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Simcoe County is becoming a hotbed for country music talent

Jason McCoy and Road Hammers up for several Country Music Association of Ontario awards
Jason McCoy_0
Jason McCoy. Photo provided

Folks all over Ontario are getting set for a different kind of June election. They’ll be voting on their favourites for the Country Music Association of Ontario awards, being handed out on June 3 at a special ceremony in London, hosted by Minesing’s Jason McCoy, coincidentally, one of the performers and nominees.

That McCoy is being recognized, as well as Barrie’s James Barker Band (with six nominations), and Dani Strong (up for female artist of the year), seems to point to this area being a hotbed for country music talent.

“I think it does,” McCoy tells OrilliaMatters. “We’re in farm country, and there are a lot of little towns in the area that have some really cool venues.”

McCoy and his Road Hammers mates Clayton Bellamy and Chris Byrne are up for songwriters of the year (Crazy About You), album of the year (The Squeeze), video of the year (Haulin’ Ass), and fans’ choice. In all three categories, the Hammers will go toe-to-toe with the Barker Band.

“The strength of the Ontario artists is showing itself beyond the Canadian borders, where we see artists like the James Barker Band, The Reklaws etc, working in Nashville, and making some serious waves.”

McCoy – who shares morning duties with Carey Moran (following Jack Latimer’s recent retirement) on KICX-FM, could hear his station named small-market radio station of the year. He says radio is even more relevant than ever.

“People are all about community, and as big business consolidates streaming and satellite services, we see local news and content disappearing, people are passionate about community, and their music. I think local radio is more important than ever.”

McCoy feels lucky to be hosting again.

“It’s humbling to still be making music alongside so many fantastic new young artists, but having the view from the host position is extra special.”

Fans with ballots should get a wiggle on, mark them, and turn them in by April 25.

And McCoy says, corny as it may sound, the fans are what it’s all about.

“The fans’ votes are valued more than any others, because they vote with their hearts. They have no agenda, other than supporting their favourite artists and songs. We’ve never had such an engaged organization as the Country Music Awards of Ontario, and although the industry does play an internal part in supporting it, it truly is the fans that give it the heartbeat.”


Glenn Wilkins

About the Author: Glenn Wilkins

Glenn Wilkins, in a 30-year media career, has written for print and electronic media, as well as for TV and radio. Glenn has two books under his belt, profiling Canadian actors on Broadway and NHL coaches.
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