Tom Wilson to Receive Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award

Canadian Music Week is pleased to announce legendary musician Tom Wilson will receive the 2024 CMW Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award during a special presentation at the 23rd Anniversary Jim Beam INDIE Awards, on June 6, 2024 Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Tickets are currently on sale and can purchased here.

The CMW Allan Slaight Humanitarian Award is presented annually to a Canadian artist, duo or group, in recognition of their social activism and benevolent support of humanitarian interests and causes.

The 2024 Jim Beam® INDIE Awards will feature a diverse array of Canadian artists, celebrating the spectrum of talent within the independent music scene across 19 categories. Hosted by Jamar McNeil of CHUM FM, the Jim Beam® INDIE Awards will include performances by: Tim Hicks, nominated for Country Artist/Group or Duo of the Year; Finger Eleven, nominated for Rock Artist/Group or Duo of the Year; the winner of the 2024 Jim Beam National Talent Search; and more to be announced soon.

Tom Wilson is a celebrated Canadian musician, famed storyteller and visual artist. The Tom Wilson Bursary was established in 2020 to support year one Indigenous students from Ontario secondary schools completing an undergraduate program in any faculty. It was established to help bring honour, love, respect and shine a light back on the culture Tom was introduced to later in life, and to honour the charitable nature that Bunny Wilson, who raised him, embodied throughout her life. This award is dedicated to empowering the next generation of indigenous people that will lead us into the future.

Wilson’s memoir Beautiful Scars, published by Penguin/Random House, has become a national bestseller. In his memoir, Wilson reveals the impact of discovering his Indigenous heritage. Shane Belcourt’s 2022 documentary film Beautiful Scars received a Canadian Screen Award nomination. The world premiere of the musical adaptation of Beautiful Scars was staged in Spring 2024 by Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton.

Musically, Wilson is best known for his work with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond, the latter receiving a 2020 Juno Award for the album “Mohawk”. In 2023, Wilson was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada.

In 1989 Wilson became the founder of the popular rock band Junkhouse. The band quickly grew in popularity and in 1993 signed a recording contract with Sony Music Canada. Lead by Wilson, Junkhouse skyrocketed in the 90s, producing three albums before disbanding. The style and success of Junkhouse has been an inspiration to many young Hamilton, Ontario artists. Wilson recorded his first solo album Planet Love (2001) for Sony Music.

It was also during this time that Wilson started dedicating more of his time and energy to his second passion, painting. His art show “Beautiful Scars: Mohawk Warriors, Hunters and Chiefs” premiered at the Art Gallery of Burlington and his work “The Mystic Highway” was commissioned by CARAS for a 30’ x 30’ reproduction legacy piece adorning John Street in Hamilton. The painting pays homage to the rich history of Hamilton musicians and performers from past.

In 1999, as a result of their shared love and admiration for one of Canada’s great musical treasures, the late Willie P. Bennett, Wilson along with Stephen Fearing and Colin Linden formed what would soon become the highly acclaimed roots music supergroup Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

The Rodeo Kings have produced ten albums and have toured throughout North America and Europe. While Wilson created solo albums, Planet Love and Dog Years (2006), it was with his collaboration with producer and Cowboys Junkies founder Michael Timmins that he found and settled into a new voice. The result is Wilson’s genre defining, alter personae Lee Harvey Osmond. “Acid folk” was born in an old garage off Clinton Avenue in Toronto. With Timmins production and Wilson’s baritone, LHO has become the soundtrack and the voice for the art of Tom Wilson.

Each year, Slaight Communications and Canadian Music Week awards an outstanding Canadian artist, in recognition of their contribution to social activism and support of humanitarian causes. Previous CMW Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award recipients include Digging Roots, Abel “The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gord Downie, Arcade Fire, RUSH, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk & Raine Maida, Simple Plan, Bruce Cockburn, Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado.

ABOUT ALLAN SLAIGHT: A pioneer of rock and roll, Allan parlayed his entrepreneurial flair with his knowledge of radio to create Canada’s largest privately owned multi-media company, Standard Broadcasting Corporation Limited. An inductee into the Broadcast Hall of Fame (1997), the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from Ryerson Polytechnic University (2000), appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (2001), the recipient of the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award (2005) for his contribution to the growth and development of the Canadian music industry, Allan has also maintained a lifelong interest in conjuring.