Manitoba Acts Strong Contenders for 2012 Juno Awards

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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.

Expat duo Twilight Hotel, who currently call Texas home, are nominated for Roots Album of the Year for When the Wolves Go Blind. Brandon-born violinist James Ehnes added to his impressive list of accolades with a nod for Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment for Bartók Voilin Concertos. Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based bassist Dave Young got a nod in the Traditional Jazz Album of the Year category for Aspects of Oscar. Composer Ann Southam, also born in Winnipeg, picked up a nod for Classical Composition of the Year for Glass Houses #5. Legendary Winnipeg-born producer Bob Rock is up for the Jack Richardson Producer of the Year for his work on Jann Arden's latest.

Many of this year's Manitoba JUNO nominees -- including The Wailin' Jennys, Doc Walker, Twilight Hotel, BODM, and KEN Mode -- have participated in Manitoba Music's professional and market development programs and Aboriginal Music Program over the years, including funding support to access new markets at key industry events through the Market Access Program, which is jointly funded by Manitoba Music and Manitoba Film & Music. Manitoba Music’s programs and services are made possible by the generous support of the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, FACTOR, Manitoba Film & Music, and members of the music industry of Manitoba.

Winners will be announced at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on March 31, and the 2012 JUNO Awards broadcast on CTV on April 1, hosted by William Shatner.

For a complete list of 2012 JUNO Awards nominees, go to

Watch behind the scenes footage of the making of The Wailin' Jennys' Bright Morning Stars...

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