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The winners of the 4th Annual Long & McQuade Music Express Awards reflect a diversity in many musical facets as Canada enjoyed one of the most productive years in its musical history with strong representation in Pop/Rock, R&B/Rap and Contemporary Country divisions.
The Weeknd, having just won two Grammy Awards in Los Angeles was voted Top R&B/Rap artist and his recording, `Beauty Behind The Madness” was voted Top R&B/Rap recording. Other double winners are Johnny Reid (voted Top Contemporary/Country Artist and his record; `What Love Is All About’ was voted top Contemporary/Country recording) and Vancouver’s Matthew Good launched a successful comeback by winning Top Male Vocalist and Top Small Venue Concert act.
In an unprecedented photo finish, RUSH edged out Blue Rodeo for Top Canadian Group by a margin of only 27 votes!
In other categories; Vancouver’s Hedley was voted Top Pop/Rock Record for their “Hello” release, the pride of Timmins, Shania Twain capitalized on her successful national tour to claim Top Female Artist, Bryan Adams utilized his national tour to win Top Major Venue Concert artist while Brighton Ontario’s Cold Creek County were the Best Emerging Artist/Group Award winners and Nova Scotia’s Minglewood/Moon band won the Back In The Spotlight category.
Nominees for each of the 13 categories were selected by Music Express but after that, it was a total fan vote to determine the ultimate winners. A total of 49,239 votes were received with some of the nominees promoting themselves strongly to their respective fan bases.
As a result Johnny Reid’s Tartan Army pushed his vote tally to 64% for his Country Album award and 63% for his Country Vocal award while Cold Creek County’s fan base ensured that the band snared 46% of the votes in their category outdistancing One Bad Son whose fans generated 26% of the votes.
As mentioned, Rush and Blue Rodeo battled to a near dead heat for Top Canadian Group and another close race saw Shania Twain beat last year’s Female Vocalist winner Jann Arden 42% to 39%.
But the big story was in the Back in the Spotlight category, which promotes classic artists launching a comeback with the reunion of Glace Bay, Cape Breton’s Matt Minglewood and Halifax’s Sam Moon in the legendary Moon/Minglewood Band which toured the blues festival circuit last summer. Both artists actively encouraged their fans on social media to cast their votes with the duo even receiving votes from Afghanistan where Minglewood performed in Kandahar for the Canadian Troops. The duo pulled a whopping 64% of the vote, far outpacing second place Tom Cochrane who solicited 15%.
All winners will receive a special microphone award, courtesy of Award sponsors, Long & McQuade.