CCMAs and Cross Canada Tour

I’m not even sure where to begin telling you about the past week.  It’s been a whirlwind! I spent a few days in Vancouver before Country Music Week began, so I had some time to visit JRFM radio, perform on the Global Morning News, interview for a TV documentary, and even do a little bit of exploring the downtown area.  But once the weekend came along, the serious marathon began!

If you watched Sunday night’s CCMA Awards on CBC, you might have seen the short video segment of me performing “The Wheel” acoustically on location in downtown Vancouver.  That was actually filmed on Saturday morning at…gulp…7am!  But after a 4am wakeup call, several cups of chamomile tea, a small curling iron accident (what do you expect at 4am?) and a bunch of makeup to cover up the burn, I was off to the races.

From there, I rushed over to the CCMA Industry brunch just in time for soundcheck, and half an hour later I was performing “This Old Halo” for all of the movers and shakers of the Canadian country music industry.  From there I headed out the backstage door to grab a ride to Fanfest, where I performed acoustically alongside Doc Walker, Jessie Farrell and Steven Lee Oleson for a wonderful crowd of enthusiastic fans.  It was especially fun to be the honourary 4th “Doc” in Doc Walker’s performance of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”, a song that we wrote together which is included on their new record.  Those guys are super talented!

But the day wasn’t over yet!  I had a few minutes to interview with CMT, “meet and greet” with the fans and sign some autographs, and then I was whisked off to the SOCAN Songwriters’ Café where I performed alongside Dean Brody, Codie Prevost and Dave Gunning.  It was really cool to hear Dean perform his CCMA-winning single “Brothers”.  I could listen to that guy sing all day!

I was getting a little cross-eyed at this point, but I still made it over to the SOCAN dinner at the Shore Club.  SOCAN always knows how to throw a good party, and this was no exception.  Gord Bamford and Dean Brody were there, and so was legendary singer/songwriter Dan Hill…which left me with the song “Sometimes When We Touch” running through my head in an endless loop for the rest of the night.

Sunday was a whirlwind of hair curling, makeup, false eyelashes, uncomfortable shoes, rehearsals and nerves…but it was a day I’ll never forget.  I got to visit the CCMA gift lounge – I’m still flabbergasted that anyone would want to give me free stuff, but they did – and I left with some beautiful handmade jewelry, a custom leather wallet, a leather baby bib with a guitar on it (for Lisa Brokop’s baby), fancy underwear, delicious treats, and even a pair of tall black leather boots with 4-inch heels that I wore on the show later that night.  They treated us like absolute royalty.  I felt so blessed!

The CCMA Awards were a complete rush.  There was a camera man in my face for most of the night, so any of you who watched the show on CBC could probably see how much fun I was having!  It was such an honour to be nominated in so many categories, and I don’t think the reality of it sank in until I watched the nominees listed on the big screen up over the stage.  I kept leaning over to my boyfriend and saying “Holy Cow! That’s ME up there!”

Watching Reba and Martina perform firsthand from front and centre was amazing – they’re such consummate pros - and seeing Johnny Reid sing “Dance With Me” gave me chills.  It was very surreal to see the little song that Johnny, Tia Sillers and I wrote in my living room last fall being performed on national TV to crowds of adoring fans!

After that, I was pulled from my seat and flew through the backstage hallways at a full-on run to get my performance costume on.  I barely had time to catch my breath before I was stepping out on stage with the other Rising Star nominees to close the show with Jann Arden’s song “Good Mother”.  The CCMA band leader was aware that I had lost my Mom 2 weeks earlier, so they had purposefully assigned me a specific line to sing…”I’ve got a good mother…and her voice is what keeps me here”.  It was the perfect tribute to Mom, and I sang it with all my heart.  When I stepped off the stage afterwards, it was all I could do to hold the tears in.

But there was no time for getting emotional!  I was rushed off to the red carpet for photos and interviews, spent some time at the CCMA Post Awards Reception, and then I was off to the EMI/Gibson Throwdown where I took the stage right after Terri Clark and performed a few songs, backed up by some of the best musicians in Canada and with the help of One More Girl on background vocals!

I was so tired by the time I went to bed on Sunday night that I could hardly move…but Monday morning I was on a plane again and off to Calgary.  Over the last 2 days I had a great visit with the CCMA-winning Odd Squad on the morning show on Country 105 Radio, filmed an interview for CityTV, crashed Jason Aldean’s performance at the Ranchman and hung out with his band, drove up to Red Deer and had a great lunch with contest-winners courtesy of the wonderful crew at KG Country (congrats to Greg and Tera Lee for your CCMA too!), and now here I am in a hotel room in Edmonton.

I’ll keep you posted as the cross-Canada tour continues!