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Nickelback, Buble vie for Juno glory
TORONTO (CP) – Neil Young is set to face off against Arcade Fire. Simple Plan will duke it out with Celine Dion. And it’ll be Divine Brown against Jully Black.
But with a leading six nominations, Alberta rockers Nickelback will be the act to beat on Sunday when the country’s music elite gather in Halifax for the Juno Awards. “They’ve got a really good shot to sweep the whole thing,” said Cameron Carpenter, director of talent development for satellite radio service XM Canada.
“With each successive album, they gain more and more respect . . . and keep winning people over.”
Perennial favourites who have taken home Juno hardware seven times, Nickelback had a phenomenal year in 2005 with their multimillion-selling album, All the Right Reasons, featuring the No.1 hit Photograph.
Close on Nickelback’s heels is torch singer Michael Buble, whose ballad-filled It’s Time was the country’s top-selling CD last year by a Canadian artist.
Buble, of Vancouver, had a major hit with Home, a sentimental track about feeling homesick.
He said the song has inspired many fans to write him personal stories, including U.S. troops fighting in Iraq.
“It’s amazing that something I wrote that, for me, was autobiographical means so much to so many,” Buble said during a conference call with Canadian media earlier this week.
“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a trip almost every day to hear that it’s affected people.”
The balladeer’s five Juno nominations follow a Grammy nod earlier this year. Buble lost out to legend Tony Bennett at those awards.
“It’s really great to be recognized,” said the crooner, who will be bringing his British actor girlfriend Emily Blunt to Sunday’s awards. “It’s a kick, man.”
Jazz siren Diana Krall tied Buble’s five nominations. Young is up for three awards, as is buzz act Arcade Fire and Canadian Idol champ Kalan Porter.
But some think the real winners of the night will be the little known acts who get to share a national, prime-time stage with the megastars.
Francophone singer Boom Desjardins is a huge celebrity in Quebec, but his name barely registers in the other provinces. That’ll change when viewers hear his name called among the nominees in two major categories – artist of the year and best pop album, which are typically dominated by English acts.
Bedouin Soundclash, a three-piece outfit formed in a dorm room at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., should also benefit from the Juno exposure.
Nominated for two awards, the group found success with its catchy single, When The Night Feels My Song, which was first used in a Zellers commercial.
The reggae-rock trio, however, are still not recognizable stars, said Carpenter.
“They crossed over quite a bit but not everyone knows who they are yet,” he said.
Bedouin is up for best single as well as best new group – a category they should easily win, mused fellow nominees Pocket Dwellers, a seven-piece jazz-tinged, hip hop group from Toronto’s suburbs.
But they aren’t complaining. Drummer Marco Raposo said he’s just happy the Junos have finally noticed his group, which has been together a decade and released three albums.
“We’ve never been a high profile band,” he said. “We’ve always been simmering in the underground. I guess it goes to show that there are industry people that do know what we’re doing.”
Other interesting races include the songwriter’s category, where Arcade Fire, Ron Sexsmith, Kathleen Edwards, Joel Plaskett and Young will compete.
There’s also a real dogfight in the alternative album category where hipster acts Broken Social Scene, Metric, Hot Hot Heat, Tegan & Sara and the New Pornographers are nominated.
Sunday night’s TV show, hosted by bombshell actress Pam Anderson, will only feature seven of the 39 awards.
The remainder of glass statues will be distributed at an industry-only gala dinner on Saturday night.
Some key Juno categories:
Fan Choice: Celine Dion; Diana Krall; Michael Buble; Nickelback; Simple Plan.
Single of the year: When the Night Feels My Song, Bedouin Soundclash; Inside and Out, Feist; Man I Used To Be, k-os; Home, Michael Buble; Photograph, Nickelback.
Album of the year: Christmas Songs, Diana Krall; 219 Days, Kalan Porter; It’s Time, Michael Buble; All The Right Reasons, Nickelback; Under The Lights, Rex Goudie.
Artist of the year: Boom Desjardins; Diana Krall; Kalan Porter; Michael Buble; Rex Goudie.
New artist of the year: Daniel Powter; Divine Brown; Jonas; Martha Wainwright; Skye Sweetnam.
New group of the year: Bedouin Soundclash; Boys Night Out; Hedley; Pocket Dwellers; Silverstein.
Songwriter of the year: Arcade Fire for Wake Up, Rebellion (Lies), Neighborhood 3 (Power Out), co-writer Josh Deu, from Funeral by Arcade Fire; Joel Plaskett for Happen Now, Natural Disaster, Lying on a Beach from La De Da by Joel Plaskett; Kathleen Edwards for In State, Copied Keys, Back to Me, co-writer Colin Cripps from Back To Me by Kathleen Edwards; Neil Young for The Painter, When God Made Me, Prairie Wind from Prairie Wind by Neil Young; Ron Sexsmith for Listen, One Less Shadow, Lemonade Stand from Destination Unknown by Sexsmith & Kerr.
Country recording of the year: Waitin’ On The Wonderful, Aaron Lines; Amanda Wilkinson, Amanda Wilkinson; Hey, Do You Know Me, Lisa Brokop; Life Goes On, Terri Clark; The Road Hammers, The Road Hammers.
Rap recording of the year: Boy-Cott-In The Industry, Classified; It’s Called Life, Eternia; Fire & Glory, Kardinal Offishall; The Dusty Foot Philosopher, K’Naan; United We Fall, Sweatshop Union.
Alternative album of the year: Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene; Elevator, Hot Hot Heat; Live It Out, Metric; So Jealous, Tegan & Sara; Twin Cinema, The New Pornographers.
Vocal jazz album of the year: Twenty For One, Cadence; Christmas Songs, Diana Krall; Rock Swings, Paul Anka; Just You, Just Me, Ranee Lee; Sophie Milman, Sophie Milman.