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Edmonton Music Award winners announced

St. Albert tunesmiths draw their fair share of attention

The 2019 Edmonton Music Awards Gala held Thursday, June 27, at the Winspear Centre was the region’s big night where musical luminaries gathered to celebrate the talent and craftsman of their work.

The lovely Nuela Charles was the biggest winner, taking home three awards including R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for Do It Right, Pop Recording of the Year for Danger and Album of the Year for Distant Danger.

Self-taught guitar wizard David Jay scooped up two awards – World Music Recording of the Year and Instrumental Recording of the Year for The Spaniard, his debut EP.

Although St. Albert is less than a 10th the size of Edmonton, some of our locally connected tunesmiths collected hardware – or in this case, a life-size record engraved with their name and category.

Three-time award recipients The Dungarees were given the nod for Country Recording of the Year for Don’t Hold Back. The true-grit country band was also the 2017 Alberta Country Music Awards Recipients for Group of the Year.

“This was a seriously stiff competition and I was pleasantly surprised,” said St. Albert guitarist Kiron Jhass. “We were truly honoured and so happy to be part of it, especially since in country we are all good friends.”

Other players are Ben Shillabeer (drums), James Murdoch (bass) and Robb Angus (guitar).

The Dungarees are tapped to play the Calgary Stampede at the Saddledome on July 12, followed by the Manitoulin Country Fest in August as openers for Paul Brandt.

Singer-songwriter Hailey Benedict nabbed the Rising Star (18 and Under) Award for her song Crazy. This was also her first nomination.

“I was genuinely shocked. It was so cool being nominated among the amazing and talented artists in that category,” said the Grade 12 Paul Kane High School student.

“It’s an awesome keepsake. That’s for sure. And it was awesome to be nominated with other artists you call friends.”

And while it’s great to frame her record on a wall, there’s one more thing that’s more important.

“It’s great to have recognition, but it’s also nice to know you’re on the right path and you have the support of the Edmonton community. And it was very nice to see other artists perform.”

The gala performers entertained in a diverse range of genres. They included instrumentalist David Jay, blues singer David Sures, metal band Fire Next Time, pop singer Jenesia, folk artist Maddy Storvold and dance electronic artist iamhill.

Brenna MacQuarrie, a former St. Albert Children’s Theatre actress who now performs under the moniker iamhill, received the Dance/Electronic Recording of the Year for Give It a Rest.

And Joe Nolan, a former Fort Saskatchewan bluesman who crafted the tools of his trade busking at the St. Albert Farmers Market, received the Blues Recording of the Year for All You Gotta Do.

For a complete artist list, visit

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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