Cruise in control at Niagara Music Awards

Posted by CoryCruise on September 29, 2016 | No comments
April 20, 2019

They’ve been in a theatre, a tent, an arena and a bar. But on Tuesday, the Niagara Music Awards went to church.

The crowd sat in pews as the region’s annual celebration of music moved to the former Lundy’s Lane United Church, which is in talks to be a new Niagara Falls arts hub.

“We want to do it in new venues, we want to challenge ourselves,” said Niagara Music Awards co-organizer Todd Brown. “We want to grow.”

About 300 people attended the event, which handed out more than 20 awards and offered 10 performances.

The night was dominated by Cory Cruise, who won four awards including Male Vocalist and Country Artist of the Year. The Thorold singer/songwriter has been one of the region’s busiest performers since winning a Niagara’s Next Star competition in Welland four years ago.

“It’s been extremely hard work, but the community support has been amazing,” he said. “I can’t mention it enough.”

He said the awards play an important part in the region’s music scene.

“It’s a celebration bringing a community of music together, and a night to hear stuff – because you’re playing so much – you might not get a chance to hear.”

The scene certainly impressed Ridgeway producer Thomas ‘Tawgs’ Salter, who received the Special Achievement Award.

“The level of talent is incredible,” he said after sitting through Tuesday’s awards. Salter has written and produced for Josh Groban, Chantal Kreviazuk, Lights and Walk Off the Earth, and said he played extensively in Niagara’s bar scene 20 years ago.

Host Jim Fannon, doing the show for the third straight year, said his “passion” for local music keeps him coming back.

“It’s vital to keep a bit of momentum going, and celebrate their successes,” he said. “I don’t think we need another awards show in Niagara, but I think this is really important. This is an arts and culture award, it’s not businesses giving trophies to their friends.”

As always, the show was a loose, lively affair with friends and family cheering on nominees. Performance highlights included a duet of Picture with Cruise and country singer Chelsea Crites, a stirring acoustic piece by Paige Kopp, and a funky jam by The Bryan Sorensen Groove Trio that turned the former church into a dance hall.

The night’s other multiple winners were Avenue Inn with three and The Maysides with two

It was also a night decades in the making for Folk Artist of the Year Ron Hurst.

“Every teenager, when he turns 55, wants to record a song,” he said. “So that’s what I did.”

Winners of the 9th annual Niagara Music Awards:

Album of the Year: The Jay Diem Band

Original Song of the Year: Kevin Teng

Engineer of the Year: Jay Baty

Folk Artist of the Year: Ron Hurst

Instrumentalist of the Year: Kevin Richard Hotte

Producer of the Year: Rabby Teng

New Group of the Year: Savour the Moment

Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year: Cory Cruise

Female Vocalist of the Year: Chloe Rabideau

Male Vocalist of the Year: Cory Cruise

Country Artist of the Year: Cory Cruise

New Artist of the Year: The Maysides

Progressive Rock Artist of the Year: Avenue Inn

EDM Artist of the Year: Glass Apple Bonzai

Heavy Metal Artist of the Year: Dorian Gray

Punk Group of the Year: The Maysides

Hip Hop Artist of the Year: J.O.S.H

Music Video of the Year: Mel Monaco

Best Bar Band: Off the Record

Songwriter of the Year: Theatre Crisp

Rock Group pf the Year: Avenue Inn

Original Group of the Year: Avenue Inn

People’s Choice Award: Cory Cruise

Special Achievement Award: Thomas Salter

Community Recognition Award: Keith Bellamy

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