Johnny Reid dances to victory in five categories at country music awards

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Johnny Reid performs during the Canadian Country Music Awards in Vancouver

VANCOUVER — Johnny Reid danced away with five awards at the Canadian Country Music Association ceremony Sunday, including album of the year for his release “Dance With Me.”

Reid’s stack of awards included video of the year, male artist of the year, the fans’ choice award and songwriter of the year for “A Woman Like You.”

Reid, a Scottish-born Canadian who moved to Ontario with his family as a teenager, thanked his parents for all the sacrifices they’ve made in his name.

“I was given the opportunity to come to Canada in 1988. My mother and father packed up and sold everything they had in search of opportunity. Thank you for giving me an opportunity,” he told the cheering crowd.

Reid, who’s known for his romantic songs, also thanked the women in his life — his mother, grandmother, wife and “my wee baby that’s going to be here in January,” he said in his Scottish brogue.

Doc Walker, last year’s big winner at the CCMA awards, won again in the group of the year category. The Manitoba group’s Murray Pulver also won in the guitar player of the year category.

Crystal Shawanda, who grew up on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island and wrote her first song at nine years old, won the female artist of the year award.

“It feels amazing,” Shawanda told the media after winning.“I didn’t expect it at all.”

“For me the award means just validation. As an artist you work and you work and you stay on the road and you stay away from family and it just feels like I’m heading in the right direction.”

Tara Oram, the winner of the rising star award, came to the stage in tears.

“I grew up as a little girl in Newfoundland just watching this show,” she sobbed.

She went on to thank God, her family, her manager, country radio, everyone back in Hare Bay, Nfld., and finally her hamster Gertie, her rabbit Jack and her cat named Phoebe.

“The only thing I could think about was just being 10 years old and watching the awards and seeing Terri Clark up there and Michelle Wright and my whole life kind of just flashed before my eyes,” Oram told reporters after the ceremony.

“I had this really sharp pain in my stomach. It wasn’t gas. It was just very overwhelming.”

Dean Brody, who grew up in tiny Jaffray, B.C., took home single of the year for his track, “Brothers.”

Brody was ready to give up on music in 2005 so he could better support his family. As luck would have it, his future record label came calling just a few days later.

“I was just about to go up to the coal mines because they were hiring, I had some buddies that were working there,” he said.

Corb Lund and his Hurtin’ Albertans took the award for roots artist or group of the year.

Televised on CBC and hosted by Canadian actor and director Jason Priestley, the two-hour televised show featured performances by Reid, Doc Walker, Shawanda, Aaron Pritchett, Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, George Canyon and Richard Marx.

American country superstars Reba McEntire and Martina McBride also thrilled just over 6,000 fans at General Motors Place with their performances.

Priestley rumbled into the show on a Harley Davidson motorcycle and after shaking hands with some in the crowd, he saluted his hometown of Vancouver.

He went on to poke fun at some of the nominees, suggesting George Canyon’s latest album is not only about how much he loves his kids, but also how much he loves Johnny Reid’s wife. Reid’s wife was a common target for Priestley on this night.

While he dished out his fair share of jabs, Priestley was also on the receiving end of a poke by Reba McEntire.

In one sketch he asked McEntire what she was posting on Twitter. Countered Reba, “I’m so excited to meet Luke Perry” — confusing Priestley with his former “Beverly Hills 90210” co-star.

The final award handed out for the night was the fans choice, which also went to Reid. He told the crowd the award meant the world to him.

“This will be a night that lives for ever in my heart. Thank you very, very much.”

Sunday’s awards ceremony was the wrap up for a four-day event of artist showcases, workshops, and country-music industry networking in a city which isn’t known for country tunes, but was awash in cowboy hats leading up to the event.

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