Manitoba Acts Receive 10 JUNO Nominations

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Nine nominees for the 2005 JUNO Awards won’t have far to travel for this year’s gala. Manitoba artists have been nominated for ten awards in eight categories, The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced on February 7. This stands to make 2005 one of the strongest showings for the Manitoba music industry in the 34 years of Canada’s premier awards ceremony, which is only fitting as Winnipeg will play host to the event at the newly-minted MTS Centre on April 3, 2005.

Critically-acclaimed folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys and Nettwerk roots quartet Nathan will compete for the Roots & Traditional Album of the Year (Group) for 40 Days and Jimson Weed, respectively. Popular rockers The Waking Eyes , whose Video Sound album is distributed by MapleMusic, are up for New Group of the Year, while Grammy-nominated rapper Fresh I.E., is nominated for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year for Red Letterz. Brandon violinist James Ehnes’ name is in two categories, including Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble and Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist with Large Ensemble Accompaniment. The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with Measha Brueggergosman gets a nod for Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance, and Robert Turner’s Third Symphony is up for Classical Composition of the Year. Benjamin Weinstein is up for a trophy for Best Video for pop/punk poets The Weakerthans' “The Reason“. Rounding out the nominees, Longhouse – comprised of producer/musician Brandon Friesen and James Creasey – is up for Instrumental Album of the Year.

Many of the Manitoba nominees have scored recent and well-publicized victories, including Nathan’s summer signing to Nettwerk Records, the label that launched international starlet Sarah McLachlan. The Wailin’ Jennys, who are currently on tour in the U.K. have been enjoying the much-hyped success of 40 Days, which was released on Jericho Beach in Canada and Red House Records in the U.S. and named Outstanding Roots Recording at the 2004 Western Canadian Music Awards. Robert Turner also took home a WCMA for Outstanding Classical Composition. In addition to his 2003 Grammy nomination, Fresh I.E. was nominated for a 2004 WCMA for Outstanding Christian Recording in the fall. The Waking Eyes inked a deal with Coalition Entertainment and had their sophomore album released with the power of Warner through MapleMusic in September. With impressive showings at major awards and industry showcases like South by Southwest, North by Northeast, the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and the WCMAs, the Manitoba music industry continues to prove that Winnipeg is ready to show the rest of the world what it can do when it plays host to the 2005 JUNO Awards.

Hosted by television star Brent Butt, the 2005 JUNO Awards will be broadcast for the fourth year in a row on CTV. The broadcast will feature performances by Billy Talent, k-os, k.d. lang, Simple Plan, 2005 JUNO Award Hall of Fame recipients The Tragically Hip and elusive former Winnipegger Neil Young.

The weekend will feature a number of events, including the two-night JunoFest, the Juno Fan Fare autograph session, Songwriters Circle, and the Juno Cup celebrity hockey. Tickets will go on sale for the awards gala on February 12 through Ticketmaster.

For more information on the 34th annual JUNO Awards including a complete list of 2005 JUNO Award nominees, please visit www.junoawards.ca or www.winnipegjunos2005.com.

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