Shania Twain emerges biggest winner as host of CCMA Awards

By David Friend

 

THE CANADIAN PRESS

 

TORONTO _ Man, she feels like a winner.

 

Shania Twain proved nothing could stop her at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards on Sunday as she picked up the most accolades of the night _ a total of four _ after serving as host of the festivities.

 

The Timmins, Ont.-raised superstar enthusiastically participated in a celebration of her career that included winning the Generation Award and the fans’ choice award.

 

Twain’s latest album “Now” was recognized for its appeal across borders, winning the top selling album and top selling Canadian album prizes.

 

The CCMA Awards opened with a tribute to Twain’s legendary status led by three of Canadian country music’s new generation of female

voices: Jess Moskaluke, Kira Isabella and Madeline Merlo.

 

Twain then joined the trio on stage in a ravishing purple evening gown to finish the song and proclaim that country songs remain close to her heart.

 

“My musical influences have always been diverse but country music gave me a home, a place where a fast-talking girl from northern Ontario, who dreamt for bigger things for her and her family, could be heard,” she said.

 

Twain also took several opportunities to celebrate the inroads women are making in the country music industry.

 

“I’m thrilled to see women in country dominating the album of the year category,” she said, pointing to how rare it was to see so many women among the nominees.

 

“But we can go further by recognizing a place for diversity in country music by being inclusive and by really respecting what women of country have always been able to deliver: heart, soul and a kick-ass guitar riff.”

 

When Twain was presented the Generation Award by pop singer Alessia Cara, she paused to recognize how Cara is forging a voice for a younger generation.

 

“Alessia really represents the empowered, independent female of today,” she said.

 

Twain also spoke about how, for her, music has been “very much a part of survival, right from a very, very young age.”

 

“It took me away from my problems,” she said.

 

“I started singing 45 years ago at the age of eight in the local northern Ontario bars, First Nations community centres and old age homes.”

 

“Today I consider one of my biggest achievements being able to encourage and inspire others,” she added.

 

And the next generation of female country vocalists also had their moments to shine during the show.

 

Moskaluke, whose “Past the Past” locked in album of the year, became the first solo female artist to win the award in 14 years.

 

Meghan Patrick was recognized as female artist for the second year in a row, while Dallas Smith won male artist.

 

James Barker Band’s “Chills” picked up single of the year, giving the song an extra boost after it won top-selling single at a gala dinner ahead of the broadcast. The Reklaws won rising star.

 

International country star Keith Urban, who performed his song “Never Coming Down,” inducted Terri Clark into the hall of fame after a reel of best wishes from longtime pals.

 

“To be congratulated by Reba, Brooks and Dunn and be given this award by one of the most talented men on this planet is pretty awesome,” Clark said.

 

“I can’t wait to see where this crazy ride takes me next,” she added. “I’m not done, this is just the second chapter.”

 

Some CCMA awards were handed out in events leading up to the broadcast.

 

The Washboard Union took home their third award for roots artist or group.

 

Moskaluke’s “Home Movie” won for country music program or special, while the design of her album “Past the Past” received an award for its creative directors.

 

Stephano Barberis received the video director award for the visual aesthetic he added to numerous projects, including Jade Mya’s “Dirt Covered Rhinestone” and Gord Bamford’s “Neon Smoke.”

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