Arts & Life, Music

Juno nominations out, some prairie artists in

The 2013 Juno nominees have been announced and, while the lion’s share of nominees are from the glittering metropolitan wonder palaces of Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal, a passel of prairie artists will be making the trek to Regina in April in the hopes of taking home a trophy at the 42nd edition of the Canadian music showcase.

It will be a short trip for Saskatoon rockers The Sheepdogs, who are up for three awards: Rock Album of the Year for their eponymous sophomore album, Group of the Year and Single of the Year for “The Way It Is.” These are, coincidentally, the same three awards the quartet won at the 2012 Juno Awards.

Also from Saskatchewan: Regina-born Colin James (who lived in Winnipeg a spell in his bluesy youth) is nominated for Blues Album of the Year, and Prince Albert-born pianist Jon Ballantyne (who now lives in New York City) teamed up with Calgarian composer Hugh Ballantyne to earn a nod for Instrumental Album of the Year.

The prairies are oddly scarce in the country music nominations, though Alberta’s Emerson Drive is up for Country Album of the Year, and hurtin’ Albertan Corb Lund has a nod for a solo artist’s Roots and Traditional Album of the Year.

Prairie acts snared three of five nominations in the Aboriginal Album of the Year category, with Manitoba’s singer-songwriter Don Amero and eclectic cultural fusion group Burnt Project 1 up for the honour, alongside Metis singer Donny Parenteau from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Other nominees: Calgary’s Makeshift Innocence is up for Reggae Album of the Year, proving we can still toast up the frigid prairies, and Antonio Peruch and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra were nominated for Classical Album of the Year for a Large Ensemble. Also competing in that category is Brandon, Manitoba-born violinist James Ehnes with his recording of a Tchaikovsky concerto. Ehnes also has a second nomination for a solo or chamber ensemble album for his collection of works by Bartok.

Meanwhile, Nickelback — the pride (?) of Hanna, Alberta — got a nod for the Juno Fan Choice Award, otherwise known as the “way to work Nickelback into the Juno Awards somehow even though their last album was in 2011” award.