Winning six out of her eight award nominations was a triumphant homecoming for Shania Twain at the 17th Annual Canadian Country Music Association Awards Show. Telecast live before a national audience from Calgary’s packed Jubilee Auditorium, it was clearly Shania’s night. The highly energized awards show — a ratings blockbuster — was shown on TNN, September 16, with Terri Clark hosting. Clark, who won three CCMA awards last year, scored high marks for her outrageous wit and apparent ease with hosting duties.
In a last-minute surprise, Shania was able to break away from her hugely successful tour and squeeze in a live performance on the show. Her rousing rendition of “Honey I’m Home” brought down the house.
Walking away with the coveted CMT Maple Leaf Foods Fan’s Choice Award, Shania also won Female Vocalist of the Year for the third time in her record-breaking career. Shania scored the Top Selling Album Award (based entirely on sales) and Album of the Year honors (voted by CCMA members) for her runaway mega-seller, Come on Over, her third Mercury Records release. Shania’s crossover smash, “You’re Still the One” scored the Single of the Year Award. Topping off her wins for the evening, the stylish and cutting-edge production on “Don’t Be Stupid” won Shania Video of the Year honors.
1998 will also be known as Paul Brandt’s year. Brandt won the CCMA Male Vocalist of the Year Award before a jubilant hometown crowd. At the CCMA’s President’s Dinner the night before, Brandt received the prestigious Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Calgary native is a registered nurse and a tireless fundraiser for children’s charities in Canada and in the U.S. Brandt was surprised and overwhelmed by the Humanitarian Award, and his emotional acceptance speech moved many industry attendees to tears.
Among one of several touching moments during the show, Ray Griff drew a thunderous ovation when inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour. Born in Vancouver and raised in Calgary, Griff has written more than two thousand songs in a career that began in Nashville in 1962 during his early twenties. Fifty of Griff’s songs have reached the Top 100 on country charts. Griff’s tunes have been covered by such major country stars as Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis and Mel Tillis.
Michelle Wright received a career boost with her Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration of the Year Award for her recording of “Your Love” with pop artist Jim Brickman. Upon accepting his SOCAN Song of the Year Award, Jason McCoy joked that he had locked his lucky shirt in his car, but apparently had success anyway.
The runaway hits for the live show were the performances by the nominees for the Wrangler Rising Star Award. The segments were broadcast live from a crowded tent adjacent to the Jubilee Auditorium. A Calgary country radio station gave fans a chance to win tickets to be a part of the telecast segments from the huge tent. The energy was electric. Bruce Guthro was the winner and was the only Rising Star nominee unable to attend, due to a prior commitment. Leahy, who won Vocal Duo or Group of the Year honors, was also unable to be present because of their tight schedule as opening act for Shania’s mega tour.