HALIFAX — Canada’s reigning king of country Gord Bamford proved once again why he wears the crown as the Canadian Country Music Association Awards returned to Halifax on Sunday for the first time in 33 years.
Bamford, from Lacombe, was the night’s big winner, taking home three awards including Male Artist of the Year and Songwriter and Single of the Year for his song Where a Farm Used To Be.
The 39-year-old Bamford, who was born in Australia but moved to Canada as a young boy, said he attributes his continued success to his hard-working attitude, instilled by his family upbringing in Alberta.
“I was always taught to work really hard and be very respectful to people, but told that when you go do something, try to do it at the best of your ability. That’s all I’ve tried to do,” said Bamford in an oversized black cowboy hat, just after debuting his new single Don’t Let Her Be Gone for thousands.
“I really didn’t expect any of this tonight… I’m actually really shocked that I’m standing up here, but at the same time, every time it happens it’s the best thing ever. It never gets old.”
It’s the third year in a row Bamford has cleaned up at the awards — he won Male Artist of the Year and Single of the Year honours in 2014.
For his first CCMA ever, former Default rocker-turned country singer Dallas Smith took home the coveted Album of the Year award for Lifted.
“I’m pretty proud of the songs we recorded,” said the 37-year-old British Columbia native, who opened the show with a rousing rendition of his song “Cheap Seats” with help from a local drumline.
“To take home that big award and it be my first one, I’m happy it’s happened this way.”
Jess Moskaluke, 25, won Female Artist of the Year for the second year in a row. The pop-country singer from Langenburg, Sask., is gearing up for the release of her new EP Kiss Me Quiet later this month.
“I cannot believe that this happened,” said an emotional Moskaluke in a floor-length red dress as she accepted the award. “You have no idea how much this means to me as a girl from small town Saskatchewan.”
The Nova Scotia-based Dean Brody, who was poised to win big having received seven nominations, won Video of the Year for Upside Down.
The 40-year-old B.C.-born singer, who moved to Nova Scotia six years ago after a stint in Nashville, said it felt great winning the award in his new home.
“We really feel embraced by the East Coast community,” said Brody, whose young family currently lives in Windsor, N.S., but will soon move to the Halifax area.
“It’s just a great community and it suites me as a person. I’m hoping we’re here to stay.”
Scottish-born veteran vocalist Johnny Reid claimed the fans’ choice award for the sixth time in the past seven years. He said being recognized by the people who listen to your music is an honour.
“The bigger thing for me is to stand up there and say thanks to them,” said Reid, standing out against his cowboy hat-clad colleagues in a black suit and tie. “It was a very humbling experience for me, yet again.”