By Trevor J. Adams
Halifax goes a little bit country as the city celebrates some of Canadian music’s top talents.
The Canadian Country Music Association Awards come to Halifax for only the second time in the event’s history. In addition to the gala awards show, the celebrations include Country Music Week, jam-packed with special events for music lovers.
First on the calendar is the CCMA Songwriters’ Series, beginning on September 10 and continuing through September 13. The Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street hosts, as artists explore the songwriter’s craft. Industry veterans and rising stars will share the stage for an intimate acoustic performance series.
Also on September 10, the World Trade and Convention Centre hosts the CCMA Discovery Showcase. The event brings together six finalists from the association’s Discovery Program for up-and-coming talents. Beverley Mahood hosts, while each artist performs separately for the secret panel of judges.
The finalists were selected through a rigorous, nationwide jury selection process. Since then, they’ve learned in-depth, about the music business and artist development through industry-led information sessions and seminars, performance and vocal coaching, and styling.
The roster includes Meaghan Blanchard (Hunter River, P.E.I.), Raquel Cole (Vernon, B.C.), Ray Gibson (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Maddison Krebs (Okotoks, Alberta), Katia Zuccarelli (Port Credit, Ontario), and Sykamore (Calgary, Alberta).
Up next is the CCMA Legends Show on September 11 at the Dalhousie Arts Centre. Beverly Mahood hosts this special
tribute to Canadian country hits of the past by pairing young talents and industry veterans.
The lineup includes Gord Bamford, Tim Chaisson, Patricia Conroy, Tracey Brown, and many others. The same night, the Cunard Centre on Marginal Road hosts a rollicking Kitchen Party.
Return to the Cunard Centre on September 12 for FanFest, a free afternoon show featuring back-to-back live performances by a collection of fan-favourite artists. Attendees will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with these country music celebs at the CCMA FanFest photo wall.
The celebrations continue back at Casino Nova Scotia that night, as the CCMA All Star Band Awards honours the hardworking musicians who spend hours perfecting their skills and supporting artists both on stage and behind the scenes.
Finally, the Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street hosts the eponymous awards show on September 13. The finalists are a who’s-who of Canadian country music scene. Gord Bamford and Nova Scotia’s own Dean Brody lead the pack with six nominations apiece. Following close behind are Brett Kissel and Dallas Smith, with four nominations each.
Tickets are available at ticketatlantic.com. The show airs on CBC and CMT.