Flurries of Folk
The Sixth Annual Canadian Folk Music Awards
were handed out in Winnipeg on Saturday, November 20 at the Pantages Playhouse and from all reports the entire weekend, which included showcases and workshops, was a major success.
Nineteen major awards were handed out and one couldn’t help but be pleased for Alberta’s John Wort Hannam
who took home the honours in the Contemporary Album of the Year category.Queen’s Hotel
, the singer-songwriter’s fourth full-length release, had landed Hannam nominations from both the Junos and the Western Canadian Music Alliance earlier in the year, but it was this nomination that finally saw Hannam get his due.
Touring in England the same weekend as the Folk Awards were being presented was the only minor drawback, but that Hannam is finding an audience in England to go with those he is nurturing south-of-the-border speaks volumes about his talents.
“I can tell you that I was not expecting to win album of the year,” said Hannam, a few days after receiving the news.
“I have been nominated for a few awards but have never won anything, so I really stopped paying attention to the results. Anyhow, I can tell you that I’m thrilled and it is really nice to be recognized,” added the artist who has stitched together a very impressive itinerary for the next six months.
On Wednesday December 8, Hannam, Leeroy Stagger and Dave McCann kick off a 12-date
Highway 3 Roots Revue Tour
around and across Saskatchewan and Alberta. The first date finds the trio at Carlson’s On MacLeod in High River, which is one of the more inviting listening rooms in the province.
Back to the Folk Awards, Steve Dawson
(who produced Queen’s Hotel
for Hannam along with a number of other outstanding recordings) took home the Producer of the Year award. Also making trips to the podium in Winnipeg were The Once out of Newfoundland, who accepted the Emerging Artist of the Year award. The trio was also singled out in the Traditional Album of the Year category. Beyond the Pale also doubled up on the awards front, winning the Pushing the Boundaries award, as well as Instrumental Group of the Year honors.Roddy Campbell
, one of the founding board members of the Canadian Folk Awards, returned to his home base in Edmonton with nothing but praise for the event that continues to evolve and grow.
“What’s exciting is the additional activities surrounding the awards. There were a number of showcases organized in various venues on the Friday night and it created quite a buzz around the city. Folk Music Canada, which was formerly known as Folk Alliance Canada, now has its annual meetings during the folk awards weekend. The Western Festival Artistic Directors did the same thing and they held meetings for a couple of days prior to the main gala, so all the movers and shakers of the Canadian folk community now attend the Awards. All of this gives the weekend more credibility,” says the publisher of Penguin Eggs.
“As far as the Awards went I really thought John (Wort Hannam) and Ian Tamblyn were both worthy winners. Ian has been around for a long time and is kind of taken for granted,” added Campbell. Tamblyn was named English Songwriter of the Year.
Vocal duo Dala
took home the Vocal Group of the Year award and within a few days of accepting the award it was announced that Dala’s Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine have signed a deal with one of the most prestigious folk based labels in the world, that being Nashville’s Compass Records.
Dala joins a ridiculously deep Compass roster that currently includes Kate Rusby, Paul Brady, The Waifs, Capercaillie, the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Martin Simpson, and of course label founder Alison Brown. The stateside release of Dala’s Everyone is Someone is slated for January 25.
For a complete list of Canadian Folk Award winners head to canadianfolkmusicawards.ca
I think a couple of Alberta audiences are in for a treat later this week when Victoria’s The Breakmen
perform in Cochrane and Edmonton.
The quartet has just released a superb recording titled Heartwood
that finds the band continuing to push boundaries while incorporating fresh sounds into their rootsy mix that was born out of a collective love of old time and bluegrass sounds.
The group hunkered down in Whitehorse with producer Bob Hamilton, and by the time Matthew Lawson, Archie Pateman, Ben Rogalsky and Lee Watson exited Hamilton’s Old Crow studio, elements of soul and rural tinged roots rock were, at times, dominating new pieces.
“We’re certainly messing with electricity,” says Lawson who plays acoustic and electric guitars on the album along with mandolins and organ. Lawson also contributed a number of tunes to the sessions, including the muscular kick-off tune Back To The Start.
The Breakman play the Cochrane Ranch House for the Cochrane Valley Folk Club on Saturday, December 4 and The Haven in Edmonton on Sunday, December 5.