It was a pretty good awards show…did ya see me?!?! I was sitting in the front row!!

Emerson Drive steers its way to three Canadian country music awards
REGINA (CP) – Pop-country band Emerson Drive steered its way to the Canadian Country Music Awards Monday night and left with a trunk full of hardware.
The smooth-sounding sextet, who got their start in Grand Prairie, Alta., took home song and video of the year awards for their hit “Moments,” which they performed to kick off the show, as well as for group of the year.
“The last two and a half years, there have been so many people who have put in a ton of effort to put out the countrified CD,” said lead singer Brad Mates, as he accepted the award for group of the year, which they also won in 2002 and 2003.
“First and foremost, obviously the fans that have really jumped on board this year. Thank you so much.”
The ballad “Moments” hit No. 1 as a single on the Billboard country music charts south of the border earlier this year. The song peaked at No. 4 in Canada.
The group also includes guitarist Danick Dupelle, drummer Mike Melancon, David Pichette on fiddle, Patrick Bourque on bass and Dale Wallace on keyboards.
Veteran Canadian country act Brad Johner impressed fans in his home province, picking up the first award of the night for male artist of the year. Johner, who got his start with his brother Ken as The Johner Brothers, was born in Midale, Sask., about 150 kilometres southeast of Regina.
“Well, that makes for a good beginning doesn’t it?,” Johner said as the crowd screamed.
Johner told the crowd about how he wrote an acceptance speech when he and his brother were nominated for an award in 1992 and he has kept it in his wallet ever since. But he ended up forgetting his billfold in the dressing room back stage.
“I’m going to wing it again after all those years,” Johner joked.
Alberta singer-songwriter Carolyn Dawn Johnson – a perennial winner at the annual awards show – won female artist of the year honours, but was edged out for the fan’s choice award by another Alberta songstress, Terri Clark.
“I must be really tired because I’m feeling very emotional,” Johnson said holding back tears.
“I love music so much,” she said as someone in the crowd yelled back: “We love you!”
Clark accepted the award via video from Toronto, where she is recording her next album.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we do,” she said.
Mitch Merrett, Aaron Pritchett and Deric Ruttan won the songwriter of the year award for the irreverent hit “Hold My Beer,” which Pritchett recorded himself.
Pritchett called the tune – which features the refrain “hold my beer, while I kiss your girlfriend” – a “killer fun song” that everyone can sing along to.
“I swear to God, I didn’t think we were going to win this at all,” he said. “Listen to my voice, I am so nervous … big crowd too, it’s kind of weird.”
Album of the year honours were taken home by the Manitoba group Doc Walker for its self-titled release.
The Corb Lund Band won the award for roots group of the year, while Shane Yellowbird of Hobbema, Alta., took home the rising star honour. Yellowbird, whose debut album is “Life is Calling My Name,” was nominated for five awards overall.
Nova Scotia’s George Canyon was also nominated from five awards, but failed to take home any hardware.
Awards show host Paul Brandt, whose long-awaited new album “Risk” comes out Tuesday, was also shut out in the four categories in which he was nominated.
2007 Canadian Country Music Association award winners, announced Monday night:
Fans’ choice: Terri Clark
Single of the year: Moments (Emerson Drive)
Album of the year: Doc Walker (Doc Walker)
Songwriter of the year: Mitch Merrett, Aaron Pritchett, Deric Ruttan (Hold My Beer, Aaron Pritchett)
Video of the year: Moments (Emerson Drive)
Female artist of the year: Carolyn Dawn Johnson
Male artist of the year: Brad Johner
Group of the year: Emerson Drive
Roots artist or group of the year: Corb Lund Band
Rising star: Shane Yellowbird