David Clay­ton-Thomas takes on Junos for snub­bing his album

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - DAVID FRIEND

TORONTO - Rock mu­si­cian David Clay­ton-Thomas is call­ing out the Juno Awards for snub­bing one of his lat­est al­bums.

The former lead singer of Blood, Sweat & Tears took to Face­book this week and com­plained that 2016’s “Cana­di­ana” was ig­nored by Canada’s top mu­sic awards.

“We were ab­so­lutely cer­tain this record was such a qual­ity piece of work by a group of fine artists that it couldn’t es­cape at­ten­tion by the Junos,” ,” Clay­ton-Thomas said in an in­ter­view

But the album didn’t gar­ner any no­tice on Tues­day when or­ga­niz­ers re­vealed this year’s slate of nom­i­nees.

The 75-year-old Cana­dian Mu­sic Hall of Fame in­ductee said he’s baf­fled over why “Cana­di­ana” couldn’t even muster a sin­gle nod.

“I don’t know who the Juno jury is, but I don’t think it’s made up by work­ing mu­si­cians,” he said.

A di­verse group of per­form­ers were as­sem­bled for “Cana­di­ana,” a col­lec­tion of cov­ers of songs by home­grown mu­si­cal leg­ends in­clud­ing Gor­don Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Leonard Co­hen.

The songs are reimag­ined in new styles; Young’s “Heart of Gold” has a reg­gae vibe, while Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” was recorded as a duet be­tween Clay­ton-Thomas and jazz singer Laila Biali. Other unique takes in­clude a ver­sion of Sarah McLach­lan’s “An­gel” sung by Clay­tonThomas with an as­sist from cel­list Shauna Rol­ston.

In his post on Face­book, Clay­tonThomas pointed to the album’s diver­sity of gen­res as one rea­son he be­lieves it didn’t make the cut. He said his record la­bel strug­gled to con­fine it to a sin­gle Juno cat­e­gory.

“Fi­nally they sub­mit­ted it un­der adult al­ter­na­tive, what­ever the hell that is,” he added.

Clay­ton-Thomas worked with pro­ducer Ge­orge Koller for nearly a year, en­vi­sion­ing “Cana­di­ana” as a gift to the coun­try for its 150th an­niver­sary.

He said voic­ing his feel­ings on the lack of Juno ac­co­lades isn’t some­thing he’s do­ing for per­sonal gain. He’s al­ready been hon­oured by the Junos be­fore, he said.

“I’m of­fended for my fel­low artists who all gath­ered around us and con­trib­uted their time, heart and tal­ent to mak­ing a truly great record,” he added.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Cana­dian Academy Of Record­ing Arts & Sci­ences, which or­ga­nizes the Junos, said they con­tacted Clay­ton-Thomas to re­spond to his con­cerns. In a state­ment, they also ac­knowl­edged the album rep­re­sents “a sig­nif­i­cant per­sonal un­der­tak­ing.”

“CARAS did not de­ter­mine or guide David on which cat­e­gories he should sub­mit to,” they said. “It went through the nom­i­na­tion process like all other artist sub­mis­sions.”

David Clay­ton-Thomas

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