Friday afternoon Nance and I leave for “the Rock” – St. John’s Newfoundland – to attend this year’s JUNO Awards. We weren’t planning to go, but a friend had some extra air-miles and thought we ought to be there. Yay!
For those of you living below the 49th parallel – the JUNOs are Canada’s music industry award much like the GRAMMY’s are in the States. I’ve been fortunate to have received the award twice. First, in Hamilton, 1997, for Romantics and Mystics. Then again in Vancouver, 2000, for Simple Songs. I’m one of the lucky ones who received the older style trophy in the last year it was made, and then the newer curvier version a few years later (see pic).
Nance and I also attended the 2001 awards in St. John’s Newfoundland. Waiting for Aidan was nominated that year but didn’t win. But that year was the best by far. If you haven’t been to Newfoundland, it’s hard to describe. If you’ve been there, you’ll know why it was so great. Cynicism hasn’t come to the Rock yet. Folks there are just folks. They love their music, their neighbors, their communities. They are honestly delighted to have visitors and are not at all embarrassed to be enthusiastic. All in all, it still feels like the good-old-days in St. John, and that’s good medicine, if only temporary, for the corrosive effect that industry and celebrity can sometimes have on the arts.
People have been asking if I have a sense of whether I’ll be awarded the JUNO this year. It really is impossible to gauge. As I understand it, all the submissions for the category (Best Gospel Album) go to 5 judges who are chosen as impartial but connected somehow to the industry (radio programmers, music educators, producers etc.) The judges each choose their top 5, and someone does the math from which emerges the 5 official nominees. Then, I believe the judges listen again to those top 5 and vote for a single project – those votes are tallied resulting in the winning project. Unfortunately, there is only one category for all things “gospel” and so that’s how you get a rock band like Thousand Foot Crutch in the same category as an aging folk-style singer like myself. So it’s hard to know how the judges will vote. You can’t feel too badly if you don’t win, and shouldn’t feel smug if you do. There are so many variables, and each judge has a different grid they listen through. I’m just pleased my project, Devotion, is up for consideration. I’m really quite proud of it and happy it got noticed. (See HERE for complete list of this year’s nominees.)
So, Nance and I get a mini getaway! Well… not totally, I’ll be meeting with a group of pastors there on Saturday morning to see if there might be enthusiasm for my Symphony concert in St. John’s. And on Monday, before returning home, I meet with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra to investigate the possibility of a concert with their organization. Otherwise, it’ll be a great weekend and great place to hang and celebrate past work.
Thank you all for listening to my CDs, attending concerts and encouraging me with notes and emails. I don’t take it lightly that I get to do this work. It’s a privilege and I’m grateful.
I’ll blog next week about the events with a picture or two. It’s always fun to meet folks you never would otherwise. At the last JUNOs we attended in 2001, Nance and I met Mary Walsh and Justin Trudeau. Both were pure royalty – gracious and lovely in spirit.