Jessie Farrell…with seven nominations…I guess that means, and I think we can all agree on this…it has been an off year for Canadian Country Music!!

Farrell leads CCMA noms
TORONTO – Newcomer Jessie Farrell leads the nominees for the Canadian Country Music Awards this year, snagging a total of seven nominations Wednesday, including single, album, songwriter and female artist of the year.
The Vancouver singer, a 30-year-old redhead with a strong pop bent, dominated a field heavy with more traditional fare from more established acts.
They include Winnipeg’s Doc Walker who raked in six nominations, Calgary’s Paul Brandt with five, and Gord Bamford of Lacombe, Alta., with four.
Farrell said she was still drifting in and out of sleep in Vancouver when the nominations were being announced at a Toronto press conference.
“I was kind of half-asleep thinking: ‘I wonder if I should get up. What am I doing now?’ and the phone rang. So I jumped out of bed and there’s nothing like waking up to good news,” said Farrell, who got word from her record label at about 8:30 a.m. Pacific time.
“I’ve been working so hard for the last eight years and it’s only been in the last year and a half that I’ve been on the radar. It is kind of surprising…. It’s such an amazing thing to think people are listening to the music. I am lucky.”
The album of the year is a race between Doc Walker, Deric Ruttan, Johnny Reid, Farrell and Brandt while nominees for songwriter of the year include Doc Walker, Farrell, Bamford, Ruttan and Brandt.
The awards will be handed out at a gala in Winnipeg on Sept. 8. Country singer Terri Clark will host the bash, which will feature performances by nominees George Canyon, Emerson Drive, Farrell and Reid.
Bamford, who showed up at the announcement clad in a black coat and black hat, said he and his band have been pleased with the success of his nominated single, “Blame It On That Red Dress.”
“When you work hard at something you hope that there’s rewards and they’re starting to happen for me so it’s very cool,” Bamford said.
“We just keep putting out stuff that we think we do well at and whether there’s trends or not, you see how music kind of goes through the pop to country, I’m real traditional. We’ve just tried to stick with the grassroots of that. I think that the consistency of doing that and the persistence of doing that is what’s paying off.”
Nominees Doc Walker have been designated honorary chairs for Country Music Week, a series of music-related events leading up to the awards bash. They said they were thrilled to serve as ambassadors for their hometown of Winnipeg, which will host the awards for the first time in more than 20 years.
Frontman Chris Thorsteinson said they were blown away to hear they were up for six trophies.
“It’s pretty amazing, that’s a lot of nominations,” said Thorsteinson.
“It’s pretty humbling when you look at the people we’re in the categories with. I grew up listening to these artists and respecting these artists and to be in the same category is pretty amazing. We’re really excited.”
Prairie Oyster singer Russell deCarle said the group was honoured to be named this year’s inductees into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
“I don’t feel that old but it’s a real honour for us,” said deCarle, who formed the band in the mid-70s and went on to craft a sound that blended rockabilly, folk and country traditions.
“We’re certainly in incredible company there – I think of the years I watched people like Hank Snow, and Gordon Lightfoot and Ian Tyson, a whole host of others.”
The awards show is set to air on CBC-TV on Sept. 8.