Landing at the Calgary airport was the first step for Kent and his wife Allison, in their adventures at CCMA week out west. On Friday night, the big kick-off party was a real blast, with showcases by some of the new and up and coming artists and performers on the Canadian Country Music scene. Great performances by Aaron Goodvin, Barnard and Brohm and Pear were highlights of the evening. Despite the cold and rainy weather, a huge crowd of CCMA delegates and fans enjoyed a great show by all the performing artists that evening. Kent had a chance to have a friendly chat with Canadian Songwriter extraordinaire Steve Fox, and met performing artists Colin Amey and Lori Morrison, two of the nicest folks in Country Music.
[Click HERE for all the photos from the event!]
Saturday dawned another tough day for outdoor events, as the wind and rain seemed colder and more intense. The weather did not dampen any spirits at the Songwriters Café, where Kent and Allison watched Gord Bamford, Clayton Bellamy (of the Road Hammers), and The Cruzeros perform at the Olde Scotch Room, at the Marriott hotel. After dinner, it was off to another show, featuring roots artists - including the awesome Sean Hogan, and the widely traveled Bill Culp. The best part of the weekend was being able to chat with so many of these great artists up close and personal, and make some new friends.
Sunday was Kent's big day, and after a great breakfast followed by an open-forum discussion with record labels, producers and songwriters, it was time to play! Kent's performance at the Songwriters Café went exceptionally well - despite being a bit nervous with the company he was playing with… Kent's set at the café turned into a jam session on his last song - Temptation - where all the musicians on stage, including Aaron Pritchett and Johnny Reid, joined in together, playing along to the great delight of the crowd at this sold-out event. After signing a few autographs for fans, and talking with radio and music industry folks, Kent and Allison headed to the big gala dinner, where there were more music performances, with awards handed out to many artists and industry members for yearly achievements. To cap off the night, it was off to the big all star band awards and jam session, hosted by the amazing Wendell Ferguson.
Monday was Awards Show day, and after a morning of seminars, everyone headed out to the Calgary Saddle Dome for the big event. The stadium was packed, and when Paul Brandt sang his hit song "Alberta Bound" the whole crowd stood to their feet and gave him a deafening standing ovation that brought tears to his eyes and really choked him up. It was very cool to see how much the Alberta folks love Paul. Then it was George Canyon's turn to shine - he won Male Artist of the Year, the Fans Choice Award, Single of the Year, and SOCAN song of the year. Way to go, George! After the show, the post awards reception was a great place to meet some of the award winning stars, including Paul Brandt and Jason McCoy. It was really nice to be able to chat a bit with the award winners and nominees up close and personal.
Kent's trip to the Canadian Country Music Associations' Country Music Week in Calgary was a huge success! Not only did Kent enjoy playing up on stage with Johnny Reid and Aaron Pritchett at the Songwriters' Café, but he got to meet and chat with some of Canada's best artists, songwriters and industry professionals. Next years CCMA celebrations will be in St. John's New Brunswick - and Kent hopes to make it there again next year, with some new songs under his belt, and another opportunity to share with the nation his songs and his heart for Country Music.
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