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Three local musicians head to Juno Awards

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 01:45 pm

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The 2014 Juno Awards are in full swing in Winnipeg this week celebrating the best of Canadian music.

The pageantry of activities happening is a strategic lead-up to the marquee awards ceremony celebrated Sunday at the MTS Centre.

Sharing the co-hosting duties are platinum-selling artists Classified, Johnny Reid and Serena Ryder. Collectively these heavy hitters have amassed 35 Juno nominations and eight wins.

Three local musicians also plan to be at the Sunday ceremonies, but they won’t be sitting in the audience.

Guitarists Mark Puffer and Morinville drummer Chad Melchert are booked to perform as part of the Gord Bamford Band. And St. Albert guitarist Gerard Gannon is providing support for Brett Kissel.

Puffer, bandleader for Bamford, explains that country music has never had a large presence at the Juno ceremonies. Country music’s big event is the CCMA Awards held in September.

“But this year organizers decided to have three short country performances. It’s nice to have them spotlight what is going on in country,” Puffer said.

In addition to Bamford and Kissel, Nova Scotia’s Dean Brody and his band have been tapped to appear.

Puffer once attended the Juno Awards nearly two decades ago, however he didn’t perform.

“It’s strange. I guess I’ve done so many of these things I take it for granted. But on the night, I know it will be exciting.”

Bamford, whose album Cowboy Junkie is nominated for Country Album of the Year, will sing Your Lips Are So Close, a gold digital single.

Not a typical “cryin’-in-your-beer” love song, it features a haunting vibe with a hooky intro and a neat guitar solo. At the end, Bamford opens up and sings in higher register than his usual songs.

“It was No. 1 overall on the Billboard country charts, which in Canada is a feat in itself,” Puffer said.

Playing alongside Puffer and Melchert are Ryan Davidson (guitar), Robin Pelletier (guitar-mandolin), Allison Granger (fiddle) and Lisa Dodd (bass).

“I’m really proud of everybody and what we’ve accomplished. We’ve worked very hard for this and we’re going to give it our best.”

Other singer-songwriters entertaining at the Sunday awards are Tegan & Sara, Matt Mays, Robin Thicke, The Sheepdogs, Walk Off the Earth, Sarah McLachlan, Arcade Fire and OneRepbulic.

The Juno Awards will be aired March 30 at 8 p.m. on CTV.


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