Moskaluke, Kissel Win Big At The CCMA Awards

Jess Moskaluke shows off her female artist of the year award at the CCMA Awards in London, September 11, 2016. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

The best and brightest in Canadian country music received their hardware and delivered knock-out performances before 8,000 screaming fans at London’s Budweiser Gardens.

Tim Hicks opened the Canadian Country Music Association Awards, the culminating event of Country Music Week, on Sunday with his hit “Stompin Ground.”

That was followed by some humour and a passionate smooch as host, CBC television personality Jessi Cruickshank, locked lips with singer Chad Brownlee on a Kiss Cam. Cruickshank was quick to tell the crowd “what happens in London, Ontario, stays in London, Ontario.”

The first big winner of the night was Alberta’s Brett Kissel. The 26-year-old took home not only the male artist of the year award, but also the fan’s choice award and the interactive artist of the year award.

Kissel told the fans “I’ve always dreamed of being up here on this stage, holding this award.”

For the third consecutive year, Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke was named female artist of the year.

“I’m as surprised the third time as the second and the first,” Moskaluke told reporters back stage. “The talent in Canada right now is bar none some of the best that we’ve ever come up with so if I could do it a fourth time it would be a miracle.”

She went on to praise country fans as the best, humble, and most loyal fans in the world.

“I don’t have a job without them and I love this job more than anything in the world so I’m a pretty lucky girl to have fans like this,” Moskaluke exclaimed.

Dean Brody took home the most hardware, winning four awards – single of the year, CMT video of the year, top selling Canadian single of the year, and songwriter of the year. All were for his smash hit song, “Bring Down The House.”

Venturing outside of his comfort zone and enlisting the help of a new producer, earned Gord Bamford album of the year for “Tin Roof.”

The 40-year-old dedicated the award win to his best friend and manager Brian Halbert.

“I forgot to thank him. I should have written something down before the awards but I really didn’t think I was going to win anything,” Bamford said backstage. “It’s his (Halbert’s) birthday today and I really want to dedicated the award to him. I appreciate everything he’s done.”

While Bamford’s single “Breakfast Beers” was penned following last year’s CCMA Awards, he was quick to say he won’t be writing Monday morning.

“I’m so excited to go back to Nashville tomorrow. My family and I moved there a year and a half ago. I haven’t seen my wife and kids for just about three months. My focus tomorrow morning is getting home to my family,” said Bamford.

Group or duo of the year went to the Brothers of High Valley, Brad and Curtis Rempel. This is the second year in a row the pair from Blumenort, Alberta have received the honour.

The trio The Washboard Union brought home the rising star award and the roots artist of the year award.

The night also included performances by Terri Clark, Cold Creek County, Madeline Merlo, Johnny Reid, and Grammy-nominated Sam Hunt. London decathlete and Olympic bronze medal winner, Damian Warner, along with fellow Olympian Melissa Bishop, drew huge cheers from the crowd when they took the stage as presenters.

Next year’s CCMA Awards will be handed out in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.