Brody, Bamford, Reid among top nominees for Canadian Country Music prizes
TORONTO - Country singer Gord Bamford already has more than a half-dozen Canadian Country Music Association Awards crowding his living-room mantel back home in Alberta.
And after nabbing an additional six nominations at this year's CCMA awards, he started to think about renovating.
"Hopefully, we'll have to build another mantel," the 36-year-old joked after the nominees were announced at a press conference in Toronto on Wednesday.
Well, just think how Johnny Reid feels.
Yes, the Scottish-born, Toronto-bred crooner cleaned up again with a leading eight nominations while last year's big winner, Dean Brody of Jaffray, B.C., was next with seven.
All three will compete for the fans' choice award, single of the year, songwriter of the year and male artist of the year. Year after year, they duke it out at the CCMAs — but you won't find any of the mannered country gentlemen engaging even in light-hearted trash talk.
"No, I know, maybe it's different in rock 'n' roll," Brody said with a laugh in a telephone interview Wednesday.
"I'm really starting to get to know these guys. They're good guys. They're talented and fun to be around, too."
Reid and Brody are also in the running for album of the year, where they'll compete against Manitoba group Doc Walker's "16 & 1," Paul Brandt's "Give it Away" and Terry Clark's Juno-winning record "Roots and Wings."
Bamford was the big winner in 2010, while Reid and Brody split the spoils last year with Reid winning male artist of the year and the fans' choice award while the Nova Scotia-based Brody took album and single of the year.
But the low-key Brody still doesn't think of himself as a front-runner.
"Man, it still blows my mind because everybody I'm in the category with ... I have huge respect for," said Brody, who was so ensconced in home renovations he forgot CCMA nominations were being handed down Wednesday.
"I guess I feel like I'm becoming part of the family, yet I'm still a rookie."
After those heavy hitters, Jason Blaine of Pembroke, Ont., is nominated for four trophies including single and songwriter of the year while Clark, the Stellas and Hey Romeo are up for three apiece.
The awards will be handed out Sept. 9 at Saskatoon's Credit Union Centre, where the marquee performers will include fiery Texan Miranda Lambert, George Canyon, Deric Ruttan and top nominees Reid, Bamford, Brody and Clark.
While those homebred country stars are used to competing annually at the CCMAs, several up-and-coming artists have also found themselves in major categories this year.
Married duo the Stellas of Whitby, Ont., took nominations for group or duo of the year, rising star and video of the year less than 12 months after issuing their self-titled debut, while 28-year-old Chad Brownlee of Kelowna, B.C., earned a nod for male artist of the year after winning the rising star trophy at last year's bash.
"It's definitely a feather in the cap," Brownlee said after performing at the press conference.
Alberta sibling trio High Valley also felt fortunate after landing a nomination for group or duo of the year, even if the brothers were more interested in teasing mandolin player Curtis Rempel for his all-star band award nomination for special instrument.
"I think now his mandolin solos are going to be twice as long in every show, just to try and get extra votes," said frontman Brad Rempel with a laugh.
The trio has been nominated several times in the past — including for the rising star award last year — but has yet to win. While the brothers aren't counting on anything, they agree it sure would be nice to claim that first award.
"My knees would probably shake a bit all the way to the podium," Curtis said.
Added Brad: "It would mean we'd have to have a speech written up. Now, when we don't have a speech, it never gets exposed that we didn't have (one).
"If we win, it'll be fully exposed."