Manitoba artists are strong contenders for top honours at the 2016 JUNO Awards. Homegrown acts are up for several awards, including five nominations for artists that currently call Manitoba home. The nominees for the 45th annual awards were announced by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) on February 2. Canada’s music awards are headed for Calgary for JUNO Week, March 28 - April 3, 2016.
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Don Amero is a double nominee this year, with nods in the Adult Contemporary Album of the Year and Aboriginal Album of the Year categories for his latest recording, Refined. Already a multi-award winner with hardware from the Western Canadian Music Awards, Indigenous Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards and more, Amero previously landed a JUNO nomination in 2013 for his album Heart On My Sleeve.
Noise rock trio KEN mode is looking for its second Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year win, this time for its aptly-titled newest release, Success. The Steve Albini-produced album follows up Entrench, which picked up a 2014 JUNO nod, and Venerable, which won the inaugural award in the new category back in 2012.
Drummer/composer Curtis Nowosad landed his first JUNO nomination this year for Jazz Album of the Year: Solo for his critically-acclaimed debut, Dialectics. Watch Curtis Nowosad perform the title track in the Loft Sessions.
Music legend Big Dave McLean picked up a Blues Album of the Year nod for his Black Hen Records release, Faded But Not Gone, which previously earned him a WCMA nod.
Three former Manitobans earned nominations this year, including two for Brandon-born violin virtuoso James Ehnes -- Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber Ensemble and Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble or Soloist(s) with Large Ensemble Accompaniment, a nomination for Tim Neufeld in the contemporary Christian/gospel category, and a Classical Composition of the Year nod for Nicole Lizée. The Canadian Chamber Choir, a national ensemble that was founded in Manitoba and includes four Manitoba members, was nominated in the Classical Album Of The Year: Vocal Or Choral Performance category.
Many of this year’s Manitoba nominees have participated in Manitoba Music’s professional and market development programs during their careers, accessing assistance to showcase in new markets and in making critical business contacts. Manitoba Music’s programs are supported by the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Province of Manitoba, FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, and Manitoba Film & Music.
Winners will be announced at the exclusive JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on April 2 and the 2016 JUNO Awards broadcast on CTV on April 3.
For a complete list of 2016 JUNO Awards nominees, go to junoawads.ca.