Seems I've been here before - didn't Anne Murray do the same thing last year? Four
Junos last year, tour more last night at the 11th annual presentation of the Canadian
popular music awards - there is seemingly no end to the homage paid to her by the
Canadian music industry.
At O'Keefe Centre last night, in front of an audience packed with musicians and industry works, Miss Murray's Greatest Hits album was name album of the year and her single, Could I Have This Dance was voted single of the year; she also won awards as female vocalist of the year and country female vocalist of the year.
As it was last year, she won over virtually every other established female singer in the country in one category or another, Carroll Baker, Claudia Barry, Susan Jacks, even Joni Mitchell, were swamped in the wave of Murray awards, Miss Murray has received - she became last night the fifth performer to be admitted to the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame, following Guy Lombardo, Oscar Peterson, Hank Snow and Paul Anka - she'll have the company. She was inducted by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who made a few sharp quips about the current constitutional grapplings and then delivered an eloquent, concise appraisal of Miss Mitchell's contribution to popular music.
The only other sweep of the evening went to the Toronto-based management company directed by Bernie Finkelstein and Bernie Fiedler, four of whose acts accounted for five Junos. Graham Shaw, a west-coaster, was named most promising male vocalist; Rough Trade's Carole Pope was named most promising female vocalist - this after more than 10 years in business; Eugene Martynee, more or less house producer for Finkelstein-Fiedler acts, was named producer of the year for his work with Bruce Cockburn and Rough Trade; Cockburn, the company's most ???, popular artist was named male vocalist of the year and folk artist of the year.
There were surprises. Prism, almost unheard of a year ago but the subject of a huge promotional pus in the past year by Capitol Records, was named group of the year. Marina and the Muffins, who appeared for most of the evening to have been overlooked for yet another year, were tied with Anne Murray for single of the year, For Echo Beach. The award for most promising group went to the Vancouver-based Powder Blues, another obscure item a year ago. The Good Brothers were country group of the for the fourth year in a row and Eddie Eastman was country male vocalist of the year. Eddie Schwartz was named composer of the year for Hit Me With Your Best Shot.
Other awards included: producer of the year, Mike Jones; best children's album, Singing and Swinging by Sharon Luis and Bram, produced by Bill Usher; best classical album, Stravinsky, Chopin Ballads, performed by Arthur Ozolins; instrumental artist of the year, Frank Mills; best jazz album, Present Perfect by Rob McConnell and The Boss Brass; best album graphics, Jeanette Hanna for We Deliver by the Downchild Blues Band; international album of the year, Pink Floyd's The Wall; international single of the year, Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall.
Graham Shaw, most promising male vocalist, gave during the show a good indication of what won him the award. His song was the best musical item of the evening, with stiff competition from Ginette Reso, surely the classiest female vocalist in the country, a walking hall of fame.
Host Andrew Martin's statement that his year's awards were packed with "the most exciting new crop of performers you've ever seen" was absurd. Miss Murray's repeat rampage is evidence enough of the pitiful state of the "star system" this awards are said to be building. We have been looking at the same names in the same categories for five years now - not one new "star" has been delivered to the world from Canada in that period of time. The Junos are, frankly, a fraud; the decisions are still being made in New York and Los Angeles, and no annual back-slap is going to change that.
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Added to Library on August 16, 2008. (3060)
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