There will be lots of Manitoba talent on stage as Canada's music industry converges on the nation's capital for this year's JUNO festivities. The annual celebration, taking place in Ottawa, encompasses several events, including a music festival, hockey game, autograph signings, songwriters circle, and the awards themselves.
JUNOFest runs March 30-April 1 in various Ottawa venues, showcasing top Canadian talent and several of this year's award nominees. Aboriginal rock band Bruthers of Different Muthers (BODM) and noisecore outfit KEN Mode, both nominated for JUNOs this year, will hit Café Dekcuf on March 30 and 31, respectively. Balanced Records' Kasm and Seed Organization will be at The Mercury Lounge on March 31 with fellow label act Flying Down Thunder and Rise Ashen, who are nominated this year.
Manitoba artists will have plenty of chances to pick up hardware when the 2012 JUNO Awards are handed out in Ottawa next month. The nominees for the 41st annual awards were announced by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) in Toronto early on February 7, streamed live on CTV’s website.
This year’s Manitoba nominees include JUNO alums, first time nominees, and some familiar expats, and span the genres from roots to metal to Aboriginal music.
Roots trio The Wailin' Jennys picked up their third JUNO nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year for Bright Morning Stars (True North/Universal); they won the category in 2005 for their debut, 40 Days. They won a Western Canadian Music Award for Roots Duo/Group Recording of the Year and their producers, David Travers-Smith and Mark Howard, picked up the Canadian Folk Music Award for Producer of the Year for their work on Bright Morning Stars. The Toronto-based Travers-Smith also landed a Juno nod for Recording Engineer of the Year for his work on Bright Morning Stars song, “All the Stars”.
Portage la Prairie’s country rock favourites Doc Walker got a nod for Country Album of the Year for 16 & 1, their latest release on Open Road/Universal. The hard-touring trio picked up four Canadian Country Music Award nominations in September. This is Doc Walker’s sixth JUNO nomination; they won in 2009 for their album, Beautiful Life.
Noisecore outfit KEN Mode landed a nod in the new Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year category for Venerable (Profound Lore/Sonic Unyon/F>A>B). The band, which is currently on tour in Europe, was at the top of critics’ best-of lists and got attention from the likes of American tastemaker music site, Stereogum.
Rock act Bruthers of Different Muthers, or BODM, picked up a nod for Aboriginal Album of the Year for Speakers of Tomorrow. The nomination follows a win at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in November for Best Rock CD. Also up for an award in the Aboriginal category is One Nation, by Ottawa’s Rise Ashen and Flying Down Thunder, which was released Winnipeg label Balanced Records.