Bright Lights, Big City: The 2016 CMAO Awards

When I started writing this blog less than a year ago, never in a million years did I think I’d be in the position  I was in on Monday night.  I didn’t think I would be in the position I was in for the entire weekend.  One thing I always wanted to accomplish with this blog is make you feel like you were a part of the action.  So this is my attempt at doing that.  This post is a little bit different.  Usually I write everything up.  This time I wanted you to hear the interviews.  I felt it really captured the excitement of everything that was going on backstage.

The 2016 CMAO Awards were held on Monday, May 30th at the Flato Markham Theatre in Markham, Ontario.  I was standing there, clearly the “noob” of the group waiting for some of country music’s finest to walk the red carpet.  I met a couple of girls and we had placed ourselves to swap off so we each could get that perfect picture.  As the stars came out one by one, it was like I was an old pro, jockeying for position to get what I needed:

Kira Isabella

Kira Isabella

Tim Hicks

Tim Hicks

Prisoner Jason McCoy

Prisoner Jason McCoy


Cold Creek County

The artists moved off the red carpet and went to the media room backstage.  When they finished, we were moved back there to join them.  It really was a country music fan’s dream; Aaron Pritchett, Madeline Merlo, The Road Hammers, everywhere you turned there was another artist.  I looked down at the floor and noticed signs.  There were signs to represent each media outlet.  I walked down the line and there was mine.  “RED, WHITE AND COUNTRY” in all bold capital letters.  I wish I had taken a picture of it.  I didn’t even think to.  I stood on my spot.  I had a million thoughts running through my head. They put me right beside the supremely cool Rudy Blair.  I would like to give Rudy a HUGE shout out for building my confidence and some amazing tips.  Of course we made time for a selfie:

Rudy and Me

Rudy and I


The show started in the front of the house and we watched in the back on a giant screen.  There it was, the first winner of the night; Songwriter(s) Of The Year: Jason Blaine and Deric Ruttan for “Country Side”.  The award was accepted by Jason and he made his way on the the red carpet back in the media room.  After some photos, he made his way around the media and made a stop for me.

Jason Blaine - Red Carpet 2

Jason Blaine


(conversation starts at 40 seconds)

Jason Blaine and Me

Jason Blaine and I


Not only were we in the presence of Canadian country music royalty, there were many up and comers, proving that they are on the way to the top:

Instant Rivalry

Instant Rivalry

Kansas Stone

Kansas Stone

Lindsay Broughton

Lindsay Broughton


My evening started out by speaking to rising star (and presenter that evening), Andrew Hyatt.  Hailing from Sudbury, Ontario, Andrew worked in the nickle mines and is referred to as the man with “nickle bones and a Nashville soul”.  Make sure to check out his website (

He has a new single coming out so we chatted about that:

Andrew Hyatt - Red Carpet



Andrew Hyatt and Me


Award after award was being handed out (I will post a complete list at the end). The one award I was really waiting for was Female Artist Of The Year.  And the winner is….. my girl Leah Daniels (

Leah Daniels - Red Carpet



Leah Daniels and Me


The evening was drawing to a close and there was one more interview I wanted to get. And that was with River Town Saints (  Originally from Ottawa, they trucked over to Markham to perform at the awards.  These guys are a riot.  They took sometime to talk to me and we touched on a very sensitive topic:

River Town Saints - Red Carpet



River Town Saints and Me

I can honestly say ladies, getting a group hug from these handsome men is truly heaven!

The evening was exhausting but amazing.  It was totally worth all of the work that I went through to get there (expect more perogie sales).  Oh yeah…there was an after party at the hotel I was staying in.  Sorry guys, I was off the clock.  But I CAN promise you that fun was had by one and all!

Make sure to like my Facebook page (the link is on the side) so that you can see all of the photos from the weekend.

Here is a complete list of the winners at the 2016 CMAO Awards.  Congratulations to all of you!

SINGLE OF THE YEAR (sponsored by KICX 106):  “When the Buzz Wears Off” – Tebey

ALBUM OF THE YEAR (sponsored by hmv Canada):  What Love Is All About – Johnny Reid

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR (sponsored by SOCAN):  Jason Blaine, Deric Ruttan – “Country Side” performed by Jason Blaine

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Spring Tree Farm):  Leah Daniels

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Havelock Country Jamboree):  Jason Blaine

GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR (sponsored by The Remington Group):  Cold Creek County

ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Skelton Truck Lines Ltd.):  The Good Family

RISING STAR AWARD (sponsored by Slaight Music):  Cold Creek County

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Kylemore Communities):  “Country Side” – Jason Blaine

FANS’ CHOICE (sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation):  Cold Creek County

RECORD PRODUCER(S) OF THE YEAR (sponsored by MetalWorks Studios):  Jason Barry – Run Angel Run by Runaway Angel; Now Playing and Sweet Harriet by The Western Swing Authority; Boomerang by Genevieve Fisher; Toes by Scotty James

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (MAJOR MARKET) (sponsored by Canadian Country Spotlight):  CHKX-FM (KX 94.7), Hamilton

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR (SECONDARY MARKET) (sponsored by Lucknow’s Music in the Fields):  CJDL-FM (Country 107.3), Tillsonburg

I would like to thank the gang at Strut Entertainment for including me this weekend.  It was incredible!  I look forward to (hopefully) seeing you at CCMA’s!!


About Susie Krivak

I was born in raised in Canada and LOVE all things country! Some may say I'm a redneck - I take that as the compliment I know it was intended to be.
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