Hamil­ton is well rep­re­sented at the Juno Awards

Arkells, Mon­ster Truck, Dirty Nil among lo­cal artists nom­i­nated for April bash in Ot­tawa

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - GRA­HAM ROCK­ING­HAM

TORONTO — Two Hamil­ton bands — the Arkells and Mon­ster Truck — will face off against each other at the Junos for rock album of the year.

Un­for­tu­nately, they’ll also be com­pet­ing with the iconic Trag­i­cally Hip.

The chal­lenge is dou­bly tough for the Arkells. The band, which is per­form­ing a sold out show Fri­day night at Hamil­ton’s First On­tario Cen­tre, is also up against the Hip in the group of the year cat­e­gory.

Gord Downie’s hero­ism — per­form­ing a string of sum­mer con­certs with the knowl­edge that he was suf­fer­ing from ter­mi­nal brain can­cer — has made The Trag­i­cally Hip every­body’s favourite to win in both cat­e­gories. (Downie is also nom­i­nated for song­writer of the year, adult al­ter­na­tive album of the year for his solo album “Se­cret Path” and video of the year).

Still, the fact that two lo­cal bands were nom­i­nated Tues­day in the same cat­e­gory demon­strates the power of the Hamil­ton mu­sic scene.

Other lo­cal nom­i­nees in­clude lo­cal punk trio The Dirty Nil (break­through group of the year), pi­anist/com­poser David Braid (in­stru­men­tal album of the year), jazz singer Diana Pan­ton (chil­dren’s album of the year) and folksinger Corin Ray­mond (con­tem­po­rary roots album of the year).

Both Mon­ster Truck and the Arkells are re­al­is­tic about their chances of win­ning against The Hip, and full of ad­mi­ra­tion for Downie.

“It’s just an hon­our,” said Mon­ster Truck gui­tarist Jeremy Wi­der­man. “I know that’s the thing you’re sup­posed to say af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated but I re­ally do mean it. Just to be in­cluded in that group is an hon­our.”

Arkells lead singer Max Ker­man added, “The best part of the Junos is get­ting to hang with old friends. We are in some mighty fine com­pany with bands we ad­mire and adore.”

Over­all, in­ter­na­tional stars Drake, Shawn Men­des and The Weeknd led the nom­i­na­tions, which were an­nounced Tues­day at a water­front club in down­town Toronto, with five each.

Leonard Co­hen, one of Canada’s great­est po­ets and song­writ­ers, will also be a sen­ti­men­tal favourite. Co­hen, who died in Novem­ber at the age of 82, was nom­i­nated for four awards, in­clud­ing album of the year for “You Want It Darker.” As well, Co­hen will be up against Downie for song­writer of the year hon­ours.

Brampton pop sen­sa­tion Alessia Cara also scored four nom­i­na­tions, while Ot­tawa group A Tribe Called Red re­ceived three.

Juno win­ners will be an­nounced Sun­day, April 2, at Ot­tawa’s Cana­dian Tire Cen­tre dur­ing a two-hour na­tion­ally tele­vised awards show. Sched­uled per­form­ers at the event in­clude Men­des, Cara, The Strum­bel­las and A Tribe Called Red.

Braid, a grad­u­ate of the Hamil­ton All-Star Jazz Band now teach­ing at the Univer­sity of Toronto, was nom­i­nated for “Flow,” a jazz-clas­si­cal fu­sion album recorded with the Czech Repub­lic’s Epoque String Quar­tet. Braid has won two Junos pre­vi­ously and has been nom­i­nated a to­tal of seven times.

Braid’s mu­sic for the Chet Baker biopic “Born to be Blue,” star­ring Ethan Hawke, has also been nom­i­nated for two Cana­dian Screen Awards — best orig­i­nal score and best orig­i­nal song (“Could Have Been”). Cana­dian Screen Award win­ners will be an­nounced at a na­tion­ally tele­vised gala in Toronto on Sun­day, March 12.

Braid, who tours ex­ten­sively through­out Asia, Europe and North Amer­ica, will re­turn to Hamil­ton for a con­cert on Mon­day, March 13, at the Hamil­ton Con­ser­va­tory for the Arts.

The Dirty Nil re­cently com­pleted tours of Aus­tralia with Alex­ison­fire and Europe. The Nil opens a cross Canada tour with Toronto rock pow­er­house Billy Tal­ent and Mon­ster Truck on Feb. 16 in Abbotsford, B.C.

Corbin, nom­i­nated for his album “Hobo Jun­gle Dreams,” is a new­comer to Hamil­ton. The Winnipeg na­tive moved here from Toronto in Oc­to­ber and is still set­tling into the lo­cal scene.

“I’ve writ­ten three new songs since the new year and I at­tribute that to Hamil­ton,” Corbin said.

Diana Pan­ton has been nom­i­nated for chil­dren’s album of the year.

Above right, The Dirty Nil is Dave Nardi, left, Kyle Fisher, and Luke Ben­tham. The band has been nom­i­nated for a Juno Award as break­through group of the year. Left, David Braid’s album Flow has been nom­i­nated in in­stru­men­tal album of the year. Above left, Mon­ster Truck is up for rock album of the year.

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