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This is part 50 (!!!) of an ongoing series where the kind folk of the music business reveal their favourite album of all time.

Ask people in the music industry the seemingly simple and straightforward question, “What is your favourite album of all time?” and you’ll find that it’s not always easy. After all, my industry peers listen to hundreds of albums a month and thousands of songs during that time. Because the question isn’t the best album of all time or the one that’s made them the most money in sales, or the most clicked-on review, but the one release they personally can’t live without, that one title they have two copies of in several formats, in case one breaks. It’s also about that album that for them has the best back stories and the one that has the most meaning in their lives.

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Will Layman, jazz critic for PopMatters.com
Joni Mitchell, Hejira
I am mainly a jazz critic, and I listen to instrumental music 80% of the time, riveted by improvisation and addicted to the riveting interplay of rhythmic innovation and the blues that sits at the core of jazz. But if I’m honest, the record that I come back to most often – as both provocation and comfort, as a recording that rewards me with surprise and narrative beauty, is Hejira by Joni Mitchell. It’s not a jazz recording in any real sense, but it came from Joni at a time when jazz was informing her songwriting, and in its folk-rocky sway and wash of contrasting guitars it finds something of the rhythmic ambiguity of jazz. the melodies snake and slither like great jazz solos, spinning variations on themselves. And the stories are poetry as well as narrative; the words are rich. And her voice is coffee and cream. I listen to it the way you return to dreams after you have woken up, just hoping that you can get caught in them again, enchanted by them again. And it always works.

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Soren Spicknall, Station Manager, WIIT 88.9FM Chicago
The Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree
This album represents John Darnielle, one of American’s greatest living songwriters, in his most personal form. The album moves through a series of childhood experiences in a broken home, presenting Darnielle’s observations ranging from mundane to devastating, all in a remarkably honest manner. The abuses of his stepfather are neither romanticized nor demonized, and it’s not hard to tell that these songs were hard for Darnielle to write and release. For being such a brave portrayal of an incredibly difficult topic, the album stands alone in my mind above anything else I’ve listened to before or since.

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Spence, Morning Show Host, News Talk 1590 KVTA , Ventura, California
Neil Young, Time Fades Away
The best of The Ditch Trilogy with the coolest song about a city, L.A. It’s raw and raucous. Rock with a sweet ballad thrown in too. Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued.

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Wendy Rollins, Assistant Program Director, On Air Radio 104.5 Philadelphia
Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
This was/is a defining album for me. The album lyrically played very closely to my own life and came at a time when I learned that female power can walk with grace and rage with fire.

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Randee Dawn, Writer, Today, Variety, LA Times. Author of Home for the Holidays, co-author of The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion
The Trash Can Sinatras, Cake
Hearing “Obscurity Knocks” while sitting in a shared London flat during my study abroad semester in the early 1990s was like falling in love during a very tough year: The Duane Eddy-esque guitars, the soaring strings, the beautiful John Leckie production completely made up for the fact that I couldn’t figure for the life of me what the Scots singer was saying. Eventually landing the full album that featured that single was eye-opening and world-changing: I became evangelical about the album, playing it for everyone I knew. Then I judged them severely if they also were not similarly captivated. Eventually pairing the lyrics to the songs opened up a fresh world: These are some of the most clever, gentle, moving wordplays I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy, all paired beautifully with the band’s delight in Smiths-like janglepop and catchy, unexpected hooks. Best news for me is the band is still around and about to put out their latest album.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) announces the inaugural international creative-economy summit “The Mastering of a Music City.” A joint event by Music Canada, the international recording industry group IFPIMusic Cities Convention and Canadian Music Week. “The Mastering of a Music City” will explore in-depth the relationship between creative city planning, quality-of-life and the music industry. Keynote speakers include CEO of IFPI Frances Moore, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics Christopher Thornberg, and Chief Insights Officer of IEG in Chicago Lesa Ukan. The day-long summit takes place during CMW on Saturday, May 7, 2016 at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto. Gain access with a CMW VIP pass, or purchase individual tickets here.

“We are pleased to continue the Music Cities debate at Canadian Music Week,” says CMW President Neill Dixon. “The Mastering of a Music City’ initiative is one of the most exciting we’ve ever been involved in, with a tremendous potential economic upside.”

The ‘Music City is a true 21st Century paradigm – a shared realization that cities across the globe enjoy an often-huge economic dividend from the creation, performance and reception of music. Whether it’s Austin, Texas, where music tourism represents half the city’s economic output from music, or Melbourne, Australia, where live music accounts for 116,000 jobs, or Toronto, where the Canadian recording industry has a $400 million impact, that song you hear is sung by robust civic economies worldwide.

The event was inspired first by Music Canada’s Report on Toronto’s 2012 ‘Music City’ initiative with Austin, and directly by Music Canada and IFPI’s internationally-acclaimed report The Mastering of a Music City, Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why it’s Worth Pursuing. That report created a global stir when it debuted at the annual international music trade conference, Midem, in Cannes, France. A practical, how-to document, “The Mastering Of A Music City” offers a concrete list for municipalities worldwide to create a music-friendly infrastructure – including the institution of music offices and advisory Boards, the opening of public spaces and places to music events, audience development and music tourism initiatives.

Entrepreneurs, industry executives, tourism experts, artists and musicians from London to Nashville will join in sessions that break down the value of the musical creative community from the economic to the esoteric.

“Ultimately the goal is to create a more sustainable music community where artists and professionals can enjoy successful careers,” says Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada. “We want to see a world without musical borders.”

Frances Moore, IFPI Chief Executive adds: “Just imagine a world where you can go from country to country and find music cities in every one. That would be good for artists, good for record companies, good for city leaders and good for the wider public that just wants to enjoy great music.”

For more information on and to view a full list of speakers at this year’s summit, click here.

Cyndi Lauper’s celebrated musical journey takes an unexpected southern turn on DETOUR, her 11th studio album, which finds the Grammy, Emmy and Tony-winning singer-songwriter putting her signature spin on a dozen classic country songs.

DETOUR showcases Lauper’s unmistakable voice on country classics from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s and features guest appearances from county music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Willie Nelson. Lauper recorded the album in Nashville alongside a band comprised of the city’s top session players.

The album is Lauper’s first for Sire Records and executive produced by legendary Sire founder, Seymour Stein. DETOUR will be available May 6 on CD, LP, and digitally.

Lauper says recording a country album is something she’s dreamed about for many years. Growing up, she recalls listening to singers like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Wanda Jackson in her Aunt Gracie’s kitchen. “When I was a really young kid, country music was pop music, so this is what we grew up listening to. These songs are part of some of my earliest memories so it has been an absolute thrill to revisit them.”

Lauper sounds right at home from the start, beginning with the album opener, “Funnel Of Love,” a track Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly, recorded in 1960. Another highlight is the rollicking take on “Heartaches By The Number,” a country standard previously covered by everyone from George Jones to Waylon Jennings to Dwight Yoakum. DETOUR also features stunning covers of two classic Pasty Cline songs, “Walkin’ After Midnight” and her #1 smash, “I Fall To Pieces.” Lauper says, “I spent a lot of time in my room singing with Patsy. I had to sing a Patsy Cline song – or two – because her voice was like one of my girlfriends. That’s how close I felt to her.”

For the album, Lauper duets with several special guests, including country music royalty: Emmylou Harris (on the title track), Willie Nelson (“Night Life,” a song he wrote over 50 years ago), Vince Gill (Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty’s “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly”) and Alison Krauss (Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” Jewel also makes an appearance on DETOUR, showcasing her prodigious yodeling skills on “I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” which was the first country song by a woman to sell one million copies.

DETOUR
Track Listing

  1. “Funnel Of Love”
  2. “Detour” – Featuring Emmylou Harris
  3. “Misty Blue”
  4. “Walkin’ After Midnight”
  5. “Heartaches By The Number”
  6. “The End Of The World”
  7. “Night Life” – Featuring Willie Nelson
  8. “Begging To You”
  9. “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly” – Featuring Vince Gill
  10. “I Fall To Pieces”
  11. “I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” – Featuring Jewel
  12. “Hard Candy Christmas” – Featuring Alison Krauss

Ronnie McDowell, known for decades of hit songs and genuine warmth that fills seats again and again, opens up about his illustrious music career in his new autobiography, “‘Bringing It To You Personally,” available for preorder now.

“Bringing It To You Personally,” which includes more than 100 photos, captures McDowell’s personal and career triumphs, as well as life lessons he’s endured throughout four decades as an entertainer. McDowell’s autobiography chronicles the moment he came out of nowhere to dazzle the world with his heartfelt and self-penned tribute song, “The King Is Gone,” in honor of Elvis Presley’s death.

“My fans have been asking me to write a book for more than 20 years. I have always said it would probably not happen, but last year I thought maybe the time was right to tell the real story of my life,” McDowell said.

The young man from Portland, Tennessee quickly proved that he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder after “The King is Gone.” From that single onward, McDowell charted more than thirty Top 40 hits on the Billboard country music charts. Two of his singles, “Older Women” and “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation,” reached No. 1 on the country charts, while eleven more reached Top Ten. He has also released more than twenty studio albums.

McDowell often tours with Elvis Presley’s original sidemen Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana along with Millie Kirkham and The Jordanaires staging a tribute to Elvis Presley’s music. The legendary Scotty Moore, Elvis’ original guitar player, also raved about McDowell’s autobiography, “If you are a Ronnie fan, if you are an Elvis fan or if you happen to be a Scotty Moore fan…you need to read this book.”

The book’s foreword is written by one of Ronnie’s best friends, The Jordanaires’ Ray Walker:

(book excerpt) “Ronnie is so loved by everyone who works with him. And none more than me. You’ve heard of people who are joined at that hip? Ronnie and I are joined at the heart. In the Bible, Jesus says, ‘There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother’…and that is Ronnie McDowell,” said Ray Walker of The Jordanaires.

‘Bringing It To You Personally’ also includes McDowell’s personal stories about his friendships with everyone from to George Jones to tourmate Conway Twitty.

“I have been able to work with and get to know just about everyone in country music. And I am able to share my memories of those special times and special people.” McDowell adds, “There are some funny stories about a lot of the country stars. And yes, I name names!”

McDowell scored a Top 10 hit with “It’s Only Make Believe,” a duet with Conway Twitty on what had been Twitty’s breakthrough rock and roll hit in 1958. Conway Twitty fans will also love Ronnie’s memories of seven years on the road with Conway.

“I have so many memories of Conway and they are all in here, going from the first time I met him to the very last words he said to me before he died,” McDowell said.

RONNIE MCDOWELL ON TOUR:
Jan. 29 The Palace Theater – Gallatin, TN
Jan. 30 The Palace Theater – Gallatin, TN
Feb. 13 The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit – Blue Ridge Summit, PA
Feb. 14 Rosedale American Legion – Rosedale, MD
Feb. 19 Bottling Pant Event Center – Opelika, Ala.
Feb. 21 Converse College – Spartanburg, S.C.
Feb. 27 My Time Cafe – Portland, Tenn.
March 11 Tennessee Armour – Red Boiling Springs, Tenn.
March 12 Tennessee Armour – Red Boiling Springs, Tenn.
April 16 The Roxy Theater – Russellville, Ala.
April 30 Marian Cocke’s Elvis Presley Charity Event – Fulton, Miss.
May 13 Old King Coal Festival – West Frankfort, Ill.
May 14 Strawberry Festival – Portland, TN
July 15 The Canadian Bluemoon Elvis Festival Barriere, B.C. Canada

For the first time ever, the South By Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference and Festival will offer multiple keynote speakers. SXSW is honored that the first to be announced is Tony Visconti. Mr. Visconti’s opening keynote will take place on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in Room 18ABCD of the the Austin Convention Center.

Tony Visconti has been hailed as one of the most important producers in the history of Rock and Pop. David Bowie’s “Young Americans” and “Heroes” are masterpieces, while “(Bang a Gong) Get It On” and “Cosmic Dancer” by T. Rex are true cornerstones of rock and roll.

Tony has recently co-produced David Bowie’s Blackstar CD, co-produced Esperanza Spalding’s upcoming Concord release Emily’s D+Evolution, and Daphne Guinness’s Optimist in Black.

2013 saw Bowie and Visconti’s production of Davie Bowie’s “Where Are We Now” along with the album The Next Day.

Previously, he produced Angelique Kidjo’s Djin Djin album earning Visconti his first Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album.

His autobiography, Bowie, Bolan and the Brooklyn Boy (Harper Collins UK) is an evocative overview of Visconti’s life, musical beginnings, and adventures in London with David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Thin Lizzy, Paul McCartney, and more.

The versatile Visconti has also produced albums by Thin Lizzy, Luscious Jackson, The Strawbs, U2, Kaiser Chiefs, Alejandro Escovedo, Gentle Giant, Mercury Rev, Sparks, Badfinger, The Alarm, and Morrissey.

Mr. Visconti’s keynote is open to all Music and Platinum registrants and registered showcasing artists. More keynotes will be announced in the near future.

The South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival is a six-day event held every March in Austin, Texas. The conference offers unmatched access to ideas and global viewpoints on an increasingly borderless industry. It aims to educate and inspire musicians and professionals alike, with sessions attended by over 30,000 registrants and showcasing artists. A large multi-industry trade show exhibition, Music Gear Expo and daytime stage performances round out the day while evenings are devoted to the SXSW Music Festival, which showcases 2,000 acts ranging from the unsigned to the iconic. The 30th annual event takes place March 15 – 20, 2016. For more information, please visit sxsw.com. To register for the event, please visit http://www.sxsw.com/attend.

Entertainment One (eOne) today announced that it will enhance its global film portfolio and international sales and distribution reach through a strategic equity investment in Sierra Pictures, led by Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg.

The new partnership brings together two companies that share a commitment to delivering high-quality feature films for a global audience. Sierra Pictures will continue to operate autonomously, tapping into eOne’s global production and financing resources to support its expanding production slate which includes the current production of the elevated spy thriller, THE COLDEST CITY, starring Charlize Theron. As part of the agreement, the international sales and distribution of films produced and acquired by eOne Features, as well as eOne-distributed films from The Mark Gordon Company, will be handled by Sierra outside of Canada, the UK, Australia/New Zealand, Benelux and Spain, where eOne directly distributes films.

Sierra/Affinity, the joint international sales venture between Sierra Pictures, OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films, will continue to operate, exclusively representing films from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, Blumhouse International, OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films, as well as third party producers.

Building on its successful venture with The Mark Gordon Company and the launch of the recently-announced Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, Participant Media and Reliance Entertainment, the partnership with Sierra Pictures will see eOne further extend its ability to source high-quality films for distribution in major markets around the world. Seville International will continue to handle sales on arthouse films from Canada and around the world, under the joint stewardship of Meyer and eOne’s Patrick Roy.

“We are very pleased to expand our relationship with Sierra Pictures.  Nick and Marc have an impressive track record across film production, sales and distribution, making them industry standouts, and we have long-admired the strength of their business.  We are thrilled to partner with the Sierra team to source and produce new feature films for distribution around the world, and to leverage Sierra’s deep relationships to enhance the global potential of eOne’s film slate,” said Steve Bertram, President, Global Film Group, Entertainment One.

“This partnership is an exciting development for Sierra Pictures as eOne has the resources and global footprint to provide further bedrock for the production and financing of our films. The deal also aligns us with one of the most active and forward-thinking companies operating in the global feature film industry,” noted Meyer and Schaberg.  “As we continue to grow Sierra, eOne will be an invaluable and complementary partner and we are excited to be working with Steve and his global film production and distribution leadership team to build a very strong slate of films.”

Although he is widely revered as one of the 20th Century’s most accomplished and innovative musicians, the brief and troubled life of Jaco Pastorius remains a mystery to many. It’s what prompted one of his most ardent fans, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, to produce the first documentary exploring Pastorius’ prodigious talent, personal adventures, and raw human vulnerability.

The end result, Jaco, co-directed by Paul Marchand and Stephen Kijak, will be released as a deluxe 2-disc DVD/Blu Ray package on November 27 through Conveyor Canada / Universal Music Canada. The film, which recently premiered at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (near Pastorius’ hometown), was made with the co-operation of the bassist’s family and features interviews with former collaborators such as Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, along with admirers like Geddy Lee, Flea, and Sting.

Jaco tells the story of a kid from south Florida whose brash approach to playing electric bass revolutionized the instrument’s role in jazz during the 1970s, and became an influence on fellow bassists in all other genres from then on. Yet, like many other genius-level artists, Pastorius suffered from mental illness, which led his career to be derailed by substance abuse in the 1980s, and his tragic death in 1987 following a beating outside a Florida club.

Along with the 2hr documentary, the deluxe edition of Jaco contains an additional 1hr 40min disc of Extras, including 20 never-before-seen interviews, and footage from the 2015 “Jaco’s World” tribute concert at the Hollywood Bowl. There will also be an exclusive Black Friday Record Store edition, which adds the CD Mass InstruMENTALS by funk rockers Mass Mentals, comprised of 10 pieces composed by Robert Trujillo and Armand Sabal-Lecco.

Canadian rockers The Trews are set to showcase their quieter side with an acoustic tour of western Canada and Ontario this coming February and March (see full schedule below).

To coincide with these dates, the band is re-issuing their 2009 live acoustic album Friends & Total Strangers in a deluxe expanded edition, out November 27, 2015 via Home Music Canada / Entertainment One. The remastered set will include four previously unreleased tracks from The Trews’ January 2009 sessions at Glenn Gould Studios in Toronto: “Every Inambition,” “Makin’ Sunshine,” “No Time For Later,” and “Not Ready To Go.” Friends & Total Strangers will also be available on vinyl for the first time, as a double LP (available on tour in 2016) that can be purchased online or at the shows.

Lead guitarist John-Angus MacDonald produced all tracks on Friends & Total Strangers and recent production credits include JUNO nominated album The Union by The Glorious Sons which spawned the #1 single, “The Contender” at Active Rock Radio (Mediabase) this past month.

The Trews have also confirmed that their Feb. 18 and 19 shows at Festival Place in Sherwood Park, Alberta, as well as the Feb. 20 date at Flames Central in Calgary, will include Black Crowes co-founder Rich Robinson as special guest on the bill. John-Angus MacDonald says, “we’re very excited that Rich Robinson will be joining us for those three dates. We are big fans of Rich’s solo work and are thrilled to have him on the bill with us. We did a little collaborating with Rich on the Thank You And I’m Sorry EP a couple years back and it will be great to play with him again.”

“As a band we are really looking forward to these upcoming acoustic dates. There’s been a new album since we last toured acoustically (2014’s The Trews) and we’ve been doing a lot of writing so there’s plenty of new material to draw on when compiling the set lists. It’s always a great way for us to shake things up.”

Comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Colin MacDonald, lead guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek and drummer Gavin Maguire, The Trews have been one of Canada’s most successful rock bands of the past decade, earning an incredible 16 Top 10 Rock radio singles (including two #1’s), two Gold-certified albums (House Of Ill Fame; Den Of Thieves), 2 Gold-certified singles (“Hold Me In Your Arms”; “Highway of Heroes”) and numerous JUNO Award nominations.

To date, The Trews have played over 1,000 shows worldwide, on their own as well as supporting the Rolling Stones, KISS, Robert Plant, Guns ‘n Roses, Kid Rock and Bruce Springsteen.

The Trews Canadian Acoustic Tour Dates 2016

February 13, 2016 Max Centre Drayton Valley, AB
February 14, 2016 Red Deer Memorial Centre Red Deer, AB
February 16, 2016 Performing Arts Centre Grande Prairie, AB
February 18, 2016 Festival Place Sherwood Park, AB
February 19, 2016 Festival Place Sherwood Park, AB
February 20, 2016 Flames Central Calgary, AB
February 21, 2016 Sundre Arts Centre Sundre, AB
February 23, 2016 Vic Juba Theatre Lloydminster, AB
February 24, 2016 Southminster United Church Lethbridge, AB
February 26, 2016 Casino Regina Regina, SK
February 27, 2016 Broadway Theatre Saskatoon,SK
March 2, 2016 The Living Arts Centre Mississauga, ON
March 3, 2016 Centre for the Performing Arts Oakville, ON
March 4, 2016 Centre for the Performing Arts Richmond Hill, ON
March 5, 2016 St.Clair College Capitol Theatre Chatham, ON
March 8, 2016 Charles W. Stockey Centre Parry Sound, ON
March 10, 2016 Performing Arts Centre St.Catherines, ON
March 11, 2016 Hamilton Public Library Hamilton, ON
March 12, 2016 London Music Hall London, ON

 

Today, the Jeff Healey Estate announces the worldwide offering of Heal My Soul via PledgeMusic. The March 25th release is the first new, original Jeff Healey rock material in over 15 years. This incredible lost album features some of the most powerful and passionate performances Healey ever committed to record.

Launching this campaign is the Heal My Soul – 100 Watt Stack Edition box set via PledgeMusic. This limited edition set contains an impressive array of offers for fans. From exclusive and limited CD & vinyl music content to custom made Healey apparel, the commemorative box set and its components have been compiled with the participation and full approval of the Jeff Healey Estate to coincide with what would have been Healey’s 50th birthday on March 25th, 2016.

“In sharing this significant release, The Jeff Healey Estate is making a statement to the world,” says Cristie Healey, Executor/Co-Administrator of the Jeff Healey Estate. “Remarkable, musical treasures that Jeff left behind will be made available for us to experience for years to come. The unearthing of this lost album is a project that will highlight Jeff’s incredible talent. With this gift of never before released amazing music, we invite Jeff’s fans to join us in celebration of his 50th birthday.”

Roger Costa, Archivist/Co-Administrator of the Jeff Healey Estate adds, “coordinating the production of Heal My Soul has been an absolute labour of love for all involved and we are thrilled to be able to finally share this with the world.”

Healey is remembered as one of the most outstanding guitarists and performers of the past 30 years. He lost his sight during early childhood due to retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer. Playing guitar since the age of three, he developed the distinctive lap-style guitar technique that helped bring him international attention by his late teens. A Grammy nominee and JUNO Award winner, his five releases with The Jeff Healey Band totalled millions of sales worldwide. Over the course of his career, he also shared stages and earned the admiration of countless other musicians including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Allman Brothers Band.

Healey died on March 2, 2008 at age 41 after a three-year battle with sarcoma cancer.

 

The Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) is thrilled to announce Jason McCoy of The Road Hammers will return as host of the 2016 CMAO Awards (presented by Slaight Music) for the third year in a row. McCoy, an ever-engaging and entertaining host, is a popular fan and industry favourite and will bring his own brand of energy, quips and comedic timing to the night.

“It’s an honour to be returning as host of the CMAO’s. This year has been the best yet for Ontario artists, and it’s great to see so much support from the industry and fans alike.” McCoy says.

As a 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry and two-time CCMA Male Vocalist of the Year, McCoy is the king of reinvention. Growing up in the small town of Minesing, Ontario, McCoy admired the well-rounded artistry of the classic entertainers, from Roger Miller and Johnny Cash to Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell. Armed with a guitar and a dream, McCoy set out at the age of 19 to follow his own path to stardom. Together with The Road Hammers he has won five CCMAs. As a solo artist, he’s racked up multiple CCMA and CMA awards, along with a Gold album.

As creator and front man of The Road Hammers, McCoy took on the country rock genre and guided the band to unprecedented success throughout Canada and the United States, picking up a Platinum album, CCMA Group of the Year award, and a JUNO award along the way. The band are heading to Australia or the CMC Rocks Festival this March and were recently announced as performers at the first CMT Festival this July.

The Western Swing Authority also returns to the awards as the event’s house band. The award show will be held Monday, May 30, 2016, at the Flato Markham Theatre. For ticket information visit www.ticketbreak.com.

The CMAO was formed in 2007 by Rob MacArthur, founding patron Linda Wright, and a number of interested and enthusiastic individuals who thought it was time to have a voice for country music in Ontario. The Association brings together the talent and the industry professionals. Its mandate is to foster and support the growth and development of Ontario’s country music and its industry, provincially, nationally and internationally. The CMAO has now hosted three annual Awards Shows with the assistance of presenting sponsor Slaight Music. These sold-out events featured performances from Ontario’s top talent, including: Jason McCoy, Deric Ruttan, Jason Blaine, Tim Hicks, Tebey, Autumn Hill, Small Town Pistols, Michelle Wright, Marshall Dane and many more. The CMAO is also proud to have presented two highly successful two-day Road to Independence educational conferences, with the financial contribution of the OMDC and presenting sponsor CMT.