Newfoundland’s Tara Oram gets nod for female artist of the year

Nick Patch
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Tara Oram

As a teen growing up in rural B.C., Dean Brody loved to watch such acts as Prairie Oyster and Charlie Major headline the Canadian Country Music Awards each year.

Now it’s his turn.

The Jaffray-born country crooner nabbed five nominations for this year’s show, second only to Scottish-born, Toronto-bred country crossover sensation Johnny Reid.

“Years ago, I never would have thought (this could happen),” Brody said Wednesday, as the nominations were announced.

“If you’d have told that kid back then that this was going to happen someday, it would have blown my mind.”

Newfoundland’s Tara Oram felt the same way about her nomination for female artist of the year.

The 27-year-old only just issued her sophomore record, “Revival,” last week — too late for CCMA award consideration. And that was her first album since 2008’s “Chasing the Sun,” which helped her earn the rising star award at the ’09 gala. The CCMA award criteria, however, includes live and recorded performances.

“This nomination is a huge surprise, and it’s so cool to be nominated when you’ve been away for two years,” said Oram, who said she was already beginning work on a third album.

So how will she celebrate the unexpected honour?

“I’m going to go home, take a hot bath, relax, have some hot chocolate,” she laughed. “And that’s about it, because I’m a house rat.”

Reid led the way with six nominations, including nods for fans’ choice, single of the year, songwriter of the year, male artist of the year and album of the year, with Brody also earning nods in all of those categories.

Brody has won one CCMA award before — single of the year back in ’09 — though he was sheepish when asked where he had stashed the trophy.

“I think it’s in a box at home — we just moved,” said Brody from under the brim of a straw hat. “It means a lot to me, but I don’t want to like, display it for everybody to see.”

This year’s awards will be held Sept. 12 at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum and broadcast on CBC.

Performers scheduled to take the stage include George Canyon, Terri Clark, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, Ronnie Dunn, Paul Brandt and Brody, who believed Hamilton would provide a warm welcome.

“I’m from B.C., so I’m not really too familiar with Hamilton, but ... the couple times I’ve been there, people love country music,” he said.

Nova Scotia-raised singer Canyon, Deric Ruttan of Bracebridge, Ont., and Gord Bamford from Lacombe, Alta., each earned four nominations apiece, while other multiple nominees included Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Clark and Doc Walker.

Reid has been the big winner at two consecutive CCMA awards, hauling home 10 trophies over that span.

So it would appear that the 36-year-old is positioned as the front-runner again heading into this year’s gala.

“Oh yeah,” said Open Road Records founder Ron Kitchener, who’s nominated for record company person of the year, and whose label roster includes Brody and several other artists competing with Reid.

“Johnny’s won a bunch of awards and he’s had a lot of great success and he’s selling a bunch of records, so no question.... I think he is the front-runner but it’s nice to see others nipping at his heels a little bit.”

Is there potential for an upset, then?

“I hope so,” Kitchener replied with a smile.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Toronto, Nova Scotia Bracebridge Lacombe

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