Greetings to all from Port Credit, Ontario !
I have been looking forward to April since the turn of the year, there is a very special reason for that which I'll let you know about at the end of this blog, if you bare with me.
You may or may not know, depending on how often you visit or read my blog, that I am head of programming at Blues & Roots Radio, with that comes a huge responsibility of getting radio shows scheduled in a timely manner, co-ordinating interviews, attending live performances and making sure our platform maintains the highest possible quality output to showcase the creations of independent artists from not only here in Canada, but also from the submissions that come in weekly from around the world.
We had discussed a few years ago of presenting awards to artists in recognition of their works and creations, we talked about various categories, but, we knew that the awards would have to be carefully thought out, ideally adjudicated by a jury for integrity, and ultimately, coveted by the artists themselves. We felt at that time we were too young an organization, so we shelved the project.
In late 2017 at a meeting at HQ in Ontario, Canada the subject of the quality and quantity of independent releases came up, it was decided at the end of that conversation that we would put together a list of all the albums that we felt were contenders if ever we were to award just one a coveted and inaugural ' Blues & Roots Radio Worldwide Album Of The Year Award '.
When the lists came back in a week or so later we were astounded by the diversity and quality, not only that, but quantity of releases, many of the same albums were on the lists that were coming back in as contenders. If I mention just a small selection of the names you will get the idea of what we were listening to and choosing from.
Newton Faulkner ( UK ), Lloyd Spiegel ( Australia ), Mike Biggar ( Canada ), Thornetta Davis ( USA ) ... quite the list was starting to emerge !
We immediately knew that we were going to have an award for 2017, not a list of categories, just one category that would be for Best Album as chosen by the members of the team that had submitted their lists, and we would then present it annually to a deserving artist for their labour of love.
And so the task began of getting the 50 albums on each list, which could have been 100, 200 or more, down to just one and we put the guidelines in place which determined the integrity of the award.
In January 2018, after eight weeks of deliberation, a winner was announced.
We were thrilled to announce that Stephen Fearing's release ' Every Soul's A Sailor ' was chosen as the very first ' Blues & Roots Radio Worldwide Album Of The Year 2017 '
We were even more thrilled to learn of how well the news had been received by our listeners and website visitors, many of whom sent in messages of congratulations to Stephen.... and Stephen sent a message of thanks out too !
WATCH THE VIDEO FROM STEPHEN
Why am I telling you all this in April ?
Well, Stephen is about to embark on a Spring Tour across Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario which will see him visit Toronto among many other places in support of the album.
We asked Stephen's team in January whether we should post out the award to British Columbia, where Stephen now lives, they came back to us and suggested that if we didn't mind waiting a month or two Stephen would be thrilled to accept the award in person when he was in Ontario.
We will be at Hugh's Room Live on April 20th to present the award, a huge thanks have to go to Jennifer Johnston, Stephen's tour manager, for arranging and co-ordinating.
In January 2017 we had no idea that we would be presenting an award for Best Album, we sat down with Stephen way back then ( March ) in Port Credit for an interview about the newly released CD, the entire interview ( One hour special ) with tracks from the release can be heard on our website
LISTEN TO FULL SHOW HERE
To accompany the interview I wrote a review with my thoughts on the newly released album, here is an excerpt from that review...
" With so many projects in his arsenal, as a solo artist, with Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and with Andy White it is easy to see where he can pull influences and soundscapes from, there is a touch of all of the above in this album, but the one commonality is the involvement and genius that is Stephen Fearing, everyone will identify with the songs on a personal level throughout, and the gift again becomes apparent, Stephen Fearing has the gift to write what he feels, the gift to write what you and I feel, the gift to write what we may want to say but are not quite sure how, he has given us the gift of rolling on the deep.... " - Blues & Roots Radio
READ FULL REVIEW HERE
I am so pleased that it is Stephen that was chosen as the winner of this our first Blues & Roots Radio award, I have a lot of respect for him as an artist, songwriter, musician, producer and most importantly an amazing human being, he is well worthy of the recognition and sets a high bar for next year.
If you are in a town or city near any of the dates on this tour, I highly recommend getting out to see one of Canada's finest musicians at work.
Until next time
Canadian Folk Music Awards Contemporary Singer Of The Year 2017
Blues & Roots Radio Worldwide Album Of The Year 2017