Canadian stars Jade Eagleson and Tenille Townes added three trophies each to their growing collections at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards on Saturday.
The two tied for the top winners at this year’s celebration of local country music, with Eagleson taking home artist and male entertainer of the year at the broadcast. He earned another industry award at a gala held on Friday.
Townes made history by winning female artist for the fifth consecutive year.
“I feel so much joy,” Townes exclaimed backstage at the FirstOntario Center in Hamilton.
“I love these nights. I love seeing everyone; I love celebrating a year of so much Canadian music.”
Previously, Townes won songwriter of the year and country music show as host of a Christmas television special.
Meanwhile, Josh Ross, the Burlington, Ont., singer-songwriter whose hit single “Trouble” helped catapult him to fame, was named breakout artist.
Sibling duo Reklaw started the night as hosts by challenging viewers to a drinking game.
“Every time you hear the word beer, take a big sip, because all country fans want to hear are songs about beer,” said Jenna Walker, who with her brother sings the soapy hits “11 Beers” and “Can ‘t Help myself.”
The Reklaws then began performing a song about beer written specifically for the show.
Beer appeared many more times. Dallas Smith gave viewers another chance to have fun when he performed his song “Singing in a Beer” and Tyler Joe Miller sang “Never Met a Beer.”
Other big winners from the show included the James Barker Band of Woodville, Ontario, who took home the award for best group or duo, as well as the fan’s choice award.
A few pop-country duets lit up the show, including newcomer Sacha, who joined Tyler Shaw on his song “Confident,” before Shaw took to the piano to play his own song “Love You Still.”
Townes brought Pat Monahan of the pop-rock band Train onstage to perform his new single “I Know.” The pair then performed “Drive By,” a 2012 radio hit by the band also known for the hit “Drops of Jupiter.”
Lindsay Ell won single of the year for “Right on Time,” a moment that left the Calgary singer stunned as she composed herself on stage.
“This is the first time I’ve accepted an award on television and held it upside down,” he laughed.
The 34-year-old thanked many of the people who helped her succeed, including rock legend Randy Bachman. The “Takin’ Care of Business” songwriter met Ell at age 13 and helped launch her early career.
Backstage, Ell burst into tears when the moment came.
“For a long time I thought I was an artist who didn’t win awards and that I could congratulate all my friends for doing amazing things,” she said. But she added that this victory, in particular, has offered insight into the path to success:
“A lot of times that journey looks very different than you think it should,” he said.
“There is a beauty in accepting the order in which things fit together.”