Doc Walker wins top honours at WCMA
CALGARY (CP) — In the house and in control, country rockers Doc Walker knocked off the big guns at the Western Canadian Music Awards.
The Manitoba indie band took two trophies, including the coveted entertainer of the year title over international superstars Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan and Nelly Furtado who were no-shows at Sunday’s awards.
Lead singer Chris Thorsteinson was shocked by the award, which is voted on by fans.
“This is why we travel, why we drive around in a broken-down bus — because of the fans,” Thorsteinson told the crowd of more than 1,000 gathered for the awards ceremony.
The boys from Portage la Prairie, who have spent much of the last decade living out of the back of a van performing at everything from potato festivals to football games, also took the top country recording for their second album, Everyone Aboard.
“They sell millions more records than we do, but entertainer of the year is getting out there and playing,” Thorsteinson said backstage.
The accolades follow Doc Walker’s best group trophy at the Canadian Country Music Awards last month in Edmonton.
Hosted by rocker Bif Naked, the Western Canadian awards are still struggling to establish an identity. Only half of the winners showed up to collect their trophies for the show that was not televised.
Other double winners Sunday were the Weakerthans, who took best song and independent album for Reconstruction Site; and Matthew Good of Vancouver, who won best rock recording for Avalanche and best video.
B.C. singer-songwriter Jill Paquette also took two awards for outstanding aboriginal and Christian recordings. Paquette’s self-titled debut has already earned her a Juno and three Vibe awards for Christian music.
But this is the first time the soft-spoken Paquette has been honoured for both aspects of her faith background.
“I feel there is a sacredness that I like to approach in my music,” said the 25-year-old Metis. “I just feel so honoured to be part of the Canadian music scene which has inspired me.”
Although organizers stressed the Western Canadian awards are designed to highlight the accomplishments of rising stars, the heavy hitters didn’t go home empty-handed.
Rockers Nickelback, the pride of Hanna, Alta., won best album by a major label artist, while Victoria’s Nelly Furtado took best pop recording for Folklore.
Calgary’s Jann Arden was recognized for co-producing her latest release, Love Is The Only Soldier.
Vancouver hip hop crew Swollen Members took home best rap or hip hop recording, an award they also won at the first Western Awards last year in Regina.
Manitoba’s Wailin’ Jennys won best roots recording for 40 Days.
The evening also featured a tribute to Calgary-based rockers The Stampeders, who were inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
The Stampeders, best known for the tight harmonies of the 1970s hit Sweet City Woman, continue to tour more than 35 years after they began performing. And they can still draw a crowd, attracting 12,000 at an outdoor concert in Sydney, N.S., over the summer.
“We had lots of fun pioneering, not a helluva much money but lots of fun,” laughed drummer Kim Berly, who wrote Oh My Lady.
Guitarist Ronnie King said was touched by the tribute, which he called the acknowledgement of a dream.
“We wanted to be the Beatles,” he said. “For a while we had some Stampedermania. We were allowed to be street rockers.”
The third Western Canadian Music Awards will be held in Vancouver next fall.
Entertainer of the year: Doc Walker
Outstanding album (independent): The Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site
Outstanding album (major label): Nickelback, The Long Road
Outstanding producer: Jann Arden/Russell Broom, Love Is The Only Soldier
Outstanding songwriter: John K. Samson/The Weakerthans, Reconstruction Site
Outstanding pop recording: Nelly Furtado, Folklore
Outstanding country recording: Doc Walker, Everyone Aboard
Outstanding rap/hip-hop recording: Swollen Members, Heavy
Outstanding rock recording: Matthew Good, Avalanche
Outstanding roots recording: The Wailin’ Jennys, 40 Days
Outstanding aboriginal recording: Jill Paquette, Jill Paquette
Outstanding blues recording: Big Dave McLean, Blues from the Middle
Outstanding children’s recording: Lulu and the TomCat, 3, 2, 1 Kadooze
Outstanding Christian recording: Jill Paquette, Jill Paquette
Outstanding classical composition: Robert Turner, Third Symphony: Canadian Composers Portraits
Outstanding classical recording: (Tie) CBC Radio Orchestra, Jacques Hetu: Concertos; Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Yuletide Fires
Outstanding francophone recording: Danielle Hebert, Aventuriere Accidentelle
Outstanding instrumental recording: Great Uncles of the Revolution, Blow the House Down
Outstanding jazz recording: Marilyn Lerner/Sonny Greenwich, Special Angel
Video of the year: Matthew Good, In a World Called Catastrophe.
Hall of Fame inductee: The Stampeders
Doc Walker wins top honours at WCMA