Male per­form­ers dom­i­nate coun­try mu­sic award nom­i­na­tions

The Prince George Citizen - - A&E - David FRIEND

TORONTO — Fewer women are nom­i­nated in the key cat­e­gories at this year’s Cana­dian Coun­try Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion Awards, but the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s head says it’s a case of bad tim­ing, not a gen­der par­ity set­back.

Tracy Martin, pres­i­dent of the CCMA, ex­plained the ab­sence of solo fe­male artists both in the al­bum and entertaine­r of the year cat­e­gories as co­in­ci­dence rather than an over­sight.

Most of Canada’s big­gest fe­male stars, in­clud­ing Jess Moskaluke and Lind­say Ell, didn’t re­lease new ma­te­rial in the qual­i­fy­ing pe­riod, which ended on April 30.

“We have our fe­males in a lit­tle bit of an off-cy­cle this year,” Martin said in a phone in­ter­view.

“They haven’t re­leased big al­bums.” After a ground­break­ing awards cer­e­mony last year – which fea­tured Sha­nia Twain march­ing along­side a new gen­er­a­tion of fe­male stars, and Terri Clark be­ing in­ducted into the hall of fame – the lower pro­file of women among the nom­i­nees an­nounced on Wed­nes­day was stark.

Lead­ing the con­tenders with five nods each was Al­berta sweet­heart Brett Kis­sel who tied with On­tario bro-coun­try act James Barker Band.

Kis­sel picked up nom­i­na­tions in cat­e­gories that in­cluded male artist and entertaine­r of the year. James Barker Band is in the run­ning for group or duo and sin­gle of the year.

Both acts will com­pete against each other in the song­writer cat­e­gory, as well as for in­ter­ac­tive artist, which rec­og­nizes the coun­try per­former who best uses their on­line pres­ence to in­ter­act with fans.

They also landed con­sid­er­a­tion for the fan choice award, along­side eight other con­tenders that in­clude the Hunter Broth­ers, Tim Hicks and the Reklaws.

But a year after CCMA or­ga­niz­ers ad­vo­cated a new era for women, some of the key cat­e­gories showed lit­tle or no fe­male pres­ence.

Nom­i­nees for the newly rein­tro­duced entertaine­r of the year award, which was dusted off after 30 years on the shelf, are all male.

The prize goes to a solo artist, duo or group, who has shown “the great­est com­pe­tence in all as­pects of the field,” and the CCMA Awards call it their high­est hon­our. Each nom­i­nee is se­lected by a panel of ju­rors after be­ing nar­rrowed down based on ra­dio play and sales.

This year’s con­tenders are Kis­sel, Paul Brandt, Dean Brody, Hicks and Dal­las Smith.

Mean­while, in the al­bum of the year cat­e­gory, which is se­lected by a panel of ju­rors, the only woman is Jenna Walker, who per­forms along­side her brother Stu­art in the Reklaws, a duo that’s up for Feels Like That.

The other nom­i­nees are Dal­las Smith for The Fall, Paul Brant’s The Jour­ney BNA Vol. 2, Te­bey’s Love a Girl, Tim Hicks’ New Tat­too and the Hunter Broth­ers’ State of Mind.

Among the 10 nom­i­nees for the fan choice award two are women – Jenna Walker and Que­be­cois per­former Guy­laine Tan­guay.

For sin­gle of the year, three women are among the five con­tenders. Ell’s Crim­i­nal, Tenille Townes’ Some­body’s Daugh­ter and Meghan Pa­trick’s Walls Come Down are nom­i­nated along­side Gord Bam­ford’s Dive Bar and James Barker Band’s Good To­gether.

In the best male artist cat­e­gory, the nom­i­nees are Kis­sel, Paul Brandt, Brody, Tim Hicks and Dal­las Smith.

Best fe­male artist nom­i­nees are Ell, Moskaluke, Pa­trick, Tan­guay and Townes.

Martin said she’s op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture for Canada’s lat­est crop of fe­male coun­try mu­si­cians.

Over the past 13 1/2 months, four women have reached the top spot on the coun­try ra­dio air­play chart that’s com­piled by track­ing com­pany Nielsen. It’s the first time more than two Cana­dian fe­male artists have reached No. 1 in 20 years.

“We’re start­ing to get some trac­tion here,” Martin said.

“It’s been a hard road, but with the batch of fe­males we have com­ing through... I’m ex­tremely op­ti­mistic that we are go­ing to see a great rep­re­sen­ta­tion in our for­mat (that’ll be) even big­ger next year.”

The CCMA Awards take place Sept. 8 at the Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome in Calgary, and will air live on Global TV.

Early per­form­ers an­nounced for the show in­clude Nashville act Old Do­min­ion and as well as Al­berta coun­try singer Townes.

CP FILE PHOTO

Brett Kis­sel per­forms at the Cana­dian Coun­try Mu­sic Awards in Hamil­ton, Ont. in 2018. For this year’s nom­i­na­tions men are dom­i­nat­ing most of the cat­e­gories for solo per­for­mances.

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