Dallas Smith Wins Big At CCMAs

Canada’s brightest country music stars were shining in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday night at the 33rd Canadian Country Music Association Awards (CCMAs).

Dallas Smith, who had four nominations this year, won a pair. “I wasn’t expecting this,” he admitted upon picking up his first ever award for Male Artist of the Year, a category he’s been nominated in every year since 2013.

At Saturday night’s gala, Smith won Video of the Year for “Sky Stays This Blue.” 

MORE: Dallas Smith Reunites With Default For Tour

The prime time show was broadcast live from FirstOntario Centre and hosted by homegrown superstar Shania Twain.

"Man it feels so good to be home," she said after a show-opening medley of her hits by Jess Moskaluke, Kira Isabella and Madeline Merlo. 

Twain, who won her first CCMA Award in Hamilton 23 years ago, spent more time on camera accepting awards than hosting. She was named winner of the Fans’ Choice Award and accepted the CCMA Generation Award from pop singer-songwriter Alessia Cara.

“Alessia really represents empowered, independent females today and I’m inspired by you so much,” said Twain. “I really am. You’re amazing.”

Twain, who said she started singing 45 years ago, talked about the challenges she had when she finally made it into the music industry. “I faced a lot of harsh criticism for bringing a different style and sound to the country world,” she recalled, “but fans and audiences embraced my music and encouraged me to persevere.”

The Ontario-born singer called for the country music industry to encourage more diversity, new creative ideas, and “of course, more women.”

MORE: Canadian Country Stars Cover '80s Anthem "Rise Up"

Meghan Patrick, who won Female Artist of the Year for the second time, used the opportunity to pay tribute to other female nominees. ”We are killing it this year,” she declared.

Jess Moskaluke, who had six nominations this year, picked up Album of the Year for Past The Past, a collection the singer described as “a piece of my soul.”

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Brett Kissel, who also had six nods, came up empty during Sunday’s show but on Saturday was named Interactive Artist of the Year for the fifth consecutive time. The Washboard Union won Roots Group of the Year for the third time.

“Chills” by the James Barker Band, earned CCMAs for Single of the Year and Top Selling Canadian Single of the Year.

Canadian country music veteran Terri Clark was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame by Keith Urban (who earlier in the show performed his single “Never Comin Down”) with video greetings from Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire.

Clark called the tribute “awesome” and said receiving the honour was “truly humbling and surreal to me.”

She added: “I started out as a fan and that has come back in my direction with the most amazing and loyal fanbase an artist could ever hope for.”

Most of the CCMAs were handed out during ceremonies earlier in the weekend.

Check out some of the big winners at this year’s CCMAs:

Album of the Year Past the Past - Jess Moskaluke

Single of the Year "Chills" - James Barker Band

Female Artist of the Year Meghan Patrick

Male Artist of the Year Dallas Smith

Group or Duo of the Year The Washboard Union

Fans' Choice Award Shania Twain

Rising Star Award The Reklaws

Interactive Artist of the Year Brett Kissel

Roots Artist or Group of the Year The Washboard Union

Songwriters of the Year Skip Black, Aaron Goodvin, Catt Gravitt “Lonely Drum” (Aaron Goodvin)

Top Selling Canadian Single of the Year “Chills” – James Barker Band

Guitar Player of the Year Matt McKay

Keyboard Player of the Year Bart McKay

Specialty Instrument Player of the Year Shane Guse - Mandolin

Bass Player of the Year Travis Switzer

Drummer of the Year Ben Bradley

Fiddle Player of the Year Tyler Vollrath

Steel Guitar Player of the Year Mitch Jay

Video of the Year “Sky Stays This Blue” - Dallas Smith 

Country Music Program or Special of the Year Jess Moskaluke - Home Movie

Record Producer of the Year Jeff Dalziel (What We’re Made Of by The Washboard Union)

Video Director of the Year Stephano Barberis