Canada's own The Weakerthans have been nominated in the upcoming 2004 Western Canadian Music Awards. They are up for independent album of the year, video of the year and songwriter of the year. Read this article from Winnipeg Free Press:
Manitoba acts up for western awards
Wednesday, August 18th, 2004
By Bartley Kives
SOME usual suspects and a few new faces lead the list of hopefuls for the 2004 Western Canadian Music Awards.
Pop singers Jann Arden, Sarah McLachlan and Nelly Furtado, rockers Nickelback and Matthew Good and crooner Michael Bublé are among the top nominees for the second annual awards show, which honours recording acts from the three Prairie provinces, B.C. and The Yukon.
But the list of multiple nominees also includes a pile of Manitoba independent artists, including rock bands The Weakerthans and The Harlots, folkies Steve Bell and The Wailin' Jennys and country artists Doc Walker and Kimberley Dawn.
Slated for Oct. 3 in Calgary, the WCMAs will hand out 21 awards, including a Hall of Fame induction to '70s rock band The Stampeders. The nominees were announced yesterday at joint press conferences in Winnipeg, Calgary and Whitehorse.
Calgarian Arden is the top contender in the voted awards, with nominations in four categories: major-label album, pop recording, songwriter and producer of the year, all for her 2003 album Love Is the Only Soldier.
Vancouver vocalist Furtado is also connected to four nominations -- pop album, major-label album and entertainer of the year for her sophomore album Folklore, plus a producer nod for her behind-the-scenes helpers Track & Field.
Pop singer McLachlan, rock band Nickelback, rock singer Matthew Good and up-and-coming hip-hop collective Sweatshop Union -- all from Vancouver -- each have three nominations.
So does Winnipeg quartet The Weakerthans, which is up for independent album of the year for Reconstruction Site, video of the year for Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call (produced by Winnipegger Caelum Vatnsdal) and songwriter of the year, for lead singer John Samson.
"We've always identified ourselves as a Prairie band, so it's nice to be part of the Prairie Music Awards," said Samson, referring to the name of the show before it was expanded to include B.C. and The Yukon.
"Oh, damn. Well, we hate the mountains, but the rest of Western Canada we love. I suppose people who live beyond the mountains count as well. I'm interested in this show, because I'm interested in regional art in general."
The list of double nominees at the WCMAs includes Bublé, ex-Winnipeg singer-songwriter Joel Kroeker and country singer Jill Paquette from Vancouver, as well as Manitoba's Steve Bell, quintuple Canadian Country Music Award nominee Doc Walker, and for the first time, Kimberley Dawn, The Wailin' Jennys and perhaps most poignantly, The Harlots.
The Winnipeg rock band, which was formed in 1998 but started out as The Ballroom Zombies in '91, is up for rock album for Crawl Spaces and video of the year for the title track, produced by Darren Wall.
"It's definitely exciting, but it's also scary knowing some of the talent we're up against," said Harlots drummer Mark Sawatzky, referring to rock-album competition from Nickelback, Good and indie supergroup The New Pornographers.
Twenty other Manitoba artists earned single nominations, bringing the province's total this year to 33 overall. That's second only to British Columbia's musicians, who earned 51 of 102 nominations.
Alberta has 13 nominations, Saskatchewan has four and The Yukon has two.
Winning one of these awards means prestige but not necessarily increased sales, says Steve Bell, who's up for Christian recording of the year for Sons & Daughters, recorded with his daughter Sarah, as well as producer of the year, with his longtime collaborator Dave Zeglinski.
"The main benefit is people take you a bit more seriously," says Bell, a multiple Juno winner. "It's like getting a PhD -- the day you get the degree, you are no more educated than you were before, but it gives you credibility."