olympic champions and star athletes in general to present awards which is inspiring. There were many gold medalists at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, but it was a bronze medalist who took the stage. Why? Because just a year ago, Mark McMorris went snowboarding in the backcountry at Whistler BC and, in foggy conditions, drifted off course with his body smashing into a grove of trees. The next thing he knew, he was in a hospital’s ICU fighting for his life with fractures to his jaw, left arm, pelvis, and ribs; a ruptured spleen; and a collapsed left lung. One year later, he competed in Korea winning a bronze medal in slopestyle.
One of the television stars who made The Winter Olympics extra exciting to watch was Andrea Bang, actress from Canadian Screen Award winning TV series Kim’s Convenience. Andrea was featured in a number of mini-documentaries during the Olympics of her exploring the birth country of her parents. It was fascinating to watch her learn and discover various aspects of Korean culture. As Canadians of Asian descent make up 14.5% of our population, their inclusion in nationally televised events like the JUNOs, is a must.
A big stamp of approval for the McMorris-Bang team up and presentation of the R&B award.
Michael Bublé Sketches
Michael has become quite the master at doing skits. His opening piece was cartoonish, magical, and fun. Example: He grabs a bagel from a box held by a man, takes a bite, tosses the rest which hits a picture of a hockey goaltender on the wall who comes to life, gloves it, and slapsticks it back at the bagel man knocking the box out of his hands as the bagels go flying. In the middle of the show was another segment of Michael interviewing children about Canadian music with amusing results – see video below.
Shawn Hook Performs with the BC Youth Chinese Orchestra
Shawn Hook recently became a multiplatinum recording artist and finished a successful year via his collaborative single with Vanessa Hudgens – “Reminding Me”. He performed it, not with Vanessa, not with a standard symphony orchestra, but with The BC Youth Chinese Orchestra armed with traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu (pronounced are-who). As we mentioned earlier, the inclusion of Asian Canadians is of the utmost importance especially for Canada (Chinese were born on our soil prior to Confederation) and even more especially for Vancouver. This was very appropriate and really wonderful to see.
Barenaked Ladies’ w/ Steven Page Close Out Performance
For those hungry for a reunion of BNL with the Page or just for those who like to see Barenaked Ladies perform, the closeout of “One Week” followed by “If I Had a Million Dollars” was a great send off and salute to everything fantastic about Canadian music. Golden balloons rained down as did fake money, while other artists joined the group on stage to sing along. If there were any grievances through the evening about who didn’t win, who was absent, or who was excluded, the BNL jam left viewers with a good feeling in the belly.
On JUNO night, the Vancouver Canucks tweeted “While we’re in Dallas, The JUNO Awards are taking over Rogers Arena. We have one update to share with you: Grimes wins best dressed!” Attached to the tweet was a photo of Grimes on the JUNO red carpet wearing a Canucks jersey.
The British Columbian recording artist won her second JUNO on the weekend. In 2013, her Visions took home the trophy for Electronic Album of the Year, and on Saturday night, “Venus Fly” won Video of the Year.
Now, Grimes has a chance to win the $15,000 Prism Prize, as her MV has been selected in the newly unveiled shortlist of ten contenders. They are as follows.
The 2018 Prism Prize top 10:
Alice Glass, “Without Love” (director: Floria Sigismondi)
Alvvays, “Dreams Tonight” (director: Matt Johnson)
Charlotte Day Wilson, “Work” (director: Fantavious Fritz)
CRi feat. Ouri, “Rush” (director: Didier Charette)
Daniel Caesar, “Freudian, a Visual” (directors: Keavan Yazdani and Sean Brown)
Feist, “Century” (director: Scott Cudmore)
Grimes feat. Janelle Monae, “Venus Fly” (director: Grimes)
Jessie Reyez, “Gatekeeper” (director: Peter Huang)
Leonard Cohen, “Leaving the Table” (director: Christopher Mills)
Pup, “Old Wounds” (director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
On the Billboard Top Albums chart, Jann Arden‘s These Are the Days lands at #5. “God’s Plan” by Drake spends its 9th week at the summit of the Billboard Hot 100. Loud Luxury‘s “Body” climbs up to #18 on the chart. Yes McCan‘s “Désirée” materializes at #96. He is a member of rap group Dead Obies.”In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes debuts at #62. The latter new track was #5 at Hot Digital Songs last week, #25 at Hot 100 Airplay, #30 at CHR, and #37 at Hot AC.
It’s a wrap on the 2018 JUNO awards, broadcast on CBC from Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Michael Bublé, more cautious on the comedy than when he hosted in Regina, opened the show flicking through an iPad selecting a room’s décor and furniture which magically decked the room with his choices. Part way through the show was a pre-recorded sketch of his interviews with children who thought Justin Bieber was a female and that Michael’s sleep-inducing music was the sort their dad would like.
Performances were in order: Arcade Fire (opener); The Jerry Cans from Nunavut; Shawn Hook with the BC Youth Chinese Orchestra; Lights (introduced by Grimes and Buffy Sainte-Marie); The Northern Touch Allstars; Daniel Caesar; Kevin Hearn, Sarah Harmer, and City & Colour in tributes to Gord Downie (introduced by Kevin Drew & Pearl Wenjack); Arkells; Diana Krall and Michael Bublé in duet; and Barenaked Ladies. Felix Cartal served as house DJ through the evening.
Rush frontman Geddy Lee presented Steven Page and Barenaked Ladies’ induction into the Music Hall of Fame, a definite highlight of the show. Other memorable moments were Michael Bublé’s announcement that his wife is pregnant with their third child. Light’s performance featured a backdrop of giant cartoon renderings she herself drew of her favourite Canadian female recording artists, like Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, and Molly Rankin.
Besides the Hall of Fame award, the final six were given out after last night’s 36. Television star Andrea Bang and Olympian Mark McMorris did the honours for R&B Recording of the Year which went to Daniel Caesar for Freudian. Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Weaves’ Jasmyn Burke announced Breakthrough Artist of the Year – Jessie Reyez. Both Caesar and Reyez were heavily promoted by the CBC last year. The rap collective Northern Touch Allstars could not present the trophy to Rap Recording of the Year victor Tory Lanez (Shooters) as he was not present. Jann Arden and Bob Rock declared an Album of the Year hat trick for Arcade Fire, as Everything Now is the group’s third disc to win the prize. Charlotte Cardin, Ruth B, and Scott Helman were on stage to reveal the winner of the JUNO Fan Choice Award – the absent Shawn Mendes. Ria Mae and Theory of a Deadman’s Tyler Connolly handed out the final trophy, as Gord Downie was named Artist of the Year.
We won’t offer too much of a critique of the show in this post except to say the following. While the JUNOs made a big deal about the inclusion of women, only one of the seven awards tonight went to one (not counting member of Arcade Fire Régine Chassagne). As Tory was absent, it may have been better to swap the Rap with the Pop or Producer award won by Lights and Diana Krall respectively last evening.
The nominees and winners (in bold, red typeface) from tonight’s gala are as below.
JUNO FAN CHOICE
Walk Off the Earth
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Everything Now, Arcade Fire
Revival, Johnny Reid
Nobody but Me, Michael Bublé
Safe Haven, Ruth B,
Now, Shania Twain
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Virginia to Vegas
RAP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Mumble Rap, Belly
Lil Mont from the Ave, Clairmont The Second
001: Experiments, Lou Phelps
Coach Fresh, Maestro Fresh Wes
Shooters, Tory Lanez
R&B/SOUL RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Freudian, Daniel Caesar
Foreign Water, Jahkoy
Kiddo, Jessie Reyez
Unbound 01, Keshia Chanté
CANADIAN MUSIC HALL OF FAME